A.J. Walker


December 2022

A Short Walk To China

Chinese Temple
Mid Week Flash Challenge: Week 273

A Short Walk To China

It seems incredulous to me now. But a week ago I was in China for an hour or so. I still haven’t discovered where, or even when, but I was in China with my sister. It was an adventure in itself, but I guess it could well be the start of a lot more. It had started of as a short walk in North Wales.

Sarah and I had walked quite a few miles across the hillsides, which seemed to be populated by isolationist sheep. The place was devoid of people; after we‘d picked up some provisions from the local postmistress the previous day we hadn’t seen a single other person. We’d decided to wing the walk not planning it all. It had started of pretty uneventful. Other than sheep we saw plenty of birds (Sarah’s passion), woodland, gorse, wetland and the occasional stone wall. So far, so normal.

Near the top of one of the hillsides we came across some prominent rocks, which attracted my attention as a hobbyist geologist. I pointed them out to Sarah who was someway back - trying to get a decent shot of a curlew or something.

I was glad I did from a geological perspective. There appeared to be predominantly two types of rock: gneiss and dolerite. Both seemed to have been partially dressed. But it wasn’t that which interested me in particular, it was that neither of these rock types had been part of the geology of this area. The rocks weren’t in-situ; they had been positioned there.

‘I think it could be a tomb,’ I shouted over to Sarah, as she made her way through the sodden grass.

‘I’ll take a look on my map later,’ she replied.

I clambered around the rocks, getting my knees decidedly dirty, and walked either side of them before I worked out the broad shape. Definitely a tomb of some sort I was sure.

‘There’s an entrance over here,’ Sarah called. She’d a better a eye than me. ‘Let’s go in.’

‘Probably back filled or full of dead sheep, but gotta give it a look,’ I agreed.

We both ended up on our hands and knees pushing through mud, stones and sheep shit - but no dead sheep, as far as we could tell. It did look like the entrance to an ancient tomb, maybe a Cotswold one I thought.

Then it got a bit weird. The floor began to slope down as the soil and detritus disappeared. Then came the steps. Hard: perfectly formed steps, proportioned as if in a shopping mall. We both had torches out by now and were trying to work out what we were looking at.

Time seemed to stop as we made our way down the steps into whatever the structure was. It became impossible to see.

‘Is your torch on full?’ Sarah asked, obviously thinking the same thing.

‘Yup, and I can’t see ‘owt either.’ I put my had on the rock. ‘It’s so smooth. So black – and so smooth.’

Our torches could shine right back at us. But the light didn’t show us anything and failed to light up the corridor.

‘What do you think this is?’ Sarah asked.

‘Buggered if I know. It looks modern and man-made, but the rocks outside look like they were put there millennia ago.’

‘There’s no sign outside of anyone coming here. There’s no footpaths, let alone tracks around here.’

We carried on walking, both of us reaching out to feel the sides of the pitch corridor. Then came a single faint yellow light. It was impossible to see what it was or how far away. It may as well have been a star in the blackness. Perhaps it was.

We walked in silence until we found that it was in a wall at the end of the mystery corridor it was a just a perfect circle just a few centimetres across.

‘Is it a light or a button?’ Sarah asked.

‘It’s not natural anyway,’ I said, pressing the thing. A door instantly opened revealing a series of steps leading up. ‘Bugger me.’

Naturally we walked up. I wondered how long we’d been down there. It had been cloudy when we ventured into the tomb/not a tomb but we now we could see only blue sky above us.

At the top of the steps we found not only sunshine, but a Chinese temple.

‘Err, what the fuck?’ I said.

‘I don’t think we’re in Gwynedd anymore.’

‘Like I said. What the fuck!?’