Our first teacher is our heart”
The log cabin sat between the tall majestic trees, surrounded by meadow grass, its golden colour complimented by the vibrant green. Splashes of yellow, pink and reds could be seen surrounding the cabin. The pathway leading to the front door covered in smooth flat stones carefully selected from the riverbed and neatly placed. Against the sound of the chirping birds the gentle murmur of trickling water could be heard, as it meandered flowing into the forest. The wind stirred and a gentle breeze caressed the land in refreshing kisses.
The solitude was broken by Songbirds axe as she began cutting the firewood needed. She stood tall and lean, tiny arms adorned by strength and a body toned by hard work. She brushed her brown strands away from her sweaty face as she swung the axe over and over with clean efficiency creating her small pile of firewood.
“Songbird!" Her father called, “Help me bring the goods from the shed,” “Yes sir, can I come with you today?” She asked, "No, it’s not safe for you,” he soothed. She had never been to the village, her father was protective of them knowing how cruel the villagers could be towards people who were different. "Papa",she said, “please be careful, John said there would be soldiers in the village today.” "Don’t worry, little bird. I will be swift and sly as a fox,” he teased. "Papa," she said in a scolding voice, "I am serious." "I will be safe, go on now look after your mother." He said.
She watched him leave, the horsecart loaded with goods for the village market. Songbird continued her chores as the sweltering sun rose high in the sky.
“Songbird!” The lilting voice of her mother could be heard calling, she looked up and in the doorway stood her beautiful mother, her Native American ancestry visible in her black locks and almond shaped brown eyes. Her father often said that she was a replica of her mother despite her brown silky hair which she apparently got from him.
“Come inside little bird, you will die of heatstroke,” her mother warned in her beautiful lilting voice. “Yes mama I am coming,” she replied, wiping the sweat from her hands on her khaki pants which resembled the same ones her father wore, she approached the cabin.
Songbird entered the cabin and sat at the wooden table. Her mother had set out a tall glass of lemonade, taking it up she took a long quenching drink. Approaching the table her mother placed in front of her a small bowl filled to the brim with corn pudding. Her eyes lit up with delight,
"Yes quiet one I made your favorite," her mother said. She loved when her mother made Native American dishes she enjoyed them the most. “I hope everything is alright, your father seems to have lost his way,” Songbird giggled because she knew that her father had a weakness for Mr. Clarke’s fine brewed whiskey , and would always come home a little merrier than when he left.
“I am sure he is fine mama,” her mother walked to the window and looked out at the road, there was no sign of Case, she signed, shook her head and continued to do her chores.
Songbird looked around at their humble home; the furniture was mostly wooden and crafted by her father. There were no walls separating the living space, her sleeping pallet was placed at a corner of the cabin, a thick woolen blanket cushioned it and more were neatly folded and placed at the side. Her parents occupied the opposite end, a tribal blanket hung between the space giving it a semblance of privacy. Everything gleamed with care. They didn’t have much, but they had each other.
Her mother walked by going to the window again. Looking out she realized that it would soon be dark, she jumped up and hurried to the door, “Don’t worry mama I am sure he is on his way,” her mother looked at her “I hope so little bird, its not like him to be gone so long, there are soldiers in the village, I hope he hasn’t had a run in with them.”
The beauty of the evening was lost, all colour had faded leaving only a matt black canvas. The light of a single candle illuminated the cabin, Songbird and her mother sat in a tight circle cocooned in worry. Her father had not yet returned from the village.
The thundering of hooves alerted them to the arrival of someone, before they could reach the door her father burst through. His disheveled appearance and frantic eyes told them what they needed to know. Songbirds body tensed as she waited for what her father had to say. “Quickly, quickly,” he said gasping for breath, “We have to go, the soldiers are coming, they have found us, I can’t leave you two to fend for yourself, come on quickly we need to leave now!”
" Casey, this can’t be true,” her mother answered, “It’s as true as the setting sun my Dove, come on hurry they were behind me.”
They all leapt into action, each had a task to fulfill before they could start their trek through the forest. They had done this before always hiding from the soldiers when they visited the village, her father’s loyalty questioned because he could never be found.
Songbird often listened to the news her father would bring back when he visited the village. The continent was at war, they needed soldiers. One of their colonies to the Far East was rebelling against their brutality. The different commanders would go village to village recruiting the young men with visions of heroism. But that vision was far from the truth. There was a rumor that commander Ryker, who was in charge of this province, was particularly cruel and had left a warrant for the capture of her father. They knew that their time was up and that they needed to leave the village soon.
The peaceful night was disturbed by the pounding of hooves, the wind unfurls and whips, a silent message floats by, Dove turns to her husband, “They are here!”
If your reading this, thank you for giving this story a chance, it starts up slow but builds as it grows. Please comment and vote, any criticisms are welcomed