The Life and Afterlife of Charlie Brackwood (The Brackwood Series Book 1)

The Life and Afterlife of Charlie Brackwood (The Brackwood Series Book 1) by Stacey Field Read Free Book Online

Book: The Life and Afterlife of Charlie Brackwood (The Brackwood Series Book 1) by Stacey Field Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stacey Field
became a project for Lucy and she cherished the moments she could spend with him.  After her experience with Archimedes her empathy for animals grew, and so did my fascination with her.
    During the weeks that followed Lucy and I became the bird’s carers, working together as a team the whole summer. Our days were filled with building a warm nest for him, hunting insects, and attempting to teach the owl to fly again.  We didn't know it at the time but we were creating a lifelong bond between us. It became so strong that throughout the years to come we couldn't bare to be apart from one another. Lucy had an unwavering respect for and interest in wildlife that never disappeared in all the time we were together.
    I'll never forget the day we set Archimedes free. His wing had healed and he'd managed a small amount of flying around the attic room of my house.  My dad drove us back to Bedale to the exact spot where we’d found him.  Lucy couldn't contain her excitement; she wanted to be the one to set him free.  As we were driving there she was talking about all the things she'd learnt about Little Owls.  How they have a wingspan of fifty-six centimetres and that they weigh one hundred and eighty grams. It was official: Lucy was in love with Little Owls, if not owls in general.
    We hopped out of my dad's car and headed towards the clearing in which we’d found Archimedes.  Lucy carried him in a box. As soon as we drew near the clearing he became very vocal .  Kee-ik kee-ik .  The cries he gave hurt my ears.
    We stood among the trees. It was late evening in summer and the sun was slowly going down.  Beams of light hit the leaf litter in sporadic patterns.  It was beautiful there with a sense of calm about it at this time of day.  I let the peace surround me.
    "OK, Lucy, it's time to let him out," my dad said in a quiet voice.
    She nodded and placed the box on the ground.  By this time Archimedes was scratching at the sides, eager to be free.  She opened the lid and stepped away, giving him space.
    Archimedes stretched his neck as far as it would go so that he could see over the top of the box, sharp eyes focused on his surroundings, head swivelling around to take it all in.  He cocked his head to one side, listening to the other birds in the area.  Fluffing up his feathers, he hopped on to the edge of the box.
    I glanced at Lucy, watching Archimedes with great interest and concentration, her green eyes bright with glee.  The owl turned his head to look directly at us. He stared for a long time.  I like to think he was weighing up his options, reluctant to leave us and all the care and attention he'd become accustomed to.  We watched with sadness as he finally spread his wings and flew up among the overhanging branches. I felt both relief and sadness at the release of this fascinating creature, who had beguiled both Lucy and me with his plucky temperament and intelligent eyes.
    After that day she insisted that we return to the clearing every summer in the hope of catching a glimpse of Archimedes.  This trip was one we took religiously and we would return year after year up until my death.  We were never fortunate enough to see our feathered friend again after his release but I like to think he was still there, perched high in the trees, looking down upon the kind-hearted humans who had nursed him back to health.
    Lucy returned to the clearing just once more after my death, though it wasn't Archimedes who was on her mind then.  What was once a place where childhood innocence and a blossoming friendship were remembered was now a place of loss and sorrow.  After my death the clearing had become a dark place for her.  The day she returned there after my death is one I've tried hard to forget.
    After Archimedes was released back into the wild I didn't expect to see Lucy at my house as often, but I saw just as much of her as I had before.  We enjoyed each other’s company so much that we became inseparable. 

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