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The Carriage Driver³ - Between the Glass and the World

Updated on November 20, 2016

Nichol stepped from the shower, bent and let her long hair fall forward. She expertly wrapped a towel around the back of her head and piled it all back on top. She tucked a towel in place around her and grabbed her toothbrush. As she was vigorously scrubbing, she heard the birds. She went to the window and pushed it up an inch or two and peeked out.

The wrens of winter swept through the opening, spun her around and around and around until she fell. They carried her soul away through the small opening between the glass and the world.

Their flight took them deep into the forest. Their first stop was in a tree near a clearing.

Darkness was pushed away, as Griffin stood at a forge, pumping new bellows, freshly made from the skin of a jackal. He was engulfed in a radiant halo and the ringing of metal against an anvil resounded. He had no appointments for three days and took the time to replace the rims of the carriage wheels.

Nuelle stood a few feet away. Her stall was clean, and she had fresh straw. She waved her tail and tossed her mane; she sensed a beautiful essence.

Accompanied by two wrens, Nichol flew and landed on Nuelle’s shoulder. “Remember this place. This is where you will want to return.” With that, they called to the flock in the trees and flew off to the land of the cranes.

Griffin turned as the flock of birds flew in unison from their place in the dark, singing as they went. He glanced over at Nuelle to check on her. She was looking at him. He went back to his work-away tune.

A hard day's flight brought Nichol within sight of the marsh where a great gathering of cranes rested. The marsh was well watched on all four sides, as the eagle and the hawk were known to raid their gathering place. One crane was no match for an eagle; one eagle was no match for four cranes. The reeds swayed as the lapping water caressed their limbs, and small frogs hid. The moon lit the stage. The cranes were alerted to Nichol's presence. The eldest began to dance, and as she did, one, then another, and another joined in the celebration. Nichol watched as all joined, except those guarding the whole. A night of dancing followed.

The sentries stood on one foot. In the other, they carried a stone. If they chanced to fall asleep, the stone falling from their grip and hitting the water would wake them. Soon another crane would take their place. The relieved sentries, would capture food and bring it to the weakest among them; then they joined the dancing.

In the morning as a low haze drifted about the marsh Nichol was able to talk to the eldest. “I am looking for a place of many moons. I have always dreamed of a red moon. Can you help me?”

The eldest having lived for many years, thought for a minute as she eyed a small water trail that surely was a frog meant for breakfast in the reeds. “Woman, you will have to reach the hole in the sky to see a place of many moons.” With a quick snap, she captured her breakfast. As the sun-splashed yellow all across the marsh, Nichol’s two companions flew back into the pines, where the rest waited.

“You are small, and may not be able to make the journey on your own. Climb on my shoulder; I will get you as close as I can. Then you will have to go through the hole in the sky on your own.” The queen of the cranes spread her wings wide and flew toward the sun. With that a chorus of song from the wrens, rose across the marsh, pleasing to both cranes and frogs alike.


On the evening of the second day, Nichol, who was always strong in body and strong in mind, was delivered near the hole in the sky. The queen of the cranes wished her well and called goodbye as she caught the wind and glided, bathed in yellow sunlight toward green earth.

Nichol hesitated for just a moment and wiggled through the hole. The sights were unlike anything she had ever seen. And the quiet was unlike anything she had ever heard. She headed toward the red moon.

She soon found herself at the Temple of Odem. There were no guards. No one stood watch. No alarms echoed through the valleys or expanses of blue. No weapons were raised or even existed. She found a perch and contemplated this world with a red moon. It was hours before someone even noticed her.

The image of a woman came for a closer look. When she was near, she raised her arm for use as a perch, “What are you doing here, little one?”

Nichol opened her wings and glided to a landing on the outstretched arm. Then hopped to her shoulder.

“This is quite a treat. Someone arriving by way of the ancients has not happened since, well since I don’t know how long. I am tempted to say for many moons.” She put a hand to her mouth to conceal the mirth in her statement.

She opened a wooden gate and stepped into a garden; flowers bloomed along her path with every step. Vines curled upward, and the scent was of ambrosia. She opened a door at the end of the path and stepped inside. The room was tiled floor to ceiling with geometric patterns. The center of the ceiling was a fountain, and a wide ring of water fell into a pond lit by moonlight. On a step inside the pond stood a stone bowl. From the bowl, flame cascaded out onto the water. The rising vapor caressed the ever changing shape of the one that never sleeps. Two leopards, tame as house cats slept outside the ring of water.

