Written by: Liz Blackmore
I saw the look on my husbands face and knew I went too far! My breathing was still heavy, rasping mixed with a sob or two. I was shaking, my eyes wet and stinging. I think I cut my hand on the rock I just threw through the picture window of what was once my home. It was a place of tranquility, laughter, children clamoring over us in bed on a Sunday morning. Most recently, it was a place of fear, yelling matches, accusations, lies, lawyers and documents.
“Honey, it’s over. We have to go. This is going to come back to bite us, you know.” Derrick said, pointing to the window.
“Over!” I cried hard. I was so angry. I was angry at the world now, and had no reasoning behind anything I was saying. I was yelling and screaming at the house, Derrick, God, my former boss, the building I used to work in, the debt that crept into our lives, my stupidity! As the neighbors started to pop their heads out from behind closed doors, only one had the courage to approach us and ask to help.
It was Miss. Jane, the kindly spinster who was a silent companion to many a person on this block. I saw in her holding the sweater I made and gave her two years ago. The closer she came, the more sorrow I could see in her eyes. I had shared those sad eyes with her before as I helped her console an injured child, a recently widowed girlfriend, a friend who had just lost everything to a fire. I knew this time she was on a mission to help Derrick and me.
“Come Elisha! Let me wrap you with the comfort of something special. This was made with hard work and a sprinkling of love, you know, and I think you need some of it back.” She was gently wrapping my shoulders with the sweater as she spoke.
I was so exhausted that I offered no resistance. Derrick glanced back at the damage as we walked to Miss Jane’s home. The blind was half hanging in the window, tapping against the glass as a breeze gently whispered through the gaping hole. He heaved a deep sigh. This will not be easy to explain to the bank. Silently, he wished he had the nerve to do the same thing.
Miss Jane put the kettle on for some tea. I sat with Derrick watching her as she automatically pulled this and that from the cupboards and placed an array of cookies, tarts, fruit, and tea condiments on the hand hewn table. This is the first time I can remember actually looking at her kitchen. It was so old. Not in a derelict way, more like one that is reminiscent of a 1920′s farm kitchen. I half expected to see her stoke some wood in a cookstove.
Derrick was silent. I could read his thoughts, which is something 27 years of marriage can lend itself to. I wanted to cry, but this time because the pain he was going through. I realize that I was not always helping with an answer to an issue. Maybe if I had grown up, paid attention, none of what happened a few days ago would have occurred.
“I am sorry, Derrick.” I felt suddenly compelled to say. “We have a bit of a rocky road ahead of us, and I owe it to you not to add to the crap!”
Miss Jane continued to busy herself in the kitchen. I think she was tactfully allowing us a chance to calm down and asses my recent screw-up. She was a gem and I would miss not seeing her face in the afternoon as I walked the dog. Derrick grabbed one of the tarts off the antique plate, while I poured out three cups of tea. “Miss Jane, your tea is ready.”
I pulled the sweater around my shoulders a little tighter. I think I was in shock. Maybe I was just so numb that I didn’t want to feel anything. Why should I care? Why should I feel sorry for myself? Why should I try anymore? Why don’t I clue in, get a grip and own up to what I helped create.
This time I think it was Miss Jane who was mind reading. “Kids, you really need to get your plan in order,” she said as she slipped into her high-backed wooden chair. “I am sure that you may think you are the only ones in the world going through this, but if you check the headlines, another home loses its family daily. Now we need to think how you are going to learn from this and move forward.”
We must have looked like a couple of kids who got caught stealing, because Miss Jane winked at us and chuckled. ‘I know you that you can pull through this as a couple. I have been your neighbor for how many years now? I have watched you go from semi-newlyweds to where you are now. I think I have learned a thing or two about how you interact with each other and the world around you. You have come to the rescue of stray or injured animals, fixed a kids bike when the chain fell off, scared away a bully who pushed his way into the neighborhood and volunteered for how many things? Both of you have been amazing additions to this neighborhood, and even though we will not have the pleasure of your company every day, I for one, will welcome you to my home when you are in the area.”
I was unable to speak. While Miss Jane gave us an expedited rundown of our lives in Evergreen Bay, I was filling in the gaps with more personal touches. A tear of regret came to my eye. I thought of the times when I faked illness or previous engagements, so I could do something less demanding. Times when I would spend more than we could really afford so I could keep up with the Jones’. Times when I would not say no to the kids as they requested ownership to some passing fad.
