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Glory Glory Writings

Writings of Two Forever Friends

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January 2016

Find Me Swallow – Chapter 4

Chapter 4

“Sheesh.” I groaned as Mema soaked my cuts. My back throbbed, and the soaking was only making it sting more. That malicious  elder had happily allowed me to be whipped in mother’s place.  I considered that the cruel man was glad, even excited, to whip me.  

“I hope this hasn’t hurt you too much, Al.”  Mema smiled, a faded smile.  

“Oh no, it’s fine Mema.  He went easier on me then he did on you.  Only eight lashes, remember?”

“No, child, I didn’t mean you were hurting in that way.  You are young, and this won’t hold you back long.  I know I’ll be unable to walk about for quite a while.  I am speaking of your injured pride, my swallow.”

I stopped.  Mema was propped against the wall, using her one unflogged hand to tenderly bathe the cuts on my back.  “Mema, you will be fine, you will!

But Mema continued, forgetting her pain as she talked, “I feel that your pride is injured, and as our future leader, you must not forget our people.  Why, Hum stopped by, and you ignored him.  After all, I was fifteen when I met your father… ”

“Mema…”  I groaned.  Matchmaking me, and her unable to walk a few steps without falling!  

A tremor of pain travelled through her weakened body, and the former, fleeting smile was replaced by a shiver of silent agony.  “Swallow, listen to me…I may not have much longer…Allow me to finish cleaning your wounds…”

My voice tightened with fear.  “I can finish the rest of the cuts.”  I jerked away.  

“My Swallow, please let me-”

“NO, Mema.   You are in great pain, and should not do such work.  The clan elders will force you to return to your work tomorrow.  And three days is hardly enough time for you to heal.  I hate those rough men.  Surely, surely the woods cannot be much worse.”

Mema sighed.  “They have warned us to avoid the woods all our lives, remember the saying, “Danger lurks among forest Huns, great trees again darken the suns –””

I interrupted her yet again.  “Mema.  You must understand!  I know you have kin here, and that Chief Falcon is your brother, but true family would never allow kin to be whipped.  We must flee, as soon as you are able.  Life here will only get worse.”

Mema’s hand fell limply from my back to the ground.  She closed her eyes.

“Mema!  You must understand.  How could you have lived here all your life, and not noticed the evil around us?”

“Evil has increased during these past few years…” Mema  protested weakly.  

“Mema, your words only make my determination to leave more resolute.  My mind is set.  I shall go to the woods, Huns or no Huns.  During these past few days – have you noticed the increase of cries of terror?  The wails of sorrow?  The deaths?  The bodies, thrown over the stockade?  New leaders have come to power, I am sure, and the elders wish none to know.  Chief Fal – I am assured that he could not possibly be behind the frequent whippings.”

“Swallow, tis not too recent – when you were but a child of  eleven, that disobedient members of our clan began to be punished by whippings, sometimes one was being punished every other week!”

I straightened my back, and winced with pain.  The cold night air had caused my wounds to stiffen, and they cracked when I moved.  “Mema, as soon as you are in better health, we shall flee to the woods together.  We are not wanted here.”

“But Swallow,”  Mema tried one last time, “Your Da told you that you must lead your people, and how can one lead if they are not with their comrades?”

“I shall return, and bring to safety the loyal and rebellious generation my Da raised up – and we shall overcome the elders, and the clannies, and I shall lead them.  We will fight until all seems lost, and we will champion over the oppressors.  Though they reject me at first, I shall continue.  We shall continue. We shall overcome. We must.”

Courage filled my mind as I said these prophetic words.  Mema smiled at me.  

“My brave girl.”  she said, and those were the last words I heard her say for a long, long time.   

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Find Me Swallow: Chapter 3

Chapter 3

It was nearly sunset. Had I really slept all day? The next thing I remember was waking up, on the shoreline again, alone. Thank you Ibis. I thought, as I remembered what I had done for her best friend. As I painfully got up, I saw Hummers come towards me. He looked tired, but alright. His cropped dark hair was clotted with dirt from the creek, and his face was dirty. But to me, he just looked like, well, a Hum.

“Hey Swallow.” He said, as he offered me his hand. He pulled me to my feet, and I wiped my hands off on my wet dress. I looked at him. “Ibis told me what you did, and I want to thank you.”

