Category Archives: slavery

Antierra Manifesto-Blog post #8 – Tiegli

[begin blog post #8]

Chapter 5 –  “Tiegli”

 “One must be poor to know the luxury of giving” (George Eliot)

He knows nothing of love, just fucking and that’s fine by me under the circumstances.  He responds to his lust stirred by my overwhelming desire for sexual release and finds his satisfaction.  When it’s over for him, it’s over and I’m left with an incredible ache of in-completion.  ‘Damn you!’ I think.  Hiding my shaking hands by pressing them hard into my stomach I wait as he slips his white robe on and directs me outside.  He calls to another man sitting perfectly still on a stone bench against the wall to my right.  He is wearing a white tunic uniform and apparently reading on a slate.  To me he appears as an extremely handsome man, taller than the doctor when he stands up from his reading to acknowledge the doctor with a quick wave of his hand, an unusual greeting or signal, the arm bent at the elbow, the forearm extended forward and the hand, facing down, moved stiffly and rapidly across the body and back.

They speak low, the uniformed one casting probing looks in my direction.  I am the intense subject of their discussion.  Leaving me standing there they walk across the yard and through a heavy stone door that opens and shuts automatically and silently.  I am left confused and utterly exhausted with my slashed arm throbbing horribly despite the doctor’s assurances that everything is fine; that it’s only a flesh wound.

With nothing better to do, knowing I can’t walk anywhere without some male escort, I focus on that new character, the white tunic.  What role does that one play, I wonder?  It surprises me that in such a black-white, cartoon-like world that so much still happens behind the scenes – so much that all the research I did on this world and my painstaking efforts to duplicate my future experiences here come to practically nothing in actuality.  You can study a thing until you go blind and still, until you experience it, you really know nothing about it.  I realize it’s fear that makes my mind wander thus but I cannot help it.  I have to “grow” into this place or it is going to rob me of my sanity.

Forget all that you know, or think you know.  Such is my life now: a blank followed by a question mark!  I wonder at the value of past life memories.  How can they help one when thrust into an alien power structure?  Yet, what else have I got here?  I was warned I would get no “off-world” help while I remained here.  I’m the only source of all my thoughts and all the decisions I make.  The right and wrong of it all, it belongs to me alone.  I can agree with what I do, or I can judge and condemn myself.  Still, I must live or die by my own choices. 

Ah, choices!  I remember my long-ago discussions with friends on the subject of free choice; how I insisted there is no such thing.  Indeed, if nothing else, Malefactus is proving that I was unfortunately correct on that point.

My handlers (guards or trainers, I still can’t quite sort them out) finally remember to come for me.  I am ordered to wash in a wash trough then I am served a meal, alone, by a kitchen slave girl.  I realize I am famished and the food tastes good to me.  After I eat I’m taken inside the cage area and shoved into one of the cages where a woman is sitting.  She is typically broad shouldered with a thick, short neck and her pale, almost white flesh is covered with scars.  She is bald; one eye almost shut and her left ear is missing entirely.  Her right breast has a deep scar from a cut through it and the nipple is missing.  She looks up at me and smiles a crooked, gap-toothed smile.  She reaches over and touches me with her right hand. She is missing two fingers there also.

Female gladiators do not have names, just physical descriptions and fighting titles.  She is “The Crone” being the oldest surviving female in the line-ups.  No point asking how long she has been here, the brands tell that story accurately enough.  Hers tell me when she was born (1303, bred fighter class 04)  The next line indicates she’s been in this compound since 1316 and according to my brand it’s now 1328.  That’s twelve years of surviving hundreds of encounters; of fights to the death. 

When they turn off the lights we lie down side by side, holding each other and although I desperately want to sleep she insists on telling me her story. 

“Why did they put me with you?”  I whisper to her.

“For me, a favour by guard, one night.  Accept?  I speak with you,” she whispers back, “tell something very important for us.” She grabs my wrist as if to impress her thoughts through my flesh, “You know we have no name?  Fighters have no names?  But I have name, real name!”  Proud she sounds even in her whispering.  She points at herself.  “Tiegli – and it has meaning too.  Undaunted.  No Man hears this name, but all fighters here have, and they have much envy my luck.  Some they fight with this name – very strong name.  Also mean fearless.  I live this name, many years. 

“Listen: there is big fight tomorrow and die with four women escape to desert and bring back – you know this.  Tomorrow is killing orgy.  No fighter live after this no matter how many of men we kill.  They just come more and more.  We weaken with losing blood and so tired we can not hold weapon or stand.  Then they kill.  Sometimes give rape if we still have enough life, much hurt they give before we die – revenge for men we kill – ritual.  Vengeance ritual.”

Her story is short.  At age of ten she has already been sent off from her crèche to be trained as a fighter and is being held for auction in a female child compound.  There is a raid that turns into a blood letting until the besieged make peace by offering their attackers the “contents” of their female compound.  Now both sides fall upon the hapless females.  Tiegli is taken by a couple of young brothers and hidden.  They hope to keep her alive long enough to sell her on the black market that flourishes in certain parts.  They stuff her in a pack bag and from a tear in the side she is able to observe everything that takes place as the young girls are raped and killed, some tortured viciously.  She sees her best friend gang raped then cut open across the stomach.  She throws up inside the bag and forces herself to pass out.

As a bag of grain stuffed in a pack, making no sound and no demands for food or water, surviving the heat in her vomit and excrement, she is bounced along for two days strapped to a harness carried by male slaves.  She is taken out during a violent storm in between suns twilight, staked out in the rain to wash where she is inspected, haggled over and sold to buyers from Hyrete – the fortified city we are in now.  Hyrete is a major center of commerce and entertainment in Elbre, but also distinguished by being the capital city of the kingdom of the royal house Tassard. 

So the people of Elbre are called the Tassardi.   The only other major “kingdom,” actually a so-called unified republic ruled by an oligarchy of merchant houses, is Estáan.  The people there are known as Estáani.  While complete enmity officially exists between these empires and dependencies, there is much slave trade between them.  As elsewhere, business knows how to take advantage of enemies as well as friends.  The bottom line remains the bottom line.  Trade is good.  War is even better.  First and foremost, profit.  Then whatever.

During her training in Hyrete there is an uprising while a multi-event killing orgy is taking place.  She is taken by the group of rebels and with male help and the use of two stolen “carriers” they flee into the desert.  The rebel leader baptizes her and gives her the name of Tiegli.  When they are captured, as inevitably happens, the ring-leaders are executed by torture and she is returned to the compound.  They cut off her ear and shave her head.  She would never be allowed to grow her hair again.  She is entered in her first fight much too young and almost killed.  Fortunately her opponent is a young foolish buck with little experience.  She barely manages to bring him down and the fight is terminated before she has to kill him.  After this, it’s just fight after fight, kill after kill.  From training/holding compound to the arena and back.

