Deborah gazed at the words on the wall and in an instant recognized their irony. The words in themselves were loving, but their message was hateful, especially as the words were written in blood. The blood of her beloved magpies. Before she could even think about it, Deborah blacked out and collapsed on the wooden floorboards of the verandah.
Images appeared before her mind’s eye. Like in her dreams lately, she again found herself in a wheat field. This time she was all alone. All she saw when she looked around her were wheat sheaves standing against the backdrop of a bright blue sky. There were thousands, maybe millions, of them, and when she looked closely she began to admire their beauty. Such perfection in the way the wheat had been ‘crafted’ by Mother Nature, she thought. She enjoyed how the wheat was set in motion by a gentle wind, like a golden sea. Then she listened closely to the wind whispering:
“You are beautiful just the way you are. Always remember that...”
Then the whispering faded away into a murmur of voices around her. At that moment, she regained consciousness to find Dougie licking her face.
“Are you okay, love?” a woman’s voice sounded.
Deborah looked to her left and saw the woman of the elderly couple from next door kneeling next to her. It was then that she realized she had passed out.
“Oh, I think so,” Deborah replied while she stroked Dougie who was now standing on her chest.
“Well, you look alright,” the woman’s husband said laying his hand on her shoulder. “Do you think you can sit up?”
Deborah nodded by way of answer and then proceeded to get into an upright position.
“How’s that feel?” another of Deborah’s neighbours asked.
“Good, I feel okay now. Thanks for helping me.”
“No worries,” the old man said, “We heard a scream and rushed out to see what was going on.”
Upon hearing this, Deborah instinctively looked towards the side of the house to see the message that had caused her to faint. Her eyes dilated and she had to take a deep breath to refrain from screaming again. This was a really bad start to the day, she said to herself and wondered who was responsible.
The old man saw the questioning look on her face.
“Jean,” he began saying while glancing at his wife, ”saw someone in a hoodie lurking on your property yesterday evening.”
“Yes, we were about to come over and tell you just before you screamed,” Jean added apologetically.
Deborah looked away from the wall and back at her neighbours. For a moment she wondered whether to share the incident with the conch with them, but something deep inside advised her not to. She was still feeling a little shaky and did not trust anyone right now. Now she thought about it, she had not trusted anyone in a long time, except for her dad.
A voice from the past shook Deborah from her thoughts. It sounded so familiar but out of place. Curiously, she looked towards the wood chip path that led from the front yard along the side of the house and into the backyard. The sunlight made her squint, and it took her a few seconds to make out who was walking towards them.
“Jenny,” she gasped in surprise when she recognized her long lost sister.
‘No Pain No Grain‘ by Patrick Nijhuis on Freeimages.com
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