Remember how we raced each other to the summit,
clinging on for dear life
as we navigated the almost vertical bits,
stomachs turning over
when heavy boots lost their footing
and sent loose rocks plummeting
to shatter nearly four thousand feet below?
Inexperienced climbers, our kit was basic.
Who was the most scared? Our nervous jokes
diverted attention from the constant possibility
of judgement error and certain death.
Oh it was definitely me:
in the shadows between those jagged rocks
I perceived hunched demons, presided over
by Death's own Black Angel.
And shivers ran down my spine.
You bravely tackled the Saddle,
while I clung, terror-frozen, to an outcrop;
desperately trying to suck the too thin air
into starving asthmatic lungs.
Suddenly enshrouded in thick cloud,
I lost sight of you.
A strange phosphorescence -
the angle of the Sun, maybe,
or something much more sinister?
My fingers, clinging to cold rock,
turned white as bone.
And the wind hummed a menacing lament.
A sudden chink in the cloud:
Llyn Llydow lay directly below,
a mere half inch in diameter.
a chilling inner voice challenged me:
Just step off the edge
and into this fascinating miniature world.
But logic intervened:
No. Remember how far up you are.
At this height, things only appear to be close.
You'd be killed for sure.
An abrupt vertical movement to my left.
A badly smashed sheep lay whimpering and twitching
in a rapidly spreading pool of blood
on a narrow ledge below.
I felt sick.
The shadow demons shifted
to enclose the unfortunate animal,
as if moving in for the kill.
A selfish euphoria gripped me:
It was clearly their chosen sacrifice,
We would be safe now!
A narrow shaft of sunlight
swept across the sharp tooth-like
edges of the summit,
sending those terrifying entities
flitting off into the ether
like the last wispy strands
of a retreating storm cloud.
Just then, I saw you
scrambling back to me
across that deadly Saddle
that has claimed so many lives.
Please be careful I mentally beseeched you,
then my gaze was drawn again to that poor sheep.
It now lay silent and still,
but it was a stillness totally devoid of peace.
I strongly sensed a Soul in purgatory,
desperate for a safe refuge:
felt it bolt into my aura,
where it resides in me still...