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Who? wondered Oh-see-rah.

Lord of the Caves Part 15

Without drums or flutes or anyone joining in, the High Priestess chanted:

Hail Mother Moon!

Hail Lady Moon!

Hail Mystery Moon!

Oh-see-rah remained eyes shut and kneeling, the silence telling him the others were doing the same. He relished the chanting, but he ached to know who the Lord of the Caves was going to be. The urge to glance at the mouth of the cave and find out who was waiting burned a hole in his belly, but he did not budge. Despite the campfire’s heat, a chill swept over his body. And who were the Elders? Though he had heard of them, he’d never met them.

The High Priestess paused and commanded, “Open your eyes.”

Oh-see-rah opened his eyes and blinked to get used to the flickering firelight. Though he dared not look at the others, he could see out of the corners of his eyes. The others—grownups and little ones—were gazing at the High Priestess, no doubt wondering, too.

She shook the turtle-shell shakers and nodded at Oh-koh-rah. His drum matched the turtle-shell shakers. Boom, boomity, boomity.

She nodded at Hah-nah-pah, and his flute began a soft melody.  Laaaaa, ley, loh.

The High Priestess set her shakers on the stone beside her bare feet. The drum and flute quit. “Lord of the Sky, Lady of the Deep, please visit us, bless this rite.”

It seemed as if a brisk breeze swept into the cave and curled around and over each person. The front cave fire blazed high, waving its fiery arms in the air as if dancing. An owl circled around the cave’s mouth. Whoo, whoo, whoooo.

Smiling, the High Priestess gazed at the drum and flute. They began a soft melody with a gentle beat without her turtle-shell shakers. Some of the women started clapping and gently swaying from side to side. A couple of the little girls joined in.

The High Priestess sang, “HOLY, holy, holy, Lord of the Sky, thy blessings we plead. HOLY, holy, holy, Lady of the Deep, thy blessings we plead.” She danced in a circle, remaining on her flat stone. “HOLY, holy, holy, Mother Moon, bless this rite, bless this ceremony, bless our new Lord of the Caves.”

The High Priestess flung her arms up and out as she spread her legs, making a huge X. “Stop!”

All went silent, unmoving.

“Close your eyes,” she commanded.

Everyone obeyed, even Oh-see-rah. The silence was so complete Oh-see-rah could hear the whisper of the cave’s sighs, hear the trickle of water as the spring gurgled in a far corner.

“The Elders did not decide this, they are merely message bearers,” said the High Priestess. “Lady Moon, Lord Sky, Lady of the Deep made this decision.”

More silence, even the wind and spring hushing.

“Oh-see-rah, open your eyes,” said the High Priestess.

Oh-see-rah opened his eyes, a radiance issuing forth from the High Priestess.

“All may open their eyes. I present you with the Lord of the Caves. Oh-see-rah, join me.”

As everyone gently chanted, TA-da-Ta-da, Oh-see-rah made his way to the stone. He stood beside the High Priestess but remained silent. The elders chose me?

“Oh-see-rah, kneel,” the High Priestess ordered.

Oh-see-rah knelt.

She waved a willow wand at his loins, then at his heart, then at his forehead. “I pronounce you Lord of the Caves. You may stand.”

Willing his legs not to fail him, Oh-see-rah stood.

“All others, kneel,” said the High Priestess as she knelt.

Oh-see-rah did not know what to do, say, or think. As if he’d been mountain climbing, blood rushed to his head.

A clip clop sounded just outside the cave.

A giant snow white mare entered and halted just inside the paling stakes. Her eyes ablaze, she stared at Oh-see-rah.

TO BE CONTINUED

Copyright 2021 Charles Suddeth

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The tail slammed into Oh-see-rah’s back.

Lord of the Caves Part 11

“No!” screamed Ee-shee-nah.

The tail’s impact batted Oh-see-rah into the cave, landing him next to the front fire, his nose buried in hot ashes, his belly scraped from the rough rock cave floor. His back was on fire. Afraid to budge, he lay waiting for death. If he were maimed, he’d sooner die, get it over with. Death, come and get me.

Ee-shee-nah crawled to him. “Are you hurt?”

“Some. Are you all right?” He tried to see but ashes coated his eyes.

“I’m fine, just scared for you.”

He shook his head, trying to get the ashes out of his eyes. “How about the boy?”

Hah-nah-pah knelt. “You saved his life. His mama took a switch to his legs.”

Oh-see-rah sighed. “How bad am I?”

Ee-shee-nah poured cool water over his back. “I don’t know yet.”

He jerked his head up. “That feels like cold fire.”

“Nasty slice across your back.” She rubbed ointment on his back. “Does that make it feel better?”

“Yes, that draws the fire right out. I am a lucky man. I have a woman who can shoot a spear like a warrior and heal like a witch-woman.”

She laughed. “Is that all I am good for?”

“No.” He touched her leg.

