In a time where there was no such thing as human equality. No such concept of human morality. Where there was just your home and your townsfolk. Outsiders weren’t welcome. Trust wasn’t adopted, nor shared. There was a King, a Queen, a rising Prince and Princess, their army family of higher power, and the residents they controlled. The city of Doggerland lay in the middle of the former British desert, the terrain similar to that of modern day Egypt. The Royal Blackhorse Family lived in a shiny stain-glassed golden palace which sat beside a large sandstone colosseum. They had ruled the city for as long as anyone could remember, their power rising from one generation to the next. And that’s how it was, there was the Blackhorse Family and then there was peasants; the townsfolk who lived in poverty, in depression of their lack of earnings. The Royal Family lived in riches, guaranteeing their human pets just enough to stay alive, to serve out their lives to their royal ancestors as slaves, growing crops and food, building wooden huts, working so hard for so little.
Would peace and equity ever be restored to Great Britain? The townsfolk would ask on the desperate regular, hoping that one day the poems of the anonymous gospel would come true, that this unknown messenger spreading words of a better world would manifest its way into a city that was under comprehended corruption. This messenger lived in an old cabin in the woods secluded from the city. One cabin he resided in, his only neighbor an old wise former leader of the elders named Elizabeth who lived in a wooden cabin right next door. Elizabeth had been banished from the city years ago for her unveiling of peaceful offerings. Edward had fled on his own terms, protecting himself from being captured for his special gift. This is probably why the two had so much in common and shared just about everything a grandmother and her grandson would. Even though nothing was biological, they were family and it had always been this way. A peaceful stream of crystal clear water ran through the nooks and crannies of the green forest that consumed the cabin. Edward and Elizabeth were the only two people that lived in the green grass of the Albion Forest, the rest of Doggerland succumbed to the barren desert wasteland of the city.
“One day the people will rise up and fight for their freedom, Ed,” Elizabeth would tell her young student that she knew would live out her legacy.
Edward was skeptical, but also hopeful, knowing in his heart that Doggerland had so much working on to do to change it into a peaceful place for all to live. He had spent this cold winter’s night on a stealth mission into the city to paint his most recent message on the street walls, knowing that it would only survive the night like the others, and only be absorbed into the minds of very few. The Blackhorse family would have it hidden before the mid of the following day. Black ink stained his hands as he used two fingers to convey his message onto the stone wall;
“A feeling, a destination, and so much more,
A longing for freedom, the open road to explore.
Road trips and jetlag to scenic views,
Away from the big city smoke,
A lost soul on a constant move.
Waterfalls, hideaways, nature, crystals and twine,
There isn’t any mountain I will refuse to climb.
I guarantee you that your safe place awaits,
Close your eyes and give in,
To your un-denying fate.
Please don’t conform to the system that controls you,
Get out and find yourself, and start over anew.”
“What do you expect to get out of these weekly messages, lorve?” Elizabeth asked Edward when he returned from his walk into the city. She would always wait up for him to return like a worried-sick grandmother would, no matter what time of night. “I’m worried sick that they’re going to catch you one of these days, Ed...”
“Liz, the people of this city are under complete control,” Edward said, washing the ink off his hands in a bucket of water next to the door to Liz’s cabin. “By bringing awareness to those people who just so happen to read, I could open them up to a whole new perspective and save their lives from greed.”
“I always knew you were meant to rhyme,” Elizabeth laughed. “But that doesn’t excuse the fact that the royal family are dangerous, and they will execute you if they find you.”
“Liz, if they catch me, then that is fate,” Edward said. “And my work will be done. I will die doing the good deed that I know I was destined to do. But I really do believe I can make my mark here upon these people.”
“There is potential, lorve...just promise me that you’ll be careful. You’re a rare young man, and this world needs you to stick around, ok? It would break my heart to see you go before me...”
“I promise, Liz,” Edward said, embracing her in a hug.
“I wrote a poem for Bronwyn today,” Liz said, flicking through some sheets of parchment on the log table. “It’s been twenty-one years since she died.”
Bronwyn was Liz’s daughter who died of the Doggerland dust infection, a dust skin plague that hits the city whenever the hot months roll in. There is a psychic under control by the royal family that predicts when the annual dust storm will hit, but some, especially those in lower demographic areas of the city, are unaware of the storm and become infected as the dust hits. The ones who do know about the storm though are confined to their houses till it passes, leaving those who are infected to slowly rot away within a week’s time by the deadly dust’s contact with the skin.
“Read it to me,” Edward said, intrigued. “I would love nothing more right now than to hear it.”
Liz nodded, and picked up the parchment:
“Twenty-one years since you have been here this day,
Two hundred and fifty two months,
Close to one hundred thousand days.
I knew you for such little time, oh daughter of mine,
But I know you are always present,
Here by my sometimes lonely side.”
Liz looked up at Edward with a smile and her eyes filled with tears.
“My guardian angel, my flesh and blood,
You always pick me up when I am stuck in the mud.
You wrote rhymes of love, life, and your deepest of thoughts,
Making sure I knew lessons that were implored to be taught.
On the day of your anniversary, you came to me,
In form of a tune, you showed and you fleed.
But you opened my eyes to the bigger picture,
Through synchronized signs and connections,
You seem to capture.
