Fiction logo

Whispers of Phantom Song

Chapter 1: Day of Blessings

By Heather HublerPublished 12 days ago Updated 11 days ago 14 min read
Created with NightCafe Studio and edited in CanvaPro.

Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky.

The moon joined them in their reverie with her ever watchful eyes.

With a nod here and a nod there, she gave into the shadows' silent appeal.

They spilled into the jewel-tone hues, painting the sky in swathes of pitch and steele.

Content to linger and lounge if only for a short bit of time,

They spun and leapt from cloud to cloud, wisps lost to the rhythm and rhyme.

But as the purple and black turned to orange and red in the earliest hours of dawn,

The last of the souls who hadn't passed on, crept back to their misty homes with a yawn...

While two lavender eyes gazed upward, dreaming of phantom song.

–The Spirit Walker


Anua closed her eyes, squeezing them tight and pleaded under her breath, "Papa, is it me they're talking about? I want it to be me. I want it so much it hurts sometimes. Please answer me, please. I need you."

She held her breath and waited, straining to catch the slightest whispered response. To know that someone heard her pleas.

"Anua," a weathered voice spoke softly over her shoulder scaring her a bit and deflating her small hope.

"Child, it's time to get yerself home now." Soft paws gently squeezed her hands forcing her clenched fingers to release the tattered leather book.

"Ach, I know it's not my place to say, but ya need to let these silly ideas go." Miss Baumin sighed. "They're nothing more than fairy tales, and they're tanglin' yer poor heart and mind up in knots. Better ta just accept the truth. He's gone, and no spirit walker can help ya with that. I'm sorry, sweet girl." She kissed Anua softly on the crown of her raven head before bustling back to the front of the shop.

Two gray eyes rose to stare out the small window at the swirls of deep blues and purples that streaked the evening sky.

"I still believe, Papa. I won't give up."

* * *

"Oh, this is pure rubbish. Why do I have to toil away on my Day of Blessings? Do you see any of the others out here?"

Anua knew her tone would annoy Mistress Bernard if she overheard, but she just couldn't help it. She was up to her ears in sheep droppings and pig mud. It didn't help that the sheep were in rut and extra ornery.

She spied one across the pen giving her a wicked look and hurried to finish the task.

No sooner had she broken free from that filthy mess and begun to hose down her boots, then Mistress Bernard came slithering around the corner staring down at Anua over her hook-nose sighing in barely disguised contempt.

"Well girl, I see you've finally managed to get your chores done," she sneered. "If your ability to succeed in life is in any way based on your current work ethic, you won't be getting far. Mark my words."

Anua bristled under that assessment. She worked harder than any student at the Homestead, but it was no use pointing that out. Mistress would have another snide remark at the ready. Anua had learned over the years, it wasn't worth arguing.

As soon as she went to the Day of Blessings ceremony, she'd be free of this horrid place. Only a few more hours.

"Come now, girl. We can't have you looking so unkept in front of the donors. We have a reputation to uphold. Go clean yourself up and be ready by sundown. And do not be late."

"Yes, Mistress," she rattled off automatically, years of repetition ingrained in her, but as the slinking form of her soon-to-be-former guardian passed just out of sight, she cheekily added, "Mistress Barnyard."

"I heard that!" came an answering shrill voice.

Sigh. Only a few more hours.

* * *

Excitement buzzed in the air. There were ten of them moving on tonight. Ten glorious transformations. Anua's skin itched just beneath the surface with all her pent-up nervous energy.

She barely gave a thought to her own metamorphosis. Deep down, her bones felt like cages rattling and ready to let her mixed form emerge. She knew without a doubt what she'd become.

And she knew no one would likely believe it.

No, she was brimming with determination because this was it. She'd finally be free to look for her father. And no one could stop her. Her transformation would make sure of that.

Over the years, Anua had tried so many times to escape, sneak off and find her Papa, but the tracking device they put in her when she came to the Homestead meant they could find her anywhere. The moment she transformed though, it was programmed to disintegrate.

She knew the first place she'd go, it was at the edge of the bluffs where–

"Alright students, gather round," Mistress Bernard's high-pitched voice rang out, pulling Anua from her thoughts. "Take your place in line and follow me just as we've rehearsed," she continued, clapping her hands as if they needed any more incentive to get going. Everyone was ready for the main event.

