Kathleen Lund 2013/14
What happened to us?
Fairy in the Garden
There’s a fairy in the garden.
She’s laughing, playing, dancing.
She’s running through the flowers and lying in the daisies.
She’s wearing a purple dress to match her purple wings.
She’s watching other fairies and joining in their games.
They’re running through the trees and sitting in the grass.
They are sitting in a ring of red glowing mushrooms.
The fairies are lying down now; it’s been a busy day.
The fairy yawned a big yawn, her mouth’s a perfect O.
She falls asleep in the grass….
There’s a fairy in the garden.
She’s laughing, playing, dancing.
She’s running through the flowers and lying in the daisies.
She’s wearing her birthday purple dress to match her sewn on wings.
She’s dreaming dreams of fairies and sees them playing in her mind.
She’s wishing to meet some fairies and will do another day,
But for now mum’s calling ‘dinnertime,’
She’s running through the flowers, She’s running down the stairs.
She’s running through the house to find mum,
To tell her stories of her fairy friends
It’s cold outside. Frosty, icy, freezing. The cold bites you as you breathe. It rips through your lungs and tickles your nose. You can hardly think or move it’s so cold. You would much rather be in bed asleep. Cosy, comfy, warm. But a higher power is forcing you to suffer this unbearable cold while they sit inside in their artificial warmth. As you finally find a warm place to sit, nice and warm in the sun the bell rings and you have to move. You carry your heavy books to class. You open the door ……and get hit in the face with hot air. Steamy, stuffy, suffocating. Compared to the outside temperature it feels like walking into an oven. Your body finally acclimatizes, you work hard in class. The bell rings. You open the door…..and step outside into the biting cold outside. Frosty, icy, freezing.
Frosty, Icy, Freezing
Close up you can see everything. Every freckle on a face, every water drop on a flower, every vein on a leaf, every hair on an animal, every grain of sand on a beach, every speck of dust on a shelf. Everything is more magical close up.
What happened to the girl you knew?
The girl that was in love with you,
The girl who would look up to you,
The girl who always trusted you.
What happened to the girl you knew?
The girl that was defined by you,
The girl who always tried for you,
The girl that would have died for you.
What happened to the girl you knew?
The girl that you were lying to,
The girl with no appeal to you,
The girl who was a game for you.
This is what happened to the girl you knew
The girl who’s heart you broke in two
Who has one thing to say to you
“You killed her, dead, she’s gone. We’re through”
The Black Feather
The wedding had been three years ago, the relationship started two more years before that. Our love had grown from long term friendship that started in our teenage years and continued through our adult life. Mia, she was my world, I’m not ashamed to admit. We had been fine, we had been perfect. Her body expanded with the life that we had created together and she glowed with it. We lived together in an unordinary house in an unordinary field. We rarely had visitors, we hadn’t kept contact with old friends. The only way we kept up with the outside world was through the eight o’clock news. We were isolated on our own little island surrounded by grass and weeds.
Mia was six months pregnant when we first got a pamphlet in the letterbox (from a group called the black feather). ‘Are we really alone on this earth?’ it asked, ‘who are we really descended from?’ She was bewitched. She was fascinated. She insisted on attending the information night that was being advertised. I agreed, wary of her swollen belly, careful not to stress her beyond what was necessary. I hoped it wasn’t one of those new groups, they were appearing everywhere according to the news. There were all sorts of strange stories, mostly about children disappearing. Her happiness overwhelmed my concern. We agreed she could attend, as long as she didn’t overexert herself.
I drove her there, I didn’t go in. I wasn’t in the least bit interested. I pasted a smile on my face when she talked about it, knowing that was the encouragement she needed to enjoy herself when she did go inside. I escorted her to the door, always protectively hovering around her awkward body as she uncoordinatedly attempted to adjust to the extra space her belly now took up. She looked slightly wary at the lights on inside the center, it had been a quite a while since either of us had been into town for any reason apart from baby checkups and ultrasounds.‘You don’t have to go’ I told her.‘I want to’ she replied, ‘It feels right’.
