Friday, January 08, 2010

Entry #61

Dust Storms
by Mira


The birds wheeled high overhead. Death birds. Birds of prey.

“A witch’s escort,” Ma would have whispered, hands fluttering at her prayer beads. She’d have beseeched the skies with cupped palms, waiting for the wail only she could hear.

No. Ma wouldn’t scan the sky anymore. She was gone.

As was most of her family. The urns with their ashes were tied to the neem tree at their estate gate. After the rituals, they’d be cast adrift, their ashes floating away, free.

Overhead, a bird screeched. The witches’ wail. A signal of doom.

No birds had forecast the arrival of the marauders. They had driven swift and ruthless, in the orange glare of the afternoon. Jeep tracks had crisscrossed the desert sands, mocking

They’d cut through the village to reach their farm, and soon the clash of steel had punctured the dappled silence as her father and brothers put up a spirited defense.

No one had come to their rescue. No one would.

“Not just religion! We’re different, you don’t know? Faith, language... More! My family would never accept you. What can you do? Nothing!” he’d said that last evening, after that big fight.

She’d clawed him, enraged; but he’d only laughed, “You low caste slut!”

But that had been a month ago. Rounds of police complaints, pleas to community leaders, social workers--all worth nothing. They’d still been hunted down.

She patted her belly. She’d bide her time. The death bird would call out again.

31 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

Revenge for many more reasons than one. Nicely done.

pjd said...

Sorry, I got confused about who was hunted down by whom. There's anger and abandonment, and a strong sense of revenge here, but I don't really get the plot. Maybe that's just me.

Kate said...

This is interesting; I want to understand what's going on, but like pjd I'm kind of lost. She got knocked up and the father's family killed her family?

Ricercar said...

nicely written. love the emotion and passion. so evocative as usual. but i think i agree a little bit with pjd & kate ... bit lost

Bernita said...

I'm with the others. There's a good story here,but I'm just not sure who is doing what to whom.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I see a post-apocalypse tale of racism. Well done.

austere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
austere said...

Thank you, everyone..this feedback has been so helpful.

Never quite realised how critical social context was.

Without the background of caste wars and honor killings, this story is a blur.

JaneyV said...

Mira - I get that it was an caste thing. His family are a higher caste than hers and her pregnancy (that's what I took from her touching her belly) was a huge dishonour to them. And this is also the reason why her family have had no justice.

I think that it is a very compelling piece and I fully believe with a greater word allowance the backstory to the massacre would grip us all.

Aniket said...

Nice write up.

It aches me to admit how profound this issue is, even in our so called developing society.

Lena said...

Well done. I like also how you raise social issues in this one, wish it would be less confusing after the first read.

Aimee Laine said...

There is going to be some retribution there! Love the reflections too!

Craig said...

Bleak but well written. Is there anything that can break the cirlce of violence?

Kartik said...

Societal "norms" do hurt and I wish there was a "live and let live" attitude around. And this sadly doesn't happen in most places

catvibe said...

I like the imagery and the writing very much, but am left wondering what happened, or what is happening, at the end. The cultural implications scream to let this be made into a longer story. Very compelling subject matter.

laughingwolf said...

i'm confused also...

madhumita said...

The saga of the revenge will continue-the bitter truth of caste-wars/honor killings.
Lovely images. Very well done!

peggy said...

I don't think this is as confusing as implied, though it did take a couple slow reads for me to follow the prose. I probably tried extra hard, after reading the others' comments, so maybe with a more lenient word count, this would become more accessible. Regardless, the imagery and sensory details were there.

I liked the intermix of "reality" vs. superstition and the backstory of caste love gone awry. The revenge angle works beautifully.

Your words are always beautiful, Mira.

kashers said...

I was a little confused too. It became clearer on the second read after I'd read your comments.

Laurel said...

brutal.

Chris Eldin said...

I understood this because I've unfortunately heard/read stories of honor killings. I think with a bit more space, it would've been more accessible to others without this knowledge... but in any case, well written and a very sad tale. I love your opening.

austere said...

Pegy- your words are always precious. thanks for the feedback.

Laurel- ty

Chris- ty

Tim Remp said...

I thought the story was strong with great details and imagery.

-Tim
#138

austere said...

Thank you, Tim.

McKoala said...

I got a little confused with the flow of the story, but much of the writing is really beautiful.

Terri said...

Your writing is strong and vivid - the ending reeks of vengeance served cold.

austere said...

Thank you, McKoala.

Thank you, Terri.

james r tomlinson said...

If only I could have a bit more background, some type of backstory, then the serious voice of this piece would truly shine.

austere said...

Thank you, James Tomlinson.
Word count!
Will try and work it in when I expand this story.
If I do.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like Sarah Palin's hair or the enigmatic career of Justin Timberlake.

austere said...

hey Aerin

Thanks anyway.