Stone angels, with wings
‘I remember in Mespot,’ he said, ‘a place where they was digging up buried cities, from thousands of years before Christ. And there was angels, stone angels, with wings. Thousands of years before Christ, I tell you. What do you make of that, eh? Where’s your Christianity, when I’ve seen that with my own eyes? Stone angels, with wings.’
‘Interesting! It was that. I was Corporal then. It was just before I got busted the second time, by that bastard up from the depot. For having a bit of a drink, which there wasn’t an NCO in the battalion hadn’t had as much or more. I can see it as I stand here: a long trench in the ground and things being lifted up out of it – bits of broken pottery and little statues and such. And stone angels. And no eyes had seen them before mine for thousands and thousands of years. I asked the padre next day how he accounted for it, and he talked a lot of gabble which made no sense. But I’d seen them, as clear as I see you now.’
He broke off, and looked critically at the floor.
‘You’re not much of a hand at cleaning, are you, son? I’d make a better job of it myself, if it wasn’t for this arthritis in my hip.’
‘No,’ Martin said, ‘not much, I’m afraid.