Gunkai Land


Waiting for my train at the subway, I watched passersby with such an uncanny interest. Young and old passengers. Passengers of life too. The holiday comes with everyone bustling and seeming to catch up with their destination. Everyone with nothing really in common except for being in the same place at the same time.

I thought about my destination too and where life had carried me thus far. I was a passenger too merely drifting in time with a void so deep. No amount of friends, studying or partying ever seemed to fill up that hollow space inside of me.

I always felt lost and out of place. Ever since I was a child, my mother told me I was a special gift. She said it was the reason she took me faraway from the Gunkai land.

The Gunkai were a relatively small but strong ethnic community within the shull island.Very traditional, they held on to a very stale legend of centuries ago about the blues and the Fountain of youth. The legend held two tales.

Some Gunkais said that the blues were evil and from out of this world. They came with their pale blue skin, jet Black hair, and incredibly strong physique. They invaded the land and killed most of it's inhabitants because of it's fountain of youth.

For fear of their lives, the surviving Gunkais had to move deeper into the island, away from the fountain to settle. It was believed that the fountain had the power to preserve youthfulness when used wisely.

Others maintained that their ancestors were the blues themselves but they somehow lost that progeny due to greed, lust and selfishness. they worshipped the Fountain of youth so much so that fights began to erupt. There was so much bloodshed over the fountain and so it started to dry out. The people started to have offspring that had brown skin and attributes like the inhabitants of the earth. They claimed it was a curse. The fountain slowly disappeared leaving barren land behind.

My mother never failed to remind me of my roots. She told me about both tales while growing up and I always found it laughable. There were no accounts of such mystery anywhere in the history of the world and the stories always made me cringe.

She decided to stay faraway for a long time. We only visited the island twice when I was a child. She said they treated her badly because she got pregnant for me as a teenager. However, I always felt the constant longing and need to be there and learn more about the people.

I was supposed to visit my mother and spend the holidays with her but the emptiness in my soul wouldn't let me be free. When I informed her about my decision to go to the island instead, she wasn't very happy about it just as I guessed.

In true sense, I also didn't want to have that conversation with her. I was six months pregnant and not yet ready to tell her about it until it felt right.

I was off the train to the the island at 6pm. The rest of the journey to my maternal village had to be by water. I took a cab to the boatside and boarded a boat to shull island. I felt a mixed reaction of peace and tension as a chill ran down my spine.

The baby kicked me hard. I had only eaten a piece of sandwich for breakfast earlier. I rubbed my belly as I watched the cool water silently. I didn't know what to expect but I remained positive. The doctors had informed me that my child had a rare genetic disorder. Something they hadn't seen before in the history of medicine.

Locating my grandmother's house wasn't as hard. She lived quite close to the water plus I had a retentive memory from childhood. Nothing around there had changed.

I walked by an old and frail woman. She wore traditional Gunkai garment. Her hair was entirely grey and seemed to be flowing without any force of wind. She held a staff that had inscriptions on it. I could feel her eyes all over me. Suddenly her eyes turned completely white and she started chanting words in ancient Gunkai tongue. People stopped to look and it was almost like the earth stood still.

“She has brought them to us”
“They have returned”

I kept looking back as I made my way to my grandmother's place. My Grandma's house still looked the same from when I remembered it. Nothing had changed. She still maintained her old hut with strong symbols. She looked so pleased to see me. Her beautiful smile revealed all the fine lines of wrinkles that adorned her face. She had beautiful dimples just like my mother.

We were having dinner when someone clapped twice by the other. That was the Gunkai way of making a presence known. My grandmother clapped back and went for the door. I recognized the visitor. It was the old lady from earlier. They had a brief conversation in almost whispers I couldn't make out anything they said.

“That was the priestess”. It was the thing she said after dinner.

Days and weeks passed. I grew more and more into the people and culture. Apart from the occasional stares, everything felt rich and fulfilling. I was having an exotic moment of my life until I decided to visit the old fountain place.

On my way there, I bumped into the priestess. I had become used to her attitude towards me. This time, she didn't say a word. She looked directly at my bulging belly, stomped her staff and walked away.

As soon as I stepped on the dried up land, a strange sensation gripped me. The sky turned blue and an eerie wind filled the air. My stomach tightened and I experienced pain I had never felt before. It was the baby! Coming months early. I screamed until help came.

In no time, my baby boy came bouncing out right in the middle of the fountain of youth. He came out with pale blue skin and jet black hair. Everyone that came to help backed off. There was so much terror in their eyes but I felt and overflow of peace cuddling my newborn to my chest.

“She has brought them to us”
“They have returned”

I turned to see the priestess standing above me.

“Has the evil found its way back or has our bloodline returned to us? Only time will tell which tale is true.” Her eyes turned white as she slowly walked away with her grey hair flowing.

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