I sighed. “It was instinct. I don’t know. Something inside kind of ‘snapped’, you know? I couldn’t stand there and watch you drown.”

“Well, thank you anyway. I owe you one.” He made a lopsided grin as he backed up and began to turn around. I looked down at my muddy dress and began walking back up the hill towards Mema and I’s hut.

Da told me to come after him. Mema says that I can lead a revolution. How in the name of all that is good am I going to do it? I suppose I should start with the first thing I was told to do… By the time I made it back to the hut, I had made my decision.

“Mema!” I called into the house. I was met with silence and darkness. I looked around in confusion. Mema was normally back before sunset. Suddenly I heard a series of horrific screams. It sounded like everything good in the world was being slowly tortured. To death.

I rushed back outside and ran to the center of our village. The clan elders were whipping three people: an old man, a young girl I didn’t recognize, and. Mema. They were whipping Mema.

“Stop!” I screamed at the top of my lungs as I sprinted towards the whipping posts. She was tied to a metal post, and she was on her knees; her back was bleeding profusely, and her face looked terribly bruised. The elder assigned to her drew back his whip as I rushed in front of the man.

“Please, stop!” I said. My voice was winded, and I saw Mema turn her head in my direction. She was breathing heavily, and every breath she took sounded as if she could hardly breath. The elder, holding the whip sneered at me.

“Get out of the way.” He said, his voice low and dangerous.

“Not until you tell me what she did.” I glared at him, and he looked away momentarily.

“Do you want this?” He questioned, gesturing to his whip.

“No, and I don’t believe my mother does either.” The man looked as if he would have whipped me right then and there if he could have.

“She deserves every cut she gets.”

“What did she do?” My voice cracked with exasperation and fear.

“She killed an elder.” I gasped at his words. What?

“Al, ugh. I can explain-” My mother gasped.

“SILENCE!” the man screamed. “I can explain for you.”

I glared even harder at the man. Mema was not a murderer.

“While doing her daily work for the good of the clan, your mother was told that she needed to collect more wheat for the day’s quota. She didn’t have enough. In retaliation, and pure defiance, she pulled out a wheat scythe and stabbed him through the heart.” My heart beat faster and faster. I simply could not believe what the man was telling me.

“Mema is not a killer.” The man smirked at me.

“The evidence proves otherwise.”

“Please. Just let her go! How many lashings has she had?”

“Only twelve out of the twenty that she deserves!” the man yelled.

“Then give me the rest.”

Free-write: Em&Kat

Into the hole

 

I scampered through the brush, Matthew directly behind me. I was zonked, and finally my legs just screeched in protest and I simply had to stop.

“Ok! Ok! Enough.” I said to Matthew, who stopped directly in front of me. He was my best friend, all the way from my childhood. He was quite handsome, but of course, I didn’t notice such things.

“What? Are you tired?” He asked jokingly. I of course knew that he was only joking. I was much stronger than he, although he hated to admit it. “Who am I kidding? I’m exhausted.” I softly chuckled under my breath as I leaned down and put my hands on my knees.

“Well that was a workout!” I was nearly hyperventilating as I said this.

“Who knew that a herd of buffalo would react when you threw rocks at them?” Matthew asked, pretending to look perplexed, his brown eyes sparkling with laughter. I rolled my eyes in that ‘mature’ way of mine.

“Well, you learned something then.

Matthew looked back towards the way they had come. He seemed to be listening intently for the sound of thundering hooves. The chase had been rough, and I was nearly completely confident that we had craftily lost the buffalo herd. Matthew knew better however. He ran his fingers through his dirty blond hair and nodded his head. I looked at him.

“We’d better keep going. I keep hearing their hooves and that can only mean they’re not far behind.” Chivalrously, he offered me his hand and helped me stand up from my crouch like position. And we ran.

We ran through the canopy like trees. The sunshine poured down on us like friendly little rays. The more we ran, the hotter and faster we seemed to become. Suddenly, I heard a scream right behind me. A manly scream. Matthew!

I immediately stopped and turned around. A large hole had appeared. I gazed uncertainly at it. The whole outside circumference was littered with fallen leaves. The interior of the small hole seemed to be outlined with solid gold. I reached down and touched it with my hand. I could hear Matthew’s screams growing farther away.

“Matthew!” I shouted into the tunnel. I worried. What was down there? Could he escape? Could we escape? No response came.

