Board 9, Story 3
Idle had licked the skin of the lizard Tiku had brought her. She wasn’t expecting a rainbow and a leprechaun but is glad to have found the treasure at the end of it. She already has ideas to revamp the Inn.
POP-IN THREAD (Maeve, Lucinda, Shawn-Paul, Jerk, [Granola])
Maeve and Shawn-Paul are travelling separately to the Australian bush, and end up together at the Flying Fish Inn where they discover they’ve been given the same coupons. Maeve is suspicious of a mysterious man following her.
Maeve has an exchange with Arona, and sketches her and the cat for her collection of ideas for new dolls. They discover that Arona has the key from her doll.
Little is said of what happened after Maeve’s Uncle Fergus appears in dramatic fashion.
After the collective black-out, all bets are off as to the next steps.
FLYING FISH INN THREAD (Mater/Finly, Idle/Coriander/Clove, Devan, Prune, [Tiku])
Fergus has mysteriously disappeared after the black-out.
DOLINE THREAD (Arona, Sanso/Lottie, Ugo, Albie)
Arona, Ugo, Albie and Mandrake have left the Australian Inn, after a dramatic chase by unknown assailants, possibly the magpies sent by the Doctor. They reappear in the Doline, in Leörmn’s pool, having managed to get the magpies off their trail.
NEWSREEL THREAD (Ms Bossy, Hilda/Connie, Sophie, Ricardo)
The Doctor has managed a psychic event of dramatic proportions. He’s noticed a glowing red crystal that seems to have interfered with his machine. He’s starting to study it, and unravel its secrets.
Sharon, Gloria and Mavis, the dynamic trio is planning their escape from the nursing home. The psychic blast seems to have alerted Gloria somehow as to the fate of Granola (B), as she somehow guess it’s linked to the Doctor’s experiments (beauty treatments). They plan to go there to investigate (after a fashion).
LIZ THREAD (Finnley, Liz, Roberto, Godfrey)
DRAGON 💚 WOOD THREAD (Glynnis, Eleri, Fox/Gorrash, Rukshan)prUneParticipant
That was a first. I had no idea what just happened. And believe me, this girl has seen some serious hanky-panky going ‘round here. Starting with Aunt Idle and her hustling and lascivious seducing of the Middle Eastern pirate cosplayer we had as guest.
But of course, that was nothing compared to how glamorous Mater looked in her red gabardine.
Anyway, something odd happened, like everyone was zapped in a torpor after the Fergus guy arrived. We were all expecting a sort of big reveal, and he did drop some incoherent clues, nothing truly worth the wait sorry to say, so we all went upstairs to sleep.
Blame it on the spiced lizard meat maybe, but I can’t figure what happened after that until I woke up. Everyone this morning was playing it by ear, as if everything was normal. But people are missing. Fergus and his motorbike, and the scarf girl with the young boy and their cat. Maybe others, I’ve lost count, and I’m done putting sticky notes for Idle (funny she insists being called that by the way… Maybe a side-effect of her medications).
There was an Italian corvette parked outside, all black & white. It arrived during the night, it woke me up when it arrived, but I went back to sleep I think. I wonder if those are new tourist guests. The Canadian guests were a bit in alarm, especially after the Fergus reveals.
Mater would tell me, “there is no cause for worry dear, mark my words, in an hour or less, it will all settle back down to the usual deadly boring as usual business.”
I think that planned family time was a bit too much anyway. Or too little. Devan hardly spent an hour with us, he’s too obsessed with his lost treasure conspiracies. He’ll be doing great with Dodo and her friends from the journal. I think they all enlisted Bert for a trip to the mines by the way. For all the good it’ll do everyone to try to unearth old secrets. Might give Mater a serious heart attack, for real this time.
As for me, I’ve had enough. I’m packing my bags and leaving with the first bus back to the Academy. There’s a mission to Mars to conquer.
