A thousand whispers of water muffled my ears; they roared, they cried, they sang a soft lullaby until all was quiet. The violent splashing of limbs ceased and the adrenalin clinging to my skin slowly dissolved. I wanted to live, yes, but the sweet caress of peace beaconed.
Closing my eyes I resigned, swiftly descending through the depths like an apple falling off a tree.
With a thump I hit the floor of the cistern making the water mucky all around. A startling realization suddenly gripped me; I was drowning. Desperately uprooting the weeds, I clutched onto anything within my reach.
“Don’t fret, don’t fear, sleeeeep” whispered a throaty voice cracked in two.
A warm embrace cloaked me and I felt calm again but the smooth surface of the stone within my fist sent a funny tingle down my arm.
A ghostly replica floated above. She was my soul, ‘then, was I dead?’
‘Ohhh no! I’m not dead,’ the thought plopped up in my mind in a masculine voice.
I looked down.
‘Yup. Still the same girl,’ I again thought in the same low pitched voice.
‘Why this confusion?’
‘I’m a man, you lunatic, you are a girl. I’ll just keep your brain thinking it’s still alive till we find your foolish soul. What brilliant plan of yours made you jump in the water? You did know that these are burial waters of the graveyard. Only the dead enter. I can see that, you know.’ I answered myself.
‘This is strange.’
‘I was tricked. I didn’t jump. Just get me out of here.’
‘Not a chance. We have to find your soul before Ruux takes her away. Or else you are stuck with me.’ I thought, conversing with myself, with both a smirk and a nervous nod.
‘Who the hell are you?’
‘Remember the ghost who helped you cross a while back?’
Then I recognized the voice.
‘You are a ghost! Will you even leave my body?’
‘No,’ I replied back way too proudly ‘I’m not a ghost. I don’t even like having a physical form. I’m an asav. We are …’ I searched for the correct word.
‘ beings made of energy. Though we have been humanizing lately. Four species have been.’ I thought to myself as a set of images played through my mind; a man with wings and wide eyes, children playing chase in a village, a girl watching sunset with red hair dancing in the breeze.
‘and myself of course.’
‘You know that woman!’
‘The one with red hair. She died a few days back and her soul passed through me.’
‘Yes, I knew her.’ Sadness filled my heart as I remembered her life flashing before my eyes near the trench.
The cistern joined the White River and I swam across to the shore, coughing and choking.
I started moving along the river without any intention to do so.
Ruux was down there and I was going to break his teeth first then beat him senseless until he begged me to kill him. With this new found ambition and urgency in my steps, I hardly noticed that the river didn’t vanish as I followed its path, unlike with the red haired woman. But then I was practically dead if not theoretically. I could pass.
I wish I could say majestic creatures of infinite beauty and strength awaited me in the cavern where the white river came to a halt to form a miniature ocean of green silent water, but no, it was just acutely pointed rocks hosting reflections of the water resting below. Although the putrid odor of decay did weigh down the air but there were no dead bodies in sight.
As I lifted my hands to cover my nose, the stone I had been clutching fell down. I hadn’t realized I was still holding it. Bending down I picked it up ‘oh! a heartstone,’
‘But what the hell is a heartstone?’ I asked myself, surprised that I knew the name.
‘It is just a normal stone. You can pick it up anywhere and keep it. If ever you need help sometimes it sends aid, mostly it doesn’t. It is really moody. But not every stone is a heartstone, they always have some unique feature that makes you want to pick it up. Like this one, it is so smooth.’
‘and look at that swirl of green and black. Have you ever seen a stone like that?’ I ask myself.
‘This must be what made me help you. You found the stone when you were drowning,’ echoed the thoughts of the asav from with my cranium.
‘Yup. That must be it.’ Nothing surprised me anymore. Stones sending help; why not?
‘Look, you can take your pretty stone to romantic candlelight dinners later. First I want to find that creepy devil and slit his throat.’ I said while marching along the shore.
Like a petulant child he mumbled back ‘It won’t work for me. You found it.’
‘There! Do you see it? There is an entrance over there.’ I said while pointing towards a six foot fissure in the rock wall.
‘Of course I see it. We have just one pair of eyes between us and we are sharing the same brain.’
Up close, after examining the narrow hiatus I entered sideways. Walking laterally step by step the passage led way to an atrium with an open blue sky, the bright light momentarily blinding me.
‘Oh woooah!’ my stinking feminine body clad in the uncomfortable beltless flea bitten skirt jumped up and down with delight.
Clothes! Clothes everywhere, of every kind were strewn across the floor.
Picking up and discarding item after item I selected a loose brown hip length tunic and a pair of black pants. Comfy, now I needed a belt.
‘Ah yes! A belt at last’ I thought with relish picking up a simple black leather one.
‘I had never thought I would get undressed as a human female.’
Oh! I had totally forgotten about the asav. Blushing red I kept silent.
‘Don’t worry, I won’t tell,’ he said in a sly voice. I knew he would not; I could feel his own shy embarrassment.
Spotting a bag I stuffed extra clothes inside it before returning back to the cavern. Just as I stepped out, dust and fragments of rock accompanied by a scraping noise showered me. Looking up I saw Ruux climbing the sheet of rock above. About twenty feet above the entrance of my closet, he went inside another opening in the wall.
Following him I attempted my first ever rock climb. Slipping a thousand times and covered in bruises and abrasions, finally I discovered a corridor illuminated by the green glow of foxfire. It curved around in a concave manner; perhaps it formed a ring around the atrium below.
I could hear my dyspnoeic breath in the silence of the corridor. Flashes of white light suddenly blinded me and rubbing my eyes I cried in pain. Seconds later a thin voice I hated the most, pierced the air, “you just won’t die! But now, you will give me what is mine.’
This a continuation of 2.Tu. (fabler series)
I really stretched this one out. Didn’t feel like writing because of the upcoming exams. Writing a series is not as easy as I thought it would be. Maybe I’ll continue this in december after exams. In the meantime I’ll just keep posting independent short stories.
I made a tiny abstract painting of water and took macro photgraphs of it.
As always let me know what you think of this post.