First Day of Summer

First Day of Summer

A Chapter by D Connolly
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Sarah arrives at Nana's for the summer

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Sarah watched the rain splattering against the windshield as her dad drove her towards the underground tunnel that would lead to Nana Pearl’s. Farther off in the distance, the moon seemed to follow the car, distant, yet warm. It was a mystery, how the moon kept pace with the speeding car, unaffected by the summer rains. If she looked closely, Sarah could just make out a face in the surface of the moon. Lady moon had big, tender eyes to look down at her subjects, watching over them in silent vigil. The trip to Nana’s was a comfort to Sarah, and now that they lived closer, she got to spend the entire summer there. Mornings would be started with pancakes, and the long summer days would go by with Nana watching the endless television game shows, and Sarah would flit in and out of the apartment to play in the nearby park and come back to sneak extra popcicles from the freezer when Nana was engrossed in Jeopardy. Nights would arrive softly, sitting next to Nana on the couch for more game shows or a ballgame, and she told stories when it was time for bed. Sarah knew they were made up, although Nana Pearl swore they were true. They were all tales of wonderous adventure, through enchanted forests, sparkling coastlines and castles made of pearls. There were made up animals, witches, and other characters that Nana described so richly, it was as if she knew them personally. Some of the stories were too embellished to be believed, but Sarah listened, just happy to have a break from the teasing and loneliness she experienced in her new neighborhood. The kids there were all older, and they picked on her relentlessly. Some even hit her when no one was looking. Sarah was happier to spend her days at home alone, reading, drawing, and daydreaming of far off places and different worlds; different lives she could have. The radio fizzled out as they entered the tunnel, and the moon was replaced with the tunnel lights. Sarah’s dad turned his head slightly to her in the silence of the tunnel, “So, how was the last day of school, sweetie?” Looking back towards the tunnel ahead he continued, “Your grades were steady even after transferring mid-year”. “It was ok, I guess” Sarah looked out towards the passing tunnel lights, wishing she were already at Nana’s. She shifted in her seat and adjusted the seatbelt, “I don’t think the kids like me very much, and Mrs. Dreyfus was always telling me that I read ahead too much in English. She told me that my journal was full of made up stories”. “Well”, dad said in his most comforting voice, “You’ve always loved to read, and you’re a gifted writer. I don’t think that’s a bad thing”. Slapping Sarah’s knee he laughed, “Maybe she knows you’re making the other students feel bad because you’re smarter than them”. “Dad! That’s isn’t true” Sarah said forcefully. She immediately regretted being so defensive. It was a common theme in school. She was always bored in class, feeling as if the lessons were moving too slowly, and hated that she didn’t fit in with the other kids. It wasn’t because she was smarter. They just didn’t understand her. And she didn’t understand them. She felt like an outsider. The tunnel lights disappeared and the moon took her rightful place again. “You know I’m kidding” dad laughed. “I can’t help but be proud of my daughter, though. You love to learn and you’re creative, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe give the other kids a chance to answer when the teacher asks a question though, huh?” the radio came back on as they exited the tunnel. They drove through the streets leading to Nana’s and finally pulled into the parking spot in front of her apartment. “I know moving to a new place is hard sweetie” his features softened as he went into the practiced speech, “but soon you’ll make new friends and you’ll find your place. It takes time”. “I know, dad” Sarah said, unbuckling the belt and stepping out of the car. Pulling her bag from the backseat she added, “You said that last time too. But how am I supposed to find my place if we keep moving to a new place every year?” Sarah knew she wasn’t being nice. Her parents’ jobs required them to move frequently, and to fight against it was a losing battle. It had always been this way, and that was that. She had to figure out a way to work around it. But it wasn’t easy. Nana was pouring the ever-present coffee when Sarah and dad walked in, and Uncle George shouted from the living room, “Hiya Sarah! Come give me a hug!” Sarah had grown to love the smell of coffee, as it reminded her of Nana’s. Nana’s house never changed. She hugged Nana Pearl as she and dad sat down, and then went into say hello to Uncle George. “Hi there kiddo” said Uncle George as he turned down the ball game, “How ya doin?” Sarah set her bag by the stairwell and jumped in her uncle’s lap “We going to the park this weekend, Uncle George?” Sighing, Uncle George replied, “I don’t know kid, I have those summer allergies. They’re brutal! Let’s play it by ear, OK?” “OK then” Sarah jumped up and headed towards the stairs, “I’m going to put my stuff away now”. “I’ll see you in the morning” said Uncle George as he got up to visit with dad and Nana, “it’s getting late, and you’ll be in bed soon”. Walking up the stairs, Sarah looked at Nana’s artwork that lined that walls. Drawings of magical places covered the spaces, and Sarah touched each one as she passed by. She had learned to draw from Nana, who also loved art. Feeling a flood of relief and security for being in the familiar house, Sarah jumped up the last few stairs, humming to herself, and went into the room that Nana had made especially for her, put her few things away and changed into her bed clothes. Nana followed shortly after dad had left, “All settled in dearest?” she asked, sitting down on the bed “I’ve missed you”. “I missed you too Nana” Sarah said, hugging her from under the blankets “At least we’re close to you this time”. “Well, that’s something to be grateful for, isn’t it?” Nana’s eyes twinkled, and she got up to move a chair close to the side of the bed. “You haven’t gotten too old to hear a story, have you?” “Never!” Sarah shouted, laughing at herself for being so excited. “OK then, settle in, and I’ll tell you about Oshara, the largest and most magical creature ever to grace the worlds” she sat back and began, “Once upon a time” she smiled indulgently, “in a far off world, much different than the world you and I know today, there lived, and still lives, a great bird by the name of Oshara. She is larger than ten city