My entry in the Six Sentences Network's 'Mind Games' anthology comp has been accepted - and published!
There were over 300 entries and my piece (below) appears alongside those of fellow Writers' News Talkbackers A.J. Humpage and Pixie J. King.
A.J.'s is one of of my personal favourites in the collection, as well as Sandra Davies', Thomas Mundt's, Grey Johnson's and the winning 'six' by Kip Hanson.
Mind Games by Lily Childs
I thought them ferns; tall penile stems, their tops weighty with verdant coils just waiting to unfurl and release their fertile spores into the density of the hot forest.
Tickling their tendrils with soft affection my fingers instantly freeze in pain, agonising pulses of electric colour seethe through my brain as the tightly-bound spirals whip open, unleashing a thousand needles into my skin.
Voices call my name as if from a distance yet faces swim before my eyes; some familiar - my husband, group members, our priests; others are screaming beasts, terrifying in aspect, violently teasing my senses as they rush at me, possessing and vacating my body at speed.
Then white - I travel through clouds; burnt umber and red ochre crumble at my sides as I linger in moist earthen caverns until the blackness of gushing blood carries me back to the safety of my throbbing heart.
Missionaries attend to me over the ensuing days but I see them for the demons they are as they slap me with leeches, desperate to wipe the smile of bliss from my mouth, frantically forcing the creatures to suck out the poisons that play so prettily with my mind - but they are unable to stop me returning again and again to the beautiful wildwood deities that have forever lent me their power; and to think I thought them ferns.
I am at peace - I am shaman.