Thursday, 20 March 2014

Rocking His World: Psychedelic Water 29

Rocking His World
Psychedelic Water 29

“Another few hours until the word about the doof goes out– don’t have any more intelligence yet. See any sniffer dogs?” The Alchemist has rapidly regained a suitably bland masking persona, displaying a lackadaisical aplomb that the equally blasted shaman strives to emulate.

   “No – they might not let them out today. Anyway, they’re probably at one of the roadblocks or sleeping in after getting so stoned yesterday.” They laugh as they saunter through a fragrant press of eager beavers toward the twisted carven woodwork entry to the Nimbin Museum - always under the purview of surveillance cameras that scan streets, pathways and rooves from the lofty summits of skimpy metal monopoles.

They dodge a trio of apprentice jugglers and weave through a motionless gloom of Goths. “They might have to give them long service leave after this,” the Alchemist agrees. “Wasn’t that cookie girl what’s-her-name?”


“You know, that fallen Angel from the other night - we all saw you with her. And on her, on my honour. And under. And…”

“Nay, I say, t’wasn’t her –and that cookie lady certainly isn’t any ‘fallen woman’ either.”

“Not Eva, then?”

“A breath of fresh air nonetheless.”

“I’ll have a toke on that…”

The Museum entrance is crammed with rainbow-clad bodies, portly and thin - festive visitors who mill and mull in the shopfront doorway while music and muzak compete on the street. Loquacious dealers and cautious shoppers automatically make a hole for the seemingly local hippies, who find the building’s first chamber is no less crowded. The entrancing entry hall features the full size diorama of a cutaway tie-dyed kombi van, murals of native tribes sunnily disporting with skinny dipping hippies in rainforest glades, the snakes-and-ladders start of a rainbow serpent that trails across the painted wooden floor and an array of historically rustic items and psychedelic posters from the Aquarian heyday and beyond.

“…and on this!” Conversation is barely possible in the indescribably detailed mural and collage-encrusted interior. The Alchemist opens his palm, revealing a clutch of resinous, viridian, red-haired flower buds. Big buds. He commences mulling up in his hand beside the endless coloured stream of passing tourists. “They pulled in another cookie lady an hour ago – it’s a bad bust. She’s only around eighteen, too. A single mum.”
   “They take her into the station?”

   “Yes, about a dozen of them around this one girl, in their new military camo overalls, like she was Lee Harvey Oswald. And they bust by weight, even with cookies.”

   “As leaf or as heads?”

   “They’ll probably bust her for a kilo of high grade – even though it was a kilo of cookies for heaven’s sake! Probably had less than an ounce of leaf in them, not heads…” He lights up a healthy spliff as a mob of laughing Aboriginal teenagers pours past, dazzling teeth flashing from obsidian skin. A beaming, bearded Viking trails in their wake, saunters up to the hippies and says, “Hi.”

   “Good timing.” The Alchemist passes the smoke to the shaman as Vick the Viking ignites one of his own. A silent gang of sternly serious camouflage-uniformed police swaggers past the wide doorway, intently peering straight ahead as they negotiate multitudes of riotous revellers, eager shoppers and gaily dressed day trippers. The riot squad is festooned with truncheons, radios, cuffs, guns and many pockets and manifold pouches bulging with unidentifiable accoutrements.

   “You see that bloke last night?” Vick asks as soon as they’re gone. “Took five of those burly guys to hold him down on the footpath.”

   “Yeah,” Beats exhales plosively as he weaves into place beside Vick. “He was on Ice, raving and yelling and aggro as hell, screaming about his girlfriend or something.” He glances over his shoulder but a woven sombrero slouching over both shoulders obscures his view of the cop-free doorway. “And when they tried to talk to him he got violent with them, so they clobbered him. He fought like a gorilla.”

“The iceman cometh.” The Alchemist speaketh.

   “Those ice men are the ones to watch out for. That shit is a whole lot worse than smack, even,” asserts Vick.

   “Yeah. Like PCP but a whole lot more common. They’re everywhere. It used to be that the only troublemakers came out of the pub.” Beats nods toward the renamed old Freemason’s Hotel across the packed street, rebadged as a backpacker’s hostel/hotel. “Alcohol used to cause almost all the violence problems, but now this shitty speed’s everywhere and they’re crazy as anything.”

   The shaman passes the joint to Vick, who finally adds his to the circle. “Well, you know what the old hippies always said,” Ram observes rhetorically. “If it’s organic, don’t panic – other than organic poisons, of course - stick to natural non-toxic highs…”

   “Like the Happy High Herbs shop…” Vick exhales. “The hippies were always right.”

   “In their leftish way. And anything that was a white powder or pharmaceutical pill was definitely out in the day– all those uncool industrial poisons and downers shoveled out by the Man. Except for acid, of course.”

   “Of course,” the others all chorus as one. “Like magic mushrooms,” Vick adds, “it comes from a fungus after all.” At that moment an indelibly familiar silhouette passes the Museum entryway, hesitates for a frozen moment in streaming time, and continues down the footpath.

   “Time to go,” Ram announces and abruptly hands Vick’s smoke to Beats, who nods appreciatively. “See you at the parade, if not before!” He literally springs toward the doorway and a rapid stride bears him down the Rainbow Serpentine path that sways like a rope bridge beneath his barefoot tread.

Knotted currents of surging bodies flow and eddy on the broad cement footpath. The street sings with expectant delight. Cookie, cake and chocolate sellers demurely vend merchandise from cloth-covered baskets as electronica booms from loudspeakers in a subtle sonic backdrop to the happy chaos filling the town. The sleek, elusive woman is nowhere to be seen so the shaman follows his first instinct and enters the fabled Rainbow Café.

Kitchen scents and sandalwood incense mingle with the smoldering harvest that suffuses the village. A three-piece band plays to the painted barn of a room from a tiny raised square of stage, strumming and drumming beneath a wall spanning rainbow mural that arches across rainforest hills and verdant valleys. A path opens before the tripping shaman and he passes through the partying interior to the shady palm grove behind and beyond the cluttered clustering cloister.

He pauses for a breath of fresher air on the rear veranda and scans beyond a yard filled with chunky old wooden seats and tables, to a vista of sacred rocks arising from deep green hills – nature imitating art –and a lithe arm gently wraps round his waist.

“Juice?” Their eyes lock over the fresh-scented glass of orange fluid suspended between them in offering. Unearthly orange irises twinkle and crinkle and sensuous lips pout with effortlessly irresistible ease. He ignores the delicious scent that invisibly effervesces from the freshly squeezed juice and takes nourishment in a long, languorous kiss.

