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A bit of writing - Visitation

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:02 am
by davisherm
As I've mentioned here and there, I'm back in school. One of the classes I'm taking is a fiction writing course.

One of my exercises was to write a visitation. I debated a young witch meeting their spirit guide or totem animal for a bit and then glanced at my Morrigu desktop and realized who would be paying my main character a visit.


The server room was on the warm side of uncomfortable despite the air-conditioning. His repeated calls for expansion or, at least a better cooling system, had gone ignored for the last eight months. Andy Stark told himself that he was getting used to the heat. He wasn’t sweating nearly as much as he had in the first few hours of the upgrade. Installing six new rack-mounted servers and the corresponding data backups had taken him well past closing time and he still needed to actually install the operating systems and updates. He stepped out into the much cooler air of the operations room and locked the door. It only took a few minutes to start the installations, but it would be nearly an hour and a half before the systems were ready for the next step. He finally had time for a nap.

The leather couches in the reception area were practically his old friends after the many all-nighters he’d pulled and their soft cushions called to him. Stark checked to be sure that he'd set the alarm on his Blackberry, kicked off his shoes, and let the cushions claim his tired body. It only took a few moments for him to settle into sleep. He followed a tested routine of keeping his breathing slow and measured while listening to the soft susurrations from the air ducts high overhead. It was very calming, almost like the meditations he’d done with his mother in his youth…


Stark jumped up, startled. The loud cry repeated itself. Out of reflex, he reached for his Blackberry to shut off the alarm but his groping hand met only open air. He blinked a few times to clear the sleep from his eyes and, not believing what he saw, rubbed them for good measure before looking about in wonder. He wasn’t in the reception lounge. In truth, he had no idea where he was. He’d woken with his back against a tall tree. A heavy fog hugged the ground before him, dissipating into a light haze as it wafted upward to meet the branches of the trees that reached higher than he could see.

Three black crows strutted about on a rock that rose from the fog like an island. The one on the left was somewhat small, with a youthful hint of blue in her coal black eyes. The middle crow stood tall, preening her feathers, but stopping every now and again to regard the surprised man. The one on the right hand side seemed somewhat stooped, if that were possible for a bird. Her eyes were cloudy grey and her feathers were mottled with age. Despite the obvious occlusion to her vision, Stark had the distinct impression that she was making eye contact. He stared back, bewildered and confused as she cocked her head at him and cawed softly. The middle crow made a hard clicking sound and rapped her beak against the rock. She lifted her head up and fixed her eye on Stark.
"Caaaaaww" She cocked her head in much the same manner as the older crow had done and fixed him with a stern look. Stark slid down the trunk of the tree to land on his rear. His breathing was ragged. None of this made any sense to him. What - he wondered - had happened to his office? Where was this primeval forest and how had he gotten here? He raged silently in his mind, trying desperately to process the sudden and strange load of information. To a man who worked day in and day out in the antiseptic world of computer hardware, this situation was completely baffling. He needed to reboot.

He closed his eyes tight and shook his head slowly from side to side. He tried to slow his breathing, to focus on a sound he could use to calm himself, just like his mother had taught him all those years ago before the accident had taken her away. That thought brought sudden and instant clarity. He'd seen these three visitors before. His mother had been a witch - something of a rarity in those days. And had always favored the Celtic tradition, which included the reverence of a goddess known as the Threefold Morrigu - as she was often represented by a young maiden, a mother, and a elder-woman. She was also known as the Lady of Ravens or of Crows - Queen of battle. The first and last time he'd seen these three, they'd been in attendance at his mother's funeral. Stark raised his head and met the coal-dark stare of the tall bird in the middle - the mother. "Why have you brought me here?"

The fog suddenly shifted, as if blown by a strong breeze. It spiraled up around the three birds, who took to wing in a frenzy of cawing and black feathers. In the midst of this flurry, Stark became aware of a powerful charge to the air, as if he was holding a live wire and not fully grounded. The flying crows had vanished, and in their place stood a tall, ivory skinned woman with lustrous black hair. Her eyes were coal black with just a hint of blue about the edges. She wore a long gown of some silky black material. A cape worn rakishly over one bare shoulder was adorned with what had to be thousands of shiny black crow's feathers. The engraved hilt of a hand-and-a-half-sword showed briefly from beneath the cape of feathers.

Years of forgotten memories raced behind Andy Stark's wide eyed stare. Lessons in the woods, reading from the Book of Kells, his mother helping him to collect feathers for their altar. He stared at the Lady before him in abject wonder and fear. How had he forgotten for so long? A single tear broke from the small pool welling up in his eyes and traced a line down his face. "Why did you take my mother from me?" It came out as part of the first of many sobs and held equal parts question and accusation. Her eyes softened a bit and she stooped to kneel with him.

"Andy, dearest Andy. I know you've missed her terribly. But, it was time for her to come back to me. She has a higher purpose in life. You'll come to understand it in time." She rested a hand on his shoulder. He turned and clung to her arm like a child bawling in earnest as the memory of losing his mother surfaced from a black ocean of wretchedness.
"I didn't know what to do without her." He choked back a sob. "I was just a little boy! What higher purpose is there than loving your little boy?" Even in his sudden misery, Stark couldn't believe his daring. Here he was, fully aware of who he was questioning and what she could do to entire armies that faced her people on the field of war. She raised a hand, but the blow he half feared didn't come. Instead, she smoothed his hair and whispered softly in his ear.
"She never stopped loving you, just because she wasn't there. But I needed her with me. How would you have had me explain it to you? You were so young. Even now, you don't fully understand." She took his chin in her hand and drew his gaze with her deep eyes. "She never stopped loving you. And you never stopped loving her or forgot what she taught you." He ducked his head, but Morrigu caught the look of shame that crossed his face. "Oh," she said mildly, "you might have set it aside as child's play, but you still remember it. And we desperately need you to remember it now"

It was true, he realized. The first happy memories of time spent with his mother in their sacred wood had opened the floodgates. And now memories long forgotten came pouring forth, not even tarnished with a dozen-odd years of neglect. He smiled brightly, all signs of his earlier despondency gone as he saw visions of his mother. He suddenly realized that it was the best he'd felt in a very long time. But what was so important that the gods themselves would need him to remember it? Surely it had to be more than that his mother had loved him. He pulled his damp face from the crook of the Lady's arm and wiped the tears from his eyes. "Why have you brought me here?" he asked again.

Re: A bit of writing - Visitation

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:08 pm
by forgotten oceans
OMFGs!!!!!!!!! Davisherm I love it!!! Any chance there's anymore where that came from? :-D

Re: A bit of writing - Visitation

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:13 pm
by davisherm
Awww thanks, Forgotten Oceans

There's lots more of other stuff. This particular one hasn't gone much past what I've posted, but I've got plans for it. It just begged to be shared between more than just me and my professor. And I figured, that of all the places I could possibly post it, my Library family and those of like minds are basically the intended audience.

I may post some of the other bits in a while. Not all of it is G rated, but that's mostly for language that's really only PG or mild PG13.

Re: A bit of writing - Visitation

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:03 am
by Crazy Healer Lady
OK, I'm hooked. What happens next?!!

Seriously some fine writing. :-D I love it!

Re: A bit of writing - Visitation

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:12 am
by Kitsune
Ooh, nice story. It'll be interesting to see where you take this. It could go a number of ways, but should be interesting by any account.