They said the quickest way to the stones is through the maze.
That didn’t make any sense to me either.
The hedge maze mixed topiary with the features of a Punch and Judy show. A hunchbacked puppet peeking out of the privets, and giggled after you walked past. In one dead end was a large wooden crocodile with jaws that actually snapped. Strings of sausages ran like bunting over the top of many of the paths. I was glad to have a puppet with me. The Butter Mouse acted as a shield, even if I didn’t know what from. There are a lot of scary characters in Punch and Judy. I didn’t fancy my chances, even against Judy.
After an hour of wrong turns and hangmen, we found an exit striped in red and white, and hurried on through. A blast monkey handed me a refreshing cup of tea of the way out, so that was a bonus. It make look more than tranquil than Lozowick, but Picabia is exhausting.
The walk up to the stones of Ghasal is a steep one. Some say they are the oldest objects in Nadada, but I don’t know what that means. There are no maps here.
There is no doubt the air in the middle of the stone was heavier, the grass muddier and more earthy. For the first time since coming here, a pain in my back returned. I realised I was underneath my normal home. That right above me might be London, or the Sahara desert. These rocks were not separate stones placed upon the surface, but thick tentacles of granite both poking up from the surface, and down from above.
I heard a tapping noise. By this point a squirrel marching band may be responsible, and I would nod them good morning. But then I realise that the sound emanates from my own hand.
There was The Butter Mouse, twitching and moving around, my wrist like a strange tail underneath. She sniffed their air, pawed at something that did not exist.
We headed back soon after. The Butter Mouse is on the chair in my bedroom, now unmoving, sitting in a leather armchair, head bowed.
We are heading off into the desert soon. Probably for the best.