Today she wears only a simple figure-hugging cotton sarong, so light it’s slightly translucent. Her waist is fey perfection, a glorious narrows his hands explore while decoding her gratifying adoring and satisfyingly relieved expression. Two empty mushroom-shaped stools beckon to a small round table decorated with torn aluminium foil and empty plastic sachets.

Their eyes meet sidewise as they share a mushroom and alternately suck invigorating spurts of juice through a fluorescent plastic straw. Time extends with each wordless mirrored breath. Music bombards them from three sides; notes and beats and harmonics interweave and clash as two different bands compete with the town’s loudspeaker system, which is all but drowned out by the clamorous, raucous, tidal caucus swelling the festive Mardi Grass party.

He hardly hears the question; “How old are you?” When he leans even closer to reply the heat of a blazing thigh burns against his; “Somewhere close to two thousand, seven hundred and twenty, but with all the calendric changes – let alone the missing excised reign of Pope Joan, for instance – it’s a fair guess at best. Some would say a few hundred older. Call it three thousand to make it even.”

She muses on this, sipping the juice while he drinks her in. Obsidian hair flares in sunlight and her delicate umber features are outlined in a moirĂ© of palm shadows. He knows her deeply red-tinted locks are the fey woman’s natural (and uniquely unusual) colour, framing her delicate Asiatic features in an impenetrable darkness subtly tinted with shifting flames. Tibetan clouds drift across her amber skin and bolts of lightning flash in her flaming orange eyes while Ram’s thoughts boom through the Platonic cave of his skull.

You’re so flattered by her attention… The inner voice seems to come from outside, above, within the space where his mind should reside. Your heart is racing… breathe… focus on HER…

Slim bare toes trace a trail down his ankle and across the top of his foot. He notes one more that her eyes slope upward at the edges… and that curvaceous mouth is somehow… Welsh…? Once again he ponders her provenance as those ripe magenta lips begin to speak; “I mean in this body.” She prods his chest with a slender forefinger then tickles his armpit. “In this life.” Ram laughs, and his laughter takes wing and flaps up into the wide blue sky to flirt with other rising peals of joy.

“It’s not the age that gets you, it’s the mileage – to misquote Indiana Jones.” His smile crinkles like mummified parchment. Pleiadian… announces the Voice of Certitude.

“Oh, you have a few million left in you yet. It’s a good body to keep.” Amber squeezes his bicep. “You have been moving rocks.”

“And they’ve been moving me.” He accepts the proffered glass and sips slowly. The juice is alive, swimming down his throat like a playful dolphin, instantly revitalising his jaded senses. “And you’re one to talk! I wouldn’t try to estimate how low your mileage.” Mile echoes though his mind; millennia… millions… an age… age… ages… A hand festooned with silver rings extends to their table and waves a huge white cigar towards Amber in a reeking, seething miasma of mingling head and hash fumes. She takes the joint from the next table’s hooded occupant and raises it in offering.

“Bom Shiva! Bom Shakti!” Her voice is an appealing pealing of bell-like tones; the accent, as ever, hard to place - a chimeric, chameleon admixture. Indefinable… definitely not Japanese, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Tibetan… and yet…. Smoke streams from her nostrils as twin shushuma serpents slowly jet forth to envelop her sarong-cased midriff. Her only jewellery is a single simple golden ring on the middle finger of her right hand. Like the Initiate’s Tiphareth ring in the Dawn of Ra, he suddenly recalls. Gold flashes as the joint descends from brow to heart amidst smoky swirling serpents. Her bare feet rise upon the toadstool and she sits cross-legged to pass the offering. “Have you looked like this for all that time?” Her eyes twinkle and blaze as she placidly sizes him up.

 The effects of the acid are becoming almost overpowering, but he somehow maintains a veneer of aplomb borrowed from the Alchemist. He finishes his own three-seed rite of resonance with the alchemic resin-laced Herb Superb and takes a long slow draw while considering a reply.

Before he can answer an amplified voice announces, ‘There’s a lost child looking for her mother or father and could they please come to the orifice’, and from a weird multifaceted remove he sees faces turning throughout the town, feels hearts twist and turn as they scan automatically for their own playfully carefree youngsters, sees the upturned face of a tiny girl surrounded by colourful knees while reassuring, words condescend upon her twisty curls – all shining within the burning orbits of Amber’s flaming gaze while a sunbeam dances upon her high, broad, smooth golden brow.

He takes a deep breath. “It’s basically been this shape for most of that time, with a few changes in colouring and surface texture, society-specific details and acculturated forms– except for the size of the skull. It used to look like the taller of the two Egyptian crowns.” Ram’s hand sweeps upward to bop his winged headpiece, weaving a broad contrail of smoke that circles him in a momentary halo which twists into a fading spiral. “Very useful, but one can never really relax. Too hard to lie down, and those hideous U-shaped neck braces they call ‘pillows’ were shocking – painful to sleep on. Though they stopped you breaking your neck, and the point was you didn’t ever exactly get to sleep anyway...” Amber’s head tilts to one side and Ram passes the incredible shrinking joint to a grateful nearby table. I’m babbling…

“You definitely look better this way.”

“Beauty is in the eye…” he trails off.

“Of the beholder?”

“No… in the eye,” he winks, “…your eye.” Their smiles precisely coincide. She pulls a tiny metallic camera from an embroidered pouch concealed within a fold of her sarong and captures the light streaming from the eternally transient moment. A segment of time disappears…


“And am I not beholden to you?” Her eyes sidle to his as they pass between a haphazardly parked pair of olden Holdens, gaily painted panels festooned with decorative drying carcasses of Day-glow towels and tie dyed clothes. Strewn about are steaming, dread-topped, seminaked bodies simmering torpidly in tanning sunlight.

How did we get here? They walk past an unmistakable pair of proprietorial adults who lean down like foraging brolgas, looming over a frightened young girl. They loudly admonish the huddling child with alternately pleading and threatening gestures, giving the weeping girl a tongue lashing in an indefinably foreign tongue. A red balloon soars upward from a distant copse of splayed acacias and a flock of white cattle egrets banks aside to avoid the alien intruder. Endless sunshine beats down upon a miraculous, glorious, meaningful, multiplex, devastatingly disarming world of unexpected glories and unintended consequences.

Barefoot they stroll, arm in arm down a grassy slope in blinding cascades of scintillating sunlight. The firm slim cylinder of Amber’s thigh slaps against his lean leg with every stride. A breeze tatters his thoughts and batters them away through the ruddy black pennant of her streaming mane.

