Darryl's Strange Encounter
Darryl was a skinny, scruffy kid in his mid-teens. He habitually wore black clothes and more often than not could be found with a scowl on his
He was quiet and withdrawn and had a fairly obvious contempt for the rest of humanity. His mother used to worry about the amount of time he spent
alone in his room and drew her own conclusions about what he was getting up to in there. His reluctance to come down for his dinner only served to
re-inforce her non-too flattering surmisings of his activities.
She could not have guessed what he was really up to and would have been more alarmed about that sort of practise than the sin of Onan that she
What she didn't know was that Darryl had found the occult section in the local bookshop and was busily acquainting himself with arcane mystical
practises whenever he had a free period from school. He'd settle into one of the comfy armchairs that were now fashionable in bookshops and delve
into the secrets of the Universe, Man's place in it and how he might manipulate his reality. He was always careful not to catch the attendant's eye
when he left the shop – he was dreading that one day he would be asked if he ever intended to buy anything.
Eventually one of his few friends tipped him off that the local library were obliged to order any books for him that he might request. After that his
mother started to notice how much more packed his school-bag was when he came home and, concerned, asked him if he was being given too much
Darryl made a great play of his heavy school schedule, but not so much that his mother would complain to his teachers. He was almost rumbled at the
end of the Summer term when she read his school report and couldn't fail to notice his poor grades.
Generously, he volunteered to study more during the coming holidays and thus avoided any questions about the bags of books he was still bringing home
from the library.
Towards the end of the warm months, that he'd spent holed up in his room, he made the big decision to start putting into practise some of the
techniques that he had been reading about. After so much intense and prolonged study he felt ready for a voyage into inner Space or the Astral
Realms, or Outer Space.
He thought he'd have a go at finding the Akashic Records first. He figured with all his history of reading books and hanging out in bookshops and the
library that the Hall of Records ought to be like a magnet to his Astral Self.
Patiently, he settled himself down to visualise the Great Hall. After a couple of hours he impatiently gave it up as a bad job. He mooched
downstairs hoping to find something to eat, he planned a small feast to 'ground' himself.
Later that night, as he lay in bed practising seeing in the dark, he decided to try for an out of body experience. He lay very still on his back and
tried to exit his body through his navel, hoping that his silver cord wouldn't break if his efforts were too clumsy.
He drifted off to sleep before he could reach the fabled Astral Realms and woke up the next morning disappointed that he'd had no success. He tried
to remember his dreams to see if there were any clues that he might, indeed, have visited the Astral Plane, but could only vaguely remember a dream of
being chased by a cheese sandwich – 'no more of those for supper' he thought crossly.
After several days of practising to leave his body Darryl hit on the idea of doing a magic spell to achieve the desired result. He went off to the
local shop-for-weirdoes and bought a few bits and pieces with the intent of creating his very own personal spell for exiting his body.
He crept up to his room when he got home, grateful that his mother was cooking a highly spiced curry. That would help to mask the smell of his
He put his newly acquired brass incense burner on the shelf in front of a small mirror that usually saw him examining his face for spots and
blackheads. If he wanted to use that he'd better wipe off some of the small marks which had accrued from squeezing the aforementioned spots and
blackheads. He pulled the sleeve of his T-shirt over his elbow and wiped away. 'Good enough', he thought as the only traces left were small
He put the charcoal into the incense burner and set fire to it, what a performance that was, then chucked in a few of the herbs that he hoped would
help him have an out-of-the-body experience. Not being prepared for the strength of the things he nearly had an out-of-the window experience as he
choked on the smoke and raced for some fresh air.
Cursing, he poured some fizzy drink over the embers and picked up the incense burner to clean it out. Oh, what a mistake to pick up a recently used
brass incense burner. Darryl screamed as he dropped it and hopped around the room tucking his burnt fingers under his armpits in an attempt to soothe
them. Not a good idea, at the height of summer, for a young man who had recently been unusually excited.
Wearily, his mother called him down for his curry. She'd heard a bit of a commotion and had decided against asking him what he'd been up to.
Noticing how carefully he was holding his hands as he came down the stairs, she was rather glad that she'd been discreet.
Back in his room after dinner, Darryl noticed how much shinier the incense burner looked after being doused with his fizzy drink. That set off a
train of thought that really should have been in motion a lot sooner in his endeavours.
He decided to treat his body like a temple, only fresh water, fruit and vegetables for him from now on.
