Tuesday, 3 March 2015

On Wraiths

Interlude IV

Imagine Growl and Wander on the deck of the sky-yacht.

The upper deck was constructed of light pumice and shell, braced by rope and hides. It hung suspended from a well patched long cylindrical gas-filled balloon together with high baskets carrying air-dried fish. Four great sails, billowing in front, are filled with the Southern trade winds. The sky-yacht was skimming above the water, close enough to see shadows moving below the surface.

Wander is keeping one bright eye on the sky-yacht's wheel, locked to course by a leather strap, and the trim of the sails. Another eye is on Growl. 

Growl is balanced on the edge of the deck, legs dangling over the side, watching the last of the rings of Farsigh fall into the clouds on the western horizon. Wander worries because Growl has not been completely purged of spider venom.

Growl says – The humans are similar to us, and yet so different.

Belle had insisted on them learning each other’s language. Like her, they had started with New Zealand, because it had so few words.

Wander reflects – The portals between the nine worlds have been open forever, we all share the same genetic material, common ancestors, and patterns of thought.

Growl continues – I heard the human male tell a home-story.

Wander says – We all tell stories. Pete has a head full of stories. We have made a story to end all stories on this voyage.

Growl says – We still need to get home. A hundred more circles of Farsigh…

The last of the rings fades from the sky, the brilliant colours of the sky fading into a cold grey twilight. Growl climbs back onto the deck and comes up to nestle into Wander’s warmth.

Growl said - I do not understand his story.

Wander days – I know you will retell it to me. Are you are going to tell it to me in our language or the language of the humans?

Growl paused then, with a rough New Zealand accent started:

When she was young, Storm spent a summer collecting and painting fox skulls with traditional designs. The designs were full of colour and each told a different story about the fox. Through painstaking small dots and graduated colour, she recorded where the fox had lived and what it had hunted. She did a good job. Something that would have made her ancestors proud.
One day when I returned from riding, I saw one of the painted skulls hanging on the wall of her old stables and asked her where she had found it. Offhandedly, she told me she had made it and showed me some of the other painted skulls, placed around the farm. She explained that the process for making them was difficult. I asked her to show me her process. She told me to come over when I had some time to waste. Seeing her interest, I came back a day later. She took me up into the forest where she found the carcass of foxes by smell and watching the crows. Then she showed me where she dragged them to an ant nest. Here the ants cleaned the skulls for her.
I was astounded by the range she covered – she was still very young. The young girl had travelled far past my farm, through field inhabited by bulls and roos five times her size. I was also very concerned about her handling the dead foxes – many would have been killed by poison baiting by farmers, as foxes prey on ewes giving birth and young lambs. But this was her story, so I did not say anything at that stage. Then she took me to her bush studio where she mixed paints from oils (sump oil from one of my sheds) and natural ingredients – ground granites, red earth, gold flecked quartz and ash.

Unexpectedly, she handed me a skull she was working on. I held it in my hand, marvelling at the surface silky smooth.
I asked her how she managed to get the skull so smooth.  Storm looked at me, catching my eye. Levelly she said – I borrowed your tooth brush and scrubbed the skulls soft.

Growl stopped the story at that point and was silent.

Wander thought. Growl moved her body closer to his. He said – You are distracting me.

Wander said - That is a perplexing story. Did you ask the obvious question?

Growl said – No. The humans laughed and then they cried, so I came up here to watch the sky and nestle with you.

Wander said – The human male often tells stories that are impossible. His stories sometimes twist into themselves or simply do not make sense. Sometimes he tells stories that mean something different from the words. Other times he tell stories that are taken from stories he has been told, and which he himself does not understand.

Growl said – This was different. He said it was a story about being himself. About being alive.

Peter Quinton
March 2015

(In memory of foxes and the breaches of the peace treaty that brought us to this point.)

This is a micro-story within Dragons Eye story (a "braided yarn") that started on an earlier G+ post. Details and story at: 

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