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Adam Ivanivic 2018

An Untold recollection of Cowan Sweeny

My Father lay upon the rocks without motion as the bite of the cool ocean throbbed against the bare skin revealed by the jagged tears in his clothes, making the fray of his shirt the lesser of two evils. The rolling thunder growls and screams as the gods above bellow in anger, untamed and merciless. The crack of lightening suddenly and fleetingly illuminates the concealed sky, and the accompanying thunder is loud as if the heavens might split and crumble. The white water endlessly crashed and sunk into the rocks. As I act as a human shield, father and I were almost consumed by the current as the whistle of the wind churned the ocean upon the cliffs. My legs burnt as the salt that seeped into my dark jeans clench tightly around my skin, constricting tighter with each movement I make.


And then I looked down; his blood had reached the edge of the slippery rocks. In the faded light, his blood erringly resembled that of oil, dancing and glistening in the wash. The thickness of my Father’s blood betrayed the beauty within the desolate water, smothering the face of the rocks and reflecting the lightening, with a luminosity that refused to sink to the ocean floor. Both the cooling blood and the scream of the storm sent a chill down my spine and left me numb till I turned away. Whilst the water depleted from the drums of my ears, my brother is clenching his cold, pale hand, listening for anything close to the eerie whistle from what’s left of his now hollow lungs. Yet it is lost, “the moaning of the wind” and the infinite crashes of the white waves are the only songs that play in this rayless corner of the world.


Before notice, the gruelling night sky condemned the last reminiscence of the drowning sun. The pacific wind rallied stronger and crueller against my tear-drawn face. Hours passed without end whilst our ears became as alert of those of foxes, for the returning howls of the murdering pack. I had enough of the mad and macabre that fell upon us, yet night strode on; slow enough to be endless yet no faster than the rage that grew within the clouds. Struggling to yell over the rage of the night, my brother screamed “Over there”. I turned my head towards the hidden horizon and the impossible defies my fear. The now minute churn of the water is gone; the menacing swell had arrived. The salty gust refracted as it hit the rocks, splitting the breeze in two, creating a divide between little brother and I.


Turning my back to the waves, I started to make my way back to the high rock where my brother shivered and my father lay motionless. As I tried to balance myself to jump across I am consumed by the striking wave behind me, hitting my head on the jagged rocks in front . . .


 . . . I awoke, tumbling in the wash of the freezing water. The skies were black, the ocean was dark and it was too cold to bear. My breath deepened as the wash seeped into my clothes and robbed me of what was left of my internal warmth. I didn’t know where I was. I couldn’t find the shores or my brother. My heart raced until I heard a scream in the distance. Racing towards the faint sound I swam until my arms ached and my lungs cooled, the pain was too much. The lightening ignited brighter until the flash illuminated the origin, yet the closer I followed, the more it resembled a howl. The definite flash of lightening had struck. The Cù mòr glas stood tall “silhouetted on the brow of the hill”, the same hill my father saw her sleek figure only minutes prior to his passing.


Cracks of lightening kept her in sight and revealed her every movement. Her calm silhouette, unfazed from the storm’s aggression showed her nose pointing towards my left, I looked over and I saw brother, perched on is bleeding knees, one hand covering his eyes as he looked out towards the storm and the other clenching my Father’s hand. Catching the current of the white rippled water I am reunited, shivering and crying with relief. Whilst I clench for my Father’s hand, I then twitch my head back to the high hill of the island. The Cù mòr glas had stayed, watching us in the face of the wind and rain. Her fur drenched and waving in the icy breeze, she decided she had done enough. She turned her head and wandering back into the refuge of the island.  I hear my brother ask, “What are you looking at? The dogs are gone”. I responded hesitantly as if the shiver of the night constricted my voice,” must be the shadows of the storm”.


The only lie we faced was not the false love between father and the Cù mòr glas, but my own. This stuck to my thoughts as we rode out the long remaining hours of the freezing storm. Our tears were replaced with the drops of rain and the luminosity of father’s blood had dulled on the rocks. My Brother was lost in the roaming thoughts of his mind, whilst I shivered myself to sleep. The harsh breeze of the pacific wind and the unmitigated flow of the waves were a lullaby. I dreamt of the once drowning sun, rising above the ocean to catch its breath. I dreamt of finding my way back home and bidding my father the goodbye he deserves.


 I awoke to the nudging of my brother, heralding the farewell of the clouds and gratifying the calm of the water. The cracks in the height of the cloud revealed the sky refine its colour as the sun was near. The gentle surprise of my brothers voice filled my ears, “Brother, in the cold, we had waited. We waited for the oceans to settle. We waited for the calm of the wind, and now . . . in the cold, we will wait for the birds to bring forth the sun”. The belief he refused to ignore was, in a way, warming.


He was not expecting a response and why would he? So we sat on the rock, holding father’s hand. We waited for the morning sun to bid us hello.







- The quote above is a passage taken from Alistair Macleod’s “As Birds Bring Forth The Sun” and is essentially the inspiration to which this story was written, the foundation upon what this story is based on.

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