Friday, March 26, 2010

Guest Write - Ryn Cricket

Red Dust

“A rooster can eat a snake, you know.” Li told the older boy in the school yard.

“No, it can’t.” The boy countered. “The snake would kill it before it could even try.”

“Each animal has its own strength.” She insisted. “And if the rooster were provoked. It would kill a snake.”

“I don’t believe you.” The boy taunted.

“Alright, you go get a snake, and I’ll get my rooster.”

The boy ran off into the trees behind the school and Li crossed the dry, red, dirt road to her house on the other side. Her parents weren’t home, so they wouldn’t know that she had taken “Sawan,” her father’s prized rooster. She had to be right.

They met back up in the dusty school yard within minutes. “Alright,” the boy said. “When I count to three, we will both drop them in front of us. Ready? One…two…three.” And the boy almost threw the snake on the ground and it started to slither until Li released Sawan.

Sawan started squawking as if he had already been caught. He ruffled his feathers and flapped his wings in a frenzy. The snake just watched quietly and hissed; watching and waiting. Sawan almost caused himself a heart attack in his noisy display, but he must have known that if he ran away, he could be swiftly attacked.

“Come on, Sawan! Eat him!” Li half-cheered and half-pleaded. Sawan started to calm down. The snake was not attacking him. Maybe he was safe. And in that very moment, the snake lunged, biting Sawan perfectly on the neck. The rooster collapsed almost immediately into a mound of flesh and feathers.

Li fell on her knees in the dry dirt next to the bird and her little mind began to connect the dots.

They found her body floating in the river hours later because she understood that she would always be the victim of snakes.

When Ryn was in the seventh grade she thought she wanted to do three things when she grew up, she wanted to be an English teacher, a writer and a mother. All of that traveling, adventure, and Peace Corps was just research for what was to come. After more than twenty years of being told she would never be able to have children, she had two beautiful baby girls, a year and a half apart. She spends many of her daytime hours teaching English at Case Western Reserve University, and all of the rest of her time, inspiring her two little girls, or being inspired by writing at the writers’ workshop she calls “home.” You can find more of her work online HERE.


  1. Hey Ryn long time no hear! This piece was haunting. (which means good in my world)!

  2. At the end of the day, we shall always know the venomous poisons that flow as we move across the sacred grounds of our heart's shadows....

    Great parable Ryn. Great parable this was to keep close at hand.

  3. This is quite a drama with a doubly tragic end. grand telling though, I must say. Superb flash.

  4. A powerful tale! Well done! And by the way, from your bio I'd say all your dreams have come true.

  5. Very well composed, the playful times of childhood colliding into the poisons of adulthood, most in the mind!

  6. Interesting story of the ego having to prove itself, and happy to have it end in death. Nice piece Ryn!

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  8. lifeisbeautiful03March 27, 2010 at 5:06 AM

    it was mind one. liked it a lot..story had a gd flow.

  9. Thank you everyone. I was inspired by the Chinese Zodiac and my time in Thailand for this story. I have to admit though, when I was writing it, I was pulling for the rooster.

  10. Ryn, this has all the resonance of a parable, multi-layered and resonant until the end.

  11. Ryn, enjoyed the characterization of the young ones to no end, and the brief but powerful encounter between the animals was brimming with suspense--here condensed in a moment, but resonating beyond its time "on the page." Nice work.

  12. Such a good piece Ryn, and so powerful too , especially the animal encounter which provided momentary suspense - excellent.

  13. Well I didn't see that one coming. Quite the ending. Good job. I loved the children, and their eager search to prove a point.

  14. Thank you all. I'm glad I could find a good home for this little story. I appreciate each and every one of your comments.