The Emergence (Fiction)

As I sat down to write this post on Thursday night, my motto was, “when gears don’t shift, stay in park.”

In my early-week confidence, I’d been certain I could write a story to post on Friday. Then, work happened. This week has made me wish I were close to retirement age. (Despite what my older son says, sadly, that is not the case.) Hours spent assessing the complications of contractual liability, updating payment plans in underwriting manuals, and testing new reports left me less creative than I like.

I parked myself on the couch to write a post about how I planned to embrace nothingness. I looked through some old photos hoping to find a peaceful one to accompany the short post, and then a funny thing happened- a short story emerged.

09-12 Mogollon Rim View

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Gabriella rolled over and stretched her arms above her head. Each morning as she shook off the grogginess of sleep, she almost forgot she didn’t have a permanent home anymore. The early morning sun peeked through the flap of the cowhide tent, reminding her of reality. They had been nomads since soldiers took over their land three years ago. Her father said they must always stay one step ahead of the sword. She heard her father’s voice outside.

“What do you suppose it means?”

The response came in a crescendo of murmurs.

Curious, she slipped her wool shift over her nightshirt and pushed through the door flap. Her kinsmen clustered on either side of a clearing that looked like someone had shaved a twelve-foot-wide stripe across the landscape, all the way into the horizon. She scanned the faces for her best friend, Daisy.

“It must be a sign,” Gabriella’s father, chief of the Mogollon tribe said as he rubbed his bearded chin.

“Daisy!” Gabriella called as she rushed toward her friend. When her feet hit the edge of the newly-formed clearing, a hand grabbed her shoulder, pulling her backward.

“You mustn’t cross the line.”

“But Father, I want to talk to Daisy!”

He shook his head. “They are another people now.” He turned to address the growing crowd flanking the edges of the dividing stripe. “The spirits have spoken. We must disperse as they have directed.” Everyone residing on this side of the line,” he gestured to his left,” will form one tribe. We will pack and leave by sundown.” He pointed to his right, “everyone on this side will become a second tribe. Today, you must elect your chief. He will determine when you embark on the journey to a new destination.”

“Father, we should stay together.”

The chief turned to his daughter. “This is not a point to be challenged, child. Ignoring the spirit ruler of the land shall have dire consequences.”

“But Daisy- she’s my best friend. We’ve been together since birth. This isn’t fair!”

“The spirit has spoken.” He clapped his hands twice and the people hesitated only a moment before dispersing into their respective camps.

Gabriella stared, incredulous that no one challenged her father. The idea that the stripe dividing the landscape was a divine revelation seemed preposterous. She knelt down and studied the shaved grass, still unsure enough to actually touch it.

“I don’t see it.”

Gabriella looked up and broke into a grin when she saw Daisy on her knees on the other side of the line. “See what?”

“Well, there has to be another explanation. Dividing us would be like peeling a braid off a rope- we become more vulnerable than if we were one.”

“So what do we do?”

Daisy stood. “I think, perhaps, the message is to meet in the middle.”

Gabriella furrowed her brow and rose to her feet. “You mean, cross the line?”

“Exactly.” Daisy smiled. “On three?”

“On three.”

“One…. Two…. Three….” They counted in unison before taking equally timed steps toward the center of the line. When they were arm’s width apart, they reached out and clasped hands.

“Gabriella, no!”

She didn’t turn toward her father’s voice. Instead, Gabriella basked in the warmth that flooded her body. She felt relaxed- a peace she’d never experienced before.

“Oh!” Daisy, exclaimed. “Do you feel it?”

She nodded.

You are enlightened; the chosen ones. You will become leaders, gifted with the insight of future. You will unite the people and lead them to me.

The earth trembled.

“But women are to bow to the men’s guidance,” Gabriella said.

Daisy added, “They’ll never listen to us.”

Have faith, as the world is changing. Those who oppose you, oppose me and will be sentenced to an eternity of enslaved servitude.

The girls unclasped their hands.

“Can you believe it? Do you think they’ll really listen to two twelve-year-old girls?” Gabriella asked.

“We’re about to find out,” Daisy whispered. “Here comes your father.”

“You defied my instructions and challenged the spirit!”

“Father, the spirit is not angry. We’ve been gifted with the insight of future.”