“Behold the Dreaming…” his voice intones while a self-willed hand rises to shade all three eyes in a swift salute to the looming towers of Nimbin Rocks. His soul twinges at the words that escape his lips and he strives for a way to undo them. “Women aren’t… weren’t… supposed to see them…”

“Have you climbed them?” The notes of her words rise and fall on a wavering stave interposed across the glowing landscape - the sheet music of her thoughts writ larger than life as his voice provides the bass line below; “Two, twice; they’re not meant for climbing, except by certain people at special times…” A slithering breeze whistles through his hair and into his ears.

“Or special people at certain times.”

One such certain time returns with a rush of clamouring memories and jangled emotions – a timely occasion when discretion failed to be the better part of valour; when the destiny of a great loves of his life was undone by wanton ignorance of Aboriginal lore - and by wily girlish trickery in the face of the implacable geodetic law of Gaia – or Nunggeena, as she was known hereabouts.

Amber’s twining arm dissolves to smoke that wreathes his waist and he again finds himself standing beside the exposed stone top of one of the sacred mounts, gazing down at his wondrous teenage bride - nakedly inviting and thoroughly irresistible, the blithe little pixie lies sprawled at the edge of a forbidding, forbidden cliff.

His eyes dawdle on the vision of her fine, nude, china-white young body arrayed atop the sacred Aboriginal men’s site - the melodramatic and archetypal sacrificial virgin spreadeagled upon a veritable stone altar, apparently unaware of fractious blade-like energies poised to saw through her subtler bodies, to sunder being and soul into fractured fragments. Coiling red curls shade emerald eyes from the blazing wide open sky as beringed hands gesture, entreating him to join and join with her above the vast serried crater rings of the ancient caldera. He watches in awed silence while her body squirms invitingly, feels a surging wave of riveting lust as she strives for comfort on the unforgiving stone rampart.

He squats and entreats his brazen lover to come away from the fractious edge, but she merely swings around to sit on her delicious rump and thrusts her breasts in his direction. “Look!” Her cry is carried off on the streaming wind as she sweeps a slender, serpentine arm through the liquid landscape, encompassing all its concentric horizons. “It’s so beautiful…” Dainty hands slip down her slender belly to outline her outthrust flame-fringed loins. “This is where I want to make love with you - here, now…” Resistance is almost impossible, yet still he fruitlessly beckons her back from the edge. He pats the silk skirt she’s left beside him as etheric energies - sharp and unfeeling as knives - rear up from the rock to join the sky, and rip straight through her vaporous astral body.

His erstwhile ladylove turns to gaze into his eyes as he repeats the slow, painful walk through a wall of air that impedes his progress with an ocean’s weighty currents. Just like the first time, he’s struggling to progress through adrenalin’s slow motion spell – yet now he simultaneously walks with inscrutable Amber toward the base of those self-same rocks while the words spill from his lips again; “They have a jagged energy, not meant for bodies such as thee or thine to twine in sight of their feyly eldritch wilful majesty…”

His past paramour turns away to regally survey her far-flung rainbow realm, orange coils streaming in the buffeting updraught. “We don’t have to climb them – or rhyme them - today…” Amber’s voice is a tinkling glissando of musically singing bells that singe the edge of his vibrant memory. The promise of certain invitation rings in her songlike words. A curious frown unsettles the red haired girl’s pixyish features, as if his body is a conduit for Amber’s intent through time and times, apart yet one with petite young Seheal.

“We have time,” both women say as one.

“Aplenty,” he agrees, speaking to both. His fingers close around a hard stony object that juts into his hip. He raises his hand to produce a double-ended crystal from his pocket - collected close to this very spot by the diminutive gnome-ridden boys he met that morning. Sharp-edged energies pour from both ends of the double terminator in mimicry of the jagged shards that vent tearing rents through the redheaded teenager’s soul.

Amber smiles. They both dip heads to examine the glittering crystal and their brows touch and meld into matching vortices. A cluster of miniature suns refracts from dazzling depths and shine through surfaces limned with rainbow etchings. Revealed in their light, an undersea realm of monumental forests reaches upward from an unfolding horizon of rolling hills, where sharp fangs of broken-toothed mountain peaks protrude from a living green carpet.

Something glitters on one of the peaks and a heart-wrenchingly familiar flame-framed face reaches up into the sky to snatch the double terminator from his open palm. The pixyish girl triumphantly grasps the crystal to her breast and it blazes with dazzling light. Her lithe little body becomes transparent, revealing the myriad inner workings of capillaries, veins, nerves and lymph, all her organs suspended in jelly, shaped and protected by a flexing bone cage bearing blazing emerald eyes. Her form swiftly shifts and congeals into a glowing vessel of sheer, translucent alabaster whiteness. Unforgettable chameleon eyes shine with entreaty and promise as soft carmine lips curl up at him, drawing him toward the edge of a crystalline precipice…

Amber twists him aside, away from the rocks, and he stares down into a blazing inner sun refracting through her umber depths. “It’s like a scene from Woodstock,” she says as her unsettling orange eyes slip aside toward a nearby tree line. He follows her gaze to the shady depths of the riverbank, where a fuzzy-haired nut brown man helps a pallid girl – glowing white skin clad only in dreadlocks - from a rocky pool.

For a blinding moment he’s certain he recognises the nymph who crawls from the water and drags herself up onto the far bank. She laughs with glee at the stumbling young man when he squats down beside her and pulls her slender curves round his skeletal frame. Times and spaces overlap and meld, melt and moult as he feels hot wet skin envelop his body and firm warm breasts press cold metal rings into his chest. He feels slippery slim thighs glide astride his naked waist; fingers sliding down his belly into his pubic hair, onto the base of his hardening flesh - feels a steaming furnace of silken membranes opening round his blazing crown…

…And then, like Krishna, he’s moving inside them all, mating and loving with flaming Amber, with succulent Seheal, with the falling and rising and falling Goth Angel who sits astride him and rides him to glory, with the naked stranger who bestrides her young man beneath the nearby trees, who locks eyes with the suddenly naked Amber creature who mimics her every movement, each rolling and rocking thrust of her hips as they both make love with their astounded males, just out of sight of the painted town.

Every loving woman holds the semblance of another… each female recalls another twining lover… each woman a bridge to an evercoming other…

Crystals dance in crystal water and ancient outcrops loom down towards the shady canopy like scolding parents ready to pounce on unruly children. Boulders skulk around the creek, grey-skinned gnomes who guard their glade from human thought and scowl at monkeys who disport on grassy banks where forests fell and foreign creatures came to dwell.

