SPIRALSTAIR

Spiralstair is no myth. A steadfast granite embodiment of adaptability, it has yet to suffer the parasitism of roads. Here the blood is thick, the moon broad and unmarred by halogen or tungsten. The sea has a healthy green lustre.

 

Still, few follow the ten miles of segmented path along the coast to Spiralstair, simply because of the uniquely unnerving nature of the prehistoric rock formations in the area.

 

Great lava flows of a similar nature to those at Burg on Mull occurred here millions of years ago, and where they slowed, and presently were halted in the hushing sea, they came to touch certain things, things that left impressions like templates pressed into dough or clay. Here, as on Burg, there is the odd great impression of a tree, and in other spots more varied vegetation. However, in one particular place, several trees seem to have enclosed a titanic living creature, although it was no saurian. It must have become pinned between the copse and the lava's seethe, perhaps there was nowhere else for it to go.

 

Multiple mouths, too many to manage with two eyes, and no teeth save those that seemed to roll in waves underneath. Like the teeth of interlocking zip fasteners, in many, many layers, and all about this great bulbous mass.

 

What was most disturbing however, was the fact that other animals appear to have become fused with the flesh of this creature. Feathered reptilian inaccuracies, great centipedes and scorpions. Legs flailing in black rock intricacies.

 

Of course, there were what we might assume were 'primitive persons', amalgamated also, no doubt curious at what might presumably be a 'noisy' and "boisterous" abhorrence. It appears their agonized and intricate grimaces may resume at any moment. All folded, and warping, and enmeshing with the form of myriad neighbourly horrors. What to become? Well, we have only the impression. The fossil of this mysterious fauna conglomerate.

 

Bent into the cliff, like crooked surf, it towers sixty feet above your head, and all around are broken remnants. Some chipped-off in curiosity, but always left. Always discarded in consternation. The Victorians visited in droves, but they were the last. Fear of the thing has only grown in recent years.

 

Spiralstairers tend to access the village via the path from the north. A far more lengthy and dangerous proposition, adding four miles to the hike, and many teetering scrambles upon the very lip of the sea, it is nonetheless far preferable to any local than passing anywhere near to the deeply troubling thing on the south coast trail.

 

Another writer from the area wrote of his experience passing the haunting fossil in near darkness during the midsummer of 1941. His name was Morrice Gumbolt. Here is his account:

 

"I was twelve, going on thirteen in the June of 1941, and I had walked to the supply store in the village of Ride after School to collect some fresh apples, potatoes, carrots and parsnips for my mother. It was nearly 8:00pm by the time I arrived.

 

As I was leaving the store, an old farmer passed me in his land rover, pausing and rolling down his window. He was a drinking acquaintance of my father. A rollicking scoundrel of the "...Boon". He said he'd be happy to drive me south as close to Spiralstair as he could get by the road. Of course, he just drove that little bit too far south, and as I shook his hand gratefully, and wished him well, I realised that I was going to have to follow the south trail home, and as it was nearing 9pm, by the time I was halfway, it would be almost dark.

 

I swallowed my fear, and summoned-up a serious pace, making good time.

 

As I rounded a coastal gulch, the path, all goat hoof prints and adder skins, petered out, and there the fossilized travesty lay, cowled and horribly ancient, like a monumental dirty protest, shat and slung against the textured span of the lava bluff.

 

There was something different about the accursed place that night, and presently a sudden sound stopped me in my tracks. It was a whistling sneer, repetitious like a bird's call, yet husky and somehow both soft and violent. It certainly sounded like an animal, and as I came to the flat area of stone causeway closest to the horror on the shore, I saw it.

 

It appeared to be a hugely inflated, barrel-shaped creature, on four spindly dog-legs, facing seawards, away from my direction. Mousy-furred, and maintaining a contemplative stance. Clearly it was what was making that hideous sound. I had to see the head, and no matter how I approached, it would not heed the noise, and in fear take fright and turn.

 

I wished I had left well alone. The head was what remained of what had once surely been human, cloaked and sunken in folds of greyish flab and fur. Hidden from behind. A girl's head, both eyes locked on me in idiot glee, but the seemingly unrelated body did not follow suit. In its mouth rolling on a wide indigo tongue, and sticking on fragmentary teeth, was a dainty human finger. I realised quickly, that it was likely her own.

 

The sound fell from the mouth, a note of dismay, voiced by a face wearing false cheer. As the wormy intestinal tendrils rose from the unrolling barrel body, raw as a skinned seal. Reaching for me tenderly.

 

I had not even time to consider the fearful fossil only a few feet away, but I did wonder there and then if perhaps there was not some relation between the two. It seemed a wholly natural assumption. This horror, and that impression of such on the cliff.

 

I did not ponder long. Instead, for the next 90 minutes or so I ran for what I thought was my life, with all my spirit and might, until I could see the gentle candlelight of home.

 

Yet for the remainder of that night I pondered, and indeed, my writing of this very account should be purely indicative of my perpetually unsatisfactory conclusion."

 

Morrice Gumbolt circa. 1999.

 

The curious rock formation that gave Spiralstair its name, lies closer to the town than many local folks care to admit. Yes, just like a series of interwoven spiral staircases, coiling around the black rock 200 feet above the hypnotically swerving wavelets. It attracts the curious hungrily, to inject their nervy boot heels into the first four steps, and then further to fall, as the incline becomes precipitous. It rarely fails, and is best avoided, wholly forth.

 

Of course, as I note with my laughter ringing high in the foaming eaves. There are other impressions of the old familiar chaos hidden yet rampant at Spiralstair. Never find them.