SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The oranges of truth

The Falkenbergs offered me to stay in their house that night. They were weird but nice and it was not hard to decide between a warm bed at the peaceful lighthouse and a pitch battle with the hobos on the beach.

- You can sleep in my daughter’s room until you find accommodation. Now she has her own flat downtown. You will find some old pajamas and a pair of bear slippers in the wardrobe that you can use, if you need them –said Mrs. Falkenberg sadly, looking down-

It was very apparent that she was suffering from a bad case of empty nest syndrome and was unconsciously adopting me. But we were one and alike: I didn’t mind receiving some maternal comfort at that very moment.

- How old is your daughter? –I asked-
- Vera is more or less your age, Nicolette. Her name means “faith and truth” in Latin. I’m her mother and of course, I cannot be impartial, but I think she’s a real gifted artist. She paints most peculiar landscapes of this island –she said smiling-.
- Why so peculiar?
- Because they’re magic. Let me show them to you.

Mrs. Falkenberg took a sketch book from one of the shelves in the room and showed me the images that Vera had painted there. The drawings were done in colour with the point of a brush and, to my huge surprise, they were animated and set in motion. The waves crashed over the rocks at the beach; the wind blew through the weeping willow branches; and the clouds travelled across the sky in the prints. I had never seen anything like that before in my whole life.

- This is simply… amazing! – I said-
- She can also make the viewers travel through space and time to the places she has painted. Would you like to join me here? –she asked, poiting at one of the sketches-

She held my hand and before I could even answer I was carried out to a two-dimensional colourful beach, all covered with sea shells and pebbles. I took a starfish as an evidence of our trip. Some seconds later, we were back in the house.

- Did you enjoy this little journey? -she asked-
- Sure, Mrs. Falkenberg. It was thrilling! –I said, staring at the starfish, still in shock-
- Very few things are impossible in this life, Nicolette. You just have to have hope and faith.

It was a nice little trip, and I still ask myself how could possibly Vera Falkenberg’s paintings could teleport those who watched her magic landscapes to the real location.

I became a bit suspicious. I had far surpassed my annual blind faith amount and preferred not to think too much about that, but believe me when I say that only Hell can work these visual wonders. I just didn’t have the guts to tell Mrs. Falkenberg that her beloved daughter probably had some kind of deal with Hell, by virtue of which she was able to cast a spell on her canvasses and make them truly “unique”.

I drank my cup of tea and Mrs. Falkenberg offered to cut my hair to jaw-length bob before I went to bed, so that no evil beings would recognise me in the ferry.

- Take no risks if you want to pass unobserved. –she said-

She was probably right. But I was a bit reluctant about letting her do that. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to upset her while she had a pair of scissors in her right hand. She didn’t waste any time and started immediately. Strands of my long black hair fell on the floor. I can’t deny I felt a bit sad.

- Don’t worry, Nicolette. You look very cute now, almost like a teenager and your hair will grow stronger. You’re elegant and sophisticated but you may want to wear something more comfortable, like an average North Sandwichian youngster.

Did I have to look like an average North Sandwichian teenager in order to go unnoticed? She gave me a cotton pad to remove my make up and a pair of black baggy trousers from her daughter. I put them on and took off the white gold and diamond earrings that Ed had given me for my birthday the year before.

- Now you look simply perfect. –she said after my metamorphose-

That night, the sound of the waves rocking the beach didn’t help me sleep: I had fuzzy dreams and nightmares about cheeky mice sleeping inside my boots and giant spiders casting their huge cobwebs around me. At 6 am sharp, Mrs. Falkenberg knocked on my door.

- Nicolette, it’s time to get up. –she whispered through the door-

I had a quick shower, got dressed and joined her and her husband for breakfast. Before I left, they wished me good luck on my first day at work.

As a city-proud urbanite in true love with the modern world, that never lived in a house with a nice garden in the suburbs, but in a concrete flat downtown, the sight of the flowers and plants at the Falkenbergs’ cottage fascinated me. They had wood kittens, miniature ships, roosters, swallows, weather vanes, small bells, sheep, seagulls, ducks and hedgehogs all over, decorating their garden and patio. There was even a wicker basket inside the barbecue, with three little wooden puppies inside!

