Written by: Liz Blackmore
Kenny was feeling like there was a string attached to his belly, pulling, gently pulling him to an unknown destination. He was uneasy, but at ease. He was curious but sedate. He was confused but clear of mind.
The domino of events started about a week before the trip to the Yukon was planned. The signs were slight and if not for his partner, Cassie, pointing out a thing or two, probably would have gone unnoticed.
The unrelenting character that kept appearing was a raven. It would not miss a day. The apartment had an external fire escape. Every evening, close to 5:45, a raven would perch on the top rail outside the kitchen window and caw, turn left, face forward, caw, turn left, face forward again and caw twice, then fly off. At first, Cassie thought it was smart, coming just as they finished eating, to beg for food. As the week went on, it was apparent that there was another reason for the intrusion, but what.
Next, it was the dreams. They were so vivid and seemed to center around the 1700’s and newer. Kenny felt as though he was involved with a tribe of nomadic natives that chose flatlands as their hunting grounds. They crossed two rivers with regularity. Food was usually plentiful and he could see the fish drying over the smoking racks. By the amount of children that were present, it was apparent this was a healthy village.
Finally, the start of Kenny and Cassie’s holidays were here. The small truck was loaded the night before, with the exception of the produce cooler. It was a beautiful morning as they secured the apartment, and carried the last addition of their gear to the truck that would set them free from the usual grind, for two weeks.
The excitement of the journey was finally showing in their faces and voices. They carried on as if they were a couple of kids going to a birthday party, singing along with the radio, waving at passing vehicles and their passengers. The tension was just slipping away. The day passed without anything out of the ordinary happening. Cassie laughed about the raven not getting his meal tonight.
Before much longer, their first stop-over appeared. They had reached the campground outside of Grande Prairie, a quiet spot that overlooked the landscape of the town. There was a small fire burning a couple of miles away. They watched how the smoke curled upwards into the windless sky. The sun was casting a pinkish hue to the skyline. Kenny and Cassie sunk into the moment and let go of the past years’ stress.
“Would you like a beer?” Cassie asked.
“Absolutely! What’s for supper?” Kenny asked.
“When’s the last time we roasted hot dogs over an open fire?” Cassie inquired, handing Kenny his beer.
With that, Kenny went in search of some firewood. Cassie dug into the cooler and pulled out the necessary ingredients for the meal. She decided to fancy it up a bit, by laying a tablecloth on the picnic table, and placing a couple of flowers above the paper plates.
While Kenny was gathering the wood, he had a feeling he was being watched. He nonchalantly looked around as he picked up wood here and there. As he turned to go back to camp, he caught a glimpse of something to the right.
It was a raven, his call so loud and clear it almost echoed through the night. Lord, it scared him half to death, and as a result, he dropped a couple pieces of wood. He stepped back a few paces, collecting himself, and then stooping, he picked up the wood he dropped. “That was weird!” he thought aloud.
“What was that, babe?” Cassie yelled out. “Are you okay?”
“Ya, ya I just dropped some wood. Well, this looks romantic. Are you expecting someone?” he laughed.
“You never know where you’ll meet Prince Charming!” Cassie teased.
The small fire started up and they joked and laughed about whatever came to mind. Before long, fatigue set in and they realized they hadn’t set the tent up yet. It was a beautiful night, so they decided just to lay the foamies in the back of the box and sleep there. A quick shot of insect repellent and they could snuggle in for the night. As they lay there, watching the sky, all the night sounds filled their senses. It was a beautiful planet, and they held a special bond to it and each other.
They awoke with the morning sun, aafter a restful sleep. There was nothing like the fresh air to provide a person with a great appetite. “I think I will cook up up some pancakes and eggs. How does that sound m’lady?” Kenny stated, stretching his lean body.
“Ummm, wonderful, my Prince!” Casssie replied as she snuggled a bit deeper into the sleeping bag.
He went out to the same spot as the night before, when he had that feeling again. “At least, this time, I will be expecting your visit Mr. Raven!”
Sure enough, setting on the branch just over his head, was a raven. It calmly watched as Kenny slowly picked up a few pieces of wood. They were eyeball to eyeball; neither one was going to release their gaze first.
“What do you want?” Kenny finally asked.
Raven just cocked its head to the side and continued its stare. Kenny stopped. He felt that tug at his belly again. “Am I going in the right direction?” He asked.
Raven jumped to the next branch and flew off. Nothing said, nothing implied.
“This is so strange!” Kenny muttered.
To be continued…