Thursday, 14 November 2013

My Island is the centre of the world.

A report on the island of Pat-Te-Chack-Ha.

"My Island is the centre of the world.

I know this because all waters are born within it, they flow outwards under the rocks and turn to the waters of the sea.

We make our living underwater and underground."


"In the middle of the centre of the world is our black father. He is old and quiet now. He has many long halls under the earth where his blood was, but he is old now, and dry. Many small streams come from him, but they disappear into his halls and then into the white rock. Only we know where they go.

Every tribe knows one stream, or more. Only they know and it is the most important knowledge a tribe has.

To get water you need to live, you must follow the stream underground, or know where it meets the sea. They all flow out under the surf and the cliffs. Go to the right place with your bag closed, dive down and face the black opening where the water comes out, open your bag the right way, then close it.

Now you have a bag of fresh water.

There is soil in some of the big pits and the mouths of caves that will hold water for a while. You can make a farm there that will not be seen from the outside.

Other people know there is no water on our island. They know everything here is poisoned. They know nothing can live here so they think we are ghosts. If they come, we wait for them to get thirsty, then we come out of the ground and take them."


"To make a spell, take the smallest grain you can hold, sing the spell to it. Dive down to where the big oysters are. Put the spell in the oyster, don't get caught. When your grandchildren are old, they can go to the same oyster and take out the spell.

When they want to cast it, they throw it into a cup of strong drink. The pearls dissolve in their stomach and the spell comes out and is cast.

So you can never cast spells yourself, only send them to your grandchildren. You have to think hard about the kind of spells they will need. Just like your grandparents though hard for you.

A big string of pearls is a big song of spells. Anyone with that had powerful grandparents. They can cast the spells one-by-one, or sometimes all at once.

Never tell anyone where your spells are hidden, they can be stolen.

The moon is gods spell and he is waiting to cast it."


"There is not much wood here and it is precious. If you see any others, try to take their wood!

If you have a wooden club that belongs to your family, try not to break it. If you do, you must go to one of the other places to get more wood and make a better club so your family doesn't suffer.

The shells of the turtle make good shields. The shells of the oyster can only be used by the Chief and his men. If you see a curved white dagger made from a broken oyster shell, the person holding it is a criminal. They smashed the shield of the chief. You can kill them for this. (Try to keep the dagger, they are very useful. Don't let anyone see it or they can kill you.)

The spell-making men have excellent axes that can never break. They can only ever be used for carving the tortoise shell shields. They can never be used for anything else. So don't try or your parents will die straight away.

If you want to trade, have the black coral. Never trade wood, it is too important. Just trade the right amount of black coral for whatever you want and when it is done, walk away, leaving the wood without looking at it. If you see it again, pretend not to recognise it. In this way you can 'sell' wood if you are careful.

Our father knows we are poor, he gives us the black glass to make our knives with. Not many people have this. Try not to see your reflection in the glass. It is not a friend." (see below).


"When you get close, turn your canoe over like it has been in a storm, then they can't shoot at you. Then swim underneath them and come from below.

Remember, if you attack by swinging overarm, the dead can see you. So try to only do that if you are avenging someone. If you do it 'out there' then alien ghosts might follow you."


"Remember almost everything in the world is poisonous. The only way to avoid the poisons is to get exactly the right foods and mix them in exactly the right way. If you do this, the poisons cancel each other out. If you go 'out there' to the edges of the world and you see anyone mixing foods when they eat, always do exactly the same thing."


"The thing with the food is basically true for everything. You can always cancel out a tabu or a sin with a different tabu or sin. But they have to be exactly right. If you can keep your actions even, you will be ok when you die. Listen and pay attention to find out what things cancel out what other things. In the  centre of the world the spell-making men know which ones, but out in the edges you are on your own.

Remember that reflections are other selves who can be tricked into helping you. Don't trust the ones you see in weapons. They are fiercer than you and will try to trick you into dying in their place. If you see one in wine or milk that's good. (Remember the wine and milk are poisoned.)

If you are in trouble, remember to always turn things inside out and upside down if you can.

Trust ducks. They know both worlds."


"Some tattoos go one one half of the body, some go on the other. They have to be exactly even. When you are born the spell-making men will tell your parents where to get the tattoos from. My uncle had one side tattooed with things seen by the starved and the other side with things seen by the mad. My father had one side with things women saw in dreams and the other with things seen in the night sky reflected in the sea.

Remember they have to be even!

So if you know your left-side tattoos come from the teeth of sharks when you see them. And you see the teeth, and get the tattoo, then you have to get the other side tattooed. You will not be safe until it is done. This is why most people leave the centre of the world. They have uneven tattoos and need to find the right thing or person to even them out.

If you get a scar on one side, remember to get the right scar on the other side.

If you lose a hand and live, you are a daemon, never come back"


  1. Patrick, I think you're one of my favorite writers. Your writing is better than most of the books on my bookshelves.

    Having said that, I really like the oyster magic.

  2. It is not merely the depth and richness of your creative vision but the astonishing rapidity with which you disgorge this beautiful stuff that is so frustratingly impressive.

    1. Thanks Tom, but I have no job and nothing to do all day but think about this stuff. If anyone else had the same amount of free time they could have written multiple books by now.

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  4. I have to agree with the others- you make me frankly envious. I'm trying to express how talented I think you are, but I can't think of anything other than brutal comparisons to other bloggers.
    You are as good as any speculative writer working right now. Certainly the equal of M.A.R. Barker or China Mieville at least. As for your output, I think you're more than prolific enough. Borges didn't write that much either. I don't know what your education level or background is, but I think you ought to be making money off your imagination if you'd like to and aren't already. If you don't want to commercialize something you enjoy, or have reservations about attaching yourself publicly to a field not taken seriously by most that's understandable. But I really hope that you do me and the rest of us the favor of someday committing seriously to publishing some sort of work in this field. You are astonishingly good.

    1. Well, Medusa maze and Pariah's of the Earth should be coming out next year.

      It's more of a continual low-level rage at my own inability to manage my time and get things done. With the amount of free time I have, i should be able to do more.

    2. Hey, you are learning how to work on this stuff on a consistent basis, not just dilly-dally at it. I can tell because *you're publishing things*. It'll get to be more of a habit eventually, I hear.

  5. This is beautiful, I'm going to claim it as a birthday present.

  6. What if: Lord Dunsany blogged the 'Book of Wonders'.

  7. I love you work, how you give consistency to your worlds, even the most outlandish ones.

    I made a kick sketch inspired in one of the lines, I hope you like it:

    1. Really glad you liked it! Your writing is very inspiring to me!