Friday, December 11, 2020

Spelling Lessons

This is chapter 54 of The Inheritance, a serial fiction novel on FITK

Friday Morning, December 11, 2020, Seattle

“She’s at it again, ” said Sean, looking out the kitchen window, “Those crows are more than a little creepy.”

In the back yard Mareka was cavorting with a flock of the birds. She had fashioned a cape from a scrap of black velveteen cloth and was fluttering back and forth. Sean returned to the table where he had been talking with Mary and Jo, going over some of the details of their family business.

“She could be into worse things,” said Mary, “TikTok… or K-pop… or… tax law.”

“Speaking of the unspeakable,” interjected Jo, “It’s fair to assume that the tax breaks will change next year. It might be in your best interests to defer any new income streams next year.”

“The vesting of my Amasales stock will be… ” Mary’s reply was interrupted by a new eruption of cawing from the crows in the back yard, “What on earth is going on out here?”

They all got up and went over to the patio door. Outside, Mareka was gliding across the yard, apparently a few inches above the ground, with her cape trailing behind her. Sean reached for the door handle in order to go out but Mary grasped his arm.

“Let the girl be,” Mary whispered, ”Don’t break the spell.”

Mareka landed with a bump in the middle of the yard. She began bobbing her head as she slowly flapped her ‘wings’ as if she were dancing. The crows, who had been perching on the surrounding trees and yard fixtures, flew down and arranged themselves in a circle around the flailing child. At the same time, a half-dozen raccoons emerged from the undergrowth that adjoined the creek in the back of the lot. The adults in the kitchen stared at this strange tableaux. The raccoons began to parade in a line around Mareka. The crow started to flap their wings in sync with Mareka’s movements.

Friday Afternoon, Reykjavík, December 11, 2020.

Vilhjálmur Stefán, Sean’s Icelandic son, was on a field trip along the shore of Hrólfsskáli bay for a science class project. He liked being outdoors. He found his virtual classes uninteresting. The class were checking the tide pools and recording the various flora and fauna they found there. He was checking out a pool that was surprisingly deep; his one-meter-long specimen net didn’t touch bottom. As he looked up from the pool his eyes were met by the stare from a raven that had landed on a boulder near him. The great bird hopped over to a rock next to the tide pool and began to stare down into it. Villí looked back into the pool. In its inky depths a vision of his half-sister Mareka began to take shape.

She was dressed in a black shawl that resembled wings and as he watched Mareka the shawl became feathers and she began to morphing into a crow. The bird/Mareka began to flutter her wings and flew off, just as the raven with Villí croaked and flew off. Villí felt a great sense of dread.

Friday Morning, Seattle, December 11, 2020.

As Mary, Sean, Jo, the crows and the raccoons watched, Mareka’s fluttering increased and she began to lift off from the ground until she was six feet feet above the grass.

“That’s far enough,” said Mary to Sean and Jo and she opened the door, “Come down, little bird,” she called.

Mareka turned her head and looked down at her mother.

“CRAWCK, CRAWCK,” Mareka said before falling to the ground. With a noisy blend of caws and the sound of flapping wings, the crows flew up and out of the yard while the raccoons scurried back to the creek. Mary, Sean and Jo went over to Mareka, lying in the grass, “I flew, I flew,” she said, “Did you see me?”

“We all saw you; it was beautiful,” said Mary, “But don’t leave us yet, little bird, we need to talk about this.”

Friday Afternoon, Reykjavík, December 11, 2020.

“How was your field trip?” asked Þora, Villí’s mother, as he walked in the door to their apartment, “What did you discover?”

Villí was usually a cheerful child, but Þora sensed that he seemed troubled.

“I saw a raven today, at the shore, and… ” Villí paused.

“Like the ravens you saw the other night?” said Þora, “Hilmar told me about their visit.”

“He looked at me, and then he looked into a tide pool,” said Villí, “And I saw Mareka in the water.”

Þora was aware of the special bond that Villí and Mareka had with each other and she had talked about it at length with Mary, Sean and Hilmar. She give Villí her undivided attention as she asked the next question:

“This was a vision of Mareka, like your other visions, yes?” said Þora, “What was Mareka doing?”

“Yá, a vision yes, ” said Villí, “She was turning into a bird, into a raven. It frightened me.”

“We will talk to her on FaceTime tomorrow, remember what you saw, I’m sure that it means something, you’ll find out what it was when you see her.”

Next Chapter: Threads

By Professor Batty

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