1.24.2009 | By: Alisa Callos

The Spirit

Todays Sunday Scribblings prompt reminded me of the very first scene I ever wrote for 'The Novel'. Here is some more of Ian's life. It takes place three years earlier.

Scotland, Summer 1744

Ian Cameron slowly ran his try plane down the rough wooden board that would soon make up the frame of the Currach he was making for his younger brother. The Crannghail would be covered with the cured seal hide his mother and older sister were making and would provide Brian with a sturdy fishing boat.

Working quietly on the rocky shore of Loch Duich, the summer sun burning overhead, he welcomed the monotony that brought a hypnotic peace to his troubled mind. He had only a month before he left to go back to Edinburgh to finish school and much to get done and settle. His thoughts drifted lazily as he worked. He was eager to finish his classes, debate again with his tutors, see his friends and get back to the city. At the same time, he was anxious to leave his mother, sister and brother well provided for and safe…a difficult if not impossible task.

Ian stopped working and looked up at the water of the Loch. Today its deep blue was sparkled with sunlight. The hills across the loch were a deep hazy green. He heard a dog bark and looked down the shore. A young woman was walking barefooted toward him along the water’s edge, the dog gamboling into the water and racing back to her. The heat from the rocks shimmered up into the air distorting her image. As he watched, she stooped to pick something from among the rocks. She was dressed in a simple white gown with lace at the collar and hem. Absent-mindedly he continued to smooth the wooden frame his mind half-distracted by the girl, and half by the growing heat of the noonday sun. He wondered why she was alone. Where were her folk? These were dangerous times to be out without an escort. She continued to walk closer, stopping at intervals to look at something, or throw a stick for the dog to chase.

Suddenly, she was standing in front of him. Not four feet away. Mouth agape he crossed himself quickly for he saw that she was no ordinary girl. Light shimmered and shifted around her and she seemed almost transparent. He might have thought himself dreaming but for the fact that she spoke.

“What are you doing?” She asked in an oddly accented voice.

“Are you a spirit?” he answered vaguely wondering if he had been out in the sun too long.

“Humm?” She cocked her head to one side, a frown on her forehead. Dark chocolate colored hair fell over her shoulder.

“Are you a spirit?” he asked again, this time in English for she obviously didn’t understand Gaelic.

“No, are you?” She asked quickly giving him an oddly questioning look. “What are you making?”

Ian did not know if he should answer the questions of a Faery girl. He picked up his try plane and continued to smooth the wood. The girl came a little closer and continued to watch him work as she dug her bare toes into the sand. After a time she spoke again.

“I found a couple of interesting fossils on the beach just down the way. You can have one if you want.” She reached out a hand and laid a small rock in the shape of a snail on the frame in front of him. “I think they’re bivalves.” She paused placing the other rock in the pocket of her dress and then asked again, “What are you making?”

Not wanting to seem rude, he answered. “A Currach…it’s a boat for my brother.” Stunned that he was having a conversation with a spirit-faery-angel he surreptitiously pinched himself to see if he was awake. It hurt, so he was.

“It’s not very big.” Bright hazel eyes took in the small frame. “Don’t you think it’ll sink in a storm?”

“He won’t be using it in a storm.” He said, miffed she dared disparage his project. He wondered if he aught tread carefully as faeries were well known to have capricious tempers.

“Hummph…” she looked skeptical. “Well, it’s pretty small. It wouldn’t hold up in a storm and he would die… it happens all the time.” She paused looking out across the water. “That’s how my parents died.”

Ian just stared at her. She talked strange. Who knew that spirit-faery-angels had parents who died? He watched as she took a step closer and ran her hand over the freshly smoothed wood. He cleared his throat.

“Sorry about your Mum and Dad.” He said.

“It’s OK.” She looked up and shrugged. “I don’t usually mind. This wood is beautiful. I’m sure it will be a perfectly wonderful boat. “Stepping back she dusted her hands on the edge of her gown. “When will it be done?” The raucous cry of a gull momentarily distracted his attention.

“Ian, time to go lad.” a voice called from behind him. Ian turned to see his Uncle James jump down from the steep bank that lined the shore by where he sat.

“Coming.” He called. He turned back to answer her question and say goodbye but the girl had vanished.

“Taken to talking to yourself have ye lad?” said his Uncle coming forward with a smile. “Ye know what they say…”

“Did you see her Uncle? Which way did she go? The girl. The girl I was talking to.”

“There was no one here but you laddie—actin’ strange.” His Uncle reached out a hand clapping his nephew on the shoulder. “Come on. Ye’d best come along out of the sun now. And don’t be telling yer Mum about yer hallucinations as she’s got enough to worry about just now.”

Reluctantly Ian stood. He picked up the small rock sitting on the Crannghail and tucking it quickly into his Sporran, grabbed his kilt. As he turned to follow the older man he asked, “Uncle, what’s a fossil?”


BJ Roan said...

Enjoyable read, very Gabaldon-like. I wanted to read more to find out whether or not she was real, whether in his mind or other worldly.

alister said...

Ooh, I got goosebumps when Ian crossed himself seeing she was no ordinary girl. And I adored the dialog between them. It was so natural and fun and laid the clearest brushstrokes for the painting, this marvelous excerpt!


paisley said...

just came from your other blog as well,, as i was intrigued by the name... you are so talented so full of creativity and amazing love... i am really happy to have stumbled upon you via sunday scribblings.....

"Sunshine" said...

Hey Alisa, I have an award waiting for you at my blog. Also, I sent you an email about writing conferences last night :)

Marguerite said...

Very good post. You are a talented writer, indeed. I really enjoy your other blog, too. Sunshine & I have talked about doing a blog together--maybe we'll get around to it someday.

Tumblewords: said...

The dialog rings true and the events are highly fitting! The story has a lovely feel...

Linda - Nickers and Ink said...

I feel as if I have just eavesdropped on real people.

Hey, today's prompt at MEME EXPRESS is PHANTOM.

Feel free to stop by and leave a comment with a link to your post today!


MEME EXPRESS – daily blog prompts

Frances said...

I could see the whole thing play out on mind's screen.
I'm looking forward to returning visits.
Thanks for stopping by my scribble.
Waving at you from an icy cold New York

Anonymous said...

wow. love the vivid picture your words drew in my head.
and then finally the bubble popped!!!
love it!

John Tran said...

I enjoyed reading this...

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