Right in front of me was a blinking red hill.

StoryKettle » Amy » hilly

Copyright © 2016, Michael M Wayman

It was where reality was ripped, there was a hole, it was not torn, more like an opened seam. The place was on the riverbank in Bigtown where dragon boat races start in the summer, Amy called it the transit point.

Amy and I often walked along the river, very pleasant. I liked to put my hand into the hole and pull something out. “What's this, Amy?”

“It's a hillator.” She stared heavily at it and it slowly changed into a smart phone. “It's a basic tool for landscaping, it makes hills and mountains.”

“No, no. It's still a hillator, I've just disguised it a bit.”

The next day I decided to try it out near the river where it's flat. Amy told me to do A, then B and finally C. I held out the hillator and did what Amy had told me to do.

Nothing happened. I looked at Amy and she laughed.

“What did I tell you to do? A and B and C. And what did you do? A and Q and half of C.”

I was disappointed. I turned to go. But no, right in front of me was a blinking red hill. “Why is it blinking?”

“Because you haven't finished it, it needs a finish. Look at the list bottom right.”

“Slag heap – no.”

“Iceberg – no.”

“Green grass with sheep – yes.”

Later a farmer appeared on the local TV station:

“It wasn't there last week, all very strange. The sheep are OK, though I've never had sheep before. It's too wet for sheep here close to the river, they'd get foot rot. But the hill is well drained.”

“Yes, I could have been happy with the hill and the sheep. But no, along came the people. An idiot from the local council examined it and said that I had no planning permission and that I would have to dismantle the hill. An official from the Ministry of Agriculture said that I had not applied for a change of use and that I must swap the sheep for cows.”

“A telephone company wanted to erect a radio antenna on the top. Bikers wanted to ride up and down the hill and others want to ski down it in winter. And everyone and his dog want to climb to the top of the hill and annoy the sheep.”

“Luckily there's a big fence around the hill.”

“You're a geologist from the University of Bigtown and you have examined our new hill. What do you think of it?”

“It's a fake. It's not on any map I know of. This area is a river flood plain and is as flat as a pancake – not a place for a hill. I've taken samples and examined them, mostly rock. However I can't identify what sort of rock it is. Very odd.”

“Is it volcanic, pushed up from below.”

“No, it's not that sort of rock. There's been no earthquakes in this area for months. The hill is sitting on sand and is slowly sinking into it – a few centimetres every hundred years. It's as if someone had bought a Build‑Yourself‑A‑Hill kit from a DIY store. I'm not a zoologist, but the sheep look all the same, they have been cloned. All very strange.”

“Look at this Amy. It's a map of the centre of our capital city. I've put a red cross at every major road junction in a kilometre ring around the centre. And another red cross here at the centre, where the Parliament Square is. I want to put a hill at every red cross. What do you think, Amy?”

“I think that you are stupid, reasonably stupid. And that is why I like you, Jimmie. What about early Sunday morning?”

We took the first train on Sunday and saw the dawn. At the first junction Amy snatched the hillator way from me. “It'll be quicker and safer when I do it.” She stared heavily at the traffic lights controller – all the lights changed to red for ever.

Amy waited for the junction area to empty and then: Presto. A ten metre high mini-hill blocking the junction. “You forgot the sheep.” “No, stupid, there's not enough grass on this small hill to feed even one sheep.” The motorists were not happy, all very strange.

We walked to the next junction, another hill. Two hours and ten mini-hills later we found ourselves in the Parliament Square. It's a huge open space with a lovely cathedral on one side and a very ugly 50s Houses of Parliament on the other side.

“OK, one big hill with grass and sheep coming up.”

The government hated it, they ordered in the army to blow up the hills. The army said no, not a good idea in the middle of a city. The city council wanted to smash the hills to pieces with pneumatic drills, however they had no money to do that.

Everybody else loved it, the city was quieter, cleaner and more interesting to look at. Even better, the large hill in the Parliament Square did not like the Houses of Parliament and was growing into it.

“I really got involved in the stupidity this time, didn't I, Jimmie?”