21 comments

Drama

This story is reminiscent of a trip I took to Scotland one year ago, where I was fortunate to hike across the Isle of Skye. It was one the most beautiful scenes I have ever witnessed, and I wanted to capture the geological aspects in this story from the north to the south of the island.

Thank you to all the lovely citizens of the Isle of Skye, who befriended me and helped me along my journey.


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I gaze down at the earth as my colony takes to the skies, our leader gently commanding us to gather into formation. I fall in line behind Onyx––a familiar placement. She turns to smile at me before facing forward, stretching her wings and sailing through the air.

The fog is dynamic at this most northern point––ebbing and flowing, thick and thin, opaque and translucent. It is its own entity. Sometimes, it is a frightening one; it may mask everything its path, hiding the lands below, obscuring our view. It may become a gateway to death and darkness. Today, it has decided to be lenient. Our sights are not inhibited. And to that, we are grateful.

As we fly, I stare down at the cliffs far below, steep and unforgiving against the gray-blue seas. There, in the grasses, rests the ruins of a castle that has long since been abandoned. The stone is decrepit and worn, with grasses growing high in what used to be the floors. I turn away, wondering if the castle will have vanished from decay when my flock next returns here, to our home.

On the other side of the land, at the very edge of the cliffs, sits a small cabin. I have seen many humans come and go, passing through the open doors of the dwelling, breaking fast and forming communion. The cabin is a place of refuge, of community and safety. My kind have spent the last many months wandering close to it before our annual migration.  

I feel a pang in my heart as the cabin grows smaller behind me, until eventually, it is gone.

My home shall await until next year.

The land morphs into ripples of hills. I stare at a vast pond that sits at the base of the hills, a perfect sphere in a perfect valley. The water is a mirror. I look at our formation reflected on the surface. A perfect “v”. The mirror disappears, replaced by more hills of the greenest kind. Colorful flowers protrude from the grasses, leaving small sparks of blues and pinks and reds amongst the green. An unreal, fantastical beauty.

The hills transform into boulders as we fly over more cliffs, this time on the land. They rise above dramatically, towering high and looming against gray skies. We angle ourselves higher in the air to sail over their rocky tops, the wind pushing against us with an iron hand. I move my wings faster, harder, the wind roaring in my ears.

The cliffs become rocky, curled fingers reaching into the sky, composed of strange, eerie shapes and configurations. I swerve around the strange tendrils, breaking formation just slightly, to avoid them. The rocky fingers fall behind us as we soar over a vast, stunning green valley that stretches all the way to the ocean.

It is an indescribable beauty, this valley. So green that one cannot possibly imagine the color without beholding this ethereal sight. Little ponds dot the surface like minuscule windows, leading into unknown worlds and magical realms. The wind is calmer here. Slow. Smooth. I float on it, in it, among it, befriending it. It is strange––I did not expect to feel such warm comfort in this wide, endless expanse, of which can only serve to remind me of my very small and very finite existence.

The valley transforms into another set of cliffs. Again, the wind slams into our formation, causing the “v” to break, just barely. We fight against the powerful gusts across dense fogs high in the sky.

There, like a beacon, rests the jutted, sharp rock I have come to fear. My heart flutters as we approach it, the structure that threatens to break our formation forever, to leave us lost and ailing. It is foreboding and dark. Many years ago, in heavy fog and wind and rain, the sudden appearance of the rock had resulted in many of the formation at that time to sustain severe injuries, even deaths. I narrow my eyes in focus, determined to avoid the same fate.

This rock is ruthless.

Our leader shouts something, but I cannot hear him over the wind. I do not know if any of the others can hear him, either. But I follow Onyx closely, preparing myself to cross over the rock.

It disappears for moment in the fog. A moment of panic engulfs me. And, then, it appears, seconds before our formation reaches it.

Our leader angles sharply upward. We follow suit, our wings beating us one, fierce and loyal and determined.

We fly over the rock. Not a single one of my family is left behind.

Power surges through my wings. I smile, straightening in the formation, feeling the wind calm to a slight breeze, cool and refreshing against my body. I am among the wind once more.

As the cliffs dissipate, a small town takes its place. A row of orange and pink and blue houses lines the water––a bay. There are humans roaming about the small town square, walking happily in the interconnected streets to various buildings. Smells waft toward me from far below––of eggs and sausages and mushrooms and somewhere, somewhere, the richest chocolate one can imagine.

I breathe in deeply, gazing at the humans below, of all shapes and sizes and colors. I do not mind the humans here on this island. They are kind. They leave us to our own devices, respecting our lands and our lives. And we respect them.

The town grows smaller as we fly over more hills and rivers and ponds. Everything is green and vibrant here. I know this color will not last for long, as the coldness settles in, sucking the green away and leaving a dry, foreign brown in its place. A different, alien beauty will overtake this island in the coming weeks.

But the green will arrive again soon. It always does, in the Isle of Skye.


October 17, 2020 02:11

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21 comments

Hey Lina!! I just read this awesome story and I have to say, you did a great job! I loved the "fiction" route you took in this story! Your effort payed of!! :)

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Lina Ozz
16:28 Oct 18, 2020

Thank you so much as always for your lovely and kind comment! :)

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Ann Doe
08:44 Oct 22, 2020

I can almost picture the island through your imagery. Your "camera" seems like a poetic nature documentary.