The image of the woman stepped between the two leopards close to the water.

“What are you doing here, little one?” The words, from the flame, brought another smile to the image of a woman.

“I know this place from a vision, and thought this is where I belonged. I have lived many lives and traveled many miles.”

“You do belong here, as do all pure souls. But as you saw from your perch, not many feel this is where they want to be. You are not due here for centuries.”

Nichol pondered that statement from her spot on the shoulder of her benefactor. “How will I find my way back?”

The woman turned and walked out of the door. Flowers blossomed along next to her with every step. “You will hear a signal. Follow it, and you will go to the place you are due next. Don’t worry; we will be here when you finish. There is much more for you to see. Much more for you to do.” She reached her hand to her shoulder; Nichol hopped on her hand, and with a wave she was airborne.

Nichol easily reached the hole in the sky and wiggled through.

Griffin stood by his new forge. He wanted to replace the worn rims of the carriage. With his sleeves rolled up, he pounded away with his hammer against the molten steel. The sound rang out along the rim of the world.

Nuelle waved her tail and tossed her mane.

Nichol followed the ringing of Griffin’s call.

The crane portrayed by Greek and Roman mythological stood as a symbol of joy, love, and life’s celebration.

John Denver & Olivia Newton-John "Fly Away" (1975)

John Denver....Sunshine On My Shoulders !!!

John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads (with lyrics)

© 2016 mckbirdbks


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    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      The imagery of the dancing cranes was beautiful, Mike. I loved the ethereal quality of this story and the new light in Griffin's world of talents. The music selections are some of my favorite John Denver songs.

      As always, you paint a portrait with words and concepts that are unique to your keen imagination. Lovely story to go with our Super Moon this week.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Peg, These are some of my favorite John Denver songs also. I guess, I cannot go wrong selecting John Denver songs to accompany my hubs.

      Funny, because, I did not start out thinking 'cranes' but when I began doing research to keep the ball rolling, all of a sudden there were cranes everywhere. Since it turns out they are a symbol of love and joy (and who could not use more love and joy) they fit right into this flight of fantasy.

      Thanks for the visit this morning. Time for more coffee.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 7 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      This is more like poetry than anything else. I like it.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This was so magical. The scenery was beautiful on Nichol's journey. Your opening description of her was visually seen in my mind's eye. The birds singing made the event cheerful. The helpfulness of all who guided her along the way was beautiful as well. It was like a fairyland story of long ago. Thank you. I loved it!! I also love John Denver and am on my way to listen to the videos...

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Becky - It did take on a fairy tale like atmosphere as the story progressed. I saw your comment on Bill's 'Mistakes HP writers make' hub that he published today.

      I do hope that when some of the emotional turmoil that you are encountering goes away, that you will begin again to tell your stories. They are important to you and the generations of your family that follow.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Good morning Ruby - Heck, I cannot go wrong decorating my Hubs with John Denver songs. Good to see you.

      Yes, as the story grew it began looking more and more like a fairyland journey. Just what we needed a flight of fantasy to end the week with.

      I appreciate your visit. It was below 60 degrees this morning. I had to put gloves on as I took my first walk of the day.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

      It is cool here too. I have already worked out on my AB lounge. I do that before I eat breakfast and two more times during the day. I walk to the post office daily, two blocks up and back, so I'm trying my best to stay fit. I hate the thought of winter arriving, but it will soon pass. Have a good one...

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 months ago from North America

      I especially like the beckoning call of the anvil for Nichol. These stories are taking on a new dimension that is fascinating.

      I know of a Chaim Odem, who is the master craftsman of the Golden Menorah of the Holy Temple that stands in the old part of Jerusalem. it is said he fits the Torah requirements for such a craftsman of wise heart and generous spirit. Those at the Temple of Odem are surely that.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ruby - Good to hear that you are getting out and getting some exercise. My guess is as winter progresses, you will not be able to get out as often. Happy Thanksgiving, if our paths don't cross again before that.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Patty - The ringing anvil fit so nicely with this story. That notion came to me early, and as I worked down the pages came to rest where it belonged. I did not want to lose it. It is so much nicer to write, when I have an idea where I am going. Thanks for such a generous comment.

