#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Guidance from the Gamayan

Silhouette of birds on sunrise

According to Wikipedia, the gamayan is a prophetic bird of Russian folklore. It is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge and is usually depicted as a bird with a woman’s head. And according to Epika, it is a talking bird who foretells the future and reads fortunes.

Interesting… Although, I couldn’t get a grasp on how or why this bird may appear, I’ve used my own imagination to come up with the following little story.

Gillian kicked off her shoes and stretched out in the chaise lawn chair. Sunglasses in place, she sipped the fresh lemonade and yawned as a light breeze caressed her body and dried away the late afternoon sweat. It had been a long day and she was more than happy to close her eyes and put it behind her.

The cell phone next to her chair started to buzz but she snatched it from the table and turned it off without even looking at the caller ID. Whoever it was could leave a message and she’d deal with it later but as far as she was concerned, it was five o’clock on a Friday afternoon and the problems at the office no longer concerned her.

Of course, it could have been Darren. She picked up the phone again and considered the possibility. It felt cool in her palm despite the day’s heat. Finally, she tossed the phone back on the table and leaned back in her chair. She hadn’t been dating Darren for very long and although he was very good looking and knew all the right things to say, there was still something about him that put her a little on edge. Her friends encouraged the match, insisting that he was one of the better guys Gillian had gone out with, and maybe that was true, but there was still something about him that made her uneasy. She’d blamed it on the stress from work affecting her personal life for far too long.

She sighed and adjusted the straps on her tank top which had fallen down off one shoulder. This moment of peace was exactly what she needed. Her job had started to consume her life and shadow everything else she cared about.

She watched a group of birds gathering in a nearby tree as they chirped and played before stretching wings and taking off into the sky. She wondered what it would feel like to have that much freedom.

Before she could get too deep in her thoughts, a rustling from behind her chair caught her attention. At first she paid no attention. There was a fair bit of wildlife around her home but as the noise persisted, she became wary. She pulled off her glasses as she sat upright and swiveled around to get some idea of what was going on behind her, grabbing the phone, just in case. A strange sensation came over her, like she was being watched.

“Is someone there?” she called out as she powered on her phone. She waited for a response that didn’t come. Finally, she shook her head and sat back down, realizing that she was so unaccustomed to spending time alone that she let imagination get the better of her.

Glancing down at the screen, she noticed the missed call had been from Darren. He also sent a text message asking if she was available to get together for a drink later this evening. Although she’d made a promise to herself to spend the evening alone until she finally made the decision she’d been putting off too long, she hit reply and let him know she could be at the bar in an hour.

Maybe she was going about it all wrong.

As she opened the sliding glass door to go inside to shower, the rustling sound behind her caught her attention again. She turned around, dropped her glass and shrieked. The glass shattered and lemonade soaked her clothes but she barely registered it. Her focus was on the over sized bird perched on the deck railing. Not only was it unlike any bird she’d seen before but it had the head of a woman. She blinked a few times to try to clear her eyes but it was still there.

“Gillian, don’t be afraid.”

Gillian grasped the door handle behind her and gave it a tug but it wouldn’t open. She reached into her pocket for the cell phone she’d just put there. The bird creature stretched out her wings.

“You seek a glimpse into the future,” she said as she settled back down, “And I am here to offer you that.”

“Wh… wh… what are you talking about?”

“Come, sit, enjoy the warmth of the dying sun on your face with me as we have a little chat.”

Gillian didn’t move.

“Come on, don’t be silly. I won’t hurt you.”

Skirting the mess of broken glass on the deck, Gillian’s feet advanced toward the lawn chair where only moments ago she’d been absorbed in her own silent awe. Never in her wildest dreams had she thought human-birds were a part of that though.

“What are you?” she managed to say as she attempted to get comfortable, finding this would be an impossible task under the circumstances.

“I’m a gamayan,” she said as she perched on the table next to the chair. She was almost too big for it. The little table threatened to topple as she fought to get her balance. Eventually, she managed to settle and Gillian found it difficult to take her eyes off this strange creature. Beautiful and majestic, but how could she be real?

“I’ve never heard of such a thing,” Gillian said, as though this asserted that the creature couldn’t possibly exist, despite the fact that she sat right beside her.

“Few meet us.”

“Why are you here now?”

“Because you are caught at impasse, unable to choose the road that will lead to your true happiness in life. Even worse, you are likely to make a mistake that will take away your future entirely.”

“How?” Gillian said. Her mind was racing in a million different directions and she struggled to form coherent thoughts in the presence of this unusual creature.

“That man,” the gamayan said indicating the phone that Gillian hadn’t realized she’d been clutching in her right hand, “is not who you think he is.”

“Darren? I’ve only gone out with him a couple of times.”

“You are planning to meet him tonight. If you go, your life will end.”

“That’s a bit melodramatic,” Gillian said feeling her blood turn cold. She’d always thought there was something a little off about Darren, despite her friends insistence that he was perfect. Maybe she’d been right all along?

“You sense it, too,” the bird observed.

Gillian nodded slightly but her body had gone numb. She’d felt it from the first moment she met him. It was part of the reason she’d been so reluctant to answer his call.

“And tomorrow you shall receive an important notice about your career, one that may be easy to overlook. I suggest you keep your eyes, ears, and heart open, however, because your life is about to change.”

Gillian blinked out the sun that seemed to sink low enough in the sky that it was coming straight at her face. She reached up to her head for her sunglasses but they weren’t there. When she turned back to the bird to ask for more details, it was gone.

She sank into the chair and closed her eyes. Why did it seem late afternoon always made her feel so sleepy?

When she opened her eyes again, darkness had fallen and the cell phone sat on the table next to her buzzing for her attention. She reached over to grab it, noticing that it was Darren calling.

“Damn it!” she said before answering. She’d completely forgotten that she’d agreed to meet him for drinks. Judging by the time on her phone, she was thirty minutes late and he was probably wondering what happened to her. “Darren, I’m so sorry. I – uh – must have fallen asleep.”

She looked around, suddenly remembering the visitor she had had and the warnings not to go out with Darren.

“I was worried something maybe happened. I could come over to your place if you like?”

“Oh, actually, I just remembered something I needed to finish. Can I take a rain check on that?”

“Of course,” Darren said, but she didn’t miss the disappointment in his voice.

“Great, I will call you tomorrow and Darren, I’m so sorry again to leave you waiting.”

She disconnected the call and sat staring at the glass of lemonade on the table next to her chair, the same one she’d shattered earlier. She sniffed at her clothes which had the slightly sticky feel of spilled drink and lemon scent.

Had her conversation with the gamayan been only a dream?


Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me. 🙂 Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!

Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.

15 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge Visitors from Beyond – Guidance from the Gamayan

  1. Don says:

    We have all had or will have those little incidents of not knowing wether we dreamed something or if it was a memory tucked away. One that surfaces only when something happening around us cues it. Gillian was probably smart for listening. Another good post and I learned about the Gambian!

  2. Lata Sunil says:

    I would so much like to know what happened next. Why was Darren disappointed? Did the prophecy come true?

    Lovely story..

  3. kalaravi16 says:

    Whopping piece here Stephanie! Each one of these snippets is brilliant! You have tantalizingly left this one open to speculation! Gamayan what an exotic creature this one is! Isn’t there an Egyptian equivalent to this creature? Seem to have read about it. Loving your posts!

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