“And we’re supposed to unite the people,” Daisy added.

The chief laughed. “That’s the most ridiculous notion I’ve ever heard.” He charged into the clearing, stirring dust with each angry step. After three steps, he halted and dropped to his knees.

The girls saw an expression of pain and fear.

Gabriella reached out to him, but before she could touch him, the earth opened and his body slid into the crevice. The girls watched, open-mouthed as the earth mended itself.

They looked to the crowd. “We are to unite as one,” Daisy said.

The people on both sides of the line dropped to their knees. “It shall be, great leaders,” they murmured as one.

They linked arms and walked toward Gabriella’s tent. The earth rumbled behind them. They turned in time to see the clearing reforest itself. In seconds, the clearing filled in with 70-foot tall Ponderosas.

The land appeared the same as it had been the day before, but the girls knew their world had changed forever.

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42 thoughts on “The Emergence (Fiction)

  1. GodGirl September 12, 2014 / 3:23 AM

    I love that such an awesome story just “emerged” when you planned to write about nothingness! Love the “crescendo of murmurs” expression! And found the narrative really gripping – well done.

    • jannatwrites September 12, 2014 / 5:12 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story, GodGirl! I wrote it pretty late at night so I wasn’t entirely sure how it meshed together 🙂

  2. nrhatch September 12, 2014 / 5:36 AM

    I bet Freud would have a field day with this, Janna ~> the desire to be heard and listened too without concern about naysayers who shall be swallowed alive. 😛

    • joanne sisco September 12, 2014 / 11:56 AM

      Ohh – I love your comment!! I was thinking along the line of … I’d like to have some of what she was drinking when she got this inspiration!! 😀

      • nrhatch September 12, 2014 / 2:20 PM

        That’s the Million $ Question: “What’s in Janna’s Kool-Aid? :mrgreen:

        • jannatwrites September 12, 2014 / 5:14 PM

          Well… I don’t drink Kool-Aid, and I don’t drink alcohol. Perhaps it was some bad green tea and lack of sleep? 😯

    • jannatwrites September 12, 2014 / 5:12 PM

      Haha, maybe, Nancy! Sure would hate to be swallowed alive 🙂

      • nrhatch September 12, 2014 / 5:21 PM

        But it would be great to be “in charge” at age 13. 😉

        • jannatwrites September 14, 2014 / 1:30 PM

          On the surface, yes… until I messed things up with my lack of judgment (even though I thought I knew a lot at that age, haha!)

  3. suzicate September 12, 2014 / 5:55 AM

    Wow, you outdid yourself! Love how your imagination works. You are extremely gifted.

    • jannatwrites September 12, 2014 / 5:14 PM

      Thanks, Suzicate! Thanks for reading and sharing your reaction

  4. joanne sisco September 12, 2014 / 11:58 AM

    Janna – your imagination is amazing. Incredible that you can weave a story like this from idling looking at photos!!!

    • jannatwrites September 12, 2014 / 5:16 PM

      Thanks, Joanne! I didn’t expect to have a story, because I really had nothing. Maybe knowing I didn’t have to work today (Friday) gave me the freedom to relax. (Took a much needed vacation/mental health day 🙂 )

      • nrhatch September 12, 2014 / 5:22 PM

        I’m glad you had the day off to relax. I’m amazed by all you do.

        • jannatwrites September 14, 2014 / 1:33 PM

          It was a nice day, but it all broke loose at 4:00 with kids’ activities. On Saturday AM, we went on a bike ride to the park… it was nice until we had to go home (my younger son forgets that all the fun hills we ride down on the way there are much harder to climb getting home!) Today, they are snake hunting with one of our neighbors. Long story 🙂

        • nrhatch September 15, 2014 / 6:48 AM

          I hope they didn’t bring any snakes home.

  5. Emilio Pasquale September 12, 2014 / 1:48 PM

    That’s my girl! What a mind! I look at photographs and see an old car, a weathered building. You see entire worlds. This reminded me of some biblical parable! Nicely done.

    • jannatwrites September 12, 2014 / 5:18 PM

      Hehe, I’m glad you stopped by to read the story, Emilio! I have no idea where the stories come from… they just kind of happen.

