'House of Angels' - Extract





the others

On Angel Mountain


rebecca and the angels


Guardian Angel


Conspiracy of Angels


From Ch 8 of “House of Angels”

Martha is in love, and on an impulse she sets off towards Llannerch, the home of Owain Laugharne, on a fine summer day, in the hope of meeting him……

I climbed up the track beside the cascading river, and when I was far enough from the smell of the pandy to stop and catch my breath I sat on a grassy bank in the cool dark shade of an oak tree. The woodland rang with birdsong and resonated with the humming of insect wings. I lay on my back and looked up at the canopy of leaves over my head, trying to count the number of greens and textures I could see within the leafy boughs. I think I nodded off for a minute or two, but then I was startled to hear a little snatch of music drifting through the trees. Then it faded away, and then it came again, carried on the breeze. It was unmistakably the sound of somebody singing. A man singing. It drew me like a magnet, and so I got to my feet and walked on up the track until I got to the start of a series of cascades in the adjacent river. In the winter, when there is a torrent roaring down off the mountain, this is a dangerous place indeed, and I know that poachers have been drowned in the deep rock pools where three-pound trout are reputed to lurk. There was not much water in the river today, to be sure, and the cascades and waterfalls were mere trickles, but the lower pools were full of cool, clear water.

The sound was coming from one of the higher pools, louder and sweeter. The man was singing, in a fine tenor voice, in Welsh. I walked on up the track for a little way, and then, to locate the source of the music, I had to make my way, as gingerly and quietly as possible, into a thicket of bushes and tall ferns. At last I was able to peep through the leaves of a little hazel bush, and then I saw him. Owain Laugharne, as naked as the day he was born, floating on his back in the biggest and deepest of the rock pools, with his eyes closed, singing at the top of his voice. His voice was beautiful, and he was beautiful.

The pool was only about fifteen feet across, but it was very deep. On the far side of it there was a wall of black shaly rock, smoothed by cascading water over thousands of years. Where there were little crevices, ferns and mosses and liver-worts were thriving, no doubt fed and watered by spray. Tall trees towered over the pools and the river bed, and some of them had dropped branches or fallen over into the river; branches and roots and rotting tree trunks were jumbled together, all dripping with moisture and supporting clusters of greenery and summer flowers. The sunlight streamed through the tree canopy in shafts and slivers of light, dappling the river banks and the pool which Owain had occupied. I thought that the Garden of Eden must have been very similar.

I could not take my eyes off him. His body was illuminated by sunlight and surrounded by shadow, and I could see every detail of it.