She lay still, the tall grass around her stretching high above her head and toward the sky, like long-distance lovers desperate for each other. Every now and then a wind whistled through the blades, blowing them gently; an awkward third party in the celestial love triangle.

Her sensitive, pointed ears prickled with the influx of everything. The woods to the south rustled, the earth groaned lazily beneath her and an ant slowly made it’s way up her arm, stopping often to contemplate whatever it is ants contemplate. The breeze seemed to whisper her name.

–  “Sephianna”

High above, the cumulus formations moved imperceptibly across the sky, covering the land in shadow every time they crossed the blazing sun. A darker cloud was emerging from the east, heralding a storm, perhaps, but still she did not move.

Sephianna heard Crawmerax before she saw him, his piercing call crying out across the land. Aside from a small smile, she didn’t stir, playing with Craw, seeing how long it would take for him to pinpoint her hideaway in the grass. She lay impossibly still, her eyes locked upon the heavens above. A couple of seconds later and he soared into view, the sun filtering through his beautiful wings in a golden fashion. His majestic silhouette circled once, twice, and then began a hasty descent, having spotted Sephianna motionless below. He landed nearby, hopped over and scrabbled ungainly onto her shoulder. She continued to play dead, her smile the only giveaway to her trickery. Craw, perched upon her, cocked his head and looked down with beady eyes. He nibbled playfully at her ear, and, wholly confused, finally let out a grand shriek. A slightly shocked Sephianna arose, sitting upright and causing Craw to flap away, as startled as she.

She laughed as Crawmerax returned, who was evidently not pleased with this deception. He landed again on her shoulder and nipped once more at her ear, a little less concerned than before, urgent even, but Sephianna paid him no heed. Her eyes had found the east and the source of the darker cloud which, she realized, had been no cloud. A great billow of smoke was rising steadily from the monastery, fuelled by the flames that ate away at it’s once beautiful architecture. The town further below was likewise ablaze, it’s golden tongues sending a twin stack of smoke into the sky, diluting the blue purity with it’s black, choking smog.

Sephianna didn’t realize she was screaming – not from fear but anguish – until Craw beat his wings against the side of her head once, silencing her instantly. Devastated she looked toward him, her throat already hoarse, to see for the first time a small scroll bound to his leg. Hurriedly she removed the parchment and unfurled the miniscule message. Three words, written in a familiar yet frantic scrawl, demanded heed.

Don’t Come Back

This is a story I originally penned for an entirely different medium; the comic book! Sadly, despite two different artists picking up the story over the last three years it never really took off with either of them, so here I am writing it as yet another (potentially not-so) mini-series on the site. And yes, the header image is Studio Ghibli’s Kiki.

~ by Joseph Blame on July 16, 2010.

One Response to “Bounty”

  1. very nice.

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