CITY OF THE GODS
"I made a mistake..." The old man coughed up what little remained of his life and struggled to reach out to the youngster who had devoted her life in tending his sickness and she simply placed his hand in hers and looked at him with sympathy.
"In what way have you made a mistake Pater." Katare kissed his hand and focused her attention on him. What mistake could you possibly make who led us to this place before the City of the Gods?
"Do you know my full name child?" Katare looked at the old man who had been Clan Patriarch all her life. She only knew his name was Pater.
"Pater." He smiled at the name and Katare smiled at his response. After a moment of rest he shook his head.
"That is merely part of my status with the Clan. Dwei-Pater is the full word but that is not my name." Dwei-Pater. Katare contemplated the full name of the old man before her. It had to have been his name. it was the only thing he had ever been known as.
"I don't understand Pater." Katare shook her head and reveled in the sensation of blissful ignorance. he put a hand up and brushed his rough hand across her forehead.
"Put your hand over your forehead and look toward the City of the Gods." Katare seemed confused by the idea but she turned to look with her hand across her forehead.
There was no City. The discovery was distressing.
"I don't understand." Katare turned back to the old man to find he had passed, his crooked lips parted oddly and his were closed as if he had felt pain.
Katare climbed to her feet and turned to look at the far side of the river and walked toward the bank of the river that had separated her Village from the City. The city had been there. She had seen it all her life, even the others of the Clan had seen it. And now? Nothing.
"I don't understand. What does it mean?" The hands of her mother enveloped her.
"What does what mean Katare?" Katare pointed across the river at where the city had been.
"The City has gone." How could her mother not see the obvious? The City of the Gods had been there all her life.
"What's a City?" What's a City? How could her own mother not know what a City is?
How could her mother not see or remember the City?
"A City is like a hundred villages and each is a very big village with hundred Clans living there." It was the only description Katare could grasp herself. Liya shook her head at the alien concept though the feeling of being surrounded and suffocated came to her. Bad. The word described everything she felt as her daughter spoke. The Slap came from nowhere but it was filled with fear and hate and rage and loss. Liya had lost her daughter to that which was Bad.
Liya dragged her daughter toward the River and pushed her into the water, the child flailing against her mother's strength.
"You are not my daughter." The words seemed to scream across the Village drawing everyone's attention. Liya pushed the thing that was not her duaghter down into the water and held her under until she stopped struggling. Liya let go of the body. allowed it to simply drift down river.
Katare wanted to let go. she desperately wanted to let go, but now here body revolted against her choice and she coughed and breathed - struggling for air. She spewed river water from her lungs and tried to climb up the mud of the bank. She collapsed in the reeds and closed her eyes and did not open them until it was night and frogs made their evening calls.
Katare didn't understand anything that had happened. What had she done that was so wrong? The City had gone and her mother had hit her and tried to drown her in the river. The River. Which side of the River was she on? She watched the flow of the water. She was now on the opposite side of the River. She didn't know how to swim. She couldn't go home but she knew how to make one. She needed shelter and a fire and food.
Food. Frogs would do for now but first. Her hands dug into the clay of the river bank and collected clumps of it. and she threw it on the dry grass until she had made a huge clay bowl. Katare raised the edges of it and added more until it was enclosed with a clay smoke stack with a reasonable hole in top. Straw and wood all went down the hole as fuel.
Frogs; A quick blow and they were dead so she skewered them on twigs and placed them over the smoker; and now the fire. Stones were a little harder to find down here but she had beads made from them sewn to her clothes.
The Frogs cooked - or rather burned but she didn't really care now. She was the only one who remembered the City of the Gods.
That had to have meaning.
Analysis: I write like Margaret Mitchell? So...I'm Gone with the Wind boring...
Screw you guys...I'm going home.