For the longest time, Turtle Bay was a mostly secluded area
with one settlement. Operating much like a backpackers; travellers would find
themselves to the Turtle Bay settlement and doss down with all of the other travellers
and share their stories, food and laughter. Even those that had stopped for
years were still travellers and would eventually move on. Only one person was a
constant and that was Maharma.
Maharma was the spiritual centre of Turtle Bay and inhabited
man or woman. At the passing of the Maharma, the spirit would be reincarnated
into a new born baby or one of the young children running about. Sometimes it
would be some months before Maharma would find the right body, but everyone
would know when Maharma was amongst them again. There was a serenity and power
to the eyes and just… a feeling… they would all get. A feeling that said “This
is Maharma.”. Once Maharma was recognised, they wore their only spoils of
office: a necklace with a spiral pendant that has a line cutting through it.
At one time, Maharma was a strong woman in mind and body.
She was kind but also unapologetic in her strong ways and would not bow to
anyone when she knew she was right. Which she generally was. Maharma was an
intimidating figure which made her a little lonely. But on the whole, she was
One day, a new traveller arrived in the village. A tall man
with many different tattoos, Murphy was an artist and an instant hit with
everyone. He taught the others how to make yellow paint from daffodils, bananas
and sunshine; and green paint from grass, a glance from a pair of emerald eyes
It didn’t take long for Murphy and Maharma to notice each other and the attraction was instant. Where others were intimidated, Murphy was utterly seduced. The pair were inseparable and entirely passionate. Their embraces and show downs were infamous and glanced upon with giggles and knowing winks. They shared their deepest secrets and ambitions with each other. Maharma confided how lonely she could get and that the pressure of being the spiritual leader could overwhelm her. Murphy shared his dream of travelling the entire world, teaching art and learning new techniques as he went.
The pair had a very happy few months when Maharma found that she had fallen pregnant. She fell into a great depression. Murphy’s great dream was to travel and that he would never leave if they had a child. She could not live with herself and stand in the way of his dreams. Maharma loved carrying Murphy’s child but knew what was best.
Everyone watched Maharma’s belly grow and celebrated. They
whispered to each other how attractive the baby would be. They would nod
approvingly when they’d see Murphy’s hand rest protectively upon Maharma’s
belly. Maharma could feel Murphy’s love grow strong – but she knew it wouldn’t
last. Murphy was a nomad and she resolved to stick to her plan.
One day, the sky shone clearly and the blue sky was so iridescent
that Murphy went out to mix a new can of paint. Watching him leave, Maharma ran
her hand over her belly. It would be a week and the baby would arrive. Outside,
the village people were enjoying the good weather, playing games and lounging in
the sun, no one noticed her slip into the forest.
When they did notice Maharma’s abscense, they looked all
throughout the land for her. Murphy was a man possessed. Rarely sleeping or
eating – making his voice hoarse with constant calling for his beloved.
A week after her disappearance, a mighty thunderstorm raged.
The Listless River that fed from Turtle Bay into the forest swelled and the
winds tore through the huts and ripped apart roofs.
The howling winds drowned out two screams that night.
Murphy screamed for his missing love and unborn child, surely
stranded and scared out in this terrible storm.
Maharma screamed through the labour pains deep within the
forest. She had followed the Listless River to the point where it dived underground
beneath a pile of rocks. It was the most spiritually pure part of the whole of
Turtle Bay. Through the thunderstorm, she gave birth to her daughter, Amelia.
The following day, the village breathed a sigh of relief
when the weather bloomed into a clear, bright day. Maharma cuddled Amelia and
she focussed all of her spiritual energy upon her tiny daughter. Within the
hour, Maharma sacrificed years of her life and handed them to Amelia. The young
girl now stood as a 12-year-old and helped her mother to her feet. Maharma had
aged to a very old woman – the gift of 12 years had sapped her of more than
Her raven black hair had greyed and her skin became wrinkled
and sallow. As she stood, Maharma found her back wouldn’t straighten and Amelia
found a large stick for her mother to lean on.
Maharma wept at the sound of her daughter’s first words.
The pair travelled back to the settlement and the settlers
came out to greet them. Usually a happy affair with everyone bustling and
jostling to introduce themselves, the old woman and young girl were met with
There was a strange and familiar feeling to the pair.
Murphy elbowed his way to the front of the crowd. He
frantically looked from the old woman to the girl to the old woman again. He
got the sense that there was a puzzle piece he was missing but his mind was addled
from lack of sleep and worry.
He knew – as did the other villagers – that this old woman
had the unmistakable aura of Maharma. But there was no way she could be his Maharma.
Therefore, their beloved leader has passed on and Maharma had chosen to nestle
itself within this old woman who no-one had ever seen before.
Murphy slumped in anguish as he registered the truth of his
The villager’s dispersed and Maharma led Amelia towards her
hut. She laid a gnarled hand on Murphy’s head as she passed him. He let it sit
there for a moment then shook her off. He didn’t want to be near this Maharma.
She shouldn’t be here at all; he wanted his one back.
Murphy didn’t move for hours. Maharma watched from her hut as
some of the villagers picked up Murphy and took him to bed. In the morning they
found his lifeless body and they all agreed he had died of a broken heart.