The loud throbbing of a Harley Davidson interrupted the unexpected revelation moment.
A few seconds later, the door banged open and a man with a long moustache, thick eyebrows and a rather bushy hair entered the Inn.
Devan didn’t know the name of the man, but he did manage to infuse his wide open mouth with an interrogation.
The fact that Mater was the first person to pronounce the name of the man didn’t escape Prune’s shrewd mind.
“How do you know him?” she asked Mater who blushed and used another puff of dust to cough and avoid the question.
But one surprised all the others, even Fergus.
“My long lost brother!” said Sanso. He moved forward and hugged the newly arrived man. Truth be told, there was some ressemblance between the two of them.
Mandrake was looking at Ugo who seemed rather focused on the scene. Something was off, he could feel it. He should warn Arona, but the darn lizard never left her side, or her hair. It was pretty annoying since she would not brush his fur very often now, and he certainly needed some refreshing with all the knots caused by the dryness of the climate.FloveParticipant
“Welcome, Everyone!” said Mater. She had entered unnoticed and was standing in the doorway regarding the assembled group and looking rather more lewd than welcoming. She had worn a pantsuit for the occasion, a relic from the 70’s made of red garbardine. Fortunately, the forgiving nature of garbardine added a little stretch, but even so the cloth clung rather too tightly to Mater’s curves.
“Oh, lord love ya! “ said Finly. “Look at you! You’ve not dusted that pantsuit off since you got it out of the chest, have you!” She hit Mater with her duster and a cloud of dust enveloped her.
“Way to go, Mater!” said Devan.
“What are you doing, crazy old woman?” shrieked Dodo. Unfortunately her mouth was full of bread roll and it sounded more like, “Woowawuooingwazyolewoom?”
“She’s aboriginal?” asked Sanso looking at Dodo with interest.
Prune snorted. “We aren’t quite sure where she is from but she is an interesting specimen.”
“I expect she is rip snorting drunk again,” said Mater after the dust had subsided. “Anyway, I just want to say it is a pleasure to have you all here. I hope you are finding enough to eat. If you need anything, Bert here is your man.”
“Thanks ever so much,” said Arona, smiling charmingly and gently wiping the lizard with her paper table napkin before popping it back under her turban.
Bert grunted and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “We aren’t used to this many folk staying at one time,” he said. “But yeah, welcome all. So, what are you all here for?”
“It’s to do with a doll, actually,” said Maeve. Shawn Paul looked at her, impressed with her boldness.
“A key,” said Arona, waving the key in the air.
Mater stumbled and reached out to the door frame for support.
“Bloody hell,” said Bert.
POP-IN THREAD (Maeve, Lucinda, Shawn-Paul, Jerk, [Granola])
Granola is popping in and out of the stories, exploring interacting more physically with her friends through Tiku, a bush lady focus of hers.
Luckily (not so coincidentally) Maeve and Shawn-Paul were given coupons to travel from their rural Canada town to the middle of Australia. Maeve is suspicious of being followed by a strange man, and tags along with Shawn-Paul to keep a cover of a young couple. Maeve is trying to find the key to the doll that she made in her secret mission for Uncle Fergus, which has suddenly reappeared at her friend Lucinda’s place. She’ll probably is going to have to check on the other dolls that she made as well.
Jerk continues to administrate some forum where among other things, special dolls are found and exchanged, and he moderates some strange messages.
Lucinda is enjoying Fabio’s company, Maeve’s dog, that she has in her care while Maeve is travelling.
FLYING FISH INN THREAD (Mater/Finly, Idle/Coriander/Clove, Devan, Prune, [Tiku])
The mysteries of the Flying Fish Inn seem to unravel slowly, like Idle’s wits.
Long time family member are being drawn inexplicably, such as Prune and brother Devan. The local bush lady Tiku is helping Finly with the catering, although Finly would rather do everything by herself. The totemic Fish was revealed to be a talisman placed here against bad luck – “for all the good it did” (Mater).