Sensation seats him more firmly in his body, and in hers, at the entrancing moment of entry. He doesn’t remember removing his clothes, or stripping Amber’s sarong from her smooth narrow midriff. Her touch, her clasp, her every breath burns his cool white skin. Her heat is unfathomable, unquenchable, a molten furnace of unending pleasure as all her lips part for him at once.

Her nuclear heat burns everything away but the certain, immutable, immemorial luxury of deep, abiding, immortalising humanimal contact. She holds him so tightly her nipples are stony nubbins pressed into his chest by the malleable cushions of her breasts. He caresses her skin as her hips rise and fall, a millimetre deeper with each long lusty thrust. Her fragrant, flagrant, spicy breath flows into his lungs as his tongue explores her palate and laves the backs of her perfect white teeth.

Brother… Lover… Mate… Father… Husband… Son…

Sister… Lover… Mate… Mother… Wife… Daughter…

Fingertips sink into his flesh when his arms enfold her elfin frame. Grassy tendrils twine through toes and tickle flanks as extrusions of the living Earth explore their molten melding flesh. Their bodies and minds are viscid outgrowths of a globular global brain, twinned halves of a clinging polyp on the sea bottom of an atmospheric ocean, rooted to the earth beneath swaying tendrils of seaweed trees that wave and flutter in currents of spirited sprites who stream past their skins and savour their flavours, dancing through a shifting maze of sifting sunbeams and straying thoughts.

Whither canst thou…

Where is this place…

What art thou…

Art thought…


Crystalline eyes of stony mountains bore down from the range that rears above, drawn to the locus of sensuous pleasures that rise beyond to ecstatic heights.  Spiralling fronds filled with sumptuous patterns of everchanging shapes arise to the skies, tentacular limbs that follow lines of magnetic fields whose core is the heart of the living world. A burning flame erupts through conjoined loins, rushes up spines and shines through eyes of malachite and blazing Amber. The tactile bliss of her inner caress thrums and palpates, encouraging the indomitable pride of his reaming self-willed manhood.

Her heart beats deep inside his chest as a flaming phoenix, a pounding drum, a pressure rising into his brain and blowing the top of his head asunder. The rim of his skull is the world’s horizon but Amber’s mind soars further still, streaming past the roiling, turbulent wave-riven surface of the global ocean of liquid air, through fiery layers that stream from the waves and far beyond the stretching limbs of the planet’s outflowing fields.

He sees through her eyes, yet can’t understand what his mind’s eye sees. And the voice that passes through his being isn’t his, or hers, or theirs, or even a voice at all…

Thus at the cusp of was and when the vessel of all righteous men the cup the feast the drink you sup will raise your inspiration up to heights unseen through all these scenes that light delight within your dreams …

Two heads arise from a single core, twinned twining serpents wound together, sprung together, twisting tightly round together in woven strands of molten blood and flowing flesh, illumined from below, within, where a pyre burns in burning skin that melts into a single form, an open eye that scans a realm unknown, all lithe and brightly warm.

…a living wish come true…

A living womb…

My home…


A True Story


- R.A.

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Rocking His World – Psychedelic Water 29

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From The Prince of Centraxis -

Friday, 31 January 2014

Current Attraction: Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 29

Current Attraction
Adder Ladies & the Dawn of Ra 29

A flock of chittering sparrows wheels into a landing pattern above the shaman’s head. They swiftly assemble into serried ranks on the taut black wires strung through tunnels cut into the glossy foliage of native  fig trees. The chattering sentinels groom tiny feathers as they alight in waning orange sunshine.

His bare soles sink into a cool living mat of lush green grass on the ‘nature strip’ set betwixt blacktop road and concrete footpath. In less than two minutes he’s climbed the hill to a place where sunlight falls directly upon him. He stares into the hearth of the blazing Sun as it sinks into a glorious, chemically induced miasma of vivid reds and magentas, viscid greens and turquoises, of pale vapid blues and fading lavender; a rancid pallet tinting nature’s sky with the innumerable industrial poisons vented aloft by the denizens of the Emerald City.

And there, in a small cul-de-sac beyond the noisy bustle, beat and bleat of traffic, wheeled and afoot, he feels and watches a golden net spread from his solar plexus to join the Sun, and flow outward and onward into the living network of his fellow Centraxians. Fine amber tendrils spread to meet the intermeshed net of the tribe and he instantly knows who’s making contact at this perpetually preordained time. Most of us are here this eve, the young shaman notes with a crooked smile while visions of friends and allies slip though his mind as rapidly as a riffling deck of colourful Tarot cards.

He sends warmth and love through the web of connexions and feels waves of responsive wills and responding emotions return through the flowering vine of interlinked lives. Awa Ken… All is well… His Lady Racheal’s unmistakeable eyes emerge though the web, a triangular trio of spinning blue orbs that transfix his attention while her words echo through his thoughts; ‘Thine wish is my command.’ He senses she’s not far away, facing the sunset from a nearby stone cliff top – a rarely private site they’re both intimately familiar with in the tightly clustered suburban sprawl – and he begins to turn and face that direction.

Then the rest of her recent utterances return to plague his contentment and shake the golden webbing from his mind. The grumbling rumble of a propeller driven airliner shakes the world as a sleek silvery craft slides surprisingly close overhead, glittering with gold and orange highlights from a westering Sun which has already slipped behind chimney-topped rooves, silhouette treetops and the all-pervasive ugly net of far flung electric cables.

His bare feet carry him away without thought or decision and after a couple of blocks he realises he’s already made an appointment at a house in this very direction. Squidly…

The scent of honeysuckle fills his nostrils when he passes a hedge festooned with slim ripe flowers, yellow and white, dripping with nectar and irresistibly sweet. He gives silent thanks to the tangled vine and tastebuds ignite when he sucks the juices from a quickly swiped handful.

Twilight transforms the mundane suburban world into a magical and mysterious realm. His destination is so close he still has a few flowers left when he climbs the dozen steps that lead above a ground floor garage. He rings the bell set into a glass panelled door whose panes are so warped and convoluted they effectively conceal the shadowy interior.

A figure emerges within the gloom. Distorted shapes and swimming colours shift and grow with their approach.

