"gradually I've come to realise that my house is haunted by the ghost of a dead astronaut"

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

63. I Meet Mud Woman

"I could no longer deny that the events that had taken place since I arrived at Mordan House were to me actual events, even though they crumbled to the touch. In ways, they were no less real than a chair or a table. Somehow a shift in my thinking had happened like an undertow gradually swelling to the surface and finally breaking though in a moment of sweet awareness and sweet relief"

I stood on a verge. But more than one verge.

Beneath my feet was the edge of the gravel driveway outside Mordan House; ever so slightly before me, one small step away, was the grass slope that contained the lines of trammelled grass clearly made by two tyre tracks that disappeared into undergrowth, bushes and trees further down the slope.

But I also stood on the edge of ignorance that appeared to verge on knowledge. Beneath my feet were natural stones broken up by man into equal sizes and scattered before a human home, each stone made somewhat unnatural and functional, and all grouped together for uniformity of colour and consistency. Yet where the tyre tracks went was more wild and mysterious, much more natural. Where I stood was characterised by events that had seemed to promise facts, but that had all turned into vapour; where I wanted to go was to the place beneath facts, yet a place no less real. I could no longer deny that the events that had taken place since I arrived at Mordan House were to me actual events, even though they crumbled to the touch. In ways, they were no less real than a chair or a table. Somehow a shift in my thinking had happened like an undertow gradually swelling to the surface and finally breaking though in a moment of sweet awareness and sweet relief. I now no longer seemed to be asking the world to reveal to me what was fact and what was fantasy. The definitions seemed arbitrary. The pursuit unsatisfactory.

These thoughts kept me company as I walked down the slope, in between the lines made by a car’s tyres. It helped to distract me, this considering of an idea – a philosophy almost – as I walked forwards through the dark greens and browns of autumnal foliage that crackled beneath my feet and rustled as I pushed my way through partially-trampled briars.

Yes, it seemed to me that sometimes, in order to move forward in life, the difference between dream and reality is unimportant. All forces are merely forces to be battled, so battle them all, regardless of what they are. Only when a battle is won is it a good time to ask: what the hell was that anyway?

Ahead of me, through a wall of trees stretching far ahead, I could see a flash of shiny, metallic redness.

What the hell was that? No. I pushed the question away. I would ask myself that another time. It was redness, that was all. Redness that I was moving towards, following the tracks of pressed-down leaves and broken branches and crushed weeds. Pressing and breaking and crushing in the wake of what had been this way sometime before me.

I stopped. There was a mixture of sounds coming from up ahead. From the direction of the metallic redness. A sound of moving, of upset. Perhaps digging. And mixed with human sounds. The sound of grunting and perhaps whispering. The sky above my head was a dull grey and I glanced up, then back where I had come, trying to get a sense of my bearings and how far I had walked. Slower than before, I started to edge forward again.

Was this a new verge, or the same one? Would these oncoming moments answer actual questions or raise more? Quell me or confound me further?

"There was a mixture of sounds coming from up ahead. From the direction of the metallic redness. A sound of moving, of upset. Perhaps digging. And mixed with human sounds. The sound of grunting and perhaps whispering. The sky above my head was a dull grey and I glanced up, then back where I had come, trying to get a sense of my bearings and how far I had walked. Slower than before, I started to edge forward again"

What the hell was that anyway? Definitely voices. One male and one female. Only one male? Only one female? No. I pushed the question away, even as I became utterly sure that the metallic red flash before me was Psychic Psusan’s car, just as I had suspected. Yet even as I tried to push away the related thought that it was Psusan herself that was before me, I saw that the car and the people were in a small clearing that I was only a few metres away from. A gap opened up in the trees and the daylight became brighter as my hand rested on the trunk of a tree and I saw before me a large hole dug into the earth –
nearly big enough for a car – and discerned that the voices were coming from inside the hole. Who the hell was she with? Why would Psusan take her car down here? Why was she digging an enormous hole? And who was her male companion? Or companions?

I wished momentarily that I was psychic – with or without the silent ‘P’. Oh yes, I thought, if I were psychic the last thing I would care about was whether my ‘P’ was silent or not!

I stood on a verge. But more than one verge. I felt the edge of the hole under my feet and peered down inside. There was a ladder at the far end to help the diggers get in and out of the hole. There were indeed two people. One male and one female. But all I could take in was how much they were caked in mud from the digging they were carrying out. Their legs, arms, the entirety of their clothing, their faces, their hair, a covering of thick mud.

It must have been the individual’s build, but all of a sudden I recognised one of the two people unmistakeably. But not due to any pungent odour. No, not this time. This time it was something else about the Smelly God, my local handyman, that caused me to recognise him. 

"There were indeed two people. One male and one female. But all I could take in was how much they were caked in mud from the digging they were carrying out. Their legs, arms, the entirety of their clothing, their faces, their hair, a covering of thick mud"

With a start, he looked up and saw me. With a start, his female companion looked up too.

It had been a while since I’d last seen her. It had been a while since I thought she’d abandoned me while I was in hospital and since I thought it likely that I would never see her again.

She smiled and threw her spade down on the earth floor. “Oh look, it’s the silly moo-moo! Got yourself a new lung yet, Steph?”

I’d seen my best friend Dizzie Lizzie so many times. In so many designer outfits. In so many unpractical pairs of shoes. In so many circumstances where action was avoided due to the fact that it would compromise appearance. The cleanest, most pristine, most preened, most elegant and dainty person I had ever met was now before me wallowing in dirt.

There was no pushing the question away. “What the hell are you doing?”

Lizzie knitted her brow, shook her head and put her hands on her hips. “What? What am I doing?” she cried out in absolute indignation. Then she pointed at herself in a grand and defiant manner. “I’m Mud Woman and I’m burying that car so you don’t get nabbed by the cops, that's what I'm doing! You silly, silly, silly moo-moo!”

My eyebrows raised dramatically and immediately I found that I no longer stood on any verge at all. Shocked at Lizzie’s words, I'd slipped on the mud and fell into the hole.

Next instalment: 64: Muddy Facts

2 comments:

logankstewart said...

Nice!

Stephanie Fey said...

... if you like mud, that is! ;)

Steph x