I was invited to a poetry competition in Dublin airport, which I thought was very strange for a start - however, the strangeness only mounted when I found that the competition was to be held in a darkened, soundproof Plexiglas enclosure, using luminous pens and ink, so that you had this effect of shadowy figures hunched over a dark surface, glowing writing appearing beneath them as if by magic.
The competition was starting, but there was a phone call for me at a row of payphones outside the booth. The male voice at the other end asked me if I was going to write a poem and I said yes, and he said "Good, good..." and in his voice I could hear a strange kind of hunger and anticipation. I asked him why he was calling me and he said "Oh, no reason, just go back to the booth and write the poem..." I looked around and here and there I could see people looking at me out of the corners of their eyes. I began to get suspicious, and I realized that my sister was also in the booth trying to write a poem, so I went to get her and we made for the airport exit. The men, I realized, were hired by a woman that my father had known a long time ago, called Ginger. I didn't know why, but she was planning to kidnap us, and the poetry competition had been a ruse to catch us off guard and confine us.
The exit was down an elevator, but when we got to the bottom we found ourselves in the basement of an ancient stone house, with a dirt floor and innumerable rooms and corridors and moss creeping between the stones and the roots of trees winding through the walls and splitting them in places. This was Ginger's house. No one had been down here in a long time. Pursued constantly by footsteps and voices, we tried to make our way through the labyrinth. In one room that we passed through there was an old wooden chest, which I opened.
I took out a silver pendant on a black chain, which had my dad's family seal on it as well as Ginger's initials, and my sister and I realized the same thing at the same time: Ginger was our mother. Our dad had had an affair with her and we were the result, and he'd concealed this fact from us for our whole lives. "This explains everything!" I said excitedly. "Our whole family history, why Dad always seems ashamed of something when he meets us, why she wants to kidnap us, why Mum is so sad all the time, everything!"
We finally emerged into the daylight, and Werner Herzog was in the garden making a documentary film. He glared at us as we tried to make our way past, and I realized that he was now married to Ginger and was in on the kidnap plot. We went back into the house and grabbed bits of metal and stone to use as weapons, and I said "Be ready for anything." We came out again and walked calmly to the gate. Herzog looked as if he would try to stop us, but changed his mind and we walked free.
Outside we met Ginger and her other children. She was crying and seemed lost in the forest that surrounded her house, which was old and full of life. She didn't seem like my mother. I thought of Mum, the person I'd thought was my mother all my life, and she still seemed like my mother. Ginger's children didn't seem like my brothers and sisters; they seemed strange and hostile and unaware. All of that past seemed meaningless now, just a story. We turned our back on the old witch and walked away through the woods together.