Writers Forum


9 Years
Jan 1, 2011
A very recent discussion on the pullets forum made me realize we need one of these. Post bits of your writing, ideas, synopsiss(plural of synopsis), and stuff like that. We can also help each other with support and feedback. NO poetry! That goes to the poetry thread.
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*Third-Person POV*

A green kid walked down the cold, dark streets, oblivious to the fact that his skin is smoking and burning at contact with the rain. This is Zim. Anyway, he was oblivious to the intense pain coming from the rain. Nothing could compare to the pain in his squeedily spooch.

"Tak. I hate her. I no longer need this life. I'm just a defect. And I do not need to love the girl who taught me the most valuable lesson I will ever need." He said to himself as he gritted his zipper teeth. "She taught me..." He turned into an alleyway and sat down. He sat there for the longest time, crying. Tak taught the little Irken that he does not need to love the girl who sees love as payback, as revenge.

Zim sat there crying until morning. A teen-aged girl with purple hair that framed her face walked down the street, playing her GS3, when she hears the faint sobbing. Is that...? No, it couldn't... Better check anyways. She thinks to herself. Gaz paused her game and turned down the alleyway. Seeing the crying alien, she sat down next to him. She had to get to Skool, but as of the moment she didn't really care.

"Zim...? Are you okay?" She asked, concerned even though she hated all mankind. Zim was different. He wasn't even human. She didn't hate him like she did everyone else.

Zim looked up at her. His eyes were red, not because of his true form. He had been crying all night, and Gaz knew that he was not fine, no matter what she knew he was going to say.

"I'm fine, Gaz-Human."

"If you're fine, then I'm Miss America." Gaz said sarcastically. She may have been pretty, but the moment she became Miss America was the moment that Dib's head wasn't big. Never.

"What?" He said, puzzled.

"Never mind." She said quickly. "But seriously, what's wrong?"

"Tak. She treated me like an old laser gun. She just threw me out as soon as I began to love her most. Gaz-human, she treated my love, my feelings like revenge. Which was all that it was to her."

Zim started crying again. "How long have you been sitting here crying?" She asked, genuine concern in her eyes.

"All night, since nine o' clock in human time."

"It was raining all night! You mean to tell me that you were out in this all night with no protection and you don't feel a thing?" Zim merely nodded. Gaz was truly worried if Zim really felt nothing.

"Are you sure?" He nodded, then straightened up.

"Gaz-human. I will request of you this one thing." He looked up at her. "Take this laser gun and shoot my PAK. Don't try to help me. Just let me leave my life." He was serious. Dead serious.

"Zim. Don't do this, and don't try to do this." She said. She leaned down and hugged him. He just sat and cried.

*Five years later*

Tak sits in her base at the old giant evil weenie stand, bored. "Tak, incoming transmission from the Tallests. Would you like me to screen it onto the wall?" The computer said.

"Yes, computer, that would be nice." Tak replied and sat up. "My Tallests-" She stopped. Zim and a beautiful human with purple hair flowing down her back were in place of Tallest Red and Tallest Purple.

"Tak. Operation Impending Doom 3 will be under way in a few months. We are requesting your presence at the event. Will you come?" Tallest Zim said to Tak.

"Zim, is that really you?"

"Yes, this is Zim. But you WILL address me as Almighty Tallest Zim! You may recognize the woman beside of me as Gaz." Tak was speechless.

"How-?" She said and stopped. Finally, she resolved her decision. "I'm coming." She said.

The transmission ended and she called the other invaders. They all knew that Zim was the new Tallest. And they all were coming to see who the new invaders would be.

*At Conventia*

Tak stood in the crowd of Irkens, looking up as Zim announced the names of the new invaders. She saw his face, and she almost started to cry. It was Zim, all right. And Gaz was standing right beside of him, making sure he made no mistakes. As Zim finished announcing the names of the new invaders, Gaz whispered something into his ear and walked offstage.

Did Tak's pretty face see what he was worth yet? We may never know.

A little one-shot I wrote of a love story.
Oh yeah, not to make draw from this thread, and to make it a little more clearer than the original post is, POEMS GO TO MY POETRY THREAD.
Just thought I'd say that so that the poems go where they belong.
NOBODY steal this, okay? It's MINE.


