In time of war and unholy pogrom, the young boy’s loving parents left him in the care of the old woman who lived on the outskirts of town and raised chickens and a few meager vegetables. Until she died, sitting up, with her feet in a basin of water. He waited and waited for her to come and wake him that morning as was her routine. When day turned to evening, he came to find her staring upright corpse and knocked over the still-burning oil lamp in his surprise discovery. The place burst into flames. He escaped with what he wore and took to the dirt road.
He wandered into a village. He was called devil’s spawn and beaten, spit on, rolled into a flour sack, and taken to the local wise woman-healer. She inspected his body, nodded her head, and said in a syrupy gravelly voice, “He is definitely a vampire. I will buy him from you.” He followed her back to her hut.
He traveled with her as she made her rounds of the sick, carrying the basket that would hold the payments of bread, root vegetables, and other things. One day they went to a village where the bodies of the sick were covered with spots. The healer looked at the village leaders and shook her head. A bonfire was built and a tall stack of corpses flamed to ash. The boy got gravely ill from it. She fed him special herbal concoctions that smelled of earth and pungent leaves. Then she dug a deep hole, which she placed him in, upright, then filled the hole until just his head was above ground.
He woke from his fever to find a murder of crows surrounding him. The biggest crow was facing him, looking into his eyes. A sound was made by the crow and they all came closer. The boy, fearful, yelled to shoo them away. It worked. They stayed near in the sky, circling, until the leader made a sound. They swooped down and all began to tear at the boy’s head with their beaks. Their noises and the boy’s screams brought the old healer out and she drove them away. She undug the boy and saw the fever was gone.
Orphaned in grey skies
filled with ash of the dead, Halloween
As Frank has given us license with our haibuns today to write fiction, I grabbed the chance with gusto.
I just finished watching a movie called, “The Painted Bird,” an adaptation of a novel of the same name, written by Jerzy Kosinski. The tale is set in Eastern Europe during World War II. My haibun is based on parts of the movie. It is a highly acclaimed international film that one of my blogmates (thanks Benn!) blogged about. It is available on hulu for free and can be rented through amazon and other online streaming services.
image link here.
Frank J. Tassone is today’s host of dVerse. Frank says:
Write a haibun that alludes to Halloween. Channel your inner paranormal, and write your blend of prose poetry and haiku, with allusion to Halloween. If inspiration arises, you may even write a fictional prose to get in the mood!