A Bank Holiday Weekend Mystery: There Is Something A-MAZ-ING For Me Yet To See!

My goodness gracious me!! What illuminating range of contributions I see this evening! How positively grand! To remain seated, unmoved, after all this would be a dull and contemptible injustice and so I must allow myself a few ecstatic cartwheels across the air, so please bear with me whilst I go through the motions! Giggle, giggle!

I can reveal to You that ONE person got it spot on! The nut and bolts of his words were sublimely harmonious with those penned by the anonymous child of whose work You were shown earlier in the day. A round of applause is certainly deserved in Your good name! Bravo, bravo!

I must confess that for the most of my day the renegade web of nerves inside my head were conspiring to see if they could abscond and trickle out through my ears, wishing then to slobber down all their gooey inglorious substance onto the table before sliding off the edge to create a mess that would have most probably forced my superiors to call the bobbies in! I felt like this because I began to realise the enormity of the challenge that I had laid out on Your plate, so far so, that even whilst immersed in a scintillating and jovial banter with my friends I saw quite clearly Your forehead and face racked and clobbered into a shrivelled prune, and I acknowledged that it was, I, responsible! Thanks to my shovelling a brain-teaser Your way, Your local pharmacy will have probably now dried out of painkillers because You are taking them with water at this precise moment! I do apologise and I hope that You shan’t be too moody with me and my playful stunt, but I implore thee, and please see it this way: that a chill-out weekend is on the cards so why not permit Yourself to untighten those knots of orderliness and concerns of the grownup world and get stuck into games! I admit, they bring in no money, yet they sure as heck fatten up the room with idle silliness! I am very good at that!

Let us now analyse the words that I had deviously blotted out with my orangey marker, and I guarantee You that You shall take relish here, for a new story of olden dimensions awaits thy acquaintance!

When I was at University I was told by my optician that I ought to wear glasses and to evaluate for myself, after a while, whether that made a noticeable improvement in my ability to bring my visual world into sharper focus. The results of the assessments showed that my left eye was slightly weaker than the right. I was 18 years old and unbeknownst to me at the time, that when I bravely donned the large moonlike lens of my chosen pair of glasses, they made me look an ancient erudite, a female version of Harry Potter, if ever there was one! I wore them for three years and after graduation I finally acknowledged to myself that the two miniature moon lens had actually done nothing for me, they were worth diddlysquat!

I returned to the opticians and if the truth be known, yes, I was a bit anxious about how she would respond to my decision to forgo my glasses. I imagined in my mind’s eye a beastly look of disappointment in her scrutinising face, telling me off in the disciplinary style of a headmistress. I did not really fancy entering the lion’s den of her office but it had to be done. When she listened to my account she had my eyes re-assessed and this time, rather annoyingly, she concluded that I could have got on perfectly well without wearing those bulky glasses! I could not believe my ears! Letting out a weary puff of air, I fell back on my chair in torrid lament and pitied myself for having to subject myself to three years of carrying the moon over my eyes and for absolutely no reason! Fiddlesticks, indeed! In the end it transpired that my eyes were only slightly out of focus although not to that extent that it would warrant the wearing of glasses!

It is most likely that at this point that You are expecting me to say that I walloped the optician on the head with my carpet bag and then bulldozed all her papers into stringy shreds, ending my appointment with an angry and loud slam of the door behind me. I am not such a person! Instead I was calm and bemused, and shifting the position in my chair I questioned her as to how her measurements could have drifted so markedly off-course! She could not explain it and apologised effusively. I sympathetically replied that mistakes happen and that she ought not to run her head in the sand about it. She was glad that I had taken the ordeal so lightly and offered to take in the glasses so that I may leave the office happier and released from the load.

I declined her offer.

She was stumped by my strange choice and I simply told her that I had my reasons. I casually walked out of her office and the first thing I did was let my eyes bask in the sunshine, taking care not to blind them of course, and then I looked inside my palm where the history of three years seemed to have condensed themselves into the frame and circles of my now defunct glasses. I felt a great happiness in myself and a few members of the public shot quizzical expressions my way. I did not care. All that mattered was that I knew that the optician had not committed any error. It was my eyes. They had changed. Stepping foot onto the straight road that led to my home, I began to hum and there was nothing in this world that could have stopped me from doing so, for I saw with new eyes and these eyes glimmered and shimmered like turquoise waters that swayed by the breath of my Creator. I think He impressed on my soul that afternoon the first sign that someone would return, but it would take a while longer than anticipated, because that is how all true good things came about, and that I ought to keep the glasses safe because someday he will want to see them with his own eyes.