Chapter One
When I was little, my mom used to read a book to me about a boy and a girl who were good friends. I didn't like that book. I was firm in my belief that boys were not human, that girls and boys could not be civil to each other. This was my excuse for not playing with Brendan, the little boy across the street.
I was opposed to Brendan from the start. We were first introduced to each other when I was a year old and he was eleven months. He hugged me. I threw a toy at him.
When we were three, he tried to kiss me. I smacked him.
At five, I had learned to read and write simple words. I proudly scribbled an answer to the mushy love letter he'd sent the day before:
stop bugin me brendin or i wil put u in jal
I dropped it in his mail slot on my way around the block. I rode my shiny new tricycle and I almost wished Brendan was there to see it.
Our mothers discussed my note with much laughter and joking. We were at the mall's play-place. I was playing with a newfound friend near the benches for parents, clearly avoiding Brendan. Every so often he would make an attempt to come near us, and I would grab my friend's arm and scramble away from him, giggling. He looked dishearted, but I didn't feel sorry for him.
As the years went by, Brendan made many more attempts to be my friend, and I always refused. Until we were eleven.
Both Brendan and I had been homeschooled until I was seven, when my mother died in a car accident. After about a month my dad put me in public school. Then, four years later when I was eleven, he married again. Her name was Natalie. Her hair was frizzy and always up in a ponytail. She was cool; she tried hard to be a good stepmom. She understood, because her parents had gotten divorced when she was a kid and she had had a stepmom herself. Natalie took me out of school and homeschooled me, too.
It was weird the first few months. Natalie didn't know the first thing about being a teacher, so I brought out my old schoolbooks from before Mom died and showed her them. She got a catalog and ordered new ones from the same company. Then things were better, but I was lonely.
All my so-called friends from school abandoned me when I started being homeschooled. Suddenly all the girls in the neighborhood were gone. I could swear I never saw them come out of their houses. But Brendan was there. Wasn't he always?
One day he rode his bike over to my house. He was carrying something.
"Hi," he said when I opened the door.
"Hi," I answered. I felt a childish urge to punch him just for fun. I resisted it.
"I, um, have these mice..." Brendan looked awkward as he tried to juggle attempting to talk to a girl with showing me a tiny terrarium holding three baby mice.
I gave him a blank stare.
"I was selling them," he continued, obviously trying to get this over with. "I already have five at home and my mom said I couldn't keep all of them... They're fifty cents. Each." Brendan scratched his neck and chewed his lip.
"Are they snake food?" I raised my eyebrows, trying to look innocent.
Brendan drew back the terrarium in alarm. "No!" he defended them, a look of horror on his face. "They're pets." He reached into the container and stroked one of them lovingly.
"Sorry. I can't have mice." I shut the door in his face. I figured it was just one of his attempts. How could I know it would lead to something that would change things between us forever?