The worst possible thing happened next. I heard hooves.

Loud, terrible, thundering hooves.

Headed straight for where I was crouched on the ground.

I quickly stood and looked around wildly. If I went down the hole, I could be with Matthew and everything would be alright somehow. We could make it through this together. But there was the possibility that Matthew could be dead already. No, I thought. He’s not dead. He’s stronger than this.

The thunder had grown closer, and as I looked behind me, I began to see the dust swirling in the near distance. I nodded.

And I slid into the hole, directly towards extreme uncertainty. But I will make it.

And so will Matthew.

Together.      

~Em

And Kat’s version…

The Hole

or, Birch Chasm

by Kat

Kalassidy glared into the dark night, her fair hair stark against the blackness, dark as a hole in the earth.  She tugged at her shorts and hoodie, trying to cover every inch of flesh which the mosquitoes could get at.  

It didn’t work.  

Kalassidy sighed, tired but still determined.  She would find Mart, no matter how long it took her!  She held the lantern above her head, and turned around slowly, finding her bearings.  

There.  Behind those ocher-white fallen birches – Mart must be!  The fallen birches brought to her mind memories…memories of her and Mart.

Kalassidy remembered her fourth birthday, when she had invited all ten people from her daycare class, and everybody had bought her the same gift – a toddler-size Target sweater in various shades: some in heather gray, tomato red, and a garish green color.  

Everybody…except Mart.  

Mart alone had brought something Kalassidy had liked, a compass.  He alone told his mother to find something outdoorsy for her, he alone.  

From that point on, Mart and Kalassidy’s strange relationship had blossomed.  Kalassidy remembered how she would leap out the window of her room, if she was in trouble with her foster parents, to go rafting through the evening down the creek with Mart.  She was ten.

She recalled those times when they would explore the woods together, twelve but not even considering that they had outgrown nature’s greatest playground.  

She remembered, last year, those coffees Mart brought her, in the morning, when she was tired from reading textbooks late at night –

Mart had supported her dreams, understood her like no one had.  He had troubles of his own, too.  Only Kalassidy understood him.  Each other were all they had.  No one cared much for two undersized foster kids.  Through his depression and failures, Kalassidy listened, comforted, stood by –

And now he was gone, run into the woods on a November night, when his “fosters” were on vacation.  Only Kalassidy cared for him, and so off she went to find him.

She stumbled through the unexplored parts of the Lenxy Woods, stumbling farther than she ever had in all her childhood.

She tripped through deep, dusty drifts of leaves, allowing the briars to snag her jacket and tear her hoodie.  

That was when Kalassidy reached the birches, and knelt beside them.  A wide chasm, several feet long, ran between the felled trees.  Kalassidy had never seen it before.  Cautiously, she called into it, her voice echoing soundly for a distance she neither knew nor cared.  In the darkness, she did not see the limp shape so many miles below.  She did not know that Martin, driven wild by his emotions and desperate thoughts, had run off into the woods in search of a place to fall.  

She did not know that Mart had discovered this chasm before.

But Kalassidy rose and continued to search through the woods, the infinitely deep woods.  And here Kalassidy was, wandering through the woods with nothing to guide her, nothing except

a small,

orange plastic,

weather-beaten,

compass.  

 

 

Let’s See…

Discussion Question #1

Where do you do your writing? When do you write?

For me, I write on my sofa. I don’t know why, but I’ve never honestly considered writing in bed. I think I would be distracted and go to sleep somehow. 😛

I write whenever I have time or inspiration. Obviously I don’t always have inspiration. But when I do, I make sure I’m writing or jotting down ideas.

Put your thoughts and answers in the comments!

 

duo prompt – Em&Kat

 

So, Em and I decided to look at the same prompt, and at the same time, write two separate stories.  After twenty minutes, this is what we came up with.  Enjoy, but don’t be too surprised! ;P

temporary crash.

by kat

Jason hated bombshells.  The crash, the temporary deafness, the foreign curse words, the deaths, all of it.  That’s why he hated war, the whole package, every bullet and dried vegetable.  He’d wanted to be a chef but…It wasn’t like that was ever going to happen.  Now.

Jason hated war.  

***

Okay, so you, as the reader, probably get it now.  Officer J. Edward Parker hated war.  Felt like he didn’t belong.  Felt alone, and cold, and hungry.  Felt hated.  

