I lay down in feathered sleep where dreams and visions mix with the real world around me. The spirits of the ancestors surrounded me and spoke to me as I floated in the part trance, part waking, part sleep that was so important to the Seeing.
I say the ancestors surrounded me, but that was not quite true. I knew the stories and legends and so understood that our people had moved in from the west and the way east was unexplored. Yes, we have journeyed for days to the east, but never venturing beyond what we knew was safe.
The cold winters have become colder, the glacier has approached. We had moved from the land of the ancestors to the west when my grandfather’s grandfather was a small child. We occasionally met with our kin, but they have grown strange.
It was in relatively shallow water and pretty close to the coast. It was off of the beaten path, but still within an area known to tourists. It should not have existed, but there it was.
He rushed back to his room and did some searches, just to make sure it wasn’t known. He was positive he would have seen something about it if it were well known, but he had to look.
Ed was touring the Greek isles and was spending a day snorkeling just off of one of the lesser-known ones. He wasn’t an expert or anything, but he enjoyed it, and the crystal-clear water was just so amazing.
But then he had found it.
An ancient shipwreck.
Though shallow, it was too deep for him to do more than catch a glimpse of some perfectly preserved timber and a few large jars or amphora.
How had this gone unnoticed? Had a storm recently cleared off the sand and silt, exposing it for the first time in millennia? It didn’t matter, it was there and he knew that he was the first to see it.
Of course, he would report it. He had to. But he decided to go back out and take another look. Of course, taking anything would be completely illegal, but if something small, say a coin, somehow stuck to his hand, well…
Ed hyperventilated for a moment, took a huge breath, grabbed the heavy rock off of his inflatable, and dove with the help of that weight.
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I used to beg Mom to pass by the Tree Man’s house all of the time, even though I knew it was many miles out of the way.
Sometimes she humored me and we took that detour.
The house was lost in a jungle of overgrown underbrush and grass gone wild. All of this was in the shadows of five giant, ancient trees.
Around the yard he had planted strange sculpture carved from tree trunks. There were several up front with a “For Sale” sign, but most of them hid and creeped through his semi-suburban, semi-rural forest. Over the years I don’t think one of the “For Sale” sculptures were changed, neither a new one added nor an old one sold.
I came to the top of the little bluff and froze for a second before instinct kicked in. Had I been seen? I allowed myself a quick peak at the fisherman. He was concentrating on his fly and hadn’t turned my direction, not even flinched. I was sure I hadn’t been noticed.
It had been months since there had been any pursuit. Even the dogs were worthless when I didn’t want to be found.
On the other hand, just because there was no active search didn’t mean they weren’t still looking for me. My guess is that I’d either have to figure out how to resurface with a completely new identity or spend the rest of my life out here, on the run.
I loved the wilderness, so no hurry in finding that identity.
And I loved this little patch of relatively still water, a hidden spot far from the casual person’s eyes, the perfect little private trout “pond”.
Yeah, you see those high fences with razor wire at the top they just put up? Let me tell you about it…
You’ll know that they closed the beaches about a month ago. They said “Red Tide” and all, you know those algae blooms that pretty much kill everything in their paths. But why close the beach over that?
Yep, I wanted to find out too.
The other day me and my daughter Barb decided to check it out. We got her kids, little Tommy and Paul, and we all dressed up in the best protective gear we could find. No stupid algae would ruin our day.
At first we saw nothing, no dead fish washed up, no nasty algae, nothing.
OK, “nothing” went pretty far, for there were no seagulls or anything else living or moving either.
Ah, here comes a gullible looking lass. I’m sure I can twist her to exactly where I need her.
“Good morning, ma’am! I can tell that under that homespun and calico there lies a sophisticated lady. Now if you had a little cash, I can help…”
Those suspicious eyes, how they taunt me!
