Category Archives: Darkness

The House at the Crossroads of the World

[a short story by    ~burning woman~    as told by Sha’Tara]

As I sat by the River one day and pondered the state of the world I had a thought: I will build myself a home at the crossroads of the world. So I did.

My home had a good roof but it had no walls, just posts holding it up. I planted ivy, honeysuckle, clematis and sweetpeas by each post and they grew swiftly and beautifully. I was very pleased.

First a family of refugees passed by and they came in to rest, drink of the cool, clean water and eat from the garden I had planted. Sated and after a good sleep their children ran out and played in the fields. Their laughter filled the air and more birds sang.

A couple of starving, ragged men came by and asked if they could stay for a while. I smiled and said, ‘Look, no walls, anyone is welcome here.’ They were gays who had been persecuted and escaped with only their lives and the clothes on their backs. Soon they were playing with the children and entertaining them with tales and magic tricks.

A group of migrant workers heading north came by and also partook of this unexpected hospitality. They were earth people and soon they had my garden cleaned and explained about plant symbiosis. I could grow much more food if I did it right. I learned much from them in that too short a time.

Some young girls came running, crying, and stopped at the house. I invited them in and they shyly came, sat down and explained they had escaped from a van filled with sex slaves bound for the black market. They got washed in the creek, ate and slept together in a corner of the house.

The honeysuckle was in full bloom and its sweet smell filled the house. In the dark we sat in the house and sang, each her or his own songs and everyone listened in awe. It was so good to find each other here and not worry about any difference.

It was too good, actually. They had watched the comings and goings to and from the house and in that country the government and its propaganda press declared that it was a terrorist training center. So they sent the drones.

We are all dead now. I am dead too but since I am mind and not matter I am made of memories. This story is a memory, and it is real.

There is no longer a house at the crossroads of the world though there are walls everywhere and for that reason the world is dying.

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #53

(…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]
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[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]

The Secret – my version of it

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I was watching the lower branches of some spruce trees waving slowly in the breeze rising from the River on the north side of Chilliwack mountain today as I worked at re-mulching terraces and pathways. It was dark, grey and cold and my feeling was of strangeness, of alienation. Once again being forcefully reminded how little of Earth desire I harbour in my heart. Once again having to face the fact that I am from another place, soon to return to it. For those who cannot understand that, it is what it is.

The most difficult task I ever set myself to tackling is understanding Earthians. I cannot. Even when I deliberately lost myself in the Earthian mythos, forcing myself to “be one of them!” – one of you – all I accomplished was losing myself in a swamp of perceptions that had little to do with me. I became unreal to myself, a creature of habits and knee-jerk reactions to everything. In time I seriously panicked. I would have ended it all through suicide if I’d been allowed to follow through but instead I reconnected with “my people” and what they had to say and to teach was in my heart language and I eventually re-discovered myself.

I’m still trying to understand Earthians and I’m still stymied and utterly bewildered, even though I know why the people are the way they are; why they do the things they do. I call it programming because it’s the term that fits best – and also because I know it’s programming but on a level that Earthians are forbidden to access.

Jumping around a bit here: the greatest gift the Teachers gave me was expanded awareness. They gave me a greater history of this universe than I could ever find in Earthian records, or would have ever received from any Earth teacher. You can’t write or teach what you can’t know and as long as the programming is active in someone’s mind, ‘truth’ will remain subjective and subject to change without notice. Never, however, can any ‘truth seeker’ be permitted to explore outside the boundaries set by the programming. Think invisible dog fence. The dog wears a collar that will hurt it if it gets too close to the fence even though it cannot see the fence or know of its existence. That’s the reality of living withing the confines of Earth’s Matrix.

I am certainly old enough now to seriously think about my journey home and the calling has made itself felt stronger lately. One of the reasons is obvious to me. It will be forty years ago on Good Friday, that I had my intervention, a physical healing and a mind opening that set my life on a totally different tangent. April 19, 1979, at approximately 3 in the afternoon. It was another dark grey, cold and cloudy day, perhaps chosen on purpose to demonstrate that light can come from within. Perhaps also because this time of equinox is particularly powerful for renewal.

