The alarm woke Molly out of a deep sleep. She had been asleep for three hours, just enough for her to feel rested. Today was the farewell lunch with the team from the Adorable Chocolate Company. They were on schedule and the two weeks of interviews had passed quickly. Tomorrow she and Will would head south, to have a short holiday, transcribe their notes into a story and together with Wills artwork, send them on to Tom and Delilah at The Little Book Publishing Company. Molly and Will had decided to drive south from Christchurch and have a few days on their own at Peel Forrest where she had found a holiday cottage online and booked it to stay for three nights. They found these breaks in between jobs were essential in helping them to restore their energy before commencing the next project.
That night Molly and Will had a quiet dinner in their accommodation. The owner of the B&B had offered to cook them an in-house meal and brought it to their room. Sitting at the outdoor seating in the courtyard which over looked the neighbouring farms with the Southern Alps as a backdrop, they shared a bottle of champagne with dinner. Feeling content, they were both pleased with what they had achieved. It had been full on and at times a little overwhelming, but both Molly and Will had tapped into a flow of energy which seemed to keep them moving forward. It was a moment for them to chat about what the interviews had been like. With the bottle empty, and their bellies full, Molly filled the spa bath. It was well passed midnight when they slid between the soft cotton sheets in the bed. Tomorrow they would begin a new adventure. The soft comfortable bed and the cloud-like pillows helped Molly to sleep dreamlessly. But Will was restless, drifting in and out of sleep, unable to settle, he quietly got out of bed. Molly didn’t stir, snoring like a purring kitten, he smiled. How he loved her! And how he loved the life they were sharing. He took the woollen throw off the end of the bed, wrapped it around his naked body and snuggled into the arm chair in the corner of the room. Instantly he felt at ease, as he focussed on his breathing and drifted into meditation, his body feeling light and tingly. A vision began to appear before him. It was like his eyes were open and he could see around the dimly lit room. There in the chair next to him was Patrick!
“Oh man! It is so good to see you!” Will exclaimed excitedly and then caught himself as he thought he was speaking too loudly and may wake Molly.
“No need to be concerned Will, Molly will not hear a thing. She is far away from here, in the Dreamscape. It is good to see you too. I have been waiting for an opportunity like this, to be able to meet with you. I can see how busy you have been and did not want to interrupt the continuity of that.”
“What have you been doing since I last met with you Patrick?” Will enquired.
“Helping Anna with the garden. Oh that leak in the roof over the kitchen has made its presence felt again. There was a storm with heavy rain and Anna needed a couple of buckets to catch it all, well, most of it. A little bit of magic required some physical assistance, so I told Anna to call the local roofing man to come and take a look at it. The roofing iron needs replacing in two areas. I think the whole roof may need replacing Will.”
Will’s energy dropped suddenly, thinking of the expense that would be required, and Patrick reminded him of where he was. “Will, anything is possible from here, you know, from The Attic. Anna got a quote for the replacement work and also for a total re-roofing. She will share this with Molly soon. No urgency, just decide what you want, regardless of the costs and we shall take care of the rest of the details. The money will be made available for you, do not concern yourself with these details. Just choose the best outcome. I know what I would be doing…” Patrick winked knowingly at Will. Still a little perplexed at the thought of what a whole new roof will cost, Will felt a little deflated, and the vision of Patrick began to waver. “Ah now Will, remember where you are! Breathe. Breeeathe….that’s better!” Patrick encouraged him as he kept a close eye on Will’s energy levels. “You must stay focussed when you are visiting the World Between Worlds. Just imagine for a moment, if the roof could be fixed and the cost just did not matter, what would you do repair or replace?” Patrick asked.
“Replace of course! But I have no idea where I will find that kind of money,” Will looked despondent and Patrick clicked his fingers bringing his awareness back instantly.
“Let’s have a wee bit of fun with this William. What kind of roofing would you like? Replace the iron sheets or maybe a shingle-type of tile? Just for a moment, imagine coming home and seeing a new roof on the house, what do you see?” Patrick guided him.
Will closed his eyes and imagined coming down the driveway towards the house. Looking up he can see that the house has been re-roofed. As he gets closer, he can see that it has been done in a tile which resembles a dark brown shingle, with new copper coloured spouting and guttering. Even the dormer window has had a make over. He described this to Patrick who said, “So how does it feel looking at this?”
“Great! The house looks great,” Will exclaimed excitedly.
“Now hold that thought Will, do not think about the cost involved, just the good feeling of it being completed. I will take care of the rest.”
“What do you mean?” Will asked, but Patrick had gone and he found himself sitting in the armchair, he pulled the woollen throw tightly around his body, feeling the shift in temperature as he became aware of his physical body again. He decided not to say anything to Molly just yet, to help hold the feeling of what he had experienced with Patrick. He would let Anna tell her about it.
After breakfast, they thanked the couple for the beautiful accommodation, packed the car and drove out of the city. Being on the outskirts of Christchurch, rural farm land was just around the corner and the straight road headed south-west towards Darfield and then on towards the Southern Alps.
