• Ritual •

• Ritual •

Nick Power is a Liverpudlian writer and a member of The Coral.
His debut – Small Town Chase, was published in 2015.
The following monologue is exclusive to PARIAH PRESS.

 

This ritual we perform. Weaning secrets on the trestles. Letting them mature. This ritual we perform. Throwing shapes onto the ceiling. Endless knots. Helix. Figure eights. Pictographs. Star maps. Words I learned from letters found in the loft. ‘Divine geometry’ a man said, stood in our porch with rolls of paper under his arm. Designs of his own. That was two nights ago. We leave the house at dusk. This ritual we perform, its a night incantation, a dance of darkness. Nobody knows we’re here. My mother throws a blanket onto the backseat. Sits with me and dozes. Somebody drives, a man I don’t know. Winding roads. Bonfires outside huge barns. My father sits in the passenger seat. Studying charts with a compass and a ruler. Holds a torch in his teeth. Says the odd thing to our driver, things I don’t understand. Numbers. We pull into a lay-by. My mother wakes.

More cars. Headlights. Hushed chatter. Long ropes from a transit van. Apparatus from roof racks. A wheel with a stick that clicks when it turns. Dull flashlights.

Across the fields now, and “only walk on the fucking tramlines please”. No footprints. This ritual we perform, its a secret. Dew forming on swaying kernels. My mother pulls me close and we watch bulbs blinking in the distance. People walking on long planks. Flattening. We drink Ovaltine from a flask. The light fails completely and we walk back to the car. The men carry on. A roll of surveyors tape in the soil. I pocket it. I don’t know why. Whispers. Back to the backseat and quiet radio. Heat. My mother hums to Doris Day. I look out at a black sea. Pulling in one direction, then another. Threatening to drown the sky. My eyelids give in.

I wake at midday. Can hear my dad snoring through the wall. My mother talks on the phone and brews coffee. This ritual we perform, it’s finished for now. The seasons are changing. I amble down the stairs. Local news on television. That’s where we were last night. A black field now full of sunlight . Golden. People with cameras surround it. A man with a microphone. He interviews a woman who’s wearing a Star Wars t-shirt. She talks about lights and weather balloons and the government. A helicopter drones overhead. They’re filming. Filming this vast field of Barley, that, at its dead centre, has been laid down in the most beautiful and intricate patterns I’ve ever seen.

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