Categories > Original > Historical > Ancient Manuscripts. Writing from ages 11-21.

Riddle - 2001

by storyless 1 review

Everything needs to eat. Warning: contains images of a dead child.

Category: Historical - Rating: G - Genres: Horror - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2006-05-22 - Updated: 2006-05-23 - 682 words


It was a common occurrence in those specific days of the past. The harvest was poorly distributed, land was ample and shelter was sparse. The law kept a blind eye and the neighbors one could not trust were the neighbors upon one must depend. Neighbors relied on neighbors, friends upon friends, children upon parents and parents upon children.
The children were meant to inherit trades and a strong son was envied. Neither our heroine, nor her family was so lucky. She is a child, or rather, a baby and is as much of a vision as her infanthood will allow.
Her life was not a tragic one for her, but an overwhelming interim between two states of sleep. A sleep of coming and a sleep of return. She lies peaceably amongst the flowers of her family's god and the bells of the village chapel puts time into units one can count, each hour less significant than the only preceding it. Her body is soft and mostly spherical, as loyal to nature as one can be. Her lips are swelled to suckle, though they never will. Pink-grey twin arches harbored in the placid landscape of her cheeks.
Her barely bloomed eyelids, pushed shut in respect, lie like cool pools of milk spilled over blueberries. Every child in this village is born with blue eyes. Her limbs are folded and fleshy with the skin piling in grades around her small wrists. Her fingernails shine like ten tiny undisturbed raindrops. Her name would have been Ashley.
The congregation arrives slowly, the elders first and most essential, first to cluck their knowledge of the utter shame it is when a child dies in her parents' sight. It is so often unavoidable, but nevertheless, a shame. They survey the child for the last time and when the realization is complete, when the stone drops in their stomachs, they roll back their heads and liberate all their pain into the public, an open jawed cry to the god that take mercy on the little village and its helpless civilians.
The rest of the congregation arrives, in pairs and singles, in black with moist eyes and moist sobs, they mill around the resting child. It is a public event, but all here are related somehow. They grew up together all over the village, gathering in need and celebration, bound together. They follow the same traditions and know the same land. They live humbly. So the small group steps lightly around the deceased, smelling the flowers and speaking to each other in hushed tones. How beautiful she looks.
The mother there, they all watch her. With a trembling stride, she approached the child with a weep she does little to conceal. The crowd watches. The mother raises her head in reverence.
And the mother lowers her head, catching she child's flower pedal eyelid in her mouth, stretching and easily ripping the blue-white skin. The child bleeds, one blue eye open to the sky, regardless of any god that may reside there; the only thing to be seen in that eye was the canopy of the forest and the morning sky fractured into feathery gold and shadow. Leaves coming, rocking as they fell through the windless air. The mother picks the exposed eye, stretching the pink cord trailing from the socket.
Everything in the girl's face moves a little. The rope tears and springs back into the skull, flapping briefly upon her smooth nose. This is what the mother earned after years of fighting and observance. She is entitled. The sweetest part.
The group gathers and upon the child.
The girl's flesh is soft and surrenders. It wills itself to the cycle. It is natural, and the young know this better than the old.
And a funeral and a lamentation becomes a feast and a renewal. They embrace. Abandonment becomes adoption and they take her into themselves, to their broods. Winter is hard. And eventually, they will depart, two by three and one by three and they'll leave her, into flight, as rising shadows.
And everything as it should be.
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