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Historical Fiction

       Kali

Sometimes the goddess Parvati and I argue over who has more power, she or I. Parvati, as one of the goddesses of love, of course claims that love is the most powerful of phenomenon. Particularly as it relates to motherhood since the love of motherhood embodies the power of instinct and survival as well. My argument is that as the goddess of destruction, I have more power, as love can only do so much in the face of the various destructive forces that humans seem to bring upon themselves in their ignorance, and sometimes with their intention. The humans practically hand it to me. The truth is though, that it’s all in the hands of fate. A human mother cannot love a child that is never brought into the world in the first place. I cannot bring about the destruction of something that was never there in the first place. Love and destruction is therefore incidental, and wholly dependent on fate. The holders of fate really have the final power, if any one thing can have the final power, in a world as fraught with incidentals, happenstance and dynamics of biology as the human world. Let’s look at the life of one small child, on one small island, at one moment in vast time, who by chance, happened to have been born in the first place. 

    Door 1

I had begged Papa to let me come on this trip to the port to see the ships coming in from India. The colors of the sky and the beach were so different than the colors of the city. I imagined that the cloth that we bought at the port, became the color they are from the sky and the water and the beach and grasses. Though I was grown up enough to know that the cloth got its colors from the dyes. I loved color. Each color had a story. Each color reminded me of a different thing or place. Every color came from a different dye. When I went to the port and saw all the colors, I felt like I could see the whole world! Now we were starting for home. We had ridden a day’s journey and I knew we needed to stop for the night.

“Papa, I’m hungry.” I said.

“We are almost to the Inn. We will have supper there.” my father said. “They have the best barm cake. You will love it.” He bade the horses to pull our wagon a little bit faster. I wiggled in my seat in anticipation of the warm, sweet bread. 

We sat at the table in the Inn while someone fetched our meal. The colors of the Inn were not as shiny as outside or at the port, but I liked the sounds. The sounds were a layer of sounds, like a layer of blankets when it’s cold. Each blanket, as each sound, just a little bit different from the other, all of them covering me up like it was one sound, or one blanket. When our pottage came, it sat steaming in front of me, like Mama had just set it in front of me from the fire. I had to wait until it cooled a bit. Papa ordered an ale, and asked for one for me. The cook even said that he had a tiny bit of strawberry ice that we could try for free! I had never tasted something so good! After supper, Papa tucked me into bed and laid down next to me for a rest before heading home the next day. 

      Door 2

We spend the door and sat at table and Papa spoke to the servers and I waited for our meal. I began eating the barm bread that they served while I waited. 

“What about the Black pudding?” asked Papa, when he saw someone else get it. 

“Aye,” I answered, “They are quite moreish!” I had heard the word just recently and I liked the sound of it. 

Papa chuckled and had the servers bring us some black pudding. Papa and I had the ale. Some of the other customers had some strawberry ice that I wished I could try, but others before me had the last little bit. I asked Papa if I could try it another time, the next time we go to the market. He nodded and smiled and we ate our meal and settled in for the night. 

    Door 1

When we got home, later that day, I wasn’t feeling well. I was glad to see Mama. She hugged me and helped me to bed. My belly ached, like it didn’t know what it wanted to do, eat, drink or poop. I was fidgeting for a bit trying to decide what to do. I slept. 

When I woke up, I yelled “Mama!” before I even knew why I was yelling for her. I felt scared. My belly really hurt. At the same time I felt really sleepy. My head hurt and the colors looked bright around me, but also blurry. Mama rushed in and felt my forehead. 

“He’s burning up, oh my God!” she yelled. She ran from the room calling for Papa. She came back in a with a cool cloth. It felt good on my head and for a minute I was calmed. I looked at my Mama and smiled at her. “Thank you, Mama.” I said laying back on the bed. Now things will be better. Mama always makes things better. I slept a little bit more.

Suddenly I felt the sheets wet and sticky. I fully woke and then felt shooting pains in my belly. Mama was right there next to me. She had her face right next to mine, as if she had never left. Her face looked too tight and her color was gone. Where was her color? The pain came again and I sobbed. “Mama, what is happening. I don’t like it!” Mama spoke quietly to me but I didn’t really hear what she was saying because it hurt so bad. I could only sob. Papa came in and carried me to get washed . I cried for Mama. Papa whispered to me that I was going to be well tomorrow. I couldn’t imagine such a thing. 

  Door 2

I came in the door and hugged Mama. I was tired. She helped me to bed. I managed to ask her for a drink. I really just wanted to see my Mama before I went to sleep. Mama brought me a drink and I asked her to sit with me for a bit. She said ok and sat down next to me. She told me a story of a faraway land where they make beautiful colored cloths, and the sea was a different color, and even the sand is a different color. I saw the sand when we visited our cousins last year and it looked like cornmeal. Mama said that the sand was black in this fairway land! 

“What other colors, Mama?” I asked her. 

“Well,”, she said, “there are animals in this faraway land that are every color in the rainbow.”

“Can I go there someday, Mama?” I asked, my eyes getting sleepy. 

“You can do anything you want, You can even go to America, if you wish.” She said as she kissed me on the forehead. I went to sleep. 

Door 1

I was dreaming of colors. Blues and greens and different types of white. Everything was beautiful, but too shiny. I woke a little bit, kind of like in a dream, but, I wasn’t because there was my Mama. My belly hurt so much, and I felt sticky. I wanted to see my Mama , but I was so tired and I wanted to escape the prickles in my belly. It felt like I was on the ropewalk and someone was twisting my insides. I closed my eyes. I never opened them again. 

    Door 2

I woke up and I smelled the cinnamon that Mama sometimes put in my porridge in the morning. 

“Moreish!” I yelled as I jumped out of bed. 

  Kali

So, you see, the fate was in one turn of one minute, even of one second. Thus the fate of this little boy and the fate really of his entire family, born and not yet born, changed in an instant. Now, it was my turn, to channel the rage of destruction into something that may build strength. Sometimes, things, memories, feelings, grief, must be destroyed in order to keep steady the fate of everyone else. It only takes a turn….

May 05, 2023 22:38

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