Researcher, writer of historical, paranormal, and general fiction. Poet.
My social media presence consists of an addiction to Twitter/Facebook:
My blogging presence is historical, but fairly influential in the spheres of theatre history (always a surprise to me):
I also blog about general history and here I find inspiration for my fiction:
The Swan Circle
The Guinea Ghost
The Sea Of Conscience
Waves To Light (September 2015)
A 606 word short story.
The Bringer of Birds
It was a summer’s afternoon when I realised I was no longer a child.
‘Come,’ my father said, ‘One of our oxen's been injured by the yoke, you’ll need to help.’
My brothers were at the market, or at arms, or had taken upon the road to sell wares for a penny and cloth for a shilling, so it was me who had gained some trust rather than the wary glance, or assurance I was unfit for most things.
The poor beast, oh how it seemed to suffer with the cradle broken and its haunches burdened by a heavier weight than it was accustomed to. We removed the yoke so the oxen could be moved to an enclosure. I followed it and took a pail to pour clean stream water over a cut on the beast’s neck, then ran a finger over the exposed wound; the sad thing bridled with discomfort, but seconds of pain melted away as the wound disappeared completely.
I looked at the end of my finger.
Birds circled above me and I could hear strains of song as they dived and flocked. On the dusty path that cut like a boundary across our farm, I could see Adam my twin look up to the sky and then smile as he brought our cart to the cobbled path by the side barn door.
‘Whatever is the fuss with them!’ he said climbing down stroking the horse with a silky touch.
I shook my head.
He kissed and grabbed me, and of all my brothers he was the one who had held me every day, because he knew loneliness had stalked me until I had forgotten what it was like to share a moment with a stranger. My world was Adam’s world and I did not know its edge and what was beyond it.
All that changed when the world beyond the edge learned of my finger. I had healed an oxen, a horse, then dear mother whose cough hacked and wheezed until she lay abandoned to exhaustion, and finally Adam, who told me I had healed his soul. I had taken his torment received from father’s wrath and turned it into a song, he said, but it wasn’t me.
‘It’s the birds who are melodious,’ I told him.
‘Have you noticed they all have different colours? The colours change and they sing a different song every day, like each morning they’re renewed by something wondrous.’
He went out and told everyone about the wonder, and so they all came. Children with misshapen legs and old blind men and women, all came along the path cutting across the edge and I did not see where they came from, just the shuffling mass.
It was not long before Adam could see his mistake. The birds still sang, but I was gone from him; I no longer needed his protection though he stayed to watch the fevers lift and the poisons drain away and he could not begrudge me the joy of my compassion; but, he was lost - the scars still hurt. And when that day came when I walked to the boundary’s edge and stepped over it to visit the hospital, Adam lit a fire and burned the farm.
I came home in despair and placed my hands upon my injured father and mother, but I could not heal them. Adam was gone, father was gone, mother was gone, the birds were gone. The birds surrounded us while our love was simple and untarnished, but I was not the one who they were here for, it was Adam who was the Bringer of Birds.
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