Bert, thought to be an old flame of Mater, who’s acted for the longest time as gardener, handyman and the likes, is revealed to be the father of Prune, Devan, Coriander and Clove’s mother. Mater knew of course and kept him around. He was trained in codes during his time with the military, and has a stash of potentially dangerous books. He may be the key to the mystery of the underground tunnels leading to the mines, and hidden chests of gold. Devan is onto a mystery that a guy on a motorbike (thought to be Uncle Fergus of Maeve’s story) told him about.
DOLINE THREAD (Arona, Sanso/Lottie, Ugo, Albie)
Mandrake & Albie after a trip in the bayou, and looking for the dragon Leormn’s pearls and the sabulmantium, have finally found Arona after they have emerged from the interdimentional water network from the Doline, to the coast of Australia in our reality, where cats don’t usually talk.
Albie is expecting a quest, while the others are just following Arona’s lead, as she is in possession of a mysterious key with 3 words engraved.
After some traveling in hot air balloon, and with a local jeep, they have arrived at a local Inn in the bush, with a rather peculiar family of owners, and quite colorful roster of guests. That’s not even counting the all-you-can-eat lizard meat buffet. What joy.
NEWSREEL THREAD (Ms Bossy, Hilda/Connie, Sophie, Ricardo)
Ms Bossy is looking to uncover the Doctor’s surely nefarious plans while her newspaper business isn’t doing so well. She’s got some help from Ricardo the intern. They have found out that the elderly temp worker who’s fascinated by the future, Sophie (aka Sweet Sophie) had been the first subject of the Doctor’s experiments. Sophie has been trying to uncover clues in the dreams, but it’s just likely she is still a sleeper agent of the Doctor.
Despite all common sense and SMS threats, Hilda & Connie have gone in Australia to chase a trail (from a flimsy tip-off from Superjerk that may have gone to Lucinda to her friend journalist). They are in touch with Lucinda, and post their updates on social media, flirting with the risk of being uncovered and having trouble come at their door.
Sha, Glo and Mavis are considering reaching out for a vacation of the nursing home to get new free beauty treatments.
In his secret lair, the Doctor is reviving his team of brazen teafing operatives: the magpies.
LIZ THREAD (Finnley, Liz, Roberto, Godfrey)
Not much happened as usual, mostly an entertaining night with Inspector Melon who is quizzing Liz’ about her last novel about mysterious messages hidden in dolls with secret keys, which may be her best novel yet…
DRAGON 💚 WOOD THREAD (Glynnis, Eleri, Fox/Gorrash, Rukshan)
Before Rukshan goes to the underworld land of Giants, he’s going to the cottage to gather some of his team of friends, Fox, Ollie etc. Glynis is taking care of Tak during Margoritt’s winter time in the city. Margoritt’s sister, Muriel is an uninvited and unpleasant guest at the cottage.
Tak is making friends with a young girl who may have special powers (Nesy).
The biggest mystery now is… is the loo going to get fixed in time?DevanParticipant
I have never seen so many guests at once at the Inn. Even old Bert is ferreting around, I’ve seen him many times near the shed or near the garage door. Mater knows about it of course. I’ve seen her looking at him from the corner of her eyes. I wonder if she knows about the hidden gold. I’m sure Bert knows, and that’s why he’s always been lurking around when we were kids.
Mater, she hadn’t said anything when I came back and took my old room as if I never left. She just grunted and gave me some work to do.
“It’s not good to stay idle all the time,” she had said, making me chuckle as I saw aunt Idle sneaking out to take care of her weed plot in the back yard. As if Mater didn’t know about it. I know she tried to chew some when Idle was in India and she didn’t like the taste of the raw plant, so I had showed her how to smoke it. After the coughing spell had passed, she had seemed to enjoy the experience then, but I don’t know if she had ever used some again afterward. She’s as stern as she used to be. But I like her that way. She’s the spine of the Flying Fish Inn. I’m not sure Idle could manage it all, especially I doubt Finly would stay more than a few days if Idle was the manager here.