Forty years of studying, experimenting with, testing and practicing the Teaching in a state of expanding awareness has certainly made me look at man’s world in ways quite alien to the *ISSA residents of planet earth. I see why the things being done here don’t work because I know the source of the trouble and it is a hidden source to all the wisdom and all the systems operating within the programming.

For example, I can claim, and state without any reservation that I possess the key to the solution of this world’s greatest and most vexing problems. I can also state unequivocally that I have never made it into some sort of carefully guarded secret to be imparted to some chosen few, nor used it to make disciples and followers and create another institution or collective replete with its fund raising committee. That is not how we operate. Should I write down “the Secret” for you to read? Let me seriously disappoint you – and your disappointment is the sign that you are responding predictably according to your programming. The “Secret” or the key is called compassion. Not love, not charity, not caring, not wishing, hoping and a-praying, just compassion.

It should be easily seen that living the compassionate life puts an end to… exploitation… oppression… misogyny… racism… fear… hate… anger… selfishness… greed… power seeking… pride… rape… torture… need for adulation or some kind of public or popular success… war… genocide… condemnation. Ultimately it ends all the great collectives and monster governments.

That is how we live on my home world therefore it is eminently doable. But not on planet Earth. On planet Earth we do things differently. We create massive problems for ourselves which we then attempt to solve by creating even greater problems. There is an exponential aspect to this which condemns this world to terminate in entropy. In terms of civilization that is exactly what we are experiencing now and we’ve added an even more terminal effect: planetary entropy through overuse and abuse of natural resources.

“Après moi, le déluge” is supposed to be Louis XV’s admission, on his death bed that he had squandered France’s national and imperial resources without ever attempting to rein in the excesses of his peers and courtiers. This would have been in 1774. Fourteen years later came the storming of the Bastille and the beginning of the bloody French revolution.

As in every other time of crisis, the solution is here, accessible to all and ready to be put in practice. As in every other time of crisis, the wrong choices will be made; the wrong solutions applied and the propaganda will do the rest. Earth, thanks to man, is in its downward spiral of entropy.

Could it still be stopped? “Nothing is impossible” asserted the Teacher YLea among other priceless gems of wisdom. But here on Earth there is a program running and that program dictates how people respond to crisis. Unless and until the program is neutralized, the wheel will continue to turn; to crush the poor and the oppressed; to spread terror, famine and disease. Gradually but exponentially even the most advanced and affluent nations will in turn fall under the wheel and be crushed like the rest.

Even if the programming was neutralized and every Earthian individual was suddenly free to practice compassion, there is still a time frame for such a drastic change of mind to become effective. It has been forty years for me and I still feel as if I’m but scratching the surface of this concept. Granted if everybody was pulling in the same direction that time frame could be shortened, but do we have, say, even ten years left in which to change our mind and choose life over death? How long must we “practice” before we fully realize that the only way to choose life is to give life, meaning giving full freedom to choose to all comers?

*ISSA: intelligent, sentient, self aware

Quote: “Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.” (Robert Frost)

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #45


This I must share here: my experiences on Old Earth taught me well as regards those we are forced to call ‘They’ in referring to ‘Powers’ we know exist but cannot identify because they are chameleonic in nature and use humans to camouflage their evil works.  We’ve always known ‘They’ exist and have power of life and death over us, never mind how many legal ‘rights’ or safeguards we are given under the law.  Whenever we choose right over wrong in their viewpoint and according to their arbitrary rules we are targeted as the enemy; terrorists, subversives, spies and in many cases we forfeit our lives to them.  So, let me emphasize that ‘They’ are very real to me. 

I must sleep now.

[end blog post #44]


[begin blog post #45]

Chapter 21 – The Inquisition: Warmo’s Dungeon

They come.  It is still dark when the alarms sound and we are ushered out of our cages to stand in the cold pre-dawn air shivering.  What device do they have to warn them of illegal exits without the alarms being set off? Recording heat sensors?  Satellites?  Albaral?  How did they already know Deirdre, or someone, was missing?  Well, I guess it really doesn’t matter now.

