(…that goes on, this goes on… another short episode from Antierra’s life – and I did not forget to add a title to the blog post this time. Gets confusing when I don’t number them and if I don’t get better at blogging from a cell phone, I’d better remember to drag my combination laptop/tablet Asus computer wherever I go! The problem with that is, it only works where there’s WIFI whereas the cell phone works anywhere there’s phone coverage. Decisions, decisions…)
Two days before the deadline, the doctor calls the handler office for two escorts to return me to my normal life. As a sign that I’m just another female gladiator slave the doctor pushes me out his door to stand naked and await my escorts. As I expected, they examine me, then take me to the wash troughs where they dump cold water on me. Then the feeding and since it’s late in the day, I’m led into a cage. To my shock and surprise I see a young trainee there.
“Deirdre!” I almost shout. I bite my lip to keep from crying out with the double pain of thinking they found her and brought her back to certain death, then realizing it isn’t Deirdre, of course – Cydroids never lie – but another young woman likely recently arrived into our killing fields.
[end blog post #52]
[begin blog post #53]
She is a typical T’Sing Tarleynan, small, stocky, with short fingers and stubby toes. Her hair is almost black, cut rough and short. She has a thin-lipped smile that reveals pointy, gapped teeth. She makes no move towards me as I lie down on one side of the cage. She just watches, her black eyes glinting in the pale light, as if waiting for a signal from me as to what I want from her. I motion for her to move beside me and she does quickly and quietly. Waits again.
I whisper, “Can you talk?”
“Yes master, I talk good.”
“Here in the cage I’d rather you don’t call me that.”
“Yes m… yes. I call you something?”
“Call me Anti.”
“What it means, Anti?”
“It means I fighter and now family for you.” And for some reason not yet clear to me, I suddenly decide to imitate the paucity of words in her language – to make myself more like her and the others in the compound. I get the impression that I need to lower my standards even more to be accepted, if not understood. Better late than never.
“Ah good. And what I be called by you, please?”
“You Tiki. Little mongoose.”
“What be… mongoose?”
“Little animal from an old world. It kills snakes. You know snakes?”
“Oh yes, in desert and in grass prairies? Many snakes. Dangerous. The black people, they tell stories of big snakes to take a man, crush and eat whole. Is mongoose so strong?”
“Yes Tiki. Mongoose is small but fast and strong. Kills poison snake called cobra that has big head with marks and small body.”
“There are those here…”
“Yes and they be called men…” I do not hide the bitterness of my statement from her but this is not Deirdre. Such subtleties are lost to her, as to most women I have met.
“Oh! You mean I mongoose, kill cobra men?”
“Yes, that’s what I mean. When you are trained you kill men, many men. They fear you then. Fear your power of woman.”
“I like you telling of my power Anti. I come here three days and they burn my number under old one, see?” She shows me her fresh brand and I remember the pain of it in my own buttock, and the shame to go with it too. “And I feel so scared and small. No friends. No one to care. The men, they have sex with me, many men. They hurt me so much, aiiee! They, you say, torture me, make me cry down there in a room behind great stone doors.”
She points in some vague direction I locate as north-east. “They put metal string inside me and make me burn – terrible pain, terrible. Now they give me to you. Say you lose your lover – she dead they say, yes? Maybe I be her now for you?” She touches me lightly on the thigh and I feel her shaking remembering her pain.
“Yes Tiki, she dead. She run away and not come back. I too now all alone and very sad. Like you. Like you they take me in torture room under walls, deep under the ground.” And I point down to make her understand my meaning of ‘down.’ “They hurt me and make me scream – so much pain, Tiki. All of us here, so much pain we endure. What you think, we should all have so much pain always, from men, huh?”
As a true T’Sing Tarleynan female would answer she replies, “What I think no matter. Men, they decide. Woman think? That is waste. Eat, sleep, make love, train to fight and kill. That is fighter woman do. Think waste energy; mix up in head. Make weak, stupid. I be strong soon, strong and fast. I train good. I live long. Maybe you like me, you take me. Hold me, make love. Be lover, be friend. Be family to me. I train with you, huh?” She pinches my muscles on my tight stomach. “You like old skin, strongest of fighter woman they say. Desert Beast, huh? Proud I be slave to you. Teach me strength you do. I fight for you.”
[end blog post #53]