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A familiar story, told from a different perspective

By Adrian Barnett  Posted by Michael Bonanno (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   1 comment
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Maheem sat on the rock, frustrated at the cloudy sky. She normally enjoyed watching the sunset as she waited for her husband to return from the fields, but the unseasonal weather had thwarted her today. A storm is coming, she thought to herself, pulling the furs tightly around her body as the breeze became chilly. The baby had started crying, so she gathered up her tools and the basket of fruit and went inside, closing the door against the darkening sky.

Her child was quite beautiful - a little baby boy just four months old. The baby gripped her finger when she offered it to him, and this seemed to calm him somewhat. She sat down beside the crib and stroked the young one's forehead, singing him a lullaby that she remembered from her own childhood. The baby settled down and slowly drifted off to sleep once more, but she remained by him, singing quietly and waiting for her man to come through the door. What was keeping him? He should be back by now.

Quietly, she stood up and walked to the door, to see if she could see him before it became too dark. Going outside, she saw something that terrified her like nothing had done before.

The sky.

It was almost black, and the clouds were rolling and boiling as if they were alive, pouring across the sky from horizon to horizon like flowing tar. In the distance, a herd of antelope, normally so graceful, sprinted across the low ground in panic, trying to flee but not knowing where to go. An elephant was calling out in fear somewhere in the trees behind her, and thousands of birds were rising from the forest. There was no sign of her man, the gentle father of her child, the husband who she loved so dearly.

The child! She ran back inside and picked him up, holding him to her chest and folding the furs around him. She went to the entrance of the dwelling, praying that her husband would be in sight. He was not. Now the rains came. Rain like she had never seen before. There was hardly any wind, and the rain was falling vertically to the ground, as if it wanted to get there with no delay, as if it was being forced to the earth. Lightning flickered at the end of the valley, and the animals screamed, but she could not hear them above the sound of the rain. The parched land around the dwelling was turning into thick mud now, and beginning to wash away. The roof was being battered and starting to break up, and the small fire in the hut had been extinguished. Apart from the lightning, the world had gone completely black. Tears ran down her face as screamed in terror, and the baby had now begun to cry because of the cold, and the wet, and the noise, and the fear he could sense in his mother.

Maheem stood there, not knowing what to do, or where to run, or why this was happening, or where her husband was. Almost unbelievably, the rain increased in intensity until it had the ferocity of a waterfall. She slipped in the mud, and the water began to wash her down the slope. She could not open her eyes because of the strength of the rain, which felt like it was bruising her entire body. The baby in her arms, normally so gentle and quiet, was screaming in fear, and she desperately tried to keep the choking mud away from his mouth.

And then rain stopped. The world was still black, and Maheem pushed herself up onto her knees, hugging the baby and wiping the cold mud from him. Nothing. No noise but the sound of the thick, filthy waters draining past her. No rain.

Just darkness. Even the animals were silent. Shakily, she managed to get to her feet, trying not to slip in the darkness.

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Michael Bonanno is an associate editor for OpEdNews.

He is also a published poet, essayist and musician who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bonanno is a political progressive, not a Democratic Party apologist. He believes it's (more...)

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