He’d never played with plastic green army men or dreamed of shooting people, innocent people, in other countries.  Not once.  As a child, he preferred to take the animals his dad hunted and the foods his mother bought, and make miracles.  A prodigy chef.  

But then came this war…The drafting, the catcalls, the plane away from Chattanooga. The tears.  

And there was Mindy.  They were going to be married…next year.  He was 19, a great chef, working at Colliglioni’s Italian place, making good money and good friends.  He had everything he’d ever wanted – a good job, a nice girl, warm, home-cooked dinners by his fireplace, his little sweet spaniel propped against his knee, fur silky, ears soft.  

But for some reason, the people were dumb enough to elect a dictator that year.  Jason didn’t.  He voted for the guy in the red suit, the one with the big ideas, non-toleration of foreign invasion, and good vocabulary.  Jason didn’t understand everything that guy said, but it sure sounded fancy.  

But here he was, alone – in a dark tent, in some dark desert, smelling –

No, he didn’t want to know what it was he was smelling.  

How could he be brave, here, fighting in an eastern land he hated, for principles he didn’t believe in?  Why hadn’t he worn his glasses that day they reviewed the soldiers, said he was nearsighted, lived with the shame and gone home to see Mindy?

Why. That was the question.  

Jason rolled over, hit a stone in under the tent floor, shouted something,* and went to sleep.  

***

Jason awoke, thirsty.  It was dark, but that’s how it always was during morning in the Mongolian Desert.  He rubbed his eyes and stepped out of his pup tent.  The sun barely peeked over the rim of the earth.  Jason glared at it.  Off in the distance, shiny wooden varnish glared too.  

Varnish?

Jason looked both ways and ran.  

It seemed to take longer than he’d thought to reach it.  

The piano was by a lake.  A large lake, round, with Canada geese swimming on it.  Jason sighed. He missed those kinds of lakes, the ones with safe drinking water and  –

Kayakers?

Look, there they came, around the island!  

Jason panted, and his running slowed.  He was nearing the shining object, and the bright sunlight hurt his eyes.  

He tossed off his knapsack.

Then his jacket.

Then his vest.

Finally.  There it was, the piano of his dreams.  Positioned in the middle of the glorious lake.  

Jason unfastened his shoes, and dived in.  
The sergeant found Jason E. Parker in the sand, drowned.

Calm Before a Storm

by Em

Colonel Daniels slowed to a halt; his troop of soldiers also slowing behind him. His sharp eyes glanced around the wooded area, trying to detect any sign of movement. In precaution, his hand slowly moved towards his gun holster on his belt.

Ever since the week before, Daniels had snuck around everywhere. The year was 1933. He was on a special mission to rescue some captured generals at a secret base on the coast of Japan. Their base was well hidden; it was rumored to be underground. Daniels had been searching, researching, and observing the area all week, and he felt that he was close to a breakthrough that would lead to the rescue of three important generals with crucial information.

Again, Daniels began walking into the next clearing. The leaves and twigs were quietly trampled underneath his thick boots, and the wind made the air chilly. Carefully, Daniels snuck into the clearing and looked around. He started when he saw it. A piano.

For a staggering moment, Daniels simply stared. He assumed that the rest of his troop was doing the exact same thing from behind him.

A voice came from behind. “What is it?” The voice belonged to soldier Jerry Priesting. He was a slightly scatterbrained fellow, who was shockingly fantastic at shooting a gun.

“It’s a piano Priesting. Haven’t you seen one before?” Daniels grunted at the soldier.

“Of course I’ve seen a piano. But what’s it doing here?”

“That’s exactly what we have to find out.” Daniels answered swiftly.

Slowly and cautiously, Daniels approached the instrument. His men stayed behind as he looked it over. The piano was quite beat up and the wood was splintered. Miraculously however, the keys were a stunning pearly white. As he looked the whole thing over, he considered the possibilities. This piano could be the way into the underground base, or it could have been put here as if it were junk. Daniels more so believed in the second option.

He rounded the piano once more and had a sudden idea. Tenderly, his fingers brushed the keys for a moment. He then got into a stance in order to play the one song his mother had taught him, The Battle Hymn of the Republic. The trees, plants, and his men were silent as he played the inspirational melody. When he turned at one point to look at his men, he saw Priesting wipe a tear from his eye.