They make everybody line up in the training yard.  The kitchens and all other areas are shut tight.  No one moves or makes a sound.  In the back I hear harsh voices shouting commands.  Men in uniforms I’ve never seen come among us and begin to grab individuals.  There are muted gasps of fear.  One woman is hit viciously in the face and stumbles to the stones where she is stabbed to death, her body dragged to the middle of the compound and left.  I am one of those grabbed and chained with a dozen others.  Several guards are stripped naked and chained also.  There is cursing and a guard falls to the ground, also stabbed.  His body is dragged beside the woman’s. 

We are led away to the east of the large open area, down a dark tunnel, damp and reeking of mold and of something else rotting away somewhere among this stone labyrinth.  I walk through what I can only describe as slime, trying to keep my footing while helping the woman behind me by making her lean on me.  We emerge into a place of absolute terror. 

In the weak light from embrasures high in the wet stone walls we see dead and dying bodies hanging by wrists on poles or impaled on rusty steel pikes planted in holes in the floor.  We smell decomposing meat and retch helplessly, continually.  Fortunately our guards just shove us in there and leave, closing the steel grate behind us.  So no one is additionally punished for the time being.  We just stare at the dead and the barely moving dying, most being women and some young children.  Some still moan but most are past trying.  Is this what’s in store for all of us?  We must assume so.  What else are we supposed to think?  The woman behind me begs me to kill her. 

“Please, I die now.  I fight yes, but this not possible to take.  Please you hit me with steel shackle, please or you strangle with chain.  You very strong.  I beg, I beg!”  Her throaty cries bring tears to my eyes.  Yes I could do it.  But what little chance any of us have to escape this would then be forfeit.  So I try to console her using their common language.

“Just frighten, see?  You know nothing, so what they do?  Nothing can do.  Don’t be afraid.  Just bad dream.  Do nothing.  Say nothing.  Know nothing.  Repeat teaching against bad fear – now!

Do I believe my own words?  No, of course not.  On this world, anything and everything is possible.  If they are eager to draw fresh blood and hear fresh voices raised in pure agony, and it’s a safe bet to say they always are, we will all go through the torture and all die here, impaled on these pikes or hanging from the poles.  I ready myself for this inevitable conclusion.

And suddenly I want to laugh.  Such an incredible weight is lifted off my heart.  If they have gone to so much trouble to “investigate” Deirdre’s escape then obviously they don’t have her!  She’s truly gone and free from their grasp.  Yes!  I know this now.  So go ahead and do your worst.  I don’t care now.  I’ve done what I set out to do and it cannot be reversed.  She is safe from you, monsters.  Now you have to deal with me, just me.  I am truly alone again.  I conveniently forget the doctor and his “underground” at this moment.  I forget these others, these innocents chained with me.  I cannot handle any new responsibility.  There is only me here, now, in this horror.  And if I’m to beat the odds now I can only do it alone.

After what seems an eternity the steel grate is opened and we are dragged out, walked down a taller, drier corridor and into another room from which screams, howls and heart rending cries emerge.  Ah yes, this is where they do their real work.  We are unchained individually and each of about twelve of us is assigned a handler.  I’m walked to a vertical black metal pole and pulled tight against it.  Four arms extend from it with shackles on the ends.  My wrists and ankles are put inside the shackles and the arms are extended mechanically until my arms are stretched as on a cross and my legs gradually pulled open and stretched also until I’m ready to scream from the tension on my bones and muscles.  But they know just when to stop. 

So it begins.  Slowly the “pole” begins to tilt back taking me with it until I’m lying horizontally with my head hanging down without any support.  I feel hands over my skin, feeling me everywhere.  A man rapes me, then several take their turn.  I can’t see anything, just feel.  I scream when something sharp or hot cuts or enters my left thigh.  The pole arms begin to pull at me again.  I scream more.  Something is attached to my right nipple.  I am electrically shocked, then the same treatment is administered inside my vagina.  I pass out only to be revived with a needle.  I begin to hallucinate.

