The Fell Walkers’ Guide To Eternity

Chapter One: A Vision Of Judgement

I was hoping that I could resolve some of my identity issues as I punched the man hard in the face. He dropped with a vacant look in his eyes. I stared deep into them. “No, nothing,” I said to myself, “That didn’t help.”

It had only been a few seconds ago, that I saw him for the first time and knew what to do. He was standing on a rocky summit in the Lake District. I heard him talking on his mobile phone, “Well, I’m on my way down now, it’s all ready to go, see you soon darling,” and hung up.

The mist had conveniently arrived, as it always did, it added a Gothic touch I liked to think as I marched up behind him. I tapped the man on the shoulder — I would have been more direct, but as I said, I’ve got identity issues. He spun round and I lamped him square in the nose. After I’d checked his eyes, I took the phone out of his hand, went into settings and turned off all the security features, closed the shockproof case and buried it deep in the pocket of his jacket, where it would be safe. Then I threw him off the peak to his death. The mist began to float away as I walked down to the valley.

I saw a family having a picnic by a packhorse bridge, the little stone arches built centuries ago, when I felt one of their children was in danger. I saw the young boy gradually start to slip and lose his balance, I started walking quickly towards him and the world slowed down.

Time has also been problematic. I’m not sure that it’s a linear thing for me. It also keeps changing speed and direction, but it happens around me but not to me — as far as I can tell - but what do I know? I strode on towards the boy who was hanging in the air as he fell from the bank and slowly, slowly arched into the rattling, rocky stream below. I walked over to the stream and caught his barely moving body, and put him back on his feet. Time went back to its usual speed, the boy didn’t see me, but he looked dazed and ran off back to his parents.

How many years have I been roaming the fells? I can’t even begin to work it out; as I said, time is a rather vague concept. It appears the same to me, but sometimes I can tell when it speeds up by watching the skies and people walking on the fells and there are times when it becomes a blur in constant twilight as though a day is but a blink of the eye. At other times it slows, almost stops. When it stops, the first sign is the sudden silence, there’s no sound without movement. Like many an anxious parent, silence is a warning.

But I’ve been here so long that I’ve forgotten what I look like. I feel the skin and contours on my face but couldn’t tell if it feels different than before. My body seems like I remember it, but I’ve not seen my face for, well, however long it takes to become uncertain what it looks like. How long is that?

I’ve caught occasional glimpses of my head in the tarns and pools of the fells, but it just looks like a blur, like a bad fax of a face. I’m also invisible a lot, though I’m not sure when as I can always see and feel myself. Like the guy this morning, or was it last week or even a month ago, I honestly don’t know, but when I hit him I was hoping to see a reflection of my face in his eyes, but saw nothing.

Perhaps I was invisible. That would explain it. That shocked look on his face; was it out of nowhere or did he see a stranger suddenly appear and strike him? I’ll never know. There are times when I know I am visible — when people react to me, but they don’t happen very often. There’s a lot more I don’t know. I just started trying to list my unknowns in my head and abandoned it as it was too long. Now I’m trying to remember what I do know. That doesn’t take long at all.

I told you right at the start that I had identity issues.

Chapter Two