Triabunna District High School student JOBELLE ROSCAS continues the never-ending story, following on from the sudden reappearance of the murderous crows and leading to a most surprising cliff-hanger.
THE crows fluttered above them, circling them and looming closer and closer. Eliza frantically scanned the bushes as the crows closed in on them. Their cawing filled the air as feathers danced down and landed on the ground.
Eliza’s eyes fell on Andre, a crumpled heap on the ground, fear reflecting in his eyes. He could barely walk without assistance there was no way he could run on his own, and for such a long distance.
“Rourke!” Eliza yelled, straining to be heard above the birds’ chaos. “Rourke!” “What is it, girl?” Rourke yelled back as he swiped madly at a daring bird that broke off from the murder of crows and flew right above his head.
“Andre! How is he?” Eliza’s voice trailed off as Andre lifted himself to his feet, the pain showing on his face. “Don’t worry,” he said through gritted teeth. “I can run. Just go. Go, Eliza!” The crows had flown closer and were now just metres from their heads. Their cawing had grown louder and more anxious.
Rourke grabbed Alice and put her on his back, disappearing into the bushes, throwing a cautious glance behind him. His mouth moved frantically, mumbling an inaudible prayer.
Johnny stood at the edge of the clearing, a handful of birds circling above him. Andre hobbled off in the direction Rourke had disappeared, and now it was just Eliza in the clearing with the birds above her, thirsting for her flesh and blood.
She pushed fear aside and took off, passing Johnny and running beside Andre, who was puffing heavily. The birds didn’t seem to follow, but the group left a wake of destruction behind as they sought safety in the forest.
The sun had long set, and now they were guided by patches of light from the moon. It seemed like hours passed as they ran endlessly before Rourke came to an abrupt stop and held up a hand to silence the group.
They all paused in their steps and held their breath, willing their ears to hear. The crows’ distinctive cawing had faded to a stop, and all that could be heard was the wind riffling through treetops, and somewhere in the distance, the ocean’s sighing.
Rourke slid Alice off his back and placed her gently on the ground. He slumped up against a tree, head down and hands on his knees. All around him, Eliza, Johnny, Alice and Andre dropped to the ground, exhausted.
“I think… ” Rourke panted, “…I think we’re safe here.” Eliza pushed herself up and looked around. They were deep in the forest, the trees forming a canopy above them. They were on an upward slope, halfway up a hill. Patches of moonlight miraculously made it through the trees.
In the moonlight, she eyed Alice, whose tears glistened on her cheeks; Rourke, a tired and broken man; Andre, face stricken with pain; and Johnny. The first signs of defeat showed in his eyes.
“We’re safe here,” she agreed. “But we do need to get some sleep. You all rest up. I’ll keep an eye on things.” Before they could disagree, Alice’s little voice piped up. “My leg… it’s bleeding,” she whispered. “And I’m thirsty. And hungry. And I want to go home!” Alice sobbed as tears dripped down her face and she swiped madly at them with the back of her hand.
Her little body shook as her sobs grew louder. Johnny draped an arm around her and inspected her wounds.
“In the morning, one of us has to go back. Grab some food, water and supplies from the campsite,” Rourke said in a determined voice. “The crows won’t know you’re coming.
They won’t bother you, so long as the sun is up.” Johnny got up. “I’ll do it,” he said. Eliza nodded.
“Okay. Get some rest. I’ll stay up,” she said. They nodded reluctantly, and closed their eyes. Eliza hugged her knees to her chest and waited for the sun to burn a hole in the horizon.
Her eyes grew heavy, but she willed herself to stay awake. Every little noise the forest made frightened her and almost made her jump out of her skin.
Every now and then, she’d catch shadows fleeting from tree to tree. She could feel eyes watching her.
Suddenly in the distance, a branch snapped and a body fell to the ground.
To be continued
First published in the Mercury newspaper, Tasmania, on June 26, 2012
CREATIVE writing students at Triabunna District High School were asked to write chapter 17 of Lovesong of the Crow. “The class started by reading previous chapters, which is getting to be a lengthy process, and brainstorming possible options for the next chapter,” teacher Michelle Luck said. “The introduction of fantasy elements in the previous few chapters has introduced a challenge,” Ms Luck said.
From a shortlist provided by the school, the work of Grade 10 student Jobelle Roscas was selected for publishing. While she is an avid reader and writer, poetry is usually her preferred format.
“My favourite authors are Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Charles Bukowski, John Green and Nicole Krauss,” Jobelle said. What I read influences how I write,” she said.
Jobelle said participating in the Lovesong of the Crow project was interesting to write because she got to experiment with suspense and dialogue, which don’t usually feature prominently in her writing.
Jobelle also loves music. She plays guitar and piano and listens to the Beatles, Bon Iver, Noah and the Whale and Sia. In the future she hopes to travel all through Europe and see Anne Frank’s annex in Amsterdam.