In my hallucination I hear the doctor.

“If  she knows something, I’ll find out.  Let me administer the rest and ask the questions.  The others are useless to us now.  Return them to their compound.  We can’t afford to lose all that money and compensate their owners.  This is a stupid move.  We want to know where the girl was taken to; who helped her escape.  I tell you, destroying all those fighters is a mistake.  It was a mistake to kill those two in the compound.  This is not how it’s done.  I have the inductor here.  So back away.  Do as I say.”

The pull on my legs and arms eases a bit and the pole returns to an almost upright position.  I am still unfocused and sick from the drug.  I can’t hold my head up and it keeps bobbing.  The image of the doctor floats before my eyes and I don’t know what to think at all.  The other ghosts fade out of my line of vision and the doctor leans closer.  Yes, it’s him alright.  ‘What are you doing here’ I want to ask but cannot.  My voice is frozen in my throat.  I have nothing to say.  I’m brain dead and they are going to realize this soon enough and finish me off.  That’s all.

“Can you hear me?”  It’s definitely the doctor’s voice.

“Yes, I think so.”  The croak I hear cannot be my own.

“I’m trying to save your life.  The inductor I hold is dysfunctional.  After I connect it, you are going to go through excruciating pain, even if you have to pretend doing so, and don’t let up until you make yourself sick and pass out, do you hear me?  Anyone can do that if they want to.  Piss and shit yourself, but do it.  It has to look real or you’re going to be worse off than dead because I won’t be able to help you if my trick is discovered.”

“Argggggggggggh”  is all I manage to answer, still in shock from the torture pangs and woozy from the drug.  He attaches electrodes to my head with a metal band he tightens with a screw so it won’t come off.  Then he stretches my arms and legs again until the same excruciating pain returns, only worse even and I begin to scream.  He twists a dial on his inductor and indeed I feel nothing.  But I continue to scream and writhe in pain, following his advice.  Yes, my body relieves itself from the ordeal and finally I do pass out as he adds more tension to the arms of the device in a desperate attempt to fake the inductor torture.  I don’t think that the use of the neuro-inductor  would have made much difference at that point.  In my warring, twisted thoughts I wonder how much of this he too is enjoying…

When I come to I’m still attached to the pole.  I feel as if I’ve been broken in several separate pieces that will never be put together.  I’m just pieces of a human body, arms and legs disjointed.  Nothing is connected.  I hear something.  An argument going on.  The doctor and another person are discussing the effects of the torture.

“She knows nothing.  She was tricked by somebody to walk out of her cage, a trainer she says.  She never saw him before and it was dark.  What gora refuses an order from a man?  He made her walk to the wall, then back to her cage, leaving it unlocked.  That’s what we know.  It is enough that one gora and one guard are dead.  Let them be the guilty parties.  If you want more evidence, I suggest you send your hunters out into the south desert.  That’s where they always go.” 

“She was her lover.  She’d be the one to help her escape.”  The voice is deep, assured.  There is the sense of the predator in it, one who has a special victim in his claws and wants to gloat every moment his captive remains alive to be toyed with.

That sounds like the doctor’s voice again:  “You are so wrong!  If they had planned to escape, why did she not go with the other, you tell me that.  Is she so happy here that she couldn’t take an opportunity to run away when it would have appeared such a sure thing and her lover was going?  Lovers don’t leave each other that way.  Think.  We’re being made fools of right now and all you can think of is torturing another body.  I warn you Warmo, your inquisition methods are making some nervous.  There is talk in some quarters of doing an investigation of your facilities.  How do you feel about that?”

“Threats, Bal?”

“No, a bargain Warmo.  Just a bargain.  I have a good deal of money invested in this fighter and I’m damned if I’ll let you destroy such a good killing machine.  You’re a fool.  You know the King is her owner.  Unless you can prove beyond any doubt that she is involved in this escape, do you think the King is just going to forget you killed his personal fighter just for some sick satisfaction of yours?”

