Inside the strangest homes.
‘That one there is mine,’ said Thalia walking further down the street and tapping the wall of her home with her staff. A mirrored door rose to the surface. The deeply embossed facade resembled a Polynesian tribal pattern, much like a Maori tattoo. ‘The patterns tell the story of my life,’ she said with a wink. ‘Oh and you may like to meet my many pets…’ Between the carved lines making up the patterns, miniature animal carvings appeared to crawl – the little carved lions, wolves, bears and the many other creatures were alive.
When Davina peered at the patterns, the different animals made subtle sounds in attempt to capture her attention. Three particular animals called to her – the wolf, the bear and finally the owl. Davina smiled kindly at the shifting animal carvings; they were so beautiful, so cute and competing for her attention.
‘Greet them Davina,’ urged Thalia.
‘Can I touch them?’ asked Ghost.
‘Of course, but don’t spoil them,’ replied Thalia.
Davina smiled, each creature’s eye carried a spark of golden light. Their motion was fluid like water as each morphed from the surface of the wall into the animal shape they represented. Davina’s shoulders dropped, she felt an affinity with them. She stroked the animals as they gathered, each competed to gain the most attention from her.
‘Davina if they have their way you’ll be here all day!’ Thalia chided.
‘But they’re so lovely and so friendly!’ insisted Davina, stroking an owl’s neck.
‘Yes and they’ll be here later. Now you must get some rest!’
Thali ushered the pair inside her home. Ghost trailed behind fiddling with his nose. There were no glamorous animals fighting for his attention, instead he watched a rat twitch its nose and a pig oinked. It was a joke!
Ghost felt deflated when he stepped into the interior of Thalia’s home. The interior glowed like the inside of shiny white shells found on the beach. It was such a luminous material like pearly nail varnish. The hall opened out into a spacious glowing living space with curved, fluid furniture. Ghost noticed a rather comfortable suspended circular chair with shiny cushions and took a seat while Davina wafted into daze.
Beside the wall, Davina remained mesmerised by the clarity of the pearlescent walls. The wall was reflective and as she glanced at her pale reflection, a few of the animal faces surrounded her. They hooted and bayed animal calls to her. Davina studied them, then herself. Something in her own reflection bothered her. She did not look like the Davina she had been in the outside world. She didn’t look poor: she looked incredibly wealthy. Her hair didn’t look bedraggled but was perfectly straight and shiny.
The wise-woman paused in the doorway watching her. ‘Dearest you made your disguise to blend in. That is the real you, that reflection reveals your lineage.’
Davina gazed at herself a moment longer, something about that reflection bothered her; was she older? Was she was more grown up? Or was there something else? Davina sucked her bottom lip through her teeth. Was she really in disguise? If so why?
With a slow amble around the living area, Davina gazed at the ornate, white, animal carvings adorning the whole area. There were eagles, goats, lions and many other creatures which were a combination of animals, including ones that she did not recognise. After studying the carvings she turned to take in the room. It was serene, white, with fluid looking furniture. At the centre of the room was a golden embossed sunshine on the floor. It reflected the same shape that was cut from the ceiling. It was as if above mirrored that which was below. The house ‘felt’ familiar yet her mind revealed no memory.
‘You have been here many, many times before Davina.’ Thalia noticed Davina’s conflicting expressions.
‘So why do you think I forgot?’
‘People forget for many different reasons. Some even choose to forget Davina,’ she replied with a wink.
Davina studied the wise woman curiously. Thalia laughed, clapped her hands and brought forth a golden-liquid flame. ‘Of course the shock of what happened to the outside world is enough to affect every Gargantuan. It’s a lot for anyone to take in. Remember we create everything here to inspire joyful feelings through creating beauty, whereas out there many things are designed for purpose or convenience – not inspiration. Plus the air out there isn’t as clean; their air filtration system is being destroyed. So maybe your body has been polluted.’
Davina noticed Ghost fiddling with the translation tube again. He appeared to be finding it awkward.
‘I have to admit how surprised I was by your response to the outside world and the affect it has had on you. I assumed you would instinctively recognise the signs. The signs were all there, but you failed to recognise them. The ‘automatic’ training we did was obviously not intense enough,’ said Thalia, in a concerned tone.
‘Training?’ blurted Davina. How had she been trained? How had she intuitively sensed her way home? Davina gazed at the golden flames hanging in the air. They crackled and sounded as though they were chanting ‘Thalia.’
With a kind smile, Thalia glanced into the flames, ‘I see you like my glimpsing flames. Now concentrate Davina, on what happened – it will all come back for the briefest moment. It is all inside that head of yours but locked away in your mental vault,’ assured Thalia and tapped her temple with her forefinger.