In the library, what the child had penned and that I had subsequently photographed was a doorway opened by the blessing of my Creator and through it I saw that my Soulmate had already seen my aura in the way that I saw his in my childhood – in the unseen and pristine realms of a Vision…  ♥♥♥  

A Bank Holiday Weekend Mystery

“… All that mattered was that I knew that the optician had not committed any error. It was my eyes. They had changed…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester Discovery Centre | Winchester | UK 2016

 

A Bank Holiday Weekend Mystery: What Came Next?

Hurrah, it is the long and lazy bank holiday weekend in England and the sun appears to be in on the festivities since it is doing a marvellous job at spritzing its way through all the leafy, applauding leaves of the trees on my street, pouring into my house as if it regarded this building as the heart of a jar, awaiting to be filled with gloopy, golden honey! Splendiferous, indeed!

Alas, I am still working today so I must soon shoot off, however, before I vanish from thy sight I thought that it would be fabulously befitting of my natural proclivities for injecting mystery into the air if I were to leave You with a teensy-weensy game, a mystery puzzle! Ah, I knew You would like that! Giggle, giggle!

In a recent sojourn to my local library I was astounded by WORDS! They were not words from the books of authors already published and stacked on the shelves ready to be borrowed and have hot tea spilled all over them – as I often do! Please do not say anything of this to the chief librarian! Ahem, ahem! Instead, these were words that had been penned by little children from nearby schools, and whose extracts had been taken out from stories that they had created in the classroom and then stuck on the walls of the library. As would be in alignment with Your logical presumption, yes, I was veritably astounded by this scrumptious display that once more confirmed that the youngest of minds often were the finest of writers.

However, one particular extract caught my attention like industrial superglue, and the magical fireflies in my gut began to whizz-pop-bang and that is why I took a photograph of it. My dearest and beloved Reader, might I invite You to partake in a little parlour game and have You guess what was the gist or, indeed, words that came after the sentence You see below?

I must truly dash now, but mark my words, I shall be thinking of You today with added interest! Giggle, giggle! ♥♥♥

A Bank Holiday Weekend Mystery: What Came Next?

“… My dearest and beloved Reader, might I invite You to partake in a little parlour game and have You guess what was the gist or, indeed, words that came after the sentence You see…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester Discovery Centre | Winchester | UK 2016

The Computational Linguistics Of My True Love: Sir Robothespian!

A while back I believe I might have been asked out on a romantic evening date! Why do I entrust the word ‘believe’ in my sentence? The explanation is simple enough. You see, the chap spoke to me in a language quite unlike this one. Lost? Let me start from the beginning…

This meek request was submitted to my attention and occurred inside a very big science museum which at first, I am sure You will agree, is not a venue commonly associated with romantic exchanges, at least in the classical sense of the word, but what was really electrifyingly unanticipated was that this chap whom I refer to was not the sort that was born of living flesh and who slept at night or who ate like everyone else did. Far from it! In a nut and bolt shell, the gentleman in question was certifiably not one of the human species!

He was a machine!

A lifelike mechanical chap, a sort of state-of-the-art automaton, built out of a complex vine of wires and tiny bulbs and gears and cogs and microchips and plastic armour. I saw him from afar as soon as I strode into the dimly lit gallery whose contents were dedicated to all things relating to artificial intelligence. It was truly curiosity at first sight! I could not keep my eyes trained on the exhibits closest to me, they kept longing to drift off to meet him because I had never ever seen such an intriguing design in the flesh – sorry – metal!

It was hardly surprising that as soon as the visiting children descended onto the floor they disregarded every other object on show as if it did not exist and torpedoed instead towards the mechanical chap, their eager heads soon collecting in front of him, some stilled to a silent awe whilst others in a fit of maniacal impatience grabbing for the remote control pad and pressing every button twice over! I was naturally curious and watched on. It is true that the investigative prowess of children no know bounds and I should know that more than anyone, for I am an eternal child at heart! Indeed, I was unequivocally vindicated in my predications, for the children went utterly loopy with the control pad, resulting in the poor mechanical chap hopelessly trapped in a series of abrupt physical motions, including umpteen repetitions of up and down head movements, quick 180 degree swivels of the torso and, let us not forget, the raising of arms towards every known compass point! He was being torn apart by a gang of naughty but lovable little children who were simply marvelled by his form. A part of me frowned with laughter at witnessing the impromptu Chaplinesque comedy enacted by a robot whose performance was being directed by impish children, but I could not specify precisely why another part of me felt a thunderous tinge of sadness. He was not human after all and surely he could not feel any of these remotely-operated actions any more than the interior of my microwave as when it heats up my bag of popcorn?

