The Story Starts Here

Chapter 1: Mean Girls

Monday, 11 April 2016

Chapter 10: Aftermath

They huddled in the shrine all afternoon and a breeze did blow up after it went from grey to really dark and the sun must have gone down.  In the distance she could hear the howls of other predators brought out by the disaster, feeding on those misplaced from safe dens and nests.

One peculiar howl had everyone staring at the ceiling, frozen again.  “That’s a lesser hydra,” Doris quavered.  “Zeno drove one away once, when she was a girl.” 

Naida dragged her filthy sleeve over her face as Yalenda hissed “Well, she’s not here now.  Quiet.”

To Naida’s shock, the older woman subsided, hands over her face.  “Uri,” Yal snarled. “Leave Deno, He’ll wake up or not.  We need you to dig out the seep so we can drink.  Irikraska and Irilla are both nursing and we are desperate.”

She pushed Scaliana over toward where Uri crouched and she took Deno’s head in her lap, wiping the ash off his face and out of his hair.  He groaned but didn’t wake up.  No one protested Uri digging in the spring at the foot of the Goddess’s statue.  It was so crowded that he had to get Scaliana’s basket handed to him and they passed the dirt to Doris who threw it outside, without putting her head out from under the lintel.

“Yalenda… it’s filling.”

It was dark now.  Early in the day but the darkness lay everywhere as though ashes had swallowed up the light.

“Does anyone have a cup?”

“There’s one on Deno’s belt,” Scalia said. Noises in the darkness as she pulled it loose and it went hand to hand until Uri could put it into the tiny puddle of water where he’d dug the spring deeper, then handed it around.

Naida’s mouth was dry enough that her tongue stuck to the back of her lips and she thought she was going to die before the cup got handed to her. It went around to everyone else and she was tucked away behind the statue, but Uri finally reached up, patted her hand by feel and put the cup into it. The water tasted as sweet as if it had honey in it and made her feel amazingly better.  Even though her whole chest hurt and she felt as though she’d wet herself, she felt better.

Even though Asteri lay like a dead thing across her lap, his chest still moved and he swallowed when she dribbled water over his muzzle.

The cup made a second round of the people before the goats got their turn.  There wasn’t room to let them drink from the spring anyway and they were all too shocked to do much more that accept what they were offered and it took a long time for the spring to re-fill.

One of the new mothers put her baby to the breast again, by the sucking noises and everyone dozed, or even slept. Asteri lay still, snoring slightly which even though everything seemed lost, made Naida smile, even as she mourned everyone who hadn't made it up the mountain.

She mourned for Zeno and Oios who had sacrificed themselves to give everyone else a chance to get away before the wave came.  No one else was coming.  If they hadn't made it up here by now, they wouldn't be coming.  The Goddess's Husband had reaped a full basket of souls, just from Afaris alone.  How many people all around the sea had gone to the underworld? 
Naida dreamed of her moon blood flowing, as though she were the source of the water and just around dawn Irilla exclaimed “Look!  The water’s really flowing!”

In the pale and dirty light of dawn the spring at the Goddess’s feet bubbled up over the stones and poured like a stream of mercy on everyone between it and the door, washing grey ash away to leave the marble clean.


  1. One of the new mothers put her baby to the breast again, by the sucking noises and everyone dozed, or even slept. Asteri lay, limp as

    Missing word? Loving this so very much.

  2. Thanks TLOU! It was the wrong file. There's a couple extra paragraphs now.