“Why do they do this?” I ask.  “Why do they fight you if they know they will get killed?” 

She chuckles in the dark and pinches me, “They say honour but mostly is money.” 

“Honour?”  I ask.  “How can there be honour in killing a woman, or being killed by one?”

Another chuckle, “You not know these things?  Some, we say you from the land, the rock of T’Sing Tarleyn.  Some, we say you Desert Beast rise from desert sand, come to help women.  Some, we say you from other world.  We know only this world.  Are people up there?”  She grabs my wrist tighter and lifts my hand upward so I understand what she means.  You tell, not lie to Tiegli, please.”

“No, not lie.  I will tell you but you must answer my question first.  About honour.”

“Everybody is enemy; someone is enemy of someone.  Women most dangerous enemies because men attracted to woman sex and lose fighting power.  So young boy must kill female as proof he free of female weakness.  Boy is given young girl – sometime older woman no good no more – to kill.  Rite of passage to be man.  Necessary or boy killed too.  They always must … hmmm… show power to hate and do by shouting and killing.  Also must kill enemy.   Boys go to great hunts in big desert” (I note she points to the south) “and where high mountains live.  After big desert and mountains there is green land of grass and short trees that make tent” (I cannot make her explain further – canopied tops of leaves that deflect water or sunlight?) “In that away far land they kill wild beasts or take wild black people for slaves if they find,” and she points to the only dark-skinned woman I’ve seen, a young woman whom they nickname “The Brute” sitting and rocking herself in a near-by cage.  “She harvested when very young.  They train, she good killer.  Dangerous.  Something wrong in head.”

She continues with her story and I try not to interrupt her. 

“Sometime, yes?  They make large group, many weapons (I gather she means armies) attack other group, city.  Much die in what called raids.  Sometime fight group join enemy group in wild celebration after battle.  Compounds full of females they raid to rape and kill and if “evil juice” is found men become like Warris (which she describes to be wild peoples of the south lands who practice cannibalism) and cook female bodies to eat. I, Tiegli, know.  Saw, smelled the flesh, even I get hungry from smell.  This I see when taken.” 

[end blog post #8]

 

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The Antierra Manifesto – [Blog post #7]

[Begin blog post #7]

Chapter 4 – First Fight

You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.    (Unknown)

I wish I could say I walk to the arena without trepidation, in full confidence of my ability to defend myself against a single male opponent.  But I cannot.  I am afraid.  I can hear the cheers as two handlers lead me down a dark, damp underground tunnel.  My opponent – challenger- must already be down there, showing off for his friends and perhaps family, such as family can mean on this world.  Father?  Brothers?  Other male relatives?  Oh, the sadness of it; the utter hopelessness of this.  Why would I choose such a place to work with?

Again I repeat my mantra against fear, less successfully, and we pass through an automatic door to emerge in a brightly lit area.  I become embarrassingly aware of my nakedness and the chains that bind my wrists behind my back.  I have been told my weapons would be waiting for me but how can I trust these people?  What if I’m being led there just to be slaughtered helplessly by that malevolent fop who tried to crush my jaws with his vicious grip?  To be subdued and raped publicly, as I know they do in some of their killing rituals?  Surely they are capable of anything, any sort of treachery.  Would it be treacherous in their minds to trick a slave?  Of course not.

My two handlers open a steel grated gate also by remote control and I step into the low arena floor proper.  I’m temporarily blinded by bright light, not only that of the sun at high noon, but by brightly lit plasma lighting tubes surrounding the entire small walled and fenced yard.  Tiered seats, what we called bleachers or stands on Old Earth, are filled almost to capacity by men in wildly coloured attires, resembling that worn by my challenger yesterday. 

I am brought to the center of the ring to be greeted with jeers, catcalls, whistles and lewd shouts and gestures.  The fop pretends not to notice me, but continues his prancing and playing with his swords, making them flash in the lights to the delight of at least one vocal section of this crowd.  His supporters?  Where are mine?  Right!

I’m finally unchained, after a stern warning and being shown where guards stand with lasguns trained on me with orders to kill should I make any unauthorized move.  To my surprise, the “doctor” appears and carefully checks me over.  He takes my pulse and heart rate, entering these on his wrist com unit.  Again he looks me in the eyes and I react to his gaze: he wants me.  He hands me a supple piece of leather thong and indicates I should tie up my hair so I am not blinded while fighting or so as not to give the challenger an opportunity to topple me by grabbing my hair – and whispering in my left ear he says, “He was going to use your hair against you and also his dagger is drugged.  Be careful.  I will see you after the fight and patch you up if needed.  Take care.  Don’t let us down,” and nodding towards the challenger he adds, “it’s your mandate to kill him – we want him dead.”

Who are “we” and why do they want this particular individual killed?  Another aspect of my status of slave I have to learn.  I can be given any sort of order by anyone in authority over me (which translates as any male, basically, except my officially sanctioned opponent) and I must do my utmost to deliver.  I do not need to know any of the reasons why I should do whatever it is I am asked to do.  My function is to obey without ever questioning any of it.  Silence and obedience. In this case, not obeying means death so not much choice there.

Now a man in a red robe which I was to learn is called a weapons judge leads me to a small stand at the opposite end of the squarish yard from which I entered.  There I’m told to buckle on my dagger belt.  I tie up my hair as tight to my head as I can.  I heft the rapier but without any obvious theatrics.  I must appear totally humbled and look as if I’m here to die, not to kill.  No sound must I make and no shout will I utter if I kill the challenger.  All I will feel will be the unified surge of hatred and lust for revenge from every spectator, bar none.  I am the alien, the enemy, the one to be defeated, humiliated and killed.  Were it not for the gambling, and the simple fact that we are worth much to our owners, no gladiator would ever leave these arenas alive.  The crowd would rush through the defences and tear her to pieces if she won.  Such is the way of their mindless, programmed hate. 

A single trumpet blows.  As instructed, I take my position at the marked center of the ring.  I face my opponent now.  He’s removed all his clothes as well, since he must match the slave’s attire and weaponry.  He has an enormous erection and I’m surprised at the amazing musculature his ridiculous attire had hid.  I feel another shaft of fear go through me – even though I’m not at all afraid to die.  It’s something else, something dark, ancient, atavistic, some raw memory that tries to take over my mind.  I fight off a moment of vertigo and regain some of my composure.  The yells and shrieks of the crowd seem to fade into the background until I can hear my opponent breathe and my heart beat.  I’m finding a center of balance, certainly, but it isn’t really mine.  I’m being controlled by a force I did not expect and cannot push away.