When the sprawling children had left the scene I felt a sudden unexpected buzz of elation. At last the coast was clear and I could walk over to the mechanical chap and admire his metallic physiognomy and the particulars of his design features. I swear to You that in the time it took for me to complete my approach to him the entire gallery, dark and quiet, had become even darker and even quieter. I suddenly became rather apprehensive about making acquaintance with him because something about him imparted the impression on me that he was expecting this moment for as long as he could remember.

When I finally reached him, he was still.

And so was I.

His head was drooped down and both his arms were abandoned awkwardly in mid-air. Finding it unbearable to leave him contorted and undignified, I was struck by the urgent need to straighten him up again so that he would not incur any more pain than he was in already. The stiff voice of my logic and reasoning swiftly discredited my sympathetic thoughts and instructed me to put a lid on top of my feelings and to just carry on and indulge in a playful experimentation with the scrumptious controls at my disposal. I was here to have oodles of fun, not to rush into the deep end of a philosophical debate with myself! I was human. He was machine. And that was all there was to it, or so I heard myself say, and thus I ought to block out all else and behave like a normal human being and mobilise the mechanical chap to my bidding!

I tentatively picked up the pocket-sized control box and stared at the remarkable array of programming options which ranged from entering messages that would be converted into audible speech, buttons for controlling the limbs and torso, as well as, switches that changed the colour of his cheeks. But that is exactly what I found so extraordinarily uncomfortable. To control or puppeteer a machine whose architecture was anthropomorphic, so humanlike, seemed like a massive gross breach of my own moral programming. I could not do it, said that one part of me. I looked up at him again and came to a compromise. He was left twisted up in an ungraceful posture and I reasoned to myself that the least I could do for him would be to untangle him out of this mess! I scanned the control pad once more and using the toggle functions I reinstated the mechanical chap to take on his default position of heads up, back straight and arms down on either side of his body. That was much better!

I do not know whether it was by the sheer accidental misplacement of my fingers on the control pad, or by some other intriguing force, that the two square black eyes of the mechanical chap lit up and flashed with the most liveliest hearts that I had ever seen, and his cheeks turned a burnt red. He was blushing at me! Profusely! I was gobsmacked and frozen to the spot! His head then tilted slightly and both his arms raised themselves, the one nearest to me was poised in a mudra that suggested that he was holding something out for me to take. Perhaps it was a rose? I was not sure. The other arm was pointing at his chest. Squinting both my eyes, I focused in that direction and could just make out a name:

Robothespian!

A mechanical chap, whose fated appearance had led to countless people aimlessly toying with the gadgetry of his form, had found at last a kindred spirit in me. We were both machines of this beautiful and fleeting world: I of flesh, and he of metal, and each of us a lover of the thespian of thespians, Mr Shakespeare! And before the next batch of children were scheduled to storm through the gallery, I quietly erased the idea of a rose and sweetly replaced it with an olden umbrella.

I say, does he not look familiar to You….? ♥♥♥  

The Computational Linguistics Of True Love: My Robothespian!

“… the two square black eyes of the mechanical chap lit up and flashed with the most liveliest hearts that I had ever seen, and his cheeks turned a burnt red. He was blushing at me! Profusely!…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Birmingham Science Museum | Birmingham | UK 2016

We Cannot Be Stopped From Meeting Again…

The alienated bubbles of existence that is so horrendously symptomatic of the western world has not, thank goodness, diminished the close-knit undividedness of my family circle at home. Since I am a habitual adventurer, a happy-footed grasshopper often seen in constant and daring leaps from the carriage of one train to another in the quest to widen my sights and gather new fodder for future storytelling, it so then happens that when I do, indeed, find that I am sat in my olden armchair it imbues me with a special appreciation of the place that I call home.