But then he stopped. They all stopped. The hideous gunshot rang out from the returned silence.  And they ran.

~Em 

 

Word Count Classification

I know the title sounds kind of boring, but just hang in there…

If you’re writing a story, you can figure out how many words it is when you finish and know what kind of story it is! I just think it’s kind of interesting. Here are the classifications:

Classification Word count

Novel- over 40,000 words

Novella- 17,500 to 40,000 words

Novelette- 7,500 to 17,500 words

Short story- under 7,500 words

There you go!

Find Me Swallow: Chapter 2

Find Me Swallow

Hey there! This is Chapter 2 of our new novella, Find Me Swallow. Enjoy!

Chapter 2

I stared after him, my breath stuck in my throat.  I fair fainted against the moist bark of the logs, thinking about what my father had told me. “Find me, Swallow.” I finally tore my eyes from their target – dreadful Eldritch, causer of such pain and separation! – and turned around slowly.  I started to walk back towards our cottage, weak as an baby bird. How could Da do this? Leave me in such danger? I thought.  Da expected me, an fourteen year old girl weak in strength, to lead a revolution. The idea was preposterous. And to go after him into Eldritch? When he would be dead by the mutant Huns by nightfall? For the first time, I truly thought my father was honestly insane and not just commonly drunk.

As soon as I arrived back at the cottage, Mema was standing in front of the door, her arms outstretched, beckoning to me. I ran into her strong arms and stayed there, feeling safe and warm. She bent down and whispered something in my ear.

“You can do it Al. I believe in you.” As soon as I had registered her words, my head snapped up.

“You believe him?” I whispered back, confusion and amazement filling my mind.

She looked around, seriousness overtaking her expression. “We must not speak of this out here, they shall hear us and banish us before we’re ready.”

“Ready for what?” Mema grabbed my hand and pulled my suddenly into the cottage. The door slammed shut, and we were in the dark.

“Al, everything your father told you was true, every bit of it.” My mother had turned around to face me; her long dusty-auburn hair was dirty, and her face streaked with grime. She appeared to be close to tears. “Every single thing your father believed in. It was all true.” She grabbed my hand and began stroking it.

“Mema-” I began, but she cut me short.

“Al, I know it’s asking a lot  of you, but, when you were born, your father and I knew you were the one.” I looked at my mother in confusion.

“The one? Like in the old legends? They’re all true?”

“Every bit of them.”

The legend was that one day, the clannies would become oppressive. They would kill. They would become cannibals. They would desire to completely ruin the clan. Destroy it. Not leave anyone safe. But one, a special one, would deliver the clan from their tyranny; one weak in body, but strong in heart.  A redeeming one with a soul of iron, and the wise mind of a bird.  One who would be rejected at first. But then those of the clan would see. Those blinded would see the clannie’s oppression, and they would fight. They would fight, and fight, until they couldn’t fight any more. They would be close to losing everything, the rebel’s soldiers dead. But.

Nothing.

That was all the legend contained. The end of the prophecy had been lost many years ago, and not one soul knew how it ended.

And yet, prim, cool Mema, kin to Chief Fal, considered her weak daughter to be capable of fulfilling the famous words!  But Swallow ‘al Frond was only fourteen –

“Mema, I am too young, and at the shadow age, practically friendless!  An outcast of the children, because of my father…”  I sighed.  

“Bide a wee – after all, Sweet birds sing, but a swallow never cries.”  You, my child, are a rare bird, all others dance in the light, and you contemplate the dim to imagine – all others are plumed with fine beauty, hair of red, eyes of blue, or hair of gold, eyes of green; but you, my Swallow, have never allowed tears to fall across your pale face, or sorrow to grey your blacken locks.”

My heart grew warm, but my spirit still was sanken in the ice of sorrow and the chill of fear.

***

After a fitful night on the straw mats which covered our floor, I arose and went outside.  Muddy Creek roared at my feet.  Twas practically a spring flood!  I checked to make sure that our pigs were inside the hut, then pulled down the twig curtain – a panel formed of interwoven twigs, basketwoven into a rectangle.  Now the doorway was shut –

“Oh no.” I groaned.

