But the guardian hadn’t finished with me yet. I was again swept up out of my body which was left slumped behind the wheel like an abandoned overcoat, to a vantage point above Edinburgh, looking down at a storm tossed coast besieged by the North Sea under a black sky. My spirit was dragged down towards the ominous orange glow generated by many fires dotted around the hostile barren landscape beneath. An irresistible force pulled me further down towards the fires and what was burning there.
As far as the eye could see there was a huge circle consisting of row upon row of stakes rammed into the frozen ground. There must have been thousands of them. Tied to those stakes were women of all ages, all of them being consumed by the roaring, greedy leaping flames, burned while they lived. Some were at the start of the immolation, mostly whole, with tender skin only yet seared by the fire, hair ablaze, and screaming in the knowledge that this was just the beginning. Yet others were blackened twisted shapes, scarcely recognisable as human, carbonised bones fused together, deformed mouths in molten skulls agape as though in outraged protest at the brutality of their fate.
I knew somehow that they were all women. Their collective rage burned liked lava through my mind, taking all before it, leaving nothing of value. The hive like humming became louder, unbearable, when, without warning, a rearing column of flame spewed forth as though from an explosion deep inside the earth.
Something attracted my attention and I saw there was writhing movement within the column, something that appeared to be trapped by means unknown. Against my will, I was moved by the inexorable force closer to this inferno and as I did, I could see what looked like a burning throne with what had been a man sitting upon it. The remnants of his long, dark hair hung in tatters around the red ruin of the face, so lovingly resculpted by the inferno. His hands were blackened sticks scrabbling at what remained of his face. The falsetto ambitions of his screams detonated into the air with no one to hear except me, the burning women and the impersonal immensity of the night sky.