Five Flights


I glide upon the evening breeze
Carried effortlessly and silently, gently forwards, slowly downwards,
With breath-taking views all around

It’s been a while since I’ve flown so high,
Felt the freedom of just being there
Unattached from the ground

The flight, no matter how short,
Is always a welcome change.

The breeze tells me that the time is right
The clear dark skies speckled with thousands of lights
The remaining leaves rustle as the wind starts to blow
Whispers all around chant “Go! Go! Go!”
I close my eyes as I stand up tall
I let myself lean forward – I let myself fall
The wind catches me before I fall down
And gently, it lifts me up from the ground
Higher and higher it allows me to fly
Carrying me up to the edge of the sky
Over the rivers and valleys and hills
Changing my direction upon my will
Faster I soar through raindrops and cloud
Speed is not limited, all is allowed
I’m over the ocean, and then over the land
Carried along by an invisible hand
Onwards and forwards, upwards and faster
Invigorated! Refreshed! I can’t contain my laughter!
Then as quick as it started comes the end of my flight…
Until the next time the breeze tells me the time is right.

Pure rain, sharp, cold and very wet, pricked at my cheeks as I raced forwards. Droplets of water tickled as they trickled down my face and neck, seemingly gathering in my sodden collar. Not enough to stop me, however.

Whatever the weather, I will still fly.

I’m aiming higher and getting better.

Once I’ve properly mastered the flight, I’ll work on the landing.

One thing at a time.

No rush. All things considered.

The gathered crowd cheered as I performed trick after trick for their entertainment.

The hall was full – possibly four hundred people standing, waiting, for the announcement. When the hall manager came out onto the stage and advised that the announcement had been postponed, and quite possibly cancelled, the crowd started to jeer. Too many people in such a confined space to leave things as they were. And with one door at the front of the hall, and one at the back, if it got ugly, there was no escape.

I knew that I needed to calm the room. Detract the attention from the negative feelings that were starting to bubble to the surface. Tempers were starting to fray, and I needed to act. Fast.

But how could I? I’ve never done anything like this in public.

I’m not a performer. I don’t have the confidence to stand up in front of a room with five people in, let alone hundreds. And, in the back of my mind, my nagging inner voice was repeating one word to me over and over: Fail.

I had no choice in the matter. I knew I had to do it, fail or not. Voices were starting to raise.

I jumped. High.

I summersaulted twice before landing again. Those nearby were taken aback. They stood back, and circled me.

I jumped again, this time grabbling hold to the wooden beam that went around the walls in the hall.  I back-flipped off the wall again, and landed perfectly on both feet, in the exact spot where I’d left a couple of seconds earlier.

The people around me started to ooh and ah and clap. The people further back were beginning to quieten down, starting to move in to see what was going on.

I leapt again, this time I flew over the heads of a lot of the crowd, onto the stage. I spun a few times in the air, to make it look as though I was performing acrobatics rather than simply flying.

When the people started to clap louder, I could feel that the negativity start to lift. I continued to jump and fly and summersault, even hi-fiving some of the people as I flew above them. I was enjoying myself as much as the crowd were, and their cheers were telling me how much they were enjoying my little show.

My final trick was the best. I flew around, above everyone’s head, for five minutes. No spins or backflips or anything – just flight. Around the room. The crowd couldn’t believe what I could do. I couldn’t believe that I was doing it!

Ill-feeling dissipated, the crowd started to leave the hall in an orderly fashion, and in really good spirits. I waited for them all to leave before I left.

The hall manager waved as I flew passed him, out of the front door and into the night.

I have odd dreams at times, but good ones. This one really helped me – and the crowd – to feel good! And I can’t complain about that!

The crisp white clouds made the solid appearance of the blue sky even more striking. The rooftops on the hillside seemed to make the sky appear higher, further away, if that could be possible. The roads, pathways, walkways, gardens, steps and streams below seemed to be immediately within touching distance, they were so close, in comparison. However, the sky and the ground were both some distance away.

Standing on the sloped rooftop was a challenge to learn in itself. Landing on the sloped rooftop was the first challenge. It had to be approached with confidence, with the correct angle and speed, otherwise the landing would hurt. Knees would be grazed, elbows injured, noses possibly broken. I learned my lesson the easy way; I bruised my nose, knees and palms of my hands. I’ve landed with more care ever since.

