Episode 10. Home?
I was home and dawn was breaking..this had been the longest dawn ever in my varied experience. The accompanying breeze suprisingly was ruffling the curtains. Suprising because I never opened that casement with the ever present possibility of roaming possums. I lay back, gradually taking in the old familiarities, or hoping to.
What I saw made my heart skip a beat. So much was as it had always been..the bed, piles of books scattered in front of the window. The changes I then noticed were subtle, but definite. The increasing light revealed the ceiling have become a dark purple, now matching the once forest green lampshades. The frames were all on the wall on their old positions, but closer examination showed the subjects to be changed. The rolling hills of the South-west Arthurs in Tasmania were now the mountains in Umbria I had flown over in my journey. The gypsies too were frozen in a moment of dance where once Tuscan villas were sketched. In place of my grand-parent's wedding, still in the same intricate gold frame, was an unmistakable portrait of my guide Sophia. Her eyes seemed to be watching me knowingly. Disarmingly. But to my horror, my beautiful, peaceful St Hannah had been irrefutably replaced by the outline of none other than Sophia's alter-ego, SYBIL! her long bony fingers tracing indecipherable words on the pages in her lap. A flash...was it that lightning again?...flickered through the room.
Bewildered I turned towards the prone body under the covers beside me. Closer examination was necessary but fear had gripped my soul and squashed any courage I might have summoned.
I crept out of bed, scared witless. I needn't have worried, or need I? Hesitant peering and poking showed there was NOTHING there gently pulsating with simulated life. Nothing. 3D of nothing.
Holy Toledo! Heavens to Betsy! What and Where and How, but for sure I wasn't at home at all. As sure as anti-matter existed I was at some anti-home! I fled up the hall to retrace my steps, noting as I ran the ball of fluff I thought had greeted my arrival was non other than a sleeping raven. Now stirring.
Again I raced towards the garage door, fumbling in blind panic with the obstinant and little-oiled latch in my eagerness to escape. Blundering forward I found myself falling headlong into a chilly
murky pool of water. White water rafting may have crossed my mind in the past, but simply swimming? Not. As my reluctant toes felt no sand or, shudder, mud or weeds, underfoot I had no option but to strike out. Breastroke.
By the time I had exhausted my repertoire of swimming styles, interspersed with lots of simply floating, I was not only becoming exhausted, but desperate. The gloom started at last to lift and I saw that in fact I was in quite a small billabong. Well at least that accounted for the eucalyptus smell and the tannin-coloured water I was by now simply trying to stay afloat in. I must have been swimming in circles for hours! It was then a squidgy repulsive ooze became evident underfoot and I was able to heave myself onto the bank. Standing over me, her hands on her hips, was Sophie!
"Heavens, child. I told you to go home! To escape from Sybil before she could take you to her cave."
"I think she did catch me" I sobbed in dismay, describing the anti-home I had found myself in.
"You were lucky to escape.Sybil works in mysterious and devious ways. You must start your journey towards home again. Find the Amazon Queen and follow Her directions. You will find her heading for Ithaka. That is the only true way home now." Sophia counselled. Even as she spoke, she walked towards and into the tea-coloured water, and disappeared.
Where will I find the Amazon Queen?
Is she coming? Or has she been?
Or, is she somewhere in between?
Will she greet me with a croak?
Swirl around in a long red cloak?
or, look more like ordinary folk.
Perhaps some young thing, sweet but strong
Urging me to "come along"
Bewitching travellers with a siren's song.
So I search for this Queen of Amazon
Follow the path she'll set me on
and hope that Sybil is once and for all..GONE!