The issue of what was expected of her came up at table – again. Iva rolled her eyes from her hidey-hole under the stairs. She didn’t really care what their expectations for her were – she wouldn’t be here when the time came to deliver on them anyway – but she had to hear, had to listen to every word said. One day, the right word would become, and she could release the shackle on her mind – and run. Like hell was on her tail. As it would be.
First, she needed to find that word. Everywhere she looked, she could smell a trace of it, a single molecule of it in the air filled with other aromas and sensations. But she knew which one to look for; knew which one held the power. And it was the only one. She was a singular, and the word that locked her into this realm was also a singular. It would be the only singular word in this world – and it was here, like a ball and chain on her soul.
How many years had passed – with her in the shape of a child – before she realised she was a prisoner? Hundreds? Dozens? Millennia? She would never know. Each time the third moon rose into the blackness of the silent second moon, the rulers of her prison wiped her mind.
Well, they thought they wiped her mind. They didn’t know about the tiniest little place she’d made in the centre of all her being where the egg of her soul rested. She’d learned how to do this from the books they gave her to read – as if she truly were a child to get learning on things that didn’t and wouldn’t ever matter to her. Normal.
Now she knew, Iva could emerge after the cleansing to refresh her memories to what they were before the moon-wipe.
Now, she remembered.
Now, she simmered with the cruelty of her enslavement and the need to be different.
That moon, that third moon that was invisible to the eye of a mere mortal; it gave her something – and it called to her like a true parent. The keening wail was etched into her heart, and even in her hidden mind she could see her arms reaching up, waiting to be lifted into the air by a loving parent.
That moon was due to rise again. What they expected of her, what they would order Iva to do – would be irrelevant if she wasn’t here because she knew the word.
It floated above her head in a teasing gesture of a childish game. If she lifted her arms, it would disappear. If she stood, it would fly away. Iva opened her mind and invited it in, and it came, and it became, and Iva was no more.
Copyright Karel Jaeger 2017.