Mostly, I regret not learning proper stewardship. I look around this kitchen, how comfortable and comforting it is. In all her simple honesty, Miss Jane shows values that we once had. I had not come from an affluent family, neither had Derrick. We really did work hard to get the things we felt we needed. I guess this is where we need to start. Right back to square one, what is important – now.
How is it possible that wise people are right where we need them, when we need them. With so few words they are able to turn the switch on in our heads, where so many before failed. I am so thankful, still angry, but so thankful for souls like Miss Jane.
This is a piece of fiction.
MYSTERIOUS ENCOUNTERS Part One
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. “CAW!” 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 truck 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, after 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.
As Kenny stoked the fire to prepare the morning meal, his thoughts ran over to raven and how the encounters are becoming more bizarre. He had never stared down an animal before. It was rather unnerving and thrilling at the same time. It was rather strange, that connection or bond he was starting to feel with the bird. He chuckled silently, thinking how much he would miss the daily visits.
“Breakfast is almost ready, Cassie!”
“Coffee, too?” she mumbled.
“You bet! I am kinda anxious to move out today. I can’t wait until we get to Whitehorse.”
Cassie stretched her slight frame, while bowing to the morning sun. “Salutations to our day, safe journeys and many blessings with all those we meet today.” This was her morning chant as she started the day. For what ever reason, Kenny chimed in with her today and felt instantly exhilarated.
CAW – CAW. As was his usual routine, he fly off.
Once the morning housekeeping was completed, they went for a brisk walk before climbing back into the truck. Cassie turned the radio to a talk station. Kenny looked at her inquiringly. “I don’t know why, Kenny, but it seems like a good idea this morning. You know, expand your-mind!”
Kenny chuckled and agreed with her choice. Before long a discussion came on that involved the thoughts of aboriginal elders and the animals relationships with humans. It was suggested that all humans have guides that are based in the animal world. As most humans no longer greet the day and spend time with their surroundings, they have become immune to what their personal guide has tried to tell them. Both Kenny and Cassie let their minds become full of the ideas being presented by the elders. How true, they thought. When did the world lose its balance with nature? Kenny let his mind drift back to the dreams he had had lately. The visions were just as the elders were describing on the radio show. Amazing, was all he could think, how amazing.
The day was beautiful once again and their journey was moving along at a good rate. They were enjoying gorgeous views of the mountainous horizons, occasional wildlife and the imagination inspiring cloud formations. Kenny would glance off to the right sporadically to check for raven. He could swear that bird was still nearby.
Soon, they were settling in for the last night they would spend south of the 60th parallel. Kenny had a hard time sleeping that night. He was disturbed by the images of the village he had come to enjoy. It appeared there was unease or tension clouding the normal operations. He was feeling panicked, and seemed to be looking for something or someone. This feeling stuck with Kenny as he awoke. He was unable to concentrate as Cassie performed her morning routine and chant. If Cassie noticed his unease, she said nothing. The morning routine was completed and all gear was packed. As they drove off on the last leg of their tour, Kenny was unable to shake the gnawing sensation of an event not yet seen, by him, anyway.
Cassie finally tuned in to Kenny’s distracted state and asked what was on his mind. “I wish I could answer that, Cass. I can’t tell you what it is. I know I need to do something when we hit Whitehorse, but I’ll be damned if I know what.”
The evening was almost upon them as they rolled into the campground at Whitehorse. They secured their spot and set up the tent. “I am starving, Kenny! How about you? I heard there is an awesome place downtown that has sumptuous salmon! “”
“I am all in for that one, m’lady! Do I need to get a name and directions?”
“No, let’s just be adventurous!” Cassie laughed. So off they went to enjoy the night in the town of their dreams.
After spending a fantastic night on the town, the pair returned to the tent to finish the day. They fell into exhausted, dreamless sleep.
As they woke to the sounds of neighbors stirring, they stretched and performed the morning ritual. Both grabbed towels and headed off for a shower, setting up to meet at the cafe inside the main office. Kenny arrived first and ordered coffee and a muffin. He glanced at the local paper and looked for sites to visit over the next few days. Before long, Cassie slipped in to the chair next to him and gave him a hug. “Isn’t this great! I LOVE the air, the ambiance, you! Umm, that muffin looks good. Is it for me?” She chuckled, already knowing the answer. All Kenny could do was smile as he waved to the waiter to bring the same order for the lady.
‘Well we are here and I would like to know where you need to go first.” Kenny said. They looked through the paper that Kenny held, planning the day. After breakfast they started the journey with zest. It was a busy, informative and fun day. It was followed by another great meal that had been suggested to them by a local clerk. The meal did not disappoint them. Another dreamless night followed.