Two popular, rebellious half-grown children floundered across the stream, in the direction of where I stood.  Sly grins flickered across their faces, and I stared them in the eye.  They kept coming.  I sighed.  Did Ibis and Hummingbird, who currently called himself Hummings, have to come mock me this early!  I groaned, and straightened my grey, windblown dress, where it hung limp and muddy against my bare legs. Ibis was that sort of sassy-to-younger-kids, favorite-of-the-elders child in the village.  Most villages had them, I was sure, although I’d never so much as set a foot over the fence.  Ibis had, like most of the clan families’ children, thick golden hair, which hung in a mat down to her skirt.  Hummings, a lanky boy with a kind heart although he was prone to be mislead – he was the possessor of a follower’s mind – followed Ibis everywhere, as he was sixteen and so was she.  I hated them.  

And yet here they were, coming to bully me, the day after my father’s exile.  I straightened my neck, hardened my heart, and fingered my dagger.  Ibis and Hummings splashed through the rushing waters, across the slippery creek bank, and up the muddy hill towards our hut with difficulty.  I heightened my back even greater as I watched.  Mema is already at her work in the gardens of the Chief, so I can fight back if I want to.  I thought, and my prideful mind elevated itself.  By the time Ibis and Hummings reached me, they were just about equal to my bedraggled, messy state.  

“So, Swalli-Frond, you consider yourself above us!  And you will likely end up an exiled, dead rebel, like your father is now!”

Hummings frowned, looking as though he wished he were not there, with Ibis, mocking me.  

“And look where you are – in your dirty dress, in your dirty hut!”  Ibis sneered.  Hummings began to back away, in the direction of the creek.

“Well, I think your hut is made of mud, same as mine!”  I returned, frowning.  How could I lead our clan when not even a girl would listen to me?  I worried, How could I live up to Da’s expectations?  

Hummers was dangerously close to the swollen, raging creek now, continuing to silently tread backward.  

“Yes, but my family is a lot more – how do I say it? – respectable than yours.”  Ibis continued.  

A splash.  Ibis whirled.  

“Where’s Hummers?  What’d you do to him!” she cried, hurrying towards the creek.  A long, tan hand reached above the waters, grasping, but closing around nothing.  

Hummers couldn’t swim.

“Hum!  I’m coming for you!”  I cried, careless of my loose dress as I plunged into the raging current. I suppose it was instinct. Although I hated the two, I couldn’t stand there and watch one of them die. The water was freezing, and my eyes burned when I opened them.   “Hum!”  

I’m sure that Ibis just stared.  She never was one for action.  The current pulled me along with it.  Muddy Creek was deeper than I thought…I touched something warm and soft – Hum…  as my strength ebbed away, I tugged his limp body towards the creek bank.  I grappled for one final instant with the deadly waves before heaving myself onto shore.  I coughed up muddy water as I pulled Hum onto the slippery bank.

“Ibis…”  I panted, light grey dress bedraggled and torn, “Could somebody – somebody…meaning you – fetch the healer?”  I allowed myself to faint into blissful sleep, unknowing – and this does change the story, mind you – that I was still gripping Hummer’s hand, in the same position as I had tugged him out of that creek of death.

Find Me Swallow – our next Novella

Find Me Swallow

by Em and Kat

our latest story – a fantasy inspired.

Chapter 1

If there was one thing I knew, it was to never go in Eldritch Forest. It was one of many warnings which I had received, practically since birth. If I’m honest myself, nothing scared me more than the prospect of spending any amount of time in Eldritch.

“Al, it’s time to go.” My mother’s depressed face appeared in the doorway or our house. Our house was small, only one room, which was quite unfortunate when Da was having a fit. My mom had to work in the clan gardens every day, but she had today off in view of a certain ‘event’ going on in our family.

The short story is, my da is insane. He wasn’t always. It confused me when he started raving about the ‘lost lands’ hidden within the woods of Eldritch. No one believed him, and for good reason. No one ever made it out of Eldritch. It was the worst punishment; to be banished into the forest, other than being burned at the stake, but that hasn’t happened for years.   

You see, I didn’t want to let my Da go. I still remember when he would tuck me into my straw bed at night and tell me old clan legends, and he’d softly kiss me on the forehead. Every night. For years.

But then things changed. My da, Plover Frond was banished from the clan because he started acting on his belief. He’d been saying he’d been receiving visions; visions of people, a people in the forest. He started to lead revolutions against our clan leader, Chief Falcon. No one seemed to want to follow him and risk death, and the clan elders had finally decided it had gone too far. Yesterday they had decided that I should walk my father to the edge of the forest, armed clan elders blocking the village at my side.

