Fiddlewood: Chapter Three

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Once upon a rapture

“I’ve had about enough of this moustache ride,” said Camille to the moustaches. “Put me down this instant,” she demanded. And so, being the literal jokester that they are, the moustaches dropped Camille while they were still soaring over the forest. Her stomach jumped into her throat as she spiraled towards the earth below her. She called out to her friend the wind to save her, but it was still dancing in the newly liberated forest and could not hear her desperate plea for help. Camille was a practical girl though and knew that impracticalities occurred when you needed them most, so she grabbed the edge of her skirt with both hands and stiffened it so she could catch the wind like a parachute. And naturally, as any impracticality would have it, her skirt billowed out and she floated to earth peacefully. But that peace would not last.

She looked down and saw a lagoon occupied by large pink flamingos. They all had their black beaks pointed to the sky and were frantically looking left and right yelling, “RAPTURE! The rapture is here! We’re all going to die!”

Camille was swarmed by the paranoid chatter, and, thinking that they were panicking because she was falling towards them, called out to reassure them that they were safe, “I’m just a girl, not the rapture,” she screamed, but they did not pay her any attention. She landed in the shallow lagoon, which was mostly made up of muck, and her legs sunk so deep that the thick gunk seeped over her stockings and up to her knees. The stench burned her nostrils, forcing her to pinch them closed in the hopes of alleviating the terrible smell, but alas it did not. In fact, it forced her to taste the foulness on the tip of her tongue. To further her distress the so-called muck she had sunken into was Flamingo droppings; years of poop piled into the water. She could not save the lagoon like she had saved the Petrified Forest, for it had already met its irreversible end – the Flamingo rapture. And as if the foul stench was not rotten enough, Camille’s hearing was also battered by a cacophony of frantic yelps declaring that the end of the world had arrived.

“Excuse me,” shouted Camille, to the nearest Flamingo, but its loud squawking drowned out her voice. The muck sucked at Camille’s legs as she waded through the crowd of panicked flamingos. “Excuse me, sir, is everything OK?” asked Camille, to another startled pink bird, as she tried to remain balanced and upright.

The bird snapped its head down to Camille and with a mighty crow yelled, “The rapture is here!” The sudden outburst sent Camille reeling back and the muck seized the opportunity to suck her shoe right off her foot.

“Ah! It’s poo!” she lamented, while wiggling her toes in the flamingo poop. She looked up to the rattled flamingo and said, “No one told me about any rapture.”

“Need to know basis! BRAAAACK! On the need to know,” squawked the Flamingo, before returning its beak to the sky and repeating the paranoid chant with the rest of its kin.

Camille shook her head at the dumb bird and moved on to the next in the hopes of unraveling more clues about the Flamingos’ distress. “What is the rapture you’re so concerned about?” asked Camille, to another one-legged pink nut job. But her politeness was once again smothered by loud squawking, so she took a new approach.

“Braaaaack!” she cried in the birds face. “Where’s the rapture?” she screamed, while darting her head back and forth like the flamingos.

“The sky is falling!” squawked the Flamingo. And addressing yet another bird Camille asked, “Braaaaack! How does the sky fall?”

“It lets go!” cried the bird, its distress ruffling the tips its feathers. And addressing yet another Flamingo Camille asked, “Braaaaack! What’s the sky letting go of?”

“The rapture, it’s letting go of the rapture!” cried the bird.

She looked up to the sky preparing to see it fall, but all she saw was a gathering of storm clouds making their way through the atmosphere. She watched the Flamingos moving their beaks to the storm clouds and away from them to clear skies on the opposite side of the lagoon. She could not understand why they were under such distress, and then a bolt of lightning crackled out of the darkness and answered for her. The electric whip sent a boom that rippled throughout the lagoon, and all at once the flamingos squawked in terror then immediately buried their heads in the muck under the shallow film of water. If Camille wanted more answers now she’d have to join them in the poo again.

