The Carriage Driver³ - A Woman Like Me


The street jackels smelled the scent of Lisa, and once they had it, they pursued her. She was little, and she was quick. She found a place to hide and pulled the cloak of fear around her. Things went on like that throughout her school years.

By High School, she had mastered the practice of pulling on a dark mask. She now attracted the hyenas and the boars. Baboons and the wild ass crisscrossed her path. The gazelles wanted nothing to do with her, nor did the impalas.

Lisa’s journals filled with thick-lined drawings of frightened eyes and foreboding gothic doorways revealed her mood. Her MP3 headphones carried the music of A.R.E. Weapons, Neurofunk, and the sounds of Electrosexual. Her wardrobe included a black leather jacket with silver studs, heavy black boots, and dark shapeless pants. Her silkscreened tee-shirt always had the name of some band across the front.

It had been weeks since Captain Griffin Chaffey acquired a fare. Daily he woke and groomed Nuelle. He brushed her coat until it glowed. He took to polishing her hoof’s walls. And he talked with her.

Griffin and Nuelle were walking through the woods together the night of the fall equinox in the grayish moonlight. The roar of mayhem thundered towards them preceded by screams. Footfalls beat the ground and approached with panic.

Lisa stepped into view and seeing Griffin and Nuelle tried to change her course, to avoid her blocked passage. Griffin released his hand from the rein he held. “Come here,” he called, and to Nuelle, he said, “Take her to the oracles.”

Lisa looked back; the jackals were hot after her.

Griffin repeated, in a gentle voice, “Come here.”

She ran to Griffin, who immediately lifted her to Nuelle’s back. Nuelle turned and galloped away into the night. Griffin tucked his hat beneath his belt, found a club and went in the direction of the pursuing jackals.

Nuelle reached the cottage by the river. She managed the gate and entered the yard. First one light appeared in the window, then another. The front door opened. Cameron held a lantern high, seeing Nuelle she stepped through, followed by Jennifer and Julie. They rushed to Lisa and helped her down.

Once they had her inside the cottage, the additional lamplight revealed her torn clothes and the layers of darkness which Lisa found herself.

Julie, with a quick assessment, said, “Let’s take her to the river.” The others agreed, they took her to the edge of the river, they removed their clothing and Lisa’s clothing and immersed themselves. They bathed her; they assessed her wounds.

Jennifer washed away layer after layer of mask applied over many years. When finished with this first aid, the three led Lisa from the river, scooped up their clothing and went to the cottage to dry and continue their treatment.

“Here,” Cameron said, handing a gown belonging to Julie to Lisa. “When you are dry, put this on.”

“Sit here,” Jennifer suggested, “I’ll comb your hair out.”

Lisa sat, and Jennifer gently began to comb out years of anger.

“Pull your gown up above your knees. I need to put dressings on two of the wounds on your legs.” Cameron told her. Julie handed Lisa a cup of fresh tea. She returned with more tea for the rest. Then she saw to the fire.

“Where is Griffin?” Julie said innocently.

“Griffin? Is that his name? He threw me on the back of the beautiful horse, and that is the last I saw of him. I have never seen a man with a more angry look on his face.” Lisa took a sip of her tea. She looked at these three women buzzing around her. The gown she now wore was finely woven and soft against her freshly scrubbed skin. She drew her fingers along the side of her face. Her pores seemed to breathe.

“What happens to you, does not define you.” Jennifer pulled the coarse toothed comb through Lisa’s hair. “You need look no further than Nuelle out in the yard. She has dignity; she is in control of her emotions. Her fierce intelligence sees her through many situations. ”

Lisa sat and listened. “Women are the creators,” Jennifer continued. “They are given many hardships, and they carry their sorrow within them.”

The sound of Jennifer’s voice was soothing, and the gentleness of her hands in her hair was comforting. Lisa’s eyes shut as words like wisdom and passion and spirituality washed over her. She eased into Elysian fields of wavering flowers, her burdens and terrors plummeting away, back to the ground.

When Lisa woke in the morning her hair was braided, interwoven was a garland of flowers. A poultice relieved the pain from the bruises. Her body was powdered and perfumed. A cream applied to her hands made them soft. Her blouse had been mended, her heavy shoes cleaned, her undergarments hung dried on a line, strung near the hearth.

