Suddenly, Teah’s head began to whirl. She sat back down. The firefly-lamp hummed and buzzed as she closed her eyes to concentrate, trying hard to still her thoughts.
And that’s when it began …In her mind she saw all of Landland stretching away before her. She felt the fear spreading across the land, all the way from Bigriver, up through the coastal villages and on to the tip of land that was Mount Beacon. Landland Village lay deserted beneath its towering headland. Confusion abounded in the Scented Forest …frightened animals and Scented People hid themselves away. High up in the Chain of Mountains, the forges of the Giants lay simmering and steaming under the heavy mist of the greying. In her mind, Teah rose higher and higher. She could soon take in all of Bigriverland, which now lay deserted and dark far below. She saw many frightened animals crossing the Bigriver into the Scented Forest. She swept down low over the remnants of the Big Forest. Amidst the devastation of the greying, a patch of colour shone brightly. Teah thought hard to find out why, to push through the barrier between her thinking and her knowing, but she could not break through. The mists which hovered over Dead Wood were tinted an eerie and impenetrable green.
Teah began to rise higher and higher— all the lands fell away beneath her, spreading far out and away from Landland. To the north a grey haze settled over a frozen wasteland. In the south, steaming heat spiralled up from a multitude of bog lands and swamps in the equatorial regions of the Firbog. To the east, the word, ‘Settleland’, sounded loud inside her head, but the vision was lost in a grey fog which refused to reveal what lay beneath … Finally, all became lost and her colour began to fade.
Teah toppled onto her back. She fought to open her eyes as Dalff and Mermie stood bending over her.
For a long time, Teah lay motionless and colourless, paler than her companions.
Even the fireflies, encased in their glassy ball, lay silent. They had ceased to illuminate.
To Dalff and Mermie it was almost as if the fireflies had sensed the hopelessness of the greying.
To Teah, the reality of the thinking was still sinking in. After all, she had not fully believed that she could do it, and after this one attempt she was not sure if she could, or should, try again.
Suddenly, a loud squawk, made Teah leap to her feet. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Mermie and Dalff, she stared up into the black canopy of the forest.
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Over the last twenty-five years, Dallas Sutherland has exhibited a creative bent across a range of industries including graphic design, fine arts, and trompe l’oeil murals. He has lectured in fine arts and studied Art History, Literature, Adult Education, and Creative Writing. Works include play scripts and short stories. The Greying is his first published novella, with further books planned as part of the fantasy series. He draws inspiration from myth, legend, and fairy tales.
He lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia with his partner Kerri, and daughter Ruby.
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