As the morning sun shoved its way through the pines, long shadows blanketed the ferns and mosses where Little Mr. Deakins tip-toed about looking for small insects and other morsels to sustain him until the others woke up and a proper breakfast would be prepared by Mrs.B. Normally, Little Mr. Deakins would celebrate a new day with enthusiastic crowing, animated head shaking and aggressive dirt scratching, but with Feather convalescing, the translucent man asked the rooster for some much needed peace and quiet. It was in these early hours that the translucent man would ruminate about purpose, about duty, about destiny and exactly how a doomsday metaphor’s rebirth would be accepted in a world where recognized facts occupied the same equation as factless fictions. A teenage environmentalist who wanted to be a teenager and not carry the weight of the cause, chose duty, while destiny was a thick book of promises and probabilities that used invisible inks to chart the way forward into the teenager’s future. It was the translucent man who was teenager, who possessed the inks that wrote footnotes of hope and passages of anguish for anyone or everyone to experience. Like the war vet who couldn’t take the step up to the cenotaph, the translucent man couldn’t embrace his duty without spiralling into a destiny where consolation was where everyone sat together looking out at stoic decision makers, hands dripping with colonialism and eyes on fire with the thought of more. Kidnapped by these thoughts, the translucent man resisted the Stockholm syndrome by telling himself he was just the messenger, a messenger shot a thousand times, but a messenger just the same. He also knew that being crowned a messenger didn’t absolve him or remove him or obscure him from the duty of decision or the destiny of  the inevitable and that his place was woven from fabric twisted from the duty of others on a destiny not of their choosing.


The small horse was not fond of  the forest, with its creaking branches echoing a haunting agony that penetrated the stillness. Standing sentry, he surveyed the trees to discover which branches were responsible, but the sounds were everywhere, from every direction and vanishing to nowhere. A conspiracy, he thought, between the wind, the rain, the leaves, and creatures that inhabit these foreboding enclaves; his thoughts quickly turned to open fields of hey where the light was strong, and the swoosh of grasses was the democracy that worked for him. Despite his trepidation, the small horse knew much about the forest, the dominant mother trees, the messenger fungi that travelled and communicated between trees and the stories that trees told in the dying seconds of the setting sun. He often listened to the forest, trying to puzzle out what this colossus of confusion represented and over time, and with the help of the others, he slowly began to unfurl meaning and understanding. Forests were the record keepers where vaults of accounts illustrated what was done, what will be done, and what should never have been done. In the forest, as in all places, the small horse walked purposefully, taking care to avoid spoiling that which was below his hooves, allowing him to declare to a dystopian future that it was not he or his companions that caused their pain and suffering. Although this belief was strong in him, and he indeed carried it with him for many years, he wondered if he had done enough, said enough, believed enough. If he could trust the forest, overcome his fear, and learn more about this mighty ecosystem, then perhaps his own dystopian future would be a bit brighter.