  6. diannegray September 12, 2014 / 3:12 PM

    I just love it when stories flow like that, Janna! 😀

  7. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) September 13, 2014 / 2:15 PM

    WOW, that was an amazing story. Love it when stories emerge like that. I haven’t had one just happen like that in a very long time. Really tired of the dry spell and hope I am due to write something decent soon. ♥

    • jannatwrites September 14, 2014 / 1:35 PM

      Thanks for reading and for your nice comment, Kathy. It’s hard to write when we’re so focused on what’s NOT being written. I do hope you find your words soon… I do enjoy reading your posts 🙂

  8. Leigh W. Smith September 14, 2014 / 8:57 AM

    Great story, Janna. I was just thinking last night how I have a fondness for writing and reading female protagonists, and you do them so well. I can’t think of too many weak characters at all in your writing, just lots of strong-willed people. I’d love to see this as a novel(la), and thanks for providing the explanations behind the writing. It’s awesome how other art forms can inspire stories. Happy writing, and hope work gets better this upcoming week.

    • jannatwrites September 14, 2014 / 1:38 PM

      Thanks, Leigh! I don’t consciously set out to write strong women, but it just sort of happens. It could be because I detest the female character that flounders… until a man comes and rescues her. I do think it’s reasonable for a character to start of unsure of herself, but gain confidence and strength as the story progresses 🙂

  9. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) September 14, 2014 / 12:11 PM

    This tale is so good.. the mythological aspect is stunning, the lines dividing people, and only children can see through those stupidities.. There are some similarities to “Ronia the Robber’s Daughter” by Astrid Lindgren.. I think you would like it and see some similarities.. 🙂 ..

    • jannatwrites September 14, 2014 / 1:39 PM

      Thanks for your kind words, Bjorn. I appreciate you stopping by to read it. I’ve not read that author/work… you have me curious now!

      • Björn Rudberg (brudberg) September 14, 2014 / 1:42 PM

        It’s really a children’s book, and so are most of here other works. Maybe you have heard of Pippi Longstocking,,,?

        • jannatwrites September 14, 2014 / 1:43 PM

          Ah, yes, I have heard of that one, Bjorn!

  10. clarbojahn September 14, 2014 / 1:26 PM

    Wow! Janna! You amaze me. so good so clever. what I wouldn’t give if Congress read your story!! 🙂

    And Hammas and Isreal. And Egypt. And Ireland. And etc. so on so on. 🙂 🙂

    • jannatwrites September 14, 2014 / 1:41 PM

      Thanks for stopping by to read it, Clar. It’s a little different setting than I normally do, but it’s fun to experiment. I also think the world would do some good to practice more unity and less division 🙂

      • clarbojahn September 15, 2014 / 6:47 AM

        Oh Yeah! Like meet in the middle?

  11. Debbie September 14, 2014 / 1:36 PM

    Great story, Janna. I was hooked, right from the first, and no way could I have quit before reaching the end!

    • jannatwrites September 14, 2014 / 1:41 PM

      I’m glad you liked the story, Debbie. (And that you read it until the end!)

  12. Imelda September 15, 2014 / 4:54 PM

    I will be back, just as the Terminator said. 🙂

  13. kanavscripts September 18, 2014 / 12:37 PM

    Awesome! Gotta say there are people who know how to put the right dish on the right table! commendable work!

    • jannatwrites September 19, 2014 / 8:50 AM

      Thanks for taking time to read the story and share your thoughts, Kanavscripts 🙂

  14. pattisj September 28, 2014 / 11:54 PM

    And BOOM, a story appeared! You are too funny, but you sure can write.

    • jannatwrites September 30, 2014 / 10:05 PM

      Thanks, Patti! Sometimes I worry that I have no more stories, but somehow they still surface at some point.

  15. Sarah Ann October 1, 2014 / 12:21 PM

    Love the historical details (woollen shift etc) and voices in this. The spirit really is setting a challenge for Gabriella and Daisy, but I think their sense will pull them through. G doesn’t seem too distraught by the earth swallowing her father, but maybe he was to strict a chief?

    • jannatwrites October 2, 2014 / 9:49 PM

      I think Gabriella was so much in shock that it didn’t sink in (maybe a bad choice of words) that her father was swallowed up and wouldn’t ever come back. I suspect it would affect her down the road. Glad you liked the details, Sarah Ann!

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