Another, shriller trumpet blows.  I feel his rapier slash through the air rather than see it and easily bend out of its way, thrusting with mine toward his loins.  This takes him by surprise, just enough that I nick his thigh.  First blood drawn.  The crowd is standing, enraged.  Kill her!  Kill her!  Kill her!  Deafening chant of pronounced judgment.  He moves like a cat, stealthily and sure.  This man is certainly not here to die today.  He fully intends to bring me down slowly, tiring me by giving me false openings.  I realize he had let me cut him.  Let me feel the elation of first blood to create over-confidence and to draw the favour of the crowd to himself and rise on the power of their killing chant.  Blood: there must always be blood.  These men are raised upon the shedding of female blood and trained in feeding that ever-flowing river.

I begin to give way to him, backing around in a tight circle, parrying his thrusts, none of which are intended to kill outright.  He cuts me on my right arm as I lift it to balance my sword – clumsy.  Fortunately he does not know I’m fully ambidextrous and I switch sword hands – again surprising him.  He glares -likely visualizing the informer he has handsomely paid to supply him with crucial details of any surprise fighting tricks.  Someone’s in deep shit, I think and find myself smiling inwardly at the old Earthian saying.  At that moment everything changes.

I’m no longer a simple woman who would rather be sitting in a small home rocking her sleeping child.  I’m no longer the wandering Avatari seeking answers to existential question, or the philosopher she embodies.  I’m no longer an Altarian logician balancing equations to extract answers nor am I a slave fighting for her life in an alien arena confronted by a trained killer. 

I’m the green-eyed Desert Beast whose turn it is to challenge and taunt her prey.  No longer is the naked man attacking me a danger to me.  He’s a gift to me.  And I to him.  I will kill him and because I’m the Beast he will die honourably, according to their belief system.  And my task with the women will begin.  So I think.  So I must believe.

I project thoughts of my Desert Beast nature over to him and watch his face.  I see a subtle change on it and the not-so subtle effect of losing his erection.  He pales,  noticeable even on the white skin.  I see a profusion of sweat running down his torso and I smell his fear.  There is nothing for it now but to press my attack, parrying and moving in.  He jumps back, now on the defensive, and I know it’s no longer a ruse on his part.  He knows I do not fear him; that I’ve entered in a terrible, dark high that can only result in his death if he doesn’t kill me first.

For him the impossible has happened: he realizes (by force of the many superstitions that under-gird this society) that I have somehow incarnated that evil female Spirit, the green-eyed Beast of the Desert men somehow fear here.  He realizes, too late, he should not have challenged me.  He’d hoped that my clumsy attempts at avoiding my trainers’ thrusts and jabs in the training yard were proof of my total ineptitude in handling weapons.  He’d chosen the swords because they require the longest training and the most skill and dexterity.  And he’d made the most costly and last mistake of his short and pointless life. 

The power of the truth as he understands it makes him lose control.  In a desperate moment, knowing his rapier thrusts are outmatched, he reaches for his dagger.  At that moment I thrust my sword into his exposed throat, almost exactly as I had visualized the day before. 

It’s over.  There is a stunned moment of complete silence.  Seeing their  challenger is not going to stand, the crowd erupts in angry utterances.  Many spit in my direction as they leave.  I was to learn their hate did not come only from the killing of a man, but from loss of money in betting.  The odds in favour of their challenger winning had been astronomically high.  What does a just harvested ‘wild’ female know of sword play?  She should have provided the expected sport, been brought down in blood, raped, then while still alive, her extremities and limbs severed and thrown to the exuberant crowd.  I was to experience many such reactions in the months and years to follow.

I am led back down the same tunnel to our compound, only I am allowed to bear my weapons and am not chained.  In our section the “doctor” takes me in hand.  I remove my belt and hair thong.  He orders me to wash and has me brought to his office where we are left alone.  He puts a bandage on my arm, then undresses himself and makes love to me, as I expected he would.  I don’t want to feel what I feel but I am helpless.  After the fight, after seeing that naked man flaunting his erection at me then killing him, a new force has come over me; something to my mind horribly depraved, evil, yet utterly enjoyable.  Something of the preying mantis has awakened in my loins.  Now I enjoy it – him.  And I want it to continue… forever.  To forget everything and lose myself in this man. 

At this moment I realize what that fear was I felt just before the fight.  I feared most of all that I would enjoy myself, that I would find, in fighting for my life, defending myself and killing my opponent, a kind of mind soporific, a drug, which I would then use each time I entered the arena.  I could kill without feeling anything beyond the simple effects of receiving cuts and bruises in the flesh.  I would become a killer without compassion or sense of empathy.  I remembered I had passed through that stage before and it was still a part of me.  My sexual release with the doctor amplified this feeling: it was my “due” as the one who conquered to enjoy the ensuing pleasures of sex or drunkenness or both.  I did not want to remember that, but I did.  And he was there, conveniently, to ensure I did remember.

[end blog post #7]

The Antierra Manifesto – Blog post #6

(Continuing with the novel – thank you all for the likes, and the comments!)

[Begin blog post 6]

I begin training.  As I said, I top their tallest man by as much or more than a head and that annoys them because they have failed, on first contact, to intimidate me.  Well, I would have been properly intimidated if I’d known how, and how important it was to their ego that I be!

Now they have to cow me into submission before they put me on display in the arena.  Fighter slaves cannot display any air of pride or superiority.  They fight only because that is their purpose, and to survive another round; their sole reason to exist.  But I refuse to be intimidated.  I am clumsy with the weapons and receive many welts and light cuts. I am tricked into bad moves and tripped to guttural laughter but each time I come back up with increased resolve to get the hang of this hand-to-hand combat idiocy. 

I observe their moves and learn to parry quickly. After a while I go on the attack – and wished I’d been able to tie my hair back – it keeps getting in my face and obstructing my vision. 

An important looking type I take to be an overseer yells a command and three trainers attack me on every side.  I become exasperated by their relentless, persistent rushes and jabs.  One of them keeps jabbing at my still raw branding, laughing every time I wince.  He comes in with his head low and I lay him flat with a sudden and angry side-kick to the head – and where did that come from?  He drops and lays still, face down to the stones.  Weapons drop from his hands.  The other two stop in surprise and outrage.  The overseer yells another command and a man in a white robe runs out and officially terminates the training.  I watch as they roll him over to see a slackened jaw and no sign of life in the body. 