Although, I’m suspecting Finly to sell weeds to the guests. She’s been acting weird and I’ve come upon her and Idle arguing in the kitchen upon a loafed bush lizard. Dido was accusing Finly of stealing her last crop and Finley… Well, I don’t really care about what they do.
I’ll just have to find some quiet time to go inspect the cellar. If what the man on the Harley had told me is true, I want to find the tunnels below the Inn.
“Could you pass me the butter?” asked a strange fellow seated on Shawn Paul’s left. The man was odd, a bit looking like Captain Sparrow with his black jabot lavaliere shirt and golden earrings.
Shawn Paul felt awkward, the kind of awkwardness cultivated for many years with shyness and fear of social interactions. No wonder I wanted to be a writer, he thought. Nonetheless he handed the butter to the stranger. Could he be daring for a change and talk like his grandma always pushed him to do? The best remedy to shyness is to talk. Start by saying your name Shasha!
“My name is Shawn Paul,” he said, feeling the heat rise to his face. He gulped, unsure of what to do next. Should he talk about the morning weather?
“My name is Sanso,” said the man. “At your service,” he added waving his puffy sleeves. “Have you read the last article on _whateveralready_?
The cat behind them snorted. Shawn Paul looked at it. It looked grumpy and ready to talk.
“Don’t send Mandrake any food,” said one of the other guests, a woman wearing an indian looking outfit with a scarf hiding her hair. Something moved under the head scarf and a strand of red hair ventured timidly outside, soon followed by a lizard’s head. The woman pushed it back under her hood and emitted a disgusted grunt when she saw the meat dish brought by the maid.
“I’m not a maid,” muttered Finly to whomever could hear/read her, or to the writer. “It’s good liz… chicken,” she said. No need for the long faces.”
“But it’s dead, dear,” said the woman with the veil.
“The Godfrey silently prayed under the third moon,” was saying Sanso who didn’t seem to mind that Shawn Paul was not listening to him. “And he entered late inside the lake wearing a funny blue toge. Sanso realised Finly was looking at him her mouth reduced to a tight line. “And I followed with opened hope,” he finished before gulping a spoonful of butter.
“Do you happen to have a lock in your bedroom?” asked Sanso. The woman in the scarf looked at him with dark eyes. The lizard, seizing the opportunity to be free, jumped from under her scarf and landed into the gaspacho, splashing all the guests with a bit of red.prUneParticipant
It all started to feel insanely crowded and agitated in the Inn, it took me a while to check whether I was tripping on some illegal substance.
Truth was, the funny chicken was doing alright until Finly and Idle came back in a hurry, tried to make me puke and feed me charcoals, as if I’d been poisoned or something.
I overheard Aunt Dodo when she shouted at poor Finly “why would you put my stash with the lizard leftovers! It’s me-di-cine you old cow, not some bloody herb seasoning!”
Finly looked indignant, but she knew better than to argue. Besides, I’m sure her face was speaking volumes, something in the tune of “with the bloody mess of your stuff all over the place, why do you think?” Sure, there was some other profanities hidden in the wrinkles of her sweet face, but she would leave that to Mater to spell them out.
Anyways, I just maybe feeling juuust a little funny, but with years of bush food regimen behind me, my liver is surely strong as an ox and pumping all the stuff out of my system like a workhorse.
So, yeah, I was maybe tripping a little. So many new people came in at the same time, it felt like a flashmob. They were probably real and not just hallucinations, since Dido dashed out to greet some of them.
I went upstairs and spied on them from there. I’m making also a list, mostly for Aunt Dodo, because if her heart is in the right place, her brain probably isn’t (or it’s a tight one).
