Introducing Jasper

Grasping a wad of high grasses in his left hand and wrapping it back around his wrist Jasper acted quickly. That would have to do, he knew it probably would not. He scuffed the dry prarie soil with the toe of his sandle enough to draw in with his fingertip. He traced a near-perfect circle, added two sinuous lines that might have been wings, and poked a dot into the center of it all.

Jasper liquified the breeze and draped it around himself. It did not take long.

Air rushed to him from all sides bending the green grass like penitents at prayer. The air then swirled upward into a vortex with Jasper at the hub. Solid circle shapes and other bursts sprung from the markings he’d traced in the dirt and rose with the air. Mostly they were the color of the prarie: green, green-yellow, and green-teal. Some, of course, were starkly white or deeply black.

Jasper hoped the grasses he held were well rooted to the earth, but didn’t look. It wouldn’t matter now. He strengthened his grip for what came next.

The two wings he’d drawn on the circle flowed along the surface of the prarie winding among the grasses growing there as crinkle of his vision. They seemed like eager beasts waiting on chance. They were desperate to fly.

Jasper needed his attachment to the earth to hold. If the roots tore free too soon he’d spin into the initial vortex and bounce in a painful arc along the ground before going up. It happened before; he held no interest in repeating the experience.

The wings popped and snapped along the surface of the prairies battering the gentle plant life and raising more bursts as they came fully to life. Each lively crinkle became a white ribbon expanding into a sheet and then a sail. One split partway out and formed a third anxious beast. The bursts ran freely to the center and rushed upward. The speed at which they formed disallowed them full solidity so nearly all of them were outlines or double outlines.

Jasper waited for the bursts to be incomplete arcs and wilder half-shapes. They signaled his leap.

A neatly drawn plus sign ran up from the leftward wing. Jasper had never seen one of those before. He hoped it good. The point of each wing ripped free of his tracing. They alternated between losing the rest of themselves and trying to encircle Jasper. One twined his leg and popped him off balance. He nearly lost his grip. When he looked up he saw the unsplit wing’s distal end billow up like a sail catching the wind. Then the split one broke free and lept into the air with it’s fellow.

Jasper caught hold of the wing still encircling his leg. He’d been taught he couldn’t force his will on these things; he could only coax them. He watched the billowing ends disentangle from the earth. Their freedom rippled back toward him.

“Please let me time this right.”

Each wing stripped completely free of the earth and rattled into the sky. The wider far ends wafted high and back toward the center. Good. He’d go up first—no arm breaking. A cascade of bursts erupted around him: stars, octagons, circles, hoops, a curious harp shape, more plusses. The wings went up without him. Distracted, he missed his moment.

“No I didn’t!”

He loosed his grip on the grass and grabbed a pair of plusses clawing at the air like it was a ladder. He stuffed his toes into a hoop on one side and stepped on a solid green circle on the other. He kicked and pushed his way up the flock of bursts till he closed in on the nearer tendrils of the wings. They did exactly as he expected—hoped—they twined his body and rooted there.

Jasper launched above the prarie pulled by three wind filled sheets. Bursts orbited him or rested near his shoulders. Sometimes running up the wings; sometimes trickling back down.

Day 295

2 Replies to “Introducing Jasper”

  1. Glad you stopped by David. I'm always fond of kudos like this–more so from the person who's work inspired me in the first place.

    Normally I try to capture the action and emotion of a piece of art. You illustrators can make it tough to translate a scene literally. I enjoyed figuring out how to write this one so close to the original.

    Jasper is a character I'll be returning to in the future. Soon I hope. The good ones I like to let simmer a little after I first get them out there. I'll shoot you a note when I do.

    If I can offer any reverse inspiration you'd most likely find it under one of these tags: pilgrim, solex, wasp, or maquette. The first three are the different thread of 'shanty' the last are overt character sketches.

    Again thanks,

Comments are closed.