      I did spend some time looking for the name of the Temple. It began as The Temple of Judgment. But then it occurred to me, that at this point in the journey there is no judgment. 'We' made it through the hole in the sky.

      Thanks for the visit and Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are surrounded with those you love.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 7 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      I had to smile as I read Peg's comment. I was thoroughly pulled into this 'ethereal' flight of fantasy. I truly didn't want this journey to end.

      'Between the glass and the world' seems like a lovely place to visit about now. And the JD soundtrack is a wonderful accompaniment.

      TGIF... Have a Funky Friday, dear Mike. Hugs, mar

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello mar. Thanks for taking this flight of fantasy here at The Carriage Driver corner of the world. I just can't go wrong with John Denver at my hubs.

      Happy weekend. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Your excellent prose and John Denver as a bonus. That qualifies this one as "Featured" in the Bill Holland rating system. :) Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Mike!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Bill - All best wishes to you and yours. Happy Thanksgiving

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 7 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Mike, this did have a fairytale or fantasy feel and beautiful imagery. I have always been a John Denver and Olivia Newton-John fan, so those songs just added to it. Good work.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 7 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      What a magical, otherworldly journey, with such a light, free elegance of nature's mystery and all that rests beyond that beckons us with wonder. Mike, you have an infinite imagination, and the creative vision to impart that to your readers, beautifully. Like Nichole, we hear the sounding call that rings out along the rim of the world.

      I liked Denver's song -- so apropos. And what a beautiful photo you chose as part of your title caption.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello John - I too always liked John Denver and Olivia Newton-John. They were a big part of 'the scene' when I was growing up. You are staying busy. I see, I have some catching up to do with your work.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna. I think many of us here recently, needed a bit of a journey to an otherworldly place. I appreciate your comment. When writing the story, the need to carry the reader from one level to the next presented itself. I am not usually aware of things like that when I write. Heck, maybe Bill is right in that we may grow as writers as we continue to practice.

      That first picture was found on Facebook. Then I researched it, by doing a reverse image search and found it came from the Associated Press. I didn't even realise the Associated Press existed any longer.

      Have a splendid holiday.

    • savvydating profile image

      savvydating 7 months ago

      Hi Mike...First of all, the picture of the wrens is stunning! Secondly, I loved the first paragraph for personal reasons. You described my morning routine, and in fact, the routine of many women worldwide, and you did so with such charm.

      I liked the introduction of the anvil. How easy it is to hear the clear, ringing sound.

      Well, you did it again with yet another gem about one's final journey.

      PS. I had written another comment on your recent tribute to an author who passed. Every so often, my comments don't go through. HP has a few glitches now and then.

      I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello savvy - I found that picture of the birds (not sure they are wrens) first on Facebook. It is such a nice picture, I thought I might fit it in the setting of this story.

      When the thought of the ringing anvil hit me, I knew it had a place in the story. The Carriage Driver seems to feel lost, he and I are trying to build him a new place in the world.

      Just between you and me, I kind of liked this story. I don't always think that when I have reached the 1250 word mark. Thinking of a new paradise each week, is trying.

      So sorry to hear your comments are being misplaced. It is always nice to hear from you.

      Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your family will be near to celebrate all which we have to be thankful.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 7 months ago from Central Florida

      What an amazing story, Mike! I was swept along for the ride from the moment Nichol raised the window. If her job is not yet finished, will we see her again?

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Sha - thank you. I alluded to different levels of heaven. I don't think we will see Nichol again. Happy Thanksgiving - I hope your household is filled with laughter.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      Enchanting! Love the birds in the photo - what are they? There are no boundaries for your stories which is what makes them so magical, even though we can still identify with them. I like the way the birds work together too.


    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ann. I think those birds are from the Wren family, but I am not sure about that. Thank you for such a nice comment. These stories take me all over the place. The music helped set the tone here. Historically reading has not been accompanied by music.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 months ago from Texas

      Beautiful imagery Mike, I love the Carriage Driver series and found one that I missed, this one. I love following Nicole on her journey of pure souls.

      Blessings my friend

    • mckbirdbks profile image

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

      Hello Shy - What a very nice comment to read this morning. I appreciate your kind words. Thank you for the blessings.

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