The pebbles crunched beneath her feet. She was walking below the dunes, close to the sea’s edge. Seaweed lay around, flung into position by the advancing waves. Over towards the horizon she could see the revolving arms of the wind farm, back towards the village of Cley were the marshes and a couple of birdwatchers, intently photographing what looked to her eyes like a very unremarkable flock of tiny brown birds.
It was cold and the sky was a steely grey, a North wind whipped past her from the ocean, lashing up fierce-looking surf. She had prepared herself for cold weather and was wearing a cable knit sweater and a navy blue quilted jacket – sturdy and practical. Now she felt a wave of warmth sweep up her body and little prickles of perspiration started under her arms. She ripped open the jacket, enjoying the cool sensation of the air on her flushed face and neck.
She looked down for a moment, always on the hunt for interesting stones or sea glass. One had a hole in it, so she picked it up: a hagstone. A stone you could look through, and perhaps see another world. Or that could protect you from curses and bad magic. She put it up to her eye and squinted; there were the marshes and village beyond, the church and the old windmill. Her world now.