Davina stared deep into the circle of golden flames and became utterly mesmerised.
Ghost found a comfortable position on a rug, crossed his legs and switched the translation tube to the other nostril. Did different nostrils provide different interpretations? Apparently not. Ghost gave up playing with his nose – he watched disturbing images flashing through the suspended flames.
The more intently Davina watched, the more the flames grew. Images from the depths of her brain flashed amongst the fire. The flames revealed her attempt to make an escape through a warren of white, limestone tunnels. She watched herself hiding, peering out from behind a rock as she watched a twisted group of creatures drag a shape that she sensed was her father across the ground. He fought back but there were too many. With one swift movement, they bundled him into a long metal container with wheels that resembled a silver coffin. They then locked him inside while all his Goyle guards lay smashed around him. Her face flushed with rage. The ugly creatures dragged a limp figure in a sack to the outside world. Once outside they flew the metal coffin into the night.
‘What were those hideous creatures?’ Davina asked as she wiped away tears. Her nails were already the shape of talons. She waved her hand by the flames which made them replay the glimpse once more. This time she focused on the hideous creatures. Whatever had taken her father was twisted and grotesque. Davina rubbed her temples, her brain ached. ‘How do I find them?’ she begged Thalia.
Thalia took a sympatheic deep breath. ‘That’s the enemy. The Grotesques took your father hostage. You went to the outer world to save him.’
‘I don’t remember any of it. It’s a complete blank,’ said Davina staring into space as she searched her empty mind.
Thalia clapped her hands twice; the flames instantly disappeared.
‘Your instincts brought you back here. Your instincts will allow you to find your father. Your intuition sensed the Fluxions and protected you.’ Thalia remained thoughtful as she paced and gazed at the floor.
‘What are Fluxions?’ Davina asked with a perplexed expression.
‘They look like humans most of the time but they can shape-shift and can take on whatever form they wish. When they are not a form they are a simple blue or pink light with tendrils of light expanding from them.’
‘What do the Fluxions want with Gargantuan?’ Davina asked, with a scratch of the back of her head. She glanced at Ghost who was resting his head in his hands with his eyes closed.
Thalia shook her head slowly and with great sadness. ‘Darling Davina, Gargantuan is the last pure place in this earth. It is a place where the people are truly good. The Gargantuans create beauty and loan the Goyles to the world to protect sacred places. Only your father and you have the keys to the Sanctus scripts. You do remember the Sanctus scripts don’t you?’
‘I don’t remember anything,’ she replied with a fidget and a scratch of her inner wrist.
‘The Sanctus scripts carry the instructions on how to make a place such as this. Davina the whole thing is complicated and there is not enough time to explain everything. But always remember there needs to be hidden places on earth; where pockets of good exist to balance the growing cruelty on the outside.’
‘I don’t understand,’ replied Davina gazing at Thalia’s feline features.
‘Davina without a place that is good, which creates good – there is no hope.’
‘Why is that? What does Gargantuan do exactly?’ Davina implored.
Thalia stroked her chin in contemplation, how could she explain?
‘Dearest Davina Gargantuan is a special place which… well there are areas here where we manufacture dreams for the outsiders. I would take you to where they are woven, but unfortunately we don’t have time. Gargantuan is the last remaining place which holds inspiration, and…’
‘Really?’ said Ghost, with a sudden jolt. He glanced around, he was still in Gargantuan, it wasn’t a dream.
‘Yes really. Gargantuan is the place where people often visit in their dreams, when they look for inspiration. There are numerous portholes all over the outside planet. Nevertheless, the only way we allow an outsider to enter here now is through their subconscious. What is funny is that most of the time they don’t even realize they are doing it. You know how sometimes when you sit in boring classes at school. That moment when you stare into space and go somewhere… Well in that brief second they visit Gargantuan – the land of inspiration.’
Davina gazed out of the window. There were so many beautiful scenes the outsiders could be inspired by.
With a click of the fingers Thalia drew Davina’s attention back.‘Right it is rest time for you both. Once you are rested we can continue.’
Davina glanced over at Ghost who was holding his eyes open with his fingers.
‘Erm, so how do I know if the Fluxions are good or bad?’ asked Ghost, with a yawn but struggling to keep his mouth closed.
‘You will feel it first. Then there is the shape of the pupil, those with vertical slits are good but those with horizontal are bad. But, as I said, you will feel those who are bad in the very pit of your stomach. In their presence it feels like someone is grabbing your gut and squeezing.’