One hour later I saw the doors open and people began to flood out, I felt uneasy at the sight of the crowd, so many people crammed into such a small place would have had me gasping for air in minutes. I was certain Mia would be uncomfortable, her pregnancy had made her more prone to claustrophobia than usual. I was ready to comfort her and assure her that she wouldn’t have to attend another of these ‘meetings’. That we could go home and focus on us. I would rub her back, her shoulders, her ankles, the way she liked it. The way she had been needing it this last month. As I prepared to get up and meet her at the door I saw her come out, surrounded by laughing people and laughing herself. She was emerged in deep conversation with at least ten people, men and women alike. I was shocked, and deep inside me jealousy started to grow. They escorted her to the car, opening the door for her and offering her assistance. Not one of them acknowledged my existence. I was about to remark about their rudeness when she turned to me and beamed, her whole face was lit up in a way that I had never seen it. She told me that she had been enlightened about the world and herself, that she knew things I would never believe. I told her that I was glad she was happy, then I switched my brain onto auto for the drive home, blocking out every crazy, delusional word that tumbled from her mouth.
Two months had passed. Mia didn’t so much walk as roll, she rarely left her bed or a close by couch except to go to those damned meetings. Once a week for one hour. When it was time to leave the house for them she bounced, her fatigue and discomfort forgotten. After all the meetings that she had attended I still did not fully know what they were about. She had tried to explain a few times about the supernatural beings and something called an Unseelie Court(but it bounced off my brain like a fly off a window). One thing I did know was that her new friends felt like they were important enough to visit our little sanctuary. The first time one of them arrived at our door I was speechless.‘You must be the husband.’ A short stumpy woman with grey speckled hair barked.
‘Who the fuck are you?’ I asked with no idea why we were being attacked with this unannounced company.
‘A believer’ she replied and pushed right past me, finding Mia in our bed and closing the door behind her, building a wall between me and my wife in our own home for the first time in our love.
Every meeting that Mia was at, I always waited in the car park. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her alone with these strangers that were her ‘friends’, but I also couldn’t go in with her. ‘Unwelcome’ screamed from all the doors, windows when I approached. I usually listened to the radio, the stories of the cults and killings in the name of fairies and ghouls. More reason to stay at home. It was one of these nights while she was eight months pregnant that she didn’t come back out after the hour. I waited an extra ten minutes in the car, thinking that maybe it was just a run over, though there had never been one run over so far. After that time I approached the screaming building, my body physically resisting, attempting to pull me back to the safety of my car. My concern overwhelmed my own fear, I opened the door and followed the corridor that I always watched Mia waddle down. I came to a room at the end, it was large; more like a hall than a room. There were hundreds of seats, all arranged in a giant circle. It was completely empty of people. The silence hung on the air like the dust on the floor.
She rocked our baby girl at the end of our bed. Any time I tried to hold her, baby Lulu screamed. I sat on the bed feeling completely useless, unable to help my wife calm our baby no matter how much I tried. Mia insisted that she didn’t mind, that it gave her a chance to bond with our baby. She was two weeks old now, I wasn’t there for her birth. Labor had begun during the meeting, all of her ‘friends’ claimed that they rushed her to the hospital. I just accepted this story whenever it was repeated. I knew it was a lie. When I hadn’t found her in the hall of a room that day, I searched the building, every room, every cupboard. I realized that she couldn’t be there, so I’d gone back to my car and driven to the main part of town, I checked every doctor’s office, the hospital, and even reported it to the police. They had just laughed at me, insisting that the people of the Black feather were good people, always contributing to the community. I had driven home in a frenzy, I was desperately hoping that there was a note or something, anything that would suggest that she was okay. I found her in our room, in bed with baby Lulu in her arms, with fifty people that I’d never seen before. She beamed when she saw me, excited to show me the baby but I couldn’t focus on her. Fifty pairs of eyes were glaring at me, unfaltering and unkind.
Lulu was 4 months old now. I still couldn’t hold her without her screaming, but I loved her completely. She was absolutely perfect, her little fingers, her scrunched up feet, her blue eyes and her rosy lips. She was as beautiful as her mother, with the same intense stare. Her hair was pitch black, though mine was mousy blonde and Mia’s was brown. Mia and I hadn’t talked in a while, barely saying a sentence to each other in a day. Now that her body was back to its original size and completely her own, she had taken to driving herself to her weekly meetings. Every day five or six of the black feather members wandered in, playing with Lulu and bringing her presents. I occasionally overheard them explaining to Mia that Lulu was special, chosen (whatever that meant.) All I cared about was that my family were being stolen from me. The door was constantly left unlocked for them. I spent a lot of my time outside, the fields had never looked better. There were no weeds and it was all mown. The potted plants around the house were all flowering and I arranged them in a way so that I could teach Lulu the colors that was if I could ever hold her without her screaming.
