Photo by Ilya Genkin
From the day Gurltatakko first painted, it was clear to his family that he was one day destined to be a Yammaiamma, a sorcerer capable of the greatest magic, the rarest men found in Peramangk culture. By the age of eleven his red ochre painted motifs of people and animals mesmerised his tribe. Once as a treat when given some white and yellow ochre he drew a giant serpent surrounded by white dots. Panic soon overcame his tribe. Parents distanced their children from him. Baffled tribal elders wanted to know where the creature came from and why he painted white dots. Gurltatakko told them the serpent came from the Murrundie River in his dream and the white dots protected it from ghosts.
The elders were convinced that Gurltatakko had been given special powers and wanted to initiate him into the life of a Wilya Kundarti but his mother refused and convinced the elders to delay this as he had not reached puberty. His imagination would develop further to stay a Kurkurra, an uninitiated boy able to roam carefree. Besides, the elders had more concerning matters before the upcoming journey. What to do if they were confronted by the ghosts of their own people who rode the giant canoes on the Murrundie River? The Ngarrindjeri had spoken of the ghosts when they last traded with the Peramangk. Both tribes were mystified as to why the white ghosts spoke in a language so foreign. Was it the language of the dead spirits they questioned?
Photo by David Martyn
Deep in the heart of the West Midlands stands Goth Manor. This is where I live. On the edge of the woods overlooking the cemetery is where I sleep. Above the entranceway where the cobbled path leads to the manor is where I sit, I listen. I’ve heard locals rumour that in the early hours of the morning when the moon is shun by darkness you can hear a virgin scream from the dungeon below. I can assure you they don’t stay virgins for very long. I watch and wait for the newly enrolled Goths. Usually after the first few hours you can tell who is going to stick it out for the rest of the weekend. It’s in their blood, you can see it in their eyes; sense it in their longing for a deeper understanding. Occasionally one of them will have an amulet and I know for sure, but that is not very often. Here they come now. Ouch! I just bit my tongue. The taste is so familiar.
They’re all dressed too colourfully except for the long dark haired maiden at the rear with her black sleeved dress. That surely has to be Amelie. The distinct clapping of the foursome’s footsteps is my cue to head to the front door. Good – Darcy already awaits.
‘Welcome to Goth Manor,’ I say. ‘Fortunately you made it before the fog settles in. I’m Lord Alfred and this is Darcy, the cook who will show you to your rooms. Please don’t be alarmed, he’s a multitasker and assures me supper is under prepared, sorry under control. There are robes on the end of your beds if you would prefer to slip into something more comfortable when you retire to your rooms. Darcy will wait in the hall and show you the way to the dining room and restroom if needed. See you all shortly.’