October Winning Entry

In the month of September, The Biblioraptor Book Club started a hashtag by the name of #raptorsupportsartists and the aim of it was to show our support to some of the very talented artists that have been the victims of the ruthless IG algorithm.

We collaborated with the very talented @artofharsha in October and the following painting was the prompt for TRWW October.

TRWW October prompt. Tap the image to go to the artist’s IG.

The following is our winning entry from the very awesome entries that we had got for the month of October that made it really difficult for our jury members to choose a winner!

Now let us delve into this beautiful piece and appreciate how well the artist and the writer complement each other!


Birding

Crim never did understand why the land walkers hated his kind so much. He could never comprehend why they skirted around the waters his people inhabited; why they threw their harpoons at him when he came up to the surface to get a closer look at their strange floating vessels.

When he was a child, he would often have discussions regarding them with his mother and always tried to pose the same questions in different ways to trick her into giving him a different answer but she always gave him the
same.

“They fear the different. What makes us, ‘US’,scares them and naturally, they hate us for it.”

It never did appease him.”But they’re different too. I don’t hate them for it”, he used to explain, expecting her to tell him something different. But she always gave him a slight nod and went on to do her work.

It was during one of these debates that she went numb and collapsed, leaving Crim and his questions all alone.

He never did understand but he never gave up.

Crim belonged to the aquatic tribe of the east sea. After his mother passed away, he was taken into the Chieftain’s house, where he worked and studied until he was ready for the world on his own. His inquisitive nature was often frowned upon but never discouraged.

“Why did the Titan Gods give us noses if we’re not supposed to use them?” asked Crim on one such occasion.

“It goes against our nature and the teachings of our first leader. It is blasphemous to breathe the air above the surface. It is forbidden.” replied the Chieftain.

His young ward’s questions never failed to amuse him.

In response to Crim’s sudden silence, the chieftain said, “The first breath began in the sea and that is where it will end” and he swam away. What he didn’t realize was how much the conversation had affected his young ward’s mind.

The day Crim turned seventeen was the day he became truly independent. He bid farewell to the chieftain and his household, packed his bags, and left to the birding area of the village. He understood that birding would be the closest he could get to the surface and learn more about the land dwellers and the land beyond the sea.

Three years later, Crim now stands as a famed birder with his own birding organization, bringing in twice the catch than anyone else in the east sea. Though he has around 15 birders working for him, Crim never did abandon his love for the surface. Almost every day, he swims out to it alone, with just his net to haul in his catch.


Crim’s excellence in birding lies in his solitude. It isn’t by chance that he likes to work alone. He doesn’t go to the surface every day to bring in a big haul but rather to please his newfound addiction. The art of birding requires skill and a strict understanding of perspective. An average birder watches the birds flying overhead in the sky,
studies them and when they are sure of their positions, call on the sea’s power by shooting a tentacle of water to swat the bird out of the sky and into their arms. They later drown their catch and bring it with them to their village deep under the sea. An average birder does not break the surface of the sea as it is forbidden.
But Crim was no average birder. With his webbed feet beating fast against the water, he breaks the surface tension and jumps high into the fresh air. He plunges into the water again, elated, as he slowly comes back up
and breaks the surface. He remains there, allowing his gills to close down and his nose to open as a fresh breeze
catches his face. Magnificent energy flows through his nose and into his lungs, binding the gods of the sea and
the sky together. His vision becomes sharper, his body glows, his arms prickle with energy. His spatial
awareness deepens and he senses the movements of the birds coming in from the east. He prepares himself,
letting his whole body float on the surface, his fingers itching to command the sea.


Giant orange geese emerge from the rising fire globe, their powerful wings beating against the air as they fly
towards the western mountains. Crim grins, his face turning red with concentration as his energy churns the sea around him. When the birds are nearly flying above him, his palms open and shoot towards them, summoning powerful tentacles of water that shoot out and grab the majestic birds and pluck them out of the sky and into the sea. He holds them under, until they drown, wraps them in his net, smiles at his achievement.


An average birder can create and control one or two tentacles of water. Crim can create and control several.
An average birder can catch maybe one or two geese and be tired out by his effort. Crim can catch an entire
gaggle and not break a sweat.


Crim was no average birder. He became the loner, the mysterious birder to keep his secret. He knew that his people would not understand and he knew there was no way to convince them of the power that comes from the marriage between the sea and the sky. The more his fame rose, the more distant he became from society. He often longed to leave but never could. He would often swim towards the western mountains, eyeing the little land village by the sea. He kept his distance even as his enhanced senses saw the glow of the red hot fire, heard the ringing of hammers on metals, and felt the warmth the fire village offered. He longed to visit but his mother’s
words echoed in his mind and he turned back and swam back to his village. And life went on.


Until the darkness came.