 I hear his sardonic laughter and can imagine the sneer of contempt in him.  “Help yourself, take her.  She can’t ever fight again so she’s as good as dead – that device has seen to that even if your neuro-inductor hasn’t.  Wrists and ankles crushed, that’s what it does Bal.  Neat machine, one of my favourites.  And I may yet get her back here for additional questioning.  Remember this, I don’t forget those who push me Bal.”

“Threats, Warmo?”

“Fuck you, doctor Echinoza.” 

So much venom that even in my confused state and the excruciating pain shooting through my body I can feel the hate in my guts.  This Warmo does not torture for results but purely for ultimate sadistic pleasure.  He would have been a perfect member of House Harkonnen. (Harkonnen is a reference to characters in the Dune series by Frank Herbert)

Perhaps more to the point, a death camp Kommandant under Hitler’s SS guard, C-20, Old Earth history. 

Funny what you remember when you want to connect the dots of your lives and truly know yourself, especially when your body is under maximum stress.  ‘Oh, the green, green grass of home…’ “aaaahhhhhh…”  Still not my voice.  Some poor girl in a torture dungeon, hurting, and I should feel sorry for her but I can’t: I must pretend to myself that I’m dead.  The dead don’t talk and they don’t feel pain.

My head falls back and I almost choke.  I scream an obscenity as I’m racked by another spasm.  Obscene pain beyond the meaning of the word. 

Another eternity and the doctor comes over and releases the mechanism that holds my wrists and ankles and keeps me from falling as I try to put my weight on my feet.  I cannot walk at all.  So he throws my limp form over his broad shoulders and carries me out through tunnels that seem to go on forever; that in my mind I want to go on forever. 

It feels so good to be dead; to be in a place where no one can ever hurt you; to be carried to your final rest by someone who cares for you.  Death by torture has a way of changing your perspective on life.  I think it has made me soft.

[end blog post # 45]

Our World is Essentially a Violent Place (or if you wish, How did I discover myself here from there?)

[scattered remembrances from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

This may come across as a strange piece of admission but…???

When we are young we live as if we were immortal. That is a truism except that for some of us, we do not want that immortality which translates as eternity. It demands responsibility we have no idea how to deal with.

Some of us are born watchers, observers of our world, perhaps because at birth we partially broke out of the programming, or because it didn’t take. So what do we see, or to be more personal (and honest) what did I see?

I saw that the weak and the meek get the raw deal. Though I sometimes saw the other side of the coin what hit home was its dark side: the fear, the hate, the distrust, the anger – the IN-JUST-ICE!

I cringed when the parents fought each other and there was no place to hide except under useless blankets if I couldn’t get dressed quickly enough to run for the barn and hide among the cows, not for protection but for their warmth and so as not to have to listen and feel the “terror” taking place in the house, a terror that could quickly turn against me as the convenient scapegoat.

Then I got older and saw that the family squabbles resembled the world squabbles only these were on a much greater scale. I was learning responsibility too at the same time. More choices.

Mine, I judged, was a harsh world with little leeway in terms of forgiveness. You made a mistake, you paid a price, often way beyond the weight of the mistake. The same was true of nations and races; of the poor and for the powerless gender, all claims and propaganda to the contrary.

I so desired to do away with myself but what to do? I had a life and my religion stated unequivocally that if I took that life I was damned to exist in a burning hell for eternity: again, no escape, not even the warm flank of a milk cow there. I would stare at a pitch fork and try to imagine what it would feel like to be endlessly prodded by that as a punishment for something I had done out of despair millions of years ago. I would also know that despair was another mortal sin that was added to my punishment, of course.

So no escape, just choices. I saw and felt pain, my earliest recollection. Then I saw jealousy and senseless expectations. I saw injustice and how it nurtured fear, doubt, distrust, hate, anger and brutality. Where in that did I fit in? Nowhere, but since there was nowhere to hide from all of it, and as my knowledge expanded exponentially, I sensed a growing awareness of the essential brutality of the world and I was forced to make hard choices.

