‘I’m sorry,’ Bowie said.
‘Happens all the time.’
Silence settled uncomfortably between them. Sisyphus dusted off his hands on his loincloth. Bowie remained focussed on the boulder, sitting on the mountain top, his knees pulled up to his chest, hands in the pockets of his greatcoat.
‘You’re frozen in space?’ he enquired eventually, still not looking directly at Sisyphus, but gazing into the far distance.
‘Who are you?’ Sisyphus asked.
‘Do you grow old?’
‘I can’t tell,’ Sisyphus replied, ‘I don’t feel different.’
‘Do the season’s change?’
‘Sometimes it rains,’ Sisyphus answered after a pause for thought.
‘Frozen in space but time flexes,’ Bowie nodded.
‘I don’t understand you,’ Sisyphus said.
Bowie turned himself to face him.
‘I can’t trace time.’
‘Mainly it’s hot and dry,’ Sisyphus said, ‘like today.’
‘And are you happy?’
‘I don’t understand you,’ Sisyphus said again. ‘I have to get back to work.’
‘It must keep you fit, at least,’ Bowie observed with a sudden gay smile that exposed his teeth but didn’t reach the mis-matched jewels of his eyes. A whispering breeze ruffled his curtained copper-red hair.
‘You look fit.’
‘Tired,’ Sisyphus said, hanging his shaggy head.
‘Sit a while.’ Bowie patted the ground beside him.
‘But I must…’ Sisyphus began, looking around anxiously.
‘Oh come on, ‘Bowie cut him off, smiling seductively, his eyes both sparkling now, ‘what’s punishment without a little time to reflect upon it?’
‘Just for a moment then,’ Sisyphus conceded, moving to sit beside Bowie but not too close, leaving a man-sized space between them.
For a minute they just sat, not looking at each other but down the mountain, their eyes inexorably drawn to where the boulder awaited. High in a pale sky the sun shone stark upon them. The air was warm and bone dry, meeting the land as equal. Fuelled by the heat, the silence between the seated figures built, crackling with an electric tension that sparked and flared, invisible. The muscles in Sisyphus’ face twitched. Although Bowie seemed relaxed, when he broke the silence his voice had a brittle edge.
‘I don’t think we have much time.’
If you want to know what happens next, contact me and I'll send you the story. There's even a dragon in it. Well, sort of...