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RETURN

PART 1 WALKABOUT

By Chris M RichardsPublished 2 months ago 7 min read
1
ART WORK COPYRIGHT M.T. 2022

“RETURN”

Part One

-Walk About-

By

C.M. Richards

Year 5022 A.D.

My name is Leah and I’m going walkabout. My grandmother taught me, about the practice when I was just a young girl. She told me many things each night as our campfire would dance in her bright and wise eyes, making her appearance warm and kind. I remember everything she told me. She explained that the world is not for us, but we are for the world. It took me a while to work out what she meant but eventually, the penny dropped.

Edith is her name, and she has explained to me and the other children of our clan about the ancestors of this land, the first nation people of Australia, and how they would use singing lines to navigate through the bush ( some could be as long as 100m) and relied on the plants of our landscape for food and medicine.

We no longer use singing lines as we have the ability to speak to the trees of the forests. We are also telepathic and communicate with the animals around us, both domestic and wild. Though sometimes they choose not to listen and often will turn on you and try to attack.

I will miss Edith. I will miss my family whilst I have my adventure and I am sure they will miss me too. They will be proud of me though when I return. When they meet me as a capable woman, ready for adulthood ready to be independent.

Traditionally only first nations men went on walkabout as a rite of passage when they reached manhood. Nobody looked at me sideways when I announced that I was off on walkabout and may not be back for weeks. It was met with a huge smile from Edith as she herself had done something similar and was excited for me. Two nights ago when I first bled, she shared the secrets of womanhood with me. I still felt like a child. Edith knew this and explained that age does not make you wise. She believed true wisdom could only be collected, through experience.

After the catastrophe that rearranged the face of the globe and killed billions of people. The first nation people chose to retreat to the mountains too, but they live and hide in almost inaccessible landscapes. Places we find hard to reach. We respect them and their decision and have left them to live in peace. We do not see them that much.

I have to walk out of my life, test my abilities of survival and get my head together, put my childhood behind me and prove that I am a woman now. I also wanted to travel to the valley of blossom trees. Hundreds of acers of mainly apple and cherry blooms, apparently a true sight to behold.

It is early spring and soon the flowers would open so I packed what I needed and put them into the saddle bags of my honey-coloured horse Jumbles. I did not need weapons for we no longer have enemies. For millennia we have lived in complete peace with those around us. I only carried knives for hunting and whitling.

I took my sharpest knife and tried to cut off all my hair. I had spent the night also tattooing my hands and body. The work is intricate, and the designs were traditional to our people. I suffered a lot of pain but bared through it. These were the markings of all our women.

I rode Jumbles my south, out of the snowy peaks of the mountains that surrounded the tree houses, stores, and main hall that were all built high in the canopy’s of the snow gums and radiata pines (it keeps us safe at night from the razorbacks and wild cats that are endemic now to this area). I loved the village but for now I loved the wilderness more! I needed my own space to be alone far away and promised myself that I would not return until I knew who I was, the woman I am, not the girl.

And I would be alone. Even though the whole Australian population lived in the Bule Mountains near the fabled coastal city of Sydney (perhaps my next trip) down south to my location in the Brindabellas then down southwest to the Snowy Mountains. There may be only 250 000 of us left in this territory (the only place that our ancestors could inhibit after the natural catastrophe and nuclear that war scorched the face of the earth, nearly 3000 years ago) but apart from the small trade route between these three regions, in the wilderness it was rare to see others.

The forest cast a green hue on everything within it and it took me and jumbles several days to get to the other edge of the dense bush land. I really enjoyed those nights when I would shelter under the trees or in small caves that I was led to by the trees and understory plants like wattles, melaleucas, and ivy vines. There was complete harmony here and I slept in peace, loved by the landscape around me.

While we camped and travelled through this spectacular eco-system I spoke to many trees. Not one was happy that I was traveling at this time. They were all distressed, frightened. They all warned of a danger approaching from far away, not of this planet and they wished I would return back to my kin.

Their message confused me somewhat, I just could not comprehend what they were saying (I usually am able to see what the Trees can see. Though now when I communicated with them, I could only see a darkness, a confusion, a feeling of violence, a future I could not comprehend). An ivy vine even wrapped one of its tendrils around my ankle. It really did not want me to leave the forest in the direction I was heading. It pleaded that I turn around. I explained my need to move on and gently it unwound itself and retracted the tendril it had wrapped around me back towards the main vine.

Once we left the forest, we had to travel up a big mountain. Once we reached the summit the trail brought us to an out crop that looked over a huge valley. The cliff face was hundreds of meters high above the dense woodland below. The view was magnificent, the air so clean it was easy to see for miles in every direction. The sun was warm on my skin. I cried for I had never seen such wonder.

The next morning the air was charged with electricity, tension. Not the buzz of current one often feels before a lightning storm, it was something very different A slight breeze began to blow down the mountain, it felt like it was coming from the sky above us. It was not the usual movement of air. I was complexed and my mind could not read what was happening.

I began to get anxious when Jumbles started to rear back on his hind legs. I projected my mind into his. Jumbles was petrified and was begging me to mount my saddle so he could run us back into the safety of the forest.

Just before I could mount my beloved equine the sky began to darken behind me, a huge shadow crept over the landscape, it was an unnatural shadow with a red hue. It spread over my back and over the bush below and it even cast over the huge valley below. I was too fearful to turn to see what was behind me but too curious not to…

To Be Continued in Part 2 “Space Girl”

short story
1

About the Creator

Chris M Richards

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