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Glory Glory Writings

Writings of Two Forever Friends

Glory Glory Book Club!

Hello there again, lovely readers of Glory Glory Writings! A few weeks ago, Kat and I decided to add a new portion to our writing blog: A book club!

Over the rest of the school year and summer, Kat and I will be reading books together, and you are welcome to join us if you would like! We will be doing joined book reviews together as we go along.

Thank you so much for following! Happy writing and now reading!

{Hey, it’s Kat here!}

Em and I are so excited to introduce our new book reviews/club!!! We’ll be starting Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte over break.  After reading our weekly five chapters, we will post here, telling you, the lucky reader, about what has happened so far and our opinions on the events!  Feel free to read along through the classics with us!

~Kat ❤

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Quote

Sounds legit! 😉

This one’s for you Em. 😀

Yup, that’s true too!

~Kat

Find Me Swallow: Chapter 8

It seemed as if we were walking for hours before a small village came into view. My heart began to pound like a bass drum, it actually hurt my chest with every hard beat. If this was where my father was, this was the beginning of a true revolution; freedom from the tyranny and injustice of the clannies and the poverty of living in our village.

As we entered into the town, everything seemed to be silent and abandoned. I looked cautiously at Hum and Ibis, who were smiling wildly and edging at me to go on. Nodding, I continued to walk. As I approached the fountain in the center, my heart went into my throat. It was Da.

He looked as if he hadn’t shaved in a few years, even though it had only been a few days. His warm eyes gazed upon me with admiration and approval. He held out his scruffy arms, and as if I were a bright eyed rabbit, I sprang into them.

He held me for a long time, and even though I had seen him three days ago, I’m sure I was crying. His warm chest seemed very inviting, so I snuggled closer into it. Finally, after what seemed like years, he let me go.

“Hello Al.” Da said, his soft voice ringing with fondness, “I knew you would come back.”

*** *** ***

The next few hours felt as if I were watching someone else live my own life for me. Everything I did seemed to be like a dream. We discussed battle plans, and how we were going to infiltrate the village. This wasn’t me! This was a warrior, which I was not. I slowly began to grow accustomed to how all the people in the small village saluted me as their leader, a feeling I had never before experienced. Later, we sat down by the village fountain, a work of art such as I had never seen before.  THere we ate a small meal of deer and raw carrots, such as the ones Mema plucked from the clan gardens…  

“So Al,” Da began. “How was the journey here? I already know that you got seperated from Ibis and Hum here, but I’d like to hear your version of the tale.” I looked up with a slightly overwhelmed grin.

I went on to explain in much detail just exactly what had befallen in the last few days. I told Da how I saved Hum’s life in the pond, of the pain when Mema was whipped, and when we ran for our lives from the clannies. He listened with a vivid captivation as I told him of my first night in Eldritch, finding Hum again, and then being attacked by the Hun. I ended my narrative by telling him about my journey through the water, down the waterfall, and eventually ending up here. He shook his head when I had finished telling my story.

“Great lichen foot! This is exactly why you are the one of the prophecy. None of the rest of us could have survived that with a meager scratch on our side. I’m so proud of you.” I smiled mischievously.  

“Now, I want to hear what all of you have to say.” I responded evenly. Hum and Ibis seemed to give each other a side grin. For two people who had just survived two days in the wilderness, they seemed as bright eyed and bushy tailed as newborn rabbits.

“Well,” Ibis said. “The journey was hard, being alone and all, but I must say it’s downright more fun than being the future Clan Princess -”

“The what!” Da said, interrupting her quite unlike a leader, “You left the best position in the clan for this?”

“As a matter of fact, I did, Plover Frond, so I pray you will let me continue my story.”  Ibis said haughtily, winking at Hum and I knowingly.  She flipped her hair, and the droplets from the fountain caught in it, sparkling in the sunlight.  

“After we escaped the elders, leaping over the stockade into the living death according to our community, Swallow, Hum, and I all ran in separate directions.  I tore through the woods that night, and finally found a safe place to rest on a high embankment over a creek.  Come morning, I thought that the best way to find you, my friends, would be to follow the water.  After all, all need water to live.”  

During her pause, Da nodded understandingly and Hum punched Ibis gently in the shoulder.

“Get on with it, beautiful!”  he said laughingly.  

Ibis blushed and continued, “Well, an enormous fallen tree, half pushed into the water, half lodged on the swollen creek’s bank, offered a convenient way to travel the woods without tripping on underbrush.  I shoved the log into the water and went along for the ride.  I must have been half asleep, because the next thing I knew, I was hurtling through the roaring rapids, in the direction of a great plume of falling water!”