I hadn’t yet crossed their fence on my way to the ferry, when something powerfully caught my attention: in the enchanted garden, near the shed where they kept their tools and bicycles, there was a long row of bushes loaded with tiny fruits that looked incredibly mouth-watering.

I knew it was very unwise, but their delightfut scent was so tempting that I couldn’t help picking some of these little shiny orange-shaped balls and eating one of them. They were ripe, sweet, tender and so tasty that I had not just one but two, three, even four more, and then I filled the inner pockets of my jacket with some of them, when I heard a low voice behind me say:

- Be on guard against the oranges of truth and wooden animals at night. Even little kids know that!

I had been caught red-handed with my mouth full of these small oranges. I turned back to see who was talking, but I could only see Mr Falkenberg’s Pegassus. I looked in all directions but couldn't see anyone else.

- My name is Colt. Cornelius Colt. –said the Pegassus, to my surprise-

Oh man, that sounded very much like 007’s equine version! But joking aside, I had the fright of my life: a winged horse was talking to me!!! I was speechless, in utter nightmarish panic.

- I haven’t heard your name yet, Miss…
- Qinan. Leni.
–I grumbled really frightened, with my mouth still full of tiny oranges-

I was shocked by my own answer. I was supposed to be Nicolette, not Leni, and keep my real name secret for my own safety. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t control my words.

- Nice to meet you, Miss Qinan. I would recommend you not eating too many of those. They’ll make you tell the truth and unveil your secrets to the most unsuitable people, like me. But these little fruits are very useful when you want to find out if someone is telling lies, just like you’ve been doing since you arrived in this island. Hopefully, it only lasts a few minutes, so never do that again.
- Oh, ok, I won't.
–I said to the cheeky horse, with eyes big as saucers-
- And please, be careful with the wooden animals in the garden: they’re cute and all, but at night they become real and they’ll love to steal your expensive designer's boots; they have a strong inclination to sleep in warm places and your boots look very warm and cosy. And the spiders will cast massive webs around you, also.

They had already done it in my dreams.

- Last, but not least: never talk to strangers, even if they look like reliable winged horses. Thank you for telling me what I needed to know.

After his misterious speech, Cornelius Colt -the talking Pegassus- took off neighing and laughing. I watched him disappear among the clouds, as my jaw dropped.

I was so shocked, annoyed and worried. Just one day in North Sandwich and I had already confessed my real name to a feathered horse! Who had sent him? What was it he needed to know and I had supposedly told him? Was it my real name? Now I was really concerned.

I took my backpack and left the lighthouse under the drizzle. It was still dark. North Sandwichians start their working day very early in the morning and the streets were already busy at 6,30am. I walked to the bus stop to catch the bus that went to the harbour, hoping that nobody would ask me again what my name was or where I came from, until the effect of the oranges of truth had passed.




"Hide and seek" (Imogen Heap)

17 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

That trick with the picture was marvelous, I wonder if Mrs Falkenberg's maiden name is 'Poppins'. A cute girl who's eaten truth fruit is vulnerable. A handsome man could just walk up to her and ask her if she finds him attractive. And she would have to tell the truth!

Sage said...

Wow, more twists introduced into the story... mysterious paintings and the forbidden fruit.

Grass said...

Hi sis! I like the pictures you have posted here particularly the photo of the beach with starfish. I saw something similar in real life in one of my beach hopping adventures. :)

I see that weird creatures are endemic in that island and you seem to attract them like magnet. LOL And I just realized why Eve ate the fruits of the forbidden tree. They must have smelled really nice and looked delectable as your oranges. I just hope you don't get punished for eating from the tree sis. Imagine the disaster if Ed sees you and asked you so many questions and truth comes pouring out of your mouth like water falls. Oh well, as they say, the truth will set you free.. HEHEHE



xxx

Jimmy Bastard said...

I agree with the above. The photies not only enhanced the writing, but sold it to me in a way in which took me by surprise.

Slippery.... love it.

Nihal said...

Cool story indeed, dear Leni:) Pretty agree when saying like 'Last, but not least: never talk to strangers, even if they look like reliable winged horses.'
On blogosphere we can easily jump into talking with a brave heart but I'm curious if we could do the same in the real life?
As for myself, no. Absolutely no. I know I'm pretty shy and selected one.
Well, good advices collected in your mini story. Thoughtful one you are as usual. My best wishes & Hugs to you:)

max said...

