Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ana-Asef (Sorry)

PROMPT: The bag was empty except for a smudged, slip of paper which said, “Sorry.” 

Marilla stared at the eloquently formed letters and allowed an angry, self pitying tear to slip down her face. The bag she held was empty, except for that smudged slip of paper on which the words “Sorry” said far more than her society dared allow.
A dry wind languished around her ankles as she heard the autumn leaves rustle outside and the door quietly close. Her lone, constant companions solid presence behind her both comforted and angered her. Despite her advanced age, Jhodis withered hand clasped strongly around hers and took the slip of paper away. “Don’t judge your mother. She is doing what she needs to . As are you.”
Marilla flung the gaudy market bag down. Although a woman of high status, who personally upheld the cities inquisitor laws, Marillas mother had found a way to maintain both societal rules and her family bonding through this coded warning. A further tear threatened to spill over the closely guarded barrier Marilla had built against gossip and discovery.  How her own mother could do  this, after all the trials and coldness she had already endured in front of her family to given the opportunity to rejoin them next month. She aught to have suspected she would not be welcomed back; not after the grim expression her mothers face had taken after her last visit and inspection.
“Lady Marilla. We need to get out. Your mothers message is clear. City Sentinels are on their way.”
Chubby hands clung to Marillas milk-white smooth knees. A little face pushed his sticky mouth along her calf.  “Mumma?”  Marilla brushed the tear away as she swept down to pick her son up and hugged him tightly. She whirled him about and sat on an overstuffed couch; toppling the pillows and other bedding objects to the floor.  Sparse but exquisite furniture within her apartment echoed the once richly decorated interior, a constant reminder of how her family cut her off financially for her decisions. Marilla buried her face into Turions squirming, giggling form, breathing in his sweet child perfume. “I would never betray you Turion. Not my own blood.”
“I have some satchels packed; for a situation such as this. But we must leave now Marilla.” With the help of one of the cities only legal midwives, Marilla had hidden Turions existence through her pregnancy and now for nearly two years, until it was clear that his legs weren’t ever going to be perfect and that no matter what she did, he would never be able to be introduced into court or her world.  She allowed another tear for his sake to trickle down her face. For the sake of a limp he would be sentenced to expulsion from the Citadel, to make what life he might in the outer realms.  Alone. Depending on the leniency of the Three Judges, her own fate might not fare any better, especially as she had hidden his malformed existence for so long.
She’d never questioned the priesthood's teachings on the Way of Life until she felt a new one move inside her. Women of her social stature were chosen to carry the next perfect generation where every embryo  was  genetically manipulated and the final design passed by the council before implanting. At each stage of pregnancy, it is reviewed, manipulated and rejected if not perfect. At the time ordained by the high priests, the new life is surgically removed and raised by The Nursery until they are nine months old. Its only then that the are returned to the mother to be raised in the ways of the Citadel.  One chance encounter; one passionate night; and Lady Marillas well planned life had the opportunity to change.  Marilla chose not to terminate, initially out of denial, then as a stand against her alotted destiny as she began to question the teachings of the Citadel priesthood.
Jhodis arms opened and beckoned the boy to her. “Not a moment longer, or these past eighteen months will be for nothing. Come I’ll hide you in the lower city. They won’t ever suspect a Lady to consider going there.”
“And from there?”
“Its enough we get you and Turion out of the high city safely. We can plan the future later; but you need to come now, if Turion is to have one at all.”

As part of my creative process, I have undertaken a challange ( inspired by fellow writers Paul, Jodi and Ben) to sketch once a day before I being writing.  This is an image which came to me of Turions Mother and part of her story came to me as I drew.  More of my drawings can be found daily posted here and more of Turions story here.  Though I hope this story stands by itself and remains a comment on the outrageous birthing issues which exist at the moment.


Adam Byatt said...

It has echoes of Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale" and Huxley's "Brave New World" with some sinister undertones that would make for a wonderful novel.

~willow~ said...

I'll have to look up more of Turion's tale.. one of these days! As a standalone, this certainly gives a great peek into a very interesting world, that has me recalling the movie Gattaca.

M. D. Benoit said...

This is obviously part of a larger story, one I missed the beginning of. You've portrayed well the despair and anger of the woman and her sense of protectiveness towards her son. The tone is a bit melodramatic, but nothing that can't be fixed in a rewrite. Is this entry part of a planned novel?

Chris Chartrand said...

Great story. I think it does stand on its own. I'm always amazed when I read what you and Jodi write with regard to what is happening with birthing issues. Your drawing is great too. A great way to get the creative juices flowing.

terryhaferkamp said...

I was disappointed when it ended. You left me wanting to read more. As a previous comment was made, it can stand alone but it would be ashame to leave it that way.

brookelyn said...

entertaining concept to ponder. almost like a 1984 type scenario based in the womb. i enjoyed this.

Cat Russell said...

You managed to weave an entire world and backstory into just a few words. Bravo.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Sad that, even in the realm of science fiction, we are judged by our physical selves.
A city lost because of a limp.
Nice story, Annie. Thanks.