The Dying Body Chronicles 16: YOURS ETERNALLY

The eternal movement, the moon, the silver in the puddles, intermingle like faceless shadows dancing in the barely lit arena of my mind. It is a disordered place, where anything can be dangerous. Where words birthed can be no less carnal or primal than the body that does the deed. You should know that words are crude objects even in the most eloquent tongue, as long as the mind is delinquent enough.


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In the mire of all that above, i rise to the occasion, i rub the faded flowers on my lapel with my thumb, feed the bird perched on the broken window swinging in the evening breeze, light my pipe & listen to the news on the old radio sharing the shelf with old books that trap dust & cobwebs for the cleaning lady every weekend. Someone must be about their business while i sit here, marinated, wrinkled, aging well. I guess any lie i tell now will be acceptable. I have age as my defence. I cannot lie.

The rains have left the earth parched, her throat stretched into the wind, her tongue lapping the dust in gasps. She must be fed with something & if there’s no water then there’s blood. When has the earth ever rejected blood or meat? When has she declared herself sated & pushed the tray of our traumas from her face? The cattle herders were the first to raise the cry. Someone had been coming to milk the cows at night. That was bad but understandable. Now someone was coming to drain the blood from the cows as well. The cows were dying & the herders didn’t know what to do. I was wringing my boxer shorts over the wash basin when the first screams reached my hearing.

The herders accused the farmers for stealing their cows, milk & blood. The farmers claimed that the cows had drank the little water left in the stream that fed the whole community. I was pressing my trouser when the sound of gun fire reached me. It was not the ordinary dane guns favoured by the hunters. It sounded like machine guns, something only a policeman or a soldier on duty would have. It was terrible the sound that frittered through my space.

I did not come out. I said it is none of my business. I am not a farmer or a cattle herder. I am a prospector. I sell ideas. I cleaned my suit well then dressed myself for the night. I had a meeting with the councillor of the ward. My clients were looking to invest in the possibility of finding gold in the lands about the community. I was there to ensure that the community leaders saw reason & the youths were pacified. A war between farmers & herders had nothing to do with me. We may share the sacred trust of the earth but while they battled for what was above, i am more concerned with what lived beneath. I opened my door & met mayhem.

Houses were burning; you could taste grief in air & hear the mad cackle of fire in the sky. It was a lurid picture dressed in pain. I coughed & the smoke tore my eyes open with tears. I forgot the path to my meeting point. I had not known that the fight was this bad. I wandered through the smoke & ash, listening to mothers call after their husbands, lovers call after their children. It felt as if this world had collapsed into itself.

I managed to arrive at the train station, a few metres from the restaurant where i was supposed to meet with the councillor. There was a crowd there. I pushed through & found the why. On the ground was my daughter kneeling & the councillor lying. The councillor was dead. They were both naked. It made no sense. I stumbled to my daughter’s slight frame & even as i held to her, a scream wetted the night. It was the councillor’s wife;

“The bitch! The Bitch! She killed him! She has killed my husband!”

I looked from her to my daughter. She was in a daze, her eyes vacant as my heart. I rose & lifted her with me. Some young men demanded that i step away so they can deal with the witch. The councillor’s wife was throwing herself on the macadam, as if dementia had eaten into her. Some men held her & attempted to stop her. I just kept on walking away from the gathering mob. If i speak, i will die. If i stop, i will die. I moved with my daughter until we got outside the crowd. I guess my age, my hard face & the fact that i am a tall man checked some of their bloodlust. Maybe they were not as riled up. Maybe the fire & smoke & the grief it caused made it difficult for them to be angry. Maybe the gods were on my side that night.

I took my daughter to a corner that was yet untorched. There was no water to wake her to her senses. I slapped her arm but she gave no reaction. What was she doing in this town? What was she doing naked with a married man’s body? I pulled off my shirt & covered her body then i tore the earth open on the side, pulled her through gently & shutting the rift, moved.

In my room, i placed my daughter in the bathtub, opened the rift to a hot spring several miles away & proceeded to bathe her with the hot water. She barely made a sound, her eyes fixed on whatever horror that lingered in her mind. I had to manage the water. My powers are not what they used to be.

When I was done, I picked the transmitter on the table & switched it on. Kabir came on immediately.

“It is done,” i said.

“Good. Let them focus on that mess for a while. We can move to the second phase,” he replied.

“I need to fix something personal. It will take some days,” i said.

