Of My Sister Dusk

Scaredy cat” my brother teased me.

The look I gave him, could have drilled holes in the back of his head, but it was wasted in the setting sun as he could not see me. He constantly made fun of many of my fears both real and imagined, the kind of thing big brothers did, to seem fearless and know everything.

What was that?” I squealed.

A soft rustling sound, had broken the twilight silence, in the bushes to our left.

Relax” he reassured “That’s just a lizard, mostly harmless” As I was about to breathe in relief, he continued “Unless…” and posed dramatically.

Unless what?” I asked, I could not help myself, my middle name might as well as have been Curiosity.

Unless, it’s a monitor lizard, those are common in these parts, tricky lil bastards they can get quite big, deceptively fast too and they like to suck the milk dry from dairy cows until they bleed

I protectively wrapped my hands over myself and continued walking after my brother, leaving the rustling mystery behind. You could tell that whatever was making the noise had feet and scurrying about in the bushes, at least it was not a snake, snakes were the worst. They bit people, and people died it was not an illogical fear, right?

The sun had set but it was not quite night yet, and we were taking a shortcut through the forest, in my head I called it The Evil Forest. My brother had insisted that going the long way round would take us hours and by the time we got to the village, it would be well after dark, yet the shortcut shaved it to about a quarter of an hour tops.

I am not afraid of imaginary ghosts and I have this” he had declared brandishing his catapult, he was very skilled with it. I was proud to admit, sometimes he hunted little birds and we would prepare them for dinner. He used to joke that had he been born in the old days he would have been a renowned hunter, never eating a meal without meat, meat for breakfast, meat for lunch, meat for supper and of course strips of cured biltong as an anytime snack.

Gross” I used to say as I wrinkled up my nose, good thing we did not leave in the old days, we lived in the city and there night was never dark because of the streetlights. During the school holidays our parents would insist we go to the village, so we never forgot where we came from, our roots they called it.

And now here we were, we had lost track of time visiting family that it had gotten pretty late, we had to take a shortcut through a dense forest after sunset to get back to our grandparents house, who would probably be frantic by now.

The forest was rather dense, during the day one could easily get lost in it and the were stories of some parts being haunted by spirits I do not know if the spirits but I do know nothing good could ever come from an encounter with spirits. I had watched enough the scary movies, to know things like this. I was a horror movie aficionado mostly due to my big brother who taught me to laugh at all the silly makeup, fake blood and the poor acting in the B grade movies also in the real world how would they explain all that nonsense to the police who always conveniently arrived at the very very end…

It was after sunset but before dusk and we were in dark forest I had heard stories about. This was not a movie, this was real and it was happening.

My grandad told me that back in his youth he walked this forest at odd hours of the day coming from traditional drink ups with his peers until he walked with a stranger who asked him for a light, for a cigarette and then disappeared right before his very eyes, as granpa lit a match, he never walked at night again.

An uncle told us the story of how once he encountered a beautiful lady in the very same forest, she said her name was Molly and she had taken him home to her house, in the morning he woke up,.. in the graveyard, and the headstone read Molly. He too never stayed out late.

My aunt took the shortcut when she was pregnant and the contractions had come in the night, like a thief. A large ball of flame had followed her all through the forest, lighting up the way for her, she had prayed the entire time.

So you can imagine, my reluctance and my brother making fun of me for being scared, silly boys, I bet he was scared too but tried to look brave by joking about it…

Did you hear that?” I asked

There’s nothing there” he replied without even stopping to listen.

The sound came again, this time it was louder, clearer and coming from right in front of us, a wailing sound.

 “Did you__” I started to ask but was immediately silenced.

He seemed to be shaking or maybe that was me ,shivering. I felt a crawling on my skin like a column of marching ants, as goosebumps appeared.

We were more than three quarters through the forest pass and so we kept moving, no words had been spoken, he had had simply looked back at me and nodded, I nodded back, in the fading twilight we could still make out each other’s profiles, I saw the outline of his catapult held casually in his left hand but ready to send a deadly projectile rocketing.

