Thursday, January 22, 2015

From: The Between Times

The petite girl’s raven hair cascaded over her shoulders, covering her face and arms. Her golden brown fingers deftly wove the glamour into the cloth. By touch alone, her small, delicate hands sewed the light of the between times into the fabric.
When she wove, the small, dark room with its concrete floor disappeared, and Jewell forgot it. She became a part of the tapestry itself, losing herself and becoming one with it. The magical silver light wove itself in and out of the tapestry, as it channeled its way through her.
Little could be seen in the small basement room at this time of the day, which made it safe for her to open the curtain and let in the faint predawn light.

Perchance if someone did look in, all they would see is the dim red light of the smoldering coals in the stove waiting to be stoked.
Because of the prophecy, it was against the law to be awake and out of bed during the between times. Nonetheless, Jewell could only put the finishing touches into her tapestries at this time of day, for this dim light held a luminosity all its own. This heavenly light could not be understood, only felt. Even outside, little could be seen at this time of the day—only a fraction of the sky, if one looked up. The sun had not yet begun its journey over the horizon.
Jewell spent a portion of each day sitting at her loom weaving. Her tapestries came to life from somewhere deep inside herself. The picture or design was pulled from the very air into the cloth without thought or purpose. The colors took on a reality of their own. Each hue she picked up in her slender fingers performed its own task in the scene that unfolded. All had their own destination in the overall design. None seemed accidental; all had their place.
If someone was watching, he might see a glimmering silver light spill from the window above her head. As it touched her hair, a chorus of colors played through her hair.  From her head, the light moved through her body to her fingers and into the tapestry. This splendid light lit her from within. As it flowed out of her fingers, it became the thread she used. It was the precise material that made up the universe. Its essence was virtually undetectable, unless you knew how to channel it. Her birth rite was the ability to sew the radiant silver light of the between times into cloth.
The bewitching, faint light worked its way into all of her tapestries. Each time, the blaze of the light added something unique to them. It gave them a beauty beyond words and more. That more could only be detected by Jewell and the wearer of the fabric, for each piece held magic of its own woven into the splendor of the cloth.
The small black cat threaded its way in and out of her legs. Almost like a familiar, it became a part of her, aiding her as it danced. They became one being as they pulled in the power and glory that existed in the mystical universe and made it one with their souls.
“Sable, we have finished,” Jewell said. “Father will be able to take two textiles to market with him tonight. I believe these are the most powerful and beautiful of all the pieces we have ever made,” she told the little cat.
Sable jumped on her lap, and they sat for a moment. Jewell hummed a small tune, and the cat purred. Their voices harmonized together, and the song they made ushered in the dawn. Before she began each day, Jewell drew the curtain that she’d made out of one of her tapestries aside and let in the predawn light. Sometimes she opened the window to let in a bit of fresh air. The air could not be called clean, as full of soot as it was, but at least it rid the small room of its dank, musky odors—the smells trapped in a closed room from cooking, coal burning, candles, and human bodies.
When the dawn lit the morning sky, she would close their one small window. That window gave her the only glimpse of life outside her room. Through it, she could see a tiny bit of the world that lay just outside their small, gloomy basement. There was not much to see, only a bit of sky covered with the clouds that raced each other across the sky. There were times she could make out a corner of the building, if she stretched her neck and peered out of the corner of the tiny window. Most days she just enjoyed the slight breeze that moved through the room from the open window.
This brief time in the early morning, when she opened the window, became the only other time in her day when Jewell had contact with the outside world. Without that little window, she would have nothing but the one-half hour in the courtyard the law allowed her each day. She spent that period gathering water and washing their clothing. Not a minute remained to view the world around her.
With the growing light, Sable jumped from her lap, and Jewell stood and stretched. Her small frame shuddered from the chill that seeped through her body. So long had she sat motionless that the cold of the concrete floor and the stone walls had gotten into her bones.
The day has begun, she thought, as she pulled the tapestry closed. It is time to light the fire, get Father’s breakfast, and pack his lunch.
Even through the tapestry that covered their one small window, she could see the smoke and soot already filling the street. “I wonder how the moon and the light of dawn are able to find their way through the heavy haze. The ash from the factories and the soot from the coal stoves fills the air, till the sky is black as night,” Jewell told Sable.
“It is father’s short day at the factory, Sable. He gets so tired from working so many hours. I wish I could help him by working in the garden or going to the market.”
I wonder if he considers Sunday short, she thought. Even though he spends eight hours that day in the church, still, he is at home earlier.

“I wonder what church is like, Sable. Did you know they do not allow women in church? Father told me, unlike the days when mother lived, they don’t teach women to read or to think anymore. I wonder why these men Father, talks about consider women too stupid to learn. He said they consider women the spawn of evil and not worth redemption.”

THE TRIP - From: Dinky: The Nurse Mare's Foal

Terrified for my life, I was flung to the floor and against the walls so many times by the movement of this box I was trapped in. I was afraid to try standing again, so I cowered in the corner. On the floor of the trailer was a bed of soiled straw. I lay there watching the sunlight crawl across the dirty brown walls. The shadows from the sun hitting the bars in the window looked like enormous fingers coming to get me as they crept across the walls of the trailer.

Available on Amazon:

No longer was I able to see the grass, the sky, or Mother. I lay there trembling and alone with no one to love or cuddle me—just this large space all around me that smelled of old manure, urine, fear, and death. Some of the smell was my own fright. 
The stench was so strong it made me sick. Where were they taking me? Without Mother to protect, nuzzle, and teach me, how would I survive? I felt so helpless.
My misery and my deep need to belong and feel loved were so strong, the solitude of my mind wandered back to the same questions. What would happen to me? Who would teach me? Would I get a chance to live as she promised? “Remember her words,” I told myself.
“Hold your head up, son, you must be strong.”
With every fiber of my being, I held on to her voice in my mind. It helped to ease the apprehension, the hunger, and the throbbing from my bruises.
The movement of this box stopped. When they opened the door, I was crouching in the back corner of the trailer like a weakling.

One of the men held a bucket in his hand and the other a rope. The smell coming from the bucket made my stomach rumble. Even through my fright and the fury I smelled on these men, my stomach growled. There was no place to escape from even the dirtiest of these men.
Both of them were dirty, unshaven, and wearing blue jeans and sweat stained t-shirts. Joe’s whole face was covered in hair. I could barely see his eyes through all the hair as he crouched down beside me. The other man once again put the rope around my neck and held my head in a forceful grip. Without so much as a kind word, the man called Joe stuck his fingers into the pail and forced them into my mouth. Not even the nasty taste of his grubby fingers stopped me from tasting the flavor of the milky stuff.
Hungrily I found myself sucking his dirty fingers. Several times the exercise was repeated. I sensed the resentment in these men even as they pushed my head down into the bucket. Famished, I drank greedily.
Impatiently the men pulled the bucket away from me and carried it out the door. Still hungry, I whimpered.
The man who put the rope around my neck complained as he slammed the door, “Stupid junk foal. I don’t know why we always get stuck with this job, do you, Joe?”

The way he said junk foal made me cringe. It sounded as if he was talking about a piece of garbage. Holding my head up even in my dread, I let my mother’s words again run through my mind. “Remember, do not pay any attention if you hear the words junk foal. These are words used by ignorant humans.” For a little while, letting her voice play in my mind helped ease my panic.