Not even allowed to clean myself up of sweat and blood or take a drink, my wrists are chained behind my back and I’m shackled to a steel post in the center of the yard.  I wait and finally slip down to sit on the cold flagstones whose edges are worn smooth by generations of bare feet running over and slipping on them. 

The usual line-ups for washing and eating take place but no one looks in my direction.  I am being studiously ignored.  No one brings me food or water.

There is a short period of darkness before the false sun, Albaral, rises above the stone battlements but all I hear is the occasional cry of a young woman’s nightmare in the cages.  In the wan light I look down and realize that what I’d thought earlier was some dark stain is dried blood, and it is not mine.

I feel my thirst and hunger; my bruises and cuts.  I feel the bite in the cooling night wind after the previous exertion.  My body shakes and my teeth chatter but I refuse to give in to self-pity.  These are not my feelings.  They belong to someone else.  I have no feelings.  I am not human.  I am a beast from the wilderness.  Think: you must survive this long enough to make some kind of impression upon these people.  Shock – you must shock them out of comfort, expectations and abject acceptance of the way things are.  You must shock yourself in what you can endure, learn and do.  Shock treatment in give and take.  You are a wild animal… I fall asleep to dream of teeth tearing into bare flesh – my teeth or my flesh?

Morning comes and two men come over to me, raise me, and unshackle me from the post.  I’m splashed with ice-cold water  – this seems to be some kind of ritual used to take away your last ounce of resistance.  Still in chains – so tight I cannot feel hands or arms, my hair dripping cold water down my back and front, I’m taken into another yard where a man wearing outlandish dress, a living expression of sartorial confusion, stands.  He turns to look at me.  I stand tall above him.  He reaches up and viciously pinches my face.  I jerk my face from his hand and get a flash of his eyes: they are filled with absolute malice.  He pokes at my goose-pimpled flesh and grunts then nods to some unseen other in a crude hover craft that floats over the ground.  I recognize an antiquated type of manually operated “skimmer” or repulsion-drive vehicle with covered seating for two.  He calls the vehicle over, “Bring the carriage!”  Carriage – what a wonderfully innovative language they have!

I’m taken away, back to the training yard, unchained and fed.  My hands are so numbed the servant girl has to feed me as I cannot hold anything.  There are no implements as normally we scoop whatever food is put in the light metallic bowls with our hands and use the bowls to drink liquids that remain.  So she just scoops the food into my mouth with her bare hand and holds the bowl up so I can drink.  When I’m done – we have a set time to eat – I look into her face to let her know I’m grateful.  She lowers her face to hide in her shoulder-length dark-brown hair and smiles sadly at me. 

The visions of brown-eyed, sad faced girls and young women of Malefactus, I think, will haunt my own visions forever. 

I stand and wait.  A handler in a skin-tight dark green uniform comes to me and tells me that because of my arrogance and my crime, I’m to enter the arena in two days, to die or claim my place in the line-ups.  For now it seems, my “training” is over.  It’s do or die.

“Speak?” I ask huskily.  Without express permission, speaking is considered an offense punishable by death.  He nods affirmatively.

“The man yesterday, what happened?”

“Remember never again ask questions.  He careless, now dead.  Kick broke neck.  Kick now permitted move on fighter list.  Good move, we like, not punished this time.”

“Thank you.”  I feel grateful so hungry do I find myself for any kind word; the irony of his claim that I would not be punished considering the night I just spent completely lost on me.  Much to learn, so much to learn.  To be grateful here is dangerous weakness.  What did he mean by “punished?”  Death by some kind of torture is my guess.  

I lower my eyes to the ground and sense they are pleased.  They have a new “secret weapon” which they hope will bring them fat tips and bribe money.  Yet I know that most of my “moves” were not based on trained skill but simple desperation, the advantage of size and speed and the unorthodox (totally unexpected – including by me!) quality of my fighting.  This could be detrimental should I tire myself out in real combat.  I must remember to maim and kill quickly and without any hesitation or qualm at the very first opportunity.  Can I do that?  Is this the woman who claimed compassion as her modus operandi?  How is it, I wonder, that humans that have gone through generations, centuries, countless lives, of civilizing, can so quickly return to their atavistic blood lust and do or die survival instincts?  Why is it so easy to move backward through time, so difficult to move forward?

In a way, the person I’d evolved into before this incarnation is quickly giving way to this new persona, this Antierra, female gladiator slave on Malefactus and that alters everything.  I know nothing of stack worlds theories or even of purpose at this moment.  I must bury any residual feeling of caring or compassion.  I am a killing machine, nothing else, until the day I am killed in turn.  I shall hold that day at bay for as long as possible, though it does not frighten me.  In my mind I repeat my old Earthian mantra against fear. 

Good! I say to myself in my silent dialogue, you have something to hold on to; you won’t get lost – not this day at least.  And for purpose and passion, let these come fresh to Antierra.   

The man who looked me over was to be my adversary, the “challenger.”  The next day he comes back to observe me again.  Before he can approach me, my wrists are again chained, so afraid are they I will charge him and maybe snap his neck or do some sort of damage.  They have to maintain my reputation for being “The Desert Beast” – and extremely dangerous: makes the pot go up.  I look at that adversary and pity him even though I feel no compassion for him – I cannot afford that at this stage of my game.  I watch as he chooses the swords as our weapons – such a choice being his prerogative.  Adversary and gladiator use the same kind of weapons in any given encounter, though I suspect, based on unasked for information from a trainer that the point on his short sword will have been poisoned or drugged.  I must be very sure never to give him the opportunity to pull it out of its sheath. 

As I watch him fondly handle the weapons, favouring the short sword, I already know how I will kill him.  He will switch his attention for a split second from the rapier to the dagger and I will spit him through the throat.  I feel so sure and so completely deadly — without passion – for beyond this first public kill lies everything I’ve planned to do in this place.   First step: survival. 

[End blog post #6]

The Antierra Manifesto – blog post #5

Continuing with the novel…

Begin blog post #5

Chapter 3 – Malefactus: The Basic Set-up – Learning to Survive

 “One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks; and as one walks, a path comes into being. We make it up as we go, and we make it up by going. (Rebecca Solnit)

Malefactus (my name for this world, the people here call it “T’Sing Tarleyn” (pronounced sintarn) meaning Land of Man)  is a world whose main ruling force can only be referred to as misogyny.  Men rule absolutely and hold all women, without any exception, in total bondage and slavery.  No one escapes, not even those rare ones who are chosen as concubines by the various classes of rulers.  If, or more likely when, his concubine no longer pleases him, he tires of her, or buys a new one to play with, he either kills her himself or has her trained as a gladiator to watch her fight until she is killed, sometimes by a friend to whom he owes a favour.  Sometimes he even does the ‘honour’ and challenges his own concubine to the death.  The outcome is always the same, of course: the concubine is killed.