When the hall light flashes on and the door swings open, Squid’s open-fronted Hawaiian shirt is dazzling, even brighter than his ivory smile. “Ram’yana! You’re early, dude – and really just in time!” His handsome face and sunbrowned surfer’s limbs radiate health, grace and good cheer. “We’re, uh, just hangin’ downstairs.” He turns and leads the way through the passageway to a flight of steps that plunges into a dimly lit sanctum.

They descend through a low lying layer of sandalwood and hashish-flavoured cirrus cloud. The smoke obscures Squid’s other guests, who lounge in a subterranean den that booms and screams with the psychedelic confections of King Crimson. “We’re just getting into the tequila,” Squid announces, and asks; “Do you want the worm?” A female voice titters and Ram’yana manages to make out a shapely form snuggled into another’s arms on an oversized bean bag. He idly notes that only a quarter of the quart bottle remains.

“Vegetarian,” he explains with a shake of his head.

“But at least you can smoke again now that you’re a pre-initiate, can’t you! I saved you some treated hash. It’s the bee’s knees!” He nods toward the pillar of smoke rising from a huge glitzy hubble-bubble. “That stuff’s untreated – you’ve been warned.

“You know the Doc,” he says as they reach the floor, “and this is, uh…”

“Princess,” the Doctor supplies in a slurring drawl. “My princess. That’s all y’need to know.” Doc winks through a gleaming grin. The dusky-skinned girl perched in his lap shines huge brown eyes upon the long haired shaman. Her wrists, throat and fingers drip with what appears to be fine gold chains and jewellery set with precious stones.

“Princess,” Squid says, “It’s my pleasure to introduce Ramayana, the Prince of Centraxis.” A deep brown, slightly bloodshot gaze scans his body, assessing him from green eyes to bare feet, pausing to scrutinise the meaningless squiggles embroidered on his ornate vest before returning to grace his face with a slight frown. “Really?” she asks with giggling eyes. “And where is that?” Her accent is obvious, yet indefinable.

“Everywhere and nowhere, from what I hear,” says Doc.

“The central axis of all probable possibilities…” Ram’yana explains while Squid pours him a tumbler and refills three others on a tiled coffee table. “…and I am also known as the Lord’s Deathwatch, the Balancer of Scales…”

“And the High Priest of Centraxis,” Squidly adds. The girl is an extraordinary beauty, if slightly curvaceous for Ram’s usual taste. Doc’s hand caresses a naked brown thigh exposed by a slit in her long split skirt, embroidered with detailed peacock patterns. Her presence fills the room with something more than simple sexual tension. Her gaze is perfectly riveting. “Excuse me,” she says, “my English is not so good.”

“Just as well we’re not in England then,” Doc observes with a laugh, and hooks her silk-clad torso with a proprietorial arm. Ram’yana kneels on the padded wooden seat of an ergonomic chair-like contraption and smiles down at the cuddling couple. Their host hands him an oily looking drink and makes a toast; “To freedom,” he proposes, smiling down at the girl. “Remember the salt first!” She raises the back of her hand from the table and licks a pinch of sea salt from her skin – her lips are painted a dusky purple - then lifts her glass and clinks it against three identical tumblers.

“Freedom,” she agrees with a slightly crooked smile. They all down their shots simultaneously and reach for remnant slices of lemon on a platter in the centre of the table.

Her hair is so long it brushes the floor when she leans forward. Before the rind has left the girl’s lips Doc pushes her upward, slips from beneath her and helps her climb from the depths of the bean bag. When she reaches her feet she totters into his waiting arms. “I think it’s time we saw my etchings,” he says to the obviously puzzled girl. “Excuse us, guys – we need to go upstairs for a while.”

“Mmm,” the princess agrees with a widening smile. “We do.”

“My house is yours,” Squid tells her. She leans into Doc’s embrace, teetering on a narrow pair of high heeled gold-strapped sandals. “My thanks,” she says with a slight bow that almost overbalances her. Ram’yana puzzles at her accent; Not Indian… mayhap Arabic? He rises to his feet and silently returns her bow while their eyes lock together for the briefest electrifying moment.

“We’ll see you later, buddy.” Squid presses a small brown chunk into Doc’s palm and the long haired technician pockets it as he helps the obviously sozzled girl towards the stairs. When they’re out of earshot Squid fills him in.

“She really is a princess,” he confides. “From the Middle East. One of those Gulf States Apparently she escaped from her minders and bumped into Doc – the lucky dog – up at the Bondi Lifesaver.” Mention of the rock ’n’ roll venue sends Ram’s mind spinning back to his infancy. The (in)famous little nightclub inhabits a converted house near the heart of the Junction. Outside the building, jutting through holes built around its limbs in a screening brick wall, stands a huge old tree that he knows quite intimately. His grandmother wheeled his pram beneath its shade almost every day until he was a year old, and the fragrance of its huge yellow Magnolia magnificens blossoms still haunts his dreams.

Random Access Memory is often a blessing, but now serves to occlude the import of Squidly’s words for a moment. Princess?

“So where’s Racheal – thought she was coming, too. Saved you both some treated hash, bud.” He turns to open a draw and removes a small wooden box. Here – try some of this Temple Ball. It’s treated for Tiphareth, but you can smoke it tonight, no worries.”

“Thanks!” He puts the golf ball-sized sphere to his nose and inhales. “Mmm! Smells just like the Himalaya! Racheal?” A slightly pained expression flits across his face. “She couldn’t make it…” Uninitiated members of the Dawn of Ra’s circle of magicians are only permitted to smoke alchemically treated hashish, produced by an Initiate like Squidly. Until their initiation they aren’t allowed wild marijuana or untreated hash. Neophytes are prohibited from smoking or taking other mind altering substances for the first year of their tutelage. Partaking of spirits is only allowed during the last few months before initiation as well – and Ram’s formal initiation into The Group is rapidly approaching.

Squid hands him a small wooden pipe. “I know you don’t smoke tobacco, so I won’t offer you the hubble-bubble.”

“Toil and trouble.”

“No trouble for the princess, that’s for sure - she just couldn’t stop! Lucky the Doc has plenty to share, too.” When Ram’yana consecrates the pipe with the essences of his upper chakras using a Tibetan method taught by The Group, Squidly carefully ignites it with a red headed match. Sulphur and phosphorous mingle with Tibetan hashish smuggled via Nepal and India. “Never use gas lighters with a pipe,” the initiate tells him. “Bad enough when you’re smoking a joint, but with pipes and bongs you really suck it down. That stuff’s totally poisonous. Baron von Bic should’ve stuck to biros.”

