Older Gods 6
What are the ties that bind a life to other lives? We, whose love was leashed so many years, looked back with longing at the fading shore when we first took flight, and we were drawn back in like kites in the eager hands of children when the evening breeze stills and the call for supper comes.
And so the tether that turned your head, blood calling to blood, your mother in the deeper shadow beneath the palm tree.
Nor were we yet accustomed to our shared physicality. You turned to look, I missed a step, you stumbled, I tripped and fell, your hand slipped from my hand, a spear pierced my thigh, you screamed, I added my plea to the imperative still singing in every sinew. “Go.” You stretched for me as blue blood sprayed the sands which birthed our hearts and where they had burst with longing. My body begged you stay while every sense said, “Go” and “Go.”
Past times our eyes in human form had found each other’s eyes across crowds and tides and distances. Perfected now and paired they locked for a fateful instant as the fishing net descended and trapped you underneath.
Chance, instinct or cruelty made them keep us apart and locked in darkness. Your leg ached with my wound; my head throbbed with the stunning blow that silenced your appeals. We crouched by the northern walls of our separate cells, blood still beating to our God’s instruction, craving the lost proximity that made us as we were.
Relentless, they questioned us, two beings reminiscent of those who fled across the sea, found by the body of the patriarch, and captured trying to flee. But not as they had known us, naked, shimmering blue, some of what was once in me, now found in you, and you in me. Alien but familiar, terrifying and similar, and stained with remembered shame.
Those devoted to the new God’s cause, the vain pursuit of more possessions, gaped unbelieving that there was indeed an older God, one in whom we must have once believed, and seeing fervour fading from the eyes still filled with grief, cried “treason” and “apostasy” and bid us to be burned.
How weak the ties when faith is lost or doubt sprays its venom deep within the chambers of the heart. My sister whispered once my name, your mother bowed her head and turned away.
They bound us back to back within a pyre, and though we twisted north against the binding knots we could not fly. Your hand brushed against my hand. Our fingers found each other, and the power shared between us flared back into life. We feared no fire, no simple flesh were we, the heat that blistered wood and pulled the fibres free was reflected back by our blue blood, the light, too bright to watch directly, sucked in as sustenance. Hemp charred and parted, we wrenched ourselves out of the conflagration, leapt into the sky, cried “no more,” and “let us be,” before we soared away, hand gripped in grateful hand into the clouds and out of sight of land.
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