The ugly little turtle

Posted on November 22, 2007

The ugly little turtle

For as long as he could remember, he had been there.
Huddled together with his brothers and sisters, in their cozy, warm bed.
But now, as he lay and listened to the sighing wind outside, the important chatterings of his siblings, and the restless storm inside his mind, he knew things were going to change. For ever. It was time… to move on. The wind was calling him. A new home was calling him. There was some terribly important task he had to accomplish.
If only he knew…what task.

In a way, he felt sad.
He knew he was going to miss… this place. There was a comfort here. A security of the familiar. Oh, he had suffered a bit. He was an ugly, slightly handicapped turtle, and the others picked on him. They called him names, and laughed at him behind his back. There were times it had hurt him terribly. But somehow, it didn’t matter much any more. Nothing mattered much any more, compared with this… urge, this obsession, to reach… his new home.

The days went by.
And with each passing day, he got a clearer and clearer picture in his mind.
Although he had never seen his new home with his eyes, he had seen it in his mind, many times. He would lie there, half asleep, dreaming, trying to ignore the unkind remarks.
His new home was… beyond beautiful. If he shut his eyes, he could sense himself being uplifted, rocked by a gentle swell, carried up and up. And if he opened his eyes, he saw not the dull outline of his dark surroundings, but instead he saw a glorious acquamarine flow of dancing shadows and sunlit splashes. He so much… wanted to be there.
If only… he could find his way.

More days went by.
He would listen to the others. It was astounding to him how self confident so many of them were. They seemed to know exactly where they were going. They were ambitious.
They didn’t listen much to him. It was obvious they thought he was weird. He didn’t think like the majority. So he had to be wrong. He knew that. He would sigh quietly to himself, wanting to talk to somebody. Somebody that thought like him.
He wanted that very much.

And more days went by.
The urge to depart was now overwhelming. And then one calm night, almost before he knew it, without any conscious decision, he was frantically scrabbling the last pebbles and sand particles out of his way. As if his life depended on it.
Just one…more… struggle….
He lay for a while, exhausted, on the warm, moist beach, savoring his freedom.
Aware of the moonlight, and the salt sea breeze, and strange distant sounds.
Aware of lurking… danger. Threats. In the darkness.
Too tired even to be surprised at the mass of small turtles around him, milling about, forming into groups, disbanding, and then reforming into new collectives.
It was a strange luxury to be able to think clearly for once.
As if… a stage had been completed. One important stage was… history.
It was easier now to look ahead. To the next stage.
It was reassuring to hear the distant friendly noises. Not just the loud, harsh, discordant sounds that came from… over there.
No, the good noises. From over those dunes. The melodic, rhythmic, lapping noise of…. …home!
With a shock, he was wide awake. Home! He had to get moving. It was… dangerous here. There was no time to waste. Home! He had to tell the others. Home…!
He found himself staring in surprise as a vast movement of turtles, an organised collective, headed purposefully out. But they were going…
….the wrong way!
"Hey!" He shouted, surprising himself at his new found audacity.
"Hey! You’re going the wrong way!"
The voice that replied from out of the darkness wasn’t very nice.
"Shut up, runt!"
Shocked into quiet, he shook himself. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe those lights…
the bright ones, that flashed brightly in different colours, maybe those…belonged to home? But an inner voice, startling him with its new found conviction, spoke firmly in his mind:
"No! Those are the wrong lights! There is danger there! The lights I want are not like that! All gawdy and flashy… The lights I want are quieter, much less bright, and…
….much more beautiful…!"

"Hey! You’re going the wrong way!"
His head spun around as he heard somebody else shout the same warning.
"Hey! You’re going the wrong way!" Another voice was heard.
"Hey! You’re going the wrong way!" Yet another voice pitched in.

But the collective, the overwhelming majority, well organised by their leaders, turned their shells to the protesters, and trooped solidly off. Here and there sarcastic sneers could be heard, and withering remarks. Laughter, and jeers.

He watched them go, sadly.
Then he sighed, wearily. There were decisions to be made…
Turning to the others, in a brisk tone, which they had not heard before, he asked:
"Are you with me?"
There was a pause, and then several voices spoke up simultaneously from out of the darkness.
"Aye, we’re with you!"
He turned, and without a backward glance, he moved off in the direction he sensed.

Towards their home, the acquamarine, deep, ever light, waiting sea.
Just, only just, over that distant moon draped dune…

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on December 28, 2008, 12:07 pm


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2 responses to The ugly little turtle

  1. This story makes me feel that this is the first chapter. I thought maybe it was a story for children when they go to bed, but now I think no, this is more a story for everybody. I like it, but I think it needs chapter two.I think it is not finished.

  2. Great. I really liked this one. Read it twice. The evoca is excellent.
    A keeper.

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