Collection: storysongs
ST10 - Jountz's journey
When Jountz was thirteen, he determined to find his father, Txing. Jountz had had a few years in his father's presence, but Txing had left home early, and was now a powerful leader of his people. Some called him a dictator, some a tyrant. Whatever his political status, he was emotionally remote and disengaged from Jountz, Jountz's mother and sister and the small country town where they lived.

Jountz often went into the fields and forests to collect herbs and edibles. One day in mid-winter, as he was walking in the woods,

tall spiked tendrils
left over from last summer
ripped my shirt

He didn't pay much attention, but regretted wearing that shirt, one of his favorites. The family pet Frit was along, and

The old dog pees
on every fallen tree
territory marked

Frit looked at his master with big brown eyes. They loved each other, but Jountz had to leave him behind. Frit did, however give Jountz a secret weapon.

On his way to the city, Jountz passed by the industrial site where commercial products were made day and night. Some friends had gone to work there, but had never come back. The place had an evil character, there were many stories, and Jountz looked away.

donkey engines bray
we tell them just what we want
a deafening sound

Jountz asked around when he got to the outskirts of the capital city, and was told where his father's compound could be found. The walls around the compound were tall, but Jountz scaled them in the very early morning. He saw in the light something he'd been told about, something horrific that was said to belong to the tyrant Txing. He remembered the song that the subjects whispered to each other:

The autocrat's hammock
Woven with your skin
Swings in the sun

Jountz had brought one of Frit's toenail clippings with him, which was a magical charm, making him invisible to the guards around the house. He walked into the morning room where his father was eating breakfast. His father was bellowing at servants and looked up to see his son, recognizable to him. Jountz recited the haiku that had been on his mind since the beginning of his journey:

a wide ravine
hot air rises
respect is scarce

His father was stunned, opened his mouth as if to order his removal, but then closed his mouth and simply sat in his chair, unable to move. With that, Jountz turned and walked back into the yard, past the hammock, and climbed the fence.

He felt better than he had felt for many years, and looked forward to returning to the small town he loved. He knew that seeing his father as he was was the best thing he could have done.

a mystery solved
smoke clears of its own accord
hot-foot it back

all copyright, etc.
Release notes
Written just before my FAWM time was over. We left the next day to drive west. This third mini-plot haibun/story wraps around earlier posted haiku and adds a final one.
What a cool form, and what a great tale! Unforgettable. Although I wish I could forget about that hammock.
Blimey. I listen to a lot of out there stuff but I've never heard anything like this. This is nothing short of astounding - the story is wonderful - rambling, yet tight as a piece of clock work. The interpolation of the haikus lift this into the stratosphere. The only similarity that speaks to me is that the tone of your writing is reminiscent of Wes Anderson, but, in an alternate reality. A filmic, epic creation.

This reminds me of the narrated stories on vinyl we listened to when I was a kid. There was a book with the record, and the narrator would pause where a page turn was due, then a little chime or musical motif would play to let you know it was time to move on to the next page.