Monday, January 11, 2010

Entry #120

Chasing Manhood
by Aidan Fritz


Willowleaf cursed the gray sky overhead. What self-respecting hawk spirit would be out on a day like this? The broad Beech leaves slapped against his cheeks as he ascended the broken trail. Too many boys never came back.

A caw echoed through the canyons and Willowleaf ran to the overlook to search for something, a shadow, anything, but the horizon was empty, except for the flat clouds and a scent of rain, only a precursor to the darker gray of raindrops. Today was the last day for Willowleaf to become a man, and here had been his best chance to find the hawk spirit. But wait, down against the slate of the rock he saw a ghost image.

He ran through the forest stepping where his moccasins wouldn't rustle sticks and dead leaves. He used his downhill momentum to jump the creek at the bottom where the bubbling water hid the sound of his feet. Overhead loomed the raw cliff like a wound on the side of the hill.

No sign.

Willowleaf balanced across the stones to return to the trail when a feather floated on the creek. He stumbled off the rock--barely noticing the cold water--and sprinted upstream.

The hawk watched him and Willowleaf held out an arm for the spirit who flew to him. He was a man now. But, as he looked into the golden eyes, he discovered it would be years before he came home again. But, not because he had failed.

22 comments:

Bernita said...

Lovely idea.

Tessa said...

The imagery is excellent and the pacing steady and compelling.

onipar... said...

Cool story with a bit of excitement. I liked it very much. Though I do think the title can be unintentionally funny. ;-P

Lena said...

I enjoyed reading the story. Really well done with the flow and imagery.

Aniket said...

lol @ onipar

I completely agree with Lena. Loved the flow and imagery in the piece. Nicely done.

onipar... said...

Aniket, I'm probably the only one that read it like that. :-) My brain doesn't work right sometimes...

Tara said...

Really great imagery, and story.

Four Dinners said...

onipar made me laugh out loud!

But I enjoyed this very much. Excellent imagery.

pjd said...

What I liked about this is the breathless focus on details during the chase. We get the big picture through these tiny details, which matches the story perfectly. Very nice job.

laughingwolf said...

nicely done, aidan...

Laurel said...

Understated and effective. I love that he finds what he seeks and another journey as well.

Deb S said...

I truly enjoyed this. Writing and story were both simple and complex at once. I got sucked right in. Well done.

Patsy said...

I like the way this is complete, yet still hints at a bigger story.

Kartik said...

Very elevating piece! There is a spirit of restlessness throughout

illyriataylor said...

the last lines of this spoke volumes. Gorgeous

catvibe said...

I love the idea that you end with, that by finding the spirit of the hawk, now he is free to fly. This is a beautiful coming of age vision quest. Just lovely, and extremely well written.

Craig said...

Very convincing POV.

JaneyV said...

Did he capture the spirit of the hawk or did the hawk spirit emancipate his? What a wonderful story.

james r. tomlinson said...

I've read perhaps a dozen spirit stories with an American Indian slant. This is probably the best of them, very well written.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Very nice. I liked the last bit especially.

Chris Eldin said...

Also LOL @ Onipar! ;-)

Lovely imagery. Loved your pacing in this vignette.

Aerin said...

Onipar, you and I are kindred spirits - disturbed kindred spirits, but nonetheless. I was expecting erotica.



my caveat

Something I Would Keep

"Overhead loomed the raw cliff like a wound on the side of the hill." I like that you've got nice imagery lines like this sprinkled throughout the well-paced action.

Something I Might Tweak
The two last sentences start with "but." I'd eliminate the "But" altogether, if you can, but if not, don't put a comma after it.