The morning sun was breaking through the clouds as they stirred to a distant CAW – CAW. It half- invaded Kenny’s dream. Then raven sounded off again, CAW – CAW! Kenny eyes popped open. No way! It is not the same one, there are ravens everywhere this time of year. CAW – CAW! Cassie woke up and laughed, “Did you not feed your pet last night? He sure sounds ticked at you!”
They repeated the morning steps, as usual. This time, however, it was Cassie who felt a pressing urgency to go to a specific store. At breakfast, she told Kenny this. She said that he would just have to trust her and drive around until they came to it. The look her gave her was one that implied she was a little off her rocker, but he agreed to the hunt.
To be continued…
MYSTERIOUS ENCOUNTERS Part Three
They pulled up in front of an aboriginal arts store. “This is the place.” Cassie said.
Apprehension overtook them as they climbed out of the truck. “How do you know, Cass?” Kenny asked flatly. His tongue felt so thick and he had
to work his mouth to get any moisture to flow down his throat.
“I just feel drawn to this place. Let’s check it out.”
They walked into the store taking in all the beautiful displays. They separated to look at works, deciding what they would take back with them
for souvenirs. Kenny felt as though someone was studying his every move, and became uneasy. He searched out Cassie and asked her if he looked
like a criminal.
She chuckled her reply.”Why yes, in fact, you look like a kid in a candy store who is trying to sneak something into his pockets.
What’s wrong? ”
Kenny just shrugged his shoulders and walked towards the main counter. He saw the clerk was staring at him. Maybe it would be better
described as staring through him. He looked behind him to make sure he was the subject of intention, and sure enough, he was.
Standing before him was a middle-aged native woman who had a look of concern on her face. Her whole demeanor seemed wound up, like a tight
spring in a clock.
“Hi! I am Kenny and this is my partner, Cassie.” he said pointing towards Cassie. “You have an extensive collection of works here. Are they from
local artisans? I couldn’t help but notice you watching me. I’m not going to steal anything, you know.”
“Good day, I am Moriah. I knew you would be here today. I have a message for you.” she replied.
Kenny stepped back and looked for Cassie again. He wanted to leave – now! “Uh, ya, um, well that’s great. What might that be….a Moriah?”
“You have a spirit that is calling to you. He has tried to show you where you need to return to. You have had a hard time listening, which is why I was asked to speak with you.”
Cassie came up along Kenny’s side, smiling, and holding an artifact in her hand. ‘Hi!” she said to the woman behind the counter, “I’m Cassie! You
have an awesome collection here. It’s so hard to figure out what to buy. I found these earrings so far, Kenny, do you like them?”
Cassie turned her head slightly to look at Kenny. He looks weird, like he had just received bad news or something. She looked back to the clerk again.
“I’m sorry, am I interrupting something?” she asked.
Kenny piped up,”Well, Moriah, here, just informed me that she has a message from a ‘spirit’ for me. I am all ears, Ma’am!” He said as he turned attention back to Moriah.
“You may not understand or agree with what I will tell you, but I want you to know I am not changing a word. It is as was told to me. You are
searching for something. Your restlessness is changing your perspective of life and what you need to do with it. You are a lost spirit, a warrior with great respect and wisdom, who must return to his people. Raven will guide you to this place. You will find peace there. Once you are there, people will come to help you heal, then you too, will be able to heal others. Your guidance will lead many to move on to greater things, to provide balance to nature and harmony to an unsettled place.” She finished her message and turned to Cassie. “Yes the earrings are beautiful and they will flatter your earthly features. Is there anything else that you would like help with?”
Kenny stood there for a moment, then turned to walk out the door. “I’ll be right back, Cassie.”
Cassie and Moriah fell into a natural conversation about the area and Native Peoples. They did not notice that Kenny was outside pacing back and forth, trying to absorb what was just revealed to him.
He was having a hard time believing that they were to come all this way to be told that he was a warrior, of all things. How did this woman know he was feeling so unhappy with his life lately. That he was feeling that he was not contributing to his mental health, or Cassie’s for that matter, that he was ‘missing’ something. But Raven was going to guide him! Come on! That pesky bird who appeared at the apartment a few weeks ago?
Suddenly Kenny felt like he had been raped. He felt that the trip they had planned was destroyed by something out of his control. He felt lost, disoriented, foggy. All because they had to find this store. Raven! Give me a break!
He summoned up his thoughts and courage and walked back into the store. Cassie and Moriah were still engaged in conversation. They both looked up and smiled as he approached. “Kenny, you would not believe the history Moriah’s people have in this area. It is sad, happy, disconcerting, inspirational all rolled in to one. What the governments have done is not right! I have so much to share and go see now.” Cassie babbled.
