Sunday, December 12, 2010

ii. The Tazan Pass

There was screaming in the valley, as we entered the Tazan Pass.

Fas paid it no mind whatsoever, while Ra the Diamond Man positively reveled in it. I heard it as a baby whimpering into the long dark night.

"Release the past," whispered Fas, as I slept fitfully through the waking nightmare. I had no idea what he meant, took no comfort in his words, felt my skin crawling with the flames of a thousand fires.

"It's in the burning," he said. "The truth will cool you."

Ra kicked he side of his head, sent him reeling.

"I wouldn't," he said to me, as I reached for my knife. He placed his own scythe-like blade at my throat.

"Calm yourself," he said. His smile gleamed in the firelight. "You've only just begun."

I weathered that night and three others, wending our way through the pass: grottoes of stone filled our days, turning sentinel in the night. Our fires lit the caverns, as my shame grew to fill the empty spaces about me. I took the hand of the whimpering child, gathered him to my bosom. I could feel his head nestled against my heart. His tiny hand burrowed inside my chest, seemed to gather the strings of my heart. I had not known such yearning since . . . I could not remember when. A plaintive yearning. I shed tears lodged deep within the cataclysm of my dying youth.

Ra kicked at the child, and I had not thought I had such rage within me, as I grabbed and beat him within inches of what was left of his life. All the while, his smile gleamed in the night's fire, his eyes with a sense of recognition in them. I saw something like forgiveness in those black pools, compassion, a sense of
I will take this for you. I could not look at him the next morning.

"You needn't worry," he said. "I sent him on his way."

I looked over at Fas, kneeling in morning prayer.

"Not the pest," said Ra. "The child."

It took a moment for me to realize the dreamchild was gone. One of the strings of my heart felt torn, a throbbing in my chest.

"I cut him loose," said Ra. There seemed no pleasure in his demeanor. "Better he than you."

I had no idea how to respond. I had not questioned the child's appearance in the night, but simply gathered him in. His disappearance seemed as one with his straining against my chest in the dark.

"He's not the last," said Ra. "Prepare yourself."

I did not take comfort from the statement. Perhaps anticipating my feelings, he handed me my staff, and shouldered my pack - pushed my hand away as I reached for it.

"Skunk," he said, kicking dust in the face of kneeling Fas, "we leave now."

He took us down a winding stairway of carnelian stone. The rocks were slick; both Fas and I slipped and stumbled our ways to the bottom, while Ra nimbly made his descent. At the bottom of the stairs was a clear pool of water. Fully clothed, my pack still on his back, he jumped into the water and sank deep before rising calmly out of its depths.

"Strip," he said to me, as I walked up to the water's edge. He lifted himself out of the pool, set my pack down beside him.

He could see that I had no intention of following his command. He looked over his shoulder and with a withering look forbade Fas to approach any closer. Looking back at me, he said - again, not without an echo of compassion - "You will burn as long as you resist."

Until that moment, I had felt nothing, but with his pronouncement, I felt fire raging, licking the sides of my body, burning deep in the pit of me.

"That is not me," he whispered, an unaccountable gentleness in his voice. "That is what is left of you. Take it in."

My mind had no idea what he meant, but I felt my body instinctively breathe the fire in. I felt myself melting into a deeper core, a molten core. I had not known such a place existed within me.

"Do not rest. Your days are numbered. Gather them as pearls."

I balked at such advice. Ra looked back over his shoulder and motioned for Fas to join us. "Take the fool's clothes off his back. The child must live."

Fas gently reached for me, but I stood and pulled away. The fire was raging across my body, burning away the last of my resistance. I took off my clothes and slipped into the coolness of the water.

"Lie on your back," said Ra. As the fire began to pass, I did as I was told.

He took a vial from within his own pack, poured a blue liquid into the water. I felt dreams begin to flash as the blue mixed with the water. Shadows filled my eyes. The child sat at the water's edge. I reached for him, but Ra's foot intervened.

"He is mine."

I felt something within me ripped and taken up. I floated away into darkness.



Blogger Dee Martin said...

"his tiny hand burrowed inside my chest, seemed to gather the strings of my heart", then the terror - prepare yourself (could one prepare for that?)
and then there is more...

10:34 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: It's dark, yes. It's kind of leading me on. Not sure where these fools are headed.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

WOW. This is really great.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

where ever they are going - stick with them!

7:19 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thank you, Teresa.

4:34 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

I shall, Dee.

4:34 AM  
Blogger jsd said...

It's packed with so many layers...dying and rebirth, creation and re-creation; transformation.

6:06 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Hey, jsd: Glad you dropped in. You're right; this is a right-brained cleansing.

4:55 PM  

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