Beginning with the warehouses. Which looked medieval, you said. Fieldstone
and rough mortar. Like something in France, you said. What sort of
something, I asked. You know, things, buildings, you said. Barns. But larger.
In the curve of the river, you said. What river, I asked. You unrolled an aerial
photograph and pointed. Here, you said. And I could see the river in the
photograph. It was dark blue, almost black. And I could see what you said
were the oblong outlines of what had been the warehouses. But standing in the
middle of what had been one of the warehouses I could not see the actual river.
Listen, you said. I listened. That’s the river, you said. But I couldn’t hear
anything I hadn’t heard before. Whine of insects. Distant combustion. Tick
of your watch. Which is more medieval, you said. What, I asked. The sound
the river makes or the look of the foundations. I peered more closely at the
foundations. I didn’t say anything. I still held the chisel in my left hand.