Friday, 17 April 2020

my dog was hurt

I walked towards home with my dog along Joslin Street, a street in the suburb of Newcastle where I grew up. It was late afternoon and the light was fading. My dog, Billie, was off-leash. We passed a house on the opposite side of the road where an elderly woman lived with her three small dogs. We’d walked only a short distance further, when behind us we heard the lady open her front door and call to her dogs, ushering them inside. Billie ran back along the path and crossed the road to play with the little dogs in her front yard. I felt worried about Billie being on the road and also anxious the lady would call Billie inside and attempt to take her from me. I wanted Billie back by my side.

At the same time, ahead of me, another dog walked along the footpath towards me. I was alarmed by this dog’s energy: it was menacing and dangerous. I noticed its eyes were different colours – one blue, one brown – and its thick, bristly coat was shades of grey, brown, black and white. It was a strong dog and, as it reached me, it jumped up at me. I kept my voice steady and told it to stay down, then I turned around to see where Billie was and what she was doing. I knew I shouldn’t turn my back on this strange dog but my instinct was to protect Billie. I called for my dog.

Billie ran back across the road, narrowly missing a car driving at speed. When I saw she’d made it safely to this side of the street, I turned around again to see what the other dog was up to. It wasn’t there. I turned back around again, only to see my girl Billie surrounded – the dominant dog and its pack were advancing on her, about to attack. Billie’s tail was down and she was visibly shaking. I called her and she darted between them, finding the courage to run to me. I shouted at the other dogs, sending them away.

I placed my hands on my dog, feeling her sides, her face, calming her, but when I took my hands away, I saw blood on my palms. I looked more closely and found bite marks on her body, the wounds deep. Somehow, in the time it had taken me to turn around, she’d been hurt. Though she’s a big dog, I picked her up and tenderly cradled her in my arms. She morphed a few times, changing into a baby girl with big blue eyes and back into her dog form. Blood trickled out of her eye and down her face. She looked beaten and I felt devastated. I knew I had to get her quickly to a vet, but it was now night and I was on foot. I woke.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

opportunities lost, obstacles and snakes

We sat down in the cinema, on the right-hand side towards the front. As we settled, for some reason, I removed my boots. The movie was soon to begin. I looked around in the semi-darkness and saw my friend sitting alone in the furthest seat of the same row, over on the other side of the cinema. My heart leapt. My partner left for a moment, perhaps to buy something to eat, and because I’d already removed my boots, I decided to text my friend. ‘I can see you’, I attempted to type, but all the letters turned into emojis and my message was indecipherable. I erased it and tried again but again my message changed. My partner returned and announced there was something wrong in the projection room. It became clear the movie wouldn’t be screened so people began to file out. I hurriedly tried to put my boots back on but the process of lacing them took longer than usual. My friend rose to leave and walked up the isle. I called out but there was too much noise in the theatre and she left. I felt disappointed because I miss her dearly. It was an opportunity lost. I finally finished lacing my boots and left the cinema. My partner was nowhere to be seen.

Outside, I realised I was on a vast university campus and I couldn’t remember the way out. There were market stalls set up around the place and I had to walk through them to navigate my way across the courtyard. I saw a beautiful striped shirt hanging on a wire hanger at the end of a rack of clothing in one of the stalls. I doubled back to take a better look but it had gone. I continued on but the courtyard merged into corridors, which merged into vast auditoriums, then indoor swimming pools, then more rooms with stairs and elevators. I slumped on the ground, exhausted, trying to fathom my way. A couple of young women gave me directions and so I continued. More courtyards, stairwells and such, then, finally, I found myself at the edge of the campus but, now, night was falling and no one was around.

