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*** This was a short story which was performed by Mary Maguire at PARI PARI DI klpac on February 24, 2018. It was so awesome that we decided to publish the entire story/script here!
INTRO: Pot Head Pixies by Gong – fades out after 20 secs
I am, you are, we are crazy…
Enters performance space dancing to the music – notices audience. STARTS TO READ
Mean temperature 6.3 degrees Celsius
Rainfall mostly light and plenty of sunshine
On December 28th over 6mm of rain fell
AND in the early hours of that same day
In a small council house in Manchester
A female child – who had spent the previous 5 days deliberating
about whether to be born, or not
and she was aptly named Mary
She lived in the house
in which she was born
For the next seven years
Getting up to all sorts of mischief
with her older brother and sister
When they were at school
She use to amuse herself by pestering her mum
But her favourite pastime
was playing alone in the garden at the back of the house
which to her eyes was an enchanted forest
full of secret places
and fairy folk
she really liked the teeny tiny
sparkly ones that lived in the delphiniums
When they came out of the flowers onto her outstretched palm
She felt tingly all over
and fancied she was dancing with them
in the heavens above
There were some bigger fairies
that used to hang out near the foxgloves
who would play peekaboo with her
They were very shy so she never got to see them up close
and soon, she lost interest in them
Her favourite fairies by far
were the ones who could fly
These sky beings
would lure her
into secret spaces
and whisper strange – and to her –
They were her best friends
Despite being one of the most loquacious children
she never spoke about her adventures to anyone.
But she never forgot them
that’s not strictly true …
Starting school was the first distraction
And then her baby brother was born
She began to think about her fairy friends less and less.
Although she did still go and look for them from time to time,
when she was feeling sad or lonely.
Finally, when she was seven
her family moved to a slum area
where the only flowers she saw were the rosebay willow herbs
growing on the still uncleared bombsites
Her connection to her magickal garden was severed
Surprisingly she didn’t miss it
Her natural curiosity was being satisfied by school
and she became a very motivated – if somewhat opinionated pupil.
That phase didn’t last long!
Along came the swinging sixties
full of revolutionary ideals,
and of course, sex and drugs and rock n roll
Apart from falling in love for the first time,
The only tangible magic in this period of her life was that she
she didn’t get pregnant or catch an STD
AND she even managed to get her degree!
She threw herself wholeheartedly into post uni life
Pursuing a career
Getting involved in theatre
Becoming politically active
But there was always something missing
Every now and again she would put on her rose coloured spectacles
and revisit the garden of her childhood
but now it was like looking through a faded photo album
She felt nothing
The fairy whispers had fallen silent
She began to question if this had really happened
Perhaps it was just an invention of her childish mind
Then wham bam
out of the blue
a bolt of magick struck that changed her life
It was June 11th 1987.
There was a low-pressure system hanging over the UK
bringing cool temperatures, showery skies and thunderstorms.
This was also the day when the camel’s back was finally broken
When Margaret Thatcher was re-elected for the third time!!!!
The trigger to radically change her life had finally been pulled
9 months later,
having packed up her life and said goodbye to family and friends
she emerged from the arrival hall at Subang airport
switch mode from 3rd to 1st person
I felt I was home.
I loved the heat
I loved the humidity
And most of all I loved how alive it all felt
I spent quite a few months travelling up and down the east coast
soaking it all in and regaining my youthful wonder of nature.
I began to find myself musing about what language Malaysian fairies
Was there a global fairy dialect?
In 1989 a new and similarly crazy friend, know to many as Antares,
introduced me to the Sg Chiling in Ulu Selangor
Long story short, a small group of us ended up renting a house overlooking the river with the purpose of establishing a community of artists…
It was paradise.
The child was awakening
magickal things began happening
Our nearest neighbours were a small tribe of Temuan Orang Asli
They lived in a small village on the next river and used to stop by for tea
on their forays into the Chilling area.
From them I heard stories of nagas,
and white spirit crocodiles.
Sitting in the Devil’s armchair – a naturally carved rock that made the perfect riverside seat – I would bless the forest and river
for their never ending tangible energy
I found that once again I could tune into the realm
that the sky fairies from my past had spoken of
On one occasion I even caught a glimpse of Pan
It was early evening and I was bathing in the river before night fell
when I suddenly felt I was being stared at.
<< you know that feeling, right?>>
There about 100 metres in front of me was a figure sitting cross-legged on a rock.
At first I thought it was one of our gang
but when I looked closer
I realized that this magnificent creature had the head and torso of a man
but the legs of a goat, or some other hooved animal.
No sooner had the name escaped from my lips – he was gone!
