Many have heard of the artistic and spunky rabbit shaman, Peck. But where did she come from? How did she get to Jamaa?
"This is boring," Rose muttered, puckering up her face in a pout.
"Aw come on sis, this is fun!" Peck replied, looking at the colorful sand hopefully. Whiskers quivering in excitement.
"Not for me," Rose grumbled, "I don't like painting, it's pointless! It'll only get washed away by the rain."
"But that IS the point!" Peck exclaimed, sprinkling sand artfully. "Everything is temporary, that's what make life so special. Carrots don't last long, and you still eat them."
"That's cause they taste good!" Rose stuck her tongue out at her sister.
"Well art tastes good to me."
"Everyone says you're just confused," Rose says sulkily, "I'm beginning to agree."
"Just because I wear ear socks and paint with sand doesn't mean I'm crazy!" Peck said, ears twitching with agitation. "There, it's done, what do you think?"
"It looks like a blob."
"Well, I was aiming for a dark shadow of endless space with whisps of dark mist reaching out to tear apart the fabric of time," Peck paused, "but that's close enough."
"Thanks for the explanation." Rose said sarcastically. "Now lets go, we're going to be late for supper."
"Wait up, I think I should sign this one, it really seems...alive." Peck reached her paw into the dust, placing a print at the edge of the sand art. Suddenly she felt a wind rush past, putting her fur on end. It stopped just as suddenly. "Did you feel that, Rose?"
"Feel what? Boredom?"
"No, that wind..." Peck said, looking around confused.
"You really are crazy," Rose giggled, "there's no wind today at all." She bounded off toward the hollow.
Peck looked back at the sand art she had finished, one word appeared in her mind: phantom...
Chapter 2Peck and her family were scavenging for supper when the wind started, sand billowed up in waves since there hadn't been rain for weeks. Peck stiffened.
"Ma, I think we need to get inside the den," she said nervously.
"Nonsense dear, it's only a little evening breeze," her mother replied, busy digging up some roots.
"What's that?" Rose said abruptly, eyes wide as she pointed at a dark mass on the horizon.
"Get inside everyone," their father said, rigid with shock. Everyone else hurried into the burrow, but Peck paused. Guided by an unseen force she hopped quickly to her storage of colored sand. She then began her greatest masterpiece; she didn't even know what she had painted until she finished.
Peck gasped at the beauty of the great heron that stood there in the sand, I didn't paint this myself, she thought. Peck's paws rested on the sand of the painting, which suddenly came alive. A great grey heron rose from the sand, shrouded in magic, but built from sand. The dark mass grew closer, and Peck realized that it was her painting, the phantom, who had risen from the sand as well. Wind buffeted Peck's fur as she crouched in the sand, watching the scene unfold.
The heron took her talons and raked through the shadowy phantom, dissipating what ever darkness she touched. A scream of rage echoed through the air, Peck's coat stood on end as she shivered, feeling the pure wrath of the phantom. The wind picked up as the heron beat her wings and something started growing between her and the shadow. A dark purple hole opened and spread like liquid shadow. The heron bore down on the phantom, silver talons gleaming. There was a last soul piercing scream before the phantom was engulfed by the shadowy portal, sand closing it off from the world. Slowly the heron gathered herself, and turned towards Peck.
"That, was a phantom young one. One you brought to this world."
"I had no idea," Peck whispered, "all I did was put my paw print on it."
"You are gifted with magic, and so don't fully belong in this mortal realm," the heron said carefully, "I am Mira, a goddess of a magic filled world called Jamaa."
Peck dusted herself off and tidied her ear socks. "So you're taking me there?"
The heron looked slightly put out, as if she wanted to be the one saying that, but nodded slowly. "You would be a welcome member of the group of animal shamans, if you choose to come."
Peck looked around at her home sadly, "I don't belong here, and I guess I always knew that," she looked up at Mira, "I'm ready, Mother Sky."
The heron looked confused for a moment, Did I tell her my other name?, but simply nodded. Peck watched as Mira brushed her wing through the air. Peck gasped, the air rippled. It was as if the heron had brushed away all time and space. The light dark mist spread around them as the stepped through the tear. The hole closed, and another opened with just a wave of the heron's wing. The landscape opened onto the beautiful moonlit canyons, Peck felt the warm night breeze ruffle her fur. She felt warmth flood her soul and heart, "I'm home."