Five is the perfect number; any more than that and bad things happen.
I was a white fella living in a house with a bunch of blackfellas; a whole family in fact. Uncles, brothers, sisters and cousins, with a few aunties and a distant cousin thrown in for good measure. Fortunately, the house is huge. It was built for some mega rich bloke a decade or so after the gold rush. Melbourne was awash with gold money and grand houses were all the rage. Pointless being rich if you couldn’t show off, and a huge house on a big chunk of land was the best way to show that you had more money than the next bloke.
Over time, most of the land had been subdivided and sold off as various owners needed cash. The house needs a bit of work, but it is in amazing condition considering it is about one hundred and forty years old. It stands four stories high with large majestic windows. Every bedroom has its own fireplace and a carved wooden fire surround with scenes depicting Australian flora and fauna. There are many other carved pieces throughout the house and it is these features that are said to have influenced Billy’s grandmother to choose this house.
Billy was the first to make his mark; the first to make his fortune, and in the tradition of the blackfella, if one member of a Koori family makes it big, all members of the family share in that good fortune.
Lightening struck many times with this family and soon Billy’s brother’s followed in his musical success while his sister’s paintings found a market. Many of the cousins are musicians, and painters, and potters, and you name it; if it is creative, at least one member of this huge family is into it, which is just as well as it costs a small fortune to keep this house running. Koories don’t go nuts when they come into money, not like whitefellas do, but even so the house eats up a big chunk of change.
Kooris are an accepting lot but even so, bringing me into the house caused a bit of tension; the only whitefella to be seen.
The neighbours are all white, of course, and they are patiently waiting for this huge family to sell up just so they can get their property values to rise again. I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.
The way we got together is way too long a story but the important part is that we did, and it only seems to work if all five of us are ‘under the wing’ at the same time. I’m always on the end, which is the worst place to be if something goes wrong.
Back in the day, back when the family members discovered this ability, the younger members experimented with the idea of adding more people to the wing. Trouble is, just like the rest of life, if you pick the wrong people, shit happens.
Someone thought that the ability would get stronger the more people you added, but as I said before, five is the magic number, and the right five at that.
So, the young ones kept adding more and more people until one day they found this bloke lying in a ditch with symptoms just like someone who had been struck by lightning.
The Elders stepped in and forbade any further experimentation, but you know young people. Every now and then some teenager is found all dazed and singed, with his hair standing straight up and smouldering.
Billy always takes the centre spot with his brothers on each side, the annoying cousin gets the end spot on Billy’s right and, as the newcomer, I get the spot on his left wingtip.
The truth is that they need me and they know it, although you would never hear it from them, not out loud. My ability brings something to the group that they have never had before, and they like it.
The only part of the process that gives me the shits is the ‘whispering under the wing.’
When we wrap our arms around each others shoulders our individual abilities are multiplied by five to the power of two. Basically, that means that as a group we are twenty-five times more powerful than any one of us on our own. Now, that is really something, and that magnifying factor only arrived when I joined. Add to that our combined ability to remote view at a huge distance, and you can see why they put up with the whitefella.
Part of our responsibility to the wider community is doing readings for individuals, couples and families. We do this once a week, and by appointment.
The problem, as I see it, is that as soon as we link, the whispers start. I call it ‘bitching under the wing’ and it makes me uncomfortable. Our combined ability means that we can see all the weaknesses of the people we are reading for. The whispers are all telepathic, but it still gives me the shits.
Being in this house, doing these readings, is as close as I have come to feeling like I’m part of something.
No one watches television in this house, there is always too much going on. Every night someone is playing an instrument. There is always someone preparing food in the huge old Victorian kitchen, and the cooks are artists in themselves. I’ve gained a bit of weight since I moved in here. My room is on the top floor and was probably one of the servants quarters. The irony is not lost on me. I have a magnificent view of the city in the distance, and I get to walk up and down the majestic staircase, every day. Some nights I lie on my bed and listen to the sounds coming from this ancient house. I doubt that it has ever been this alive in its long history.
My past is full of confusion and pain, but since Billy brought me into his extended family I have a home and a purpose, as well as a family.