So there, I wrote on a yellow sticky note:
Dido, if you're paying attention, here are the guests at this moment: - Not counting PRUNE, and DEVAN who just texted me he's coming!! - A jeep-full of loonies: A GIRL with red and white track pants and a hijjab, a black CAT and a GECKO (wait, you can forget about the gecko), a weirdo GUY in a fancy ruffle shirt and a little redhair BOY. TIKU is here too, helping FINLY in the kitchen. - Your old friend HILDA, and her colleague CONNIE - Two townfolks Canadian tourists who argue like an old couple, but I don't think they are, MAYV(?) and SANPELL(?) (sorry, couldn't catch their names with their funny accent)
I guess breakfast is going to be lively tomorrow…
The old secrets are going to get me in the end. But you know what, it’s still better than choking on the goddamn lizard’s stew.
I tried to protect the family from all the bloody secrets, but they’re working against me, Dodo for one, who doesn’t like secrets, the sweet twat. Time is against me too.
Of course I didn’t want to sell the Inn, even if it wasn’t for what’s hidden there, and all the secret entrances to the old mines, it was still Abby’s legacy. Her mother had to endure that sorry abusive husband of hers for years, it’s only fair she got something in return. The bastard didn’t know it, but the best thing in his life, his daughter Abscynthia wasn’t even his, she was mine. In the end, I’m glad she buggered off this town, her so-called “disparition” that made everyone run in circles for months. For her own sake, wherever she is now, she was better off.
Only probably Mater knows now about our crazy ties, and she’ll take this secret to her grave I’m sure. But I still want to take care of my grand children, the little buggers. Even had founded that smartass Prune for her dreams of university. Good for her.
All those sudden booking at the Inn? Don’t trust ‘em. Be here for the spiritual voodoo is one thing, but me, can’t fool me with that. The package, it never arrived. I’m sure it’s no coincidence, they’re onto us.
And they’re here for one thing.
The chests of gold.TikuParticipant
I could smell trouble as soon as I entered. And it was not because of the lizards, i can tell ya. Lizards, once roasted, they smell delicious. They taste good too, a blend of chicken and fish, is what they say. But don’t get me started on food.
It smelled trouble for sure. There was a convergence happening, something dark and twisted over the place. At times, I feel strange, like the Dreamtime speaking through me.
The lady didn’t come down to greet me, of course, bad hip and all, at her age. Their maid, Finly took the offering by the tails with a painful look, I almost regretted bringing them. Maybe she’d have liked roasted gator’s paw better.
“I think it all comes from your bathroom.” I said almost without thinking.
“What about the bathroom?” snapped the Finly, with pride and outrage on her sweet wizened face.
“There is some bad juju there, the Fish was a talisman to protect you from the evil eye here, but it has worn off, and your family ties… won’t do no, not strong enough, no. Evil seeps in, not good, not good at all.”
At times, I like to make a ton and play the local madwoman, it helps seal deals, you have no ideas. But truth is, something’s amiss in that bathroom. It’s in serious need of magical help.TikuParticipant
“Oy! I did it! I’m here!” I laughed and laughed like I was mad, I couldn’t stop for words, too happy to be there I felt like cryin’ over the fire.
Two fat bungarras roasting here, clubbed hard to be tender, a good hunt for the day.
I don’t know what got into me, but I jumped on me feet, and told the other girls
“They roasted good and crisp. Now I want to take these bungarras to the old lady and her family in the inn. Their old chap was always good to us, and I think they don’t eat lots of meat these days.”
The others looked at me strange, but they let me take the lizards. And I went, not knowing how or why, but happy to be on the dusty road, on my way to the local Inn.
Accounts of the Journey to the Lower Realm
I was at a steppe first, like I was meditating in the desert, then went through a forest entrance, and stayed under a tree. There were lots of sounds and animals life, flapping wings sounds, deers, ants, but the most vivid presence was that of snake, and I was a bit suspicious, but it came back very gently, inviting, and after I recognized it, it made me journey, travelling like a dragon or feathered multicolored snake to an ancient place.