‘And what about the piles of stone that keep appearing?’ Ghost glanced down at his stomach and gave it a gentle rub.
‘Were they hot piles of stones?’ Thalia grinned mischievously. ‘Did you touch them?’
‘Yes,’ replied Ghost, wishing that he hadn’t.
‘Darlings those piles of stone are Goyle grunts.’
‘Goyle grunts?’ Davina repeated with a frown.
‘It is the result of how the Goyles process their food,’ she said gesturing towards her bottom.
‘Well how come Goyles grunt stones?’
‘Maybe it’s because they eat stone. We often use the Goyles for mining. Where do you think diamonds come from?’
Davina couldn’t help but giggle: the Goyles grazed the mining fields, digested the lumps of rock and created a Gargantuan diamond Goyle grunt. In the outside world people often wore the shiny, clear stones. The larger the stone, the more massive the original grunt. If the outsiders knew where their clear stones had come from, then would diamonds still be a girl’s best friend?
Davina’s mind began to recall the recent events in her life; she thought about the Nadim children’s home, and the bites ripped from the walls. The Goyles obviously needed to eat so they had eaten some of the school as a snack. It all made sense – the Goyles were out there searching for her and the signs had appeared as small piles of stones. How could she have missed something so steamingly obvious?
With a loud exhalation, Davina gazed out of the window. From what she could gather, Gargantuan had endless planes of material that could be grazed by the Goyles. Thousands of miles of different stone plateaux and crystals spanned the horizon.The colourful landscape was so bright and so full of hope. Where things were supposed to be white, they were super white. Where things were supposed to be colourful, they were so very vibrant. By comparison the outside seemed so grey and lifeless at times. She didn’t want to leave Gargantuan again – it was her home.
Turning her attention back to the room, it occurred to Davina that she didn’t actually know what the Goyles looked like. She had only caught a few glimpses during the week she had been outside. How would she recognise Goyles if she hadn’t seen them properly?
‘Thalia what do the Goyles look like?’ she asked.
‘The Goyles can be any stone animal.’ Thalia rubbed her hands together once again and clapped. This time she created a translucent hovering light. Thalia tapped the light with her staff. Pictures of the different Goyles emerged and rotated across the suspended image. It was like one of those three-dimensional holograms.
‘Davina do you see them? Do you recognise the Goyes now?’ Thalia gestured.
Davina watched all the differing stone breeds appear before her. Each stone was perfectly carved and carried the design of the fur or feathers of real animals. The bulkier animal shapes made them appear fiercer, more muscular and more dangerous than they really were. The wolves looked more vicious with their giant fangs. The bears looked more menacing with their exaggerated lumbering forms and giant claws. The deer looked as though they intended to spike a person with their antlers. Amongst the recognisable creatures there were hybrids made up of different animals – a goat combined with a lion and a beaver combined with a panther. Some were unrecognisable. Even though the Goyles looked fierce, Davina sensed the Goyles had gentle hearts and carried the natural urge to protect. Nevertheless, the Goyles could scare the grunt out of the common person. What particularly interested her was that they all had wings, no matter what animal their dominant creature was. They were all rather beautiful in their own fierce-looking way.
‘Thalia I would never have recognised them if you hadn’t shown me this,’ whispered Davina, transfixed.
Thalia stared at the projection, a number of distorted shapes emerged. Her eyes narrowed, ‘Davina those are the Grotesques, they have become incredibly cruel. I suggest you make a mental note of them.’
Davina chewed her thumbnail attempted to commit the image to memory. She glanced at Ghost, he should make an effort to remember but he was already watching the projection with an expression of awe.
‘How will we know which ones are waiting in a dark cave?’ Ghost asked Thalia.
‘Use your sight and your gut instinct Ghost. Now that you have seen them, you will recognise them. You will sense the Goyles are good and the others’ presence will urge you to desire escape. Physically you will notice that the Goyle’s heads are larger and they have their own animal calls. They also speak Gargantuan. The Grotesques have their own guttural language and speak Gargantuan but with a hard accent.’
‘But I won’t be able to tell what their language is anyway,’ cried Ghost.
‘Ordinarily you wouldn’t, but if you keep the tube attached you will understand. Davina should be able to understand and speak all the Goyle languages because that’s part of her lineage,’ reassured Thalia.
‘And the Grotesques? How do they look in the outside world?’ Ghost probed.
Thalia gestured at the projection.