He burped a few times, enjoying the aftertaste of the curry. Since there would be no more of that for a while he went downstairs for another helping.
He'd start with the salads tomorrow.
True to his word, Darryl spent the rest of his holidays eating and drinking only fresh food and water. His complexion improved and one of the local
girls smiled at him on his way to the library.
Darryl tried smiling back, forgetting that he rarely smiled and had more or less lost the knack. The resulting grimace served to put the girl off and
she scurried away. Darryl comforted himself by remembering what he had been reading about the ascetics and decided that celibacy would be the route
for him on his way to the Astral Realms. 'Silly bint wasn't even all that pretty anyway', he thought with a distinct lack of chivalry.
The Autumn term saw Darryl becoming further distanced from his fellow students and his reputation as a loner and an oddball grew even greater. He
started to look in spell books, trying to find ways to silence the nastier of those who bullied him. He told himself that his strength would be
greater in the inner realms where they wouldn't be able to hold a candle to him should they ever encounter him there. 'As if...' he sneered as he
plotted their downfall.
Thinking of candles, he decided to practise candle magic. He bought up the entire stock of black candles from the local shop-for-weirdoes and the
proprietor, who had previously thought of him as fairly harmless, became concerned. Ah well, he didn't believe in any of this stuff himself so he
didn't expect too many of Darryl's spells to work, but he was worried about a kid who had that many bad intentions towards other people.
Darryl spent a week casting dire and vengeful spells on his schoolmates and then, on Friday night, he decided to throw in a money spell. Might as
well, since he was in the mood and he did have some green candles handy
By now his room was fairly crackling with magic power, helped by the herbs and incense which Darryl had learnt to use in more careful quantities.
Emboldened by this new-found sense of power, he sat and opened up his mind to the forces of the Universe hoping to make contact with a power that
would, once and for all, floor the school bullies. And maybe find a way to make his mother increase his pocket money.
Reclining on a couch in her very luxurious apartment, Princess Tok started to become aware of a small flowering on the planet she had recently been
observing in her crystal ball. She often noticed these flowerings and they held her attention. Being a very advanced being, even for her race, she
knew that somewhere on this planet its inhabitants were trying to reach out their senses into the wider Universe. She admired them and wondered what
they might be like.
She peered closer at the crystal ball, mounted on an exquisitely carved tripod, and noticed that this new flowering was very peculiar indeed when
compared to all the others. She looked even more closely and found it intriguing.
She sent out a small probe with her mind to see if she might touch the creature emitting such a strange 'flower'.
Back in his room Darryl nearly jumped out of his skin as he felt the the little dig of Princess Tok's mind. Drenched in sweat he paced up and down,
cursing himself for being shaken out of his trance and at the same time hugging himself in fright and vowing never to try that experiment ever
After about half an hour of hugging, pacing, cursing and, strangely, grinning inanely he settled himself to bed. Did he dare try that little
experiment again? He slid a little further under the bedcovers and pulled them over his head 'Not bloody likely'.
By the light of the next day he rather regretted his cowardice and decided to spend his Saturday afternoon reaching out to the Universe again. He
didn't eat anything, hoping to heighten his senses, and settled himself down to 'make contact'.
Princess Tok happened to be passing her crystal at about that time and recognised the small, odd flower that had closed so rapidly the night before.
She determined to be more careful this time and sent out a very gentle, loving probe.
Darryl nearly shot off the bed, but just managed to keep himself together 'Hello?' he asked and was rewarded with a warmth and love that that
threatened to knock him off the path of the ascetics.
Unaware that she was dealing with an adolescent human boy Princess Tok sent more love to Darryl, with no other thought than to express her goodwill
Darryl, who was having a truly romantic thought for the first time in his life, found himself held in her thrall and tried to send some love back. He
wasn't very good at it and Princess Tok found herself on the receiving end of a rather clammy, if good-natured and confused dollop of Darryl's finer
She was delighted and probed further. Darryl, in his state of high excitement, allowed himself to be probed. Tentatively, he probed back.
And so started their relationship. Every night Darryl would get himself into the right frame of mind and communicate with Princess Tok. He thought
about her all day and everyone around him noticed that he was becoming more distant than he had ever been before.
Princess Tok's attendants noticed that she was more preoccupied, too. She was strange for her race. They were all astrologers, but none of the
others were really interested in what sort of life might exist on other planets. They were more interested on what influence those planets, and the
stars, might have on their lives and the conditions of their world.
