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Posts Tagged ‘Short Story’

I know I normally don’t post on Tuesday, but I got some good news to share.  It’s Human Rights week on One Forty Fiction and they selected my story to share today. Check it out I Have a Dream here. Oh and leave me a comment. ;p

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Hey everybody I’m back from my vacation and hope everyone had a great holiday! And even if you didn’t have a holiday to celebrate, I hope you had a great past week! Now that I’m back I have some exciting news.  Yes, that’s right.  This week I’ll be featuring the first short-story ever submitted to my blog! Yay! It was submitted by Herby over at Living As Herby and isn’t a YA story, but I think we can forgive him this one time.  And now, without further ado I give you The Owl.

The owl

It was late in the evening. I’d watched the sun sink slowly behind the trees, turning them into long black silhouettes against a darkening sky rimmed with red. It wasn’t dark but twilight was receding quickly into night. I turned my beaten up old purple mountain bike down the hill and onto the bush track.

The bush felt comforting. It was darker here than out on the road and I turned my headlight on. It was a force of habit, born from the short winter days that we’d been experiencing. The track descended into the swamp. The surface was a mixture of gravel and sand. It wound gently between the banksias and she-oak trees that grew thickly in the moist soil.

I crossed the creek. My wheels making a splashing noise and throwing the muddy water up against my bare legs. I felt like a child jumping in puddles after rain or an adventurer traversing new territory. The stringy paperbark trees in the swamp glowed white against the deep green mosses and foliage that make this part of the bush their home. I felt connected with my surrounds and felt something would happen.

Once across the creek, the trail climbed back up to drier ground. The track became sandy and my tyres cut a line through the surface of the sand to grab purchase on the firmer ground below. The paperbarks gave way to more she-oaks and the occasional large gum tree. I felt at peace as I cruised along the relatively flat single track that led to the fire trail that would take me to the other side of the bush.

Twilight still sat in the air. Darkness seemed to be a long time coming this night. Or perhaps that was only because the winter solstice had passed a month earlier and the days were now growing slowly longer.

I turned onto the fire trail. The trail led down a hill that had a fun little jump part-way down it. For the past month it had been too dark to take the hill with any speed. But today, I had a chance. I’m not good at jumping my bike but enjoy getting a little bit of air. So I started to gather speed. Until I saw him.

The owl flew onto a branch near the track. Instinctively, I stopped. Something was happening but I didn’t know what. The jump was a long-forgotten thought as I drew up next to the owl. I felt myself being called but couldn’t identify the source. So I stood there, breathing slowly looking at the owl. The African tribal music playing on my iPod sounded surreal. I stood there for what felt like an age, looking at the owl looking back at me. We were alone in the bush, sharing the space. He didn’t seem afraid. Then, I spoiled it. I slowly moved my hand to my pocket. The owl didn’t move. I took out my mobile phone camera and the owl was gone. He vanished as though he had never been.

The African tribal music continued in my ears. The drums beat rhythmically and the singing intensified. I shoved my foot against the ground and took off down the hill on my bike. I did take that jump and it was fun. But the memory of the owl was all I could think about. Somehow it meant something to see the owl.

I reached the bottom of the hill and crossed another creek. This time it was clear water that splashed against my legs as I raced through it. The water was cold and a slight mist was rising from it, cooling the air. I had long ago removed the light jumper I had put on when I left the office and the cold air made me shiver slightly despite the think beads of sweat forming on my body.

The fire trail climbed back out of the gully and up a long hill. The loose gravel surface made the track tough going. A new level of darkness filled the air. The flowers on the banksias were now merely brown shapes against the growing blackness instead of bright yellow candlesticks emerging from bright green leaves. The loss of colour in the landscape was a sure sign that it would soon be pitch black.

I stopped at the big white gum tree that stood as a sentinel at the top of the hill where the trail split. I was a bit puffed because the African tribal music playing on my iPod had encouraged me to ride hard up the hill. And besides, this was a sacred spot for me. It was the place I came with my baby djembe drum when I needed to think and the place where I would sit to listen to the bush when I was out riding my horse during my teenage years. So, I sat and rested a short while.

My rest over, I started down the trail towards home. And then, he was there again. Again the owl flew over and landed on a branch next to the trail. Again I stopped and admired the wise old creature of the bush. He seemed comfortable both in the bush and in my company. However, I again broke the peaceful reverie we shared by reaching for my camera. I don’t know why I felt the need to photograph the owl but again he was gone before I could capture his image.

Disappointed that I had spoiled the moment, I continued on my way home. I rode down the hill, crossed the small concrete causeway where it crossed a creek and dismounted to climb the steep hill on the other side. The track up the hill is too steep for me to ride on a bicycle. It’s rutted out from the water that races down it in storms, in some places leaving barely enough solid ground for my bicycle tyres to travel along.

This is ‘The Big Hill’. The hill we used to race up on our horses when we were teenagers. It’s the hill where I fell off my first motorbike and had to resort to sliding the motorbike down on its side because it was too heavy for my small frame to lift back up. And now, it was the hill that I had to walk up every evening on my way home from work because it was too steep for me to cycle up.

