The Beginning of Time

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

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a chicken or the egg kind of a story.

 

The Beginning of Time

By

Glynn Scott

 

The woman has lain awake all night watching stars fall from the sky, her anger seeping up through her skin.  God had made her first.  For months, she had wandered along, rejoicing in her discoveries, taking pride in her successes, never bitter at her failures.  Then the others had begun to appear.  First the two women, the next day the same number of men, the small girl a week later, each standing before her, their skin course and grainy, as if made of the same black sand covering the ground close to the village.  She had shared her shelter with them, waiting until they had grown accustomed to their limbs before showing them how to make the straw huts that stood along the mountain's rim, small monuments to their development.  When they became hungry, she had taught them how to herd the fish into the shallows, making it easier for the six of them to scoop up the fat red and white swimmers.  She had shown them which sticks and stones to use to build the fires that burned along the mountains, fires that defined and strengthened their existence, severing as a signal to any others.  This knowledge she gave them as their inheritance.

A sunrise the color of a persimmon spreads across the garden sky.  In the black sand, dung beetles and red ants bump heads, and then nod their apologies before moving on.  Black orchids and sweet clover grow on opposite sides of the path leading from the village down to the river.  Smoke rises from the village behind the woman, thick white bundles that float between the straw huts, trying  to maintain their shapes before breaking up and drifting down wind.

The woman walks down to the river, steps into the cool water, tries to soothe the hate that has caused her skin to feel as if it is burning.  She emerges from the water, small drops of water fall from her nipples, scattering the school of minnows gathered near the shore.  The frayed edges of the cloth tied around her waist clings to the insides of her thighs like the legs of a dead spider.

Her shadow falls across the box as she lifts it from the water.  Thin wispy pieces of moss cling to the box's jagged edges, the gun's barrel points upward at an angle through a crack near the top.  The woman's fingers: brown, thin, are similar to the stick she uses to remove the gun from the box.  In the fading light, the image of the gun moves across her eyes like an eclipse.  Slowly she covers the gun with ragweed and black pebbles, and this was the first day.

On the morning of the second day, thin veils of morning fog slip between the mountains, hanging over the garden like a canopy.

The woman enjoys the walk back down to the river, taking her pleasure in the animals and plants she had not noticed the day before.  Next to a lilac bush, assvogels pick at the dead body of a squirrel.  White butterflies slip between the leaves of buttercups and tulips.  Under a birch tree, the woman lays the gun across her lap, her reflection on the gun's barrel smiles at her she smiles back. She rubs the gun along the insides of her legs, across her belly, slides the barrel between her legs and toes, lifts it and

pulls the trigger.  In the morning silence, the sound is hard and heavy, moving through

the garden like the hand of God.  For a moment the woman lies on her belly in the grass,

the loud noise inside her head keeps her from hearing her own screams, a few feet away the shattered head of a small rabbit. The woman crawls over to the body of the dead rabbit, small red ants and pieces of baby's breath sticking to the palms of her hands.  Smoke rises from the gun, moving across the blade of grass like small clouds, and this is the second day.

At the beginning of the third day, five villagers watch as the woman crawls up the tiny slope toward them.  The two women, their bellies swollen and round, along with the girl, stand at the path's edge.  The two dark men stand a short distance away, their hands raised above their eyes to keep out the glare of the morning sun and except for one being an inch taller than the other the men are identical, each seemingly made in the image of the other.

That evening the night is full of shadows and small things scampering in the thistle and wild flowers.  The men speak softly, their words blackened and charred by the campfire.  The women sleep huddled together like a litter of pigs and in the evening air a whispered warning.

Rain falls on the morning of the fourth day, small drops baptizing the earth as the six travel down the path.  The men in front, their short legs moving quickly, the women a respectful distance back, their faces shiny, wet, like polished onyx.  The dead rabbit lies beneath a blueberry bush, its hind legs hanging from the bottom branches.  A short distance away, in the shadow of an apple tree, the gun.

In the darkness that has grown up around them, they walk single file back to the

village.  Fireflies flicker; small yellow blazes that burn against their black skin, branding each one.  From behind, the woman listens to the soft chirping of the others.  In the darkness, she searches for the answer to why the others have treated her so badly.  The gun belongs to her, she had found it, but the men had taken possession of it, holding it out as if meaning to give it to her, then snatching it back.  Teasing and mocking her, using the gun to impress the other women, each of the men seeing who could throw it the farthest, then racing to it to see who was the fastest.  The women giggled behind their hands, pointing at one man or the other, moving quickly to give the men a drink of water or an apple if they asked.  Behind the tree, hidden slightly by the tall bluegrass and sunflowers, the little girl nibbles on discarded apple cores, at time walking to the river to wash her tiny hands. 

The seeds of hatred grow best at night.  Black tentacles that spread, germinating between the spaces that separate skin from bone, and this was the fourth day.

At the beginning of the fifth day, clouds, tinted purple by the morning sunrise, move across the sky as if awakening from a deep sleep. 

The shorter man sees her first, sitting on a small hill behind the huts.  She does not return his smile, or the wave that seems disconnected from the rest of his body.  Morning shadows move across the huts.  The woman shoots the man.  His body does nothing remarkable.  It does not flip or flop.  There are no somersaults or unusual contortions; he simply falls to the ground as if this is the place where he has decided to take a nap.  The others shake and prod the dead man, touch the corneas of his open eyes.

The woman remains in the bushes all day, watching as the others develop a new

understanding.  She senses their fear, feels it moving across the ground like a small wind.  The night is two shades of black: thick, impenetrable in the middle, a light gray around the edges. The neon writing of fireflies flickering in the dark.

In the space between the sixth and seventh day, the campfires burn out.  The woman sleeps.  The other gather around the tall man, press their heads against his chest and back.

Clouds cover the sun on the morning of the seventh day.  The soft flutter of bird wings introduce sound into the morning air.  The woman crawls from her hiding place; thorns from rose bushes scrape and tear her skin, marking her, the gun pressed into the line between her breasts.  The others slip into the shadows of their huts, abandoning the dead man.  Walking to the edge of the village, the woman watches the darker darkness moving in behind the clouds, watches the black sand as it begins to stir, and this is the beginning of time.  

 

 

 


Submitted: July 09, 2007

© Copyright 2022 glynn scott. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Narduchil

Very Nice it was very enjoyable and inspiring! Five Stars! I can't believe others haven't commented

Sat, October 27th, 2007 4:10am

Author
Reply

thank you so much Narduchil for the kind words!! look for more in the future and good luck with your own work.

Sat, October 27th, 2007 7:05am

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