Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TACONI and CLAUDE - Sample Page

 Somewhere in the Aussie outback, just a boomerang throw  from Ayers Rock, lived an aboriginal boy named Taconi and his good mate Claude.

Jackaroo rounding up cattle on Coorparoo Station

Medicine Man

Dreamtime Spirits
Read Credits for the art work HERE


CHAPTER ONE
Australia, sometime in the 1950’s

 
    
The full moon cast a cold light on Taconi’s naked body as four wizened elders pinned him on the ground close to a blazing fire. Sweat rolled off him, and his heart raced the thump, thump, thump of the feather drums: faster and faster.
    The Medicine Man slid out of the shadows, a ceremonial spear in his hand. Firelight flashed across the wrinkles on his painted face. His bony old limbs ducked and bobbed to the ancient rhythm of the drums. Eagle, kingfisher, and cockatoo feathers swayed on his headdress. The Old Man plunged the tip of his spear into the flames, holding it there while he mumbled an age-old mantra.
     When the tip of the spear glowed red, Taconi’s arms and legs dissolved into mush. There was no escape. The man ceremony was about to claim him. His insides threatened betrayal. N-o-o-o . . . mustn’t pee, mustn’t pee. . .
     The Medicine Man thrust the glowing tip of the spear under his nose. Taconi felt the heat, sniffed its acrid smell. The tip sizzled, hovering over his reluctant flesh, poised, ready to burn him into manhood.
     The singsong voice of the Medicine Man grew faint. The Old Man’s eyes stared into his, blazing with the power of timeless ritual. The stars—a billion sparkling eyes—whirled overhead, cold and uncaring. Taconi shut his eyes, waiting for his flesh to sear—waiting for the pain.


CHAPTER TWO 
(beginning)

    
Taconi held his breath. He waited . . .
     When the pain didn’t come, he risked a quick peek. Smoke from the fire blotted out everything except the eyes of the Medicine Man. His burning stare hung over Taconi for a moment, before the smoke claimed him.

     Bathed in sweat, Taconi jolted upright. “By Cripes, what’s happenin’?” Relief flooded through him. He was safe in his bed.
      Outside in the cool pre-dawn air, Coorparoo Cattle Station’s feathered alarm clock, a sulfur crested Cockatoo named Claude, rasped, “Wakey, wakey. Rise and shine!”
     “Crikey,” he muttered. “That man ceremony dream would scare the hide off a croc!” Ever since he found out about his upcoming man ceremony, the recurring dream had haunted his sleep. He glanced at the other bed and frowned. “Bed’s Empty. Dad musta left early for the homestead kitchen.”
      He couldn’t understand what drove his dad to cook white folk’s muck for the Boss and the Missus. This was an outback size worry. If his dad got the cookie job, permanent like, there’d be no time for hunting together or throwing the spear. If he was to become a man of his tribe, Dad must teach him these things. The idea of his dad as cookie sat on Taconi’s shoulders like a giant termite mound.
     He stared out the small window of the hut he shared with his dad. The vast expanse of Coorparoo Cattle Station waited for the day’s first sunlight. “Coor-par-oo,” he murmured, liking the feel of the word on his tongue. The soft sounds mimicked the gentle call of doves.




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