Hah-nah-pah cleared his throat. “You might’ve been killed. I will move back to my old cave.”

Oh-see-rah laughed. “I got to see a woman warrior in action. Stay. You can take first watch. I’ll take second watch.”

Hah-nah-pah smiled. “Thank you.”

Ah-koh-rah held his hand up. “And I’ll take third watch.”

Hah-nah-pah’s woman clapped. “Morning meal.”

Someone had broiled more whiskered-fish and baked lots of cakes. A basket of fresh berries made its way around to everyone. Oh-see-rah couldn’t remember a meal this fine—perhaps it was the close call with death that made it so enjoyable.

Hah-nah-pah’s boy glanced at Oh-see-rah and huddled behind his father. No doubt his legs still stung.

After eating, Hah-nah-pah stationed himself just outside the paling stakes. With a flint-tipped spear already loaded, he held his spear thrower in his hands. Wooden-tipped spears lay next to the front fire.

Oh-see-rah and family snuggled under their sleeping furs. He lay on his belly to let his tortured back heal. He kissed Ee-shee-nah and fell fast asleep.

“Time to rise,” she whispered in his ear.

He groaned. “Already time for watch?”

“You’re wounded. Can I go for you?”

He laughed. “You can outthrow me, but it’s my task.”

He leapt up and hurried to the cave’s mouth.

Hah-nah-pah handed him the spear thrower. “Thank you.”

“Sleep well.” Spear thrower in hand, Oh-see-rah paced back and forth a few times.

The morning was quiet, just cooing doves and fussing squirrels in the trees. Nothing on the ground but a large tortoise with a red and yellow striped shell. A friendly sun struggled to shine through the trees.

Oh-see-rah leaned against the outside rock wall and peered through the trees on the off chance the T-Rexes’ burns had healed. Hearing a scuffling noise, he whirled around. “Why—”

“Shhhh,” Ee-shee-nah put her fingers to her lips. She had laced red flowers in her long hair.

He grinned. She was glorious to behold, even after four offspring.

Unfastening her tunic, she let it slide to the ground. She had nothing else on.

TO BE CONTINUED

Copyright 2021 Charles Suddeth

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Prose Press has accepted my novelette (long short story) “Beware the Blue Lady” for their upcoming anthology about Bookriders—women librarians on horseback in eastern Kentucky. Title and publication date TBA.

http://prose-press.com/

br2br13

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Charles Suddeth

 

Holidays can and should be fun. Mama always warned me: Choose your friends and holidays carefully. I never listened.

 

  1. Only the Horses are Sane Day: In Louisville, the Kentucky Derby is THE major holiday. The partying over a two-minute race goes on for days. I love the Derby, but by the first Saturday in May, I am more tired than the horses. And I always bet on nags that can’t find the finish line.
  2. Too Much Candy Day: Okay, I really don’t hate Halloween, but I never get trick-or-treaters. I end up eating all the candy myself. I considered buying candy I didn’t like, but the little ones wouldn’t like the candy either. And honestly? What candy don’t I like?
  3. Cute Little Critter Day: As a writer,I want something more abrasive than Ground Hog Day. How about Skunk Day or Porcupine Day? And in the south, ground hogs used to be dinner. My grandparents often dined on them, so those ground hogs never saw their shadows.
  4. Boss’s Day: Really? Really? Aren’t the other 364 days Boss’s Days, too? It’s listed as October 16 or the nearest workday. How about Employee’s Day instead? We deserve one day a year.
  5. You Gotta be Kidding Day: The third Saturday in October is listed in some states as Sweetest Day. We need more candy a few days before Halloween? Frankly, the day was invented by several candy manufacturers years ago. Wonder why?
  6. Stay Home and Hide Day: Sometimes known as Black Friday. The Friday after Thanksgiving is the day everyone but me shops. Except for bookstores, shopping is less fun than root canals.
  7. What Happened to Secretary’s Day: On Wednesday of the last week in April is Administrative Professionals Day. I have nothing against secretaries, but this name implies something is wrong with secretaries. Am I a Word Professional?
  8. The Fourth of July: Hey, I love Independence Day. I love the parades and fireworks. Patriotic songs make me cry. But they voted for the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd, they wrote it up on July 3rd, and signed it on July 4th. My birthday is July 3rd, so as a compromise, it should be The Third of July. Who said writers aren’t egotistical?
  9. Winter Solstice: The Shortest Day of the Year, a few days before Christmas.AKAthe Longest Night of the Year. It’s too dark and cold to do anything on this day.I always write late and sleep in, so I see almost no daylight. Maybe it will inspire me to write a vampire novel.

Tax Day: Need I state the obvious? Every April 15th Uncle Sam demands his share of the booty. I don’t mind paying, but questions haunt my mind: Did I forget anything? (Of course I did) Did I include everything? (Even the IRS doesn’t know) What if they didn’t receive my tax forms? I’ll end up in a prison cell with a guy named Killer.

