Wordcarpenter Books

Chapter Five


The Sacred Twin Story


After discussing their dreams and four cups of coffee Josh darted to his pick-up truck and returned with his crossbow.

"Think I can hit it?" he said, pulling out an arrow and pointing it at an old wooden sign nailed to a tree by the river. He let the arrow go before Thomas could reply, scoring a direct hit. The arrow made a zinging sound as it flew, which for some reason made them both laugh. He showed him how to load it, pull the arrow back and how to aim. Thomas let the arrow go at twenty yards away, the impact a dull thud that caused them to laugh again. Loading another, Thomas looked around for another target. He pointed at a displaced scarecrow perched in the neighbor's yard.

"I hate scarecrows," said Josh. "Bad medicine. Crows are our friends. They are not the bravest of the winged ones but they are the smartest." Adding arc for the distance, Thomas let the arrow go, sailing through the air and striking the scarecrow in the thigh. It stuck. The muted thud of impact caused more laughter but Thomas is also laughing at the red welt on his brother's forehead. The spark had broken the skin.

"Crows are good medicine," he went on, "valued as highly as the eagle, which is considered the closest thing to Creator on earth." As Thomas loaded another arrow, Josh went into his trailer and came out with his bearskin.

"There's a story about twins that Grandfather told me a few months ago, and there was this one part that I wanted to tell you about."

‘Tell me."

"One twin, who was bigger and stronger than his other twin because he had been born out of his father's magic - he was a medicine man - had chosen to go live in the forest, but after some years he returned and saw his twin. They got on well together and developed a passion for bows and arrows. Then one day the twin from the forest said to his brother: ‘The Great Father Above has special gifts to give us as we reach manhood. He promised me the gifts when I was a very little boy living in the forest. Now I will climb high in this tree and see a vision, a dream. All my bones will drop out of my body and fall to the ground. The head bone will fall first of all. You will think that I am dead, but it will not be so.'

"‘So take my bones,' says the bigger twin to his brother, ‘and put them in a pile, with the head bone on top. Cover the pile with my buffalo calf robe and then shoot the black arrow into the air. Then, just as we did as young kids when we played together and shot our arrows into the air to watch them turn and fall to earth, call out to me: ‘Look out Brother! For the arrow is coming straight towards you!' He agreed so the bigger twin climbs the tree up into the clouds. He disappeared for a moment and then his bones fell from the tree. Just has he had said, he gathered his brother's bones and placed the head bone on top, covered them with the buffalo robe and then shot an arrow straight up in the sky." Josh, with an unmistakable look of prankish exuberance in his eyes, took out an arrow and fixed it in his crossbow.

"What are you doing?" Drawn towards him, not out of concern but from the mischievous glint emitting from his eyes, Thomas couldn't help giggling.

"Let's try it," he said. Before he could say anything, Josh shot the arrow straight up in the air right above them and then laid on the grass and covered himself with the bearskin. Thomas watched the arrow go straight up in the sky in disbelief, ignoring his reflex to run to the threshold of the cabin door. Josh didn't look at the arrow; he only looked at his twin.

"OK, tell me when the arrow is coming down by yelling: ‘Look out Brother!'" No time to argue, he squinted to the sky but couldn't see the arrow.

"I can't see it Josh!"

"C'mon brother!" he replied, covering himself with the bearskin. "I have faith in you." Thomas knew that the arrow had gone a long way up and fortunately it was a blue sky, so he focused hard at the patch in the sky where it had been shot, but still couldn't see it. He did some quick calculations that gave him a sense of when it should fall. Actually fearing for his life, Thomas waited a moment longer and then shouted:

"Look out Brother!" Josh jumped out from beneath the bearskin, grabbed the plastic table beside him and raised it above his head, causing his mug to fall to the grass. Just as he did this, the arrow struck the table, the arrowhead embedding itself an inch into the plastic. As if danger was the furthest thing from his mind, and showing absolute faith in him, Josh continued his story without missing a beat.

"And after the arrow had landed, the larger twin suddenly ran out from beneath the buffalo robe just before the arrow struck." Remy sat on the grass in a state of heightened laughter. Despite the fact that Thomas is also laughing, he was burdened by a darker, more sinister concern.

"I knew you would save me mon frere," he said, voice strange.