Hum gasped, and I laughed.  He blushed and Ibis punched him for a change!

“Well, you stubborn menfolk keep interrupting my story.  Do you want to hear the ending or not?”

Instantly, Hum and Da were silent as two scruffy, brawny  angels.  I snorted in spite of myself, and Ibis proudly finished her saga, “Well, being the intelligent woman that I am, I leaped off my watercraft just in time, for no sooner had it shot ahead of me than a wild torrent of water crashed about my head!  Well, to make a long story short, I surfaced with ease and swam ashore to the distantly visible village with the carelessness of a nymph from above -”

This time I punched her, and she rubbed her arm pitifully.  “It’s no small task to swim ashore while tons of water are pounding your ears!  Stop sounding so darn princess like and talk like a warrior!”  

My father looked surprised, but smiled charmingly.

“This is not the shy, smart, yet unspoken-to-the-crowds little Al I left?” He said.  In reply, I grinned grimly, expressing all the seriousness in the world, along with joy.

“No, Da, I am afraid it is not.  Al of the Clan is dead.  She died during Mema’s and her own whipping.  She died under the arrows of those she trusted. She died under the thumb of a blood-thirsty Hun.  Al is dead, and I do not mourn her.”  

Da gaped for a moment, but straightened his back and set his face.  He was proud of me, I could tell, only a little startled.  I would be startled too, in his case.  But Da was right.  I had changed.  I had changed from an intelligent child to a hardened warrior.  No longer would I pause to draw the dagger, Mema’s brutal whipping had changed that.  No longer would I fear the roaring waters of filthy, bubbling rivers, Hum’s near drowning and my brave and wild creekside plunge had made sure of that.  No longer did I hide what was on my mind, I spoke it outright.  No longer was I his little angel-Al, I was Swallow the Fierce, the one spoken of by seers of old, the one who would lead her people back to the Truth and Justice.  

“I am Swallow the Fierce, Da, and together Hum, Ibis, you, I: we and those of this village shall guide our people back to freedom.”

Find Me Swallow: Chapter 7

Hello everyone! Sorry we haven’t posted in a really long time before yesterday… We’ve had this written for a while, but we just haven’t gotten around to posting for some reason.

Chapter 7

I tried to scream, but I couldn’t. I’m very thankful my fear drove the screams away because a scream would not have helped us at all. Hum grabbed my arm and slowly we stood up and began backing up the bank, towards the woods.  If the huge creature didn’t attack us, we could hide.

The horrible Hun was ginormous; at least eight feet high and around three feet wide. He looked a medieval viking, with his sandals and spiked helmet. Where could he have received them from, out here? His face was bent into a sneer, and he looked a bit like a mad dog, about to growl.

So, in intelligent premonition, I growled first.  

The Hun, rather than stepping back, stepped forward, and it was like David versus Goliath.  As swiftly as an owl pounces upon a swallow, the Hun drew forth a scimitar and slashed at me.  I leaped backwards, pulling Hum’s arm tight, after me.  The Hun also leaped, his hair prickling like a cactus, all the while waving his rusty sword.

Oh lichen-foot.  That wasn’t rust.  It was dried blood.

This was when Hum took over for my stalled brain.  I felt a cold thread of metal run across my side, as my frozen wits heard the slash of metal upon metal.  Finally it came to me that the Hun, attempting to slice my side, had been blocked mostly by my dagger. And that Hum had just tore my dagger from my side to fight the Hun.  And that it might be a good idea to run away…

“Hum!” I cried, tripping off the high bank of the creek into the icy waters, “Run!  We must hide!”  As I struggled to keep my face above the current, I called, “Don’t come back for me…I – can – swim…”  

Then my head sank below the deep waters, and the current carried my limp body onward.

***

My body may have seemed limp, but my mind wasn’t.  Over the sound of rushing water, I could hear the Hun’s splashing, and Hum’s yells of protest as he ran onward.  I kept my body still, so the Hun would think me dead and not stab me as I floated down the stream.  Discretely, I turned my mouth above the water, gulping a deep breathe. My eyes, open under the water, could glimpse the water’s color becoming darker, more stirred up and muddy…like rapids.  The creek’s water, besides quickly turning into liquid mud, churned faster and faster.  

Oh no, I thought, A rapids.  