I saw two: I could choose to accept and suffer the arrows of injustice upon myself and for the most helpless of the world (I did not know that was known as being empathetic) or I could fight back. Fighting back meant using violence, no matter what word is used to hide that fact and using violence meant losing my heart. It wasn’t what I wanted but it seemed to be the only logical choice.

At the beginning of this journey and still much in the dark as to who I was and what I would choose to become, I chose anger as my companion and then violence just seemed to make sense. It took several years before I realized that my reliance on anger was eating me up and then came more guilt: was I committing suicide? I wanted to leave this world desperately but was I willing to risk the potential consequences? I had already sacrificed my heart to one choice, would I lose myself for eternity?

The frightened child had grown into an adult. I had learned to bluster my way into the adult world even if I felt I were an alien or something altogether weird. I hid my real thoughts and feelings and expressed only those I thought would make me seem normal and acceptable. I used ideas and words from books, magazines, the radio, songs, sermons, political speeches, and that seemed to satisfy people even though it polarized them. For a time I was a complete stranger to myself but at least I had some mental peace, a pretense of belonging and discovered I had accessed some power.

I might continue this and explain how I came to the edge of my own personal black hole and found myself inexplicably pulled out of it.

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #44

(I must be tired… forgot to post the title of this blog post…)

Fate, yes.  Some Earthian friend of long ago called it karma.  Whatever it was I would pit myself against, I would serve Earth again.  The people would never know but she would know.  She would be grateful.  “Ich diene.”
[end blog post #43]


[begin blog post #44]

Chapter 20 –  Goodbye until the End of Time

The day drags on, yet the moments fly.  I strain to hear sounds from the kitchens that indicate Deirdre is there, working and in her inimitable way, amusing the other workers without seeming to do so, right under the eyes of their guards. 

Why am I torturing myself so?  I act as if I were a pubescent girl in love for the first time with a man who pays no attention to her.  Damn.  What a predicament.  Now I can understand what those poor Earthians went through with their own personal love affairs I thought were so stupid.  Now I certainly could empathize.  Now I’m living their pain.  What a terrible thing this inloveness is!  And the worse is yet to come.

I dread the time of evening meal.  She will come out, unaware, innocent, and will give me my bowl with her beautiful hands, the long fingers shamelessly running over my skin, her hair brushing my bare shoulders.  She will lean against me for a few moments before moving on and returning into the kitchens.  And I will never see her again.

The sun has gone behind the battlements and Albaral has not risen yet.  We end our training for the day; put away the wooden and rough or worn out fibresteel weapons we train with.  Wash and get in line for count, inspection and finally our evening meal.

Two of our own have not returned from the arena.  I should feel something for them, I know, compassion and a real sense of personal loss, not necessarily in that order.  But what I feel is envy.  I’m jealous of their new found freedom.  Death means it’s over, all the pain and suffering we are made to endure; that so many endure all over this world.  Death means we find peace finally.  We can fly away free for as long as we wish it.  Death is our blessed realm.

Of course that is an incomplete picture, but my mind is not into completing images right now.  I feel torn and shattered.  The count and inspection complete we line up at the tables and sit, waiting silently for our meal.  The clattering in the kitchens stops and silent young servant women file out, each with two bowls in hand, passing them out.  Deirdre is not among them.  Again I’m paralyzed by fear that something happened, that our plan was discovered, that they’ve taken her to kill her.  I can barely eat, yet I must so as not to arouse suspicion.   

The meal over we wash our faces quickly as we pass the washing troughs, then file into the cage compound, each to our own.  In the gloom I see a young woman in my cage, and for a moment I think it’s Deirdre but it is not.  She could pass for Deirdre in size and no guard recognizes the subterfuge.  I don’t know where they found her or how they got her into my cage but it satisfies the official count.  I sit next to her and she moves against me, crawling between my legs as the young ones often do, like young animals seeking a mother’s warmth and protection.  I hold her lightly and wait.  More lights go out and there is the usual noise of the changing of the guard outside, only with much less volume than usual.  Many less men out there.  Then as the automatic alarm systems fully set themselves, no one remains in the yards to accidentally trigger the sensors. 

