Writing Wednesday: A Short From David O’Sullivan

We love to write and we love to encourage our Authors to write.  Our Authors are an amazing bunch.  They’re constantly working with each other, uplifting each other, sharing ideas, and strategies.  When we came to them and said, “Hey, we want to start using Writing Wednesday to put short stories by you on the blog,” they jumped.

Each month, we give them one word.  Just one single, solitary, lonely word as their prompt.  For November, as it was the first month, we went predictable and pulled out thankful.  

The stories can be ficiton or nonfiction, we just want them to keep introducing their amazing writing skills to our audience.  We don’t edit their shorts, sometimes imperfections are signs of just being human.  We want the shorts to be raw, pure, and the true gems that represent our amazing team.

If you aren’t following David’s blog or hanging out with him on Twitter, make sure to start.  His blog can be found at http://www.davidgosullivan.com (which is actually David G. O’Sullivan, but we like to call it David Go Sullivan because it matches his fun and quirky personality).

Enjoy David’s story and make sure to leave a comment!  If you want to join in, send us a short on the topic of Thankful as well and you might be featured on a Funday Friday blog!

Thanksgiving for a friend.

By David O’Sullivan

I stopped my car in the driveway and looked at the old house. I knew that age would have been unkind to the home as the driveway was overgrown with weeds. No one had lived in the old place for a long time. The tall two story building was dark now, the paint had grown a sour color and the roof was covered in leaves that had blown across from the tall trees which grew on either side. I had not lived here for fifty years but everything was in the right place. I opened the car door and stepped out. The ground was covered in tiny stones and weeds pushed up among them. I stood for a moment and looked out across the lake, it was a beautiful view, I had the same feeling I had as a boy, that this was the most beautiful and peaceful place in the world.

A large black bird landed in a branch above me. It shook a yellow leaf loose which drifted slowly to the earth. I looked back at the bird who was watching me. It had a long black beak and its eyes were shining like polished coal.

These birds had swooped me when I was six years old, I lived in the house with my Aunty. I remember the event because it had been so terrifying that it burned into my memory. I was standing among these very trees, but they had been a lot taller then, I was watching the sun climb up over the lake and I was pulling long spears of stiff grass and throwing them about. The birds had settled into the trees around me silently, unnoticed, then I heard the whoosh of wings and the snap of the large heavy beaks, the birds flew down inches from my head and snapped at my ears. They screamed loudly just as they fell upon my head and although I do not remember them touching me I formed the idea that they would soon kill me. I screamed, tears running down my face. I ran around in circles, the birds, enjoying the terror they were causing began to swoop me with increasing regularity until I was hunched on the ground, my face buried in my arms.

Then they stopped and someone was standing beside me.

“Hey.” Came the voice, a soft sweet voice. “It’s OK, what’s wrong?”
“The birds are attacking me.” I said and wiped my shameful tears from my cheek.

“Come on stand up and I’ll show you a trick.” She said.

She looked older than me, she was tall and had long blonde hair that fell down around her shoulders and shone in the sun like golden silk. She was so beautiful and brave that had I been told later she was an angel, I would not have doubted it.

She helped me stand up.

“These old birds won’t swoop you if you watch them. Just make sure to keep your eye on them and they wont hurt you.”

She fixed her eyes on the birds, I tried to as well but I could not see them. I looked up into the trees but all I saw were the golden red leaves.

“Are you living in the house back here?” She asked.

“Yes.”

“I’ll take you home. Just walk with me and we’ll get back safely.”

“Thank you, thank you so much.” I said, holding her hand as she led me up the driveway. The birds did not swoop us at all as we went back.

She lived in the next house down, which was a ten minute walk along the lake shore through wooded fields. She was older than I was by a year but she was so grown up.

Five years later I took her out on the lake in a little timber row boat my Aunty’s friend had built. It was a small replica of a whaling boat.

She laughed at me all morning as I struggled to work the oars as we crossed the lake, which was enormous, lined on all sides by trees. It was not freezing, but the weather was cool and some of the houses on the shore had thin trails of smoke drifting out of the chimneys.

“Want to swim?” She said to me and scooped up a handful of water and put it to her lips. It was clear and shone in the light.

“No.” I said. “It’s too cold.”
She laughed and said, “Feel the water.”
I let go of an oar and put my hand in, it was like ice. “Too cold.” I said again.

“Look out!” She called but it was to late, the oar slipped the hoop and was in the water.

I leaned across to get it when I slipped and fell over the side. It felt like a hundred slaps from an angry crowd, the water bit at my body.

I began to go numb straight away.

I panicked and thrashed in the water. Then I felt her hands around me and she pulled me into the boat. Then she reached down and pulled the oar in, which had drifted back toward her.

“Hold on.” She said. I sat low in the boat shivering. The late autumn wind caught me and set my teeth chattering.

“It’s not that cold.” She laughed, “You won’t die.”

She rowed the boat back with expert precision and then walked me up to her house where her mother had the kitchen stove burning. They sat me in front of it and gave me a towel and a bathrobe.

I shook the memories from my mind and went to the back of the car and opened the trunk. I took the golden urn and carried it down to the lake and there I emptied her ashes into the water.

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