We are a very traditional family who still prefer to eat together around the table and in the evenings we sit close by one another and listen to stories of how our days went, and all the while I will be seen writing away in my journal or reading a book taken out from my current turret of literature that are pending my attentions. I ought to add that it does drive my Amma recklessly potty each time she walks over and shrewdly inspects my wobbling pile of books, her fingers tightly crossed in the hope that the papery tower of Babel will have shown mercy and reduced in height and thus let up access to the cabinet behind. She cannot reach its contents, and oh how to tell You of the countless comedic confrontations that she has obliged my funny bone! There are times when she has, amongst many other forms of intimidations, threatened to dump the treacherous traffic of hardbacks down the loo and press the flush lever! All exaggerations on her part, for she has never done it and that is because she knows that books and I are joined at the hips, for all eternity! She secretly loves the fact that I love books, and I have her cornered well and truly on this account, for if it were not for my enchanting exposure to her stunning oral storytelling in my childhood days, perhaps today You would have seen a different me. As a matter of fact, I might not have been so passionately compelled to flesh out the words of my heart to the world beyond and, hence, these words that You read now would not have floated into your timeline. It was destined, indeed!

If You ever come to visit me and my family in our small house, that stands in a very ordinary street with plentiful of trees, You will have the pleasure to recognise that we are all enraptured when we talk of stories. We do playful things with them, like for instance, we wonder what might have happened if the last word on the last page kept going on and on, and then there is that lively vocation of the imagination where we put our muddy feet in the shoes of the different characters we met and try to comprehend why they behaved with sheer brilliance, or why we chose to condemn them to the status of a repulsive beast. Sometimes, what began as a superficial comment about a character or plot could end up ballooning into a robust Herculean debate, devouring the entire evening so that there is no more time for golden camomile tea and it must be off to bed we go!

The penchant of our family to sit and discuss stories has taught us all that the backbone of a good story will always span from one end of the universe to the other, for when held in the hands and buoyed in the heart of a good reader the finite first appearance of its form, a lame wad of papers bound by two covers, will crumble and vanish because when a searching heart and a book come to consummate, it is with perennial loyalty, that they arouse an eternal sediment of riveting questions, creamy ponderings and beautiful philosophies. It was to this effect that last night I was inspired to add a sparkling continuance to a classic story that You ought to have by now have the necessary faculty to recite back-to-front!

Adapting the pencil-drawn image taken from the back cover of my pocket edition of ‘The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe’, I closed my eyes and let the scarlet inkwell in my chest scribble a few words of my own and when I had finished, I stood back and reflected in huge fondness of how, with gentle subtlety, the picture that became was one that shone like something grandly familiar. It was a scene shimmering just underneath the cusp of reality, a home that I have yet to call home♥♥♥

Through A Magical Doorway You And I Met Again…

Through A Magical Doorway, You and I Met again…” – Mazzy x

 

Words & Art: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Winchester | UK 2016
Original Image Adapted From: © The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe | Pocket Edition | C.S. Lewis | HarperCollins Children’s Books | 1950

Episode 5 And A Bit: The Umpire Strikes Back!

My beloved Reader, it has come to my frazzled and most nervous attention that the two thespian actors, widely known for their frequent and loyal photographic services in my whimsical projects and who recently starred in the ambitious visual production of my story, ‘The Legend Of Corfe Castle’, were spotted early this morning in our majestic capital city of London and each had on their person a suspicious article swinging off their arms! CCTV cameras picked up a clear visual of the two ladies – a Ms Agnes and Ms Katie – casually approaching the front façade of The British Museum, a landmark reputed to stand as a forefront in world-class architectural sophistication and whose contents are filled with astounding artefacts of impressive educational merit.

When detectives finally could not bear the suspense for a moment longer, they stormed into the paved courtyard and stopped the aforementioned suspects in their tracks. Meanwhile, the head co-ordinator of the taskforce made an urgent request for reinforcements in case upon confrontation the ladies were to reach into their bags and pull out certain named chemical irritants. In five minutes flat, ice-creams vans were dutifully deployed on standby to cool the situation down if things got out of hand – literally!

Witnesses report that when the senior field officer asked the two suspects to drop their bags and to step away immediately, they chose not to comply. The officer repeated his commands, but this time he spoke through an old brassy gramophone horn that belonged to his granddad . Each woman gave a disarmingly wry smile that had the remarkable effect of confusing all the officers on the scene. It would appear that this cleverly engineered state of unfocused attention created an opportunistic time window for both ladies in which they were able to quickly dig into their bags and unleash upon the faces of the officers an attack of the most orangey oranges, each one shining ripe and bursting with exponential quantities of Vitamin C!

