Homecoming

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

First person narrator looking back at a childhood moment which was fearful and magical at the same time.

 

I still remember the day when I saw God staring at me. The bright red painted face with black paint around the eyes and tassels on his silver headgear; Staring right at me with his blood shot eyes. There are some moments that you will never forget in your life. For me, this was one of them.

In the month of December 1998 my parents took me to Kerala, where I saw long lanes of coconut tree, emerald green beaches and my grandparents for the first time. After a bumpy afternoon ride through the muddy road, the car stopped at the end of a narrow lane and that’s where I saw an old brick red house amidst the mahoganies. I got down from the car and my feet had just touched the ground, only to have hosted up by my grandfather and then by my grandmother who embraced me so warm and smothered me with kisses that I laid my head on her shoulder as if I felt like a bird that just came home. That evening, I wandered around that busy house and set out to find where the sweet aroma of food was coming from. On one corner, I saw many cooks preparing creamy rice pudding in huge vats made from bronze and in another corner, there were gleaming silk clothes and bananas next to a bronze oil lamp which burned more fiercely, the longer I looked at it. I wondered what was going on and set out to the front verandah where my grandfather was laying on his back, in his long wooden lounge chair, chit chatting with my mother. I interrupted hastily and asked them what the commotion was about. My mother dismissed me quickly saying it’s a tradition of oracles visiting our home. I stood there clueless and then turned to my grandfather yearning to hear more about it. He swiftly lifted me up and sat on his lap. His gleaming smile and twinkling eyes gave away his excitement to explain the ritual dance of “Theyyam” that’s going to happen tonight where the legendary oracles will visit our house to dance in the courtyard and bring heaven down to earth and how we will greet them with the gifts of silks and sweets.He then said how the oracles dress up in colors of red, black and silver and once they stare at themselves in the temple pond , they see God and goes into trance and walk through fire. He went on describing vividly how they could stare into our souls and see everything we’ve done, the good and the evil and can deem us guilty or innocent. He said he has seen how powerful they are, to grand us blessings or curse us to eternity if we are worthy of it. I felt a deep pit in my stomach and beads of sweat started rolling down my forehead, as I clutched my grandfather’s hands while I thought hard about whether I’ve been good or bad all throughout the year. I felt like running away to hide in a corner where no one would see me when those red demons come to our house that night.I ran as fast as I can to my fatherto whom I described the scary looking red monsters with silver teeth and crown who would come to our house and take me away once they see me as a naughty child. My father laughed out loud and comforted me. He then said that all I must do, is to fold my hands to pray when they come, and they cannot harm me as I’m a good child and that he will be there to protect me. With nowhere to hide or go, I sat on the verandah steps waiting for the impending doom.

Time flew by and things seemed calm. While I sat there with my hand to my chin, I soon felt an eerie vibe while my ears picked up the sound of heavy drums coming closer and closer. I then saw some men carrying oil lamps and amidst them was the magical red figure, who came dancing wildly onto our courtyard near to where I was standing. I felt like I was slowly melting away as he looked at me with his angry red eyes.


Submitted: May 02, 2021

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