I sat bolt upright in the deep water and began to tread.  Good news and bad news, I thought to myself, Mostly good news: I was far from the Hun, I could tell because I could no longer  hear his frightening grunts.  But I was also far from Hum now.  Also bad news: I could not touch the ground of the creek.  

Quickly, I began to pull myself towards the high banks of the churning waters.  

My stomach was also churning.  Probably due to the condition of the waters.  

Thrusting out my arms like a champion swimmer, imagining I was swiming for Hum in the muddy village creek, imagining Ibis standing there, screaming, imagining –

My face hit land.  Hard, as was obvious from my throbbing head and crunched neck.  But there was no time for pity parties for me.  Quickly, I pulled myself against the slippery stone bank, set practically at a right angle to the rushing water.  My fingers cramped, as I tried to pull myself up the bank.  If my life or my strength were like those of the Huns, I would have been able to heave myself up onto the bank with little effort at all.  I was not a Hun however, and my cramped fingers, throbbing head, scraped knee, and Hun-dagger-nicked side caused me to toss myself back into the foaming waves, groaning.  The water deepened even further, the waves churned harder, and I began to pray furiously, just as I shot over the edge of a waterfall.

I burst forth from the filthy froth, kicking frantically and rubbing my stinging eyes on my damp shoulders.  Swimming for my life away from the torrents of water, I kicked the pebbly ground.

Land! At last!

The ground was at my feet, my toes scraped hard earth, and I pulled myself onto oily pebbles and slept gratifyingly.  

***

“Great lichen-foot, we just keep getting seperated don’t we?” I heard Hum say.

“Swallow, you shouldn’t keep running away from us like that!” Ibis!

“You’re back! You’re okay! Oh thank goodness.” On impulse, I pulled myself up and threw myself into her slightly reluctant arms. Against her immediate will, I saw her give a small grin.

“I missed you too, punk.” She replied. She let go at the same time that I did. “We have something to show you, and I think you’ll like it. A lot.”

Find Me Swallow: Chapter 6

Chapter 6

The dim light cast its weak shaft upon the ancient floor.  Even farther up, higher than my height, the ominous walls of the passage rose up.  I rubbed my hand upon my knee and smelled blood, but it was only a scratch.  I was sure by now that the sounds which I had been hearing were from Hum.  “Al…ow”  Sounded like Swallow.  Perhaps Hum, too, had tumbled into the precipice and crawled, frantically searching for safety, into this musty, sheltered shaft.  I stood up, conked my head on the low roof, and dropped my dagger on the musty ground.  A spark momentarily shot up.  

The floor was made of flint.  

The steel of my weapon – the refuse scattered under my bare feet – light!  vision!  Hum!  

Wildly, I dug my fingers through the gravel shards, raking up what burnable matter I could find.  I rubbed the blade of my weapon across the ground, shielding the weak sparks from the cold of the cavern.  At last, the light caught.  Fire spurted up from the ground, and I screamed and jumped away.  

Rubbing my bruised head, which I had so foolishly bashed once again on the roof of the cavern, I knelt and examined the pale, white hand which loomed so dangerously near the fire.  

Hum.  

I knelt down quickly and took his hand, which was as cold as death itself. His ice blue eyes blinked with sheer terror, and he stuttered, trying to form words.  I saw him turn his head towards me.

“F-find Ibis.” He was able to stammer.

“No way. Are you hurt?” He shook his head weakly.

“Just starving. P-please. Find food and go get Ibis. We can’t let her d-die.”  

“Why not?” He didn’t respond. “Ok…fine. Just, don’t move.”

I quickly got up. My mind finally started to accept the fact that I had found Hum, and I wasn’t entirely lost in the woods any longer. But I wasn’t out of the woods yet.  Now I still had to find food, Ibis, and Da.  Why was Ibis in on this?  She had used to be so popular, for no apparent reason except that she was exceptionally obedient, but in that trait all of us citizens of the Clan were alike…

There must be something about Ibis that was special, but what? Hum had seemed desperately agitated that I find her, to make sure that she didn’t die.  Ibis had always been a favorite child of the Elder clannies, but the clannies mattered nothing to me.  The evil Elders might as well be the dirty village streets, streets of a past long forgotten, streets which I crunched between my bare toes, streets which Ibis walked with the spoiled air of royalty –  

Royalty!

Could Ibis – could she – was it possible that she was the clan princess, the pet raised up by the Elders to mother Chief Fal’s grandchildren?  The future first Chieftess, the supposedly all-powerful, whom the Elders sometimes talked about in whispered voices?  Would I, the common and dirt poor, beaten and shamed hut-child work side by side with the most valuable person of my generation?  Would she be upset that I had stolen her faithful follower, practically servant, Hum?  Could we three youth work together to lead a rebellion, a new generation?  