Cameron sat by her side. “How do you feel, dear?” Her voice carried compassion, warmth, and friendship.

Julie, out in the yard, saw to Nuelle’s feeding. She had brushed away the signs of her night ride. Julie’s walk around in the woods turned up no sign of Griffin. She returned to the cottage, as she entered, she said, “Nuelle is ready to take her back.”

Jennifer said, “You can keep the gown if you like it.”

Lisa smiled. She gathered her clothes in a bundle. The girls saw her out. Cameron touched Lisa’s shoulder. When she turned towards her, Cameron lifted her hands and placed a gold chain with a charm of a horse, and put it around Lisa’s neck. “I always felt protected wearing this particular amulet. It always brought me luck.” The two smiled at one another. Jennifer and Julie helped Lisa climb up on Nuelle’s back and waved as she rode off.


Nuelle allowed herself to be guided to Lisa’s home. When they arrived Lisa climbed down, dropping her bundle of clothes to the ground. She wrapped her arms around Nuelle’s neck as a way of thanking her. Lisa picked up the bundle of clothes, walked straight to the waste bin and made her deposit.

Once Lisa was safely home, Nuelle returned to their new quarters where she found Griffin. A coat of wax had been applied to the wood trim of the carriage. The leather seats were clean and bright. The brass lanterns were filled and polished. The carriage was as well tended as any proud station’s fire truck.

Griffin went to Nuelle and led her inside. He gathered his brushes, “I am not sure…” he paused, cutting his thoughts short. “This new location is going to present new challenges.” He took an apple from his pocket, cut it into four pieces. He fed two to Nuelle and ate the rest himself. He began to brush her coat.

Lisa returned to school on Monday morning. She had found some slacks that her mother no longer wore and a fresh white blouse. Her hair was put up and pinned in the back. There was no makeup on her face. There were no masks on her heart. There was a blank journal in her bag. There was confidence in her step. The antelope, puku, and roans turned and looked as she passed. The hyenas, baboons and the wild ass’ cleared out of her way.

Pink Panther - Woman Like Me

Rolling Stones Time Waits For No One In Hd w/ Lyrics

© 2016 mckbirdbks

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Comments 24 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

Hi Mike. As always this chapter of The Carriage Driver3 is well written and a good read. I am still trying to get into the different storyline of this third series completely. I think I am having trouble with the fact Griffin seems to have a lesser role now, but I am sure I will get used to it soon.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello John. It is obvious, I am struggling with this third series. I wanted something new, but this course does not seem to flow well. I may have to stir back to more familiar territory. I broke the thread, and may not be able to tie it back together.

always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

As I read this I got the feeling that The Carriage Driver is going in a completely different direction, perhaps helping to solve problems for the downtrodden here on earth. Nuelle was the champion in this episode. I see Lisa on the streets, especially where the young people are rioting. I enjoyed reading this.

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

I, for one, like the familiarity of Griffin and Nuelle... mixed with a bit of the unexpected each week.

The combination of the empowering Beyoncé with this "rock"-solid classic by The Stones are the perfect accompaniments to this story.

Your symbolism and lyrical descriptions are shining brightly in this installment. Lisa got a make-over from the inside out... and those wild asses had better stay out of her way.

TGIF...this week feels like a blur. Hugs, mar

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Ruby - Thank you. This was a different direction for The Carriage Driver. New directions seem to be called for. Nuelle certainly did 'carry' the day here in this story. You 'saw' what I wrote.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello mar - Yes, Lisa got a make over and she was shown a new path, a new direction. She was shown, the strength inside her. She did not realize just how tall she could stand. Her presence now demands attention and respect.

This week is indeed a blur and my thinking remains shattered.

As always, thanks for the support.

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

Mike, I like this new direction the stories are taking, where help is given to the living. This brave girl has been awarded a brand new outlook inside and out and it will certainly change the rest of her life. Nuelle stands out as the saving grace of this episode and like others, I'm ambivalent about Captain Griffin taking a lesser role. Perhaps he will make a comeback into the limelight. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying this new path. Heading to the music selections to listen while I ponder this story.

