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Excerpt from "Collecting Feathers"

Short Story Extract: The Year Spring Turned into Winter

by Daniela I. Norris

In Collecting Feathers, Daniela I. Norris blends pitch-perfect storytelling and a keen spiritual awareness to bring us a beautiful and haunting set of tales from the beyond. A feast for the heart, mind and soul, each story is layered with unfolding intrigue, and each one will stay with you long after the pages have been turned.

Short Story Extract: The Year Spring Turned into Winter

It was the year spring turned into winter. The harsh, fastfalling snowflakes surprised the primroses and daffodils that stuck their fragile heads out, ready for the promise of warmth and sunshine.

That same year, ten thousand wildebeest drowned in the Mara River during their annual migration; the same river they, and their forefathers, had been crossing for centuries.

I walked out onto the late March evening to see the full moon shining its ethereal blue light on the snowy fields that only yesterday were covered with spring flowers.

After the evening walk, I came back into the warm house. The logs in the fireplace were still red-hot, sizzling with the passion that I used to feel and could no longer remember. Since you left my life, the passion turned into long quiet afternoons by my typewriter, trying to describe moments that I once lived and were slowly but surely evaporating from my memory.

“My life is my own, you once said to me. I knew you were wrong but did not want to contradict you. For no one’s life is entirely their own, and even the most powerful do not know what tomorrow has in store for them.

I heard the knock, but did not get up from my place by the fire, for I was used to hearing voices. Voices in my mind, voices in the night, voices as I awoke in the morning and got myself ready for another day that held little surprise.

But that year, when spring turned into winter, was also the year when my life turned inside out and upside down; for you may think that these words were written by an old woman. But no. Despite my years, I am not old. I am merely beginning my journey. And my journey is tied to yours in knots you could not begin to understand, at least not back then.

The knocking persisted, and finally I got to my feet, and walked slowly towards the door. It was half past nine, an hour when neighbors do not call unless in trouble. Friends stopped knocking on my door some years ago, and enemies did not dare knock, for they sensed the power of what I was becoming and chose other victims to harm; victims who could not harm them.

I opened the door and you stood there in your winter coat, the same one you wore the last time I saw you, many winters ago. You looked older than I remembered. You must be in your seventies now.

“Come in,” I said and opened the door, as if it was only natural that a man I had not seen in years would make this nocturnal appearance at my doorstep, in the same night spring turned into winter.

You looked as if you had a speech prepared; something to explain your inexplicable presence on my doorstep. But you did not need to explain, for I knew you would come. I did not know when, but I waited nonetheless.

“I need to talk to you,” you said, slightly worried. For you noticed that I hadn’t changed since you last saw me all those years ago; if anything, I looked younger.

I sat you by the fire and brought you a glass of port. You accepted it with gratitude and warmed your feet at the flickering flames. The fire grew wilder, as if an unfelt breeze had blown life into it, as it were ready to wither. You were the breeze. You, and no other.

“You don’t look surprised,” you said – and all I could do was smile. For it was obvious that you would come one day. And why wouldn’t you?

When we first met, I was in my thirties; you were in your sixties. I came to you, asking you to let me into your life. Of course I couldn’t say why. You were amused at first.

Then the amusement turned into fear. I accepted your decision silently, just like I accepted all the other decisions in your life all those years ago.

You did not know who I was, and I preferred to leave it that way, for those who can remember, cannot help those who don’t. We have to give you the necessary time, however long that time may be.

I waited to hear what it was that you wanted to say to me, what it was that made you come in the snow and the frost on that one evening. But you remained silent. For even if you knew why you were there, you did not have the words to express it. You were always a man of action, a man of few words, and you were mine, for it is I who brought you into this world and I who taught you what you knew in your first years….

Daniela I. Norris, a former diplomat turned political writer, lost her twenty-year-old brother in a drowning accident in May 2010. While feeling as much shock and grief as everyone else around her, she also felt something different. She felt that her brother Michael was not really gone. He was physically gone, but he was still around. That was when she embarked on a journey of learning and exploration, her very own skeptic's journey to mediumship. Her writing then shifted from political, to spiritual and inspirational. She lives with her family near Geneva, Switzerland.

Collecting Feathers is being published by Soul Rocks Books 28th November 2014. ISBN: 978-1-78279-671-8 (Paperback) £6.99 $12.95, EISBN: 978-1-78279-670-1 (eBook) £2.99 $3.99.

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