Both ladies were handcuffed, each to an officer, and then promptly scooted off in cars with wailing sirens and screeching tires, all the way down to the London Metropolitan Police HQ where they were detained securely inside separate interrogation chambers.

When questioned about their motives their answers were remarkably identical.

What is the purpose of your possession of suspicious quantities of oranges in your bag?

We were inspired to bring colour back into people’s cheeks…

Ergo, I have now successfully got myself stuck in a highly pickle situation. The entire Metropolitan force is in pursuit after me and I need somewhere to lay low. Any offers?

NB (No-Ball nota bene) To the proprietors of dodgy and ruinous castles who may wish to assist. Thank you, but no thank you!

Giggle, giggle!!! ♥♥♥ 

Episode 5 And A Bit: The Umpire Strikes Back!

“… Each woman gave a disarmingly wry smile that had the remarkable effect of confusing all the officers on the scene…”

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | British Museum | London | UK 2016

Old Pictures, New Story: Pocket Edition Magic!

The votes have been cast and my family and friends have decided, unanimously, that the spruced-up chap with the lion-heart, whom we see in the photograph below, should bravely step forward and take my hand! I say, what conspiracy is this?! Yet I shall be kindly upon them and grant amnesty to the innocence and naivety of their verdict, for little do they know that the days of Mr C.S. Lewis and the wearing of dignified tweed fibres have unfortunately relegated themselves to an endangered rank of style. And if still, miracle permitting, there is such a man whose wardrobe tastes are as ancient as the first bacterial life that bewitched into existence beneath the world’s blue oceans, then hurry man, relinquish thy silence and make Yourself known! Giggle, giggle! ♥♥♥ 

 
Every which way I turned the serpentine streets of London showed themselves to be the empires of frenzied footsteps made of scampering strangers, cramped spaces teeming with a living museum of the city’s diverse and complex human characters. I had only just sprung out from the underground tube and into the reassurance of familiar daylight when this rather dapper and stylishly suited gentleman appeared out of the corner of my eye! Donned in green tweed, monocle confidently propped up, festooned with a bushy moustache on a canvas of face generously rotund as like his equally portly belly, I was curious to know precisely what such a figure of dignified antiquity was viewing on his phone. Perhaps he was requesting that he should be sent back to his own time? Or, was he texting Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, demanding to know where his pick-up car had gone to that was promised to him? What a delight that this eccentric chap should spark endless stories in my head and to remind me that even in the most chaotic and impersonal of places my eyes could still make out exquisite pockets of magic…” 

Meet Colonel Green Tweed!

Potential husband material? Well, that depends. Are we referring to the round-bellied one or to his handsome green tweed suit? I beg Your pardon, but why are You winking at me? ♥♥♥

 

Photograph & Journal Excerpt: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | London Street Photography Series | Central London | UK 2014

 

The Legend Of Corfe Castle: Epilogue

My Dearest and most Beloved Reader,

It has been an unparalleled pleasure to have penned this Story for You, whose imaginative elements were harnessed from the colourful crucible of my adventures that took place over the long Easter holidays. I could have quite easily borrowed my younger brother’s smartphone – he has more than one – and then proceeded to gallivant through these places that I visited with the sole self-gratifying intention of capturing forty or so selfies of my face, returning to the homestead to deliriously plaster them all over social media and to attach under each a phrase that starts in the same vein of “Happiness is when blah-di-blah-di-blah…” or “I am a strong and beautiful and fearless babe” or “Drinking from a paper cup, check me out!” I am certain you catch my drift!

Well, the fact of the matter is, YOU know me all too well and I know YOU all too well. That is why I wrote a Story out of it all and in the coming days I shall be posting off special copies to my friends in far-off corners of the world who have limited or no access to technology.

I cannot expect to feel composed for a single day if I do not, in some way, feel a story grain through the tiny canyons of my fingers. Either I must be reading a book, or engaged in writing one for others to delve their minds into. In my eyes, every piece of literature that inspires me to become a better human being is, simply put, an uncelebrated embodiment of the holy book and to know that in myself is a gift for which I am abundantly thankful to my Creator.