The clan leaders, or “clannies” as my one friend and I often mockingly called them, were concerned over the secret, rebellious generation growing under their strict leadership, like a blister under a tight sandal strap.  Of course, my father was leading the coercive, silent young rebels, being young himself – he could be hardly older than 26, and that was at his highest.  I’d been following’ after my Da’s ways ever since I was a wee one.  My mother was kin to Chief Fal, and she cared little for my father, especially after one of his rages.  She said he’d been a good child, once, and that was why she’d married him a year early, at fifteen.  I was still young for marriage, too old to play among the wee ones, as their tan skirts flapped in the wind, yet too young to follow after the Elder Folk.  I was at the shadow age, the age where one is too young and too old.  I was eleven, and I was walking my crazed father towards the woods of death.  I considered myself too young to cry.

***

“Swallow, you look strained.”  My Da looked at me with eyes full of concern, and I could hardly believe that he’d been running the borders of our settlement, tripping crazily around the rim of the woods like a madman, only the night before.  It was at times like now, however, when I wondered how I had ever feared him.

“Why Da, I reckon I have right to be afraid of the forest.” I gripped his hand tighter, as we approached the twisted fence of logs and briars, which surrounded our clan’s camp.  It was meant to protect us from enemy marauders, visitors, and creatures of the night.  It was meant to protect us from the forest.  As we were surrounded by woods, all of the above came from the forest.  

“Child, you have no need to be feared.  I do not fear the woods – Eldritch is no curse, but a blessing.”

He must be drunk or something.  Yet his eyes had never been clearer, nor his face more awakened.  Da was strong,  and his muscles rippled through his tunic.  Of course he didn’t fear the woods, he was stronger than iron!

Softly, I spoke again. “Da, you quiet now, and return to the fence come mornin.’  I’ll be awaitin’ you there.”  Tears sprung to my eyes, but I forced them down.  “Surely the Chief and the clannies and the Elder Folk will pardon you if you arrive humbled and unharmed.”  Or unarmed, I was thinking.

“Child, I shall not return here.”  Da’s voice was solemn with conviction.  

“Do not be a fool Da!  You must live – for me!” I whispered. Sweet birds sing, but a Swallow never cries, I reminded myself.  Twas one of Mema’s sayings.

“I shall not return here, young one, because I do not wish to.”  

That settles it. He’s is drunk beyond repair.  I paused in the dirt path, overlooking our shaded, tight, and muddy settlement.  Spring rains had stirred up the streets into wallowing places for dogs, and pigs waded carelessly through the knee-deep muck.  Fondly my eyes focused on our dirty straw brick hut, noting our pigs, one of them which was just heading inside.  Mema would most likely let it lick the dining plate clean, its sticky tongue swiping away the soft potatoes and crisp onions.  A pig’s tongue is a fine feeling.  

Meanwhile, Da noticed my silence.  “Swallow Fern, I bekeep thou with my vision.  Carry on my dreams – one revolt will change our settlement!”

I halted at the stockade, and my eyes burned with tears, but I stopped them once again.  “But Da, I don’t know how.”

Da’s gentle-rough hand brushed mine, and his back braced against the cold wood of our stockade.  In the distance, the Clan guards watched.  

“Find me, Swallow.”  My father said, as his grip loosened and he lept over the fence, into the woods.  A crackle of brush, and he was gone.  

Writing Tips from Em

 

Hey there!

So today, I thought I would give you some of my best writing tips. They’re all pretty simple and self explanatory, but I thought I’d give them to you anyway.

1. Keep Writing

No matter what, don’t stop writing. Once you stop writing, you just end up going down in an absolute spiral, and then it’s really hard to get back to it after that.

2. Make it a habit

This one is pretty important. Basically, write every day. Even if you only write a few sentences, write. You’ll be glad later, because your novel or story will come together, no matter how slow it may seem.

3. Once you finish one, start another

This kind of goes hand and hand with number two, in order to keep your habit going, you have to do just that: keep it going! Kat and I have done a fairly good job of starting a new story right after finishing our old one. It’s helped us to keep writing.

Anyway, these are my most important tips to writing! Thanks for reading.

~Em

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