Richard Harland - Ferren and the Angel

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Selected Extracts


Ferren in the Forest of the Morphs


Ferren managed to find several kinds of nuts and berries. He picked and ate them as he went. He didn't dare risk eating the mottled brown and yellow fungi that grew on dead wood and fallen branches. They looked bloated and toadlike, with a spongy cellular appearance. When he kicked at their domes, they oozed a thick milky juice.

Deeper and deeper he advanced. He had to step carefully over the twisting intricate roots of the trees. The ground was covered with dead leaves and mould.

Then he came to one particularly old tree. Large clusters of nuts hung from its lower boughs. But even its lower boughs were too high for him to reach. He needed a stick to knock the clusters down.

Nearby was a smaller younger tree that opened out in thin straight branches. With a clean snapping movement, he broke off a length of branch.


What was that? He looked around but there was nothing to see. Had he imagined it? So faint and fleeting, like a tiny wail in the air. Perhaps his ears were playing tricks on him . . . . .

He returned his attention to the clusters of nuts. He waved the length of branch over his head, preparing to strike. But immediately the strange sounds started up again.





No doubt this time! It was a whole host of tiny voices, all piping and fluting in long woeful tones.

'Hey! Where are you? What are you?'

He spun around in every direction, trying to locate the source. He swished his branch this way and that. The voices seemed to come from among the leaves and twigs and roots, louder and louder. Now they were on the ground as well as overhead.


'No mo-ore!'

'I'll tell!'

'And me-eee!'

'We'll all tell!'

'Just be still!'

He stopped his swishing. 'Be still?'

'Plee-eease! You're disturbing us.'

'You're dislodging us.'

He peered down. He could swear that some of the voices were coming from right beside his feet.

'Why can't I see you?' he demanded.

'Because you don't look in the right way.'

'You have to learn how to look.'

Still he didn't understand. 'Are you inside inside the leaves?'

'Nooo-oo. We're between the leaves.'

'And the twigs and roots and things.'

'We're in the patterns between.'

'Don't touch!' There was a sudden sharp shriek as Ferren bent down and stretched out an exploratory hand. 'That's my bit of bark!'

'Your bit of bark?'

'The bit of bark by your foot. And the two dead leaves on the left. And the end of that piece of stick at the side. Join up the corners! Connect the points! Can't you see the pattern?'

Ferren traced mental lines between the corners and points, from the leaves to the bark to the stick. 'Mmmm. I think I see it now. Like an arrangement.'

'Well, that's me-eee! That's how I exist!'

'That's how we all exist!'

'In the patterns.'

'So you mustn't ever break the patterns.'

'We get dislodged when you knock things out of position.'

'Then we drift around in the air.'

'For days and days.'

'All we want is a place to settle.'

'All we want is rest and pee-eace.'

Ferren almost felt like crying, they sounded so sad and hopeless. But instead he asked:

'Does all this forest belong to you?'

'Yes. The Forest of the Morphs.'

'We are the Morphs.'

'Thousands and thousands of us.'

'Souls of the dead with nowhere to go-ooo.'

'I get it.' Ferren scratched his head. 'And where do you want to go?'

'To Heaven.'

'But they won't let us in.'

Ferren nodded. 'You mean, because of the War?'

'The Gates of Heaven are locked and shut. I went up there.'

'And me!'

'And me-ee!'

'We had to come back to Earth again.'

'Oh! Oh! We don't want to live like this!'

'But we haven't got a home!'

'No home!'

'No home!'

'No ho-ooo-ome!'

They were all grieving pitifully now. And more and more voices were joining in. From every angle and intersection they wailed:

'No ho-ooo-ooo-ome!'

Ferren couldn't stand it. It reminded him that he too didn't have a home. He turned away and started to run, back in the direction of the overbridge. The tears were streaming down over his face.

'Noo-ooo-OOO! Hoo-ooo-OOOME!'


previous extract



Ferren and the Angel

Ferren & the Angel


Ferren and the White Doctor

Ferren & the White Doctor


Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven

Ferren & the Invasion of Heaven


Ferren's World

Ferren's World


About Angels

About Angels




Extracts from the First book in the Heaven & Earth Trilogy ...
Ferren sees an Angel fall to Earth ... Miriael teaches Ferren about the World ...
Myths and Sacred Objects ... Forest of the Morphs ...



Read extracts from Ferren and the White Doctor
or the latest novel, Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven




- Ferren Home - Ferren and the Angel - Ferren and the White Doctor - Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven -

The FERREN series is published by Penguin Books Australia




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1997 - 2015

Richard Harland.