By the Christmas holidays Darryl and Princess Tok were on extremely intimate terms. They'd refined their communications and were able to convey
their hopes and aspirations to each other, even though they didn't share a common language. Darryl knew that she was good and kind and that she
loved him and found him fascinating. No-one had ever found him fascinating before and he started to wonder if there was any way possible for them to
meet. He pictured her as Princess Leia of Star Wars fame and became more besotted with her after every encounter.
Princess Tok definitely did love him, was fascinated by him and was touched by his tender feelings towards her. She was older than he was, certainly
not what could have been considered a 'teen-ager' but she was young enough to entertain romantic notions even though she had more than enough common
sense to know better.
She, too, thought of ways in which she might meet Darryl. Her race was very advanced, by human standards, and she started to investigate the tales of
old. Members of her species had, it seemed, travelled to other planets in the past by a means of projection. A physical projection, similar to the
way that they could now project their minds when they wanted to. Princess Tok applied her considerable energies and talents to learning how to
project so that she could meet Darryl.
Back on Earth, Darryl was preparing for Christmas. He noticed the general 'buzz' about the world as Christmas approached and was drawn, in
particular, to the way small children tapped into the magic of it all. They all had their hopes and wishes and a great expectation that they would be
Inspired, he set about tuning into the spirit of the season and wished with all his heart and mind that Princess Tok might manifest in his bedroom.
His bedroom, oh gosh, he'd never had a girl in there before.
He decided that perhaps he should make it more presentable and started to tidy up a bit. There was a lot of tidying to do, since his mother was never
allowed in there, and he nearly exhausted himself by the time he was due for one of his nightly sessions with Princess Tok. He started to hope that
tonight wouldn't be the night. His room despite all his best efforts still looked like a tip.
It was with relief that he heard Princess Tok explain that she wasn't quite ready to come yet. She hoped, though, that she could do it tomorrow.
Alexander agreed, partly with high hopes and excitement and partly with dread at the thought of all the cleaning he would have to do in the
The next day saw him hard at work in his room and that evening the bathroom became his sanctuary as he primped and preened himself for his encounter
with his lady love.
Barely able to contain himself he wafted into his room, smelling of just about everything he could find on the bathroom shelf. He'd brushed his
teeth too and had nearly shocked his mother into oblivion by asking her to iron his best shirt.
She watched, somewhat bemused, as he disappeared into his room. 'What was all the effort in aid of?' she wondered. He surely wasn't expecting
Darryl settled on his bed, highly excited and hoping that he could keep himself in the right frame of mind for Princess Tok to visit. He was just
about to close his eyes when he caught a small movement out of the corner of one of them.
All his cleaning and tidying had disturbed a small creature that had ensconced itself in one of his old socks and now, finding itself homeless, it was
wandering across the rug looking for a new hidey hole.
A cockroach, a bloody cockroach. 'Oh no, not tonight. Not now, not when she's coming' Darryl was beside himself. He hated those things and now
here was one threatening the most romantic encounter he was ever to have in his life.
He hurled himself off the bed and grabbed a nearby magazine, rolling it up and planning to bash the bejesus out or the cockroach who, seeing the
danger it was in, scuttled behind a pile of books.
Darryl was throwing the books aside and aiming a hefty whack at the cockroach just as Princess Tok arrived. He heard a slight rustle behind him as
she materialised and felt his jaw drop about a million miles as he looked round. The cockroach, for reasons known only to itself, started to run up
his leg. Darryl started to scream, and scream and then scream some more.
This time his mother couldn't contain herself and dashed into his room where she found her son huddled in a corner, a gibbering shadow of his usual
not-so-sunny self. On the floor beside him stood a rather dazed cockroach. She saw it and told Darryl to pull himself together. 'It's only a
cockroach' she chided 'it's hardly going to hurt you'.
Darryl sat there, staring into space with an expression that spoke of far worse terrors than those a cockroach could bring.
On her home planet Princess Tok was rather shaken herself. She'd materialised in a room to find an extremely small version of herself being menaced
by a much larger, (although considerably smaller than herself) hideous, creature against which it would have stood little chance. Wiping a tear from
her eye, Princess Tok said a small 'goodbye' to 'Darryl'. She couldn't imagine that he'd survive an encounter like that.