“Well do you have everything you want from here?” Kenny asked, then added, ” Moriah, I really don’t know how to take what you said. I gotta go. Are you ready Cass?”
“Peace be with you, young warrior. You will find your place.” Moriah said as she processed Cassie’s purchases.
“Ya, you too, thanks for the warning!” Kenny replied as he walked to the door.
Part Four – Finale
“Seriously Kenny, could you have been any more rude! She was just talking. you know. The raven thing just happened to coincide with our new friends visits. ” Cassie said.
“Sorry Cassie, but she freaked me out. I haven’t said much to you aboout things I’ve been going through lately, but she nailed it! What if what she said was true? I don’t know where she was talking about returning to. You can’t go back, not like she was talking anyway. If I were to find the area, what’s to say that we would go or move there. This is too much. Let’s go tour or something.” Kenny replied.
The drive around the countryside was pretty enough but the dark cloud of confusion lingered over Kennys head. Cassie tried to turn the small bits of conversation to lighter affairs. Kenny was not buying. Finally,she tried no more and a silence fell over them as they drove further north. They passed a place where sled dogs were raised and trained. Kenny slid the truck into the drive and glanced at Cassie, giving her a wink and half smile.
It was an interesting place., noisy, to say the least, but interesting. The instructor/trainer, Bill, gathered a team together and took them on a grass sled ride. This is just what Kenny needed! The tension seemed to slip away with every movement the graceful team made. His mood was much improved by the end of the run. They thanked Bill for the time and education they recieved, as they grabbed a few brochures to share with friends at home.
“Thanks, Kenny! That was a blast! Can you believe the stamina of those animals? Amazing!”
“Cass, I’m sorry for that ‘mood’. Like I said, she freaked me out. I’m shaking it off, see?” Kenny said as he jokingly shook himself.
Sunshine and cool breezes, kept them uplifted for the remainder of the trip there. Reluctantly, it was time to return to their lives back in the city and they packed up the tent and all the goodies they purchased and found. It was a trip that would stay in their memories for a long while.
It did not take long for the routine to fall back into place. The job was the same, the gossip and people’s dramas created the constant conversations there. Kenny felt like he was listeninig to Charlie Browns’ teacher; wha wha, wha, wha, wha! The nagging pull was inching it’s way back into his belly.
This, combined with the dreams of the village started playing havoc on his sleep. It took about a week and a half before Cassie started noticing the physical signs of his restlessnes; the dark circles under his eyes, the palor of his skin, listlessness. She decided to make an appointment with the doctor.
The following Wednesday found the couple sitting in the docotrs office thumbing through the outdated magazines. “This is stupid, Cassie. I am just tired. I’ve been having the village dreams again. I feel the tugging again! I don’t know what to do. This is the problem, not some kind of illness.” Kenny stated.
“Well maybe the mental issue is what needs to be addressed? You are not well, my love! This is going to drive you nuts if it is not taken care of! Sure it’s not affecting your job – yet.” Cassie said.
“Kenny. Please follow me.” The receptionist said entering the waiting room. She then turned to walk down the hall. Kenny scowled at Cassie before he followed begrudgingly.
It was a slow fifteen minutes before he emerged to the reception area. The look on his face told Cassie his was ticked off. He turned to the receptionist to make another appointment in two weeks. “Let’s go!” he grumbled as he turned to Cassie.
As they walked out of the office, they saw, perchedon the handrail in front of their truck, a raven. CAW – CAW! It hopped to the right, then back to the center, cawed again and then back to the right once again. As they drew closer to the truck, it cawed twice, looked at them sideways and cawed again as it flew off to the east.
“Great! Now the damn bird is back!” Kenny drew in a big breath and exhaled loudly.
Cassie tried to bridge the tension, but her curiosity got the best of her. “Well what did he say?”
“His solution is to pop pills into my mouth and see me in two weeks. I am not going to fill the prescription. I will deal with this, alright?” He snapped back.
That night as he lay sleeping in bed, it all started to come together. The dream showed him the things Moriah told him about. It showed him where the land was, and what the people were doing before his warrior days claimed his life. The forest was magnificent, but there were also waters that ran clear, open fields where berries flourished and animals that would clothe and feed the mouths of the villagers. What a paradise. The pull to the land or the vision was strong enough to wake him. This time he was at rest.
He quietly slipped into the kitchen and rummags through the drawers for the Canadian Atlas. The page opened almost automatically to the spot and his eyes fell upon the town instantly. It still existed. It was not the original name, but he knew it was the place.
