Glimmering Bird Hasty: use these three words

‘What is it?’ Ada squinted into the woods at the edge of the field where she and her mother gleaned corn, following the swathe of the harvest and the glint of the scythes ahead.

Sketch of a village harvest

The hot sun scorched her back as she bent to the task. Ada was hungry, but more than that she was thirsty. And wanting the long day to be over. She had taken a moment to stretch, and that was when she caught the glimmering of … something … in the trees.

Her mother unbent, one hand easing her lower back, and peered where Ada pointed.

‘Do you see it?’ Ada asked. ‘There!’ as the gleam came again, low down, as if someone carried a shiny object, a light, along the shaded pathss.

Her mother gasped. ‘Come, be hasty, daughter.’ She dropped her basket with its hard-earned harvest to the parched ground, grabbed Ada’s arm and pulled her away. ‘Fly like a bird,’ she urged.

Ada stumbled after her mother, glancing back once – as the men in armour, swords raised, spilled from the trees…

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3 thoughts on “Glimmering Bird Hasty: use these three words”

  1. The glimmering light was visible from some distance away and, at first, he couldn’t make out what it was.
    Ben’s horse moved slowly underneath him, picking its way carefully along the clifftop path, careful to avoid any potential hazards.
    The light grew brighter and at last he was able to identify its source. A candle flickering in a cottage window – not more than 100 metres away.
    Ben moved closer to the house and spotted a woman sitting in a chair with what appeared to be a bird on her shoulder. Hard to make out the species. A parrot perhaps?
    She was gazing intently out to sea – as if waiting for someone or something to materialise from the blackness.
    Almost upon the cottage now, Ben could only speculate as to her intentions.
    Searching for a ship, waiting for a lover to return, who knew – only she.
    His horse was abreast of window and the glimmering flame threw shadows on them both.
    Startled, the woman rose from her chair and beat a hasty retreat to another room.
    Dismounting, Ben strode to the front door and lifted the heavy knocker, then listened to the sound reverberate through the house.
    A pause before the door opened a crack and the woman peered around the edge, a frightened look on her face.
    “What do you want, sir, at this late hour?” she inquired nervously.
    “Sorry, ma’am I didn’t mean to frighten you,” Ben replied. “I was just looking for shelter for the night for my horse and I.”
    “There’s a barn out the back,” she responded, “you can rest there and there is plenty of hay for your horse.”
    And with that, she closed and bolted the door.
    Ben led his horse around the back of the cottage and, sure enough, spied the barn door in the darkness.
    Lighting a candle he found inside the barn, Ben tethered his horse then organised hay and a bucket of water for the animal to eat and drink, before settling down on a bale and snuggling under his heavy overcoat to protect against the cold.
    He was awoken by the sound of banging and crept outside. Moving around the side of the cottage, he could see several what looked like sailors hammering on its front door.
    “Come on, Mavis let us in. There’s a good girl,” they hollered in unison.
    Through a side window, Ben could see the young woman cowering in the kitchen.
    Unleashing his pistol, he stepped around the front and fired into the air.
    The men froze and stared at him in shock.
    “Wh..who are you?” they queried.
    “Never you mind,” roared Ben. “Now clear off before I put the next bullet in your chest.”
    The men hesitated, wondering whether to charge him, before thinking better of it and slinking away and down a path leading to the beach below.
    Through the blackness, Ben could just see furled white sails on a ship anchored several hundred metres off shore and guessed that was where they were now heading.
    Suddenly, the front door opened sobbing gratefully, the young woman fell into his arms.

    1. They rarely did in those days, but we’ll leave that to the reader’s imagination.

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