When the Bluebells Toll


Originally published in the 'Bloom' edition of Creative Countryside Magazine.

Her dress is torn, its hem slick with the detritus of the roadside. Her lungs are full of twenty first century air and she coughs into her palm. She lifts her head to a distant knell, slow, forlonging. A tear runs a gulley through her polluted skin and she turns to face the woodland. The bells have tolled. 

She meanders along the woodland path, longing to feel the snapping of twigs on her arches, the moss between her toes, but her feet are worn thick from the road. She touches a budding branch, tastes the morning dew on her fingers. The sound of the dawn chorus fills her ears. The sun breaks through the spring canopy, illuminating the morning mist. She takes a deep breath and lets the vapour cleanse her lungs. There’s the tinkling of a bell at her feet. She looks down at a single shepard’s hook of violet-blue bells, nodding in gentle unison. As she crouches to examine the upturned petals, their white pollen dusting her fingertips, the mist starts to lift and in the distance the canopy floor starts to sing. 

The ancient carpet of the woodland lies before her, its bells ringing in perfect order, throwing their sweet scent into the air. Their harmony is hard to resist, she meanders deeper into the purple sea and, her head heavy with perfume and song, falters to a stop. Ferns furl around her legs and bring her gently to her knees. They catch at her wrists, weave through her hair, around her neck, pulling her down into the bed of vibrant purple and green. The tolling of the bells grows distant, her breath fills with their scent and the taste of earth, and her world fades from violet to grey.

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