I lay there on the ground, oblivious to all the sounds around me, focused solely on the bright blue sky above and I thought that this, this was a good way to die. The pain in my heart was lessening now and as I closed my eyes I thought of home as the world slipped away.
Once in a millennia an event, usually a death of some sort, will rip a hole in time and space causing humans to travel into the past. Such events are rarely without cause and once there, trying to get back is not without a task.
It was an unbearably hot summer and any kind of physical activity was greeted with groans. School had finished and the parks were inundated with British sunbathers, fat men stripped off and everyone got sunburnt, trying to savour as much sun as possible, as if this was the last sun anyone would ever see. And then black clouds gathered over London from all the humidity. They sat there for a whole day their presence like a dark omen upon the world. The next day the clouds unleashed their power and there was a thunderstorm, the biggest thunderstorm I had ever seen. The thunder bellowed menacingly and the lightning was forked as if some evil weapon and the wind blew more than a few trees over. The next day was cool, very cool as if winter had come early. The drop in temperature gave me cause to actually leave the house and go and visit one of my friends.
Witnesses said that one minute I was there in the middle of the road and the next I had simply disappeared. I never saw the van; later on I came to the conclusion that it had suddenly appeared for the specific purpose of knocking into me and catapulting me into time and space. I felt the crash and then a blinding flash of light and then darkness. As far as I knew I was dead. When I began to come to my senses it was cold and I could feel uneven ground beneath me, spots of rain were falling on my face. Blinking, I opened my eyes and found that I was lying in the middle of a clearing in a forest. Confused but in one piece I managed to sit up and brush some of the dirt off my jeans. I sat there for a moment taking my surroundings, touching the grass to know it was all real. I didn't recognise anything but it was still warm and it at least looked like somewhere in England. Not knowing quite what to do I started walking in the hope of finding some kind of civilisation. Eventually I came to a road, except it wasn't tarmac laid it was just dirt and I could see the ruts in it that looked more like they came from a horse and cart than a car. The wind was growing stronger and the rain heavier as I finally saw the beginnings of a settlement.
But as I drew closer the houses made of wood and thatch with pig stys and chicken coops with huge hay stacks surprised me. Wherever I was this was not the England I knew but it was not a dream, the rain was far too real for that. The only discernable light came from the windows of the biggest building in the village, the church. It was growing dark and I needed somewhere dry to stay so I pushed open the door of the Church and was confronted with a huge mass of people. They were all dressed as though this was the sixteenth century, women in large dresses, scarves around their heads, greying aprons around their waists and the men in tunics of rough trousers and a shirt. The floor was strewn with straw and their faces looked tanned and rough as though they worked outdoors mostly. They had all turned to look at who the intruder was and I was rooted to the spot for a moment before a feeling of violent dizziness overtook me and I knew no more.
"Should we fetch the apothecary?" I heard someone say
"No my child, she will come round." A man said. For the second time I came round flat on my back, although slightly more comfortable as I seemed to be lying on an actual bed.
"Oh look she's opened her eyes." The girl said again. She bent over me slightly showing me a rather rotting smile, she was probably only about fourteen but her faced was already slightly creased.
"Where am I?" I asked
"In the tavern opposite the church. We thought it safe to bring you here." The man said, he was wearing clothes recognisable as a priest; some things it seemed did not change.
"Lizzy, go and fetch some mead and some bread and cheese she looks as though she could use some sustenance." The pastor said and the girl nodded, rushing out of the room.
"How're you feeling my child?" He asked me
"Fine, a little groggy." I said
"Good, we feared your head might have taken a hard hit on the church floor." He said but I shook my head.
"Not wishing to sound rude, but where am I?" I asked
"It's perfectly alright, I guessed you were not from these parts. You are in the village of Little Hanglington in Surrey." He said
"Oh." I said
"Here mead, bread 'n cheese." Lizzy said placing a tray beside me, smiling. I was suddenly terrible hungry and scarfed down the food in a matter of seconds.
"May we ask your name?" The pastor asked
"Oh it's Tasha. Just Tasha." I said
"Well Tasha I am Pastor Simmons and this is Lizzy, her parents run this tavern." Pastor Simmons said.
"Oh well Lizzy please thank your parents for the food, it's very kind of them." I said and there was a knock at the door. A small girl appeared, dressed much like Lizzy and looked as though she too had her fair share of chores.
"Mama was wondering whether the miss would like t'come downstairs 'n warm herself by the fire?" The small girl said. I hadn't even realised that there was no fire in the room.
"Can you manage it?" The pastor asked and I nodded getting out of bed slowly. I realised that the small girl was staring at me because of my rather twenty first century looking clothes whilst the Pastor and Lizzy were desperately trying not to. Lizzy led me down a wooden staircase and into the main room of the tavern, it was warm with a roaring fire in the great fireplace opposite.