The snake analogy with shedding old skin comes to mind, after accepting it, it makes a lot of sense.
I saw green and purple at times.
I felt a horse too but it was just a hooves’ sound.
I went through the entrance to a cave. I asked my power animal to come. An ancient tortoise came up to me. I asked if this was my power animal but i felt such love for the tortoise that i felt that was my answer. We explored energetically what the tortoise wisdom i need is. I put my hand around the tortoise neck and we swam in the water.
I wanted to cry, I loved the tortoise energy so much. And the protection of the tortoise shell.
I saw a snake.
The horse was the first animal I felt, right as I went in the entrance. I stroked the horse as i went by.
I saw a unicorn too, [and ]was surprised by the unicorn.
I didn’t sense many creatures. just the horse, the snake and the unicorn.
First I saw little white skulls, whistling like the shells of the guy in the video.
Then I become my shaman self and I have my magic cape. I find the entrance [to the lower realm,] which was kind of difficult at first as if there was some distracting energy.
I finally enter the lower realm and find my horse right away, he’s very excited and I ride with him for some time, just for the pleasure of being with an old friend.
Then I ask him to lead me to Abalone and show me whatever is interesting.
He leads me to see an old shaman, man or woman I don’t know.
The shaman makes me sit in his room and offers me tea, then tells me to relax and wait.
So I relax and I begin to project to Abalone as the Giant beanstalk, I begin to grow and grow and grow and have the city built on top of me. I am the whole island.
I have the impression that the beanstalk is in the center of Gazalbion or very close to it
Then I come back to the place and have the impression the Shaman wants to delay me, so I say thanks and ask my horse to show me the rest.
We go the the old Temple and I feel that there is something special there, once again he tells me to relax and just allow not look for things.
So I wait and feel that the time and space is weird that it flows around the stones in a particular way, like when you follow a certain path or corridor, you may go forward in time and another way lead you back in time. If you take a wrong turn you can end up in a loop.
Then the signal for the return begins, so I go back from where I come from and thank my horse.
It was cool and fun to be there again.
I projected at some point to check if everyone was ok, and felt like it was fine.
I saw a unicorn too.
That was interesting, about half way through a zebra started follwing me, well on my right. I saw all kinds of animals, but they were all doing their own thing or turned away, except for the zebra, until the change of tempo and then I was swept up in a flock of cranes I think (or herons or storks but I think cranes), but then the zebra was waiting at the top. I could feel his warm muzzle sort of on my right shoulder.
First was a field full of unicorns on the left but they were just grazing, then a bison head who turned away, then the group of deer I thought, but the zebra walked over to me grazing. Me and the zebra waited for goats to cross our path.
The feeling of being in amongst the cranes was amazing and the zebra fell back while that was happening, but then at the end he was waiting.
I was surprised by the unicorns cos I don’t even think about them usually.
There were lizards sucttlign around under the cranes.
A couple of times I strongly saw purple and green, and thought of Jib.<i> not really ask [the zebra if he was the power animal] in words, but his presence calmly walking beside me with the feeling of his muzzle on my shoulder was comforting.
When the cranes distracted me from him he fell back, but he was waiting at the top.
The cranes feeling was marvelous, really, they were all flapping gracefully all around me on the ascent. So cranes and zebra stand out the most.
[At some point] I started going down old stone steps, at first me and FP were kids holding hands, with jib and eric behind us, then I thought, wait, I’m supposed to be doing this alone.
The unicorns in the very beginning were in a castle courtyard type place but they ignored me.
Then a bison head who turned away these were in niches in the stone walls
I ended up in a stalactites type cave, but there were mostly old old stone steps with stone walls along the sides.
There was a crowd of people, well a small gathering, towards the bottom, but they were, er, faceless. Innocuous.
I am quite amazed at how great that was! and how many creatures actually popped up
and how the feeling was of the zebra and the cranes.
