When she opened her eyes Twaoasod met her own reflection held in a dark orb of knowing.
Mo Crow‘s caw sang loud in the cave.
“About time too…there isn’t much left you know” MoCrow said.
” Where is it?” asked Twaoasod, sitting up and feeling around her for the hide.
” It’s on the beach, go and see”.
Outside the cave, dusk was darkening the sky, the last embers of light to the west were dying blood red. The sea was calm and the beach empty save for a large mound with someone sat beside it. Twaoasod pulled her cloak around her and stepped across the cold damp sand. She glanced back towards MoCrow but she had already flown, cawing flightful farewells.
Lacelady, for it was she beside the mound, stood to greet Twaoasod handing her a basket as she did so but her words were picked up by a sudden breeze as she turned towards the east.
“Wait!” shouted Twaoasod.
With a final wave, and a raise of a hand she disappeared around the headland.
Looking first at the basket and then at the mound Twaoasod gasped with delight at what she saw. On finding her asleep in the cave, and recognising the urgency and significance of the hide, MoCrow and Lacelady had taken it, loved it, blessed it, worked it, draped and stretched it, tight as a drum, over the bones. Between them they had stitched and bound and tied it with all the threads of their being, crafting the craft. Finally, Lacelady had finished off all the loose ends while MoCrow, using her precious wax, had sealed the now wondrous surface.
Twaoasod smiled, wept, laughed and shouted”Yes!” to the stars.
A gentle breeze began to blow as the sky in the East turned violet. Fingertips outstretched, she touched the dry bundle. It rolled with an ease that surprised. Snatching The Hide from its’ burial place and tucking it snugly under her arm, she blew out the lantern and ran for the shore.
Buried in the depths of the dark deep hole, The Hide of Countless Hurts barely stirred. It lay amidst the dust and the debris that is the lot of long abandoned things. She had not forgotten. A long time ago The Hide had become too heavy for her to carry, but she knew where it lay and how deep. She came with a lamp on a moonless night and began to dig.
Many times she had thought to come back here, once or twice she had started out, but had never returned to claim what was hers. The ground was soft and offered no resistance. With bare hands she delved deeper. Long of tooth and sharp of nail, the demons scrambled up to meet her. ”No,” she murmured, ”not this time.” Holding their malicious gaze she swept them up and out, flinging them to the inevitable oblivion of the wasteland of fears faced. The hole grew deeper, the lamplight pooled around a circle of blackness into which she plunged, repeatedly shoveling out the earth with determination and purpose, depositing it in numerous mounds around the perimeter. Stars peered down from behind scudding clouds at her upturned, frenzied form. Time passed. Finally, her ragged fingernails scraped against the cold cap-stone.
The constant chatter of the bones of every idea that she had ever had, led her to consider using them as the framework for her vessel. She dragged them all together and arranged them in a circle around her. Glancing off each other, some of them sang, whilst others responded with a deeper resonance. There were those that issued that familiar, dull, reluctant sound but she chose to ignore their lack of enthusiasm and include them anyway.
“After all” she said, ” it is high time that you made yourselves useful.”
The strongest sinew of all secret hurts, seemed the obvious choice with which to bind the bones securely, but then the silken threads of desire, the forgotten strings of unsung songs, the endless reels of self-doubt, the ragged ribbons of wanton abandon, the taut twine of guilt, the clueless cords of naivety, all cried out for urgent inclusion.
“Alright, alright” she cried, ” but give me a while to weave you in.”
She had crafted the vessel over many years. In the early stages of the construction, her intent was to build a special place, where she could steal snatched moments, safe and hidden. As time passed, however, something deep and desperate demanded a refuge of permanence.
She was missing something, there was a short somewhere, the spark was absent. “Now when and where did that go?” she asked. She felt certain that this was a recent development but was unable to determine if she had mislaid it somewhere.