The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity – they built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.
Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo.
Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!
The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.
The Lights of the Future
It was late when Tula got back to Geb and Sarah’s and she went straight to her room. She found it hard to sleep and lay there tossing and turning, plagued by the unnerving way the evening had unfolded and then by more squealing noises coming from outside the window.
Witches of Unity was how Irit had described the angels. Now, they were witches from whom the curse on Topeth derived. Her words were another dent in Tula’s faith in the seraphic beings.
The other day, Damien had returned from Unity with a strange object wrapped in a cloth to avoid identification. He had secretly despatched Rufus to the mining lab, so it must have been a piece of ore. Damien’s family had a history of wanting to explore Unity. That greed had cost his father, Marcus, his life, thirty years before. The town of Unity was sacred, as was the land of Suria, so surely that intrusion could not happen again.
Her understanding of the history of the town made little or no sense because some essential pieces of the puzzle were missing. She had no idea where to find them, what they looked like, or was even sure, if she saw them, whether she would recognise them for what they truly were.
The good folk of Topeth laboured under an illusion, that what she believed were angels were in fact devils, terrible entities who protected their domain, their town, their Unity, by throwing people off the bridge or rendering them insane.
Here’s a piece of flash fiction…
Are we not captains of a great vessel, fitted with sail and bow and keel, to tack into uncharted waters, buoyed by the currents flowing through our lives, and the universe beyond?
Do we not have a full complement above and below decks? A man in the crow’s nest to espy what’s on the horizon, what’s onsetting?
All hands securing the ship, the captain, the bosun, the quartermaster, all joining in one place, for one great purpose.
The hands of the crew are the servants of the vessel – the mind, mentality and higher emotion– charting a course into safe waters. The instinct is always there as guide. There are even the bilges, where all that’s expendable is disposed of.
The great ship human and its wonderful design. What would it be like for all those hands to be actively engaged in the same purpose?
And when the breeze rises up and blows into a sou’-wester, and the winds of change fill the mainsail, the masts creak with renewed purpose, and the gulls shriek, and the dolphins play on the cat’s paws, then you know, then you know for certain, that your vessel is graced and spurred by the flaring of the spirit, and you and your crew are one and the same.
The fresh wind blows.
The white foam flows.
The furrow follows free.
16th February, 2022
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Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers - that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.
The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind. ISBN 9781789014860.
“The novel is creative, sophisticated, and downright brilliant! I couldn’t ask more of an Egyptian-esque book!” – Lauren, Books Beyond the Story.
The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times. ISBN 9781789015829.
‘The author is an excellent storyteller.” – British Fantasy Society.
Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. ISBN 9781838591885.
“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders… religion and war… filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.” – A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog.
His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery. ISBN 9781800463950.
“In Topeth, Tula confronts the truth, her faith in herself, faith in a higher purpose, and ultimately, what it means to abdicate that faith.”
V. Triola, Coast to Coast.