The wailing grew louder, with each step forward, until it became unmistakable, tiny lungs wailing in distress. Do ghosts have babies I wondered?

In front of us in a space between the roots of an ancient tree was a dark bundle where the wailing was coming from, I started to walk towards it and my brother turned and held my shoulder to restrain me, he shook his head at my clear lack of judgement.

Ghosts don’t have babies and ghosts most certainly don’t cry, everybody knows that

I said as I ran and picked up the bundle, with a tiny newborn swaddled in a fleece wrapper, she immediately stopped crying.

What do we do with it?”

It’s not an it, she is a girl… granma will know what to do

And that is how Dusk became my sister.

The End

~B

A mystery genre Blogbattle tale themed Dusk

28 Comments

  1. Oh, yes. I love origin stories. Sad that the child had been abandoned, yes, but Dusk is oozing with so much story potential. I’d very much like to read how Dusk goes on about her life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.. erm… Mr Onebird? hahahahaha

      Abandonment is a sad thing but as you put it Dusk oozes potential, you know what they say, what does not kill you makes you stronger….

      Believe it or not I am actually quite excited to also figure out how or where the story leads
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha the banshee angle and other strange things did pop into my mind for a second hahaha and in my head I have been thinking of it as an origins story… you know what they say, what doesnt kill makes you stronger right?
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I’m glad you didn’t go the banshee route! An overused trope, if you ask me.

        Not all things that don’t kill you make you stronger! Lobotomies don’t necessarily kill you, but they certainly don’t make you stronger 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. hahaha …..wait so if its not making you stronger, is it killing you, cause a lobotomy is pretty close to a death of sorts, especially those weird doctors of long ago who werent too sure of what they doing pretty much winging it, electri shocks to the head then nails deciding I know let me stick a piece of steel into your prefontal cortex….
        What I do know though is I would rather have a free bottle in front of me than prefontal lobotomy
        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well yes, lobotomies do sort-of kill you. I wonder which of today’s medical practices we’ll look back on and say, “Wow, that was crazy.” Probably giving people tons and tons of opioids…

        Free bottles are always better than prefrontal lobotomies!

        Like

  2. Now that was a twist I didn’t see coming! I love the build up. You have some really gorgeous imagery in here, too. I did find the italicized dialogue a bit distracting. I don’t think you need it when the quotes do the job just fine, and removing that would make the italicized thoughts later on make more sense (although, the thoughts should be in present tense, even though the narrative is in past tense, in my opinion).

    With how detailed your descriptions are and how immersed we are in the story, the ending feels very rushed. I know the prompt is only for 1000 words, but I think this story deserves another 250 words to balance out the ending. Or, as others have suggested, just keep going with this story and tell us a little bit more about Dusk and her life. Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ^_^ Thank you for this breakdown ♥♥♥
      The ending is not really an ending in the way ending are endings, it could be the middle or even the beginning and Dusk is somewhat a wild card, she might be a perfectly normal baby, abandoned or maybe there’s more; in my draft version the story was a bit longer, but I scraped some of it partly because I wanted to stay within the word count and I wasnt ready to lock-in the character by revealing a more conclusive ending, I wanted something I could pick up on later at any point and continue or start from
      Thank you ♥♥♥
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh! I love the idea of Dusk being a totally normal child, living with this wild origin story, and everyone waiting for her to reveal herself to be special in some way. That would be another totally unexpected way of dealing with the story. I like the way you think…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I was low key giving myself goosebumps writing this…. I am not afraid of the dark , but I have a healthy appreciation for the things that go bump in the night…

      FYI the story is not ended, its only beginning… with Dusk
      ^_^
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Is this a true story, or fiction? Either way, I look forward to the rest of it. Will it be in a book?

    I was drawn to the title mentioning “Dusk” as that is what we named one of our kittens. Then the first line of your blog entry included the word “cat” and I smiled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looks like you got an answer ♥♥♥
      Appreciate you dropping by…
      Funny story, a stray cat adopted me as its owner, I havent named it anything yet, but each evening at dusk it shows up and starts to meow
      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

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