6 months old now. Lulu’s room was adjacent to ours. I couldn’t sleep at night. I went in and out of states of depression. My garden was ruined. I’d come home from the liquor shop one day and all my flowers were dead, turned shriveled and black in their pots. I received no answer when I inquired about their sudden demise. Mia ignored me, just as her friends had when they first saw me. We hadn’t talked since she tried to explain what happened during the meetings. She began her sentence with ‘Fairies are real’. After that I just couldn’t listen, she tried to explain that we were all descended from fairies, that we all had the ability to unlock our heritage as long as we believe. I screamed at her that she was insane, I begged her to see reason, if not for me then for our daughter. She continued insisting that they were real, and that she had evidence, that they had helped her give birth to Lulu. She told me that Lulu was a chosen child, to be protected by the fairies at all costs. I had stormed out of the house at that. I had wanted to take Lulu and leave, to get Mia the help she obviously needed. I wanted us to run away from the controlling cult and keep her safe. But I couldn’t even hold Lulu without her screaming, we would not get far.
Mia and I were lying in bed together. We were both awake but we didn’t say anything. We just stared at the ceiling. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to do something. I sat up and looked directly at her. She mirrored my movements, staring intensely at me, wary, uncertain.‘This isn’t working Mia, you need help. I can’t live with you if you are going to insist on believing these delusional fantasies. I will not allow my daughter to be raised in a harmful environment. If you don’t leave, I will. And I’ll take Lulu with me.’‘You can’t take her, she’s chosen, you can’t!” Mia replied, panicking as she did.‘THEY’RE NOT REAL MIA! FAIRIES ARE NOT REAL!’ I screamed, willing her to see reason.Mia just stared at me, her eyes were wide and rounded and beginning to turn glassy. I watched as a single tear streamed down her cheek. Without warning she broke the stare and turned away from me, facing the window. I leant over to comfort her but before I could touch her back I pulled my hand away sharply. Dark red stains had appeared on the back of her white night gown, between her shoulder blades. I could see droplets of blood landing on the sheets where she sat. She stood up and the droplets ran down her legs onto the floor. Suddenly she screamed, high and piercing and growing in volume. Two enormous black feathered wings ripped through her skin, through the fabric, spraying the entire room with blood as they stretched out. Without turning to me, or acknowledging my existence in the room in anyway, she opened the window and stepped out, completely naked. I watched her fly across the sky, and it wasn’t long before her dark shadow was flying with other dark shadows. The Fairies continued their flight towards the full moon and I watched until I couldn’t see them anymore. I stood with my mouth open, tears streaming down my face. I felt like my entire life had been ripped to shreds with Mia’s nightgown, now in a bloody mess on the floor. While I stood there I suddenly panicked, oh god! I ran to the bedroom door and ripped it open. I ran into Lulu’s room, bashing the light switch on my way. The crib was empty. On the pillow was a black, bloodstained feather.
Tick Tock Goes The Clock
Monday, August 25th
We put the hands on today.
The clocks will start, time will start. The effort will pay off. A whole semester’s work, designing and creating. This is what I love. Designing. It is my passion. I see the world through design, I see the object and think of its creation. Handmade? Bulk-produced? What materials? What method?
I am proud of my clock. I spent hours designing it at home. It will chime on the hour, it will tick every second. The shape is perfect. A wooden base, mahogany, stained and ready. All it needs is the hands. I can’t wait. I’ve allowed myself to be excited about this. Miss Turner walks over, she hands me the hands. “It looks amazing” she says. I smile at her. She’s my favorite teacher. “Put the hands to your favorite time” she says. I put them at 9.00 o’clock. My friends laugh at me, they ask why I put it when school starts. I just smile at them. They don’t know.
The hands are on, they’re all about to start. We all put the batteries in. I wait for the chime. I keep waiting. Everyone else’s clocks chime, different times for everyone. And I keep waiting.
It doesn’t work, all the effort, all the time, all the hoping. And it doesn’t work.
“Your clock is amazing”, Amy Walker says. “Congratulations”, Andy Wilkins says. “It doesn’t work”, I say. Because it doesn’t. They keep on talking but I don’t hear. I just hear the silence, the absence of ticking. It didn’t work, and time stood still.
Wednesday, September 10th
1382400 seconds overdue. 16 days without ticking. We take our clocks home today, we begin our designs of shelves. I have no ideas. No thought on materials, no thoughts on method. “I expect great things from you James” Miss Turner tells me, I smile at her, but she doesn’t know that I failed. She doesn’t know that I couldn’t make time start.
In literature, “Great essay, amazing understanding”.
In Maths, “Brilliant test results, 95 percent”.
