The weather had been blustery, windy with clouds rolling past, but no actual rain. Mom, Dad, and Aiden were wandering through the ancient village, listening intently as our guide pointed out the small stone frames where thousands of years ago, the inhabitants had slept. They’d slept piled on top of one another to keep warm, most likely under animal skin blankets. A circle in the center of the room showed us where they’d kept their fire. As the rest of my family wandered the ruins to see where they’d kept the animals in this stone settlement dated back to before Christ, I stayed behind, running my fingers over the rough walls in awe. The air shimmered around me like a mist and I felt as though I were no longer alone. I turned, expecting to see Aiden or my mom, but instead, I saw a translucent flicker of flames in the cooking spot. I stared open-mouthed at the fire, not comprehending what was happening, when a movement to my right caught my attention.
“Cadhìa! Come to bed, love.” The deep voice from underneath the mass of furs in the corner echoed in the small room. The language was foreign to my ears and yet I understood it perfectly. All of a sudden, I became aware of the scents around me: the clinging smoke from the fire, the cool earth beneath my feet, the dampness of the air, and the sweat from the man huddled under the blanket. Where before, the room had been open to the sky, now I stood in a small, darkened room with a low ceiling. My feet moved of their own accord across the length of the room to the man curled into a ball under a pile of sheepskin. Love for him gathered inside me, building with purpose like a bird taking flight, though I couldn’t see anything but the back of his head. Above the bed, a symbol carved into the rock seemed to glow with the light of the fire. I ran my fingertips over it in reverence, this picture of the sun sinking into the sea. My sleeve fell away from my wrist as I touched the stone, and I saw the same symbol tattooed on the inside of my forearm. This simple drawing meant everything to me, but I didn’t know why.
At the sound of my mother’s laughter, I'd blinked and the vision had disappeared. Completely disoriented, I found myself standing in front of the bed’s outline, stroking the rock wall where I’d seen the symbol. It wasn’t there anymore. The rock was worn smooth. A sense of loss enveloped me before slipping away on the breeze, leaving me confused and mystified.
“There you are,” Aiden had said, appearing at my side.”I thought we’d lost ye.” When I didn’t immediately respond, he'd studied me with concern. “Are ye well?”
With one more glance at the stone walls that had turned cold under my fingertips, I'd nodded and followed him through the rest of the broch, my heart strangely full and empty all at the same time.