Nearing their next destination, the last stretch of the road passed through deer farms, becoming narrow and windy as it headed towards Mt Peel. Nestled amongst the trees on the edge of the reserve was a quintessential vintage farmhouse. The cottage had a wide verandah across the front. Inside was an open plan living/dining room with lounges, armchairs and dining suite all original 1950’s style and a slow combustion wood heater. The bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen were off accessed from this area. The bathroom too was original, tiny but clean and usable. Occasionally the house shook from the header tank pump, as it refilled the water storage tank.. The first time Molly heard it, she thought they were having an earthquake! The old house was like stepping back in time, into the 1950 with the matching furniture, decor, bedding, crockery, even the cutlery. Molly could imagine “Aunty Daisy” appearing out of the kitchen with a plate of freshly baked scones! (Aunt Daisy was a Radio Broadcaster of the 1920-30’s also known as New Zealand’s First Lady of The Radio. The Aunt Daisy Cookbook with Household Hints.)
Located in the edge of the rainforest, and typical for that environment, it rained for most of their stay. In between showers they ventured up the road to an entrance into the reserve. The old forrest had numerous Kahikatea’s (native New Zealand tree of swamp lands, Dacrycarpus dacrydioides), standing tall, proud and stately, untouched by the previous years of logging, together with tall tree ferns, cabbage trees and other native shrubs. Molly felt like they were being watched as they walked along the track and in the seeming stillness of the bush, she could feel the presence of the wee faery folk watching these visitors whom they knew were in turn were curiously watching out for them too. As the rain began to fall quite heavily again, they ran back to the warmth of the fire keeping the little house warm.
But Molly felt that they had brought home some visitors with them. The lights began to flicker and the old radio turned itself on. She knew it was time to pay a visit to The Attic to see what was required of her. Mediation came easily and almost immediately she saw the vision of the bottom of the stairs. The house appeared to be filled with mist, not dissimilar to the environment outside of the cottage. Walking up the stairs, Molly opened the door to find The Attic transformed. She could see the walls and some of the furniture, but it looked like the forest had taken over. Vines and plants covering most of the furnishings. Grace was lying on the daybed, dressed like a faery herself! She smiled impishly at Molly and pointed towards a giant spotted toadstool for her to sit on next to the bed.
Grace explained to Molly, “Essentially shy in nature, the Forrest Folk will not often confront humans directly, especially in the woods. For this is their realm, their domain, their world. They are the guardians and protect it they will! These wee folk dwell between the veils of the Physical and the Spirit World which resides in the secret space amongst the trees, where they are safe and protected.”
Before them appeared a small person, chiselled facial features, high cheek bones, pointed chin, an upturned nose, slightly pointed ears somewhat larger in proportion to his head. Short in stature, stocky in build, he had rosy cheeks, a huge smile and a bright twinkle in his eyes. He bowed politely, speaking slowly, his accent had a strong brogue to it, rolling his r’s in pronunciation.
“We are the Keeperrrs of the Forest. Who do you think keeps all of these plants and insects doing what they are doing? They don’t just do it on their own, you knowww,” he drawled. “It is quite a job orchestrrrating it all.” He stands up proudly, making himself appear taller and puffed out his chest proudly. “Who do you think communicates to them all? There is a lot to it, you knowww.” He drawls out the end of the last word in each of his sentences. “It is me! I let them know when it is Time to do what they are meant to be doing, their job, you knowww…the birrrds, the insects, the trrrees, the flowers, the plants, even the micrrrobes and fungi. This is My Job. Behind the veil of the Physical World is a huge mechanism – wheels and pulleys and chains and weights and swings and suspended platforms…if you think Steampunk is int’resting – we arrre the origins of steampunk! It all happens here first in the Spirit World, as you are aware. You have heard of Quantum Mechanics? We have our own version of it in the Quantum Mechanics of the Forest, run by the Faery Folk. We are the little masters of contraptions. What drives it all is Father Time, his hands are the Keepers of the rhythm of the seasons. He drives the ‘wheels and pulleys’ of Mother Nature. But she instructs Father Time and he sends the messages to me at the helm of the forest. I am known as The Conductor. Without us, the forest would not survive. Peacefully, they all sleep deep within the forest realm, until Mother Nature taps Father Time on the shoulder and awakens him and he in turn sends a message along the root systems of the fungi, just like your telephone systems and passes on the message to ‘ Wake Up!’ And to do their thing, it is their time to shine. As you see, there is little rest for me. But I do not work alone, there are many to assist me. It is not often we have a visitor to the forest who sees us! We are curious and you got our attention. So we wanted to share with you our story, the unspoken story of what goes on behind the veils in the forest world. Next time you visit the forest, stop and ask permission to visit the Faery Folk and be willing to see them. They will welcome you and guide you safely.”
With a twinkle in his eye, and a tilt of his head, in a flash he was gone, as quickly as he first appeared. Unaware at that time, Molly was to receive validation of this when she and Will visit The Victorian Precinct in Omaru. Molly looked at Grace across the room to see her smoking from a fine, ornately designed pipe, blowing rainbow coloured smoke rings perfectly into the air. Her giggling fade as Molly felt herself returning to her body, the heavy sensation of gravity reminding her to take a moment before moving. She felt that being able to see through the veils which seperate the mystical worlds, which are made up of the very fibre of the Universe itself, was a great privilege.