It was rather early than usual when Crim left his village for another day of birding. With his net tightly wound at his side, he swam longing for the fresh air and the warmth the burning globe in the sky burnt through his skin. With his legs moving faster, he swam through the dark waters and soon broke the surface. The fire globe was just rising as he allowed his lungs to absorb the precious air. His body felt the change and a smile began forming on this face when he saw it coming.


An ominous blackness began its descent from the sky towards the rising fire globe. With one touch it swallowed the light, with its darkness spreading towards every corner of the known world. It spread fast, streaking across the sky, sucking in any photon of light leaving nothing in its path. It streaked above Crim and he immediately knew. Something was wrong.


He dove into the water, aiming for his village, his nose closing, and his gills opening. The water rushed into his
body and for the first time in his life, he choked. The darkness had entered the water. He felt himself losing
consciousness, the water around him growing thick making it difficult to swim. His body flailed, the power of the sea disappeared. His mind was shackled with fear that his very source of existence could be the end. He remembered what the chieftain had said to him years ago.


The first breath began in the sea and that is where it will end.


Something other than fear spread through his body. The audacity of the words kindled a kind of energy that he never knew he possessed. With everything he had, he pushed hard at the water below his feet and shot up,
towards the surface. As he broke it, he gulped in the dark cold air. He felt the familiar energy of the wind enters
his body. He knew what to do.


His spatial awareness showed him where the nearest water folk lie. If he needed to save his village, he needed
their help. If the power of the sea abandoned him, he would use the power of the sky.


He took a deep breath, summoned all his new magical energy, made it enclose himself in a giant bubble of air.


He willed himself underwater and shot out towards the water folk. He met with resistance but his resolve pushed him deeper until he saw them. Like the tentacles of water, tendrils of air shot through the dark sea wrapped themselves around the flailing waterfolk. He pulled them into his bubble and forced the wind into their noses.


Water emerged from their mouths as their gills closed as a reflex. Their eyes opened wide with surprise as their
noses let in this foreign strength, revitalizing their bodies. They looked in awe as the blasphemous air rekindled their energies that their holy water wouldn’t. Crim nodded to them and explained the overview of this power.


He knew it would take them a while to master it but with their help, he would be able to rescue the others. He, along with them, shot towards the surface.

With a few instructions, he and the water folk were able to increase the size of the air bubble to a considerable extent and they shot back down to depths where their village was probably drowning.


Crim had tasked the water folk he had saved in maintaining the bubble while he propelled them forward,
borrowing the energy of the wind from within. They didn’t have to go far to find the villagers. As they approached the village, they could see the people, some floating up, others struggling to breathe around them. Crim pulled them in with his air tendrils and one by one revived them by forcing the air in and forcing the water out.


It took them a while to find and bring all the villagers into the bubble. With its capacity stretched and them losing
air fast, Crim put in the last dregs of his energy pushed the crumbling bubble towards the surface.


30 long seconds passed as the bubble met air and vomited the water folk out into the surface of the sea. They lay gasping, surprised at their blasphemy, happy to have escaped death, betrayed by the god that was their sea.


They looked to each other with joy forgetting for a moment the people who were unfortunate enough to have died. They rejoiced, hugging, and singing not noticing the looming darkness around them.


Crim’s eyes were not for his people but were for the fire village. They had surfaced a little distant from the shore, near the place where Crim came to observe. The village that was always loud was silent. He stared hard at it, trying to discern anything with his enhanced senses. There was no light. There was no sound. Even the warmth felt cold.


As Crim, with all hope lost, began to turn to his kin, a small blue light popped up in the village among the
darkness. He looked on puzzled. The tiny speck of light glowed, trying to get bigger. It pulsed once, twice and the third time it shot towards them as it drove the darkness away. The blinding blue light shreds the cloak the darkness had weaved around everything, in the skies, in the water and burnt it away. The globe of fire popped back into existence as everything around it returned to normal.


The water folk cheered as they regained their powers over the sea. They sent tentacles of water dancing into the air and soon dived back, one after the other into the water leaving Crim to his solitude. They failed to see what Crim did. The grey sky that he was familiar with was suddenly a very bright blue.


His eyes focused once more on the village as the breeze trickled into his ear.


“Come to me,” said a voice. It seemed familiar. It seemed like belonging.
He heard it again as he looked at the now Blue sky. Crim smiled. He found his purpose.


As the majestic orange geese now returned, Crim readied himself. But unlike the past, tentacles of water did not shoot from his sides to catch the geese.


The tentacles rose beneath his feet as they carried him into the air.
Along with the geese, Crim moved towards the western mountains. He decided to do what the voice told him to do. Finally, he was going to the western mountains. Finally, he was going to the fire village.

He was going to find Blue.

~ Hari (IG: @theobviousmystery)

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