blocks, if that helps you to imagine her size. Her species has been revered in many worlds, and gone by many names, but the most known to us is that of the early native Americans, who called her thunderbird. She is a magnificent creature, full of unimaginable power” she continued, settling back into her chair with a sigh. “At the dawn of time, the thunderbird was gifted to the worlds from the creators, as a guardian and steward. The first lived for thousands of years between the worlds, using her gift to control the weather to help humanity survive. Her wings sheltered us from the burning sun, she brought rain to our crops to help them grow and feed us, and her song stirred the winds to cool us. She was worshipped in the early times. She did her job well, but as mankind grew, and the population swelled, a threat became apparent. Men no longer worshipped her power, they envied it” Nana’s voice took on a darker tone. “Men began to envy her power, and sought it for themselves as the tribes grew and fought for dominance. They began to hunt her. But the creators foretold all of this, and gifted her with the greatest power of all; that of travel between worlds. You see, thunderbird needed protection from the very people she was sent to protect, and needed a means to escape from danger. She was too big to hide, and men were relentless, although they didn’t know the extent of her powers. Had the early men known of this power of moving between worlds beforehand, they surely would have turned on her sooner than they did, never understanding the dangers that await in other dimensions”. Sarah listened intently, never having heard this story before. “Thunderbird would sing, and each song that she sang would bring forth access to a new world, giving her the opportunity to escape. With a flap of her wings, she soared through the skies, and as she sang one of many songs she had learned over the thousands of years and passed to her daughters after her, she would disappear right before the eyes of her enemy. Of course, the talent had other practical advantages as well. Can you imagine how difficult it would be for a creature of that size to hunt for her own meal? She would eat the planet dry were she forced to stay in one dimension!” Nana laughed. “She had to use this gift to move from world to world to feed herself, rather than eat the food that was to feed the humans she was created to help. But she was lonely. She was the only one of her kind, and I’m sure you can imagine how it feels to have to move from place to place, never able to settle down and find where you fit in, never having a friend to turn to”. Sarah understood all too well. “Yes” Sarah replied, indicating a wealth of understanding in such a simple word. “But how does she survive? Surely she isn’t doomed to be alone until the end of time. That’s a terrible story, Nana”. “She has found refuge. There are still a few of those who worship and revere her, and they guard the secrets that she holds. In every dimension, she has found friends amongst the population. Most are hidden from society, small bands of people who still practice the old ways. They give her shelter when she passes through, and she rests” Nana touched placed her hand over her heart as she said this, growing quiet for a moment. “But you said there were daughters” Sarah continued, “how does she have daughters if she is the only one? Does she have a husband?” Laughing, Nana explained, “No, there is only one. The magic that the thunderbird has is passed from generation to generation, although they do live a very long time.” “How do you know all of this, Nana?” Sarah teased, waiting for Nana to admit that her stories were all made up. “It may surprise you, young lady” Nana said, “That I have met the great Oshara, and she was, once, a very good friend to me. When I was younger, I left this world, hidden between her great feathers. I was brought to another world, where I made a life for myself after accepting that I would never find my way home again. After Oshara discovered me, and got over her shock,” Nana chuckled, “She told me everything I wanted to know”. Nana looked down at her lap and said sadly, “She was a good friend to me” and more quietly, “I hope she has forgiven me for my betrayal”. Something in Nana’s tone urged her not to pursue that line of discussion, so Sarah pressed for more details about the thunderbird Oshara. “How does the magic pass from one to the other if there is no husband?” “Oshara explained to me, when I had the same question”, Nana said, “That after several thousands of years, a thunderbird will lay an egg, and as she nests and warms the egg over another ten thousand years, her power is transferred from her to her daughter, so that when the new thunderbird is born, she is bestowed all the powers and memories of her mother. The mother, left with no powers in her old age, passes into the realm of the dead, and her body is taken by those still faithful to her, to be burned so that the secret of her very existence is kept only by those loyal to her”. “Why are they all girls though, Nana? Aren’t there any thunderbird boys?” Sarah asked. Standing to get up, Nana chuckled, “Have you ever heard of a boy bird laying an egg?” she bent over and kissed Sarah on the head. “It’s late. Get some sleep, and in the morning, we’ll have pancakes”. “Goodnight, Nana” Sarah said, turning on her side and closing her eyes. As she began falling asleep, she resolved to ask Nana about how she had betrayed Oshara, then laughed it off and decided it wasn’t important. It was just a story.


© 2018 D Connolly


Author's Note

D Connolly
this is the first chapter of my new project; actually an old project that I'm rewriting after having lost the original work. I would appreciate feedback. Let me know what works for you and what doesn't.

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Reviews

A wonderful chapter shared dear friend. I liked to hear the old stories of the past. Thank you for sharing the amazing chapter.
Coyote

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

D Connolly

4 Months Ago

Thank-you Coyote! I haven't been online in a while, sorry my appreciation is so late
great chapter,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Posted 9 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

D Connolly

4 Months Ago

thanks Wordman! Hope you're writing is going well too
 wordman

1 Month Ago

you`re welcome

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Added on November 25, 2018
Last Updated on November 26, 2018
Tags: summer, adventure, bedtime, story, magic


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D Connolly
D Connolly

Bradenton, FL



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