A sci-fi novella on the differences in men and women after an altering world war.
|It was a time of unholy apartness. A time of distrust and prejudice. A time, were history was not a lesson or an essay but the living condemnations of two separate, yet genetically inseparable, societies and cultures.
The earth was wiped clean in a way, destroyed probably from our point of view.
And so it become that that two halves of the same apple became different halves of different fruit.
These ancient halves were men and women.
Narla sharply lifted her head, her eyes now steadily looking at the tip of a rising corn, concentrating on all sounds she possibly could. She knew that the animal had stopped as she had, its fragile chest rising up and down amongst the yellow gold, trying to hear the death she could not see. She stood long enough to feel the lazy hand of mother sun upon her brow. Then in one instant, she jumped and launched the arrow of which she had been feeling the feathers of all this time.
A muffled thump sounded and a sigh of relief. She did not want to cause a drawn out death. Narla had been thought this as a young child. It was one of the earliest things she could remember; "Do not suffer an innocent creature, make sure it is swift and that its death is justified!". Words of the Mother they had been. She had seen in old stolen books that this was once what they called your sister who bore you. Her eyes swelled. She cast them away with her hands and from her nose a feeble sniff.
Relieved that she had enough food now to last her the best part of a week, she skinned the deer as best she could and salted the meat she had skimmed off. She muttered a silent prayer as she put them away into her self constructed back pack.
After that she lay down to rest like a lioness after the hunting is done and there is no more to do.
And in her rest she fell asleep...
Darkness and a shout of pain from a man
"How dare you!"... "How could you!".. spitefully.
These were from a cloaked old woman with her plaited hair shuddering violently.
"How can you betray us in this way!"
"You should have known better!"
Another scream this one a wince of pain in the blurry images, a wince of death in her fatigued mind...
She woke up and looked around. There was nothing to see for miles around except for the dark masses of oblong concrete structures towards the sea. Once again reminded she was alone, Narla stood up, shook her senses ready for action and began walking westwards, towards the plains of Clifton. The fear those structures awakened in her heart when she was first cast out, was immense. But now she had become indifferent to them and the enemies they marked, they were always so lonely; like extinct volcanoes of a surrogate past.
There was the summer sounds of crickets echoing through and a gentle breeze conversing the yellow corn field. Her hair fluttered, then fell to her waist. Long and matted, once it had been dark brown but now the sun had stained it lighter. In our present language; she had gotten her dark green eyes from her mother and she had never known a father. How then was she alive? Never had she seen a man and the thought terrified her. She thought of the times the warriors had come, some with deep blasts of their flesh gone. And she had thought- What could have possible done this?
It had been said before, what she was thinking now, that what we are afraid of the most is that which we do not know. Things we don't understand.
She was heading to the small shelter she had found on the edge of the clifton plains. The shelter was rectangular, see through, not as it would have been in our day but blackened and tarnished by the many years it had remained. On the sides were organized writings with numbers on the side. Narla could not understand the writing but the numbers hadn't changed. By the time she arrived the sky was a duet of orange and blue, the moon was beginning to claim the light from the sinking sun. She slumped on the bench. She always felt at home in these shelters, there weren't many undamaged one she could find, but they gave her great comfort. She could stare at the stars till she felt dozy and feel the breeze on her face. She tried to ignore her wondering, examining thoughts most of the time; they were just a distraction against the most important thing she believed in: Survival, and even more so, the will to survive.