The smoke is remarkably smooth and fragrant. Before the resinous vapour has even reached Ram’s lungs, images of snow-capped mountains flit through his mind; visions of landscapes populated with tiny thatched villages and tile-rooved stone structures hunkering beneath overhanging cliffs fill his perceptions. Would this be happening if he hadn’t told me it was Temple Ball?

Wafts of smoke twist into tendrils, identical to those surrounding the Buddha in a woodcut yantra on the wall of the apartment. They curl around Squid’s beatifically smiling face and warp into purple serpents that writhe around the room, weaving in and out of reality. “Great hash,” Squidly says. He leaves the locus of Ram’s concentration and removes the pipe from the teenage mage’s immobilised fingers. The serpents transform into blue-scaled dragons that turn to face the Centraxian shaman as a veiled form rises from depths beyond and between their toothy smiles. The veil falls away, revealing the faintly smiling bluish features of an oriental goddess who raises her hands into a prayerful position before her shapeshifting face.

“It’s the genuine article all right. And Alion treated it to Kuan Yin before she passed it back to me,” the initiate tells him from somewhere in the distance. “So it’s a righteously peaceful stone.” Ram’yana falls into the bindu that glows on the brow of the female form of the Buddha. He’s enveloped in warmth and light as his body sloughs from his mind like a discarded snakeskin and sinks into the beanbag.

The princess’s scent is unmistakeable, a breath of lavender tinted with myrrh that wafts from the leather upholstery. Huge brown eyes fill his mind like the bodhisattva Kuan Yin’s and sounds of revelry begin to penetrate his reverie – gentle cries at first, arising from far away, rapidly growing louder and more impassioned. Squid passes him another pipefull. “The Doc sure doesn’t waste any time. Pity Racheal couldn’t make it. That gal of yours really knows how to party hearty…”

Pounding sounds and unmistakeable high pitched cries of passion rain down through the floor. Squid leaps to his feet and strides to the high fidelity music system that holds pride of place against one of the gaily painted brick walls. Swirling vines and large limpid leaves surround his head like shifting laurel wreathes. Removing the King Crimson l.p. from the turntable, he carefully slips it into a translucent sleeve before returning the album to its cardboard cover. “Any requests?”

“Do you have Inna Gadda Davida?”

“Sure do – it’s kind of like Bolero, in some ways” Squid says with a glance toward the sounds emanating from the ceiling. His hand unerringly flies to the place where the Iron Butterfly album resides on a bookshelf crammed with dozens of others. Soon the unmistakeable, album-long track begins, to the accompaniment of regular moans from upstairs. “Not Led Zeppelin?”

“Mayhap next,” Ram’yana demurs, “Mars before Saturn.”

“Speaking of which, isn’t there a Geburah ritual this Tuesday?”

“Aye – Fifi was going to moderate, but now Jai’s going to.” They discuss details of Ram’s upcoming initiation and the Group’s impending Tiphareth festival, speaking through layers of vaporous clouds and screens of transient visions while sounds of lovemaking puncture and punctuate the music. “Looks like it’ll be in the mountains again this autumn,” Squid confides after a time, while scenes of previous skyclad rites waft through Ram’s mind. “We’re having trouble with the place at the beach – it’s being given to National Parks and they reckon they’ll be tearing the buildings down. So it looks like an equinox at Bathurst. That’s cool, but the beach is better for the babes – a lot warmer, and when it’s warmer they’re always hotter…”

He strikes another match and tokes deeply while the younger shaman relives eventful experiences at previous magical equinox weekends held at both remote rural locations. “Aye,” he murmurs, “but they like to be warmed up in the snow at Bathurst.”

“Yeah, but the snow’s bad for my gamelan,” the percussionist points out. “You feel like a jam?” His eyes follow Ram’s to the ceiling when the amatory sounds emanating from above cease as suddenly as they’d begun. “That was quick.”

Ram’s mind transports him to an experience graven deeply in his soul; an equinox gathering of the Dawn of Ra two equinoxes earlier…

After months of persuasion he’d managed to convince his Lady Racheal to begin working with The Group again. The recently initiated High Priestess to the tribe of Centraxians had come to see membership in The Group as an unnecessary accessory to her role, but her fascination with magic had swayed her decision. The spring equinox arrived on schedule and the magicians of the Dawn of Ra arranged rendezvous in a forest on the beach, at a beautiful, isolate property owned by the family of one of the younger female Initiates.

Encumbered by heavy backpacks, a tent and sleeping gear the young hippy lovers hitchhiked down the East Coast to the regular biannual festival. They left a day early and were picked up by a family of curious American sightseers soon after hoofing their way to the highway from the last suburban train stop. The young children in the back of the station wagon were curious enough to keep the lovers occupied with questions for the entire trip, and the made it all the way to the turnoff in a single uneventful lift.

There’d seemed so much he wanted to say and ask his paramour, but now that they were alone on the road the sight of his Lady Racheal – standing proud and free, her windblown mane pouring around her face like living flame as she gazed toward the mountainous horizon - stilled any remaining questions. Her smile was dazzling and their kiss was long and luxuriant, a glorious spectacle of young love witnessed by a speeding string of passers-by.

With only a couple of hours of daylight remaining they hefted their bags and began strolling barefoot alongside the sun-heated bitumen road. Their seaward trek led them through a wooded forest of recovering gum trees and primeval burrawongs – squat, incredibly slow growing palm-like plants that had long outlived the dinosaurs. Alert to the dangers inherent in hitchhiking in this part of the country (he’d almost been kidnapped by drunken rednecks and driven off into a remote forest on an earlier trip through the region– see Shaman of Centraxis Part 6 ) Ram’s shoulders tensed beneath the leather backpack straps as a vehicle pulled up behind them.

“Going our way?” They stopped and turned when the familiar voice of the Lady Ringell, Fifi L’Amoure sang out over the sound of a rumbling engine. She waved from the passenger seat of an old bulgy British sedan whose steering wheel was loosely gripped by the beaming Princess Stardew.

To be picked up by fellow Centraxians was an unexpected benison, but as Racheal and Ram’yana glanced into each other’s eyes the event assumed a certain inevitability. Racheal smiled and said, “What kept thee?” and they cleared enough camping gear out of the way to climb into the broad back seat with their oversized packs. “Excellent timing,” Stardew remarked as she slipped the car into gear. “I trust thou art both ready to party!” Fifi reached across to steady the wheel when Stardew released it to ignite a huge spliff. “Treated to Chesed,” she said through the smoke. “Just for today.”

The hash smelled wonderful but Ram’yana demurred. “Still fasting,” he said with a shake of his head, catching the driver’s eye in the mirror.