He turned on the laptop and proceeded to search the area. He needed to know everything that was posted about this portion of the world. He found that the lands once belonged to a strong tribe that were eventually introduced to fur traders, greed, long rifles, diseases, and other vices of the eastern world. Kenny continued to search for the key., the driving force that kept pulling him back to that time, that area.
He felt eyes upon him and assumed that Cassie was standing behind him. As he turned to look at where she should have been standing, he saw two eyes glistening in at him through the windows , highlighted by the early morning light. Raven, silent and staring. Shivers ran up Kenny’s spine. The raven remained silent, but nodded its head up and down. He heard the raven make a clicky-cluck sound and it hopped to the right, once again nodding its head.
Kenny tried to send his thoughts to the bird. “What is it you are trying to tell me now? I have done everything except go there. I am just visiting? What?” Raven flew off, leaving the questions unanswered.
Although it was close to alarm clock time. Kenny decided to return to bed and snuggle up to Cassie for comfort. As he lay there he fell into a deep sleep. The dream came back to him, but this time he knew what it was telling him. Raven was there, but it was dressed as a child. There was a woman who pointed to the child and lifted her hands to the air, crying out in pain. He saw people approaching the area where she stood. He looked back to raven but only saw shallow graves; graves that only partially buried the remains of those who laid within. He could faintly hear the woman crying but she was no longer within view. The people continued to flood into the area where she previously stood. They were talking lightly, oblivious to the graves strewn about.
The beeping of the alarm startled him back to reality. He had to go. As Cassie stirred to awaken and shut the alarm off, Kenny hugged her tightly. “Cassie, my love, I have to go away for a few ddays. I know the reason why I have been dreaming.”
Kenny poured them coffee as he told her of the experience that night. He explained the reason for the journey and the problems he may encounter. Cassie, sat there for a moment, trying to take it all in during her morning fog time. He was talking so quickly, like he really didn’t want her to understand, at the chance of appearing nutty. She murmured her consent and well wishes not even asking to accompany him. It was rather obvious that this was to be a solo trip.
It took less than six hours for Kenny to make all the arrangements. By ttwo o’clock he was on his way to the destination. The flight landed and he picked up his car. He did not book a room anywhere as he know that he would not sleep tht night. He started out on the two hour ride to the old village.
There was a large bog construction job underway nearby where he stopped. A small river flowed towards it. Two of the workers asked if they could help him find something, being slightly suspicious of the stranger. Kenny stated that he was looking for the mouth of the river. He was given instructions and stsrted off as it was only two miles away. The light was starting to fade slightly, but he guaged his time and felt confident that he would be able to complete the task.
There it was, a gentle flow of water, standing by open fields amidst a forest that showed its age poorly. A sign was posted close to the area, stating that there was going to be an apartment complex erected in the spot where he stood. CAW – CAW! Raven was there suddenly, perched on the sign. CAW-CAW! bobbing his head up and down.
“Yes, yes, raven I know!” Kenny said as he trudged through the tall grasses. He was caught by surprise as he fell over something. Looking back at his feet, he saw the first of many bones, exposed ever so slightly, through the dirt and grass. He found it. The graves of the warriors people. They could not build here now! He wished he had remembered his camera! Damn! Who was he to contact now?
His first thought was the local R.C.M.P. detachment, or maybe one of the tribal offices, possibly the newspaper. His heart started racing. Suddenly, there was a burst of fluttering wings as a flock of sparrows covered the skyline. Startled, Kenny fell backwards to the ground. Tears flowed, his heart broke into a thousand pieces, seemingly, each bird took a piece of it with them as they soared into the night sky. His cries we loud and showed pain like he had never experienced. After some time, he wept no more. He could only lay there amongst the graves, the warriors people, the victims of an undesrving destiny.
Exhausted, he laborously picked himself up off the ground. He had a bit of difficulty mavigating to the car as the was no moon to light his path. Once he found the door, he crawled inside and sat in silence. Slowly, a sense of calm overcame him and he did sleep. He knew the path he had follow now was not going to easy, but he would succeed. They would not build here, ever. These people would be buried with proper ceremony. Peace to them and finally, peace to Kenny.
Written by: Liz Blackmore
The afternoon was going well. Mandy had slept for about two hours, which she really needed, giving me the opportunity to catch up on some of that e-mail that was piling up. I was going to have to change a few things with this. It was starting to become a bit overwhelming. There should be no need to have more than two hundred e-mails coming in daily, when you are not a business.