Unlike the ceremonies that occurred outside the Homestead, no family members were present for their big day. No townspeople, just the rest of the students, staff and benevolent donors. For they had no one. That's why they were here after all.

But Anua did have someone. And soon they would all realize how very wrong they'd been to keep her here.

The group marched straight through the living quarters to the main gathering room and further still through a purple ornate door that led to the Hall of Blessings. It remained locked at all times, only opening on this day.

As their processional eased down the center aisle, Anua saw Miss Baumin off to the side, tears brimming in her eyes, her hands clasped to her bosom. She gave Anua a proud smile as she passed.

Miss Baumin was the only one she'd miss from this place. She ran the little coffee shop and library on the edge of the Homestead property. It was the closest feeling to escaping this prison which is why Anua gravitated to it so often. That and it held a rare copy of The Spirit Walker's Guide.

Anua had often wondered how Miss Baumin had come by her copy. She'd asked once or twice but the normally jovial old woman had clammed up and told her not to ask again. It was very odd.

Anua read her family's copy when she was younger and had all but memorized it, but their book disappeared along with her Papa. She'd been overjoyed to find another in such a small collection. And now, she felt bad that she'd be stealing it before leaving tonite.

Mistress Bernard's voice droned on as she'd taken her position on the raised platform at the front of the room which jutted out slightly over the onlookers below. Anua and nine of her other classmates stood in a semi-circle to either side.

She vaguely heard the guy next to her be called upon. He would be the first to go through his transformation. Even though she'd been to this ceremony six times before, there was nothing like seeing someone take their mixed form.

Malachi stepped confidently to the center of the blessing circle and dropped his robe. They all needed to be completely bare for this part. And although they were all used to nudity, Anua couldn't help but admire his fully exposed back side.

A throat clearing next to her, pulled her eyes up and away. She felt her cheeks flame a little at being caught ogling by snooty old Freesia.

She had to give it to Mistress Barnyard, her eyes didn't even twitch at the nude form she found before her. She was all business as she went over the final oath with her charge.

Once she stepped back, Malachi moved so that his legs were apart and brought his arms out to his sides reaching shoulder level. He kind of looked like a star. A seriously handsome star.

Mistress continued on with the ceremony, pressing a button which activated the ceiling. Several panels pulled apart to reveal the moon and the evening sky.

It was such a beautiful sight. Anua could feel her heart begin to race with anticipation.

Malachi tilted his face up so that he could see the full moon in the dusky sky. Nothing more was needed. It would be any moment now.

Seconds ticked by though and nothing happened. Seconds turned to minutes, and the small crowd began to murmur.

Mistress Bernard looked as though she'd sucked on a bag of lemon drops. Her expression was so sour. And poor Malachi's arms began to shake.

This had never happened before that she knew of, the transformation always took over within seconds.

Anua made the mistake of looking over at Miss Baumin for support. Her proud smile had melted and left behind was a look of pure shock and maybe guilt? She was shaking her head no, while starting to back away.

Anua took an instinctive step forward and then another, prepared to stop Miss Baumin from leaving. She knew something about what was happening. Her look betrayed her.

Unfortunately, Anua stepped into the circle along with Malachi as she made to cross the platform. It was as if the whole room paused for a moment, suspended in time, before a lightening bolt shot through the open roof and divided into two forks, striking both Anua and Malachi in the chest.

Screams rang out as several people from the crowd below moved into action, racing to ascend the few steps to reach the prone forms laid out, but Mistress Bernard moved to block them, arms thrown wide and tail rattling.

"Stay back!" she shouted. "No one else can enter the blessing circle. We have no idea what will happen. It's not safe!"

The ranch manager, Mr. Sutton, pushed through the sudden throng on the stairs coming to stand in front of the Mistress's blockade. "Now see here, Thelma, there are two young adults lying in distress. We have to help them. They're our charges, our children!" His voice rose at the end almost to a shout.

Startled at the force of his response, Mistress Bernard moved back dropping her arms and creating just enough room for him to shove past and race to Anua and Malachi.

A group gathered round the two bodies. Someone covered Malachi while others checked for signs of life.

"Oh thank heavens, they're still breathing," Mr. Sutton's relief was palpable in his shaking voice. "What do we do now?"

