Sunday, February 8, 2009

Great Hites 39

This week we welcome Michael S.
Welcome back Norval Joe.
And You get a story and a recording from me. (Jeff)

Great Hites # 39
Through the Underbrush By Michael S.
The spirit of the forest By Noval Joe
All in a Day's Work by Jeff Hite free polls

Download GH39

Trudging through the underbrush
By Michael S.

Trudging through the underbrush all three boys were breathing heavily as they pushed onward.

“Whose great idea was it to get off the path?” David quizzed knowing full well it was his own.

Close to an hour now since leaving the well worn trails they had been driving eastward as their compasses pointed them forward. The thickness of the vines, tree limbs and thorny tendrils reaching out from the floor of the woods was seemingly endless.

“Hey, it looks like a clearing up ahead,” Rod puffed.

All three picked up the pace lifting their knees higher with each step in an effort to push through the tangled web of undergrowth.

The sunlight was breaking through the upper branches of the oaks and splashing warmly in patches upon their faces and backs. Between the trunks of two trees they could clearly see an open field stretching ahead for several acres. They popped out onto the clearing in unison and rolled in the grass, laughing and shouting a youthful, victorious cry of accomplishment.

The wind was blowing gently over the tops of the grass stalks across the clearing in a rhythm much like rolling waves on an ocean surface. Although a light brown color from the dryness of the summer heat the grass still possessed the grassy fragrance of Mother Nature and her earthy richness.

“Let’s make camp right in the middle of this field before it gets too late,” came the voice of the youngest, Paul.

“Yeah, I’m starved. I’ll gather some wood for the fire and we can warm up some grub,” the pack leader, David offered.

They all walked to the center of the open field near the remains of a solitary fallen tree. The grass had not yet recovered from years of shade and was only now beginning to creep within the area that was once under the umbrella of the tree.

They nodded in agreement and collectively understood this was the perfect spot. Without a word spoken they dropped their backpacks, unshouldered their BB guns and started to unload their treasures. Cans of beans, sardines, candy bars, canteens, a small cooking pan, sun lotion (courtesy of two of the mothers), a bag of jellybeans and other assorted necessities were soon deposited on the ground. They all stared at their lot as if it were a prize kill taken from the very jaws of danger.

David walked away to gather the broken branches and bits of kindling while Rod and Paul searched for rocks for the edge of the campfire. Within minutes they were busy using the rocks to form a small circle to contain the gathered wood. David piled the smaller kindling in the middle and stood to search his pockets for the matches he had brought along just for this purpose.

His father had taught him the fundamentals of starting a fire and he looked the part of an expert as he knelt beside the wood and struck the first match against the cover. The smaller wood pieces were dry enough to catch quickly and David covered the spot with his hands shielding the wind long enough to allow flames to catch some of the surrounding branches.

The boys were drawn to the sight of the fire watching as it grew in intensity. The flames were soon undulating from within the circle of stone. David continued to throw the branches he had gathered into the center of the fire finishing with a large piece he had wrestled from the base of the fallen tree. With the impact of the larger piece the flames leapt higher than they would have thought possible as fiery embers floated skyward above the peak of the flames.

David was the first to react, running toward the fire gnats swatting them with his hands in a futile attempt to suppress their journey toward the grass that surrounded them. Paul reached for the canteen and fumbled for control of the canister until he was finally able to twist the lid off and pour the contents on the fire.

“Throw dirt on it,” Rod shouted awakening from his stupor.

They dropped to their knees and clawed at the topsoil hoping to loosen enough to throw on the fire and stifle its growth. David grabbed the pan turning it over to use as a shovel. Minutes of concentrated labor brought about the slow death of the flames until all that remained in its place was a smoldering pile of soil and ashes.

Starting to relax Rod looked up from his digging and noticed the white smoke drifting skyward from behind Paul. At the same moment his olfactory senses matched the scent wafted by the breeze with the scent he associated with helping his father each year burning the fallen leaves in the yard. Terror struck Rod as he stammered to say something to warn the others until he was finally able to push back enough to speak.

“Look you guys,” he screamed as he pointed behind Paul.

Both the other boys stopped their moment of relaxation long enough to search in the direction Rod was pointing. The smoke they observed was beginning to thicken as the wind carried it downrange of where they stood. The quiet ensued by the work stoppage opened the airwaves to the sound of the grass popping and crackling as it caught fire. They were now all standing, looking down at the dark patches of grass already consumed by the fire. As if on cue the wind took this opportunity to remind them of its presence by offering a short gust that further fueled the flames.

“Is there a stream anywhere near here?” yelled David, breaking the silence.

“What are we gonna carry the water back in even if we found a stream?” Paul replied.

“What are we gonna do?” Rod said with a slight tremor in his words.

“You two run back towards the main park area. I’ll stay here to help.” David ordered.

“Help with what. It’s at least an hour back to the main park. This whole place will be dust by the time we get back,” Rod spoke, “Let’s all go for help.”

While their short discussion was taking place the fire had spread another 20 feet and showed no signs of relenting. Within minutes they would be witnessing the flames licking at the base of the trees seeking the fuel provided by the undergrowth just beyond the border they provided.

They quickly grabbed their backpacks after stuffing as much as possible back inside. Their hearts sank in a feeling of hopelessness looking back over their shoulders as they walked toward the opening where they had earlier celebrated a moment of joy and happiness as they reentered the darkness and undergrowth of the woods.