I never saw Pan again but his benign presence lingers in my life…
On another occasion,
while walking along a jungle trail at twilight with my friend Mak Minah
I heard a captivating call coming from the nearby clearing.
“Hey Mak Minah, What’s that sound?”
“ I hear nothing”
“Listen, there it is again”
“I hear nothing”
“How can you not hear it?”
“I HEAR NOTHING – JOM”
I finally got the hint and turned to rejoin her on the trail
Suddenly, the ground was literally pulled from under my feet…
The way magicians remove tablecloths without disturbing the tableware
I did the one and only back somersault of my life
and landed flat on my arse on the trail – laughing hysterically
Back in the safety of her house Minah gave me a right scolding…
“Don’t be deceived by these spirits, they will entice you into their world.
And don’t EVER say my name out loud in the jungle again!”
Back in the days when Minah was still alive,
the Orang Asli village sharman, Sudin,
used to conduct healing ceremonies
and once a year there would be a 3 day event called a Sawai
during which the Orang Asli renewed their kinship with their ancestors
and all of the nature spirits.
The first Sawai I went to was for Minah’s younger sister Indah, who had been sick a long time.
Sudin decided a Sawai was in order to ease her troubled spirit.
This was my first non-drug induced trance experience!
It was almost instantaneous – as soon as Sudin began calling the spirits
I felt connected to a tribal frequency that was
oh so different
and yet, at the same time
Once I was filming a Sawai for a documentary. It was being held in Indah’s house
and had been decorated with fragrant leaves and flowers from the jungle
to represent the forest.
As soon as Sudin started calling the spirits
I felt like someone had thrust a dagger into my solar plexus
I keeled over in pain
but managed to stagger outside where I lay in a fetal position.
Suddenly a voice …
“Go back inside and you’ll be okay”
The instant my feet crossed the threshold I felt the energy leave me.
Later Sudin berated me…
“Where’s your leaf?”
“What leaf????” This is the first time anyone’s told me about a leaf…”
Sudin later explained:
“The leaf makes you invisible to the spirits,
that’s why they come to me”
He had ‘seen’ the spirit enter me,
but before he could call it out, I had disappeared outside.
He said that the spirits are shy and won’t appear in the open,
so the only way to release it was to get me back inside the house
And the voice?
Sudan said it was that spirit whispering to my spirit.
In those days I used to hang out a lot with my now departed friend Chief
who had been a part of the Magick River community since the beginning.
One day we were returning from Kuala Lipis, after dropping some visitors off
when we passed an elderly gentleman walking by the side of the road.
It was around 2am
and we were in the middle of nowhere.
“I wonder if he wants a lift?”
Chief quickly turned the car around and we got out to talk to him.
He was dressed in old shabby clothes
and was carrying two plastic carrier bags which appeared to be full of rubbish.
Speaking in an old form of Malay, – which I couldn’t understand at all –
but Chief managed to figure out
He told us that he was returning from officiating at a wedding
and gesticulated into the distance.
He told us he didn’t need any help at all
assured us he was fine
and thanked us for our concern.
While we were chatting to him, a young man on a motorbike approached. He too stopped.
I was standing facing the road
and could clearly see the young man’s face.
Chief was one my right <gesticulates>
and the old gentleman on the left.
And as the conversation progressed I could see the motorcyclist was becoming more and more agitated…
Then I suddenly realized he couldn’t see the old gentleman at all
He must have thought he’d happened upon a right pair of loonies who were talking to thin air…
He got back on his bike and took off at some speed.
I don’t know for sure if it’s connected,
But on the drive home,
whenever we spoke about the old gentleman
an animal would appear by the roadside.
First it was a young clouded leopard, then a mongoose…
Over the years I’ve had many more experiences that are hard to explain
if you’ve never experienced a touch of divine madness
Some might say I’m crazy
And maybe I am
But I have learned that magickal things
can and do happen
if you reconnect with your childhood innocence
and pay attention.
In fact, I had another powerful encounter with magick only last month
Which is why I’m here today
But that’s another story, entirely.
As this is the inaugural PARI PARI DI klpac,
I have been given permission from the Council of Faeries to grant each and everyone of you your most desired wish.
But you must close your eyes.
Cover them with your hands if you think you might peep.
Otherwise, this fairy dust <holds up a small bag >
will sting your eyes.
Now think of something that makes you feel happy:
Gazing into your beloved’s eyes
BN loosing the next election….
OK – no peeping
Rings fairy bells and scatters dry, fragrant rose petals on the floor around the audience
Hides from view
Okay the spell is cast
You can open your eyes now
Mary Maguire is a slightly crazy lady who’s been round the sun more times than she likes to admit and has had a lifelong connection to fairies and all things magickal.
Are you a writer with works of your own to share? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org