"So sure enough, the bigger twin tells his brother: ‘Now, you must also climb up and see your vision, your dream and receive the powers the Great Father Above has reserved for you. I shall do as you did for me, and we will meet here below afterwards.' Just as his brother had done, he climbed the tree and reached the clouds where he had his vision. His bones fell to the ground where his twin piled his bones together with the head bone on top, and then covered him with a buffalo robe. He shot a blue arrow up in the sky-‘"

"No way Josh!" He already knew what was going to happen. Sure enough he took out another arrow and shot it straight up in the air over Thomas's head, bypassing any discussion.

"Lie on the grass Tommy," he said. "You can rely on me. I'll save you from the arrow. Get under the bearskin. It's important we go through this initiation." His eyes faced the sky and his squint showed how hard he was trying to locate the arrow.

"Can you see it?" He was focused on the arrow against the backdrop of blue sky.

"Trust me, man." He stood just outside the threshold of the door protecting his eyes from the sun. Suddenly he pointed.

"Look out Brother, for the arrow is coming straight towards you!" he yelled. Thomas threw off the bearskin and grabbed the table just as the arrow smashed into the middle of the table. The quivering sound of the arrow striking the plastic made Josh crack up with a serious case of scheudenfreuden laughter. Both arrows were stuck in the table side by side, a sight that caused Josh to keel over happy as a kid, but one that caused Thomas to wonder what was driving him to do this.

Shaking his head to get rid of his laughter, he continued the story with his best dramatic voice:

"His twin got up healthier than ever from beneath the buffalo robe. They looked at each other and the twin from the forest said: ‘What gift did you receive?' asked the twin from the forest. 'Listen' he replied. He opened his mouth and spoke a word that rumbled like an earthquake off the trees and rocks. 'We will call you by the name Thunder,' says the twin from the forest. 'What powers did you receive?' asked Thunder. 'Look,' he said, and opened his mouth and spoke a word that lashed out like flames across the sky.

"'We will call you by the name Lightning,' said Thunder. And from that point on the twins had their new powers and new manhood names." Josh picked up his coffee mug and squatted beside the river.

"Do you see?" he asked. Thomas could sense there was something important inside him that he was trying to communicate, and that all he needed was a pair of sincere ears; the ears of his twin brother. Semi-dormant guilt stirred at the thought of returning to the Far East in a week.

"You're Thunder and I'm Lightning," he replied. "Is that your point?" Josh nodded.

"Everything is secondary to our gift," said Rainbow Thunderbird, placing his crossbow on the table between the two arrows.

"You could've just told me the story."

"Let's go see Grandfather," he said casually. "He wants to meet you."  




Table of Contents
Part One - Canada
1.      The Twin From the East Returns  
2.      The Sundancer  
3.      Waxing Gibbous 
4.      The Second Coming of the Messiah 
5.      The Sacred Twin Story 
6.      The Sign of the Pahana 
7.      Palongawhoya and Poqanghoya 
8.      Rainbow Thunderbird and Red Phoenix 
9.      The True White Brother 
10.    The Lost Louis Riel Notebooks 
Part Two - Hong Kong
11.    A Mixture of Revulsion and Pity 
12.    A Classroom of Scallywags 
13.    Illegitimati non Carborundum 
14.    The Distant Fire of Empyrean
Part Three - Burma
15.    The Monastery of Sacred Tablets 
16.    The Outpost of Tyranny 
17.    When the 12th Moon Comes 
18.    The Pigeon Left & the Crow Took His Place 
19.    Go North and Find Your People 
20.    Finding Orwell 
21.    Though the Monkey is in a Hurry, the Tree Branch is Not 
22.    The Castle at God's Toes 
23.    The General and Sergeant Betel Nut 
24.    The Tattooed Station Master 
25.    Reverend Crow's Life's Work 
26.    Yield Not to Adversity, But Press on More Bravely 
27.    A Bitter Cuppa Tea 
28.    The Thirteenth Tribe 
29.    When a Lamp is Lit You Must Expect Insects 
30.    John the Christian 
31.    A Guardian Angel Named Hanna 
32.    The Bar Car & Betel Nut 
33.    The Son of Light 
34.    Slipping the Karmic Knot
Part Four - Hong Kong
35.    The Tonsure Warning 
36.    The Phoenix Reborn 
37.    Touching the Empyrean 
38.    Joshua the Gatekeeper 
Part Five - Canada
39.    Lapsit Exillis 
40.    Thunderstones 
41.    The Time of Great Purification  

A good Canadian tune
fits this morning's exploits,
The Cowboy Junkies'
"The Sun Comes Up Tuesday Morning"

New books - new authors  


For those who like to build with words 


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