A Boy and his Goat
Hi. I’m B.T. Lowry. I’ll be recording the next few scenes in Govardhana, India. India is wonderful, but in the entire country, there is no place which is quiet, except perhaps the peaks of the Himalayas, where there’s no electricity. So don’t mind the calls of temple goers in the background, will you?
Welcome to this week’s scene of the week, A boy and his goat.
A boy stops at the edge of a gargantuan canyon. Clouds swirl below and around him, so he cannot see the limits of the abyss. Only distant peaks cut above the clouds, gleaming on the horizon. He’s been traveling for a long time, so the boy sits on the edge of the canyon, swinging his legs in the air.
He wonders how to cross… How to reach those mountains?
He removes a notebook from his pack, with wheat-colored pages. He stares out for a while, then sketches a bridge across the gorge. He draws a goat walking across the bridge. As the boy draws he grows tired, so he lies back and sleeps.
When he wakes, he is sitting up and it is night. The goat from his drawing walks ahead of him on a rickety wooden bridge, which swings in the breeze. The boy stands with shaky legs, and finds wooden slats beneath his bare feet. The mountains in the distance are purple and blue, the sky dusky. Northern lights play behind the clouds, along with constellations that move too quickly.
The goat walks ahead of him toward the purple peaks, a saddlebag jingling on her back. Her hooves clack on the slats.
The boy follows. He’s no longer tired. They walk for a long time, crossing a gorge even more massive than what he’d seen while awake. After what seems like days, they reach the far end of the bridge. First the goat, then the boy, pass onto grass which looks lush even in the dusky light. He smells night flowers and starry ponds.
The goat turns her head back, then opens a pouch in her saddlebag, using her teeth. She brings out a notebook which looks like the boy’s own, but it is longer. The goat tosses the notebook to the grass and pulls out a pencil. She sketches a bridge crossing a canyon, like a thread through the sky. Then she draws the boy there, walking across it. She shades it with a piece of charcoal.
Having finished her work, the goat lays down to rest. The boy sets his head on her soft and warm belly, then falls asleep himself.
When he wakes it is daytime, and he is still on the near side of the gorge. A thin bridge with wooden slats stretches before him. Though its end is lost in clouds, he knows it must be fixed somewhere, for it does not fall.
Cheerful, the boy sets out across the bridge toward the shiny mountains. Curious, he stops and checks his drawing book. There he sees a drawing of himself, with his head resting on the goat’s belly, and he feels at peace.
This scene was inspired my long-term fixation with goats, which even I don’t understand. When I was a teenager, a group of friends and I gave each other goat names (Baby Goat, Mister Goat etc.) These days, sometimes friends greet me by baaing, though I’ve never told them about my time in a teenage goat-cult. People often send me pictures and videos of goats doing funny and strange things. I like their weird, square pupils. It is perhaps all this which brought the idea of a mystic goat to my mind, one who can only be accessed through dreams, but who’s actions profoundly affect the real world.
Thanks for reading. If you’d like to see this scene expanded into a story, then tell me in the comments that this is the one you want. If you want to see what I can do with a deeper story, pick up my novel here, Fire from the Overworld. It is the story of two young mystics who fight to restore balance in their desert village, when war erupts among its spirit rulers. Feel free to sign up for the new scenes in your mailbox each week, along with guest posts, and my thoughts about living, loving, investigation and creation.
This work is licensed Creative Commons, attribution, which means you can use it however you want, even commercially. Just let people know which bits came from me. Thanks!
This entry was posted on July 19, 2015 by btlowry. It was filed under Blog posts, Short stories and was tagged with animal, Author, b.t. lowry, best, Bevis Lowry, boy, bridge, children's story, creative, different, dream, emerging, episodes, episodic, favorite, flash fiction, funny, goat, good for children, hare Krishna, imagination, learning, most, New, Non-European fantasy, odd, popular, reality, religious, scene, series, short story, spiritual, spirituality, themed, unique, visionary, weekly, writer.