“The question that sometimes drives me hazy: Am I, or the others crazy?”
― Albert Einstein

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday Writing - Week 08

A snippet of a Work-in-Progress to be released in 2020.

Excerpt (River Run, Chapter 1)

Everyone in the Arche Tribe wakes when the cock crows at sunrise. To wake before the sun is believed to be a bad omen. I never believed in half the things my sister taught me over the years about our tribe and therefore every morning before the cock crowed and before the sun began to rise, I climbed the mountain that protected us from harm and waited and listened to the sound of morning. The birds chirping, the wind whistling through the trees, circling the mountain, and the sun warming my skin. Getting to bear witness to Zoldir’s creation the way I imagine the dragons must have when they roamed the earth, long before my tribe came into being, gave me the energy I needed to start the day.

I wonder now, as I find myself lost and alone, without my sister and without my tribe, if waking up so early, for all of those days, was worth it? Was my refusal to believe the omens and traditions of my tribe what killed my sister?

“Hold still,” Serene said, slapping me behind my head. Fidgeting was something I did best and only when it came time to paint my face. It wasn’t that I hated the paint or the tradition it carried, it was that I hated the color I would be forced to wear for another thousand days. My sister was lucky, she only had till sunset to wear yellow, the color of youth, before the ceremony when she would be smeared with blue, the color of maturity.

“Not everyone has the honor of wearing yellow, River,” I parroted along with her. This was a saying she repeated every time I acted like wearing the color was something I hated. She slapped me again behind my head and I sat still until she finished.

She was right, not everyone wore the colors. If your family passed on or you were born of another then you are not permitted to wear color. Only a family member by blood or by joining can apply the color. It is a tradition. And the Arche Tribe is built on tradition.

“Are you scared about tonight?” I asked her. She finished the last line of yellow above my eyebrow and turned my chin to one side checking that it was perfectly matched to the other. Serene always made sure my paint was as perfect as possible and I always made sure to end the day with one or all of my lines smeared or practically missing.

“Of what do I have to fear? It is just washing away my youth so that I may be seen as a woman. It is a tradition that has happened for centuries before me. There is nothing to fear. Mother was not afraid.”

Whenever Serene mentioned our mother her eyes would go still. They would no longer shine like they always did. Something deep inside her grew quiet and I could tell she wished she had not said anything at all. It is moments like these I wanted to reach out and comfort her. Tell her that it was okay to miss our mother. But women show no emotion. Emotions were reserved for children and my sister chose to cast aside her emotions when our mother died nearly three thousand days ago. She said it was practice for when she would come of age, but I knew better. I’d hear her crying softly every night into her pillow when the moon was high and the cock slumbered.

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