A long time ago, inside a coffee cup, in a hidden place where people went to dance in verdant forest, to jam, and to make poetry, something was born. This was no ordinary being. It was created, spontaneously, like a star, when millions of atoms of light dispersed across light-years collide and fuse together. And, like a star, through a perfect balance of forces it gathered energy. Emerging from deep below the vapours of a dark vortex, fueled by caffeine, it was born. This being would be named PYJAEN.
PYJAEN passed his first days wandering in nature, getting used to his lean limbs outstretched in the dewy grass, his moon-like face warm under the azure sky, feeling the magnetic force that pulled him towards the ground. He encountered other beings in this new place, with grotesque hair on their head and face and toes curled like fossils. Some even had long eyelashes, and freckles speckled on their nose and gold rings in their ears. He didn’t look like them, but they were kind, and became his friends.
At first, he wasn’t sure how to use his new body, how to speak; his limbs moved clumsily, and when he tried to open his mouth, he made only a whisper. But he quickly began to learn, imitating the movements and sounds he saw in the people dancing around him. He let their experiences and influences, dreams and fears, permeate his skin, filling him with energy and life until he started to glow brightly. At first, the light inside him flickered like a streetlamp. But it slowly grew stronger and stronger, until he shone like a glow worm, that could be seen from millions of years away.
free your dreams
Deep in the forest, PYJAEN heard foreign sounds coming from big black boxes and saw streams of bright neon lights flashing in the trees; they reminded him of something, but he couldn’t recall what. Surrounded by bodies draped in gold lamé and track stripes, he danced and laughed, no-one giving a second glance to his strange appearance. Maybe he would like it here? Then a woman with a long afghan coat and metal in her nose hugged him, and before he knew it, he fell into a dream. He felt at once as if he was drawn into dark vortex through tunnels and vents, pulled upside down, until he could no longer feel the pull of gravity. Then, he was suspended instill black space, his hands and feet outstretched into the darkness, without up or down. He could not hear or see or feel any breeze on his skin. He stayed here for some time, wrapped in darkness, floating through a fine veil of nebula, lost and alone between constellations. He spun around frantically, searching for something to hold onto. Would he ever find his way home?
Then, in the distance, through flecks of dust and little clouds, he saw a bright light in the distance that looked like a tiny planet. The light grew stronger and stronger until it almost totally blinded him. As he was pulled towards the light, he saw a long table with lots of familiar people sitting all around it. Although he couldn’t exactly make out the blurred faces, he noticed they looked a bit like him. Lots of little people that looked like PYJAEN sat around the table, a woman holding a tiny baby in her arms. He waved and tried to speak to them, but they did not hear him.The people around the table had brightly coloured clothes, bright hair and long thin limbs, with wings folded across their back as they leaned over the table to eat. He tried to sit down at the table, but the chair fell away in his hands, and the plates began to slide off the table. The ground beneath started to give way until the entire scene slipped, and started to fall away, as if off the side of the cliff. And then, once again, PYAEN found himself wrapped in darkness, weightless and floating, with nothing to hold onto…
PYJAEN slowly emerged from a deep sleep the next morning, cradled in the nook of a weeping willow. Hordes of bodies were leaving through the surrounding fields, ready to go back to the city. Someone pulled him into a car, and they drove away, passing patchwork fields and farms that turned into industrial states with chimney smoke pipes, then climbing skyscrapers that reflected the sun and clouds. What was this place? He had never seen so many people, women in tailored suits eating with their hands on the streets, old men kneeling with bare feet, begging for money.Here, people started to stare, laughing and pointing their phones at him. All he wanted to do was go home. But how would he get back? His body, once bright like a glow-worm faded, dimmed to a grey pallor.
He wandered through the streets for hours and hours, thinking about what he should do next. He came to a river, and walked along the bank, under the damp underpass lit with fluorescent lights.
He passed canalboats covered with wisteria, and bikes and prams thrown in the river breaking the water like rusting icebergs. The river started to widen out as he approached the docks and saw huge industrial chimneys and thousands of cranes tangled above him in the sky like multi-coloured Calder mobiles. At the end of the harbour he saw an old man fishing in the river, half hidden under a green tarpaulin. As he approached, he saw a long grey beard that fell onto his round belly, and long hairs coming out from his eyebrows like whiskers. As the fisherman saw him, he waved him over, and since he had no friends in the city, and nowhere else to go, he sat down beside him inside the tent. They talked for hours, as the sage fisherman ritually pushed fresh bait onto his hook, not ever catching a thing.As night fell and the sky darkened, PYJAEN felt a strange tickle on his shoulders and back, as if somebody was scratching him. He felt better listening to the advice of the fisherman, and, at once, everything started to become clearer.
