Antientropic Artifact: Plastic Doll's Head, Found Third Millennium B. C. E.

Submitted into Contest #154 in response to: Write a story featuring an element of time-travel or anachronism.... view prompt

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Funny Science Fiction Historical Fiction

              Neela was getting bored watching the pigs when she looked down and saw lying against a stone, a thing with colors different from any she had ever seen. She hesitated; new things could be dangerous. It seemed harmless. It didn’t move and looked soft and smooth.

            Neela bent down and closed her left fist around it. She straightened up and brought it near her face to examine it more closely. It was about the size of a nut and resembled the head of a woman, a young woman like herself. It was probably a goddess but different from any others she had seen. The people who shared her fire had only a few goddesses and since she was not a wise elder they were usually hidden from her most of the time. Those goddesses were stone and showed the whole figure. This goddess was only a small head, a very strange one. She  was made of something that when Neela squeezed the goddess crushed in her fingers but sprang back to shape when she released her.  Other goddesses were the color of the stone they were carved from. Neela people’s skin was the color of earth for shaping with their hair and eyes the color of earth for planting. The goddess’s skin was an uncanny lighter color and her long strands of straight, soft hair was the color of a field of flax in the bright sun. Her tiny eyes were the color of the sky and her mouth was the color of blood.   

                She was surely a powerful goddess and she was resting in Neela’s hand. The goddess must have chosen Neela. She knew she would have to be wary. Other people who shared her fire would want to take the goddess’s power. Neela  opened the charm bag her mother had given when she learned to walk and she had worn  ever since. She tucked the goddess inside.

                 Tirra saw her taking her fingers out of the bag. “Neela, did you find something?”  Tirra thought she was wiser because both her mother and father were wise elders. She also thought that she should be a judge for the other women her age. Telling an untruth was wrong but if she told Tirra the truth she would lose her goddess who chose her.  

                 All the rest of the day, she daydreamed while she watched the pigs. She could tell that the goddess had great powers even if she didn’t know what they were. The people who shared her fire would have to come to her if they wanted the goddess’s favor. They all, even Pirra and the elders, would have to treat her as an elder or the goddess would ignore them or worse. Her thoughts made the time pass quickly.

                 At sunset when they gathered for their last meal before nightfall, Tirra announced loud enough for everyone to hear,  “Neela found  something. She is supposed to give everything she finds to the elders so it can be shared. See, you can see it hidden in her charm bag.” While only the person who prepares a charm bag knows exactly what is in it because it is against custom for anyone, even the wearer, to look inside it, they are usually filled with dried leaves, seeds and flowers. The bulge in Leela’s bag from the goddess told the people who shared her fire  that she had hidden something. 

              Manoc, the chief elder, looked angry. He reached for Neela’s bag. “Neela, you are supposed to share.”

              In that instant, Neela did something so against custom that if she had thought before she acted she would never have done it. She took the little flint blade she kept in the cord around her garment. She slashed at Manoc’s arm. A trickle of blood flowed. It was wrong to wound an elder but the goddess had chosen her and would want her to fight to keep her. 

              The crowd who saw Manoc’s wounding gasped in surprise and then began to murmur in anger. This was the kind of thing that got a young person driven from the fire. They would throw stones at her until she ran too far away to be hit. Afterwards they would throw stones at her whenever they saw her. She would be all alone until she died, which would be soon: a person needs other people to stay alive. Neela waited to be struck with the first stone. 

               “Stop!” said Kalu in her hoarse but firm voice. She was the oldest person that shared their fire. She was a great wise elder and the keeper of their most powerful goddess. Although she was revered she rarely spoke or interfered with anyone anymore. Everyone became still and silent. 

               “I feel a new power is among us. Neela show me what you found. I swear by my goddess that you will not be harmed.” 

              Neela reached in her bag and pulled out the goddess. Manoc, Pirra and most of the rest of the awestruck crowd incanted their protection words. Neela could tell that Kalu longed to grab the goddess but was afraid of her disfavor. 

                “Do you know her name, Leela?”

                “No, Kalu.” 

                “Do you know her powers?”  

                “No, Kalu.”

                 “You are young to be a wise elder but this new goddess has chosen you. Rejecting a goddess’s favor will bring hardship to all of us. Keep her in your charm bag. When you rise every morning, come to my hut. Tell me every dream you can remember. Answer all my questions as best you can. The goddess will take you on a dream quest and tell you her name and how she wishes to be served.” 

                    Neela went away from the fire to be alone with her thoughts. The new goddess would change her life. She had never expected to be a wise elder but now it seemed that she was going to be an elder very soon. Much sooner than other women her age. With her own goddess she would go on the great journey to become a wise elder.

July 16, 2022 03:13

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1 comment

Duane Burke
00:32 Jul 21, 2022

Interesting idea, I like the concept around the doll head and the people who shared her fire and their new/old beliefs.


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