Chapter Two
Three days after Brendan offered me the mice, I was sitting on the sidewalk outside my house, drawing with chalk because I was bored. He was riding his bike back and forth in front of my house. I ignored him, just like always.
I was in the middle of drawing a detailed rose when I noticed his shadow darkening the sidewalk. Looking up, I saw him squat, next to me. I didn't say anything, didn't stop drawing. He did the same. Picking up a piece of chalk, he scrawled on the sidewalk:
Then he dropped the chalk and walked away, boarded his bike and rode away. He hadn't said a word, and yet he'd said it all. How did he do it?
I ran my fingers over his words, taking in their meaning. Of course the name was mine - but I'd almost forgotten it. How long had it been since I was that girl? Now I was Ash to most. Ashlynne was my mother's name for me. She had been the only one to call me that. Brendan had called me Ashie when he was little, but, as far as I knew, he hadn't called me anything in four years. How had he even remembered my name?
And the second line. I was pretty sure I knew what he meant. I'd known it all along. Brendan had liked me. For him, it was love at first sight. For me, disgust at first sight.
But now I didn't know whether I liked him or not. I loved him for writing it; I hated him for daring to. I felt a strange emotion. I didn't like it, so I brushed it away. But it was like brushing away milk with your hand: you could wipe the liquid away, but it would leave a sticky, smelly residue in its place.
I wondered about that day for many months. I had a half-birthday celebration: nobody came. I was more than disappointed. I simply sat in the chair outside, embarrassed and in shock. This was insulting. I'd invited all my old friends in hopes they would be enticed by a nice party. They hadn't even replied. For an hour I sat there, wallowing in my mixed emotions of anguish. And then the hand.
It was bigger than I'd imagined, bigger than I'd remembered. It was gentle, resting on my shoulder. That was the first thing I noticed, the electricity that shocked me out of my misery. Then the eyes. Blue, blue eyes. Enough eyelashes to make him cute, but not enough to look girly.
Brendan. He was there, hand on my shoulder, eyes linked with mine. For a moment, I saw a prince in shining armor. The next, I saw an eleven-year-old boy with a confused expression.
"Ashlynne? Are you all right?" His voice. Rough. It wasn't breaking yet, was it? Rather early for that.
"Hello? Anyone in there?" He waved his other hand in front of my face, jolting me into reality.
"Um, hi," I stammered, trying to think of a way to get his hand off my shoulder. He saved me by doing it himself. He looked relieved for a moment, then embarrassed and shy. Brendan.
"Sorry. You looked a little dazed there... I, um, noticed you've been sitting there for a long time." He'd been watching me! How could he?
"Uh, yeah. Just... thinking." I rose shakily from my seat and waited for him to leave. Trying to hide it by cleaning up the party table, I listened to him talk. What a sweet voice, but so deep...
"...Were you, uh, having a party? That's nice. Um... would you like me to help you?"
I kept nodding for a few seconds before I realized he'd asked me something.
"Oh. Sure, if you want." I watched him nervously as he piled up paper plates. We worked at clearing the table for a while before he spoke.
"I know what it feels like," he said quietly, pausing for a moment. I thought I knew what he was going to say, but I was surprised. "What it feels like to have a stepmom."
"What?" I blurted out, utterly confused.
"To have a stepmom," he repeated. "You know about my mom, right?" His voice was timid. I suddenly realized that I hadn't even seen his mother in years. Then again, I hadn't cared since I was five.
"She left." Brendan sighed. "And, um, Dad got married again. Like yours."
The words were simple, but in a flash I felt I knew everything about him. For a moment, he was my best friend. And then I remembered he was my enemy. My protective shell hardened again, annoyed at my behavior.
"I'm... sorry." I turned away and pretended I didn't care. I threw the unused plates in the trash and did the same with the cups, napkins, and plastic silverware.
Brendan talked quietly in broken sentences about his stepmom. I half-listened, half-thought.
I love that boy.
I was startled at the sudden thought. What?! I drop-kicked the thought mentally, sending it soaring out of my brain. Or, so I wished.

Copyright Dutchgirl 2011
Section from Chapter 1 of Impending Vermilion. Copyright Ec_Prokta, 2011, please do not steal this.

“Who... What are you?” Parivere said incredulously, her eyes widening as she subconsciously tried to brush some mud off of her ball gown.

“Miss, I am Ec_Prokta, an android set for a secret project that I cannot reveal to anyone.” The robot said, standing up from the trash-can she was dumped in. She smoothed down her curly, green hair and looked straight at the rich girl with her golden eyes. “However, if I do not find shelter soon, I shall deactivate and prove to be a failure to my Master's plan, and he shall be disappointed in me. May I ask you for help regarding this problem?”

Parivere merely blinked back at the robot. Prokta smoothed down a wrinkle in her frilly white apron she wore over a short green dress. Her long, pale arms and legs were covered with golden lines that often split and parted themselves around her arms. She wore a single stocking on her left leg that was covered with mud. Her face showed serious damage from what appeared to be vicious attacks, and her right eye frequently sparked and faded from damage. She adjusted her white headband before speaking again. “I said, may I ask you for your help, please?”
This is mine, and I would be very sad if someone stole it. I haven't written a book with this scene yet, I just thought of the scene and had to write it down.

"I can't keep sneaking over to give you food, Mom is getting suspicious," Marlene said, handing Regan an apple.

"Can't you have your cook hire me? Then you wouldn't have to keep making up excuses to come to this castle to visit me."

Feriand peeked out from behind a barrel. 'Secret lovers?' He wondered.

"I can't do that, I'm sorry, even being who I am, I can't help you more than I have been. I wish I was someone else, then everyone would know that we are brother and sister." Marlene said.

Feriand almost fell over in shock. 'What?!' He thought.

Regan laughed. "Imagine the shock everyone would have if they found out we were even related, let alone twins! I can see it now, 'Poor orphan boy and rich duchess, twins!"

