Chapter 8

Written by: Lrennes

Angelica sat in the sand at a small clearing at the edge of her hut, weaving a mat out of palm leaves. She had learned the skill from the other women in the community, and had taken to it with enthusiasm. She found that the task induced a cathartic, trance-like state in her. It helped quell the painful memories of the life she had left behind, relegating them to a place in her mind where they no longer felt as visceral.

She had forgotten all about the reason she had come here in the first place, and had now forsaken ideas of grant applications, research papers and the quest for academic success. Of course, she would never stop observing and taking notes, but the serene life and the mental stability it provided had become the most important thing to her.

She stopped for a moment to peer out at the ocean ahead of her, glimmering in the newly released sunshine. Miniature waves made a gentle lapping sound as they fell onto the wet sand before receding back into the sea from which they had come. The air was damp and still heavy with the moisture from the storm. As the sun pulled it up into the sky, it brought the smell of sand and flora along with it.

“Kohana,” a voice came from somewhere to Angelica’s left.

She turned, startled from her pensive moment to find the girl whose eyes she had caught previously.

“What?” Angelica replied. She had become reasonably comfortable with the language, but she was unfamiliar with the word.

“Kohana,” the girl repeated, bobbing her head forwards, as if to push the meaning of the word into Angelica’s. Her eyes were wide with worry. It was an expression which she had not seen here before.

“I don’t understand?” Angelica replied in the native language. She reached out a hand and beckoned the girl over with a flick of her wrist.

Hesitantly she came closer.

“You’re not safe,” the girl explained, peering down at Angelica with a face full of concern.

The rarity of the girl’s disposition caused Angelica’s brow to furrow.

“What do you mean? Why not?”

“Kohana!” the girl exclaimed again. “The world is restless, it needs to be calmed.”

“What do you mean calmed?”

The girl knelt down into the sand beside her, bringing her eyes in line with Angelica’s.

“The world is restless,” she repeated, thrusting her finger out over the sea. Dark clouds could be seen in the distance; the remnants of the departed storm. “That is how it tells us it is unhappy. We need to heal it.”

“Heal it?” Angelica asked. Her eyes beginning to narrow. She put the half-finished matt on the ground. “Heal it how?”

“When the world is damaged, it needs to be healed.” She poked an identifying finger into Angelica’s arm. “With a Kohana. With a life.”

“And… I’m a Kohana?”

The girl nodded.

The meaning of the word finally dawned on her.

“Kohana, it’s a sacrifice?”

Comments

That was a real surprise but an amazing way to unsettle Angelica's comfortable way of life. The story picked up on the themes really well. The use of dialogue is well managed with short pieces. The exposition expanded on the dialogue and the dialogue added to the exposition enhancing description. Neither could have been substituted.