The Shining Furrow


This tale, quite strangely, arose from reading one of my favorite classic poems by Tennyson. I expect the storyline is not even remotely like anything Tennyson had in mind when he penned it, but nonetheless I have used it for my guide. You will find its lines at the opening for each of the chapters. Apologies to any non-whovian Tennyson-lovers.

Photos of Trelissick tower and the Fal may be found at Folly Towers, /trelissick.html


The night was growing old, the early spring sky dotted by the few stars that shone through the scattered cloud cover. Trelissick Garden slept in the mists of its little creeks and rivers, resting at the head of the Fal Estuary. Miles of walking paths lay quiet and cool, ready for another day.

Fish were just beginning to stir for their early morning feeding, sleepily pulsing their gills under the sheltering roots of a shallow riverbank. The April night chill and misty, the waters of the Fal below shining soft in the near dawn light.

A streak of silver lit the sky, a meteor that flashed in glimpses through the clouds then suddenly shot through them. The air moaned in protest as it was pushed aside; trees lit briefly in the glare trembled in the muted explosion as the shining bolt violently struck the earth. The dark branches waved, young leaves spattering down.

Nearby creek waters slopped on their bank, fish thrashing and foaming, contorting in circles. After a moment they stilled, turning their bellies to the dimming stars. Amid the moist earth, the impacted crater gave a brief shrieking sound, upwelling, sizzled and was still.

Moments passed. Out of the crater, something unfolded like a flower blossoming, as if in mimicry of the rhododendron and camellia hanging heavy all about, overlapping oversized petals opened, wide banners formed of finest red frost.

Lifting up from the wreckage, it shimmered from red to silver light , blending with the mists. Tentatively tendrils reached out, touched the plants around it; tracing bleeding heart and hosta, thick heavy fern. It ran down the stems like water, branched onto the leaves. Stems twisted, glowed, broke apart into countless snowflakes of iridescence and vanished, fading away, leaving nothing where they had been.

Withdrawing into itself, it hesitated, then silently drifted up again. There were grasses and paths, another grove of ferns, sloping land and trees to explore.


Up above the lawns and paths, the Trelissick manor house lay quiet, dark except for the few security lights that habitually lit the grounds against the night. One light suddenly winked out.

Darkly dressed, a man turned from knocking it out and set to work jimmying open one a french-doors, two reinforced felt sacks beside him betraying the intent of his plunder; the priceless private china collection held within.

Intent though he was on breaking open the door, he suddenly froze as a silvery webbing reflected in the glass before him. The strange drift of barely visible light hung in the air behind him. He spun around, his tools clanking to the flagstones and backed against the door in fear.

Ghostly, the alien light brightened around him, touched him, running up and down his limbs like water. The silver brightened, turning to golden bits tinged with red, red as rose petals or sparks of fire.

The would-be thief screamed, perhaps more from fear than pain, then contorted and cried out again more sharply as the webbing immobilized him.

Startled, the garden's night watchman came running, dodging around the columns of cypress that lined the walk, firming the grip on his billy-club as he came. Perhaps he took the strange glow for a lantern, for as he came around the corner he had no hesitation at all. An initial glance showed him a man lit apparently by firelight, dark dressed, the tools of burglary and looting about his feet.

For that briefest moment he was so incensed at the audacity of this man to try to break into the Manor on his watch that he reached out and grabbed at the back of his collar, in spite of the otherworldly light that surrounded him. His angry shout cut off as he registered the strangeness of this 'firelight.' In the space of a thought it swirled up to enclose him as well. The two men, locked together within the shining petals of gold and red faded to silver along with it, their forms breaking up into feathers of silver and fading away.