"Mother would be furious if that happened." Marlene said.

"I wonder why she wants to keep me a secret, am I that weird?" Regan asked jokingly.

Marlene giggled. "I doubt that's the reason, but I'm sure there's a logical reason why... Oh shoot! Mother's calling me! I have to go, I'll try to be back later!"
These are all great!

Here is something I made for a Skyherd character:


It was a hot Summer's day, with the blaring sun shining it's harsh rays down on a rural neighborhood of large, multi-acre lots. In the neighborhood was a respectable plot of land, within it's gnarled wooden fencing, was a small farm. It consisted of two stables on horse property, a bustling, crowded little coop of laying hens, and a pen of bleating goats.

"Time for work!" shouted a voice, the stout little Fjord mare in the stable awoke with a start. Her head shot up and her ears twitched, and she slowly peered her head over the stable's gate. She groggily squinted, with her eyes still bleary, at the blur that slowly approached her. She fluttered open her heavy eyelids and jumped slightly at the sight of the farmer standing at the gate. One would think, after the year and a half that she had worked here, that she would've been acquainted with the routinely yard work and the farmer's constant orders. But it seemed that the more she gave of herself, the more he wanted from her.

She stepped out gingerly from the gate, and he immediately carted over the plowing contraption to attach it to her saddle. He slipped her reins and her halter on, and furrowed as he saw her stopping to yawn. "Don't just stand there, Bell! Go!" he ordered, pointing his finger ahead. She stifled the last of her yawn and and carefully plodded onward, leaving uniform rows trailing behind her. "Come on, Bell! I haven't got all day!" he shouted, taking her by the reins and pulling her. She breathed a silent sigh, and wearily, her hooves fell forward. Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop. The sound of her seemingly heavy hooves pounding the ground throbbed in her head as she heaved forth.

Little did they know, they were being watched the entire time; behind the fence was a young girl with a densely freckled face and thin hair like spun gold. She had seen too much already. She saw how poorly the mare was being treated; the horse was no more than a slave to that man. Indignation stung her lavendar-blue eyes; something needed to be done.

"Good." the farmer praised the mare unenthusiastically as she finished the task. "Now, let's go get some lumber." he said, detaching the plow, replacing it instead with a trailor of sorts, and pulling the mare by her reins toward the forest. Just as he was leading her to the forest, he was stopped by the calling of his wife. "Breakfast time, honey!" she loudly shouted. He abruptly stopped in his tracks and turned to see his wife standing at the back door. "The food is getting cold!" she exclaimed, beckoning an arm. He glanced from the mare to his wife. She shot him an intent glance from the distance before she walked back into the house. The farmer didn't know what to do. He couldn't turn back now, he already had the mare prepared for getting the lumber. So he rushed his decision and tied her reins to a low, overhanging branch. "Now, you stay here, Bell." he said to her rhetorically, waggling a finger at her like a troublesome child. She stood her ground as he departed from her side and left for the little house.

A chill of regret and worry surged throughout the farmer as he walked into the kitchen and sat down at the creaking, chipped cherry-wood table. "Is everything all right, dear?" asked his wife as she set the steaming stack of pancakes on the table, the cube of butter melting over it like a fountain, the aroma of syrup carrying throughout the house. "Everything's fine," he answered, forcing a smile as he picked up his fork. Inside he reassured himself all would be well, or so he wanted to think. Unenthusiastically, he began to eat.

"I'm going to get you out of here," whispered a voice in the forest nearby, Bella reared and whinnied out of fear, her eyes nervously darting about. "Shhh!" comforted the girl as she stepped out from behind the tree that Bella was bound to, "I'm not going to hurt you." she said calmly, gingerly approaching the mare. Bella paced backward nervously, her eyes wide as could be. The girl simply reached her hand to the mare’s head, and Bella shivered at the stranger’s touch. Expecting the very worst, she squeezed her eyes shut. “There you go,” said the girl, lifting her hands slowly and carefully from Bella’s face. Bella felt a strange relief of her tension, and her eyes shot open before she hurriedly inspected herself for wounds. Her worried gaze happened to pass over the ground, and she noticed something strange. Her reins and her halter were laying limp on the dusty ground at her hooves. She lifted her head to look rather bemusedly at the girl, cocking her head slightly.