"Ah now Miss please come sit by the fire how are you feeling?" A large woman came up to me taking my hand in hers, I could feel the blisters and rough skin – the result of working manually for many hours.
"Oh thank you and my name is Tasha." I said.
"Well Tasha my name is Hannah Croft and you certainly look better for having had a rest. How long had you been walking?" She asked pulling up a chair next to me.
"I don't remember. A fair while." I said
"Where did you come from?" The Pastor asked.
"Well from London I guess is my best answer." I said
"Mother! Mother!" A boy's voice called
"In here Edward." Hannah called back and a boy or rather young man of about twenty came in.
"Mother you wouldn't believe what they're saying in the village. Apparently a rider just come from London with news that an angel fell there. Landed right in the middle of the main market square he did." The boy was saying
"An angel?" Hannah asked
"Yes mother, and that's not all. They're saying that another light was seen, that another angel has fallen not too far from here. In the forest they think." He said. The flash of light, the falling, the clearing, I put my face into my hand. The Pastor, Hannah and Lizzy stared at me.
"Mother who is that?" Edward asked noticing me
"Edward, have some manners! This is Tasha, our guest." Hannah said looking at me kindly.
"It's you! You're the angel." He said
"Oh no. No, no I'm not an angel." I said
"But look at you, of course you are." He said
"Now Edward, why don't we let Tasha tell us her story before we judge and go running all over the village." The Pastor said. Edward sat down reluctantly.
"Now Tasha, please tell us what happened, you have nothing to fear here." The Pastor said.
"Well first off I'm not an angel and I am from London although not the London that you know. I was walking to a friend's house when I got hit by something, I'm not entirely sure what and there was a lot of light and falling and when I woke up I was in the forest and that's what I remember. I'm sorry I know this sounds crazy." I said
"Your clothes would suggest that you are telling the truth." The Pastor said.
"You fell from the sky, you are an angel." Edward said
"No I'm not. I just, I just want to get home. Oh god what if I can't get home?" I said and it all dawned on me, I was in a completely different time period with no prospect of getting home. I began to cry as I thought that I might not see my parents again.
"Oh now there don't cry. It'll be alright." Hannah said putting an arm around me.
"Wait, did you say there had been another angel?" I asked Edward once I had calmed down a bit.
"Yes in the middle of London town. A young man I believe." He said
"Perhaps the solution is for Tasha to go to London and search out this other person maybe they will hold the key to getting home." The Pastor said. There was a knock at the front door and I jumped.
"Guests. Lizzy take Tasha upstairs I don't think she should be seen." Hannah said ushering us out of the room.
"Good evening Hannah." I heard a gruff male voice said. From our position at the top of the stairs we could see many pairs of feet standing where we had just be sitting.
"Good evening Joseph what can I do for all you men?" She said
"We've come to enquire after the girl you took in sick." He said
"Oh?" Hannah asked
"We'd like to know her whereabouts." Joseph said.
"Gone." Hannah said
"Gone?" The man repeated
"Yes not half an hour ago." Hannah said
"Are you sure?"
"I think I know who is in my own tavern. She went half an hour ago, insisting she was fine." Hannah said
"Did she say where she was going?"
"Something about Guilford." Hannah said.
"Yes well all the same we'd like to have a look around. Check she hasn't come back." The man said. Lizzy was pulling me up by the arm, and behind a curtain out onto a little ledge by the stairs.
"Joseph may I ask why you have half the village looking for one traveller?" Hannah asked
"One traveller? Surely you have heard about the fallen angels?" Joseph said
"I have indeed. My boy Edward just brought me the news. But really a fallen angel?" Hannah asked
"Yes, I mean we all saw her, she wasn't one of us." Joseph said. I could hear footsteps coming up the stairs and my heart began to beat faster as they moved towards the curtain, my whole body went rigid with fear. But the footsteps went away and I exhaled, relaxing a bit.
"What do you propose to do with the angel once you've found her?" Hannah asked
"King's orders she is to be brought to him." Joseph said. The footsteps returned but went straight past us and down the stairs.
"Not here Joseph must've gone." The owner of the feet said.
"Right well we'll saddle a few horses, probably be able to catch her." Joseph said. Once the men had left the pub Lizzy deemed it safe for us to come down.
"Thank you." I said to Hannah
"Ah it was nothin' I wouldn't place you into an armful of men, who do they think they are goin' about like some sorta witch hunt." Hannah said angrily.
"I think it best if I go to London." I said
"Yes, Edward will take you he needs to go to market for me." Hannah said and Edward nodded.
"I would be honoured." He said bowing slightly. The Pastor bid us goodnight soon after that and Lizzy took me back to the room I had woken up in by candlelight. She said goodnight, curtseyed and then left the room. A nightshirt had been left out for me and I took off my clothes and left the to dry over the back of a chair. The nightshirt was a bit itchy but it would do for the night as I settled under the covers and slept.