Obediah

 Obediah had been a butterfly for most of his life. All of his life, if you asked him. He did not talk about his pre-cocoon days. The other butterflies suspected that Obediah had been a caterpillar at one time, but being that Obediah was the oldest and strongest of them all, no one dared contradict him. He had steered them through the harshest of winds and the deadliest of storms. Obediah was fearless but he was a loner and no one knew why.

Obediah had of course been a caterpillar once. A very happy one at that. As a young caterpillar, Obediah had been wild and reckless. He would eat from the biggest leaves on the farthest branches. Needless to say, he was a success with the ladies and all the other caterpillars looked up to him. One afternoon, on the leaves of a giant sunflower, Obediah saw Gabrielle and he fell in love at once. Gabrielle was the most beautiful caterpillar Obediah had ever seen. They had fun together and Obediah made her laugh all the time. Obediah was the happiest he had been his whole life. He thought that Gabrielle was too.

Gabrielle loved Obediah but she wanted more. Gabrielle had seen her friends and family make their cocoons and become butterflies. Once they turned, even though she was a gorgeous caterpillar, they paid her no attention. The butterflies thought they were better than everyone else and Gabrielle longed to be a butterfly. She told Obediah that the only way she could really be happy was if they both became butterflies. Obediah loved his life as a caterpillar but his love for Gabrielle was stronger. They decided to make their cocoons next to each other on the underside of a well protected leaf near the bottom of the sunflower.  Ten days passed. Obediah grew restless from inactivity and began to emerge from his cocoon. He saw that Gabrielle was still inside of hers. Good. He would be the first thing she saw when she came out. She would love him and they would be happy and together again. Obediah felt incredible. He spread his wings for the first time and saw their beautiful colors. He was even better looking than he had imagined. He wanted Gabrielle to see him. Obediah waited. She did not come out. He grew impatient and was growing weak with hunger. He decided to feed on some nearby flowers. They were delicious and he was gone for longer than he had planned.

When Obediah returned, Gabrielle’s cocoon was torn apart and her wings were on the ground. Her body had been eaten by a predator.  Obediah was heartbroken. He had lost everything. He returned to the caterpillars who had once loved him only to be faced with their bitter rejection. He wandered the fields alone. The other butterflies noticed him and welcomed him in their group. He noticed how easily the butterflies died. It seemed like every day another member of the group fell. Obediah did his best to protect them. He was a natural leader and saved many lives. Some he could not save. Obediah decided he would not get close to anyone ever again. Gabrielle had been the love of his life and she was gone.

Obediah felt himself grow older. The wind had taken its toll on his wings and the rain had beaten his now fragile body for too long. He decided it was time for him to die. He went back to the sunflower where he had met Gabrielle.  He reached their leaf only to find that underneath it were two new cocoons. Obediah was tired but he was going to stay alive until these two butterflies came out of their cocoons safely. The days passed. One afternoon, Obediah noticed movement in one of the cocoons. A young butterfly emerged. He told Obediah he was worried because his girlfriend had not come out yet. Obediah assured him that she would and Obediah would watch over her when the young butterfly went to eat. Soon after the young butterfly returned, the other cocoon began to open. The young couple was safe. They were together. They thanked Obediah for his protection and flew away. Seeing their love brought peace to Obediah. He laid down on the leaf, wrapped himself in his wings, and took his final rest.

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4 thoughts on “Obediah

  1. This is clearly a kids boook. Illustrate it or ill do it for you for a percentage when you become a bestseller…the technical comments posted by joanna make sense only if you want to become hemingway…a bully, a drunk and finally a suicide…just joking…but i think that you have to stick the style you are creating…the Charlotte Dean style….i love you…r

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  2. charlotte. i enjoyed this story so much and found myself lost in it’s beauty. i didn’t want it to end, but the ending was most gratifying.
    i can’t criticise you, for i find nothing to be critical about. you are developing your own style, and will find it. i’m so pleased that you include me on tour list. dearly love ou, gloria

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  3. Hey Charlotte,
    I’m going to make my first comment! I like the content of this story a lot, and it’s my favorite one so far. My comments are related to form, however, rather than content– although as we and all artists know, form and content cannot really be separated. In this short story, as in all of your stories so far, you have an Ernest Hemingway style of writing– short, choppy, declarative sentences that often have a subject-verb construction (“he did. She went. They talked.” etc). It’s a perfectly valid stylistic mode of writing– Hemingway is one of the most famous writers of the 20th century. Yet I feel that this story begs for a more lyrical writing style; think of poetry, of song, of cadence; play with dependent clauses, subordination, and other ways to grammatically construct sentences; write rhythm into your words. Think of how the story flows, so that when you write abrupt sentences, they are clearly intentionally abrupt, to convey to your reader a break or dissonance. Good job!

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