“How steadfast of thee,” said Fifi. “Our fast begins at sunset.”

“So we’d better tank up as fast as we can!”

Racheal’s eyes narrowed and her hand squeezed Ram’s fingers on her lap. “Different rules for initiates, then?”

“Hardly,” Stardew’s prim and proper voice shot back as she passed the joint to Fifi. “We’re simply observing the minimum fast this equinox– twenty-four hours. What, dost thou mean to say our Hierophant and High Priestess are going the full three days? How commendable.”

“A week, actually.” Racheal beamed. “We’ve taken nothing but water today.”

“We worked our way down to it; honey and water these last two days, juices before that.” Fifi exhaled a stream out the window. “Then thine eyes must surely be set upon the wedding feast! Mayhap thou shouldst be wed as Pan and Diana come Saturnday– just think, thou couldst be wedded as the Gods!”

Racheal squeezes Ram’s hand afresh. “We’ve already wed, as thou well knowest, at Bathurst this equinox last.”

“Aye,” averred Stardew, “and there’s also your Centraxian wedding – but now thou may be wedded again. Why ever not? Surely thou wouldst renew thy troth?”

“We’ll have to think on it,” Ram’yana replied. When he felt her body tense he interrupted Racheal’s impending response with a fulsome kiss on her ripe pink lips. After they broke their extended clinch Racheal demonstrated another way of changing the subject; she leant forward between her Centraxian sisters and asked, “Will the Magus be there?”

The Lady Ringell turned to smile directly into her eyes. “So I hear.”

““Why? Wouldst wed him instead?” Stardew tittered at Racheal’s frown in the mirror. “I’m sure he’d measure up… from what I’ve heard…”

“I’ve heard that thou hast more than just heard,” muttered Racheal. The driver ignored the jibe and took the spliff back from Fifi. “It’s going to be the best Tiphareth Festival,” she announced as the twisting road revealed a glimpse of wide blue ocean in a gap between the forested hills. “This is my favourite spot for it, really. Bathurst is just too dry and cold!”

“ ’Tis so much nicer to be skyclad at the beach,” Fifi agreed. “Particularly this beach.” She fingered the large silver talisman dangling from Racheal’s throat. “So thou hast decided to join the Group after all, milady?”

Racheal’s response was characteristically noncommittal; “So it would seem.”

“ ’Tisnot too late to remain in Ram’s neophyte group,” Stardew assured her. “Ye haven’t missed out on too much yet.” Racheal leaned back into Ram’s arms. “We’ve been doing The Work together,” she said.

“That’s fine for some things, but now ye will be able to do the group circle work, too – it’s absolutely essential,” Fifi told her. “Oh, look! Kangaroos!” Three tall grey marsupials stood beside the road just ahead, tall ears twitching at their approach. “Mayhap they want a lift, too!”

“The spirits are watching,” Stardew opined. “I suppose thy preparations include a complete fast then?” Her eyes twinkled in the mirror as the ’roos hopped away. “Including a sex fast?”

“So far, at least,” Racheal assured her, leaning more closely into the embrace of her young shaman. “For the past two days…”

“And nights,” Ram supplied. Racheal kissed his cheek. “An eternity.”

When they turned off the road and passed through a mile of widely spaced trees another group of a dozen kangaroos of various sizes and ages kept pace with their vehicle for hundreds of yards. The bulky vehicle trundled across a rough and ready cattlegrid and pulled up on a sandy sward amidst a diverse group of parked vehicles. Two score magi had arrived ahead of them and the festivities were already beginning.

“Time to make hay while the Sun shines. Let’s meet in one of the circles for sunset,” suggested the Lady Ringell. “We can link up with Lord Kha-Aan and the others from there. It should amplify the melding nicely!”

The Centraxians emerged to survey the lay of the land and visit their hosts. The hirsute pair – he a bearded muscular engineer, she a lanky sociologist – occupied part of a two room brick bungalow that stood in a small clearing only a stone’s throw from the sea. The rest of the building swarmed with visitors. Every available nook was already occupied by air mattresses and sleeping gear, so Racheal and Ram’yana busied themselves erecting their small tent in a relatively secluded spot with a view of the ocean, sheltered among screening wattle bushes and scrubby trees.

“A pity we can’t make use of it now,” Racheal remarked with a sly grin as she completed her finishing touches to their boudoir. “Soon,” he said, pulling her close for another kiss. “Only two more sleeps…”


“Then thou hast not yet met the Magus?” Cardinal Fang’s query dripped with sardonic ridicule. Kerri’s pale blue eyes went wide with delight at mention of the renowned adept and both neophytes climbed up onto their elbows to address his question. The quartet of teenaged Centraxians were lounging on beach towels where the soft white sand of the isolated beach met a coarser kind, a deep grey volcanic powder verging on deepest black.

“Met?” Racheal’ s slightly bloodshot orbs stared at the place where sea meets sky from the place where white met black. “Not personally, but I could see and hear him plain enough. Like thee, we were up partying all night…”

“Hardly partying.” Fang’s tone was withering. “What use a party during a fast?” Racheal’s reply continued as she steadfastly ignored him; “…playing music and singing…”

“And discussing Kabbalah with Kimba and Jai…”

“And playing Squid’s gamelan…”

“And hearing about the plans for the weekend rituals…”

Racheal and Ram completed each other’s sentences in a continuous stream while their pink naked bodies drank deeply of midmorning sunlight. “But no, I haven’t had words with him as yet,” Racheal finally admitted. She shaded her eyes to watch Alion and The Mox glide past on a small hand-built catamaran just beyond the small waves of the sheltered bay. “He’s present today, then?”

“Most definitely,” Kerri replied. “In the flesh,” Fang agreed with a sidewise grin while his girlfriend massaged his back, seated astride his tight white buttocks. “And I’ll be the first to admit he conforms to available reports – in one obvious aspect, at least.” Kerri tittered and swung her long russet hair in a figure eight. “And how,” she giggled. “As for actual ability – from what I’ve witnessed it seems that’s undeniable as well. He knows how to work a circle…”

“And a crowd,” Racheal said through a narrow smile. Fang groaned and flexed on his beach towel when Kerri assailed a particularly knotty slab of shoulder muscle. “That was a long night,” he moaned, “and with nary a drop to drink!”

“And naught to smoke… The drumming seemed to go on until dawn,” said Kerri. “I don’t know how late it was when we crashed.” A pair of seagulls alighted beside her and stood watching the quartet of magi with blood red stares. “What’s the schedule today?”