I hesitated and turned around, thinking I might go back to try to find my partner but stopped in horror. My path was blocked by perhaps a hundred snakes of different sizes and colours. None were moving; rather, all were poised as though ready to strike, their bodies frozen mid attack. I knew one false move and they’d be upon me. In particular, I noticed one enormous brown snake, his head almost as big as mine, his body long and powerful, each scale defined, his eyes alert. I daren’t run. I couldn’t move forward. Instead, I instinctively raised my arms and hands in front of me – a double stop signal – and commanded them to go away. ‘Get back,’ I said. Nothing happened and I felt I needed to say it again, more loudly, with more conviction and power. Again, nothing happened. Instead, the most dangerous of the snakes, the king brown, advanced on me, threatening to attack. His face was only a couple of feet from mine and I stared into his eyes. I straightened my arms in front of me, spread my fingers as wide as I could, summoned all my power and desperation, drew my strength from the earth, and this time yelled at the snakes at the top of my lungs, swearing loudly, my true feelings clear.

Immediately the snakes recoiled, each into its own brown paper bag. The ground opened beneath them and they fell into a pit. The pit was so wide, a couple of young women stumbled at its edge. One fell in and I caught the other and dragged her away from the hole to safety. I looked over the edge and saw all the snakes writhing away, ushered by men in white uniforms into a white room like a laboratory. The young woman who’d fallen was standing upright, calling out to say she was fine, she’d not been hurt, but rather than helping her back up, the men ushered her away with the snakes. As they went, before the door closed behind them, I saw her body begin to transform: her ribs extended out from her body, stretching her skin taut like an alien. I knew she’d been bitten and was changing form.

Monday, 19 November 2018

beautiful man

He was a herculean man with long flaxen hair and pale golden skin that glowed with a certain sheen – a lustre – not unlike a pearl. He seemed lit from within. He stood outside the crowded hotel in a state of half-undress and enacted some kind of dance. It was as though the madness had taken him too far. I didn’t see it happen, but I knew he would be beaten and left for dead, for the man was too beautiful for this world. Sure enough, when next I looked, he was lying in a shallow sea. The water was shadowy and green but so clean and clear, I could see every detail of his being. A weak stream of bubbles escaped from his lips and rose to the surface. I was not certain if he was barely alive, the bubbles his breath, or if his dead body was simply deflating. As I watched, a mermaid creature swam over him. I could not see her face as she was fixated on the beautiful man, but her hair was long and green like seaweed, her skin was cast with an algae-like hue and her scaly, emerald tail shimmered like peacock feathers. She waved her arms over his body, covered him with her hair and embraced him. In her arms, I could see his form reviving, reverting, revisiting his childhood. I knew she would take him to be with her, under the sea. As though she sensed me watching her, the mermaid suddenly looked directly up at me from under the water, startled, and I was surprised to see her face was that of a cat’s – a furry grey face with candescent sea-green eyes. In an instant, she somersaulted and flicked her powerful tail, causing the waters to swirl and sand to rise, clouding the sea, and she and the man disappeared forever into the deep.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


I walked the streets of an unfamiliar town on dusk. There was a pub on every corner. No traffic, just men, who walked the town and mooched about outside pub doors. I felt uncomfortable, so I willed myself up into the air. Rather than walking through the crowd, I floated above, out of reach.

Later, I walked out of a doorway into the street. Tall men mooned about and violence seemed certain to erupt. This time, I willed myself down under the ground where I swam through earth. I thought of underground creatures, like ants and snakes, but I felt more comfortable in this subterranean world than wading through the throng of men above ground. Once I'd passed under the crowd, I emerged from the earth and went on my way.

Still later, I watched as a woman of around sixty years clutched at her chest. She was in great pain and it seemed she was having a heart attack. Moments later, she shrugged it off, recovering quickly. I realised she was extremely fit –– someone who trained every day. Again, she grabbed at her chest, her heart paining her, and again, she regained her composure quickly. The woman called a friend to ask what was happening to her. Her friend told her her enemy was attempting to kill her by willing her to have a heart attack, but her level of fitness protected her.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

winning gold and cult

I was visiting a local shopping centre and decided to enter a competition of some kind. It was not a test of skill; rather, it was much like winning a lottery –– a game of chance. I purchased a digital 'ticket' by swiping my mobile phone, and pressed 'play'. I watched my mobile screen as numbers and symbols spun around on three reels, as they do on a standard poker machine. I pressed 'stop' and my screen lit up and music played. The phone showed gold coins spilling out of a casket and piling higher and higher. A cash amount flashed on the screen –– around $36, 000 (I cannot recall the exact figure). I was very excited and immediately began to budget out my winnings.