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Lina Ozz
22:54 Oct 22, 2020

Thank you so much, Ann! I really appreciate you giving my story a read and leaving such a lovely comment. I hadn't considered the documentary aspect before and appreciate your note about that; looking back, I think it's what I was going for!

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Ann Doe
06:39 Oct 23, 2020

I’m glad! It’s always the subconscious things that surprise me the most as well! You have a really easy and flowing way of describing landscapes. I could never do that

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Charles Stucker
23:21 Oct 20, 2020

of eggs and sausages and mushrooms and somewhere, somewhere, the richest chocolate one can imagine.- the bird frequently breaks character to say something that would not make sense to bird. Sausage and chocolate are purely human developments and though the bird might recognize it as "human meat stuff" they would not use sausage. This reads like a travelogue- "And on the left we have the ruins of Duntulm castle, best known for..." You have one whiff of tension, the "rock" and then more travel across a wide welcoming expanse. And...lookin...

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Lina Ozz
23:40 Oct 20, 2020

Dang it—those are such excellent points and ones I wish I could have implemented! Sadly, the submission was already approved. I wish I had adopted a more unique bird perspective, though, like you mentioned—would have better addressed the prompt and added an interesting flavor to the piece. Plus it would have just made more sense with the bird perspective. Thank you for taking the time to leave such valuable feedback though! I still really appreciate it. :)

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11:23 Oct 23, 2020

Perfectly described the flights of the birds, good word selections, lastly I could say you gave a positive view in the story. Loved it and enjoyed it.

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Lina Ozz
17:53 Oct 23, 2020

Thank you so much for your lovely comment and for giving my story a read! I really appreciate it :)

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Philip Clayberg
16:02 Oct 18, 2020

Wonderful story. It made me wish I could be there in-person. Thank you for writing it.

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Lina Ozz
16:28 Oct 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Philip! I really appreciate that you read my story and left such kind feedback. Thanks again :)

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Philip Clayberg
16:43 Oct 18, 2020

You're very welcome. The British Isles is one part of Europe I wish I could visit someday (along with Scandinavia). Maybe because I'm part-Scottish, British, Welsh, Irish, Danish, and Swedish (I'm also part-Dutch, German, and Ukrainian). I guess the lands of my ancestors sometimes do call to their distant (in time and place) descendants, even if those descendants are too poor to visit those places in-person. At least I can see them in videos and in my imagination, as well as read about them.

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Lina Ozz
16:58 Oct 18, 2020

Ah, I love all the cultures you're from! I studied abroad in Scotland and did some trips throughout Scandinavia––they were all just incredible locations. So much beauty and, to my delight, so many myths/legends/fantasy/legends!! They are expensive, though. Don't think I'll be able to go again any time soon. But, definitely places to keep on the bucket list––thanks as always for your kind and thoughtful comment :)

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Philip Clayberg
17:10 Oct 18, 2020

You're welcome. I'm glad that you got to study abroad. Wish I'd been able to. Hope you took a lot of photos, to remind you of where you went and what you saw. I haven't been back in Europe since 1990. Since my late father was in the US Army when I was born, I got to live in Germany for two years, then Turkey for three years, before finally moving to America when I was 5. It was six years later (1978) when I got to visit Europe again (West Berlin, West Germany, a little bit of France (Strasbourg), eastern Switzerland, Liechtenstein,...

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Lina Ozz
23:10 Oct 18, 2020

WOW––I am awestruck. Your life seems full of rich experiences––I can only dream to have some of those experiences and visit some of those places. I love how you use your beer mug for dice (hmm... I can see a story there!). Also, an archaeological site? That sounds amazing! There was a time when I considered doing field work in anthropology/archaeology but never did (I don't have the brains for science-centered research), though I always wanted to. Maybe one day. Seems like I have a lot to learn from you! :)

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Lani Lane
15:42 Oct 18, 2020

Oh my gosh YES SCOTLAND. Amazing. Even with knowing the prompt, at first I thought this was told from the POV of a sheep (I think because of the "flock") and I was so excited, but I also love the bird POV. :D Please do a Scotland story from the POV of a sheep sometime. ;) A couple quick thoughts: 1. "I stare at a vast pond from below that sits at the base of the hills, a perfect sphere in a perfect valley." I don't think you need "from below" here, since you say it sits at the base of the hills. Here's the edit: "I stare at a vast ...

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Lina Ozz
16:25 Oct 18, 2020

Dang it. Every time I use "breathe" in a story I keep leaving off the "e" XD Whoops. Great catches, as usual!! Thank you so much! Quick question––should I change the beginning of the story to make it sound more like birds? I'm totally reading it from the viewpoint as a sheep now haha!! :D

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Lani Lane
16:44 Oct 18, 2020

SAME. :D Also, I just Googled this: "Several collective nouns can apply to all bird species, such as flock, colony, fleet, parcel, and dissimulation." Maybe use "colony" instead?

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Lina Ozz
16:44 Oct 18, 2020

THANK YOU. Perfect. Next time, POV of a sheep. Lol.

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Lina Ozz
02:13 Oct 17, 2020

A bit of a fictitious take on travel writing, I suppose. Let me know what you think!

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