29 March, 2016 by katelaity
Tansy looked curiously at the man. ‘Have you discovered such a mystery here? And are you incorporating it into your project?’
‘Indeed, you clever soul! There is no hiding anything from your perspicacity, Miss Popkin.’ The Captain showed evident delight in having a compatriot in adventure as plucky as he. I felt rather in the dark in comparison to these stalwart souls, but having decided long ago that my affability played the greater part in my charm (such as it might be) I deigned to cheerfully follow along with whatever prospects the path opened to me.
‘You are planning to share it with us, are you not, mon Capitaine?’ Tansy wheedled with the best of them and never more winningly so when he was she. ‘I admit to being most thrilled at the thought of uncovering a heretofore unknown mystery.’
‘I cannot say for certain that it is truly a mystery,’ the Captain said, stroking his beard thoughtfully. ‘Undoubtedly the spectacles of science will soon reveal it to be an entirely understood process with quite reasonable causes.’ The thought seemed to dampen our spirits ever so slightly, but he clasped his hands together with a slapping sound and the twinkle returned to his eye.
‘For the moment, I am quite happy to say it is very much like magic!’
Faced with this promise, Tansy and I begged to be initiated into this mystery-as-it-was and see something that could truly be counted a wonder. The Captain to his credit did not delay but instructed us to follow on his example. I was grateful that we were unobserved save for the good man’s servants waiting at the carriage, for I did feel a bit like a simple child traipsing along behind the Captain and Tansy as we circumnavigated the stone shaped like an O in the moor, passing between it and the upright stones that leaned drunkenly away from it like sailors on shore leave. Three times we made the circuit, then halted abruptly.
‘And now the magic!’ With considerable effort the Captain worked himself through the hole in the stone. For a moment he seemed stuck, his wooden leg waving about like some mad conductor’s baton, but then like a cork he popped through to the other side—
And disappeared from view!
‘Whatever in the world!’ Tansy exclaimed, far more quick to voice than I, for I remained in silent amazement for some moments until I saw Tansy bend to make the same passage.
‘Tansy, you cannot think of going through there, too?’ I rushed forward as if I might be able to stop her, but this was Tansy after all.
‘We came for an adventure, did we not?’ She laughed and ducked through the hole and was gone in an instant, just like that. I hardly knew what to think, but I was not willing to stand aside and dither, but needs must. I, too, ducked through that hole and was in an instant transported. I will admit that I closed my eyes, unwilling to see oblivion strike me if it was of a mind to do so, but I was spared that fate at least for the moment (as you will no doubt have postulated, since you are reading this account and I must have had the opportunity to write it down).
When I opened my eyes again, I found I was underground. The Captain and Tansy both grinned at me. The hearty fellow clapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I knew you wouldn’t let us down! There’s courage in you for sure.’
I felt considerably less courageous than my friend but perhaps no less so than the Captain, for he had evidently been here before and must have known even the first time what it was he faced. ‘Where on earth are we?’
The Captain pointed directly above his head. ‘Mên-an-Tol is right above us. And this place? Well, it is only right to ask that. But the answer—’ His grin opened so very broadly that one might fear the top of his head popping right off with the satisfaction of it. ‘I am not at all certain that I may answer that truthfully.’