I reached the top of the hill, panting and out of breath. From here, it was all downhill to my home. I rode down the steep and rutted towards the fence that bounded the bush. I navigated the first section of the track carefully so as not to fall off my bike. Then I raced through the fun section of single track that led back to the final section of fire trail.

It was when I reached the gate that it happened. The owl was sitting in a tree waiting for me. All I could see in the darkness was the reflection of his eyes as my headlight shone on them. I noticed it instantly as the headlight flashed back at me for a brief moment. I knew it was him. The African tribal music playing on my iPod switched from a vocal track to a drum track at that exact moment. I knew what to do.

I dismounted and leaned my bike on the fence as the owl watched me. He was a short distance away, maybe five or six trees. The drumming continued in my ears and I felt the calling again, resonating deep within my body. I needed to respond. I didn’t want the camera this time. I wanted to feel what was happening.

I knelt on the gravel-covered earth facing the owl. I took one last look at him and closed my eyes. I felt the rhythm of the drum beat and the stillness of the night air. The stars were twinkling in the sky above the trees and the owl sat watching me. He was inviting me into his story. And I was a willing guest.

The drum beat continued and I looked up at the owl as I bent my body forward and lay my hands on the earth. I felt the earth’s power pulsing rhythmically through my hands. My whole body felt it. With both legs and hands in contact with the source, I became part of the pulse, rather like a light bulb becomes part of an electrical circuit when it is lit. I felt the power surge through my receptive left hand and out through my projective right one. The pulse of the earth and the rhythm of the drum because one as I felt my body physically pulse in response.

Slowly, I lifted my projective right hand from the earth. In doing so, I looked up at the owl. He had moved closer and was now sitting in the branch nearest to me. He was watching me intently as I connected with the bush. His bush. I felt the power of the earthy fill me through my receptive left hand, which was still in contact with the ground. My right hand was hanging loosely by my side, acting as a stop to allow the energy to fill me.

I felt the energy fill me. It was strong.

The owl was still sitting on the tree close to me when I removed my left hand from the ground. I didn’t think I needed to take any more of the earth’s power into my body. And, slowly, I raised my projective right hand towards the trees standing in the bush. I closed my eyes and released the power that had built up inside me. I released it to the air; that powerful element of nature that brings cool breezes in summer and the sweet scent of flowers in bloom.

As I released the power, I whispered a prayer onto the breeze. It was a prayer of thanks for the protection and lessons that Mother Nature provides me. It was a prayer of gratitude to the blessings in my life. It was a prayer of hope for a future of harmony with Her rhythms.

The owl watched me. His head was cocked slightly as only owls can. He didn’t move away and didn’t seem startled by my movement. He invited me to continue my experience as long as I needed to. He knew I wouldn’t have had it if he hadn’t invited me to stop and share in the power he already knew. He wanted me to know the calm power.

When the energy was drained from me and the second drum track had ended, I bent forward again. I felt slightly spent. I felt as though I had experienced a powerful release of toxins. I felt calm.

The owl stayed with me for a while. I saw him sit on his branch. Then, I dropped my head again and closed my eyes. I turned off my iPod to silence the drumming and just listen to the silence of the bush. When I looked up again, the owl had left; gone, silently, back into the night sky.

I climbed the fence slowly and coasted down the road to my home.

I would like to apologize to Herby for taking so long to post this wonderful story, as he sent it to me last Wednesday, but I was MIA because of the holiday. If you would like to send in a short story or poem to be featured on my blog please contact me at ejeglin@yahoo.com.  Now I’m off to find my pencil and will be back Wednesday with another Road Trip Wednesday.

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Today is the day my short story has been posted on Glass Cases.  Please check out the links to the side of this post, I would put it in here, but  I do not have the time.

Hopefully I’ll be back to blogging again within the next couple days, until then enjoy.

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I’m so excited, I can’t hold it in.  I’ve never understood how people could be so happy they cry, but today I almost came close, I was that excited. 

Anyway, I’m guessing you want to know who is going to be publishing/posting my short story right?  Well, it’s Glass Cases, a blog run by Sarah LaPolla of Curtis Brown publishing; althought this is her personal blog, I still consider it awesomely fantastic that an agent would accept my work and post it anywhere.  It’s a good sign for the future.  At least I hope so.

Oh, and this is just a warning, even though it’s a short YA story, it’s pretty dark…so I’m just telling you now in case you go and check it out.

Now all I have to do is come up with a bio to send to Sarah…does anyone have any ideas?  If you do please let me know, I’ve never had to give a bio before and I’ve never hand anything posted in this kind of way.

I’m sorry if this post is a little incoherent, I’m too all over the place right now to care.  Oops…I just tossed my pencil across the room.  I better go and find it again.

P.S.  I will post a reminder when it’s up so everyone can read it.  Gulp.  Oh, and go check out the featured short story of today Half-Blood.

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