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 weeks ago from Hereford, AZ

I love the new direction this is going in. Helping the poor, downtrodden people move towards helping themselves and others is a beautiful way to go. I have had a few helpers along the way of life, and they are so valued. They are so valued that I do what I can to help more also. Sometimes we just need to find a way to go. I loved the animal symbolism in this also.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Peg, Thank you. This is a story of redemption. Lisa was knocked off, of her course. And as you say, she was awarded with a brand new outlook. I did not even think about Griffin taking a lesser role here. There is a whole, unwritten, story of Griffin’s part in the reward. I appreciate your insight.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Becky. Giving a helping hand and offering guidance is truly worthy. I tried to express that here. There seems to be far too little of this characteristic in our society today. The symbolism fit well into this story of one who was redeemed. Thanks for the visit today. Hope all is well.

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 weeks ago from Hereford, AZ

Difficult, but working as well as it should. I have been helped along the way. I was reminded by someone that helped me get out of TN. He told me today that he was still extremely happy that he could help us get out of there. He sees we did better here and has seen us helping others. I did not even know I was being watched. Sometimes we just need to be told we are noticed.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 weeks ago from South Africa

I enjoyed the metaphors in here. One traumatic experience can make or break a person. Unfortunately, a broken person has no idea how broken he/she really is, until he falls to pieces. I am glad Nuelle saved Lisa.

This series could very well be about people who get a second chance. How often do we see these kind of miracles where people have to face death before they are able to change for the better?

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

I am left with one conclusion any old time I read one of your stories: the difference between mediocre writing and superb writing is obvious to even the casual observer. You raise the bar every single time you write.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

What an amazing story...filled with an innate sense of imagery and detail that have -- among other aspects -- brought us closer to the relationship between Griffin and Nuelle. Whether we consider life on earth, or the movements throughout the heavens and the universe, things are in a constant state of flux and change. Indeed, "Time Waits for No One." I love where this series has journeyed, and am fascinated to see where you will take us next. :-) .

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Becky, you have not written, or perhaps published as often since your move to AZ. The times you mentioned how you all are doing the reports were positive. It is good to know there are people out there that can and will lend a helping hand.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Martie – I am reminded that I may not have stopped by your last publication. I’ll get that corrected. “We are not defined by what happens to us.” Easy to say, hard to overcome sometimes. Just exploring emotions and turning them into stories here. It seems, Nuelle gets the credit here. The Oracles were the teachers and mended Lisa and they were her healers. The notion that the series could subtlety be turned into stories of redemption occurred to me. Yet that does not carry the same impact.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Good morning, Bill – Thanks. We both are in that category of ‘The Unknown Writers’ It is a large club. Like my brother tells me, "If you were any good, you would make money at it." I appreciate the visit.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Good morning Genna. What a nice comment. I did find myself using symbolism to move this story along. Griffin and Nuelle are a team. They have been together a long time and look out for each other. Change is all around us. It often, to me anyway, feels like a war zone. More so lately, as the impossible unfolds.

The questions that I asked myself in writing this series, especially the first series, seem to have changed, in my mind. “What is a good life that leads to the promised hereafter?” Was one of the questions. It is, momentarily, difficult to see through the haze.

Thanks for staying with these stories.

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 weeks ago from Central Florida

Mike, this series has taken on a whole new realm. Griffin seems to be a bit perplexed about his modified station in the circle of life. I like where this is going, my friend.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Sha, both Griffin and I are perplexed in this circle of life. I have two more episodes written. For not having any understanding or guidelines for series three, I guess I am doing ok.

Thanks for staying with the series, as it wobbles its way forward.

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 weeks ago from Central Florida

I love this series, Mike. It seems your muse has become deeply embedded in Griffin's purpose. She's now writing the series. You're merely along for the ride!

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Sha - Thanks for such a big comment. I hope my muse does not expect to collect royalties. Have a good weekend and Happy Thanksgiving.

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 weeks ago

Mike, this is beautiful.

Do not worry about the flow

It will come flowing softly like falling snow

For you are a great writer and it will show



Blessings dear friend and Happy Thanksgiving

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas Author

Hello Shyron. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I hope you have the best of times, surrounded by those that care for you. As always, thank for the blessings.

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