Yes, we could.  There was no doubt about it.

Difficult? Yes, of course. Overpowering the clannies’ self-centered desires once and for all would be very, very hard.  I, Swallow Frond, along with Hum and Ibis could all die. But impossible? No.  There was always the chance that, bravely, we would survive  and the whole plan of rebellion would work splendidly… Together, we could overcome….

Sharply, I heard a sudden fragrance of music, the quiet morning twitter of birdsong.  

“Could it be morning already, Hum?”  I wondered aloud, rushing to the front of the cavern.  There I immediately started to try to find crevices in order to climb to the surface of the forest. I placed my hands on the small holes set in various areas over the large rock. As soon as I was high enough, I also realized that I was starving.

The rations in the clan village were awful; normally we only were allowed to have two meals a day, and then it was only very small portions of vegetables and stew. Of course, the day before, after I’d been whipped I had mostly lost my appetite and not eaten most of my portion. Looking back, I realized that that was a idiotic decision because for the most part I knew what was ahead.

When I reached the surface, I pulled myself up, my muscles shaking, and walked around the clearing, trying to find some berries or perhaps a wounded animal.

I was in luck! About two paces from the tree where I had spent the night was a very fat squirrel.  He appeared to be wounded; he wasn’t moving at all, a bit like a statue. I moved up behind the rodent and he still didn’t even twitch.

I moved quickly. It disgusted my soul that I was killing another creature; I had always had that ache whenever I took the life of another animal. But we were starving, and of course our cause was worthy to kill at least one squirrel to keep us alive. I gathered up the body and took it to the cave.

Hum seemed much more lively after feasting on roasted squirrel. In the firelight he didn’t appear hurt, just exhausted. After quickly scrounging up every shred of meat on the squirrel (except for a bit which we kept for Ibis) we set out again.

The mid-day sun burned on our shoulders, but we didn’t notice. We were far too distracted with the task at hand. We searched and searched for Ibis but to no avail. She seemed to have disappeared into thin air. After almost three hours of searching, we stopped for a rest.

We stopped directly in front of a clear stream. The water ran free and seemed to wave in the sunlight. The reflection was slightly blinding.  After clambering down a bank to its deep waters, I knelt to drink.  Hum did the same.  We scooped water into our hands and poured it gladly into our thirsty mouths. The  liquid refreshed us more than I can describe.  As I enjoyed the serenity of the temporary respite, I suddenly felt Hum’s hand on my arm.

“Don’t move,” He whispered into my ear. My heart seemed to freeze. Slightly ignoring his command, I slowly lifted my head to view what he saw.

The worst possible thing we could have run into.

A Hun.

Find Me Swallow: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

It may seem difficult to believe that I could get lost so quickly – but trust me, I could.  I couldn’t figure out how quickly the stockade had seemed to melt into the darkness, or how soon I had seemed to lose Hum.  And Ibis.

Oh lichen-foot.

Slowly, I rotated in a circle, rounding a tree with the thickness of Chief Fal’s largest hut.  I didn’t know where I was.  I didn’t know where my friends were.  

Wait – for how long had they been my friends?  Just a few days ago, had they not been my enemies?  Perhaps seeing me humiliated had changed them.  No, it must have been when I saved Hum.

“HUM!” I screamed, sense returning to me, or was it leaving me, for would my pursuers dare venture just a few steps beyond the stockade for murder and glory?

“HUM! IBIS!  Come BACK!”  Was this forest truly a swallower of souls?  For inasmuch I cried, I felt more hopeless still –

A rustle.  In the blackness, I readied my bloodstained dagger, after wiping the blade clean on my dress.  It snagged, and the ripping of the fabric echoed loudly against the silence of the woods.  Had not birdsong emanated from the trees by day?  How could then the woods of Eldritch be so silent during the pitch of night?

And lonely.  I tried to recall a saying of my mother’s, “Sweet birds sing, but a swallow never cries.”

More rustling.  I yelped and scurried towards a great black thing.  The warm trunk stopped me, as I stiffened silently, hiding from my pursuer, I seemed to feel it pulsing at the pace of a rabbit, similar to my heartbeat, as though alive.  I leaned further into it –

Into it?  The tree was hollow!  And there I hid, clamping my eyes and my fists shut against the forces which could lurk inside the woods…  

Dawn was just crimping the land with a faint tinge of grey when I at last dared open them.  The tree where I had hidden was hollow, wide enough for a girl to sit cross legged, with a gash through which one could enter.  A hill of dusty-white moss rose up in front of the opening, obscuring it from all but elvin eyes.  I smiled blissfully, then jolted awake.