'The spirit of the forest.'
By: Norval Joe

"Henry, lean in here, closer with that lantern."
"Yes, Lord John." Henry said, lowering the lantern toward the ground where the younger man knelt on the ground, arranging an assortment of sticks. The sticks were all of similar lengths, though cut from different thicknesses. "Are you sure that it is vital that they be arranged in such an order?"
Lord John stopped what he was doing and looked up, into the grey eyes of his long time servant. He was feeling frustration welling up in him, and his first response was to unleash it on this faithful older man, but caught himself before saying something that he would regret. "Yes, my friend, it is vital that each stick be placed in its' proper position, or this entire exercise will be pointless," he said instead.
"Here are 77 sticks, cut from the straightest willows growing along the most curved parts of the Forest River. 28 of the thicker sticks are arrange as you see here, 2, then 3, then 5 then 7, and at last 11. You see? They are the first five prime numbers, their sum being 28. Then atop that structure, the thinner sticks, 13, then 17, then 19. The next three prime number, the sum of them all being 77. The numbers are vital."
"Yes my lord," Henry said, the scepticism clearly apparent in his voice.
"Look around you. We have found the deepest part of the forest, where the pines grow so straight and tall that the moonlight will only light this small glade, directly, for a few minutes at midnight. That time approaches, look up. The legend says that a flame started at midnight, from the willow wood of the Forest River, arranged as we are doing so, here, will summon the spirit of the forest, and it will be bound to do our will until the next full moon. That is all the time we need to be able to exact our revenge and re-establish our prominence throughout this country side, for the rest of our lives."
Henry looked up to see that the light of the full moon was, in fact, working its' way down the trees on the western side of the small glade. In minutes the moon would be directly over head.
"We must work quickly," Lord John said, now feeling the pressure to complete the structure with sufficient time.
He placed the final stick as the moonlight touched the ground at the base of the giant tree just feet away. "Henry," he gasped, the light is upon us, bring the flame, now!" He was almost in a panic to begin the ritual. Henry stumbled, the lantern swinging wildly on its' chain, but was able to right himself and offer the flame to his master.
Lord John opened the lantern door and quickly lit a small willow twig from a coal with in. He eased the burning twig under the stacked pyre the moment the light from the full moon rested atop the structure. Though the willow boughs were green and wet the flame caught instantly. With blinding intensity the pyre was engulfed in the fire. The flames leapt higher than they would have thought possible and Henry wondered if escape would even be possible if the flames jumped to the surrounding forest.
Then, as quickly as it had begun, the flames faded and were gone, the wooden structure was intact and uncharred.
Upon the wooden structure sat a small girl, her iridescent gown flowing down the sides of the alter, covering her legs, except for the tips of her bare toes.
She sat, immobile, with her head down, and tilted to the side, her unfocused gaze directed at the forest floor. The expression on her face seemed ,at once, passive and immobile, yet changing at each instant; at once disinterested, then distraught, offended, sad, impatient, and contemptuous.
"It's just a little girl," Henry exclaimed. For the smallest fraction of a second she glanced in Henry's directions. A short sigh and small sob escaped her lips, ruby red against milk white skin.
She was small, true enough, and though her gown was in no way revealing, she was a woman of obvious maturity. "Henry, this in no girl, this is..." Lord Johns words were lost in a sudden roar of winds that burst around the two men, who crouched near the small woman. The air was still in the vortex of the storm, but only yards away trees were shattered and blown down; branches, dirt and other debris were pick up by the whirl wind and spun around the small clearing. Just as the two men began to despair that the winds would change and draw them in to a terrible death, the wind abated and the flying debris settled to the ground. The destruction was immense and spread for almost a quarter mile in all directions.
Henry knelt next to the placid diminutive woman, his mouth hanging open, disbelief in his eyes.
"Henry, Fortune has smiled upon us," Lord John said, a grin slowly spreading across his face, "This is no little girl! This is a woman scorned. Hell hath no fury.....".

All in a Day's Work
Jeff Hite

"There you go, all in a days work." Linda said as she turned and walked away.
"Wait a minute." Mark's voice sounded strained is if he might break any moment. "Your ad said you could remove hexes and curses."
"And I paid you to do that."
"And I removed the hex."
"Look I was a little leery when a thirteen year old girl showed up on my doorstep but you said that you had study the craft and knew what you were doing."
"I did and I do, so what is the problem here? You my brother was right. No one takes me seriously. The boys always go around asking me where my broom is. My used-to-be friends all asked that I not turn them into frog, before they ran away. Even my mother things that all my candles are some sort of a fire hazard."
"Stop right there. Your mother thinks you are a fire hazard?"
"Yeah that is what she says when I light the candles in my room."
"And you didn't think that maybe should have told me that?" He croaked.
"Well maybe. I guess. The flames did go higher than I would have expected them to."
"You, think?"
"Look mister, if you are not happy I will give you your money back. But, I have held up my part of the bargain. The hex is totally gone. But fine, he is your money back."
"Linda," He said pleadingly "My house is in flames and you say the hex is gone."
"Well my ad does say Y.M.M.V."
"What the heck does that mean anyway?"
"Your mileage may vary."


Jeffrey Hite said...

I made a mistake and Called Michael S. Michael P. during the recording. It was a mistake and I am very sorry.