Sky Light Rain – A Blackbird’s Heart

A Blackbird Heart

Over the coming weeks, I’ll share insights into the stories that make up my collection Sky Light Rain. I’ll explore them in the order in which they appear in the book. The tenth story in my collection is ‘A Blackbird’s Heart’.

Those of you who loved the multiple viewpoints of ‘Knotted Rope’ may be attracted to this story for similar reasons. It follows two entwined narratives, one by Bron, a young Welsh warrior whose culture include the use of animal hearts to communicate coded messages, and the other by Bronwyn, a foster child who is reading and obsessing over Bron’s dramatic tale.

Real life and fiction blur together for Bronwyn, until she’s driven to take drastic action.

I wrote Bron’s story first, but then Bronwyn popped into my head, poring over Bron’s story and avidly daydreaming herself into the adventure. It reminded me of how I yearned to find a world hidden at the back of my wardrobe, or battle the pirates of Neverland.

I drew parallels between Bron’s situation and Bronwyn’s, overlapping their lives as much as possible, but using Bronwyn’s imagination to make up any shortfalls. Through Bronwyn’s eyes, it’s easy for a tabby cat to become a monkey and for the young offenders institution where her brother Craig lives to mirror the castle dungeon where Bron’s brother Caio is imprisoned. Then I only had to decide how far Bronwyn’s fantasy might sweep her…

The tale begins:

Bron watches as Nan grasps her knife and slits the deer from throat to groin, easing the flesh apart until the glistening innards slide free.

She senses the monkey’s anxiety as it climbs from one of her shoulders to the other. “Hush, Caru, you’re safe.”

The smell of blood is sharp in her throat, not just the deer’s but that of her brother’s wife, Derlyn. The birth was difficult.

After his first caterwauls the baby has gone quiet, exhausted by his battle to enter the world. Eyeing the infant’s pink mottled flesh, Bron thinks he seems little different to the piglet that will represent him in the deer’s carcass.

Sky Light Rain is published by Valley Press and is available to purchase here.

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