The hillside village has changed considerably over the past few years. Landing platforms have been built, walls have become wider, more steps have been built or dug into the hillside, and some of the buildings have flat roofs, or just a slight incline. Transport is rarely used in the village, and the roads are now used for marketplaces, outdoor concerts and readings. Once, when cars and single-deck buses would travel through the roads of the village, it was a noisy place. Clogged with traffic jams at certain times of the day, and everyone seemed to be running late, regardless of the fact that most people had a form of transport to travel more quickly.

One by one, we all developed our skill. One by one, we took to the skies. One by one we felt the freshness of the air, without the fumes from the vehicles. We could taste the freshness. Cooling. Refreshing. The rains, when they came, were invigorating. Exciting even. People waited for the rain in fact, to be able to feel the natural forces of nature as they soared high into the skies. It wasn’t a case of getting wet, it was a case of feeling the ultimate connection to everything – by not being in contact with anything. The raindrops were proof that this was real. We were there. High, in the sky, and by our own ability.

I’ve been flying for several years now. I just look upwards, open my chest and take a slow, deep breath, and ‘see’ myself take off the ground in my mind’s eye. I lift. I feel heavier in the first few seconds, gravity wants to exert its own power and keep me grounded. I have to see passed this. Gravity is a natural force, but so is flight. Eventually, the two forces work together and find the perfect balance. Then, it is just a case of looking in the direction that I want to go, and I move forwards in that direction. The speed can be a little tricky, as clothing, and the angle of my body to the ground can have an effect, but no more so than running. Once we are used to flying, we can fly as fast, or as slowly, as we wish. It’s our own minds that limit us, and hold us back.

And here I am, on this rooftop. Looking out over the village on this beautiful summer’s day. Children are on the ground below, having their first flying ‘lessons’. Fellow villagers are taking to the skies to go about their business, or to just enjoy this freedom that they have. This feeling of freedom is definitely worth experiencing. I look around at the people, the village, the hills in the distance, the sky and the clouds, and think to myself “Imagine if this were a dream…”

Dark Flash

Just a quick post this, merely to record an unusual incident that occurred this afternoon at around 16:30.

To set the scene, I was relaxing after work, watching TV. The sun was shining brightly outside and everything seemed as normal as normal is.

Suddenly, there was a blip.

It was as though there was a power surge, the type that causes light bulbs to flicker off and on, only in this case the lights weren’t on. It was bright sunshine beaming into the room, and for a quick second (if that) darkness.

It lasted long enough to be noticeable, but not long enough to invoke fear. Long enough to make one wonder ‘what was that?’ but not long enough to rush outside and see what was going on.

It was too quick to be anything flying across the sun, blocking the light. Too dark to be a bird or piece of … anything… being blown upwards into the air casting a shadow everywhere. And too sudden to be the sun being blocked by a heavy cloud.

I can only describe it as a dark flash. If I was the only one to see it, I’d have probably put it down to a blink, but there were others in the room and we all witnessed it at the same time, and agreed it was something strange.

Are you in the UK and witnessed this strange phenomenon at around 16:30? Maybe you’re in another country and noticed something similar at that moment whatever time zone you’re in… or perhaps you have a suggestion as to what it was we all experienced. If so, please let me know in the comments.

Wednesday: Official Bad Hair Day

Now I’m not one to go on about my wayward hair.

Far be it for me to just post a hair related post just because, but, alas, today I must.

I thought yesterday was odd… today was stranger.

Searching through an old suitcase, I discovered a cup with a lid with a hole attached. That doesn’t actually read right, the hole was a protruding lip from the lid, and inside he cup were two items. A mask, which attached to the hole on the lid, and a small brown jar.

Instinctively, I attached the mask to the hole attached to the lip on the lid, and opened the jar which contained a strong-smelling menthol minty odoury liquid.

I poured some of the liquid into the cup, and attached the mask over my nose and mouth.

Before you recoil in horror, I remembered the cup from years ago being used as a cold remedy, and the minty liquid was provided to clear the pipes when one has a cold. I wouldn’t recommend attaching a mask to any old liquid found inside a cup in a long forgotten suitcase.

Everything seemed fine.

I could breathe easily (I do currently have a cold, hence trying the contraption in the first place.) My eyes watered profusely, which I presumed was due to the strong liquid.

It was then that I looked to see if there was a use by date on the bottle. Luckily, there wasn’t, so I thought the product was OK.

Then I saw the ‘opened’ date written on the box that the cup was in: April 1999.

And I then sneezed.

I thought nothing further of it, until I glanced in the mirror several hours later. My face is covered in hair. And not the hair from my head, which is also starting to cover my face but in a slightly different way.