I picked up the little bundle and sung to her softly while I changed her diaper and allowed her to fully wake. I loved watching her as she wiped her big brown eyes and moved the tousled blonde curls away from her face. I hoped that these days would linger as long as possible. Often, I felt like I would soon be transported to my midlife years and miss her growing stages along the way. With that thought, I scooped her into my arms and hugged her as tightly as I dared. My darling Mandy.
It’s a pity that you will never know your father. He was a wild and crazy type of man. Your eyes are so much like his and, so far, you host his quirky smile too. It seemed that we had a good thing going. We had both believed that we were going to continue being free spirits, even more so once we had word that I had become pregnant. The last thing we wanted for you,little Mandy, was a world filled with gadgets and supertechnology. Our lives involved gathering supplies for winter, mainly from our garden, the forest and a few animals that we raised for slaughter. Canning and dehydrating to set the foodstuff that would nourish your growth inside of me. The beauty of nature surrounded us and we were blessed.
During one of the excursions to finish our wood gathering, I had to stop and let your father feel you kicking. Man, you had a mean right foot. Kind of like the one you use when ever I sneak you into my bed at night. We were more than half-finished loading the trailer when the wind picked up. The trees were swaying and groaning as the invisible force hurled its fury at them. In a split second, there was a horrendous crack and the top third of a tree came spiraling towards us. Your father tried to get us out-of-the-way, but he was not quick enough. I had to leave him there while I tried to find help. By the time I got to the phone, explained the situation to the 9-1-1 operator, grabbed our first aid kit and returned, he was gone. I am sure that I was howling louder than the wind.
It was not long after this, my dear girl, that you entered the world. Rebehka was your midwife and she coached me through the birth. You came peacefully into this world, just a gentle wail to let us know you were breathing, and then you became the old sage that you are now.
At times, I think your father came back to me through you. I know, in my heart, that he is gone and I know that people in the same situation say they ‘know’ the lost soul is watching over them. I just take comfort in you being here now.
As I held you for the first time, Rebehka helped you suckle. That was a little tricky, but once you found the nipple and what you were able to draw from it, you went hog-wild. We both laughed over the instant glutton you became.
I had to move from the land, as I could not keep up the expenses the same way I did while your father shared my life. As we emerged from there and incorporated the small town life into ours, I became consumed with the internet. I have to get this under control! If I don’t I am afraid everything I once stood for will be gone. I need to teach you so many things, Mandy.
So much more is waiting for us. Turn it off!!
This is a work of fiction.
THE WEIGHT OF MY WORLD – WARNING ADULTS SHOULD SCREEN FIRST!!
Written by: Liz Blackmore
I was never as proud of myself as the day when my name appeared on the panel beside the office door, Carmen Lancaster, Attorney At Law.
I have never been as torn up as I am today. The rain has stopped, the sun is shining, but the wind is terrible. It is kicking up dust and blowing it into my eyes, but that helps disguise my tears. I am standing outside the Doctor’s office, trying to digest what I just heard. The heat of the sun reflecting off the glass is trying to console me with its warmth.
I had to go back, in my mind, to three and a half months ago, when I noticed a smell, strong yucky smell, and discharge, coming from the lower extremes. I called my Doctors office to make an appointment. They said that there was nothing available for another week. That would not do, so I booked off a couple of hours that very afternoon, and headed to the walk-in clinic. After an hour of listening to kids cough and older people expressing gases from upper and lower orifices, I was led into a clean little room with that dreaded table with stirrups and sanitary paper cover.
“Please remove your undergarments from the waist down and put this robe on. The Doctor will be with you shortly.” the nurse said, pointing to the blue paper product, as she dropped my chart into the door slot.
I did as instructed, then faked interest in one of the out-dated magazines from the rack. If this is a STD, I am going to have one hell of a conversation with Maxwell. I thought that we had committed to a monogamous relationship, but maybe it was not as clear to him. I would give him the benefit of doubt until the results were in. I mean it may just be a bad yeast infection, right. I heard the tap on the door just as it opened. In walked the Doctor and after a few brief questions, she had me up on the table and was taking a PAP smear.
As soon as she finished, she had me swing around to face her. “It doesn’t look good,” she said “but we will wait for the results to be sure. I am going to start you on a heavy dose of antibiotics right away. Please pick up your prescription on the way out.”
Since that day, I underwent a couple more tests, which brings me to today’s visit. I am sterile. Period. The damage was too great and the scarring on my fallopian tubes is too severe.
I replayed the conversation I had Maxwell. Although he did not tell me who the latest conquest was, he did admit that he was active outside our relationship on a regular basis.
