In response to Word High July the snippet below is inspired by the Filipino word ‘marahuyo’ or ‘to be enchanted’. It’s part of a series charting the impact of the discovery of intelligent life in space on five ordinary people over the course of a month. Enjoy!

Image taken from Buzzfeed: “36 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The Philippine Language”. All credits goes to them.


The walk out to the lookout point had become second nature to Irene, the snap of twigs under her boots and brush of leaves and grass around her calves passed completely unnoticed. The trail from the side of her property wasn’t well known, but she occasionally passed some of the other members of the local bushwalkers club out and about, stopping briefly to exchange pleasantries.

The weather had taken a distinctly cool turn in the last few days, not unusually for July, and tourists were few and far between. The lookout when she reached it was largely deserted, and she took her usual seat on a rock Adam nicknamed the Squashed Frog. The sun was already half set and the fine blue haze, for which the mountains were named, shimmered over the eucalyptus forest below.

Solitude suited Irene’s mood, her head was filled with the message she’d received earlier that day and she couldn’t resist pulling the crumpled print out from her pocket to read again.

Hi, my name is Jo Ward. You don’t know me but I think I (maybe) know you, sort of, because I think you wrote that piece of music: Void Sounds. First, I should tell you that it’s incredible. I mean life changingly remarkable, I don’t think I’ve ever heard something like it – I’ve already listen to it at least two hundred times! Second, I want to ask (or beg) your permission to use some of the music in my submission for the Breakthrough Reply contest.

If you haven’t heard about it, there is a contest running to develop the best possible message to send when we work out a way to reply to the signal. I’m not a great scientist, I admit, in fact I’m just a school teacher. But I think I have some ideas on what to send and I think a big part of it should be your music. So I’m writing to beg you to give me permission. It would mean the world to me to be able to participate in something so huge and without your music I don’t think I have a fighting chance at all.

Please let me know, I’d be happy to share the submission with you and, if we win, the prize. Even if your answer is no, a response would still be greatly appreciated (although I’m sure you’re very busy, it took me a while to track you down so I guess others might already be pestering you).

Thanks for your time. All the best!


When Irene uploaded Void Sounds she’d done it to share something that filled her with hope and comfort, but the proof that someone out in the world had not only listened but been inspired enough to track her down was…unsettling. Warm and confusing, a little exciting. A wealth of emotion she had been slowly relearning over the past few weeks. Irene wasn’t even certain how she felt anymore, living in her self-imposed bubble. A bubble that a piece of music and a bumbling science teacher filled with enthusiasm were slowly breaking through.

Maybe it was time to start really living again?


7 thoughts on “Marahuyo

  1. I love the connection between the two characters, without entwining them too heavily. I wasn’t sure what how I felt about Irene in the first instalment, but everything since then has helped me love her character. Once again, great work Redshaw.

    Liked by 1 person

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