A Short Story
She maneuvered through the trees, her senses on fire, and in one eggplant-taloned hand she held a bloodied scale.
It had been a long time since she had let anyone in close, preferring to keep her distance from others the way her scaly armor protected her from the rain. She was a loner, and who could blame her for her self-imposed isolation? It had taken a lot of heartache to get to this point, she recalled, and heartache was not anything she was interested in pursuing any further.
Solace was now found in the steadfast green of her forest. The needles of the thickly branched curtains along the creek caught in her corona and, blinking her golden eyes, she absentmindedly shook them off. The snowmelt water burbled in time to her thoughts and she recalled a similar walk a few moons ago. That walk had started just like all the ones that had come before it, so many that she couldn’t count them all. That walk, that day, turned out so very different from the others, for along the small trail in the woods on that day lay a strangely colored egg. There were several eggs, actually, but all were crushed and broken, their gore already drying on the rocky dirt. All but for one.
Sweeping her sinewy arm along the ground and catching the intact sphere, she had cradled the egg, much as she now cradled the scale, and had wiped the gore of its nest mates from its speckled shell, much as she wiped the gore from her own scale earlier this day. Quizzically turning the egg in her claw, she had decided to take it home and look up what creature it could be. This unevenly colored sphere matched no living thing she had ever seen in her woods
At home she placed the egg on a windowsill and pointed her device towards it, waiting to see what information the collective would have about such a thing. No match was found and she left the egg on the sill as she went about her solitary life. Sometimes the sunlight would illuminate the egg and capture her eye and thoughts for a moment, but only for a moment. She quickly returned her thoughts to the quiet routine of her world in which there were no surprises.
One day cracks appeared on the egg and a sound could be heard from within the shell. She watched, mesmerized, as the creature struggled to break free from its confines and move on to the new life it would face.
And she thought, while she watched, of her own armored shell. Would she ever again choose to break out, to let it crack open and fall away and face an unknown and perhaps unkind world?
The creature stood on the sill, small and wet and hairless but already standing on its two legs. Small eyes on the front of the head, inhibiting its vision, she thought, but the eyes were already focused on her and taking in the surroundings. No scales anywhere on its body yet it burst forth into a new life as if it had no fear. Of course, it had no past so it had not learned to be afraid.
How lucky it is, she thought.
The creature stayed with her and it was a never-ending experiment to feed the small being. It had no talons, she observed, so it couldn’t be much of a hunter so probably no meat. It did have an appetite like a carnivore, she mused. She began to care for this feeble-seeming being. This small and unknown creature was the very picture of vulnerability, yet it faced her and the world with a gaze that was piercing and unflinching.
And so the day came, this day, on this walk in her solitary woods, she realized she could no longer stay safely ensconced in her armor like a princess in a tower. She knew she could chose and so she made a decision to live as the creature had taught her, without the false safety of scaly armor. She realized that to be connected, truly connected to another was to be truly alive. With a trembling breath she plucked the scale from over her heart, letting it bleed and finally feeling the warmth of the sun and the coolness of the rain, finally feeling the heat of fear and the vastness of her own breathing.
This story came about after thinking on how we try to protect ourselves from getting hurt. We expect someone else to make the first move so we won’t look stupid. We are afaid to say I love you or I am sorry because we are afraid to look weak. If there is one thing I have learned in the last couple of years it is that true courage goes hand in hand with vulnerability. Okay, two things I’ve learned because I am also realizing how very important it is to begin each day, each moment, with a beginner’s mind. Just like a baby faces each day, just like the flower seed faces cracking open its shell, we have to risk everything to take those first steps.
If you enjoyed this short story, maybe the book below would also be of interest to you.The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It
Most of my writing begins on my Kindle Fire. I like it because I can easily take it anywhere. It holds a charge for a very long time and, with this keyboard, it acts like a little computer. You can trade in any old tablet, even one that is not working (hello old iPad, I’m looking at you) and get credit toward a shiny new tablet.Trade-in Amazon Fire tablets-Get 20% off a new Fire tablet
For reading, especially the book recommended above, I suggest you try Kindle Unlimited. There are SO MANY books you can read! From baking to yoga to suspense and thriller to personal development. Click this link to try it out for free! Kindle Unlimited
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