“You have until Friday,” he replied.

I nodded even though he could not see me. I turned to check my daughter & there she was standing, staring at me, her body on fire but not burning.

“what did you do, papa?” she asked.

“Broke the world again, what else?” i asked.

“You beast!” she screamed as she sent all that fire towards me.

I welcomed the fire into my bones. They healed the scars & tears of centuries of fighting the same old fight. I dove into her & we burst into the bathroom, breaking the bathtub. The fire bursting from her pores flared as anger pulled on her powers. I am more focused but this was going to be a long fight. I sighed, opened the rift & dragged a spear from the other place. She attacked & we merged in our eternal hate & love for who & what we are.



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15 comments
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The narrator lulls us into confidence in his innocent posture. His tone, his words are neutral. However, the narrator does explain:

...words are crude objects even in the most eloquent tongue, as long as the mind is delinquent enough.

There is deceit and sabotage, though readers don't learn this until the very end. Your choice of language creates and atmosphere that reflects the apocalyptic nature of your story. Style and content are consistent.

We love to see your stories in the Ink Well community. They are topnotch. We are urging everyone who posts in The Ink Well to read the work of other writers in the community and share comments with them. (We also have this in The Ink Well community rules on our home page and in our weekly writing prompts.) Thank you!

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Indeed no heroes here. Lots of people who commit heinous crimes often do not see that they do wrong.

Thank you for your support. It is very much appreciated.

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(Edited)

Startling, beautiful, memorable. I will read again and perhaps comment more in detail later. It is written with such precision of language and intention that it is received with the emotional impact of a poem.

You are an amazing writer.

[After I posted this comment I thought of Shiva (Hindu, the Destroyer). I don't know a lot about Shiva, but I think it has something to do with destroying to make way for renewal...a perpetual process.]

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Yes that is a possibility. The narrator could be pursuing a noble goal through destruction. He has to defeat his daughter first before we would know if his intentions are good.

Thank you for stopping by to read. It means a lot to me.

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A servant of evil is caught between his powerful, ancient essence and some almost human traits. The eternal struggle of evil, the powers of the underworld that seek to end what above is still kind and beautiful.

A powerful, highly poetic writing, which expresses, clearly, in a very symbolic language, what happens in that "messy place, where everything can be dangerous" which is the mind of the protagonist.

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Thank you for these words. Thank you for stopping by to read. I like that part of the narrator having human traits. The human mind cannot fall to bestiality completely. They will be some elements of the civilized person they used to be. It doesn't make them less dangerous though

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A lyrical and poignant tale, @warpedpoetic. Mysteries wrapped within conundrums. Why was the daughter naked and involved with a man who was dead? The rift... how did he fill the tub from water that is miles away? We yearn to understand this bizarre and powerful narrator, why he fights his daughter with fire, and why he breaks the world.

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I wonder about this myself. I like to think the girl was there by chance but it doesn't seem so. I wonder whet she knows of her father that makes her distrust him? & What exactly is the protagonist doing?

How does one write a story that is fantastic or speculative without drawing too much attention to those aspects that are fantastic? It is this question I try to answer.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it

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(Edited)

Those are great questions to ponder. I think there is something magical that happens when a story has a solid enough inner world that we are willing to suspend disbelief and trust the author to take us on a journey through this world. There is no formula for it. But one secret, I believe, is to ensure that the story is satisfying to the reader. This does not mean answering every question or tying it all into a neat package. But in the end we feel that something momentous has occurred; and there has been a clear shift in the reality set forth within the story.

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This is the truth. I love experimenting with ideas and thankfully, hive gives me the laboratory space to carry out all these experiments with form, style, language and technique. If only I can focus long enough to write a collection of short stories or even a novel. My attention span is terrible, horribly so

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I absolutely understand! I belong to a fiction group that is chartered to write one story and polish it each month. It has kept me on track for several years now, and at last I have a collection. Goals are great. Even better is a writing group that has requirements!

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Wow! I wish I had that. I don't really have folks to exchange ideas with when it comes to writing. I just read and write. Also not good with goals, so there are always half finished projects even as I started new ones. I am trying

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Poetic, bizarre, compelling, poignant and dramatic. I love your word play and imagery. Unanswered questions leaves me wondering.

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Me too. Thank you very much.

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LOL that is funny, but you are the creator. I get it , I get it, but it does sound weird when you say that.

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