“Go! Run free!” the girl said, pointing her finger for the denser wilderness. Bella knew what it meant when the humans pointed their finger; it meant 'go'. But Bella was so confused. She hesitantly and charily took a step forward and looked back at the girl, as though for reassurance. The girl smiled broadly and nodded. Bella turned to face the labyrinth of greenery, it’s tantalizing, mystery-shrouded depths were so tempting. Their whispering boughs and rattling leaves seemed to call her name, so full of life and song. Bella looked back one last time at her old home before walking forward, mere ambition made every step less and less difficult, and she felt her legs rolling first into a slow trot, and finally into a swift ambling, a broad smile plastered upon her face. Her short mane flew back as the refreshing breeze blew into her face, a smile lighting up her chocolate brown eyes.

The girl waved before she disappeared into the shadows, kneeling to stay hidden among the foliage as she deftly slipped through her gate and back into her own yard. Her smile was ambivalent as she quietly closed the gate; at the same time she was happy for Bella, but she felt a sense of guilt.

The Conifer trees eventually diminished as the forest melted into the grassland, and the land opened up. Ahead, it was beautiful. She stood on a grand hill, where it poured into a valley of swaying grasses. She could see other figures in the distance. Curiosity got the better of her, and she went onward to explore the lush meadows, a cheerful skip in her ambling gait.
here's a short story i wrote for school (well, kinda short
) it's mostly true, so if you steal it you will be lying!

The Eye of the Storm
I pace my grandmother’s house on soft and silent feet like those of her many cats. It’s Wednesday, five days into my family’s vacation here in Maine. I’m feeling… odd. Some strange emptiness that pierces me right to my core. Is it hunger? Thirst? I munch on some crackers and down a glass of milk, hoping. No such luck. It is just before noon and everyone is out sailing, but I am too restless to sit quietly in a boat. I wonder if I just need to move around; get some exercise.
I do some jumping jacks then seek out one of the cats to play with. I find a thin black and white one lurking beneath the table. She prissily turns up her pink snub nose at the tough rope mouse I dangle in front of her. I wonder if my grandmother has a radio. I search for ten minutes through the cluttered, one-story house, finally locate one right in the kitchen where I started out, turn it up loud and dance for a bit.
The exertion helps, but there is still a huge yawning gap right in my heart. What is it? Some… need to be around people or something? No, if that were it, I would have gone sailing. I don’t know.
There is one other possibility; one I don’t want to consider. Every vacation I worry about the animals I’ve left at home- the cat, Leah and the rabbit, Blackberry and the chickens, Raven, June, Tiny, Stormpuff, and the others. So much can happen in week. What if the pet-sitter forgot to feed them? What if a predator got into the chicken coop? I could call a neighbor to go check on them (though I’m not sure I want to know), but… I’m being paranoid. It is so easy to let your mind wander in unwanted directions in a silent, empty house.
I peek under the table and behind the curtains, searching for the unconcerned, comforting presence of the cat. She must be hiding again.
I plod back to the kitchen and walk outside. The dirt driveway, while littered with no shortage of pine needles, is empty of our mud-spattered mini-van, my grandmother’s old moss-green jeep. The squat brown house stares forlornly at me with dark, vacant glass eyes. The late-august sky is robin’s egg blue with a smattering of fleecy clouds that look like wisps of sheep’s wool caught in a barbed-wire fence.
The ominous black silhouette of a hawk circles overhead, even as the pines far below come alive with oblivious, twittering song-birds. I shout and the birds scatter, depriving the raptor of a would-be easy meal. I hastily dart inside before I can feel bad for the hawk.
Settling myself on the couch, I flip on the television and channel surf, unable to concentrate with the odd numbness that dogs me. Another hour and everyone returns home. As we bake a lemon meringue pie and eat our pizza, I seem to forget the feeling. But the peculiar, void sensation is there, always there, thud thud thudding like heartbeat just beyond the reaches of my conscious mind; a sinister creature in the night that lies in wait in the gloom outside a ring of firelight, always just out of sight, waiting for a single wandering thought to drift into the murk to attack.
I stay up as late as I’m allowed, trying desperately and not succeeding at keeping the hollow place in my chest at bay, but eventually my mother announces “Time for bed, Alexandrea.” I’m exhausted.
As I tumble into bed, images barrage me and all the reasons I am worried about my flock come flooding into my mind like a tidal wave. And I dream…
She is stepping off the bus. It is late spring; almost the end of the school year. She talks contentedly with her friend as they walk. Making their farewells, she continues on. Reaching her yard she passes her mother, working in her flower garden. They exchange a few pleasant words. She is blearily happy, the brilliant summer sun high overhead, a whispering breeze waltzing all around. The trees murmur to each other, waking after their winter hibernation.
She drops her heavy backpack, a burden she bears like chains that bind her to her school. She shrugs off her thin but unneeded jacket and kicks off her shoes. The artificial green arcs through the air. She runs to the barn, light and quick on her bare feet. She reaches the chicken coop and peers into the nesting box, searching for eggs. A black hen is there, sitting like a broody. But she isn’t moving. Isn’t even breathing. Her head is twisted back unnaturally, as if her neck is broken. Her ebony feathers glisten in sleek summer radiance, as beautiful and healthy as in life. Only it’s not.

