Her iodine related pain had fled her, leaving Maggie feeling, oddly, exhilarated. In no way did she enjoy or welcome discomfort, let alone the sharp stinging agony she had just endured. Yet, she felt refreshed and somehow ‘more alive’. An alertness consumed her, and for the first time since her accident, she genuinely smiled.
Staring at the ceiling, wiping the sweat from her face and what hair she could reach, Maggie looked over at her mother.
“Mum.” she began. “I know you probably aren’t in the mood for it, but would you mind reading me another from the book. Anton’s trick to transfer my awareness from myself, to that of the story is making me feel a bit better. Would you mind?”
“Hmmmm…………….alright. Only a short one though.” replied Mrs. Trout. A trepidation inspired frown appeared on her gentle face. “I might just head to the ladies first, and dig up a cup of tea first though.”
Twenty minutes, and one cup of tea hunted and found later, Mrs. Trout opened the book.
“Now my dear, if you find concentrating to be too demanding, let me know and I will stop. You don’t need any more excitement.”
“I’ll tell you to stop if I need you to. Thank you Mum.”
“Here we go then, this looks reasonably short. ‘Wolgine the banished one’.”
‘In the time of dreaming, Ngilgi, a good spirit, chased Wolgine, an evil spirit, into a cave. The pair fought, and as it happened, Ngilgi defeated Wolgine. After their battle, Ngilgi banished Wolgine, who burst out of the cave he had hidden in, and disappeared from Ngilgi’s region forever.’
“Oh, Maggie. Ngilgi was the aboriginal spirit that inhabited ‘Yallingup Cave’.” Mrs. Trout said with surprise. “We took you kids there about fifteen years ago, staying in Dunsborough on the Christmas holidays. I think it was the same holidays your father got that big hook through his hand, and then decided to pull it out himself, instead of waiting to go to the doctors. He got that massive infection in it, and spent a night the hospital in Busselton as a result. Do you remember that?”
“I do now, although I had forgotten about it. I remember going into the cave too. I didn’t remember the name ‘Ngilgi’ though.”
“Okay, where was I? Ahhhhh…..”
‘Now a lost and wandering spirit, Wolgine ‘the banished one’ left his beautiful home, moving north from his place of plenty, and headed inland, away from his beloved ocean. Over time, many season’s, his name was forgotten. Through his wandering, he saw many tribes and people, he tried to join them in their ways and their lore, yet none would accept him. Again and again he was forced to move away, wandering further north and east, finally arriving at a place where the tribes had never seen the ocean, and lived in a place desolate and tired. Very little grew there, there were none of the creatures of the sea that he loved to eat, all he could find were screeching pink and grey galahs which held very little nourishment. The cancer bushes he tried to eat were harsh, and their bitterness made him ill. Kangaroo’s lived there, and he hunted them as they slept under trees and bushes, but the kangaroo ticks jumping on him from the scrub around the kangaroo’s, buried their horrible heads under his skin, and made him sicker again.
Wolgine slowly became a dying spirit, starved and sick. Without a name or home, with no one left to believe in him, he eventually died. His evil spirit left his form, and went back into mother earth. Because he was an evil spirit, evil leached from him, spreading down into the earth, slowly killing her with salt. Salt that killed the tree’s, and poisoned the creeks and water holes over the area. The ground his spirit entered, where it was not salt, became hard, and water could not penetrate it as it once did. Bush fires started because the country was so dry all of the time. So sick and bad did the country the rains stopped coming in the cold season. Everything got drier and drier, everything that lived, died. When the rains did come, huge floods came, washing the tribes away. Killing what trees and animals had survived, forcing the seasons to change, making the desolate place a much worse dead place.
Life for the tribes and people became very hard, and eventually, the elder’s stopped living as long as they once had. Tribal lore and memories learning started to get lost. Being fewer people to raid from, there were not enough women to take, and so less babies were born. Eventually the good people and tribes left their land. No one good remained, only the outcasts. Then, after not very long, many bad ones, those cowards who escaped spearing as was the lore they ran from, and would not face, moved there.
Finally, all of the good spirits left the land of the outlawed, and the scum. Those that were more beast than man.
All because of the banished one, and the sea salt that came from him in death.’
“Well. That was short and considerably horrible. I wonder where he was supposed of died?” Mrs. Trout said, looking up from the book to Maggie. Startled at what she, Mrs. Trout spoke up. “Maggie, what’s wrong? You’re crying.”
Unable to speak, Maggie said nothing. If she could have looked away she would have done. Not knowing how to negotiate and direct her emotions, she floundered in a sea of grief. Those physical injuries encapsulating her, were nothing compared to the pain she found flowing through herself. It was not the pain of the dying spirit cruelling her, it was the absence of any sensation the story evoked within her mind. Absolutely nothing. No smells. No imagery. No sensations. Nothing. Nothing had drawn her into the story. Nothing had spoken to her, nor fed her the dish of escapism in the manner of her previous experience of her mother reading to her. She did not realise prior the potent near narcotic effect the earlier articles had over her, having all occurred in such a short time. Worse, she did not have the words to express herself. How could she explain to her mother, anyone for that manner, of the experiences she had before hand.
“Sheer madness.” she said quietly to herself. “Utter madness.”
“Pardon dear?” questioned Mrs. Trout, now standing beside Maggie’s shoulder, holding Maggie’s hand in her own.
“Nothing Mum.” Maggie said between gulping sobs and torrents of unstoppable tears. “Can you leave please. I want to be alone. Please Mum.”
“I don’t know about that Maggie. What’s gotten you so worked up?” said Mrs. Trout, reaching across to press the buzzer for the nurse. “I think I will ask for Anton when the nurse comes.”
The overworked, underpaid nurse duly arrived in something of a fluster.
“Sorry for the delay. I was tied up with an uncooperative patient, and Dr. Gunn is doing rounds as well.” looking down the nurse finally saw Maggie. “Oh, Maggie what’s wrong?” she said with a mixture of empathy and concern. “Are you in pain? What happened?”
“Nothing’s wrong.” blubbed Maggie. “I’m just a bit teary, can I have something please?”
“Of course dear, but can it wait for five minutes? Dr. Gunn is nearly here to see you. Can you just hold off a little while longer until he has seen you?”
“Yes, I can wait, it really is nothing though.”
“As you say Maggie, but I haven’t seen you so worked up, ever, in the three weeks you have been with us.”
Seven minutes later, Dr. Gunn arrived, and took in the still weeping Maggie. With the nurse at his side he added a stronger sedative than the one Maggie was already on. Writing the drug up as a prn, or ‘as required’, dose. That done, he added to the notes that he would like Maggie to see the Clinical Psychologist at the first available opportunity, and, at the Clin. Psych’s discretion, to have Anton increase the routine of his visits with Maggie.
The sliver of bone in Maggie’s brain was moving once more.
Click the picture. This song, done acoustically by the original artist, is laden with two fists of nostalgia to batter my sensibilities, and give a longing to something long-lost. An irreplaceable, unrecoverable, treasure stolen by Father Time. It enters my ear, strikes my eardrum, and sends me rolling back through the years to a time, that for me at least, was something of the rarest beauty. And yet, was totally missed by myself in the moment. That said, and for the most part, creates the most wonderful recollections of my teenage years, whilst sliding away from the tragedy’s of the very same.
It is proof that music is what emotion sounds like, and retrospectively, the song isn’t really that great now either.
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