Twelve Days of
By David Julian Avila
Copyright 2011 David Julian Avila
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It was St. Stephen's feast day, when I found her gone. I thought it was a cruel joke. But I searched for my one true love playfully at first and then in earnest. She didn’t answer my calls. My neighbors questioned my search for my one true love. I said they took her. I stood heartbroken on the step to our door as my neighbors tried to console me, but it was no use. They said they heard I was injured while hunting but I paid them no mind. I felt reborn and refreshed from my hunting trip. My mind was focused on getting my wife back. I was incomplete and broken without her. I wept for what seemed like hours. My neighbors were afraid to approach me except for one little girl. She might have been three or four years old. She spoke in simple sentences. She was barely aware of her surroundings. She asked me why I was weeping and I told her that my one true love was gone; she was taken and I don’t know by whom. The little fairy told me exactly what I feared most, The Twelve Drummers, had taken my one true love. I wanted to question her more, but her worried mother pulled her away in a panic. I swore to retrieve my one true love, Partridge. I loaded my pack as I prayed for our safety. I also swore in silence and in vengeance and hoped it would not negate my prayers. I grabbed my club made from the hardest pear tree wood and I was on my way. I had to hurry. They must of had a twelve day lead on me. I feared the worst might have been done to her. I could not think of those things. I knew in my heart I had to find her and be the harbinger of death and destruction to her captors.
As I crossed the desert wasteland, my club became heavy as the hot summer sun drained the strength from me. Luckily, I happened upon a pair of turtle doves in the throws of violent courting. They were so loud and rambunctious that they did not hear me approach. As their mating came to a close the female, the larger of the two, clamped down on the male’s neck and severed it from its body. The decapitated body jerked brutally. I cautiously climbed upon the female’s glistening shelled back as she dined upon her fallen mate. I strung a rope around her neck and pulled up, interrupting her meal. I shouted encouragement for her to take flight as I slapped and kicked her long neck. She fought against my will and tried to throw me off of her. I held on. Eventually, she gave in to my demands and bounded into the air and flew me out of the Joaquin Desert and headed in the direction of the fortress of The Twelve Drummers.