Take Me Down, Sir
by Lily Childs (c)
'Crow' artwork by Laurence Ranger (c)
The searchlight from Tom Shaman’s soul bled pale amongst the treetops.
‘C’mon old man’ he whispered. ‘Help me out. Just one more time.’
The crow found him first. Its blue-black feathers flurried in the twilit sky like the tattered jacket of a jaded Morris dancer. It landed gracefully beneath a guardian oak where Tom lay reclined in half-meditation; half-naked, fully despondent. Troubled by the shaman’s weary demeanour the crow danced around the man’s feet, eyeing him through dark beads.
‘What ails you, friend?’
‘She’s gone. I’ve lost her.’ Tom shook his head, distraught. ‘Take me into the darkness, Crow. I’m begging you.’
The bird hopped onto Tom’s shoulder, claws piercing bare skin.
‘You’re not ready. You don’t have enough experience. This could destroy you.’
‘It doesn’t matter. Without her I’m nothing. Please, take me down.’
The crow stabbed at an errant feather with its silver beak.
‘Prepare then, Tom Shaman. This may be your final journey.’
Fluttering up to stand upon Tom’s shaven head, the crow wrapped its wings of midnight around the man’s face. Cautiously, it laid its chin on Tom’s forehead. They both heard the dark side calling. And were gone.
They travelled deep, deeper into the place of deity, of creatures unseen, of life forms unknown. They came to rest.
‘Where’s my wife?’ Tom cried out loud, breaking the rules. He hung his head, sobbing, expecting nothing.
Tom squinted into the void.
The body of Magenta Shaman drifted into view. Small and still. And quite dead.
This is a little taster from my Magenta Shaman stories, which are coming on strong at the moment.
The above was my entry into Jason Evans' Clarity of Night comp. It didn't get shortlised but had some great comments.
Well done though to Lee Hughes whose amazing 'The Mending of the Broken' came third in the Readers' Choice Award plus some Honourable Mentions - very well deserved.