Emily Porter was a tomboy. Her mother knew it. She spent her days outside with her best friend Sammy Watkins getting dirt-covered, scratched and scraped and would always return home with some strange wriggling thing in her pocket.
“You’re just a force to be reckoned with,” her father would always say.
Emily’s favorite place to play was by the oddly shaped rock formations in the field next to the Thompson farm. She and Sammy spent afternoons gathering special tokens for their “Injun Medicine Bags”.
“Look, Sammy. A piece of a hawk’s feather,” exclaimed Emily brightly as she popped it into her bag.
“Spirit of the Hawk!” laughed Sammy. “Now let’s hide them in the secret hole. We have to promise to ONLY take them out if we really need their magic,”
“Cross my heart,” promised Emily.
* * *
“What are you doing, dear?”
“Playing Minecraft on my iPad, gramma Em. Wanna play?” replied Julia.
“No thank you dear. I’m not good with those electronic things,” said Emily.
She hoped they’d arrive soon. At 94, her body couldn’t take car rides like it once did.
“Are you sure this is it?” asked Roger, as he steered the sedan onto a dirt road.
“Those are the directions,” replied Maggie, holding up her phone.
“I think we’re here, grandma!” said Trevor. “You should have Instagram, so you could post about this,” he said to Emily. “Heh… Insta… GRAM! Get it?” He chuckled.
Emily smiled, pretending to understand the joke.
Roger wheeled her across the bumpy field of grass to the odd looking rock formations. Memories of better days came back to her. The images were clearer to her than what her failing sight often revealed these days.
“Help me up, please, will you Roger?” she asked.
When she got close to a particular section of rock, she reached her gnarled arthritic hand inside a hole the size of a grapefruit. Her fingers found the soft leather bag inside.
“What’s that gramma Em?” asked Julia.
“Just something I’ve been wanting for quite some time now. It’s magic.”
“Wow, ya hear that dad. Gramma has a magic bag!”
Roger smiled and gently shook his head at his daughter as if to say “Not really”. Despite her cataracts, Emily caught his gesture out of the corner of her eye.
That night as she lay in bed, waiting for her pain meds to kick in so she could fall asleep, she clutched the bag to her heart and closed her eyes.
“Spirit of the Hawk.” she whispered.
In her minds eye, she was carried aloft by a large, majestic bird. Her tired earthly body left behind.
She was free.
[This is my entry into the Flash Fiction Challenge for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner by Roger Shipp. Write a story based on a photo prompt and introductory sentence in 200 words or less.
I went generously over the word limit today. I felt as though cutting back the story to meet the word constraint would have crippled the spirit of the tale and my first loyalty is always to the story. My apologies.
I dedicate this story to my grandmother, Helen Dickinson. May the Spirit of the Hawk always watch over her.]