a single boom of thunder grumbles moodily, shaking me into consciousness; a luminous electric glow slashes the sky, lighting the world in cold unnatural gray. Rain comes in torrents. Then, as quickly as the storm came, it ends, vanishing like a puff of smoke, leaving the forest damp and fresh. I fall into a fitful sleep.
* * *
The anomalous hollowness pursues me for the final three days of the vacation. The pet-sitter hasn’t called. Surly she would if something were wrong? I resist the urge to contact her, instead choosing to grapple with the negated place inside my soul. Of course everything is fine, right? Right.
As at last we pack the car, my heart is in turmoil. As much as I don’t want to know what has happened at home, I feel I must find out before I burst.
On the way home we stop for lunch, but I feel too sick to eat. Everyone tucks into their meal while I battle my churning stomach in its enthusiastic attempts to expel my meager breakfast. My mother looks at me with concern.
“Are you sure you’re feeling okay?” she asks me. I nod, afraid to open my mouth for fear of what might come out-visible or not. I can tell from the look in her eyes she doesn’t believe me, though. Frowning, she lifts a stray strand of brownish-blonde hair back from my face and feels my forehead with her wrist, checking for signs of fever. I push her hand away.
“Mom, I’m fine, I promise,” I manage to choke out. She leaves me alone after that.
The car ride is long and harsh, the terrible ache in my heart strengthening and clawing its way all through me until I feel riddled with holes like a dead or dying tree. We finally arrive home after the four hour trip from Belfast, Maine to Hollis, New Hampshire. I force open the door and leap out onto the ground, climbing over several bags in the process. I don’t bother unpacking my stuff before running to the barn.
As I near the large red and white-trimmed building, I notice that an enormous dead tree, a hickory I think though it’s so covered in vines it’s hard to tell, has fallen-a foot from the garden and no more than six inches from the outside pen of the chicken coop. Talk about luck. The tree must have fallen down in the storm, I think. I scan the scene, thinking that perhaps there is something obvious missing from it. Not that it matters. I wonder if this is why I have that weird feeling. But no, I remember it started before the storm. I run around to the other side of the barn and hoist the heavy, garage-type door, sliding it high up on its rusted protesting tracks. I dart inside and check each coop: June and Darkflight’s, the mean roosters’, the other roosters, the main coop. Everything is peaceful. I step into the main coop, pick up my favorite chicken, Tiny and give her a hug. Her neck stretches around mine as if hugging me back. Her beak clacks contentedly in my ear. Raven, the flock’s lead rooster peers up, head tipped to the side, and churrs softly in recognition. The other roosters then the hens take up the call. The barn is soon filled with the most comforting and wonderful sounds in the world: the whistles and soft buck-buck-bucking of contented chickens. I press my face into Tiny’s downy feathers in immense relief. Everything is fine.
I place the white dappled hen back on the ground and step into the main part of the barn. I see my younger sister has followed me in and is standing in the barn watching me. “What’s that smell?” she asks probably not for the first time. I inhale deeply. A rank, bitter scent coats my lungs, making the odd feeling that has lingered in my chest throb harshly. It’s a smell I recognize. Death.
“The chickens killed a mouse,” Of course that’s not what happened. “Probably June did, then she kicked hay over it,” Who am I kidding? “ Ha. I wouldn’t put it past her,” I’m only trying to convince myself. “The chickens just killed a mouse,” By now I am looking wildly around, searching, searching for that mouse, a small mangled body I will bury and forget. But no, it’s not a mouse. I know it’s not. I’m not convincing anybody.
Right. Forward. Behind. Left. There. I look. I don’t want to look but I do. The window. The bright, bright, cheerful light. Blocking the light, shadowy as death, is death itself. A claw, stiff in death clutching at the sky… failing. It’s held up by nothing, a black embodiment of a nightmare. I know without looking-and I try not to look too hard-the feathers on her feet I know well. They are small and blue-gray and rounded at the tips. Her legs are slate colored and her body is round and plump, her comb has taken on the shape of a Z, she is the daughter of Mallard and Wobble who is gone. Her sister Bumble died a year and a month ago. Her name is Stormpuff - Storm for short.