It is illegal and a crime punishable by death for any man to ‘fall in love’ with a female.  As for the female, her feelings in the matter are not relevant unless she becomes a nuisance, refusing to do what she is ordered or gets pregnant.  Then she is flogged to death.  There are stories of the cruelty of the judges exceeding all bounds: pitting the lovers against one-another in the arena forcing them to fight each other to the death.  They have inducements that leave no choice in the matter, trust me on that.

There are four basic classes of female slaves with few variations.  They are:

Class 01.  Those who bear the children – the birth mothers.  That is their only function.  They are normally artificially impregnated and they give birth.  If they have healthy babies, they get to continue.  One who gives birth to a defective child is killed along with the child.  When they are too old to be birth mothers, they are killed.  Sometimes they are sent to the arena to be disposed of as entertainment value.  In some cases, and in full violation of their own statutes, high members of the aristocracy and royalty will impregnate a birth mother in order to ensure a son of their own loins.  If the intercourse produces a female she may be killed outright or class branded and sold to a crèche.

Class 02.  These are the common labour slaves commonly referred to as goras although that term can be applied to any female anywhere.  This class comprises the vast majority of females and are found everywhere, doing all the menial tasks required and expected by men.  The law is very explicit on this, that these women may never be “used” for sex and if one is raped and it is discovered, or she becomes pregnant, she is killed, along with the rapist if found, indicted and condemned.  Such a thing does happen rather frequently, as one would expect under the circumstances.  “Free” sex is not permitted between men and any class of goras (female slaves).  The reason is simple: men need their energy for fighting, or so it is believed and so it is taught to the boys.  The ‘no sex’ rule is, of course, blatantly violated at every turn: who would enforce it?

Class 03.  The third class of female slaves are the exclusive group of “entertainers” or sex slaves.  These are bred specifically for their attractive bodies and trained in an endless array of sexual skills, including verbal skills, or skill in voice pitch, words, and even foreign languages should some be needed for trading to an enemy for certain considerations, or in exchange for hostages.  Their training is rigorous and if they fail or are not bid for in a certain period of time they are sold as fodder for the arena slaughters.  They are primarily bid upon by the rich and the nobility but also by the merchant class and foreign ambassadors as personal servants or concubines for themselves or their masters.  The few concubines seen are usually from this class.  The lives of these women are short.  Many of these, after they have served their purpose also end their lives in the arena.

Class 04.  The most sought-after and exclusive class are the female gladiators usually referred to as fighters.  These are carefully bred and trained for the single purpose of meeting men in an arena and fighting them, always to the death (but every rule has its exceptions).  It is considered an honour for a man to kill a female gladiator in public and huge sums of money change hands in the crazy gambling that takes place before and during these hand to hand combats.  The female fighters, of course, get no recognition for bravery or endurance, though their owners may get standing ovations when one proves to be a match for several male contenders in a single day.  The lives of these gladiator slaves are even shorter than those of the sex slaves.

 

This can be said: no woman dies of “old age” who has been slated to be a fighter in the arenas of Malefactus.  It can also be said that no woman dies of old age anywhere, in any class of female slave on Malefactus.  Fail at your work and you go to the arena to entertain male challengers and spectators by your bloody death.  Violent death, either by public flogging or in the arena is the only encouragement you get for sticking to your work.  It works.

Sub-classes of female slaves do exist as I discovered later (another hole in my research there!).  A few are bred as healers, for example, but generally lumped in with the sex-slaves.   Some specialize in numbers and are used as accountants or “Processors,” a type of human computer hardly considered to be a living being.  Though their lives may be somewhat safer than most others, they never see anything beyond the rooms where they work, eat and sleep.  

All “harvested” (captured) wild females are automatically branded as slaves in whatever class she seems to fit best, or has the most need of fresh bodies – if they survive the abuse they receive at the hands of their captors before they are auctioned off and bought.  Then they come under the protection of their owners, whatever that may entail.

Now to establish my personal reason for choosing to incarnate on such a world as Malefactus and specifically as a gladiator or as they call us, a fighter.

Having been purchased by a consortium that trains, fights and auctions off gladiators, I am now officially to become a fighter, my training, I understand, to begin immediately.  

A somewhat stocky man whom I take to be a doctor, wearing, it seems to me, nothing other than a white gown zippered down the front and dropping to just above the knees and a pair of sandals, goes over my body, inspecting every orifice.  He takes samples of my hair, skin, blood and vaginal excretions.  He makes me stand spread-eagle with my arms fully extended then proceeds to measure arms, hands, legs, feet, torso, shoulder width, head and neck.  Then I have to stand perfectly straight and he measures my height.  I can see him frowning and his lips move but he says nothing to me.  There is that taboo against “non-essential” verbal communication from men to women also. 

The “doctor” types notes on a small keypad Datacom unit on his left arm and consults briefly with a couple of men I take to be handlers.  They take a memcard from him with what I assume is a copy of his notes and disappear in a small side door while he takes another look at me.  Grabbing a handful of my hair, he pulls my face down and stares intently into my eyes for some moments, frowning even deeper.  He releases my hair, running his fingers through it, turns and walks away through an opening with an automatic door in one of the walls. 

What was he thinking apart from the obvious?  I did notice that unlike the men I’ve seen so far, he is the only one with blue eyes.  Also, his face is much broader and flatter than the others.  His skin is also of a darker hue, tending to olive.  And although I still stand higher than he, he is taller than any one else I’ve seen here.

Well, what else can I do but observe and try to fit in as quickly as possible to avoid further mistreatment or as they call it, ‘punishment’ for violation of rules?

These pleasantries over, I’m taken in hand by men I dub “trainers” and shown some of the various types of weapons gladiators are normally allowed to use.  A spear, or rather a lance, and round shield with a foot long thin spike in the center.  A staff made of some kind of metal alloy and what appears to be fiberglass on hardwood – flexible yet definitely a tough, effective weapon, slightly longer than my body length.  A set of swords, one rapier type with a long thin blade I test and find to be light, flexible and razor-sharp and the other stubby, more like a dagger but with a fiendish toothed point designed to tear chunks out of flesh.  A large, two handed double-edged “standard” sword that reminds me of those wielded by medieval knights on Earth but which I find incredibly light despite its size but still unwieldy if one were small of stature and short-limbed.  Finally I’m handed a battle axe with a straight handle and exaggerated wide cutting blade, the ends of the blade made into sharp points – obviously for cutting when pulling back or for spearing in throwing.  This is a truly ignorant weapon, suitable for trolls, not human females.  What small woman could wield such a clumsy thing?