Rising Albaral is hidden behind phosphorescent-edged clouds above the keep.

With night comes the expected storm.  I can hear the thunder far away and soon the wind comes up.  Heavy drops of rain spatter far above on the tiled roofs, sparsely at first, then increasing to a true downpour. Distant lightning flashes and my heart beats as loud as the thunder.  After a time a trainer comes to my cage and opens it.  The young woman, startled begins to stand.  She is ordered to lie down in the straw and to not make a move: she won’t.  Guided by the Cydroid-trainer’s extended arm I step out and follow.  In the gloom I see two guards carrying the body of a woman towards one of the southern portals.  Deirdre?  It has to be!  It opens and I want to run out to her and at the very least, whisper goodbye.  The false trainer grabs me and whispers my task again. 

“You have twenty minutes now to lay the marks.  I will wait for you inside the wall and return you to your cell.  Your friend is fine.”

I run out as if I were making for the crossing, then turn sharply, digging in the muddy sand to leave impressions, run down to the water and go in silently, gliding through the deep waters.  For a moment I can even enjoy the sensation of swimming, even though the water is icy.  Reaching the far side, I run up the bank far enough for my footprints to get lost in the shifting sands.  I steal one moment to stand and stretch in the breeze, outside the keep, giving myself a momentary illusion of freedom. 

I carefully retrace the steps, backward over the first set until I’m in the water, turn and, as silently as before swim back across the moat.  I take a different path along hard ground and rock, back to the portal that immediately hisses shut.  The false trainer leads me back to my cage.  It’s now empty.  I understand the simplicity of that part of the plan here:  I go in with Deirdre; a trainer orders me out of my cage in the night and makes me walk outside the walls and back.  When I return Deirdre is gone.  Meanwhile in reality my false companion is returned wherever she came from and cannot be found to be interrogated.  In any case, she would have no story to tell except she was put in the wrong cage, in the wrong line-up.  She could not know why the mistake was made.  My lies and her innocence almost guarantee a dead-end.

I spend the night transfixed in thorough angst, ice running through my veins – feeling more alone than I remember ever having felt.

I look up through the only opening visible where sometimes you can see a star or two, or where Albaral crosses.  It’s still dark and raining so if they reach the craft in time, assuming they have a reliable carrier that won’t be grounded by lightning, it will have gone through the clouds and become invisible quickly. I can see and imagine the shuttle craft streaking across the skies picking up speed to vanish on its way to Koron, a trip that should take the small craft just a bit over six months shunting time.  How I long at this moment, to be aboard that craft!

Goodbye until the end of time! 

“Don’t look back when you reach the new shore,
Don’t forget what you’re leaving me for,
Don’t forget when you’re missing me so,
Love must never hold,
Never hold tight but let go.

Oh the nights will be long,
When I’m not in your arms,
But I’ll be in your song,

That you sing to me, across the sea.
Somehow, someday, you will be far away,
So far from me and maybe one day,
I will follow you,
‘Til then, send me a song.”

(excerpt from “Send me a Song” by Celtic Woman)

And I cry for us, for her, for me. 

Not all of it is sad. 

I take comfort in the Cydroid’s words of certainty.  She is safe.  What else matters? 

For now I must try to find some sleep.  Tomorrow we will be subjected to the inevitable investigation.  Escapes, even attempted ones, are taken most seriously here as I’ve seen.  If the investigators cannot arrive at logical conclusions regarding the events, they will arrest individuals at random and send them to be interrogated by the inquisitors.  Most will never return.  They will be made to endure the most extreme sophistication of torture ever devised by pseudo-humans, either to extract information (the lesser reason) or satisfy the torturer’s lusts. 