I am quite convinced that the form of the story has always served to be infinitely more exciting and rewarding for the both of us because, given the enormous distances between my home and yours, it is the seedling garlands of my ink and the garden of my notebook from which I am able to conjure such humble magic as to make it appear in our hearts that You and I are indeed sat close next to each other, somewhere on those rustling plains of Rumi’s field of gold

The echoes of a writer are the bane of all clocks,
Mazzy ♥♥♥

The Legend Of Corfe Castle: Epilogue

Thank you very much, Mr C.S. Lewis!

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Back Home | Winchester | UK 2016

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 19: The Right Inspiration

Contrary to popular belief and perception, that what we call ‘Time’ does not actually or even remotely obey the course of a straight line. Time is a funny old business and one day in the distant future scientists will master the means to empirically substantiate that it is a property of existence composed of balletic proclivities that truly border on the voluminous and spectacular. Besides travelling ahead-ways, it can scoot up-ways, down-ways, side-ways, diagonal-ways, reverse-ways, and also, in-between-ways. Now, as human beings we are indeed constituted of rather restricted physical dimensions and that adds a veritable spanner in the works, for our perceptual faculties cannot cope with the infinite tributaries of time and thus if anyone strikes up the fancy to hop from one timeline to another they will surely come to a horrid impasse, as well as serve themselves up for ridicule from the conservative mainstream community!

A Muse is of a different matter altogether – literally!

She or he can blot out the monotonous terms and conditions always associated with the physical dimension, skipping the rule of linearity and crossing over to any timeline of their choice. They can in effect change the course of history. What I have omitted to tell You thus far is that though a Muse is destined to ignite the spark of inspiration into her Chosen One, her birth is not a spontaneous event. She did not arise from nothingness. She was inspired into creation by another Muse, and, once in a while, that Muse can take the form of a human

Rianna hurtled through space and time in the guise of a spinning ball of energy and carrying in her were the blueprints of all the adventures she had experienced with us. When she opened her eyes she found that she was no longer in the company of her four friends. Instead, an impressive beige-bricked, gothic bell tower doused in the glory of the warm autumn sunshine pealed the air with its rhythmic tolls of the bell. The tall spires of the astounding architecture around her seemed to want to touch the roof of the blue sky, and yet at the same time her attention was being amusingly diverted by the riverine flow of students cycling away through the narrow winding streets below. What a fetching chirp there was in their mutterings as they roamed to their respective Universities. She noticed groups of well-behaved students striding enthusiastically to their classes, although one or two of them indubitably shared an eccentric charisma about them and they loved to flash their hands about as they dabbled in talks on this and that! It was when she saw their attire that she was satisfied that she had arrived at the right time – in the right time! The young men were suited in fine tweeds with ties, whilst the girls wore heavy knit cardigans and long skirts, and hair that was either quite short or tied up in taut buns.

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 19: The Right Inspiration

“… When she opened her eyes she found that she was no longer in the company of her four friends. Instead, an impressive beige-bricked, gothic bell tower doused in the glory of the warm autumn sunshine pealed the air with its rhythmic tolls of the bell...”

No one seemed to notice her and she liked that. Mustering up all the fortitude she had left in her, she reassured with herself that she knew precisely where to go – an old English pub on the high street not far from where she was stood. She walked discreetly in its direction, careful not to rouse any kind of suspicion in case if that were to foster unnecessary complications in her path.

When she arrived outside the small building she was immediately swept up in the tasty and pungent aroma of fish and chips, and the fermented scent of the traditional English ale. Timidly she opened the oak door and stepped inside. The first thing she noticed was the rich dark wood, there was so much of it, timbered through the walls and beaming across the low ceilings. She felt she had entered the heart of a tree. On one side the modestly-sized counter was packed with students and professors engaged in sprightly intellectual discussions whilst downing handsome tankers of ale and the chap at the bar looked friendly enough to throw the odd cheeky comment that led to noisy uproars of laughter and claps. Rianna smiled away. She was always mesmerised by the warmth of human congeniality. She side-stepped away from the counter to observe that on the right-hand side were very tiny round wooden tables patterned with surfaces that resembled the design of a chessboard. She was intrigued and stroked the surface of one of these tables before resuming her search. She scanned each occupant of each chair but everyone appeared to be in happy spirits without a care in the world. Had she made a mistake and leapt into the wrong place, or time even?

And then she saw him.