I’m also shown some light armour but told I’ll be training and fighting naked -seeing as I’m being billed as “the wild one” already and no armour has yet been designed to fit my larger body. 

I accept all this.  In my memory I locate the images that remind me I chose this place and this position.  There are no real surprises here, except perhaps the degree to which this society has fallen into violence since the last records had been made – the ones I’d based many of my assumptions and hopes upon.  The apparent complete lack of empathy and the crass callousness exhibited in social interactions – these express serious and unnatural flaws .  These people may as well be computer-animated figures programmed by a very sick mind – but they are real enough to kill you at a moment’s notice.  

[end blog post #5]

Rethinking our Cosmology: more on Lucifer

Is it Time to rethink our Cosmology?  More on Lucifer
     [voice from the Other Side  ~burning woman~]
 
Seen on a bumper sticker:  “Eve was Framed”
 
Indeed.  And on that note I want to leave you with a thought I’ve broached before, if only to demonstrate that “history” can be re-written – and always is.
 
In “researching” the timeless files for my work on the *Stacked Worlds I’ve uncovered some interesting history available to us mostly through deductive reasoning.  The following is but a glimpse into what I have seen from my travels across space and time… and beyond!
 
How to begin such a tale?  In the beginning (only it wasn’t the beginning, of course, just a beginning which was subsequently, for political reasons dubbed the “only” beginning) when this universe was just coming together there already existed mighty entities who had the ability to cross the great energetic barriers erected between the various universes, for even though a universe can be nested within another, it wouldn’t do for the energies of one to intrude upon another and either crush it out of existence, suck it dry or overload it — and vice-versa.  So there are set “boundaries” that universes may not, or cannot, cross.
 
But these mighty beings could cross.  As in all things, these beings were possessed of both good and evil natures, to use a common terminology.  But they liked to think of themselves as perfect, so whatever they did, they called good.  And who would gainsay them?
 
I jump now into this universe at a later time.  The beings I refer to, of course, are the Time Lords.  I have alluded to these before.  They “invented” time as a means of control over their share of creation.  Anyway, there was a group of Time Lords who made the area we observe from Earth as the constellation Orion their home worlds.  I shall refer to that particular group as the Jehovian Gods.  Even in their early days they were warlike and dreadful to their neighbours.  These Jehovians were, and note, male and “white” in how they perceived themselves.  (This information is crucial to understand what happened subsequently on Earth.)
 
The Jehovians do not need females to procreate for them.  For the most part they can “bring forth” (create!) their own offspring as they choose.  To put it bluntly, they can clone themselves over and over.  Thus are the great Divine Families multiplied to rule over their manifold conquered worlds.  It is also a trait of these male Gods, and note, that each ruling divinity likes to be seen as if it were the only Divinity extant in the cosmos.  This perception provides much political and psychological benefits among the conquered and (lesser) created.  So thus they insist their history be written.
 
What the Jehovians require for themselves of “man power” they either create or enslave neighbouring worlds where suitable exploitable life exists.  But they cannot escape the fact that creation is based on duality and they do need female companionship as sex slaves, concubines and for the rulers, as consorts. 
 
Long ago, but never lost in the mists of time, in their imperialistic wars of conquest, they came upon a group of very bright stars inhabited by “angels” — female beings who were, when seen from a physical perspective, black in coloration.  These females had no concept of war or defense and many of their worlds were quickly overrun by the Jehovians in search of spoils and pleasure.  Along with billions of these black angels they captured their leader who was named “Lucifer” which means “Morning Star.”  She was forcefully joined to the then ruling Jehovian Divinity to become his female slave and consort.  Lucifer was the personification of female perfection and considered of great prize.  Her beauty, intelligence and gentleness attracted competing Jehovian Divinities from other worlds.  Her presence engendered much jealousy among the great Jehovian houses for which she was blamed.  Civil wars were fought over her for which she was also blamed.  (You can trace this pattern down to the Helen of Troy story)
 
Lucifer pondered the state of affairs in “Heaven” and after much talk (telepathic conversation) with her enslaved sisters, she decided to confront the God and ask that she and her people be released from their bondage and be given their worlds back.  As is to be expected her pleas fell on ever-deaf ears.  The God was not about to let himself be swayed by a slave.  His final reply to her was this:  “If you can defeat me in war, you can go free.”  It was an inane statement but Lucifer considered it.  There were some odds in her favour, namely that a number of the “Sons of God” of the lesser members of the Jehovian group had fallen in love with the beautiful angels and let it be known that if it came to a war they would side with the angels. 
 
Desperate times call for desperate measures.  There was “war” in Heaven, only it was a war of nerves.  Lucifer declared universal satyagraha or peaceful non-cooperation towards the conquering Jehovians.  The angels refused to serve the Gods and Lucifer was no longer seen to adorn at the left hand of God when he mounted his throne.  She refused summon after summon.  On the conquered angel worlds the same thing happened.  There was widespread non-cooperation.  The angels took whatever punishment was meted to them and waited for many long, dark years. 
 
The situation in Heaven became untenable, pointless, even idiotic.  Neither side would give in.  So the great Heavenly Advisor Michael proposed that the angels with Lucifer as their leader be exiled, along with all Jehovians who had sided with them.  They would not be allowed to return to their home worlds but would be “dumped” upon a small solar system that was still unformed.  All the angelic slaves of Heaven as well as all those who could be found on other worlds were rounded up and forcefully taken to the new solar system and an energy shield was placed upon it, effectively cutting it off from the rest of the galaxy and universe.  From Sol as we called it the angels could see the far-off stars twinkling in space but they could not return to them, at least not as long as the Orion Jehovian Time Lords ruled or they themselves developed the means to defeat the energy shield.
 
Lucifer called her people together along with the faithful Sons and pointed to the chaos of Sol.  If we must live here she said, and we must, then let us make this place into a veritable paradise for ourselves and all the life we are going to bring forth here.  Let us make this our home.  And so it came to pass.  The creative works of Lucifer are the seven days of creation as depicted briefly in the first chapter of Genesis, the Bible.
 