"Make way, make way. Let me through," Mistress Bernard called out, shoving through the small crowd. When she saw that Mr. Sutton and Mrs. Elder were holding the two youths inside the circle, she shrieked.

"What have you done?" she shouted. "You''ve desecrated our blessing circle! You've doomed the rest!" She threw her arms out in a sweeping gesture, pulling everyone's attention over to the remaining eight students huddled together, openly weeping or staring off in shocked silence.

"Thelma, you're not helping anyone right now. Calm down. Let's all just take a moment and figure out our next steps," Mrs. Elder soothed.

"Oh goodness. You're right, you're right. This doesn't look good for us. I need to do some damage control with the patrons," Mistress Bernard muttered as she slithered away.

"Well, that solved nothing," Mr. Rutter replied. "I swear that woman has no heart. How she ended up in her position is a mystery."

"I agree," Mrs. Elder responded quietly, and then continued on in a louder tone. "Alright, adults, teachers, let's see if we can get the other eight students to a blessing circle in town. Someone will surely have sympathy on them. Miss Baumin? Don't you have a contact with someone over at town hall? Miss Baumin?"

A voice from the back piped up saying they saw her leaving the hall right after the incident.

"That's strange," Mrs. Elder answered, puzzling over these alarming chain of events.

Seeming to realize she'd drifted off a bit and everyone was looking to her for direction, she gathered herself once more. "Mr. Rutter and...Mr. Thicket, let's move Malachi and Anua to the infirmary for now. Miss Josephine? Kindly gather the eight students and take them to the garage while I try to find a sympathetic ear in town."

* * *

Anua woke first. She sat up heaving and spun to slap a hand over Malachi's mouth just as his eyes flew open and he sat bolt upright.

He turned slowly to look at her. Their eyes collided and just as quickly recoiled. The proof was all there.

They each had one violet eye and one steel gray.

"No," was all she could manage.

"I saw the same thing, Anua. There's nothing we can do to change it," Malachi sighed. Lying back down and closing his eyes.

"The hell there's not. Get up! We've got to get out of here before anyone finds us awake." Anua jumped from the bed only to realize someone had removed her robe. She was now dressed in an oversized top and underwear.

Her gaze snapped over to Malachi, realizing he was still bare-chested although she could see the waistline of pants sticking out where the sheet pooled at his midsection.

"Okay, clothes and shoes are a priority," she rushed out, frantically looking for something to use.

"What's your hurry, Anua?" Malachi stared at her. His intensity did funny things to her insides.

She stopped dead in her tracks, an incredulous look stealing over her face. "Are you kidding me? Adults will want answers. You know we can't give them. Besides, we're unfortunately in this together now, which means you're coming with me to find my Papa. It's finally time. But first we need to stop by the library."

"Why?" he stared at her once more.

Damn that was unnerving.

"Because Miss Baumin knows something. And I need that book. The poem said two violet eyes. It didn't say they were on the same face. I need to know what else I missed."

He continued to stare at her with those mismatched eyes. She wanted him to hurry up, she was itching with impatience, but this had to be his choice.

Malachi's chin dipped once in confirmation. He was in.

"Let's get moving," Anua breathed. "We're running out of time. Grab any supplies you see. We can tie them up with a sheet. This is going to be a little trickier without wings, but we'll make do."

No response.

"Malachi," she repeated, looking up from the sheet she was gathering.

Her heart stalled at the sight before her.

Miss Baumin stood clutching Malachi as four huge claws protruded from his chest.

He was looking straight at Anua in shock as the light bled from his eyes, and the violet iris faded back to gray.

The moment his soul left his body, she could feel it. Her eyes were changing. If she had a mirror, she knew they'd both be lavender now. A rush of magic and agony washed over her as a matching set of wings burst from her back stealing the breath from her lungs.

Miss Baumin let Malachi's body drift gently to the ground, tears pouring down her face. "It was never meant to be that way," she rasped.

Anua stood there as close to a breakdown as she'd ever been. She had no idea what was going on.

It seemed to be the word of the day, but she uttered it anyway, "Why?"