In a dark corner, against the wall, a lonely man sat by a table. His body was hunched over and his arms were crossed down on the table so that his face was buried and hidden from the world. His grey tweed jacket was carelessly slung on the back of his chair, on the brink of tapering off the edge, and the rolled-up sleeves of his white shirt, stained on one side by ink that had not quite been washed out, indicated to her that he was suffering and that no one knew it. In front of him splayed out on the table with a sort of defeatist indifference were his notebook and fountain pen. As she came closer her heart felt a shuddering grievance to see that his notebook was completely empty. The words had deserted him and he, a heavy and companionless void, was shrinking away into the solid sands of the table. There was a spherical glass lamp above him and that too did not wish to keep company with the man. Its light was faint and faraway.

She came right beside him and knelt down so that her lips were in line with his ear. And she whispered, softly:

Hello…

He did not budge.

I hope you can hear me…”, she cleared her throat and glanced back over to the room just to ensure that no one could see her. “I want to tell you something. You see, there is a little girl – a good friend of yours – and she is not born yet and won’t be for a while, so you will not meet her in this life”.

The man fidgeted and scratched his ear. His head was still buried in the enclosure of his arms.

She will not not come from these parts. Her land of birth will be unlike the austere winters of England. Her first cries will be welcomed under the blazing orange sunshine of the bluest of skies, and in that month when she shall be born there will be the music of rain, its beats consummating with the lips of umbrellas and earth. But… “, and Rianna paused to smilingly reflect on the strange turnings of destiny, “… it is your shores in England that she will eventually come to make her home. This little friend has sent me here so that I can pass on her message to you”.

At that he slowly lifted his head from the table and stretched his eyes out before rubbing them rigorously with his hands. He was dazed and confused and began to dart his eyes all over the place because he thought he had heard someone speak to him.

He could not see Rianna.

But he felt her presence.

She looked at him with tender admiration. “I know you can hear me…

Who said that?” He was startled and gulped hard. He surveyed his cup of tea and promptly dismissed the insane idea that something so harmless could be responsible for what he deemed to be hallucinatory voices.

I am the free essence of her, the eternal aspect of her soul. I am her Spark.

He writhed a bit at first, mystified and then his breathing began to grow calmer and calmer, indeed from a distance he would have appeared to be a man immersed in the deepest of contemplative musings.

She wishes to know you better in the life that she will be born in. She wishes that you write beautiful stories and that you never shirk away from that endeavour because that is what you were meant to be. And if you so happen to desire to shake her hands in gratitude then put that in one of your stories. I am sure she will be pleased by it…

Who… what are you…?

Her form suddenly collapsed in on itself. It formed a tiny firefly of orange spark and it fluttered and swayed and dived before swimming towards the shores of his weary eyes where, with one last ecstatic brightening, she melted into them for eternity.

The round glass lamp above flickered once and then twice and then it came on, a steady and full-bodied illumination that drove out the shadows that had far too long haunted him in that cavernous corner. He picked up his fountain pen and pulled his notebook towards him. Taking a determined sip of his tea, he sat up straight and courageously soared his fountain pen over the snowy white sheet before landing the nib deep into its fine smooth flakes, and in them he scrawled the name of my Inspiration

What happened next? ♥♥♥

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 19: The Right Inspiration

“… The round glass lamp above flickered once and then twice and then it came on, a steady and full-bodied illumination that drove out the shadows that had far too long haunted him in that corner…

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Oxford | UK 2016

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 18: I Am Juliet Renewed

I can so vividly remember that all of us had held our breath and the mill of time slowed down so that its ticks and tocks pierced into one’s ears like the stomps belonging to a stampede of giants.

Dear Mazzy…” She began and a fierce tenderness danced in her eyes whose optical gravity I observed rang from their unmined cores, and thus I toddled forward. The heel of the foot with no shoe had stopped bleeding but it was terribly sore and this was exceptionally noticeable now, because things were moving slowly and all attention had fallen on me. This brought on a reinvigorated sharpness in my perceptions and all the tiny regularities and strings of chaos occurring inside my body had amplified double-fold.

The Muse continued. “At every moment of this quest you were afraid. You were afraid that you would lose the people you love. You were afraid that you would let people down. You were afraid of the evil that lurked in and under those grey castle walls. You were afraid of the shadows cast by Arcana’s malice. You were afraid of the Unknown.  I could see that. I could sense that.” Quietly astonished by the wise intrusions of her eye into the primal fibres of my soul, I made no expression to her appraisal but I suspected her convictions were duly confirmed by the tell-tale waters that had now slowly begun to seep along the shoreline of my eyes. The Muse was right.