The zebra was stoic and steadfast and comforting, the cranes were exhilarating and uplifting.</i>TracyParticipant
“Dory, there’s no asparagus, can we go and buy some?”
“Asparagus? Whatever for?” replied a frantic looking Dory, almost hidden behind arms full of pillows and quilts.
“For Will Tarkin, Mac said he likes asparagus” young Becky replied.
“Who the bloody hell is Will Tarkin? I’ve got enough to cope with trying to get ready for Granny Hill!” Dory sounded uncharacteristically flustered and impatient, and Becky recoiled slightly from the sparky energy.
“Will bloody Tarkin is getting a bit too big for his boots!” snapped Dory. “He’ll be wanting caviar next! I’ve got a time travelling mouse camped up behind my microwave, and Granny Hill’s frightened to death of mice; the room she was going to stay in is full of baby geckos, and you know how scared she is of lizards, not to mention the dead rat that was outside a moment ago, appearing from nowhere, and now I’m trying to get Peppy’s house across the road ready so Granny Hill can stay there instead, and none of the bedding has been washed and it’s still raining, and now you want me to take you shopping for asparagus for a MOUSE! And not only that, there are dead rhino beetles all up Peppy’s driveway, I can’t imagine why, and I’d be willing to bet that Granny Hill is afraid of rhino beetles too, so I suppose I’ll have to sweep up rhino beetles today too, as if I haven’t got enough to do cleaning up dead rats and baby geckos. Granny Hill is afraid of gas heaters too, so I’ll have to take an electric one over to Peppy’s”
“Granny Hill sure is afraid of a lot of things, Dory. Why is she scared of everything?”
“Good question, sweetheart” replied Dory, relaxing her energy as she brought her attention back to the moment. “She’s one of the old ones, from the Victim Mentality Days and the Age of Medical Suggestibility. They’re always afraid of everything, and Granny Hill’s a good example. Afraid of her money in case she can’t keep control of it, afraid of her car for the same reason, afraid of the food she eats in case it contains hidden poisons and afraid of the hospitals in case they’re dirty and dangerous. She’s afraid of strangers in case they have knives and stab her, even though in all her life she’s never seen a person threaten anyone with a knife, she’s even afraid of people in other countries, just in case they come and drop a bomb on her.”
“She must enjoy being scared, then, mustn’t she?” asked Becky. “Otherwise she wouldn’t do it. Doesn’t she realize she’s creating her reality herself?”
“Well, that was the trouble in the old days, honey, they didn’t know that back then. There’s a lot of people who still don’t know it now”
“Wow, really?” Becky said incredulously. “That must be weirdo!”
Dory had to laugh. “Believe it or not, neither did I for years. I keep forgetting it even now! Some of us used to say things like ‘think positive’ which wasn’t far off the mark, or ‘behind every cloud is a silver lining’, or ‘this too will pass’, that was always a good one for when you felt like it was all out of control. Alot of people prayed to gods too, thinking that their life was in the hands of the gods. I never knew much about praying myself though, we didn’t do that in our family, but it was very popular.”
“Maybe they were asking their own essence to help, that would make sense” replied Becky astutely. “Praying probably helped.”
“Yeah it probably did but there was alot of baggage that went along with praying, it wasn’t something you could do on your own in your own way, you had to go to a certain building to do it, and say certain words, even wear certain clothes and eat certain things. It was all very complicated, didn’t really work out in the end. The funny thing was, they were always fighting with people who prayed differently in different special buildings and who ate different special things and wore different special clothes, it was bizarre really.”
“Who is Granny Hill anyway, and why is she coming to stay?” Becky was bored with the way the conversation was going, and curious about Granny Hill who came to stay every so often, and always seemed to rattle Dory. “Whose granny is she?”FloveParticipant
About time you woke up, came a familiar grumpy voice from behind a pile of logs. Mandrake emerged. And I don’t have fur balls, he added, haughtily.
