A Home Away From Home

generated with dreamlike art A'i.

“It is happening again, mother.” Freya stood trembling. She blocked her ears with her hands and began yelling. The clouds turned darker and thunder struck after a violent streak of lightning.

“It’s okay, sweetheart. We’ve talked about this. It will be over soon.” Farida held Freya in a tight embrace. She gently passed her hand through the little girl’s dark curly hair. “Everyone has lost faith in the exploration but I know that your father is coming soon. It is the only way this is going to end.”

“You say it's been a decade now since he left to find a home for Mutuwillow.” Freya searched her mother’s eyes with despair in hers. “When will he return? When will I meet him?”

“I don’t know Freya. We are going to survive this. That I know.” Farida spoke between the sound of tremors vibrating beneath her feet.

It all began when Farida was pregnant with Freya over a decade ago. The world became plagued by mysterious violent land tremors with Mutuwillow in the center of it.

The first time the earth shook threatening to destroy the land, the villagers became consumed by chaos. They thought the ground was going to erupt and swallow the land. When the trembling finally ended, they all marched to the chief’s place seeking solace.

All eyes were now on Sege. He could feel the fear and desperation of his people in his heart. He was scared too. His chest tightened. He had just ascended the throne after his father’s passing. Sege was almost as clueless as the rest of them but this was not the time to be meek. He needed to show bravery in the face of adversity.

“Oya! Summon Moko,” he ordered.

His guard, a heavily built young man with dark shiny skin bolted into the surrounding forest.

The daunting silence mixed with an eerie air that smelled of sand and fresh grass gave way to the jingling of the seer’s staff. All eyes were now on Moko.

As if they also possessed the power to interpret the stones, the villagers fixated intently on the wriggling bones in Moko’s palm. His eyes turned white as he entered into a short trance. The tension grew louder.

When Moko roused the color in his eyes returned. He looked pale like all the blood had been sapped out of his lean body. His lips parted before pouring out, “The trembling is only the beginning. The land will be consumed in a little over a decade. This world as we know it will be destroyed for a new era to flourish somewhere.”

“Ahh.” Choruses and whispers filled the air as it turned instantly cold for the people of Mutuwillow.

“Is that all the gods say? They'd wipe us away just like that to create another world. I thought that they were merciful gods?” The chief spoke with a hint of rage in his voice.

Farida drew closer and put her hand on his back. “You must not lose it in front of the entire village.” She whispered.

“That is all the bones say.” Moko packed his bones in a cow skin pouch and made to leave.

Weeks passed and the rumbling reverberating beneath the earth grew wilder each day. The Garks had also begun fleeing Mutuwillow one by one.

“Do you think they sense the imminent danger?” Farida pressed her bulging belly against Sege’s bare back and sniffed him as he stared at the mountains overlooking Mutuwillow. The mountain was once decorated with dozens of Garks that stood with pride flapping bronze sun-kissed wings. The Garks were giant mystical birds thought to be ancestors that guarded the village. The glorious sight used to be the spectacle of the Mutuwillow. Now, only one Gark lay brooding on a rock.

“How can they not? The world is a mess right now. They are flying to the heavens. To safety.”

Freya turned Sege and pulled him to face her. Her big round eyes met his deep set. “I have an idea,” she blurted.

Sege caught the beam in her eyes. “What now Farida?” Exhaustion laced his deep tone.

“I know the Gods have been silent but the Garks. ..We can use them. You said it yourself, they are returning to the heavens. They could be our gateway to a new world and a new life.”

“Are you out of your mind? Do you think we can just ride Ka’a into the heavens? We are a whole clan. Besides, no mortal has ever made it to the heavens alive. We would have to be dead. And like you, Ka’a is with child.” Sege searched his wife's eyes.

“Not all of us. One of us can go for an exploration first before we take turns. I can speak to Ka’a. I know she will listen.” Farida averted her eyes from Sege to Ka’a. Conviction and determination filled her. Farida had inherited an ancestral power from her mother. She possessed The ability to listen and talk to animals in a way that their spirits connected.

Days passed and Farida managed to convince Sege of her plans. Sege had agreed on one condition. That he would be the one to go for the exploration of the heavens.

The day came filled with mixed emotions that almost sounded like sonorous songs in the air. The villagers had gathered to bid their chief farewell. On the mountain stood Farida and Sege. Farida rubbed Ka’a’s metallic wings before leaning into the avian. She closed her eyes and spoke some words into Ka’a’s ears. The bird blinked once before she began flapping her wings. Farida stepped away and nodded to Sege.

Sege sighed heavily as he held his wife in an embrace before kissing her round protruding belly. “I shall send you a star when I finally find a home for you, our baby, and the people.” He tried to lighten the tension that was forming between them.

Farida let a tear drop. “Go my love.”

Sege gathered himself and mounted Ka’a. With his head held high, he looked over his people and made a fist. Ka’a began flapping to the sky.

The villagers roared feigning strength. Like holding on to a thread. The fate of Sege’s exploration had become the only hope the people held on to. A hope for a new world.

“Mother look. There is a tear” Freya pointed at the sky.

Farida looked up at the strange occurrence. She rose to her feet. Farida and Freya watched as something twinkling dropped through the tear in the sky.

Freya quickly ran to the spot. Gleaming, she retrieved a little twinkling star in her palm. Suddenly, the sky rumbled announcing the arrival of a Gark. Majestically, it descended to the earth and landed softly on the Ground.

Freya Marveled and tears poured out from her eyes. She recognized the bronze wings but this young bird wasn't Ka’a. It was her offspring that had come to take them to the heavens.

“He has found a new home for us,” she kept whispering, holding Freya in a tight embrace.

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