Hum.  

I must find Hum.  And Ibis, I reminded myself, no doubt she’s lost among this mystical  woodland trap, too.  I slid silently out of my hole like a deer fearful of the hunter, expecting a waiting cult of elders to jump out from the trees at any waking moment.  

No ambushers.  Slowly, leaning against the huge tree, I looked myself over.  

Welts from the whip still creased my body, but they were not deep and had healed quickly.  I was bruised from the hand to hand contact with the clannies, but that was just sore.

Alas- my dress was torn!  Now I could not fix it – oh well, I can run faster with a shorter dress.  It was more like pants, I had always wanted pants – I stood up, suddenly anxious.  I must find my allies! For I knew not whether they were my friends yet.

Setting off over the hill of moss, I hurried in search of Hum and Ibis.  Calling had not worked in the silent forest last night, so I reckoned I should just look.  I passed a swampland wrapped in loose grasses.  Stopping for a moment, I surprised a sleepy pheasant, and hurling my dagger at it, was surprised to hit my mark!  I retrieved the animal, wrapping it in reeds for later.  I slung the pheasant over my shoulder as I tied the cut part of my dress out of my way.  After I picked up my sack,  I headed off into the woods, towards my rebel friends.

It seemed like hours. Although honestly, by the sun’s position in the sky, I knew it hadn’t. As I wandered throughout the mysterious wood, my mind began to wander. I began to look in awe at the leafy trees, hear the fall leaves fall onto the unsuspecting ground, while feeling the cool air blow them around making a gentle whoosh. The morning sun poked through the treetops, making uneven beams on the ground, and to me it seemed as though the sun was favoring only certain trees. I walked through the torrents of leaves through the forest until my stomach began to throb from hunger.

I came upon a sunlit clearing and sat down on my knees. I squinted my eyes because the sun was so bright. As soon as I had picked up the pheasant from my bag, I collected some sticks and got to work.

As well as I could, I rubbed the sticks together and eventually started a fire. The effort it took was painful, for my back was still aching in pain. However, I soon started the fire and began to cook the bird.

I had slept well that night. The tree trunk had seemed warm, even though I knew that was impossible. For some reason however, I had grown colder about an hour before I had awakened. I had no idea how that was possible, but I didn’t dwell on it.

The pheasant was delicious and I ate it with vigor. I drank some of the water from my canteen and stood once again. Suddenly, I heard the nearby bushes shake. I heard a voice.

“Al?” Hum.

“Hum!” I called back. “I’m here!” I ran toward the movement.

The bushes shook, and I called my shaking nerves.  Hum would have answered by now – was it a clannie sent to spy on me -?  Well, it was now or never –

I leaped into the bushes, dagger at my side.  

A blood curdling scream rolled off my lips, answered at once by a squashed animal yelp.

Wait, what?

I set myself back in the undergrowth, glancing back up at the sunlight filtering through the dim leaves above.  

Sunlight above?  

Of course the sun was above me, don’t be stupid Swallow!  I told myself, shaking.  All the same, I felt lower than I had formerly been.  Like I was in a hole…

Or a cave –

“Oh, great lichen foot!”  I whisper-shouted, rolling to my feet, “I pray I have not stumbled from the dangerous heights to the depth of a coyote’s den – quite literally!”  

The moan caught my attention again.  “Al…ow.

Cautiously, I crept through the dimly lit pass.  It appeared to be a thin segment of rock severed between two overarching cliffs.  Up above, a great tree trunk, thick as a band of angry Clannies, clung to the edge of the cliff.  With a start, I realized that that must have been the tree I had spent the night.  No other trees had I seen during all my day’s wanderings – had I walked so far, only to have gone full circle again?  

I inched my way across the slippery rock, clinging to the ridge with my spare hand, using the dagger to grip the cliff like the flickery hairs on the toes of a sloth.As I slipped along the wet rock, raising to Lichen-Foot that I would not become trapped between the icy-slick faces of limestone and granite, I noticed a dark shaft peering from the wall.  The moan came again, fainter this time.

“Al…ow.”  

Already shocked at my luck so far, outrunning the clannies, leaping safely into a narrow, unknown pit, surviving thus far my slippery journey –

I decided to try my luck once more, and leapt into the passage. 

😉

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.   

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.  

 

 

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