“If for no other reason than what I am experiencing now, and you too, you bastard, do you not think you owed me the option as to whether or not I wanted to sleep with you after you…you…!!” I cried. He looked away sheepishly, but muttered an inaudible answer. That was it. Another chapter closed.
I called my friend, Denise, hoping I could cry on her shoulder for a while. She was a little surprised to hear my voice. She was the artsy type; usually a drama queen and I think that was why I liked to have her around. At times, I think her earthly sensuality is what drew me to her. “Are you sure you want to come by?” she asked.
“Why are you busy?” I replied.
‘Well did you not talk to Maxwell tonight?”
“Yes, that’s why I needed to see you. I wanted to share a bottle or two of wine and do some male bashing.”
“Sorry to disappoint you, but I am on some meds, and can’t drink right now. Aren’t you?”
“Yes”, I slurred. “But what kind are you on?”
“Well didn’t Max tell you? I am the ‘other’ woman. I got it from him too, if that is any consolation.”
I could not respond. I hung up the phone and collapsed on the nearest chair. What the heck! My dearest friend and my lover, both were betraying me! Why am I surprised? I represent this kind of thing every day in the courtrooms. I just never saw it coming. Boy is that a cliché or what? I hear that very statement from those lonely homemakers all the time. This sure does put a spin on the way I will see things in the future. I still don’t believe. Once this is cleared up, I’m supposed to go for a few more tests. Great stuff. What if I can’t have kids? I really wanted to have a family. I will not think about it negatively yet.
Back to the moment I am in, this dream world. I can’t get over how things change without you even knowing. I don’t remember why I couldn’t see the signs, the smells on his body that did not belong to him or me. Naive, little lovesick teenager. This is how I feel now. Then I breathe again and I feel like a woman betrayed, a barren, worthless woman, tainted by the sins she brought upon herself.
When I was in school, safe sex was talked about constantly. AIDS/HIV, STD’s, chlamydia, herpes and the list went on, could be prevented if one practiced safe sex or abstinence. I thought I was in the clear. I was certain my partner was MY partner, not half the flippin’ towns. I guess I should have taken heed.
I think that I am pulling myself out of the dating game for a long time. My job is perfect, as it will let me submerse myself in the pains and sorrows of the world and curse every man who disrespects his woman and himself. I cannot let my personal feelings get in the middle or I’ll be out a job too!
I will get past this. The pain is going to linger a long time, on my tongue, in my mind, but mostly in my heart.
This is a piece of fiction.
HOME ON WHEELS
Written By: Liz Blackmore
The day was a busy one. It seemed as though the hours were being eaten up by some type of spring-loaded gear mechanism. It was reminiscent of something from Alice in Wonderland. There was one more stop to make before heading home. My friend had asked me to go with her to view a modular home for her nephew, as he was out-of-town. Apparently, he had spoken with a salesperson and was on the need-to-know list when the next set of homes were ready to be sold.
It was getting close to six in the evening, and we knew that the display area was closing soon. Regardless, we headed over to one of the homes that was already loaded on the delivery trailer, camera in hand. What some people won’t do for family. Georgina started taking pictures and we actually both got caught up with the features that being offered in the home. Somehow, that machine ate an hour of our time.
Without realizing it, we had turned a light on upstairs. I say that we did not notice because the sun was still half loaded in the her attempt to close the day. Also, who would have thought that they would have had a power cord hooked up to this unit. When we realized what time it was, we slightly panicked. I was hoping that we weren’t locked in! Surely someone would have noticed a rogue vehicle parked in the visitor section. One last picture and I emerged from the front door.
Have you ever had a heart stopping moment? Have you ever had your hearing kick in to super sensitivity? Have you ever had a friend that required a puffer to aid them with their breathing, especially in a stressful situation? Well, the next few minutes were the only ones where that gear came to a painfully slow tic-tic-tic.
As I was struggling to put my shoes back on, with the front door acting as my balance support, I caught a glimpse of something moving off to my right. I bolted upright and called to Georgina to pick up her pace. The next thing I saw was a uniformed police officer, holding a taser in one hand and telling me to hold my position. “No worries, Officer!” I replied.
“I’ll tell you when there are no worries. HOLD YOUR POSITION!” he yelled.
At this point I swear I could hear the sound of electrical charging static coming from the taser; you know that sound, like when Dr. Frankenstein was readying the power system to help his creation come to life. Georgina just happened to appear in the doorway as two more officers appeared on our left flank. Did they have something in their hands too? It was starting to get a little dusky and I couldn’t tell.
The first officer said, “You left a light on upstairs.”