“Scaredy Cats!” yelled Camille, loud enough for them to hear her while submerged under water. “It’s just a storm. All it wants to do is dance with us, you Scaredy Cats.” She of course knew this about the storm because she had spent a considerable amount of time as a storm during her billions and billions of years of everlasting existence. She and the other electric storms racing about the cosmos were ballerinas pure and simple. They danced with the stars and put on magnificent performances for the inhabitants of planets as they passed by their atmosphere; the American Indians knew this quite well, and were some of the first people on earth to appreciate it, hence the rain dance. “That’s it,” exclaimed Camille, after a great epiphany electrified her mind. “We’ll have a rain dance.” Camille surveyed her surrounding of poop, water, flamingos, and reeds in search of materials to fashion a suitable instrument, and for a minute even considered orchestrating the flamingos’ wild squawking into a tune, but she was quick to dismiss that nonsensical idea. She fingered one of the hollow wooden reeds growing out of the water and, needless to say, another epiphany exploded in her beautiful brain. She collected one hollow stem after another by cracking off the base so she could pull them out of the water, then used one as a chisel to carve either one, two, or three holes in each rod. When she had four rods with holes poked in them she bound them together with a few pieces of flimsy twine she had pulled off her chisel, then blew into her makeshift recorder to assure each rod was in tune. She practiced working the instrument, altering the sounds by combining notes until she was confident enough that her playing would please the thunder storm.

“Ah yes, Pink Flamingos,” said Camille aloud, as she brought her recorder to the ready.

Camille swayed to a slow tune adding twirls every now and then, like she would have done as a dancing electrical storm, or like a snake would do for its charmer. The storm ahead was nearing the tree line that separated the lagoon from the rest of the forest without responding to the music or to Camille’s rain dance, so she played louder and danced more passionately. High notes and low notes lulled her body into spins, and twirls, and dips, and skips, and leaps, and so on. Her limbs were light as feathers allowing her to dance through the lagoon and around the startled Flamingos without getting her feet caught in the muck. The thunder storm took notice of what was occurring in the lagoon below in its honor, and began to rhythmically swirl its robust clouds in response.

“Ah yes, Rapture Song,” said Camille, in between breathes, which caught the attention of the Flamingos, who one by one pulled their faces out of the muck.

The hippity hoppity that followed a Flamingo’s resurfacing complimented Camille’s tune with another musical dimension. And then the Flamingos, much like the thunder storm, could not resist acknowledging the music and grooving to it. They moved about the lagoon in synchronized patterns creating lovely geometric shapes that moved and molded into even more intricate designs. One chain of Flamingos moved in one direction while other chains moved in opposite directions at various speeds all the while bobbing their heads up and down and spreading their wings in unison. Camille felt like a wild storm again dancing through the cosmos, and with her eyes closed she let the music guide her forward like a ballerina with angel’s wings, moving through the crowd of Flamingos and under the robust clouds of the thunderstorm.

The dark clouds of the thunderstorm began to mingle with the puffy white clouds on the opposite side of the lagoon, welcoming the sun to join the festivities. They swirled about in a paisley pattern of white and dark. And while caught up in the excitement of dancing the thunderstorm released its rain, which fell onto the lagoon with sunlight refracting in every drop, as if some magnificent crystal chandelier was hanging in the sky above them. And though the sky was falling the Flamingos did not seem alarmed; they just continued bobbing their heads and dancing. The dark clouds began to fade away and the rain became a light drizzle, then the sun pushed its rays through the clouds and it was all over.

With outstretched arms, Camille turned her face to the sun and basked in the warmth, her heart still dancing to the beat of the rain dance. All was calm in the lagoon, and the Flamingos were quietly resting on one leg and basking in the sunlight with Camille. Then, after minutes of peace, a heavy gust of wind blew over the treetops surrounding the lagoon causing the leaves to rustle and the trees to bend. Leaves caught up by the wind circulated about the lagoon and fell upon the Flamingos. Camille reveled in nature’s beauty, breathing in the freshness and letting her hair down so it could catch the wind. Her peace, however, was cut short by an all too familiar squawking.

“RAPTURE! The rapture is here. We’re all going to die!”

Camille’s head slumped forward, the annoyance of the paranoid nut jobs, who were frantically trying to avoid the falling leaves, being too much to handle. She dropped her recorder into the water and brushed the muck off her shirt in a gesture that wiped her clean of the Flamingo’s company. She waded to the edge of the lagoon and ventured back into the forest to follow the music, leaving the Flamingos to drive themselves mad.

About Connor Wilkins

Quickly, quickly... take your seat. Our storyteller is about to begin. Shhhh. Listen... His pipes are fluting emotions of myth and fable, but don't be fooled by fantasia for there are truths hidden within his unworldly tellings. We're drifting now... back in time to a world only he remembers.
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