That Which Awaits

The first animal seen after your first battle is your totem spirit. At least that’s what I’ve been told all my life. Now my friends all boast of the animals they saw and the good omens they portend. My experience was different. I should be joyful. My totem is the bearer of magic, wisdom, and messages from beyond. Yet happiness eludes me.

Juices run down my hand from the fresh roasted meat I hold, but it feels dry in my mouth. It’s not the cool night air that sends shivers down my back, it’s the vision I saw as the fighting ended, right after I saw my totem. I edge closer to the fire, hoping its warmth will drive away my chills.

I don’t fear death. Never have. Never will. Perhaps that’s why this totem chose me. With my free hand I clutch the pouch that hangs from my neck and close my eyes. Images from the battle replay in my mind, each detail, clearer by the second. The end never changes.

A loud caw caw and the flutter of wings. A lone black feather swirls to my feet. I watch the raven as it circles three times then flies east. Wind tugs at my hair.  Sand and dirt blind me, yet my sight is true. I look down. The raven feather still rests at my feet.

It’s a new beginning for me, a vision of the future….but none of my friends or family are in it.

About A. L. Kaplan

I am a writer, artist, and parent.
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