That's right, Leni: you should never talk to strangers. Not even to horses. Least of all if they have wings, LOL.

I'm very curious about your first day in your new job. I hope you can keep it, but i'm not very sure about it.

Borah said...

"Very few things are impossible in this life, Nicolette. You just have to have hope and faith." --> I like that.

Gosh, woman, you're very imaginative!

And again, great pictures. Do you make them yourself, or do you collect a couple of pictures and write your story around them?

Isn't the one with the short bob the actress from dawson's creek? And is that why you're trying to hide your true identity - out of shame for your career and the fact that you got married to Tom Cruise?

Leni Qinan said...

You’re right, Mr Bananas: Mrs Falkenberg could very well be a distant cousin of Mary Poppins, with less powers than her and not so attractive, as you can see from her picture.

To tell the truth is not always the best thing to do, especially if you’re in a strange place with strange people you can’t rely on. It’s better to eat some strawberries or… yes, bananas!

((I suppose that’s a harmless fruit))

;))

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Sage!

Yes, the story gets a bit more complicated as days pass in this strange island where people are even weirder than in South Sandwich –which is a lot-.

Take care!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Grassy!

You’re so lucky to live in such a wonderful country, with so many miles of coast around you, full of starfishes and seashells and wonderful sea creatures! I’d love to hear someday of your beach hopping adventures…

Really Grass, I don’t know for what reason all the weirdoes run behind me, >:(

Maybe women have a special role when it comes to fall in temptations. Maybe we’re more vulnerable to them than men. I don’t want to think what Ed could start asking if he knew I had eaten from these fruits –but probably, if he wants to know something, he just has to ask…-

Big hug!

Leni Qinan said...

Dear Jimmy, I love doing these kind of visual-audio posts (with their pics and music). I know they’re a bit demanding, but I love to dream they would fit perfectly in a book. Lately, I’m posting some of my own pictures taken from a magic holiday at the North Sea. You’ll notice them by the copyright sign.

And thanks… I always feel very honoured by your more than kindest remarks. ;)

Leni Qinan said...

My sweet Nihal, it’s always nice to see you again! When I was little, I was always told not to talk to strangers. But you see, as a grown up I take no notice of that.
That horse is really fishy, isn’t it? First he talks (and I’m not Dr Doolittle) and then he sounds quite cheeky. I should follow your advice, but I’m afraid now it’s a bit too late. ;)

Big hug!

PS.- Congrats for your latest posts, they’re a treasure to read and see, filled with a look on the bright side of all these little things we sometimes don’t even notice but deserve some attention.

Leni Qinan said...

Maxi,

It’s these little treacherous fruits what made me speak, not my innocence or desire to talk. I tend to socialize, but not that much. At least not with horses.

Now I need to find Mr Pannekoek, the kitchen manager. Wait until he hears about my most famous recipes: hot sandwich au jambon fumé with coke on the rocks and hamburger & chips tasty delicacies. I will be hired as the new chef by the ferry company!

Take care!

Leni Qinan said...

Thanks Borah! I really believe in what Mrs Falkenberg said. I see life as a constant struggle for happiness and we have ot overcome many difficulties. But impossible is a word that should be in our vocabulary only as an exception.

About the pictures: Firstly, I write the story. It’s normally in my head, and it starts developping as I write. Some other times I have a scriptline for several chapters in mind.

I normally listen to music while I write and most times, a song that has something to do with the text, appears at the bottom of the posts.

When the story is finished, I look for pics. Some of them are mine –the copyrighted ones- others are not. This is the normal process I follow.

Sweet Borah, you're right, the actress in the picture (Katie Holmes) played Joey Potter at Dawson's Creek. Her bobstyle is incredibly trendy, and she looks absolutely beautiful.

Tom Cruise must be a very charming man, but I would NEVER in my whole life marry a scientologist! Never! LOL

PS.- I’m not really hiding my true identity: I’m the girl on the profile pic. Not as nice as Katie, but with a bobstyle too! ;)

Skeeter said...

Hi Leni,

the story gets more and more interesting with every turn and twist. Fruits that tasty looking always have consequences when popped into the mouth. Great story!

Best wishes,

Skeeter

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Skeeter!

It makes me think of the first fruit that caused trouble: Adam's apple. But this time i did everything myself, lol.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Excellent ice cream cup in your last post! Yummy!

Leni Qinan said...
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