Lucifer chose the planet Tiamat as her home world.  Tiamat was a large water world, a “super earth” that possessed much potential for new life.  However there were spies among Lucifer’s people, among the Sons, and these sent reports of all that was taking place within Sol.  The jealous Jehovians decided to destroy Tiamat by sending another planet now known as Nibiru-Marduk to “attack” Lucifer’s world.  It took two attacks over a period of 3600 Earth years but Tiamat was successfully destroyed as the ancient Sumerian writings attest.  It was split approximately in half, one half shattered and became the asteroid belt (the hammered bracelet) and the other became Earth.  And so it came to pass that Lucifer indeed was “cast to Earth” as it is written.   But even then she would be persecuted and endlessly demonized.  Her people would be called demons.  Earthian females and black skinned peoples would be oppressed, enslaved, repressed and killed without due process over the millennia.  For you see, one of the Jehovian Divinities was allotted Sol as his ruling domain.  Part of the plan was to prevent Lucifer from re-creating in Sol the kind of worlds she once ruled before the Jehovian onslaught.  The other was simply pillaging and raping, a process that continues to this day.
 
Some interesting anecdotes: 
 
–As already mentioned, misogyny is common on planet Earth yet cannot be logically explained.
 
–Black skinned peoples are “naturally” seen as less human than lighter skinned ones and have been used as slave labour for millennia.  Though some things have changed on the surface the pattern remains and will in all likelihood re-assert itself in the future, if indeed the truly black races have any future. 
 
Throughout the planet ancient peoples have worshiped a Black Goddess or Black Madonna.
 
The (then and perhaps still) oldest human skeleton ever found was in Africa.  It was a female skeleton and they called her “Lucy” (short form of Lucifer).  Is it safe to assume this “Lucy” was black?
 
In the Biblical book called “Song of Song” – a love song attributed to Solomon – the woman says: “Dark am I yet lovely, [] dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. [Tents were woven from black goats’ hair]  “Do not stare at me because I am dark.”

(Question: why would people “stare” at her because she is black if there were no stigma attached to her skin colour?)
 
And now ponder this:  Over the thousands of years that Earthians have existed on Earth and evolved so-so, they have been unable to change their behaviour even when it is abundantly clear that such behaviour is anti-life, counter-productive if not utterly insane.  Are Earthians mentally defective in some irredeemable way?  Not at all.  There’s a much simpler explanation for their insanity.  As is stated in ancient books, and particularly in Jewish literature (and more than hinted at in the Bible) Earthians are given a “soul” at conception.  This is the gift of the ruling Jehovian God to every Earthian.  This soul is an implant that overrides the natural programming of mind-body and replaces it with Jehovian patterns.  Thus is “man” ever and anon created “in the image of God” and helpless to correct his “sinful” nature.  Thus can the ruling Deity make promise after promise of salvation and redemption from a “corrupt” human nature for those who are “chosen” according to the will of the Deity.  But although all are chosen at conception not all willy-nilly follow the divine patterning.  Some remember a time before Eden; before “Adam and Eve” — before the coming of the Jehovian male Deity; a time of fullness, peace, simplicity and comfort.  A time when there was no fear of man or animals; when there was no predator and no prey; when there was no death on this world; when all, human and animals, lived in harmony. Some do remember the Lemurian age before it too was destroyed.
 
Would we end war, oppression, greed, moral corruption, racial hatred and fear on planet Earth?  Would we substitute compassion and love for the evils we continue to cling to as if there was no choice?  Perhaps now as never before we have the chance to re-think our cosmology, our Earthian heritage and the crucial “Why?” reasoning behind the blind trust we repeatedly put in our rulers and deities despite all evidence that they are our worst predators. 
 
“Was man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the evil principle and at another as all that can be conceived of noble and godlike. To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest honour that can befall a sensitive being; to be base and vicious, as many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition more abject than that of the blind mole or harmless worm. For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even why there were laws and governments; but when I heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased and I turned away with disgust and loathing.” (Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley)

*Stacked Worlds is an Altarian theory on how and why certain universal or cosmic patterns, usually of the negative kind, keep repeating even after it would seem all their energies have been drained. ‘Stacked Worlds’ is  the theory I used behind the futuristic, dystopian sci-fi novel, “The Antierra Manifesto” which may yet see the light of day. 

After listening to Lakme, the Flower Duet

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I like beautiful music and although I prefer music over song, either can be from any era, just as long as it is beautiful to my ears and it moves me. So I was listening to Lakme, part I, The Flower Duet (in this case performed by Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca – See YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf42IP__ipw)

…And I was thinking, again, about Earth and about “Man” as Earth’s current lord and master. I was thinking of a line by Carl Sagan in “Contact”: ‘You are capable of such beauty, and such horror.” (Quoting from memory but the gist is here)

Whenever I engage myself, mind-wise, on Earthian matters, I get confused as to how I should approach it. Is it “you” and me as the cosmic observer, or should I include myself in among the observed? How do I decide this? First, I must be sure it isn’t a matter of hubris; that if my observation runs into negative judgment, that if I remove myself it isn’t in any way because I think I’m superior to the rest of Earthianity, but because I no longer think, speak or act as most of “you” do. This process, this judgment, must be impeccable on my part.

I believe it is, therefore I am going to be the observer and use the “you” though certainly in the generic sense. I do not know “you” as individuals, therefore it will be according to your conscience whether you “fit in” or can truthfully remain outside the picture. For you, today, I will once again take up the role of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra and say things you will not find acceptable.

You are capable of great beauty… certainly, and the piece of music I mention above proves it even by itself. You don’t have to be able to write, play or sing such, you just have to be able to listen to it and have the capacity to let it enter you and fill you and for the three or four minutes it takes, let it displace all other thoughts, feelings and emotions. Simple, really.

The problem however is that too often it seems impossible to let go. The “immediate” presses upon the mind and demands full attention. That immediate could be anything from the most pleasurable to the greatest pain or loss. The mind-heart refuses to let go of its current obsession driven by anticipation or the immediacy of physical or mental pain.

Earth is not a place conducive to an overall sense of peace, comfort and wholesome satisfaction. Even in the most remote corners, surrounded by nothing but nature, unless one is blind, the reality of the turmoil taking place in the skies, the seas, the trees, the soil, impinges on one’s awareness: predators, everywhere. You see, your world’s natural motive force is based on predatorship or perhaps I should coin a word here: predatorism, because in fact that is the concept that rules Earth. Some are born to kill, many, many more are born to be killed, eaten or absorbed into the natural fabric, their lives cut down long before they can complete their natural cycle. Even your great mountains are worn away by waters and passing winds.

I realize that most of you do not engage your world this way. You do not sense this, though you may be vaguely aware of it, and you generally shrug it off, or use it as an excuse for indulging in what Sagan called, “great horror.” You call it the food chain, and that’s that, as if somehow that explains it away. As if that same nature you want to wax poetic about can also be the brutal barbaric entity that supports your convenient food chain. As if there is no unacceptable dichotomy here, no problem.