Ghost peered at the images and fought the urge to retch. The Grotesques were hideous! Their features were pointed, vicious and distorted – they resembled demons with their huge teeth and chiselled features. Their penetrative eyes were vindictive and appeared to search for weaknesses to annihilate their victims. With powerful stone physiques, they revealed extreme strength with talons designed to shred.
‘Those are the Grotes – the ugly ones. They were so repulsive that no one wanted to gaze upon them. They were out-ported from Gargantuan to scare away bad spirits. Originally they were generated to appear in nightmares. Study these forms carefully and remember what they look like.’
‘They are utterly repulsive!’ said Ghost screwing up his face. ‘But… do all Grotesques look alike?’
‘Yes. Although, there is another kind of Goyle called the Chimera. She joined the Grotesques and is the last of her kind.’
‘A Chimera?’ muttered Ghost, confused.
‘She is half-goat and half-lion. What is interesting about the Chimera is that her own stubbornness, assumption and arrogance have become her weakness. Still she has the strength to lead and that is why she leads the Grotesques or Grotes as we call them. Davina be very careful of her,’ warned Thalia. ‘Although she can be charming, she has no qualms about killing. Be very wary – she can change form too. Some say beneath the harsh exterior the Chimera carries the heart of a woman.
‘So she leads the Grotes?’ asked Davina, skirting over the details.
Thalia nodded solemnly. ‘She has a vendetta against humanity. Her darkside has grown immensely powerful. When you combine rage with the skilled warrior that she is you have the absolute Battle Maiden. Ghost’s sight will help you identify her amongst her many guises.’
Ghost glowered dubiously at Thalia; there was no way he was getting involved!
Thalia gently placed her hand on Ghost’s shoulder in order to reassure him. ‘You have special eyes, for special sight… ‘ She smiled. ‘Now I know you have suffered, but the wounds will be your greatest gifts… Whether you know it or not dearest dangerous you were never really dangerous. The circumstances that surrounded you brought you here. Your house had to be struck by lightning and those bullies – well it had to happen otherwise you would not be here now. Without those events, you would not be living your destiny and whether you like it or not this is your destiny.’ Thalia let the words hang in the air.
The expression on Ghost’s face resembled a storm swirling. If none of the nasty events were his fault then why had it all happened? Why was he, of all people, involved?
Thalia sensed Ghost’s uneasiness – he couldn’t see the bigger picture.
‘Your eyes are special Ghost. You see people for what they truly are. You know who is cruel and who is good. You see through the armour they create about themselves. Your eyes will spot someone in disguise and your eyes will recognise Fluxion’s guises.’
‘Well how come I didn’t see it before?’ demanded a perplexed Ghost.
‘You did, you just did not have the knowledge. I assume you saw a small blue light in the heart of some people didn’t you? Those with the blue light have cold hearts and those with the pink light are kind.’
Ghost thought back and gasped; he hadn’t known what the blue light was. At the time, he had assumed it was some sort of necklace. Nevertheless, he had noticed the lights. Were his eyes really that special?
Thalia noticed the recognition in Ghost’s eyes and patted him on the arm reassurringly. ‘Ghost you may not understand this yet but you have been chosen to be here. Destiny has called you – remember that when times become difficult, or if you ever want to give up.’ Thalia shifted her focus to Davina. ‘And… you are wondering why ‘you’ aren’t you Davina? The journey will reveal the answers.’
‘I’m concerned about the Chimera,’ said Davina wrinkling her brow.
‘I am not surprised to hear that. She’s a curious creature with one ultimate downfall,’ Thalia trailed off mysteriously.
Davina leaned closer, ‘And what is that?’
With a serious expression, Thalia pointed towards the light, ‘I’m not permitted to tell you. You will have to ask the Goyles.’
‘So what else can you tell me?’ implored Davina.
‘Goyles and Grotes were made from fire – but wind and salt slowly erodes them. This weakness will not kill them but can stall them. The name Gargoyle means makes reference to the throat. Remember that.’
‘Why can’t you tell us everything?’ asked Ghost impatiently.
‘What’s the point of a journey unless you are going to learn something?’ Thalia replied with a glint in her eye.
Ghost yawned, he didn’t like riddles.
‘Right! Now it’s time for you both to take a nap. And Davina when you begin your journey tomorrow enjoy having no past, it will be helpful in stopping you repeat your previous mistakes. You have a fresh canvas and a new perspective. I suggest you set your intention and follow the signs. Now to bed! You have a long and arduous journey ahead of you,’ ended Thalia with a clap.
Davina studied Thalia’s expression, it gave nothing away. Why did she know so much but kept it all to herself? One other thing was niggling her – why was there no mention of her mother?