She stepped closer.

But there is a rare fire in you. It believes in Goodness even when everything tells you not to.” She paused and trawled for the right words. “Where there are spoils, in people and in places, unfixable domes of darkness assumed unconquerable, you stand and you watch and you are afraid of what consequences they may inflict on the people who matter to you, and to those whom you know not of. Yet…” And then a sweet calmness rippled in her voice, “… however untamed your fear, it has never ever been so strong as to take away your fire, your gift of Light. You are not holding it. You are It.” I realised I was not anymore staring at a mortal face but at the very essence of a being that was Inspiration. “You are a small thing and you are afraid of the shadows and the blackness, but if only you could see what I see, what everyone sees…”, She now smiled and the world paused, “… inside the jaws of an infinite Universe forged of the murkiness of black obscurity, there walks a ray of Orange. You. The Lady of the Lamp…

The weep of a solitary tear ran down my still face.

There was a solemn silence behind me. No one spoke.

The Muse wiped the tear off my face. “That is why all who cross your path, in every way conceivable, and I include those in the breeds of evil too, shall all come to learn of the Light. You will help them and each time you do, you shall be renewed.” She stepped back and straightened her back and looked upon me with a mixture of authority and affection, “In honour of your Gift to shine your Light on the weak and on the cursed, I gift you in return a prophecy.” And she took from behind her back a book with an enchanting cover depicting an illustration of two lovers entwined and entangled as one. I was somewhat at a loss. “I present to you ‘Romeo And Juliet’ and I chose this for you because you are, in every incarnation, the faithful Juliet. You are one half of a legendary love story…

She placed the book in my hand and not tearing my gaze from her, I nestled my gift against my chest. I ought to have said much but I was, in truth, blissfully glad that I was deprived of all articulation. Only two words I managed, but they took an aeon to form on my lips and she knew how much I meant them, “Thank you…

A single tingle of the bell rang behind us. It was the working of that humble oar made to wade across the tide of the door as people came in and out. I turned around. A familiar and golden afternoon light poured in and a faraway look came over me, followed by a smirk that fluttered like a bird across the vast canvas of my soul.

We left the bookshop in jolly spirits!

There was no hurry in our steps as we made our way to the teahouse. The burden of the quest lifted, the forest air and the ardency of sunshine that had matured over the course of the day, as well, as the sudden teeming of bustling laughter from tourists, all together adorned us in a fantastic bubble of a new kind of aliveness. It was as if this was the first day of everything!

We were about to enter the tearooms when Rianna stopped and I could tell that she had something important to announce and that it would prove hard to tell us of her decision. She clasped onto my arm and considerately addressed me. “Mazzy, I need no rest. I am feeling well again. The time has come for me to leave you all”.

I was flummoxed and yet I detected that she had put a lot of wise thought into her decision. “Where will you go?

You will help me to get there”.

I don’t follow”.

To my Chosen One”.

We all exchanged confused glances, except for The Crone. She appeared to be unperturbed by the odd choice of words expressed by the Muse.

But you informed me that he died a long time ago. How will you find him now?

You will take me to him”.

Me?” I found myself trying to keep afloat and make sense of her bizarre proposition.

Surely you can’t bring him back from the dead?” Sachi gave a disbelieving smile.

Alex butted in, his face positively confused. “Mum is right – for once!” Sachi playfully slapped his cheek.

Mazzy, remember I said to you once that the Universe lives in you?” Rianna’s eyes burrowed themselves into mine.  “Well, it really does. You did it once before, you can do it again”.

Alright, now I am very lost! I can’t make heads or tails out of this!” Squirming in the fortress of these riddles, the pain in my heel exacerbated and I let out a long drawn sigh of exhaustion.

Rianna nudged closer and carefully placed her fingers on my clammy forehead. Without telling me so, I felt compelled to close my eyes.

What happened next?  ♥♥♥  

The Legend Of Corfe Castle Chapter 18: I Am Juliet Renewed

And she took from behind her back a book with an enchanting cover depicting an illustration of two lovers entwined and entangled as one. I was somewhat at a loss. “I present to you ‘Romeo And Juliet’ and I chose this for you because you, in every incarnation, the faithful Juliet. You are one half of a legendary love story…”

 

Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Blackwell’s Bookshop | Oxford | UK 2016