Mandrake, thank God! Arona had been a little concerned that , given the amount of time presumably had passed, Mandrake may no longer be with them. Tactfully she kept this to herself, given Mandrake’s especially truculent mood.
Please tell me what happened now, she said to Vincentius. I think I am ready to hear.
Vincentius looked uncertain, sighed , but agreed to tell her the tale. Afterwards, Arona was silent for quite some time. She stared thoughtfully at the fire, mesmerised by the dancing flames, gently stroking Mandrakes silky black coat.
Oh bugger, she said eventually and stood up decisively. I really think I have to go and see that old lizardy croney woman, and without delay.
I wish you wouldn’t, but I do understand, said Vincentius sadly.
I don’t understand, said Mandrake crossly, twitching his tail impatiently and narrowing his green eyes
Thank you so much for caring for him, she said to Vincentius and gave him a huge hug.
On the way out of the cave she ran into Leormn.
Oh, she said, Vincentius said you allowed us to use the room. Thank you so much. And she kissed Leormn on what she thought would be his cheek, however, a little unsure of Dragon anatomy, it may have been technically a snout or something.
Arona walked rapidly for several hours, trying to concentrate on the directions given to her by Vincentius and hoping that she was headed in the right direction. Eventually she started to tire and her determination faded. She sat down on a rock and closed her eyes. Her shoulders slumped in weariness and she despondently wished she was back in the cave with the others. She felt deeply sad.
And is this something you really must face? asked a kindly voice in her head.
I have no idea really, she answered despairingly. I don’t know. I mean I thought I knew. I thought if I didn’t then I would always be in fear. When I looked into the flames of the fire it all seemed clear. I needed to understand and face it, I thought anyway….
hmmm, said the voice. Well the best advice I can give you is to trust yourself.
Arona opened her eyes and saw, to her surprise, a small cottage in the distance. Why, I don’t remember that cottage being there a moment ago, she thought. It looks just as Vincentius described. How remarkable. I was closer than I thought! Her spirits rose.
Outside the cottage the old crone was bent over, digging in a small vegetable plot. A basket of cabbages sat by her side. She stood up at Arona’s approach, wiping the dirt from her gnarly hands on her apron.
I have come to get some answers from you, said Arona, firmly crossing her arms and ignoring the outstretched hand.
Alright little one, Lucille said soflty. Why don’t you go and wait in the orchard. I will go and fix us a nice, cool drink of lemonade.
The orchard was full of old fruit trees, their twisted trunks reminded Arona of Lucille herself. From one of the trees hung an old swing. Arona sat on it, holding the rope, and gently rocked herself back and forwards, thinking. She had to admit, she was, quite frankly puzzled. The visit so far wasn’t going as expected.
She kept rocking, faster now.
She hit her heels into the hard earth again and again.
I don’t know. She tried to dig these words into the earth with her heels.
Then she sidestepped her feet in crab-like movements in diminishing circles. The ropes of the swing twisted tighter and tighter.
Arona leant backwards and stuck her legs out straight in front of her. The ropes unwound and sent her spinning. weeeeeeeeeeee hoooooooooooooooo!
She looked up into the sky. Blue sky through the trees with racing spinning clouds. She felt dizzy.
She stood up and braced herself against the seat of the swing. She held onto the ropes and pushed hard against the seat beneath her. She bent her knees under the swing. She kicked her feet forwards.
She wanted to go higher. She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked them outwards. She stretched her body backwards and arched her back.
I don’t know, she whispered.
She sat upright. She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked them as hard as she could. She leant her body backwards. She stretched as far as she could. On the rebound her heels hit the ground hard, but still she wanted to keep going higher and higher.
I DON’T KNOW! she shouted, as loudly as she could.
Lucille returned with the lemonade.
How do I know if it is safe to drink this? Arona asked. You have cast one spell on me, how am I to know this is not another?
Okay, well that makes good sense, thought Arona, gratefully drinking the lemonade.
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