The following is Part I of “The Secret”, a story from the book “The Odessa Chronicles” which is ideal for all children ages 4 to 104.
As there is always a time for some light and fun reading, perhaps you should treat yourself to this book of short stories involving some odd characters – a Barn Owl (Odessa), a cat (Dewey), a Jackalope (Jaxon), and a human (Joshua aka Man-Servant) … or perhaps get it as a gift for somebody special!
There are reviews on amazon.com (link below).
The man-servant was settling down in front of the TV after a day of working on the farm, and Dewey was stretched out in front of the log fire. He turned to Dewey and asked, “Have you noticed anything strange about Jaxon and Odessa lately?”
Dewey looked at him. “Well,” he said, “Jaxon has been so busy doing something lately that I have hardly seen him. The odd times that I have seen him, I think he was practicing with his magical abilities. As for Odessa? Well … she has always been a little strange, so nothing new there!”
The man-servant was deep in thought for a moment, and then said, “I’m going over to the barn, to make sure that those guys are okay.”
Dewey was so comfortable in front of the fire that he decided to stay where he was, while the man-servant walked over to the barn. As he went through the open doorway, he could see Jaxon sitting on his straw pile, seemingly daydreaming. “Hi Jaxon!” said the man-servant.
Jaxon was surprised, and leapt up into the air. “Why, Man-Servant!” he exclaimed. “You really startled me. You don’t usually come over to the barn at this time of night.”
“I know,” replied the man-servant, “but I wanted to make sure that everything was well in here.”
“Oh, Man-Servant, everything is perfectly well in here. It’s never been as well as this before and so … yes … everything is well in here. I guess you can go back to the farmhouse now.”
The man-servant was a little puzzled by Jaxon’s response, but decided to return to the farmhouse.
For the next few days, Dewey and the man-servant hardly ever saw Jaxon and Odessa, so the man-servant decided to make another late-night visit. Once again, he saw Jaxon obviously deep in thought about something. This time he quietly walked past him, as he wanted to check out Odessa’s end of the barn. As he walked under Odessa’s beam (where she spent much of her daytime sleeping), he looked up … and there she was! The man-servant thought for a moment.
“Odessa!” He called up to her. “Why aren’t you out hunting for mice and things now?”
He saw Odessa move to one side with one of her wings slightly outstretched. “Because I am not hungry, Man-Servant!”
The man-servant was now convinced that something was not right, as this was totally uncharacteristic behavior for Odessa. “What’s wrong with your wing?” he asked her.
“Which wing?” she asked.
“The one that you have sticking out!” said the man-servant.
“Oh … nothing,” she answered. “There’s nothing wrong with that wing.”
The man-servant shook his head. “Then why do you have it sticking out, instead of down by your side like your other wing?”
Odessa stared down at him for a moment, and without blinking, said, “Listen up, Man-Servant, they are my wings, and I really don’t have to explain to you what I choose to do with them. Now, if you would please leave, I have some sleeping to do.”
Just then, the man-servant heard a noise and saw Jaxon hopping towards him. “Jaxon … Odessa is behaving rather peculiar. Is she okay?”
“Of course!” said Jaxon. “She’s fine. You should go back to the farmhouse now, because Dewey is looking for you.”
The man-servant decided that, as he wasn’t going to learn anything more from Jaxon and Odessa, he should go back to the farmhouse and see what Dewey wanted. As he walked into the farmhouse, he saw Dewey asleep by the fireplace. He sat in his chair for a while, pondering the night’s events, until Dewey woke up and stretched.
“Hi, Man-Servant. I see that you’re back. What’s the news from the barn?”
“Well,” said the man-servant, “both Jaxon and Odessa are behaving rather oddly. Anyway, what did you want me for?”
Dewey looked at him. “I’m a cat! Why do you think I want you for something?”
“Because Jaxon told me that I should get back to the farmhouse. Apparently, you wanted me for something.”
Dewey was looking very thoughtful “Hmmm … Jaxon is up to something.”
Over the next few weeks, both the man-servant and Dewey noticed that Odessa was making regular flights out of the barn during both the day and the night. Jaxon always seemed to be daydreaming, and when asked what he was doing, his explanation was that he was practicing his magical powers.
Dewey did manage to get Jaxon away from the man-servant for a few minutes. “Jaxon!” he said. “Why is Odessa making so many flights in and out of the barn?”
“She’s looking for food.” said Jaxon.
Dewey thought for a moment. “Looking for food so often day and night? Is she ill or something?”
Jaxon shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t think so, but you would have to ask Odessa.”
Dewey was as puzzled as the man-servant, because he missed his adventures with Jaxon, and was convinced that both Jaxon and Odessa were up to something! One evening, after it had started to get quite dark, the man-servant and Dewey went over to the barn. Jaxon was once again apparently deep in thought, but then they heard a muffled sound coming from Odessa’s area. They both rushed down to that end of the barn, just in time to see Odessa settle on the beam. As soon as she saw them, she opened one wing.
“Odessa!” called the man-servant. “What on earth are you doing?”
“Oh … hi, Man-Servant!” she said. “I was getting settled here and wanted to open that same wing again.”
“Odessa!” called Dewey. “I have seen many peculiar birds in my time, and you are up there with the best of them, but I have never seen one do that wing thing before. What’s up?”
“Nothing!” said Odessa. “It’s a Barn Owl thing … nothing less … nothing more. Goodbye! There must surely be some other place for you both to go to.”
Part II (final part) will be posted tomorrow.