Don’t be surprised if you read my novels and some these of holidays show up. I always wanted to do a horror story. How about, Zombies on Black Friday. Or Killer Ground Hogs. Or The Derby Horses Get Even With the Jockeys.

KentuckyHalloween

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My list includes spec writers other writers don’t claim, but I will.

  1. Mr. Forgotten: Albert Payson Terhune wrote Lad, A Dog. I read the collie’s adventures when I was a kid. It predated Lassie. It made me realize animals had dignity. If you accept that animals have human-like feelings then you can accept aliens from outer space and robots as main characters.
  2. Ms. Poet: Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote a long poem, “The Ballad of the Harp Weaver.” She wrote many other poems of the supernatural. Her poetry takes me out of Normal Mode into Spec Mode.
  3. Mr. Fireplace: I visualize Washington Irving sitting in front of a colonial fireplace, telling stories like “Headless Horseman” and “Rip Van Winkle.” How many spinoffs of these 2 tales are there? What would Halloween be without him?
  4. Mr. Steampunk: I didn’t understand steampunk, until someone said to me, “Jules Verne.” Need I say more? A serious dude who predicted computers and far more than just a huge submarine or balloon adventures.
  5. Mr. Pirate: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island fascinated me as a kid. I was convinced secret treasures lurked everywhere. Astronauts landing on a distant planet, bring me back to this story. Jekyll and Hyde was an early science fiction story that has been retold a million times.
  6. Just call him Professor: Sherlock Holmes was Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous character, but Professor Challenger was the character for a series of science fiction stories. The most famous one was The Lost World. Hollywood is still mining it.
  7. Really old guy: I don’t know for sure, but I suspect Homer made up the Iliad and the Odyssey. He called them old tales, because bards weren’t allowed to make up new ones. After 3,000 years, his stories are still going strong.What can I say?
  8. Sir, to you: When I was a kid, I loved Peter Pan. Heck, I still like it. Novelist/playwright Sir J. M. Barrie also wrote Mary Rose, which Alfred Hitchcock unsuccessfully tried to make into a movie.
  9. Strange Dude: H. P. Lovecraft wrote about Cthulhu and Necronomican. He was an unabashed racist and possibly mentally ill, but his writing has been very influential, especially with Stephen King. I like him and dislike him, which would probably make sense to him.
  10. Wild Child: Oscar Wilde not only wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray, but he wrote at least 2 books of fairy tales. I’m not sure I’d read them to my little ones, but Oscar certainly lived up to his name.

    Now you know what inspires/scares me!

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CLEAR CREEK WRITERS of SHELBYVILLE, KY

I am re-posting this because I have been told there are few entries so far. 

Send your entries between January 3, 2014 and deadline is March 15, 2014.

Category for Poem is:  “BUG ON THE WALL”

First Prize: Poetry $100, 2nd $75 and 3rd $50.

PROSE- The category is Half Empty, Half Full

First Prize: Prose $100, 2nd $75 and 3rd $50.

I have nothing to do with this contest, but some of the writers are also Members of Green River Writers. For the rules and details please click on this link:

http://clearcreekwriters.org/latest-contests/

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The Board of  Green River Writers has elected me their new Contest Director. I will oversee the 2 main contests, President’s Prize – Fiction & Green River Grande – Poetry. There will be around 15 other categories, including mine, Suzanne Suddeth Memorial Prize – Prose Or Poetry. I will have several volunteers helping me. The contest doesn’t begin until summer, and I will list the details here at a later date.

Feb_27_001

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CLEAR CREEK WRITERS of SHELBYVILLE, KY

Send your entries between January 3, 2014 and deadline is March 15, 2014.

Category for Poem is:  “BUG ON THE WALL”

First Prize: Poetry $100, 2nd $75 and 3rd $50.

PROSE- The category is Half Empty, Half Full

First Prize: Prose $100, 2nd $75 and 3rd $50.

I have nothing to do with this contest, but some of the writers are also Members of Green River Writers. For the rules and details please click on this link:

http://clearcreekwriters.org/latest-contests/

 

 

 

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Writers who want to visit us for the day are welcome. I am at the Green River Writers Winter Retreat  at the Kavanaugh Center, Crestwood, Kentucky until Sunday, January 26. Non-members and beginners are welcome.  Poetry and prose critiquing as well as writing exercises will be available. For more information, click on Green River Writers under my Links. Don’t let these summers photos fool you. It is snowing so hard I can barely see my car.

Tabernacle

pond

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Writers who want to visit us for the day are welcome. The Green River Writers Winter Retreat will be at the Kavanaugh Center, Crestwood, Kentucky from Thursday January 23 through Sunday, January 26. Non-members and beginners are welcome.  Poetry and prose critiquing as well as writing exercises will be available. For more information, click on Green River Writers under my Links.

Tabernacle

pond

 

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