Later, I dreamed I was in a huge hall with hundreds of other people. We'd gathered to attend a weekend workshop of some kind. There were various crew members –– both women and men –– walking around, attending to the audience, and a few women on stage, talking to the crowd. All of the crew appeared to be fit and healthy, and I gathered I was there to learn about health. I could see a few family members and close friends also gathered in the hall. As a woman on stage spoke, the man sitting next to me whispered a few asides: 'You know they change an annual fee of $700 dollars, don't you?', 'Just wait until we've all signed in. Everything changes.', 'Once you're in, you're in. Don't say I didn't warn you.' –– that kind of thing. I grew increasingly alarmed. I looked around and noticed the crew were now walking through the audience, taking hair samples from everyone. Each person was to cut a lock of their hair and give it to the crew, who would then place and seal it in a small plastic bag. Some people were readily snipping off samples of their hair, obliging and even proud to follow the directive. Others seemed uncertain. I asked my friend if she intended to give a hair sample and she answered, 'Of course. Why not?' I didn't like it. I wondered why they wanted our hair. I wondered what they were going to do with it and felt worried they'd somehow use our DNA. Follow-up crew were now getting around the crowd, having people sign a form –– a permission form? I knew I had to leave, although I was bound to cause a scene as I was sitting in the middle of a row towards the back of the hall, and would have to walk through the audience up to the very front to make it out the door. I hoped my family and friends would follow.

Saturday, 29 October 2016


There was a creature rising from the earth, made from flesh and from the earth itself. It was born of the earth, one with the earth and decaying back in to the earth. It was human, or rather, it was once human; the source of all humanity and the place to where we return once we die. It was compost. The creature breathed on me, a long, slow breath, drawn up from its unfathomable depths. Its breath smelled sweet and rotten, fecund and ancient. I could smell life and death and time. As it breathed on me I understood that we are all born of the same flesh. We each enter the world, of the world. We are an expression, an extension of the same force, the same source. We are an organism. A living, breathing energy spreading across the earth. Unstoppable, almost, but for the earth itself, which will consume us just as we consume the earth. We are driven to survive and change and, I understood, what sets us apart is our constant striving. Striving to be better, to have more, to change, to succeed, to overcome, to create, to build. Striving. Just as in our bodies how when a cell dies it is swept away, I saw how when we stop striving we die and decompose back into the earth. We need to move to survive. To stagnate is death. At the same time, it is our striving that will finish us. I breathed in the breath of this original human creature and understood, and then I woke.

Sunday, 9 October 2016


I was driving the roads of my hometown. The houses were absent and there were no buildings, as far as the eye could see; yet, I recognised this place - the rise and fall of the landscape. My car laboured up a steep slope, but I was preoccupied, surprised by the changed flora: fruit trees laden with fruit grew jungle-like, fringing the road. Through the trees I could glimpse the sea, skirting the hill up which I drove. I realised I had my handbrake on, so I released it and found the car travelled more swiftly. However, the fruit trees now grew so densely they blocked the road ahead. I left my car and continued on foot, the ground sandy beneath my feet, the road now a narrow track. There was only a short walk up the hill - not more than a minute - before I reached the crest, but I was fearful. To go on, I would need to climb over branches and sidle around trunks. I thought of snakes. I felt alone. I knew, from the summit, I'd likely see the lay of the land and the ocean around me. I knew I'd witness the beauty of place and feel a sense of freedom. Yet, I turned back.