And I have leathery black lips. And a wet nose. On the outside.

I’m sure it’s just a side effect from the decade-and-a-half old essential oil thingamy, which will probably fade away after a good night’s sleep.

I couldn’t possibly walk around with a hairy face. Walking around with wayward hair is bad enough. And I hate shaving. The thought of shaving my eyelids is making me shudder.

No. Tis a side effect, that’s all.

It’s cleared the cold though.

One good thing, I suppose.

The Lions of the Grinds

So there I was, at the old Stone Gateway at the far end of the Grinds, face to face with a pair of lions.

They didn’t seem to be particularly bothered that I was there, instead they sat, staring forwards… well one sat, the other lay. If they didn’t blink on the odd occasion, I’d have said they were realistic statues, but no, they were real. They moved.

And occasionally, they’d growl.

“Hush, now” A voice called out from the other side of the archway. “That is no way to welcome our new friend.”

A second or two later, the voice’s owner emerged through the Gateway. She seemed to glide rather than walk, as she was wearing a large green frock that went down to the ground. She approached the sitting lion and gently tickled him behind his ear. He purred, loud and content.

“Hello, Tom.” She said, her voice having just a hint of a rustle to it. “I’m Flora. You can pay no heed to these kittens”

I was about to speak, when she stopped me.

“I’m just letting you know that I’m here.” She said, and I started to experience déjà vu. “Take a photo of me with your mobile phone, and we will be gone.”

I did as she asked, and was then distracted by the sound of several birds flying overhead. The lions both looked upwards, but Flora remained as she was, smiling enigmatically. I followed the lions glances and looked to see several birds, ducks I think, flying in a triangular formation.

I brought my attention to the ground again, and Flora and the lions had disappeared.

And there was I thinking I was having an odd-free week… perish the thought. It’s only Tuesday after all!

The Ice Wolf of Europa

Tom Merriman:

In order to boost creativity, I have started another new blog, Splodge and Splatter. It’s for my artistic side (otherwise known as my Inner Artist) to have a go at creating images to provide inspiration for posts for my normal blog; and for that blog also.
My first post over there features the legendary Europan Icewolf, which I will now reblog here.
Splodge and Splatter will only be updated intermittently, not as often as Beyond the Sphere (although at the moment that is actually saying something). I may also visit images created for past posts here, and re-do them over there.
As I say, it’s just for the creative process.

But here is The Icewolf of Europa…

Originally posted on Splodge and Splatter:


Moon of Jupiter, home to an incredible pack of Ice Wolves. icewolves1They roam the Moon freely… in fact, they roam the Solar System freely, so advanced they are. From their observatory hidden deeply within the vast Pwyll Crater on Europa they watch the comings and goings of the Universe with great interest.

Are they observers or are they planning or plotting something?

Being human, we tend to look at things from a defensive perspective, and would probably opt for the latter option. But the Ice Wolves? What of them? Why can they not just be silent observers, simply watching. And learning? Willing to share what they learn and their thoughts with us, and the rest of the populated Universe.

They can be mystical, magical creatures. They utilise the power of the stars and the Sun, both ours and theirs together, and draw from the strengthening Power of Light and…

View original 137 more words

The Superhero Diaries 3.10: The Rancid Apple

The Elite Force of Britain: a group of superheroes who joined together to solve one town’s problems, and decided to stick together for the greater good. Like their predecessors who banded together many years ago, the Imperial Force of Great Britain, they, on occasion, work closely with government agencies around the world and other ‘important’ bodies.

One of these agencies is so top secret they don’t even have a name. The agents who work for them don’t even know that they are working for them. Well, didn’t. One of them found out and sold her story to a tabloid newspaper.

Here’s the article in full:

Ultra Top Spy Reveals Secrets

She didn’t look like a spy, but then again who does?

Slim, bordering thin, with large bright blue eyes that accentuated her dress, a brighter smile and long, long blonde hair, she sat across from me nervously playing with her hair. She wouldn’t look at me directly, instead looking over my shoulder towards the door behind me. The door was closed. Locked even by me, and I had the key in my pocket. But that didn’t seem to settle her nerves.

I gave her a glass of water, and her hand shook as she took a sip.

“I shouldn’t be here.” She quietly muttered, “Can we get this over with as quickly as possible.”

I wondered if she really was the person I was expecting to see. You wouldn’t expect a spy to be timid or nervous, and this twenty-something year old woman opposite me was both.