“But you don’t know,” I tell them in my head, “You don’t know about that clock”.
End of the school day, I carry the empty, broken clock on the bus. It is awkward to carry, The shape is crooked. The shape is wrong. “What a beautiful design” Andrea White says. “It must have taken ages” Alexander Ward says. “It doesn’t work”, I say. Because it doesn’t. They keep on talking but I don’t hear. I just see the immobile hands, still stuck on 9.00 o’clock.
Friday, September 19th
It is the last day of school. The holidays begin. Every class gives homework, read a novel for Literature, finish 3 chapters for Maths, watch a documentary for Health, Write a practice test for Psychology. And finish the shelves design for Wood tech.
I look for inspiration, I search through books, I search through pictures. I can’t see them.
I arrive home. Mum is at work. I drop my bag, heavy, on the ground. I lie down on the couch, my eyes creep shut.
The door shuts, Mum is home. I look at the store bought clock. 9.00pm. “it was a long shift,” she says. “I know.” I say. She goes to the kitchen. I hear her making food. I look at my clock, in its home about the fireplace. “It’s the right time now,” I say. “What was that?” She asks.
Wednesday, September 24th
Why doesn’t it work? What is causing it? I did everything right, there shouldn’t be a problem. I take it down and put it on the table. I pull apart the gears. Back together again. Doesn’t work. Maybe it’s the batteries? I go to the store. I replace the batteries. Doesn’t work.
It’s back on the fireplace, and it says 9.00 o’clock.
Monday, October 6th
First day back. My homework isn’t done. The time wasn’t there. I slept through the days, I stared through the night. Mum had long shifts, Mum didn’t know.
Monday, October 20th
4924800 seconds overdue. 57 days without ticking. Our designs are due in. “I’m sure whatever you have is great James” says Miss Turner. I hand in a blank page. She looks at me and I smile at her.
In literature, “Poor essay, basic understanding”.
In Maths, “Low test results, 35 percent”.
“You don’t know,” I tell them in my head, “You don’t know about that clock”.
Tuesday, October 21st
Parent teacher interviews today. Mum had to trade her shifts to get here. All the teachers say the same. “Great kid” they say “but his work standard is dropping”. We see Miss Turner. “There is a school art show” she says, “We were wondering if you could bring your clock in to display for Wood-tech.” “That would be amazing” Mum said. “James is really proud of that clock, he talked about it for weeks. We have it displayed on the fireplace.” I smile at Miss Turner. I smile at mum. I don’t tell them that it doesn’t work. They won’t want it if they knew.
Friday, October 24th
The art show opening is tonight. I’m not going. I carried in my broken clock earlier today and gave it to Miss Turner. “You have so much talent,” she says. I smile at her. She hasn’t noticed that it is broken, she hasn’t noticed that it doesn’t work.
I’m at home. The store bought clock says 7.00pm. The art show is about to begin. I know that people will laugh at it. “Why is there a broken clock on display?” they will ask. “Who made the broken clock?” They will ask.
Mum just left. She has a nighttime shift. I go to sleep early. I can’t sleep. All I can think about is the laughter. I need to get rid of the silence. I need to start the time again. I climb out of bed.
Monday, October 27th
Dear members of the staff and students,
An extremely tragic event has taken place within the schools community. We have been informed by the authorities that one of our students passed away on Friday. There will be a full school assembly in the first two periods of the day to pay our respects to our dearly departed year 12 student who claimed his own life just days before he completed his high school education. James Keely you will be sorely missed by all your friends, teachers and family. Rest in peace.
Please note that counselling is being set up for all students or staff members that feel they require the extra assistance in coping with this devastating circumstance. To receive this help please remain behind after today’s assembly.
Signed Anthony Winston, School Principal
I have reread the email eleven times and counting. I still refuse to believe a word. The smiling, bright, charming boy in my class is gone? No. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen here. He was just having a bad day, every day, for two months. It never occurred to me that it could have been more. I should have seen it. I should have stopped this. School starts in 20 minutes and I have to escort a class to the assembly. I can’t. I can’t even breathe.
I get up from my desk. I wander through my classroom. I feel the flood of salt water behind my eyes, threatening to spill. But I ignore them, and they stay hidden. I walk out the door. I walk to the gallery. I walk past all the paintings, sketches, pots and furniture. I walk straight to the main display, the feature of the art show.
I stare at the perfect shape, the mahogany wood and the gorgeous finishing stain. The tears flood down. And the clock chimes 9.00 o’clock.