Your choice of words imprinted in my overthought mind,
So radiant, so elegant,
Like mine, your heart was ever so kind:
“I’ll steal a rainbow from the sky, and mix each brilliant hue,
To paint my love on Eden,
With all the shades of blue.”
Edward’s eyes too filled with tears. He knelt and grabbed Liz by the hands.
“That was beautiful,” He told her. “She is always watching over, Liz. You know it. I know it.”
“I used to think that way, lorve,” Liz said, wiping the tears from her eyes. “But now I’m starting to think that her soul exists in yours, Ed.”
Edward grinned, kissed Liz on the cheek goodnight, and returned to his cabin. He pondered his goals, what he really wanted in life. There were so many things that he wanted to do that most wouldn’t even dream of. And he was determined to make them happen.
In the rural green hills of Tasmania, Andrew and Kasey Knights and their two children ventured to the mountains in search of their newest home. They had left the city life in Sydney in a big cloud of smoke, longing for fresh air to start their family bondage in peace. Andrew had been involved in crime in Sydney ever since his early childhood. He met Kasey when he was twenty-one, and now at a ripe age of thirty he was ready to leave it all behind and focus on his family. You’re probably thinking, why Tasmania, right? The most remote island in Australasia...well Andrew got involved with some bad people, which then turned into a gang war between two families, which then resulted in people getting hurt and the mafia targeting Andrew and his family for execution. He had to think quickly, and his first decision was to move as far away as possible and to tell no one about it. So that’s what they did; twenty-five-year-old Kasey, five-year-old Amy and two year old Justin had no choice but to follow Andrew to Tasmania out of love and protection.
An hour from the closest town and the cheapest property on the market, the family drove through the hills along a dirt road in their spacious four-wheel-drive to meet with the real estate agent on top of the mountain. The driveway was steep and had cracks and potholes in the road. If you didn’t floor it the whole way up, getting stuck half way was on the cards. Dense rainforest surrounded the property on top of the mountain. At the peak in front of the lookout to the cliff face sat a small farmhouse and a horse pen.
The smell of fresh oxygen evident as the four of them hopped out of the car and absorbed their surroundings. A slight breeze tickled their skin. A pretty young woman wearing an overload of lipstick, eyeliner and foundation and sharp business attire stood at the gate to the farmhouse with a huge grin on her face.
“Ah, Mr. and Mrs. Knights, so lovely to meet you both!” the young woman, who Andrew and Kasey presumed to be the real estate agent, greeted them. “How did you find the drive? Scenic views, right?”
Andrew nodded. “You’re not wrong...steep as fuck driveway too...”
“Ah yes, good thing we both got four by fours, right?” the real estate agent, who’s name badge read ‘Jessica’, winked.
“Fucking oath,” Kasey giggled. “There’s not much else getting up the road...”
“Depends what you’re looking for in a ‘home’ really,” Jessica said. “To share or to live in isolation...”
Jessica began to give them the tour. With Justin in Kasey’s hands and Amy toddling on behind them all, it was a lot to take in for all of them.
“So, one hundred acres, right?” Andrew asked Jessica.
“That’s correct, sir,” Jessica said. “One hundred acres of the purest Tasmanian bushlands...you could do anything with this place.”
“We’ll take it,” Andrew said at once, shaking Jessica’s hand.
Andrew looked over at the horse pen.
“What’s the go with the fuckin’ horse?” Andrew asked.
Jessica’s smile faded, leading them over to the horse pen. Inside was a young black horse.
“Her mother died a few days ago,” Jessica said. “It’s very sad, the poor girl. She’s got this whole pen all to herself without a mother...you guys can either keep her or she can be picked up by the rangers-”
“Daddy, daddy, daddy, can we please keep her?!” Amy begged, yanking on her father’s hand.
“Ok, ok, ok,” Andrew gave in in an instant. “She can stay.” He looked to Jessica. “Does the horse have a name?”
“I don’t believe so,” Jessica replied.
Andrew gazed into the horse’s round beady eyes. “Misty,” He said. “Her name is Misty.”
Kasey kissed Andrew on the cheek. ”Misty, it is.”
Kasey, Amy and Justin went inside the farmhouse to do room choosing while Andrew filled out some paperwork with Jessica.
“Just one more thing, Mr. Knights,” Jessica said after Andrew signed the land purchase papers. “The previous owners still have their last names on the sign at the front gate. You might want to make your own sign and replace it, other than that, thank you for choosing our real estate to help you find your dream home.”
“No, thank you,” Andrew winked, shaking her hand again.
Jessica left the property in a cloud of dust. Before he joined his wife and children in the farmhouse, their new permanent safe place, he decided to change over that sign. He thought that if he did that, it would make things seem more set in stone. He ventured to the rusty old shed next to the farmhouse. Inside, besides the abundance of cobwebs, were a variety of building tools and equipment. What caught his eye though was a rifle that was hanging up in the shed. Andrew picked it up and drew a cheeky grin to his face. He hung it back up, grabbed a bit of cardboard and a tin of paint and paintbrush, and walked to the front gate. Sitting there attached to the fence sat the sign: MR & MRS BLACKHORSE. He stared at the sign, and then over to the horse pen, to see Misty running around playing with a big ball of tumbleweed floating in the wind. He cracked open the paint tin, and began to paint the words: “WELCOME TO BLACKHORSE PARK”.