Witchy Winds in the New Outer Hebrides


Air demons.

I lift myself into the air and fly from the room. A door slams. The wind, she says. They are the wind, I say. I fly across a restaurant. A white witch and black witch fly to challenge me. Our fists bump in mid air. They spiral down, crashing into tables, starting fires. I pass through the closed window without causing damage. In the shop window opposite, a man has his head stuck in a hole in a wall. I gesture and he is released. He’s grateful. Middle aged women witches stream out from the restaurant, hoping to discover who I am. I make a most hasty departure, out of the arcade and up Fore Street, Exeter. The ladies are excited. I remind them by my actions that they are alive.

As I walk, I’m reminded of Notting Hill. Not the film. I remember a pub, a park, a friends house with a blue door. No other details. I was too stoned. Snapshots.

I am become Bond, shaker of Martini. I decide to steal a car, as the streets are full of driverless cars, and I’m unsure who controls them. I choose a battered green Citroen 2cv. I jump in and start it up, and join the flow of traffic. The steering doesn’t work. I slow down and drift to a halt.

What a bad choice I made.

I exit the vehicle. Across the road, in the 50s cinematic night, another secret agent observes me. I signal him with my mirror. Not a language as such, but a series of gestures that can be interpreted at a distance, to indicate my intentions. He signals me back. I am to continue.

Possibly earlier. I am in some kind of care home. My friend Steve is living here. I’m there to recover a map of the secret north of Scotland, and learn of the secret route to navigate the globe faster than normal geometry permits. Another patient talks to me, he wears garish makeup on a white base. He’s anxious and concerned. I hug him, and his face is replaced by a featureless plastic moulding.

I let go, and roll a handful of pens across his inner forearm. This relaxes him, and his features return. Alice is next to me, berating Steve, in his absence, for hoarding all the pens in the place. We leave, to follow Steve’s instructions and recover the book of the map.

Myself and the Madre Padre of the RAF are in a fancy building, some kind of folly. In her usual dramatic way, she is explaining the dangers and the signs of witchcraft. Much gesturing and casting of scary shadows. To me, it looks like a posh restaurant with a central mezzanine floor that is also a book shop. We walk up the steps to the bookshop. I know we’re looking for a map of northern Scotland, and roughly where Steve said it would be. As I search, I notice an ancient television camera behind me. Tommy is operating it. From a pulpit, the Madre throws me a book. A member of staff mumbles “bloody parents”. I catch the book. Inside is the map I seek. The top of Scotland is tagged, in wavy psychedelic writing, ‘The New Outer Hebrides’. I start to plan my global travels, using this knowledge, kept secret by the monarchy for generations. A girl walks past, the draft created turns the page. A door slams.

“The wind”, she says.

“Air demons”, I say. “They are the wind”.

💨💨💨💨💨💨💨💨

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