Having obliterated 160,000 words (six month's of writing!) in September...
In October 2016, a friend on Epping Forest Life Walks suggested that I learn online with the Open University’s free Futurelearn Start Writing Fiction course. It was the best writing advice I’ve ever been given. I learned how to write character. Character, in my view, is all. I submitted a weird story about a lonely man surfing the internet in search of love. On Boxing Day, I went on my annual country ramble with friends around Theydon Mount. As it happens, we all passed through a kissing gate.
In my first story, a lonely man wanders through the wilderness in search of his dead wife and little boy. He meets a mysterious girl in the middle of a field where the crossways meet and tells her of his tragic past. She shows him the Future. Together, they pass through a portal. Never to return! This is a bit of Beltane - from The Kissing Gate.
TWO TRAILS: 3½ miles (5.7km): Take the path across the old churchyard to the swing gate. After 100yds climb stile and turn L onto footpath around field. At the yellow waymark turn R and cross the field. At mid-field fingerpost. Where the crossways meet. By a dead oak. Walk to the line of trees. Follow the track skirting the woodlands. Until you find the Kissing Gate.
A thick grey mist cloaked her grave. The fog burnt off in the warm sunshine. Heralding dawn in all its glory. And a new day burst into life. Her grassy burial mound sparkled with crystals of dew. A young man knelt before her black marble headstone. The garland of red roses etched around her beautiful face. Broke down… and cried.
Shush, my love, don’t cry.
He looked around the graveyard. The church was a silent ruin. The hallowed grounds empty.
Hold me, my love, hold me.
She was with him once more. He gripped her headstone with both hands and held her tight. Lying on top of her. His head resting against her damp earthy grave. Her dead heart gave out a single beat six feet underground and she fell asleep. Forever. Forever in his thoughts.
The Kissing Gate really exists - this one is near Much Hadham, Herts, England:
The Kissing Gate from Is It Today?
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