Returning to childhood territories, I found myself wandering past the old Garden House pub at the end of Pembroke Road. As I came closer to the small block of flats across the road from the pub, I noticed that the ambience was filled with exotic, enchanting birdsong.
I tried to establish where the beautiful melodies were coming from, then my curiosity became astonishment as I realised that the sounds were coming from a kind of passion flower vine growing all over the surface of the building. Each flower was alive, a stunningly elegant display of undulating petals and stamen structures with bird-like beak areas at the stamens and it was these flowers from which the glorious song originated. I stood almost hypnotised at the richly textured melodies emanating in chorus from the singing vine.
Somehow I transitioned to find myself standing in the lush grass of a lawn at a country house where a summer fete was taking place. I noticed that my old friend from school, Steven, was standing with me. We took a short stroll across the lawn to get a closer look at a square manhole cover that seemed incongruously positioned centrally in the grassy area. We lifted the hatch open and peered down into a deep concrete access shaft with a metal ladder running down one side of it. Instead of seeing darkness at the bottom, there appeared to be a bright source of light. Steven and I agreed to climb down and investigate.
As we made a slow and somewhat cautious descent, I became aware that there was a new sound in the air; a pulsing thrum of fluttering wings. From the brilliant light at the bottom of the shaft, a swarm of flying creatures resembling something like a cross between bats and tribal tattoos ascended at a tremendous speed. The exposed skin of my arms became instantly tattooed as the creatures flew past me. They were latching on to us at an alarming rate, so without hesitation, Steven and I quickly clambered back up the ladder in a startled state until we reached the entrance to the access shaft once again.
When we surfaced back at the garden fete, the weather had turned from sunny to a heavy rain storm, I watched as the water washed my tattoos away.
Beaming to another location, I found myself racing along a lost highway in a stolen car, the mood I was experiencing was a ratcheting of tension as I thought to myself “Why am I racing down this road at night when I don’t even drive?”
As if none of that mattered at all, I swerved onto an exit ramp and promptly arrived with a screeching halt at a magnificent gothic church. I climbed out of the car and walked towards a family gathered at the entrance. The family were dressed in black, looking very gothic themselves. A mental soliloquy began to form in my mind
“We are a special breed, these are my brethren, I belong with this family and we do not die.” Everything was becoming a bit of a goth fest.
The thought was interrupted by the appearance of a floating object to the right of my head.
It was a stone carved bust of a roaring panther in alabaster. Its expression was fierce yet I innately knew that there was nothing to fear from this beast as it too was part of the family I had discovered myself belonging to, it was my kin.
The floating stone panther, began to slowly fade, as it did so, I casually noticed that flickers of a real living panther would replace the carved features of magnificent cat. As the fading animal started looking more real, it turned its face to me and spoke. It told me something deep and true, I knew that its words were comforting and profound, but…these were not words that my conscious mind was privy to knowing once the dawn of a new day had dissolved the scene and the deeper insights within it.