Leading the times: part one & two
Walking through the city, PYJAEN contemplated the words of the fisherman. His mind was suddenly clear, and everything around him looked more in focus. He tried to recall the moments that had led him to the fisherman, what had brought him to this place. His mind was filled with images of some other place, which though stronger and clearer than before, remained indecipherable.He longed for things he had never had and tried desperately to recall what he couldn’t remember. His eyes filled with tears he entered the doorway of a cathedral. Trying to escape the crowds outside he climbed the stairs of the spire, circling round and round until he reached the very top. He walked out onto the platform, towering high above the city, looking out over the brick houses darkened by smog, and gardens hidden on rooftops and slate church rooftops. It was as if all the words of the fisherman had filled up his whole being, and his body started to glow brightly once more.
He stepped out onto a platform, and felt his skin grow hotter and hotter. The scratch on his back became sharper and sharper, until he felt like the skin across his back was splitting open and seeping with molten lava. All at once, feathered wing semerged from his back, growing bigger and bigger until they started to flap against the wind. Weightless under his wings, he started to float higher and higher, his body getting hotter and spinning into a ball of energy. As he curled into a ball, faster and faster he started to glow even more brightly than before. To the people staring up at the cathedral tower in the streets below, it looked just like a hundred shooting stars. Transformed, PYJAEN flew to the top of the cathedral spire and outstretched his magnificent wings, illuminated against the night sky.
Buildings below became smaller until the entire city appeared to be a circuit board illuminated by traffic lights and office windows.Through layers of smog and misty clouds he flew higher through the sky until he came to the edge of the earth’s atmosphere, feeling the oxygen coming away. A sit did, he felt his lungs and chest expand, and it became easier to breath.
Particles of dust blew around him as he flew faster, his body lithe and light.
Constellations of stars clustered around a huge nebula, interstellar clouds of pink and red atoms.
As he fell deeper into the vast sky scape, things looked more familiar than strange. He searched for the tiny planet that he had seen in his dream, that bright light that had drawn him in. He searched for the faces of his family around the table, a woman with a child, the warmth of the table where they sat down for dinner.But, a sin his dream, he found himself alone, cloaked in darkness, as lost as before.
waiting for perry
Rotating in space, he thought about his time on earth. The forest, the music, the woman with the long Afghan coat, embraced by her. He longed to see her again. To dance together under the shade of the trees, with those other beings with long hair and freckles. In the dark lonely expanse he saw ahead of him, he wished for the chaos of the city, the lights. The fisherman, who now seemed to him to have been a shaman, had helped him to discover his power. The thing that set him apart from those on earth -wings, luminescent and unfolding, like those of an archangel, which would lead him home.
But now here, miles away, high above the city, he started to see the earth in all its beauty and goodness. He didn’t know what he would find here, in the vast emptiness, or if he would ever reach home. Who were his family? Where do they live? Where was he from? The answers lay on earth. He knew he needed to get back, to find the woman in the Afghan coat. Impatient, he began the arduous journey back down to earth where he would find her again.
In search of the sticky side
When he saw her again, everything made sense. To him, she was the key stone of an arch, without which things might even collapse; the raft floating calmly in a dark storm, to carry him safely through the city to the shore. He was consumed by thoughts of her in his waking hours. She came to him in his dreams, present and unmoving and beautiful. They planned a trip back to the countryside, where they had first met. They could sleep outdoors together under the moon, brew coffee on the camping stove, and go for long hikes through the forest. PYJAEN had never seen so many trees and plants; there was nothing like that where had come from. But he soon learned how to differentiate the herbs that grew in the verge, the thistles and cow parsley and wild fennel.
When they arrived at the campsite they were greeted by a beautiful man with a Jesus-like long beard, green eyes and curly hair, who showed them to a willow yurt besides a river, filled with tapestries, and hand-carved wood and a log burner. They passed days and weeks together, swimming in the river, making picnics and taking long walks in the hills nearby. However, as the days went on, they had the growing sense that their host was not who he said he was. PYJAEN had a terrible feeling and tried to remember where he had seen him before. That night, he woke up suddenly from a terrible nightmare. In his dream, he saw the beautiful man from the campsite, running through a familiar town, in an oxygen suit and a silver mask partially concealing his face, with hundreds of people that looked like him, fleeing…
The fisherman, who he now knew was a shaman, had helped PYJAEN find his power that would bring him closer to his origins, allowing him to see the earth from above in all its beauty. But he now understood that goodness could not exist without evil. It was difficult for him to fathom why bad people are the way they are. Where he had come from, there were no such people. But now he had seen the darkness in the light and realised that everything had two sides; a good side, and a sticky side.
written by anya cowley