I began the interview by asking her name.

“Apple.” She replied, “And that’s all I’m saying. It’s my codename, apparently.”

Codenames. She still didn’t convince me she was a spy.

I asked her which agency she worked for.

“I don’t know.” She took another sip of water and briefly looked at me before returning her gaze to the door. “The agency is above all of the others and operates worldwide. The agents are, like me, normal everyday people who are going about their normal everyday lives, but are activated when needed.”

I asked for clarification on the ‘activated’ part.

“It’s how it’s described in the document I found. The agents are needed for some task and are activated by the agency in all kinds of different ways. It may be a phone call, or somebody walking passed them whistling a certain tune, or it could be a news story broadcast on the radio. Whatever fires the trigger sets the agent off to find out their task at hand and carry it out in full.

“It seems my latest task was to find this document and hand it over to you.”

She rummaged in her handbag and pulled out a folded beige folder and handed it to me. I opened it to find a single piece of A4 paper, with a few paragraphs of text on it.

“Read the document, and then do with it what you will. Somebody will be along soon to interrupt us which is why I’m keeping my eye on the door. Hurry now.”

I started to get the feeling she really was a spy. Her nervous composition gone; she sat upright but slightly leant towards me in her chair.

The text included just enough information to trigger questions in my mind. ‘Britain’s Ultra Top Secret service (BUTS); the Infiltrated Facilitators (IFs); the triggers, this agent codenamed ‘Apple’, and a direct reference to a member of the Elite Force of Britain (EFB) being involved in spying for ‘the enemy’. The direct reference didn’t mention their name, however.

I asked Apple where she obtained the document, which had no indications to where it was from, or its authenticity for that matter. She could have typed it up herself and brought it in for a quick buck.

“The pal,” She stopped herself and then went on, “it’s just one of those things you have to take notice of, and not take for granted. You will have to take my word for it being genuine. You are regularly being told that it isn’t, even before today. Your mind has been brainwashed into thinking that it doesn’t exist, but it does. Just because you don’t know about it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.”

She stopped talking and looked toward the door again which opened with the marketing executive exclaiming “There, told you it wasn’t locked – it was jammed” as he walked into the room with three colleagues.

The fact that I had the key in my pocket made me wonder if I had locked the door, but I had. I knew I had. Apple looked at me and nodded, her nervous composure was back. She was playing with her hair again and biting her lip.

“Sorry,” the marketing executive said when he saw us in the room, “we need this room for an urgent meeting and the news director has told us to make sure you let us have it, no ifs or buts. Something big’s going down, and it involves the EFB for some reason. Again.”

And so the interview was cut short. Apple dashed out of the room without so much as looking back. I had a head full of questions which I will now go away and look into further.

I have the feeling that I now also work for this Ultra Top Secret agency after being ‘activated’ in such a manner. I wonder if my task is to question things. Or maybe just to observe and write about what I see, which, if so, is something I was ‘activated’ to do a long time ago.

And I never paid Apple for her interview.

The Superhero Diaries will return in due course.



Can you see it? Creeping about?

Here’s the colour-popped version of the picture. Any clearer?

Here’s a slightly different angle. The shadow should give it away.

This chap was minding his own business until I spotted him creeping hither and thither… having my mobile phone with me, I had to take a shot or two of him.

Don’t worry, though, he was no bigger than a pea. Half a pea even.

I couldn’t say that about the other critter though, the one lurking underneath the ledge there. I’ve only just spotted him now. No wonder the little fella kept moving…

Neptune Rising

Transparent rings of Neptune glow
As if the planet seems to know
That somewhere high above its mass
Is me inside this Mansion Hass

But is it right and true to say
That Neptune rose this very day
As it was me that passed it by
Making it appear within my sky?

It lit the surrounding Grinds so bright
Illuminating this darkened night
Although the clock was telling me
The time was actually half past three.

Mid afternoon and I’m out there
Hurtling back from who knows where
I get about, it must be said…
Sometimes, though, within my head.

Bringing in the dreams

The Spirit of the Cloud looked down as the Sun was setting. Almost formless and not quite solid, only the Spirit’s eyes were visible. But upon where the Spirit’s back would be were what looked like many faces, perhaps dreams being brought in for the night’s entertainment for a random number of selected sleepers in the many homes below.

As the Sun sets, the Spirit’s image fades. The carried faces dissipate into the cooling night’s air, carried this time on the zephyrs of the incoming breeze, to be absorbed into the welcoming thoughts of those who slumber with open minds.