Since Deirdre is my friend and known as my lover, I will certainly be one of those chosen for the inquisition.  Ah well, it’s the price you pay for loving, for caring, for standing out in some way and for upsetting the status quo which I’ve already done much of.  I know in my heart that even if I had nothing to do with Deirdre they would come for me.  I’ve been on their list of suspected subversives for some years now, whomever ‘They’ be.

This I must share here: my experiences on Old Earth taught me well as regards those we are forced to call ‘They’ in referring to ‘Powers’ we know exist but cannot identify because they are chameleonic in nature and use humans to camouflage their evil works.  We’ve always known ‘They’ exist and have power of life and death over us, never mind how many legal ‘rights’ or safeguards we are given under the law.  Whenever we choose right over wrong in their viewpoint and according to their arbitrary rules we are targeted as the enemy; terrorists, subversives, spies and in many cases we forfeit our lives to them.  So, let me emphasize that ‘They’ are very real to me. 

I must sleep now.
[end blog post #44]

 

I Am Shallaya

(I must have done something “wrong” when I posted this poem yesterday as my comment section disappeared.  Therefore and all the rest, I’m re-posting it without the links to  “the Cafe Philos poetry prompt” to see if the comment section shows up again.)

               I Am Shallaya

[remembrances of a      ~burning woman~ ]
                as told by Sha’Tara

Spring steel: that was the Word.
I arched my back to feel it.
‘Yes,’ I whispered to the damp stone walls
Encompassing me, imprisoning me,
Spring steel:
That’s what I must be, it’s what I am.

Let them come for me now, I am ready.

They came then, as I knew they would.
They came, two by two at first,
To lie dead and bleeding on the stone.
It wasn’t what they had expected
As they leered at my naked body.

I stood waiting for the denouement:
There was a commotion in the hall
The clank of halberds and swords,
The yell of commands, curses, questions,

Confused calls echoed in the dungeons:
I discovered something else, a new power
The Spirit had left with me: dark sight.
With my mind I extinguished their torches.

They were sightless in the hallway;
Smelled the blood of their fallen comrades
Never thinking I could have done such.
I smelled their fear then, that of retribution
From their superstitions, the dreaded unknown.

I spoke for the first time since captured:
Five days it was I had been stripped, mocked,
And thrown in the dungeon for future sport.
Five days and I found my voice again,
But not the one I’d used to plead with!

‘You will all die,’ I said, growling
As the power beast rose in my throat,
As the spring steel twanged in my back
As I came out slowly, tearing out the steel door
As if made but of straw wattles.

I could see them, they not me!
Pathetic, I thought, as I touched one:
He peed himself, dropped his weapon,
Begged for mercy, as each one did,
Gurgled, as I ripped his throat out,
A fitting end for such cowards.

I found a young one about my size:
Took his clothes, tunic, armour,
Walked out openly, thought a guard
Until challenged at the main gate.

I recognized some of the gate watch:
They had leered and laughed as I was paraded
Naked for their benefit.

‘I am Shallaya the witch,’ I said
Matter of fact and simply intoned
With a normal woman’s voice.

Their eyes grew big, they made their move
And I mine: five men became five bodies.

I turned and cursed their battlements then,
And watched as they collapsed.
I cursed their gate and walked on through.
I cursed their drawbridge. It collapsed
Like a rotten log into the stagnant moat
And what a stench arose from that!

I walked away not even looking back
As the people fled screaming
As mice from a burning barn.

“You did that well” said the Grimmer
As he floated beside me, grinning stupidly.

‘I passed my test, then?’ I asked of him.

“I’m not supposed to tell, but of course
Yes, you passed your test. You are Power.
You are Witch. They await you
To give you your power staff.”

‘Thank you, Grimmer, for the gift.’
And I pointed back to the dying castle.
He laughed and disappeared.

With such power, how did we lose?
How did we not see the Patriarchy coming?
Though nobody now, I remain Witch.
I am Shallaya, and I still ask the Question

And it will never, ever, be over.
That I have sworn upon my staff
The day they burned it, and my body.