Sunday, 1 July 2012

Week 3: "Negative Space" - Andrew

He stood by the entrance of the tent, that space of undefined territory of not being inside, yet not being expelled to the darkness. The tent was filled with no wood or stone. Soft surfaces of the now-skinless beasts were a luxury which he could afford. At the corner of the tent where she was laying, no darkness could be found. The lamps and luminous bottled insects had exorcised the darkness yet from where he stood, no light had graced his presence. He did not want to intrude, but he was still too worried to stand outside in the engulfing nothingness. Her screams had transcended the portrayal of pain; they had become grotesque. And rather than causing woe, her pain felt like a black hole at the centre of his being, right in the centre of his chest where she had rested her head the night before. As her wails continued, it emptied him of his soul, leaving only a pale membrane of skin and hope.
                Defying the orders of the midwife, he took a step inside. Just a step. Just enough to show he cares enough to be present, but not too much in case he hindered the process. The first signs of crowning became apparent as the midwife continued to command her, despite the profanities that she directed at everyone in the tent. The crowning continued and her handsome face was reduced to whimpering and a look of being hopelessly hopeful during the intervals of winces.
                The babe was delivered as the sixth moon eclipsed the fourth, at the hour of complete silence of the insects and beasts. The babe was loud, its cry breaking the rigid soundlessness of the tent. My eyes were open but they saw nothing. With each intake of breath my lungs felt no relief. Her pain had drained me and her death had emptied me.
                The babe was an ugly thing. She had told me to expect a phoenix, a beautiful bird full of fiery liveliness, but this creature entered the world in blood. The babe smelled of it, that pungent scent of the dead and the dying. How suitable, he thought. Removing his eyes from the now ugly, mangled corpse, his eyes drifted down as the midwife handed him the cleaned baby. Its fluorescent purple eyes were intoxicating to an addictive degree. The moons flew and the suns rose and all he had done was look at her, and all she had done was exist. Time was all he had in this respect; time had been taken from him in another.
                He foresaw a great huntress in her, for her skin was soft yet her grip was firm. He entertained thoughts of them hunting together for a while, until his stomach growled like a beast of his imagining. He closed his eyes for a minute and could imagine the soft, bloody meat covering his tongue; the rapids of salt-filled blood flowing throughout his mouth as he ground the meat between his teeth. He decided it was time to eat as the baby began to cry (from what he thought must be hunger) and realised...

What do babies eat?

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