Final Post by Des Birch
Author of Above and Beyond Dark WatersSadly this will be the final post on this website http://desbirch.org/. I am closing it down at the end of the year. The reasons are a little complex but mainly it is because I realise what kind of a writer I am.
I call myself a writer, not because I have written half-a-dozen books, but because writing is my first tool of choice for most situations. I have used it to my advantage in countless situations throughout my life. In the past I have used it to lessen the pain of a family who lost a child in a war. I have used writing to gain a BSc (Hons) as well as to entertain my children. More recently I have had the delight of Writing and delivering speeches for weddings and the sadness of composing a eulogy for a close friend. Writing is a very powerful tool which is the reason that state leaders have speech writers.
Over the years many stories have come to light and eventually the books came as well. I love writing and never intend to stop, but all of the marketing strategies that go with it detract from that enjoyment. I will never be rich and famous without careful attention to these marketing strategies, but hey, that’s not why I write. Writing is not just something I do; it is who I am. Therefore in order to fully enjoy my writing, I am divorcing myself from all but the very basic marketing strategies. I can still be found on Facebook and I will continue to release books from time to time. I would like to thank all those who have supported me and I hope you will enjoy my future writings.
Here is one final Christmas story. I hope you enjoy it.
The four brothers sat on the living-room carpet, eagerly waiting for their mum to begin the story. She sat in front of them, lost in thought as she relived memories of long ago.
“Come on, mum,” said the eldest. “Tell us how you came to be living in this big house after you spent all that time in jail in a foreign land. Tell us what it was really like back in the day.”
“It wasn’t easy,” she began. “I lived with mum and dad, my brother and four sisters. Life was easy and we were happy together. We were still very young, the night they came for us. Mum and dad were locked in another room while four men grabbed us and bundled us into the back of a waiting van. We cried out and we heard mum and dad trying to break down the door to get to us, but when the van doors banged shut behind us, we knew that we would never see them again.
After our arrest, we were all locked in individual cells; steel bars separating us so that we couldn’t snuggle up at night. There was no trial and we didn’t even know what we had done.
“Weren’t you frightened?” whispered the youngest.
“We were terrified. We had lost our parents, been taken from our homes, locked in cells and we didn’t know what the future held. We would whisper to each other late at night, after the last embers of the fire had ceased their glow and the night air began to chill. We would ask the same questions, over and over, but none of us knew the answers. What had we done wrong? What’s going to happen to us? Will we ever be free again?
Then one day, men came and dragged my brother from his cell. I never saw him again. After that we whispered less frequently. None of us asked where he might have gone; we were all too frightened of the answer. Night-time then became silent and days were spent in fear of our jailors dragging out another one of us. Food was sufficient but boring and I soon grew tired of pacing my cell, so I just sat in the corner in a daze. Even when the first of my sisters was taken away, I barely moved. She didn’t struggle and I wondered if I would act the same when my turn came. After a few weeks, there were only two of us left. Still we dared not speak although many fearful glances were cast between us. Eventually we both entered a trance-like state in which we simply accepted all that was going on around us. When my last remaining sister was led away, we never even said goodbye.”
The youngsters sat upright, hanging on every word, hardly daring to breathe. Mum took a deep breath and continued the story.
“So I found myself completely alone. There was nobody to talk to, even if I had felt like talking. I spent much of the time sleeping, only to be woken by the sound of my jailors. Eventually I believe that I stopped caring. Nothing I did would have made any difference and so I resigned myself to my fate, whatever it might have been.
It was late one night that I was woken by a sound. At first I thought it was one of the jailors and I grew frightened because they had never come at night. Perhaps this was it! Then I realised that the steps were softer than usual and somebody was walking around with a torch. I curled up and hid my face when the bright beam hit me. Then I heard a soft voice telling me he was there to release me from jail and that I must trust him and keep very quiet. For the first time in weeks I had a faint glimmer of hope. Was this man really here to rescue me? He said that he must hide me and he produced a huge bag. I stepped into the bag and he pulled it up around me, securing it at the top. Then the mighty man hoisted me onto his back.”
“You must have been even more frightened then,” said the youngest brother.
“I think my feelings had gone beyond fear. I suddenly thought that this might be one of the jailors who simply wanted me to go with him without any fuss. I would know as soon as he turned the key in the lock, for only jailors had keys. The only other way out was through high windows, and I breathed a sigh of relief when I felt the man begin to climb.
The next thing I remember was feeling very cold and I realised that we had escaped from the jail. But what would happen to me now? How much did I really trust this man? Then I was covered with something warm and I slipped into a restless sleep.
I opened my eyes and I was still in the bag. Keeping quiet for fear of being discovered, I wriggled around to peer out of a tiny hole. I was indeed being taken far from danger because I was in an aircraft, flying over hills and fields. Feeling a little happier, I once again slipped into slumber. The next thing I remember was being bumped around. Then the bag opened but it was too dark for me to see anything at all. Once again I was told that I must be very quiet. I stepped out of the bag and took a few paces forward. Then I heard the clang of the door closing behind me, and I knew I had been betrayed. This cell was far smaller than my last one and all I could really do was to lie down and accept my fate.
That night seemed to last forever, but somewhere in the darkness, I grew angry. Why must I simply accept my fate? No, I would fight back. I could not do very much until the door was opened, but when it was, I was determined to leap out and run as fast as I could before my jailors knew what was happening. This decision made me feel alive once again and while I waited, I would rehearse my escape over and over. A chink of light told me that I was in a forest, as I could just see the branch of a tree through the bars. This was good news as a forest would make hiding much easier. Even through the excitement of imminent escape, my energy had drained and I drifted off to sleep.
Voices outside my cell woke me with a start. It was daylight but I didn’t want to look outside in case the people frightened me and caused me to back out. I tensed every muscle as I heard the door being unlocked, staring at the floor in concentration. I was ready and this was my only chance. The door began to swing open and I could wait no longer. I charged ahead, leaping through the opening door.”
Their mother had paused for a moment for effect.
“Well what happened?” asked all the brothers in unison.
What happened, my little puppies, is that I leapt into this very room, straight into the arms of a loving family and my first ever Christmas.