“No, my good madam, I am not talking about your physical self. No,no, no, dear me, no. I am not proposing anything improper at all and apologize with deepest sincerity if you thought such an evil thing.” A deep bow usually helps. Oh, how that gets their attention every time. A woman like her has never had a gentleman bow to her! It makes her feel like a queen, now, doesn’t it? “No, my good lady, I am talking about that fine character you have made so plain just now! Your virtue shines like a thousand suns for those who can see!” I fade my smile a bit and shake my head in sadness. Ha! “But I fear that many look at the rough fabrics you drape yourself in and cannot see. Such a shame”
Good, good! She is still suspicious, of course, but it has changed. Flattery will get you everywhere. As will sympathy.
When I was growing up, I always thought Gramps was eccentric and, well, a bit daft. He spoke softly in a strange, lilting tone. His actual words were a riddle to me.
One of the oddest things about Gramps was his building projects. He had turned his small farm in upstate New York into a medieval village. Not the entire village, just a few tiny thatched houses and other odds and ends. But the centerpiece was a full-sized ruined castle. There was just one wall with a pointed arch portal and a tall, narrow, crenelated tower remaining. I know it was newly built, but it looked ancient. I used to play make believe about goblins and elves and things every time we visited. I had so much fun playing around it.
Never in it, though.
I was told there was only one room that could be used, and it was Gramps’ private domain.
Trey was six, very unsteady with his paddling, the canoe out of control in the wind, his older brother, Jim, shouting at him. It was his first year at the lake staying in the small cabin where his dad had vacationed since he was a kid. It had been a little fishing get away for his dad and one of his friends. Two years ago Jim had made his first visit. This year it was his turn.
His brother’s nine year old voice yelling.
Trey was nine, reeling in a huge bass. The bass fought like the Dickens, but Trey had three years of experience now and could handle it. tell Dad, though. Even though he had caught hundreds of fish, but his dad still had to talk him through it, cheering him on.
His dad’s voice, full of care, instructing him on catching fish and living life.
Trey was eleven, climbing a small cliff that had the best view of the lake. It was his favorite spot in the world. This was the second year Mom had made the journey, it no longer being a “boys night out” fishing trip, but s full-fledged family vacation.
His mother’s voice, telling him the cliff was dangerous was thrown into the mix.
Trey was thirteen hidden in the deep woods, coughing on a stolen cigarette. Jim punched his arm, perhaps a little too hard.
The day was beautiful and the new park was just the answer to being locked inside for too long. Steven smiled down at his wide-eyed six-year-old, Trevor. It was good to see the boy so enthralled with nature after being forced indoors for so long.
And it was a perfect place for a boy, for the park had several semi-abstract life-sized sculptures of different exotic animals, both living, though in a different parts of the world, or long extinct.
“This is so lovely,” Carolyn said. She had been holding their son’s hand at first, but Trevor had escaped to explore on his own, though never out of sight or reach.
They turned a corner in the path to come face to face with a large, angular prehistoric beast.
“Look Dad, a dinosaur,” Trevor said.
The sculpture was so intriguing that Steven couldn’t take his eyes off of it to look at his son.
“No, Trevor, it’s a mammoth. They’re mammals and lived much later.”
“Are you sure it isn’t a mastodon?” Carolyn asked.
“No, Mom and Dad, a dinosaur. Look!”
Steven laughed to himself. A six-year-old boy should know all of this stuff, but the prehistoric elephantine was not a dinosaur.
He turned to talk to Trevor, but Trevor was looking in a different direction.
Steven followed his son’s glaze.
From behind the trees, following their path, a large T-Rex came into view.
It was not a sculpture. It was far too alive and far to big.
Steven turned and ran. The last thing he heard was, “See Dad, I told you it was a dinosaur.”
This was written for this week’s writephoto challenge. Sue is gone and missed, but before she left, she passed the baton for this challenge over to KL Caley. The photo at the top of the page was provided by KL, along with the key word “dinosaur“. Though I’m with the mom and dad here, it is most likely a mammoth, though possibly a mastodon ;)