Friday, July 3, 2009

Faith and Diligence by Oonah V. Joslin

Faith and Diligence
by Oonah V. Joslin

“Everybody thought Old Jed Noah was mad when he said he’d been visited by the Storm Crow. It had told him a big old storm was on its way; the biggest storm you’d ever see, big as the big Jupiter storm.” Jessica knew that couldn’t be true but she needed to jazz the story up a bit. They looked at her with eyes bright as Jupiter itself. She’d often point Jupiter out, because she thought knowledge was paramount; ‘jewel of the night sky,’ she called it. “But The Crow told Jed that if he was diligent, he’d have time to prepare.”

“What’s digilent?” asked Bob.

“Diligence means very, very hard working, Bob, not like you,” she tousled his hair.

The others laughed and so did Bob.

“Well, Old Jed built the bunker with his own bare hands; dug deep into the earth just like the bird had told him.” She tucked Bob in. “Turves of grasses and wild flowers covered the top of the bunker so that, had it not been for the occasional thin thread of smoke from its chimney as Old Jed worked away, it would have been invisible. He stocked the extensive workings with preserved fruits and vegetables…”

“What sort?”

“Oh, crisp apples and pears and crunchy carrots and…”

“I’m hungry, Mum.”

“Peter, you’re always hungry and you’ve had quite enough today, you know?”

“Of course he had to fill the stalls with fodder and cattle cake.”

“Mu-um,” whined Peter.

She tucked him in too and rubbed noses with him, which he hated. “Anyway, Old Jed did precisely what he’d been told, unlike you lot, and waited with patience for a sign.”

Jessica sat very still and lowered her tone. “Then, one day the Storm Crow returned. Old Jed looked at the sky and seeing the amethyst darkness of the scudding clouds and the citrine coloured Sun, he knew the time had come to gather all his live stock and his family together. He took them to the earth-works he’d prepared and there they crouched as the fury of the planet swept over with a mighty voice, lashing the lands with destruction until many moons went by. And nothing moved.”

They were all silent - waiting, but Jessica didn’t say a word.

“So, Old Jed Noah and his family survived the storm and lived happily ever after,” said Flopsy, who never could abide suspense.
“No, dearest, they all got killed when the bunker collapsed under the weight of the rain.”

There was a general cry of dismay.

“But Mum, I thought you said he’d done just as he was told,” protested Peter.

“He did,” said Jessica, “but did you ever see a crow make a tunnel? Now, you’re all to go to sleep, hear?” and they all groaned.

“Goodnight Peter, goodnight Bobby Bobtail, goodnight Flopsy, my love, goodnight Bunny, sleep tight Bugs, darling,” and she looked contentedly around her nice dry burrow.

Author bio:

Oonah's posts links to her work at Oonahs, known as oonahverse. She is twice winner of Micro Horror Competitions and Editor of Everyday Poets.

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