Chapter Two - Calan

Chapter Two - Calan

A Chapter by NicMac

Calan finds a note that contains the truth about the past.


Calan's weary eyes flashed opened as the knell of the skylark warbled through the open window. He begrudgingly pulled himself up, throwing his lean youthful legs over the side of the straw-filled bed, turning his back to the gentle birdsong. As he rubbed his widening eyes, he let his head fall heavily into his hands for a few moments, his nightshirt briefly billowing out and filling with cold air. He raised his head and jutted out his chin, allowing his fingertips to feel around softly. He stopped and grunted in approval at the sensation of an additional tiny, prickly follicle on his upper lip.

Raising himself up into the cool morning air, he breathed in deeply as his long limbs stretched awake. Although the room was still filled with the darkness of the early hours, he swiftly and silently manoeuvred himself across it, effortlessly avoiding every single creaking floorboard. Opposite the bed, between a dull wooden chair and a small derelict dresser, was a pair of rough-looking trousers and a poorly patched waistcoat, secured together with a thick piece of string, hung from an old bent nail clumsily hammered into the cold stone wall.

He carefully removed the clothes from the nail and placed them onto the chair, thoughtfully untying the string that held them. With barely a trace of light to guide his hands, he dressed himself uncommonly swiftly, not making so much as a whisper of noise. Without looking he grasped the string from the chair beside him and tied it firmly around his oversized trousers. He pulled his waistcoat down over his nightshirt and makeshift belt before giving himself a dusting down.

Stretching over, he scooped a handful of water from a bowl that sat atop the crumbling dresser. He rushed the water over his head, passing his fingers through his unkempt bronzed hair, and back down to his neck. Shuddering and rolling his shoulders back as the cold water trickled down his spine. He grabbed a red blotched rag from beside the bowl, tucked it into his waistcoat pocket and crept out the door.

On one side of the kitchen, a heavy wooden door stood beside an assortment of hanging hooks, shelves sparsely filled with jars of pickled fruits and a few questionable vegetables. One hook suspended a small piece of salted meat, the rest lay adorned with nothing but dust and a lone cobweb. On the other side, a fireplace stood proud, with a few herbs drying on the hearth, the smell of thyme softened the dusty air.

The kitchen was dimly lit by the remnants of a fading candle in the centre of the room. It sat on a large table that resembled a huge, flattened twine spool, battered, burned, and well notched with knife marks. The last remaining flickers of light from the dying candle were encased in a pool of wax, along with an ill-fated moth. A gentle stream of air breathed through the little window teasing the dying flame as it squirmed and flickered in distress.

At the opposite side of the table, a frail woman lay slumped over it. Strands of her tired greying hair singed by the candle flame. She was dressed in a long faded-pink nightdress and sat on a sizeable wooden chest. Her thin, bare arms rested on the table beside her head, her skin a pasty white, even with the warm glow of candlelight. In one scrawny hand, rested a squat feather quill, while under the other, and strewn around the table, were rags and scraps of parchment. Each scruffily emblazoned with the same words. "inside demon flowers" He paused as he contemplated the sight before him, before giving a heavyhearted sigh. His breath extinguishing the glimmer of light from the room. "Grand." He muttered to himself, as he stood in near darkness once again. He began to pick up the parchment and pieces of rag, placing them in an old clay jar, on the shelf, pushing it back and out of sight, before taking a final scan of the room.

It was nearing dawn when he gently lifted the woman into his arms, cradling her as he walked across the narrow hall, into the room beside his, placing her in the thick cotton clad bed within. He closed the curtain, blocking the glow of the daybreak, and knelt beside the woman, pulling a dark woollen blanket over her. She let out a whimper as he kissed her cold forehead and pensively grazed his thumb over an old, thick scar above her ear. “I love you.” he whispered to her, before rising to his feet and creeping back to the kitchen.

As he picked up his boots, the light of the shrouded rising sun exposed another rag, tucked into a crack in the stone wall. He gently pulled it free, examining it carefully. At first it appeared to have no writing, but as Calan squinted, he could see the faint remnants of wax. He felt along it with his finger with a furrowed brow, muttering to himself with uncertainty. A cockerel squawked in the distance, and Calan looked up through the window, where the sound travelled through with the breeze. He shook his head, relaxed his face, and closed his fingers over the peculiar note.

He left the house through the small wooden door, stopping outside to put on his boots. While lacing up, he tucked the wax-written rag into the outer edge of the leather. Before getting to his feet, Calan stroked the damp grass in front of him, using the fresh morning dew to wash his face. As he looked across to the gloomy village edge, he watched the other boys, roughhousing as they walked towards the courtyard. He began to wander along behind them, keeping his distance as they reached a group of around twenty other jovial adolescents males, laughing and chatting merrily between the small thatch-roofed houses and the heavy looming gate.

© 2021 NicMac

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Added on March 25, 2021
Last Updated on March 25, 2021
Tags: fantasy, fiction, objective, magic, discovery, coming-of-age, rehabilitation



Scotland, United Kingdom

Just starting out. Trying to fight the desperate urge to extensively world build before writing. more..

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