"There can only be one spirit walker, sweet girl, and it has ta be you. Find Malachi on the other side. He can help lead you ta yer father," her voice sounded so tired and resigned. "Here's the book. I was hopin' it would never come ta pass, but here we are. I've put some food and money in a pack for ya as well. Now get gone before anyone comes back."

Anua was so confused, she loved Miss Baumin and couldn't understand any of this, but she did understand that she needed to leave.

Only one more question for now. "What will happen to you?"

"I'll finally pay for my sins, child."

"What sin–" Anua started to ask but muffled voices down the hallway snapped her back into action.

"Go. Go!" Miss Baumin urged. "And Anua, trust no one but the spirits."

Those were the last words she heard before opening the only window in the room and testing out her wings for the first time.

Hugging the small pack to her chest, she took off into the lavender night, the last of the spirit walkers.


Written for the Under Purple Clouds challenge.

Thank you so much for reading!


If you enjoyed this piece, please subscribe to me (it's free) and maybe take a look at some of my other works.

Here's a recent fiction story of mine you may like:

Short Story

About the Creator

Heather Hubler

Coffee/reading/writing/science/family–my loves


fb * twitr * insta

Fav creators:

Mike Dharr Cathy Rick Babs Loryne Brin

Gina Tiffany Emily Keila Thavien CH Kelli

Veronica Joe Lonzo Paul Dean Holly Lamar

Caroline Melissa Scott Donna Moe

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  4. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  5. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

Add your insights

Comments (51)

Sign in to comment
  • Paul Stewart4 days ago

    Well. Bravo, this was an awesome take on the challenge. Things were masterfully paced and there was great character development! So deserving of Top Story! The poem at the start was sublime! well done!

  • Gina Callea6 days ago

    You have a true gift for storytelling, and I was completely captivated from start to finish. Thank you for sharing your incredible talent with the world!

  • This really has the makings of great tale. I would love to find out what happens on the rest of journey. This wonderful first chapter left me with so many unanswered questions.

  • Caroline Jane8 days ago

    Congratulations Heather! That poem is inspired. 😍

  • Leesa Stow8 days ago

    That was amazing! I loved it! Please let there be a chapter 2. :-)

  • Tiffany Gordon 9 days ago

    That was amazing! I'd love to see a Part 2. Your story was exhilarating, engaging & Beautifully written! Congrats on your Top Story Heather! This is my favorite Fiction piece that you've written! BRAVO! The virtual donuts were great as well! Thx! :)

  • Lional Drew9 days ago

    That outfit looks great on you.

  • Adamu Salisu9 days ago


  • Rey Visionary9 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!!! Expecting more 💖

  • Babs Iverson9 days ago

    Love it!!! Congratulations on Top Story too!!!💖💖💕

  • aly suhail9 days ago

    Wow great one here 👍👍👍👍👍

  • Congratulations 🎉

  • C. H. Richard10 days ago

    I knew this would make a top story! Congratulations 🎊

  • Ariel 10 days ago

    Wonderful piece!

  • Lori Melton10 days ago

    This is so incredible- congrats Heather! I want to know what happens next! 😊❤️

  • Brin J.10 days ago

    Malachi! 😩. The opening Prophecy part was very cleverly constructed. I always love how you think outside the box and give refreshing and original pieces for us to enjoy ♥️. As always, well done, Heather :).

  • Oooh this is soooo good! Love the concept of the transformation. I was shocked by the development at the end. I stumbled a bit with the dialect but Miss Baumin is such an interesting character!

  • That opening poem was just so beautifully written. It really set the tone for the story. You put a lot into this story. Excellent detail of characters and surroundings. Dare I say at points great use of the controversial show not tell technique. Excellent all the way around. Congratulations on the Top Story.

  • Novel Allen10 days ago

    This is so very well written and engaging. Good luck to your heroine.

  • Daniel Jeyaraman10 days ago

    Nice one, Heather. Great job.

  • Sathish Kumar10 days ago

    Congratulations on your top story 🥳

  • JBaz10 days ago

    As was mentioned by many, your opening signified a great story to be told, and you delivered. Opens so many options for a further expansion. Does her father come into play, will she see Malachi? Congratulations

  • Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • Original indeed to have that poem in the beginning to set the tone! I laughed at the Mistress Barnyard joke. The feelings in between the characters were so very genuine and I could feel them, hearted! Congratulations on top story

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.