” I’ll get it!” replied Georgina. The bad thing was that the commotion was triggering her asthma, and I knew she did have her puffer on her person. It was in the pick up truck. Her struggle to get her breath was becoming apparent and I offered to get the light in her stead, so she wouldn’t have to climb stairs. NO~this is not what the powers that be had in mind.
I was told, once again, not to move. As I was being read the riot act, I heard a weak cry for help come from the upstairs, followed by the sound of a thump/slide. Have you ever tried to explain to someone there was an emergency happening, while they continued being very authoritative. You know like that time when you were in your early teen years, testing the waters, getting caught, standing in front of an irate parent. I tried to interrupt saying there was a medical emergency upstairs. When I could not get a word in, I chose to take matters in another direction. I pretended to choke.
The other two officers were calmer, and quickly came to help. As they approached I explained what the real issue was and asked if it was possible for me to get her meds while they checked on her. Not knowing what was REALLY going on in the house. how many people were involved, etc., one of the officers asked the first one to get the purses out of the truck, and I was to stay. I passed the officer the truck keys.
The third officer had reached Georgina and was attending to her medical issue. Shortly afterwards the first officer returned with the purses and Georgina was able to get her puffer and relax enough to breathe effectively. We were escorted off the premises, and thankfully, not charged with trespassing.
We had gone about ten miles when Georgina asked a question. “Where’s the camera?”
I mentioned that IF it was left in the house we viewed, SHE was going to call them in the morning and ask for the salesperson, explain what happened, beg for mercy and ask for her camera. Yes, we can all laugh after the fact, but I hadn’t felt like that for years!!
This is a piece of fiction.
TODAY IS NOT A J-O-B DAY
What a gorgeous day! As I sit behind the wheel of these humming eighteen wheels, I am thankful that I have this job. Although today it does not seem like a J-O-B day. You know, those days where nothing gets to you. People are joking around and smiling. Heck, even Josie, that crabby waitress at the “J” was in a goofy mood.
Yessir, some days you just want to take in the air. Take it deep into your lungs and just blow it all out with all the garbage that is stuck inside you.
It was nice spending that extra time with my sweet baby this morning. That is one of the good things about afternoon shift; just a bit more time to squeeze and cuddle. It won’t be long before those days are gone, so I’m told, part of getting older and getting on. I will take it all in while we still are deep in love.
Hmmm, the traffic is picking up a bit more now. All these guys heading back home after a day at the office. I sure could not have become a concrete groover. I know I am in a cubicle, but my scenery changes every minute. I think I would have been a farmer or run the rodeo circuit if trucking blood hadn’t claimed me. Ha – and people call vampires blood suckers! Whoa! Buddy watch the road, dude!!
OK back to positive thinking. Well the sun is placing itself to give us a glorious sunset this evening. I can see the pinks and purples just starting to glisten on the rims of those big fluffy clouds. It’s funny how….YIKES! Buddy what is your issue!! Watch around you, that van over there has kids in it! Jeez!! Man, I am trying to take in the last moment of the day, DUDE! OK, OK, I will breathe again, nice and deep. Exhale once again, go back to my happy spot.
There are times when I really worry about running this tanker through the city. I try not to think of the what if’s, but what if? You get guys like this jerk in front of me driving like he has the road to himself, thinking he is dodging pylons, not metal carriages with real people inside, and well…JEEZ! If I have to watch anyone else swerve while you cut them off, I’ll call the cops! There are five blinkin’ lanes of traffic going one way, buddy! Oh, thank goodness he is taking the exit. There is a good flow going with him. Good!
Well crap so is this guy. You can’t squeeze in there man. Hell, I’ll let you in, but you’ll need the next ramp. You won’t make i….NO!! NO!!! BABY!! I lo..
“This is Karen Burkholtz reporting to you live from I-5 in Los Angeles. As you can see there are fire fighters set up along this stretch of highway trying to control the flames caused by the carnage. It appears that a driver, who did not survive the fiery wreck, lost control of his rig when he veered off the road for some unknown reason. The name of the driver has not been released pending notification of family. The driver of a Geo was also crushed and burnt by the trailer as it swung over him. A family travelling in a van was just moments away from becoming entangled in the accident. I will be continuing this story as more details become available. This is Karen Burkholtz reporting to you live. Back to you Samuel.”
“Josie! Turn that TV up a bit. Where is that wreck? Damn, that truck is just a burnin’ up! Poor pity that driver. Wonder if he’s got family?”
“Pete, you want more coffee?” Josie asked, a weak smile on her face.
This is a piece of fiction.