...The great white took nearly all life from
motherland. When at last past the ultimate test, few remained--fewer who were
born with thick-water-eyed. Responsibility to lead, from a world decimated and
yet the same were left in the darkness they pushed others from. It was of no
importance, only to protect, a single line took this responsibility before the
others, not the first to rise, the first to strive. A line of six to become
five; prowess of a god's breath, yet the weakness of one another. What is a mob
to a king? What is a king to a god? What is a god to a non-believer?'
--Book of the Moon
The darkness was welcomed as an old friend. It
was comforting, endearing for the sun was burning and frightening. In this
cell, this place that is the only world known, a tiny flicker of 'life' exists.
Seven years this flicker has lived here, seven years being a slave to the will
of others, seven years of knowing no value in this thing called 'existing'. Slave Number 276 was what they said
and according to fellow slaves that knew 'their language ' it was the only
thing that belongs to the her.
Every few days the 'masters' would come and stab
sharp needles in their necks and drain the week's quota. Slave Number 276 was
the least luckiest of them--she was young and could have more red water taken,
more often and due to her youth many craved her flesh. Red-eyed beasts in human
form, she knew nothing of them aside from their lust for red water. It was a
vicious cycle, but it was the only life she knew. Cursing her fate, cursing her
life she claws into her neck where the beasts have taken the red water. Again
and again and again Slave 276 rips her nails into her own flesh, desperate to
force the strange feeling to become pain. Red water streamed from her neck and
soaked into her tattered cloth, which was meant to be a shirt. Why is she
cursed to exist this way!?
"Stop!" A voice shouted from the moving wall.
Her hand was seized, pulled away to the side of
her head as something soft presses against her neck. Their eyes met; purest of
red that broke the darkness that comforted her, creating a tightness in the
slave's chest. From a single square hole the fuzzy crescent gleamed, illuminating the
woman's long blonde hair. Slave 276 tilted her head curiously for why is there
water coming from this person's eyes? Something with an odd touch is pulled
from the girl's neck and pressed against the slave's. What is 'stop'? This
person is a beast in human form and yet speaks the words of the slaves.
The beast looked and sounded with plea in her words, "You shouldn't do this to yourself..."
Slave 276 looks at her with aw, a beast that
does not take the red water. Was there such a thing? This person looked bigger
than her, but not like the big scary beasts that have always been here--she has
never seen this person before. This beast continues to press on her neck, but
unlike the others there is a warmth, a different feeling other than pain. The
slave did not know what to do.
The big beasts entered the room, speaking fast,
but they acted in a very unusual way that was not seen before. Naturally the
slave drew back, recoiling in fear and away from the person--that person did
not proceed closer and released the strange rags that were used to stop the red
water. The foreign impression of this girl was changed when she spoke 'their'
language and when the big beasts also did not step forward, but rather spoke to the girl.
'Lady Eona, please do not soil yourself with a
lowly slave. We can provide the highest quality of blood further down.'
The slave looked down, recognizing her name and
remember the difference between them: she is 'food'. For a while the young girl
stares at the bleeding slave, at her short, rough, black hair; skeletal
features; the rags that were clothes--her eyes glow brighter at the blood on
her fingers. What a sweet smell...like cherry blossoms.
The woman bent down, taking the slave's hand in her own, "Please don't die."
The girl spoke again in another tongue then left
the dirtied cell. Slave 276 felt their eyes on her, there would be more hurt
soon. Leaning against the cold stone; the door is shut and the comfort of
darkness is reborn by the shadow of the wall. The slave presses harder on her
neck--what does it mean to die? Is it better than this existence; this cell
that is the world to her, does something else lie beyond it? A sense of
curiosity, never known before, is found after their encounter. Slave 276 wanted
to know what was meant by 'please don't die' because it had never been said.
There was, however, a problem: at seven years in age as a slave she did not
know how to speak and understood only a few words.
To the beasts, she was food in a cage
and that is how she felt, not until she began to question her world, and grow
to know more about the world of light. Slave 276 became a quick listener, but
the only thing she wanted was to show her happiness to the kind beast. The
other slaves were not like her, they always hated and talked like there was
another way, that the slaves were to be the masters.
For weeks she searched for
those words, something to express to the kind beast, but she had yet to return.
The strange, long, rag with a bright color to it was cleaned (as best as an
inhuman slave knew to clean) with no spec of her red water. She kept it close,
hidden cleverly from the big beasts and her own cleverness would not be
expected of one so young. Nonetheless every night when complete darkness
wrapped its welcoming hands, Slave 276 knew every inch of her world and easily
navigated to the hidden location under a broken brick that was impossible to
see with ill light and hardly so with it (not that there was ever enough light
in her cell anyway). Carefully she touched its soft cloth, the same color as
her water, yet lighter and purer it seemed. Once she finished tracing its
boarders with her fingertips it was folded with care and hidden once more.
After a long time the slave began to lose hope that the kind beast would return
again...just as she had learned those two words. As always the big beast come
to take her red water--they stood at the cell door with it wide open. No one
moved. She recognized her name in their words, but could not understand the
rest. Another big beast came, but he had no been here before either. Slave 276
pressed against her world's walls and had little energy to do else.
He was tall
and slender for a beast; neat in appearance this man wore rags that seemed to
be identical to the kind beast. A flicker of hope sparked in her chest. The
slender beast had a mean expression, worse than what the ones here wore. The
beast huffed, annoyed at this confrontation and extended his gloved hand to the
"I have been sent to collect you." He said in words that Slave 276 would understand.
The slave did nothing. The beast was further
annoyed and soon it would turn to anger at the arrogance of this slave--he
hesitated, the look in her eyes...she 'did not' understand him. Heavily he
sighed, like the others his features were flawless, but its obvious of his
experience and therefore irritation at being sent on such an errand. What is
the lady thinking? He reached for the slave and tapped her neck--she recognized
the idea when the beast pointed to a long piece of rag around his neck. Quickly
she went for the carefully selected spot and removed the red water-colored one
that was left. The beast chuckles as it was offered to him.
"That's right, Lady Eona has asked me to
take you away."
This was amusing in some way, but the time for
that would be later and his lady does not like to be kept waiting. The chains
around her ankles were removed and with her hand in his the slave followed the
beast outside her world.
It was bright out, so much that the tiny girl froze
before the border of her world of comforting darkness and this new horizon. The
car lies just twenty feet from the building, but she would not move. The elder
was both intrigued and confused--a human afraid of sunlight. From the car she
came, clothed in a summer dress, despite the winter breeze which never bothered
her, wearing a wide sunhat. Against his request she came closer to the shaking
child and bent down to her level.
Tightly at first Slave 276 held the long rag,
then courageously she extended it in hand to the kind beast. The young woman smiles, lifting her hat off her own and placing it on the slave's head. This
was it, the only chance to say those words which were the first she could speak
and understand to the only person who asked for her to live.