Orion’s Adventure

Creative writing by Ruby Romano

Photo+courtesy+of

Pexels

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Orion knocks on his grandmother’s door. I swear if she pinches my cheeks again I will actually scream. 

The door opens and a frail woman with curly gray-white hair peeks out. “Why if it isn’t Oak.” 

“It’s Orion, your grandson. Oak is your son.” 

“Oakion?” 

“ORION!” 

The woman lets her grandson step in. “You don’t have to yell at me!” She tells Orion to put the food in the kitchen and to help the rest of his family bring stuff in from the car. Orion’s mother walks in with the scent of pumpkin pie wafting through the air. His father comes in with a bag of toys for the little kids and a container of vanilla bean ice cream. 

“Put this in the freezer and wait for your cousins.” Orion does what his father says and waits by the window. 

He opens his book he got from the library before break and starts reading. Before long he gets lost in the pages of pine and canvas. The words blend together and pictures of dragons and witches fill the boy’s head. Wands made of crystals and boiling potions are swirling in his mind. Mystical creatures seem to jump from the pages and onto the floor of the house, sneaking to the nooks and crannies of the dining room and living room. If only that world was where he was instead of at a house in the middle of nowhere. His thoughts and visualizations get interrupted by his younger cousins. 

“Ori! Ori! Ori! Could you play with us?” The small children look up at him with glittering eyes. 

Orion sighs. “Sure. You want to play in the yard?” The children cheer and they all go outside. 

The house lies just on the borders of the woods where the trees loom over a small river with a rickety wooden bridge. It’s too thick to see what’s beyond. The kids start running around and hitting each other with sticks and throwing bouncy balls while yelling gibberish. Orion makes sure that they stay safe and don’t kill each other as small children do. Eventually they drag Orion into their pretend play. 

“AS RULER OF THE PHOENIXES I SHALL END YOU!” His cousin Josh screams. 

His other cousins Flynn and Gene do what Orion can only describe as a war cry and charge at Josh knocking him over. “Ori, shoot Josh with your crossbow!” In his hand is a homemade slingshot one of the cousins gave to him to use. 

“Uh sure…” He looks down, picks up an acorn from the ground and stretches it back in the slingshot. It hits Josh with very little to no force. 

“Aren’t you supposed to be named after a hunter? You gotta do it like this!” Gene takes the slingshot from Orion and makes the acorn hit Josh with an umph. “I thought that you’d be better.”

Josh dramatically screams in defeat. The three kids gather their things and go back into the house but Flynn pats his pockets and turns around. “I-I think I lost my ball. Could you find it for me? It’s bright red.” Orion nods and stays outside, parting his hands through the tall, dead grass. He gets to the edge of his grandmother’s property and sees the wooden bridge. A breeze blows by him causing the bridge to creak. Orion takes a deep breath and starts to cross it. 

The wind is already starting to pick up. On the ride there his dad said that there might be heavy rain but otherwise Orion didn’t remember. 

He sees a small bright red sphere on the other side. With every step he takes the wood groans until one of the boards falls into the stream. He quickens his pace and runs to the forest. The trees are taller than he could ever have imagined. The shadows loom towards a small clearing that’s thick with leaves, bushes, and fallen branches. Orion picks up the red sphere only to realize it was a berry. He notices a trail of them leading deeper into the woods, who knows how deep. Each berry he comes across made his search only barely easier. His hands become painted with scarlett. It shouldn’t have gone this far. 

Suddenly a rustle. It gets louder and Louder and LOUDER until… 

Gobble gobble. 

Orion looks around. He’s the only living thing in sight with the exception of all the plants. Somehow the forest is closing in on him. Rocks that were not there before feel like they are blocking the path now, crows are cawing from the treetops, even the howl of a coyote or wolf is heard from deeper within. But Orion’s eyes and ears are on the large fluffy bird that emerges from the bush. 

Gobble? The bird has something in its mouth that resembles one of the berries but it’s a bit bigger. 

“Hey there pretty turkey. I’m not gonna hurt you. I just need what’s there in your mouth.” Orion cautiously puts his hand out in front of it. The turkey recoils back from the human. “I know you like these.” He takes out a handful of berries from his pocket. Eyes interlock and there’s a mutual understanding. “I’d be really grateful if you dropped what was in your mouth. It will hurt you if you eat it anyways.” The bird drops the ball and starts pecking Orion’s hand. Its beak surprisingly doesn’t hurt Orion and its feathers are like a pillow. It looks up at the boy just as a crack of lightning pierces the sky causing it to run away. Orion grabs the ball on the ground and runs the way he came from. 

Rain pours down through the leaves. The ground gets soaked with water and becomes muddy. Orion’s boots are caked with the Earth and doesn’t look back for even a second. My parents must be wondering why I’m not back yet. I hope they aren’t worrying too much. He trips on a branch but catches himself. Another crack of lightning flashes and thunder roars overhead. He hears a howl again however he pays no attention to it. A clearing becomes apparent through Orion’s drenched eyes and he dives straight to it. The child halts and falls on the ground once he is face to face with a coyote. He scrambles back trying to find something to help him but finds only mud. The animal keeps its eyes on the child and growls louder but doesn’t move. Orion tries to get up and fumbles for his pockets. His hands land on some berries and a slingshot from his cousins. 

“Don’t come near me!” The rain may as well have been from the wrath of Zeus and the coyote sent from Lycaon. Orion finds some footing on the ground and stands up as the animal slowly moves forward. He stretches the berries as far as he can and shoots it at the coyote. The animal’s eyes are stained with crimson and it shakes its head. Orion runs towards the bridge and starts to cross it. He looks back to see if it’s still following him but sees that the animal has a fluffier target now. “NO!” Orion draws the rubberband back as far as it will let him with the berries. In the moment he no longer sees himself as a child. He sees a hunter with a bow and arrow. One made of stars and radiant light. One of magic and fantasy. He shoots the coyote again and the turkey runs as fast as a turkey can across the bridge. Orion follows and the bridge collapses just as he steps off. The coyote turns back into the woods and the boy goes inside. As soon as he takes off his shoes the bird stares at Orion in the house filled with the scent of caramel apple tea. The boy sighs and his cousins come running over to see the bird. 

“HEY GRANDMA! CAN WE LET A TURKEY IN FOR DINNER?” Josh yells. 

“A WHAT?” She screams back. Josh and Gene run to the kitchen and Orion gives Flynn’s bouncy ball back. 

“Keep it safe.” Orion says. Flynn nods and runs off. 

Orion looks at the glass door again and the bird is waiting there patiently for an answer. Screw it. He opens the door and the turkey hops in, ruffles its feathers which shakes water droplets onto the floor, and hops into the boy’s arms. Orion sits it down onto a couch and feeds it some nuts and seeds. His family walks into the room with the greatest shock on their faces. “Shhhhh. Don’t make it stressed.” They all sit around Orion and listen to him tell about his new friend.

close

The Merionite Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest news in your inbox, every issue.