“Oh, the Magus will doubtless hold court again to rapt acclamation…”

“Sheathe thy fangs,” Kerri ordered her beau with a stolid thrust between his shoulder blades. His arms flew outward, scaring the gulls into flight. “There’s a sunset rite, and a midnight ritual,” Ram’yana informed them while his fingers idly caressed Racheal’s flank, “But they’re optional; the main events begin on the morrow.”

“And I hear the Initiates are having a circle tonight as well – an invocation of Venus,” said Racheal with an eye on the clear blue sky, “While She rides high above tonight.”

Fang chortled into his lank brown hair. “The only time to invoke Venus, after all,” he muttered. “Or any planetary deity for that matter – while they’re prominent in the heavens above the practitioner...”

“…And fortuitously placed and housed.” Kerri agreed. “Initiates only?”

“So I understand.” Racheal fingered the silver talisman she’d made months before and only affixed at her throat that morn. “We’ll be left to our own devices.”

Fang groaned again. “Water, water everywhere…”

“Only one more day ’til we break our fast,” Ram’yana assured him. His stomach rumbled in reply, immediately followed by an answering gurgle from Racheal’s abdomen. “The Mox said we could borrow his cat this afternoon – anyone care for a sail around the bay?”

“I didn’t know you could handle a catamaran,” Kerri said with a quizzical frown as Ram’s eyes followed the hypnotic sway of her perfect breasts. “He can’t,” Racheal intervened.

“I’ve sailed a skiff,” the young shaman told them “The Mox assures me his cat’s even easier.” He smiled into Racheal’s dubious regard. “And thou canst always use me as a life raft, milady.”

“No thanks,” said Fang. “I have no hankering to swim back from a shipwreck this arvo. Besides, we already have plans and I hardly think ye could rescue all three of us.”

“A boy buoy?” Kerri laughed and Racheal joined her; “I’d more likely be the one to carry thee home – remember the last time we were out in a boat?”

“Why?” Kerri asked. “What happened?”

They’d been navigating a tidal estuary. Now their small white motor boat bobbed in a choppy swell, lending extra impetus to every measured thrust and withdrawal through Racheal’s hidden gripping musculature.

They’d lived together less than a fortnight and this was their first trip away together – and their first lovemaking session in the great outdoors, under a springtime Sun. Racheal’s moans soared up into a cloud of waterbirds while racing shadows streaked across limber white bodies.

She hadn’t bothered –hadn’t had time – to remove her bikini. Her lover studiously ignored the strings and scraping scraps of material that entirely failed to conceal her pinkest parts. His own togs were a salty mass scrunched into a corner of the boat. He’d only donned the swimming gear to avoid offending Racheal’s aunt Linda, who’d sent them off with a broad knowing smile and a generous picnic lunch. Racheal had stripped him bare at the earliest opportunity.

The boat was barely large enough to conceal their bodies. She’d waited until they were out of sight of all habitation before lying back in a couple of inches of seawater and pulling him down atop and inside her. Mouths sealed together, their slim bodies strove for the closest possible union.

Lusting in a sweaty lather, Racheal had no need of foreplay. Her fingers guided her boyfriend past her bikini briefs and inserted him directly inside her with an impatient shove of hand and hips. His palms slid beneath her bikini and wrapped round her copious breasts, providing the best possible handholds as she started fucking like a bucking bronco, driving him deeply into her belly with the second thrust.

It was only the eighteenth time they’d made love. Until the previous week she’d waited all her life to admit a boy to her deepest mysteries. Now, as soon as their privacy was assured she couldn’t wait another moment to feel him inside her again. She was a fast learner; in less than a minute they both felt the thrill of an orgasm race upward along her supine spine, felt her virginal nipples harden into pebbles, felt the rush of wet heat cascade through her taut convulsing vagina.

Pelicans wheeled overhead, glancing down as her heels drummed around the base of his spine, driving him ever deeper. The lovers were so far out in the waterway that she felt no constraint giving vent to her loudest, most startling screams of pleasure when she came in a jerking, bouncing, sucking, arching fugue of achingly ecstatic enjoyment.

Neither noticed nor cared – at first - when one of their feet jerked awry and kicked an oar overboard. The sound of a splash was far in the background of Ram’s attention.

The extraordinary sensation of fucking his salt-sprayed paramour while her body gripped him inside and out as she screamed up into the wide open sky was too much for him. He surrendered to bliss with uncommon rapidity and exploded with her, within her, a moment after Racheal’s orgasmic contractions began to seriously milk his blood-engorged shaft. Watching and feeling him lose it made her scream even louder and fuck even harder.

She screamed until his seed stopped pumping into her womb and he fell atop her heaving breasts, his face buried in the golden net of her hair. Time stood still. After a timeless time the teenage lovers rolled with the wave-rocked boat to lie side by side in a panting heap amid a sloshing pool of lukewarm seawater, kissing and cuddling beneath a blazing motionless Sun. His cock was still hard and jammed fast in her belly, all the way up to his furry balls. Racheal twisted about to climb athwart him and froze in place for a moment when she realised she’d bumped the second oar overboard.

A succulent sucking sound greeted her rapid rise from his lap. She turned and leapt over the side in a single fluid motion, leaving her tumescent boyfriend high but not dry in the bottom of the rocking boat. As he sat upright Racheal cried, “Look out!” and hurled the oar back into to him. It bounced off the outboard motor, struck him in the shoulder and sent him sprawling against a hard wooden rib.

By the time he sat up again Racheal was already receding into the distance, caught in a current at odds with the heady breeze that was blowing the boat in a different direction. He scrambled to the outboard and pulled on the starter rope. Nothing happened. Racheal was swimming as hard as she could, but the distance between them continued to increase while he futilely pulled on the rope. The befuddled teen desperately began to fiddle with one of the carburettor screws until he realised he had no idea what he was doing. He knew there was no time to work out why the engine wouldn’t start, so reached for the oars – and could only find one.

“Ram!” she sputtered while he stood frozen, rocking in the swell with a single oar gripped in both hands. Her voice was barely audible. He looked around for another boat but they were totally alone on the water. He thought about diving in himself and rapidly dismissed the notion.

“Hey!” They were drifting further apart with every breath and he could hear Racheal’s voice begin to rasp as she rapidly tired. “Oh, Ram!” Her strokes became more frantic, less streamlined, and her expression grew desperate as she struggled just to stay in place.

Then, even as he opened his mouth to call her name, a triangular fin broke the water not twenty yards behind her…

A true story


- R.A.

Images – author’s

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