My sister hasn’t seen yet. She still peers beneath clumps of hay, searching vainly for that mouse. My breath comes in gasps and I begin to hyperventilate. My body is reacting but my mind and spirit seem strangely at peace. Now I know why I had that weird feeling for so long.
The next few hours are a blur. My sister sobs, my mother gasps, and me, I keep up a steady choking throughout. Lying in bed tonight I can remember only certain details of the day. The pet sitter tells me Storm died on Wednesday so she placed her in an empty cardboard box rather than burying her without us. She decided not to call, though she did leave a note, as not to ruin our vacation. I’m not sure if I’m glad for that or not. If she had told me, I would have wanted to go home early. If she had I could have saved myself all those days of feeling sick and terrible and broken. I feel my heart split in two between selfishness and selflessness. We all thought it had been the heat that killed her, or perhaps a disease in her crop she never quite recovered from, but we’ll never know for sure.
My little brother was unsympathetic, as always, and my sister wanted another hen. I was numb. The dead tree, turns out, fell directly on an unused chicken coop my sister had bought with her birthday and Christmas money combined. We’ll repair it someday.
My little sister wanted to see Storm. She’d been dead to long, I knew that. If she saw her now, it would sully her image of Stormpuff forever just as I am hounded by the picture of Bumble as she lay in her final resting place, neck bent unnaturally, eyes glazed and half shut… I wished to protect her. She didn’t protest too much when I said no.
We buried Storm in a big wooden box I’d used as a treasure chest as a small child and laid her beside her sister. The spot is shaded by blackberry bushes, and their sweet perfume can make one forget their hardships and welcome serenity. This is where sunlight mottles the shadows of the pines and the hurt of the world cannot reach.
We sat in patch of plump wild strawberries and lay Stormpuff in her coffin. I tried to close the cover, but something had caught and it wouldn’t shut. Her toe, rigid in death, poked out. This is an image that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Not wishing to touch her directly, I groped for a small, sturdy twig, found one, curled her toe back in its most natural position. Shuttering and shaking furiously I closed the lid, catching one last glance of Storm’s blue-gray feathers before sealing her in darkness forever.
I lie in bed thinking of these things, relieved when the blackness of sleep finally enfolds me. I dream.
Sunlight falls in waves. The maple tree, thick with broad vermillion leaves hangs heavily in peaceful slumber. The lights of the twin sun and moon mingle; plunge down like insubstantial rain to dapple its shadow. Two shapes, one black like a raven’s wing, the other the shade of dusk blend in a sea of soft darkness. The sky is pale with winter. Droplets of spring dew weigh down sunset flowers the color of Stormpuff’s eyes. A few dry crimson leaves become tangled in the longl summer grass below.
One of the two shapes lying beneath the spreading boughs stands to shake out her feathers. They are the blue-gray color of a storm cloud, but not so dark. No, these are softer, lighter. The hen looks at her daughter, still dust bathing luxuriously. They communicate silently. The small black pullet gets to her loosely feathered feet and stares into the distance. Something is coming. Something that glides on noisy wings, something deep blue; something whole and well. Storm lands beside her mother and sister. Her orange eyes meet her mother’s burgundy ones. And then, as if it had been any other day, Storm’s legs collapse and she lies on her side, closes her eyes and extends a wing to soak up the warm, brilliant sunlight that streams endlessly from the cloudless sky. Wobble and Bumble lie beside her and their feathers meld into blue night.

A single boom of thunder rings out and lightning illuminates the world once again in unnatural day, bolting me awake. The clouds, so white and fleecy before, seem to weep alongside me, the great tears soaking the soft ground of a new-dug grave at the edge of the woods.

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