Buried - December 900 AD
Snow fell earlier that day. It was late afternoon when a Highland Deer fell asleep next to the great stones of a buttress that was attached to the nave of Ely Cathedral. It had been walking for days and was wracked with tiredness and hunger. It should not have been there at all. A Highland Deer is seldom seen in the wilds of Cambridgeshire if at all; but there it was, a long way away from its Scottish homeland. The deer’s body sank slowly into the bed of snow upon which it lay. The heat of its trunk created an almost perfect impression in the soft white flakes. In one respect, it was an almost perfect impression in that, looking down upon the overall scene where the deer lay, the snow encased the contour of its hairy body as accurately as possible. In another respect, it was an imperfect impression in that, every hair and other fine detail was not depicted as accurately as it could have been. From high above it looked like an almond nut that had been pressed gently into the soft fresh white icing of a cake. The ribs under the deer’s fur moved very little. A Highland Deer dreams, but does not snore very often and so, anyone passing by the great cathedral that late afternoon in December, may well have thought it was dead. It wasn’t. It was sleeping: and dreaming.
All of a sudden, in the middle of its dream, the deer was standing in the nave of the cathedral and with no warning its antlers turned to stone. It lifted its head to take up the strain of the weight. There was a rumbling beneath the deer’s hooves and it looked up at the great vaulted roof. The walls of the nave shook violently, but the ribs of the vaulted ceiling above held and did not tumble to the ground. The deer felt itself become one with the building, its hind legs changed slowly into scrolls and its fore legs into symmetrical leaves; each leg became a perfect mirrored reflection of the other. The deer had turned into a capital; a piece of stone that caps the top of a pillar. No one would have ever expected it, certainly not the deer. In its dream, it just wanted to jump up from where it lay to run and frolic about in the snow. Its upper most ear twitched a little as it slept outside in the cold.
The deer’s neck ached and its twelve pointed antlers felt as though they may crumble and fall to the ground at any minute. There was silence for a moment. The deer looked up and asked the great vaulted ceiling above, “Why don’t you hold yourself up?” It waited for a reply but no reply came. After a few hours lying in the snow the deer awoke to find itself bruised and cut. It looked up to see a clear darkening sky. It saw an object falling from the sky that looked like a creature that had tried to kill it many times. The dear was surrounded by rubble. It stood up clumsily, stepped over several large pieces of tumbled sandstone encrusted with mortar and walked haphazardly towards a forest. A smaller building stood next to the forest. The creature that fell from the sky hit the ground with a loud thud. Just before it hit the ground the dear heard the creature let out a terrified scream. As it stepped away from the rubble it looked down and caught site of a man who appeared to run for his life; a second man chased him. The first man looked at the deer for a few moments but then looked ahead as he made his way towards a small house and the forest that lay beyond. The upper most branches of the forest’s tallest trees were white and drooped with the cold frozen wet weight they carried. The deer continued its journey slowly and then for no logical reason it could think of, looked back to where it had lain in the snow. It saw a dark green impression of a deer shape that looked not unlike itself. The shape looked as though it had been cut from the snow by a large pastry cutter. The deer turned back towards the forest. A few moments later, it passed between two great trunks and disappeared from view.
The sun set slowly. A bird flew up into the evening sky. The heavens beyond, whose stars had begun to twinkle faintly, made a majestic frame around the tiny creature as it fluttered its wings towards the freedom of the firmaments. All day it had been stuck inside the cathedral until, for reasons it could not understand, the building fell away suddenly from where it fluttered and set it free. As it flew up into the star speckled sky it looked down to see a deer with magnificent antlers walking towards a forest. It looked to the bird as though the deer was hurt, but it could not be sure. The bird turned towards the horizon where the last of the sun was setting and shrunk smaller and smaller until it could no longer be seen.
December 2015 AD
The excavator dug. It pulled up the concrete slabs of the car park that had been broken up earlier in the day by men with jackhammers. The men stood back as the great pieces of concrete were lifted and dropped heavily in to the back of a lorry. The concrete slabs made thunderous sounds as they landed in the lorry’s belly.
The men looked down into an area from where a particularly large piece of concrete had been removed and saw something that should not have been there. They looked up towards the man working the excavator. They shouted and gestured violently. One of the men yelled out over the noise of the scene, “stop what you’re doing!” Where the concrete had lain, there lay the faint remnants of a skeleton. It was in very poor condition and could only just be seen. The skeleton was different from normal skeletons in that, it appeared to have two symmetrical odd shapes that sprung from its head.