That’s the problem, you see, the fact that you don’t see a problem with how nature works. You don’t see a problem because you don’t realize the direct relationship with your own social failures: your wars, genocides, social injustices of every possible kind juxtaposed with those of the world you happen to be temporarily using as a base because… you have no choice: you can’t get away, and if you could, you would have no clue where to go. Some of you feel that your species is a failure, but how many see your world’s “procession” as an equally and connected abysmal failure?

I feel both, the horror that is the working natural system of this world, and the greater horror that is an intelligent, sentient, self aware (ISSA) species calling itself “mankind” that refuses to question the modus operandi of its natural world; refuses to question its own modus operandi; refuses the simple expedient of connecting the dots in order to realize why things are as they are and why no lasting (real) solution to man’s social problems has ever come forth. The only times some significant change has ever happened was through the exercise of violence. That true statement should make any rational being stop and take note: why must it require violence to make significant change within the social structure, and why is it that any and all such changes have failed and are in the process of failing right now?

To me that would be the “why?” question of all the “why?” questions. Why do you always fail? Look, even now, while shooting off on all kinds of tangents based on IT and AI, you are helplessly realizing that this technology is quite likely going to supplant you, perhaps destroy you as ISSA beings. Barely has the technology begun that already you know without a doubt that some way or another it is going to bite you in the ass, and that severely so.

You see? There is no win-win here, not under the current hegemony; the current “force” or “power” that operates this planet. You, people of earth, are not that force or that power, but its slave species. There, I’ve said it, and but for rare exceptions, that is not something you will find acceptable, therefore you will find it necessary to reject the thought outright. If you did not, guess what? You would be forced to look into this in depth and who knows where that would lead? To confront your real nemesis?

No. I can easily tell you where it would lead: back to organized religion. Without self empowerment; without the power to cancel out all input and replace it all with your own thoughts, your own self-made ISSA reasoning, the forces or powers I speak of, will seem to smile in your brain. They will prod you along, with fine words or goads, down the chute into a ready-made religion that will, of course, explain it all. You will then accept the “new” ideas this “new” religion programs into your mind and who knows? It could explain how the AI is a divine power, or it could just as easily make you believe that the time has come to launch a “revolution” against science and technology and you will go off to destroy all vestiges of science and technology, mindlessly following the dictates of a few madmen who will tell you they are “making the Earth great again.”

Either way, you see, you’re not your own person: you are an actor, a puppet, a robot because you are not in control of your own mind. So you will go along (or you will be of those who will violently oppose the barbarians) and indulge in much, much more horror and under your feet, in the seas, in the trees and in the air, predators will continue to kill and eat, and billions of lifeforms will die premature deaths in attempts to sate the hunger of an insatiable system – as Costello would say, “Same as you!”

Quote: “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty- five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” (Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt)

I never knew Him

a short story, by Sha’Tara

I wanted to know him, but I never did.  He worked for my parents at the house on the Estate.  That’s where I spent my time when I wasn’t in school, or college.  Year after year.  I grew up, he got older. 

I was raised by wolves, you know what that means.  So he was my life.  And now, they’re all gone.  The wolves finally ate each other and their prey died, possibly of boredom. 

He cared for them, though he cared for me the more.  But he was so careful around me, careful to always have somebody else with us, near us, a witness, so that should something untoward happen the wolves wouldn’t blame him, and eat him.  I never blamed him for being careful; for protecting himself.  And so, I never got to know him.  He was just there.  And then like that, and suddenly, he wasn’t. 

I won’t try to explain in words what it means for a twenty-two year old pretend woman to be left adrift and alone after swimming her entire life with sharks and being forced to hunt with wolves.  I didn’t like either roles but I did not pretend hard enough, meaningfully enough, that I was an exception, an actual human being.  Perhaps being alone now, completely out of the limelight, rich, and with only one uncle as would-be guardian – he’s barely aware of my existence – I can finally become what I was born to be.  Hello? Can anyone tell me what that is? Listen to my harsh, sarcastic laughter!

In the back of my mind, there is an image, or perhaps it’s a mirage. 

A blue-green sea casts its waves upon a dun shade sandy shore.  Palm trees move in the afternoon breeze blowing all along that shore.  Sometimes I see a colourfully dressed woman with a young boy walking on the sand.  The boy bends over frequently to pick up things.  Once I watched him from the house’s balcony.  He was picking up starfish and flinging them back into the waves.  The woman, probably his mother, or guardian, walked on ahead slowly, oblivious of the stranded starfish.  It reminded me then of a story you’ve all heard; a story that haunts me today. 

It’s about a little girl frantically running up and down a beach after a storm, picking up starfish and flinging them out to sea.  A man, watching her, came to her and said, “There are so many stranded, you can only save a few.  What difference can it possibly make?”  To which the wise girl replied, as she flung another into the waves, “It makes a difference to that one.”

It’s easy to forget that lesson.  I’m twenty-two and what do I know of life?  I know how to use money to get what I want.  But do I know what I want?  That’s the problem: I don’t, not really.  Sometimes, I think bitterly, if I were a Barbie doll, I could buy myself friends, maybe even a boy friend.  But I’m much, much less than a popular doll.  I’m a rich no-one with fangs; one who knows how to snarl and chase prey in the shallows.

It is summer now and even in summer, there are storms.  Sometimes the waves are cavernously deep and as they approach the shallows, rise in high combers, their wild palomino-maned surf crashing and thundering all along the shoreline.  On such occasions I like to run down there and stand just out of reach of the surf as it crashes, runs up the beach, then slithers back for another attack. 

Then with heart beating, I walk down, barefoot and bare-legged into the pushing and pulling roiling waters.  Of course I’m looking for answers.  And in those brief moments I get to put my loneliness on pause.  When I see a starfish on the shore I pick it up and throw it back in the waters, hoping it will not be washed up again.  Yes, hoping.  Then I think about my life, beyond its hellish peacefulness and dulling emptiness.  And how it keeps getting washed up on the shore and is as helpless as the starfish to do anything about it. Who would pick me up out of sympathy perhaps, and cast me in my element?

I asked him once about loneliness.  He’d noticed it in me and I know it made him sad that a young girl could be so alone in the world.  I asked how he could live there, in that… that house, alone year after year.  He’d explain that he didn’t just stay there.  He had family and friends among the fishermen in the village.  I wanted to go with him to meet his friends, or to make my own friends in the village but the wolves forbade it.  They’re not our kind of people, said my mother, baring her fangs.  You could be kidnapped for ransom, said my father, turning and blocking the exit.  The house is safe, and there’s enough space on the estate for you to wander through without danger.  We’ll get you a horse, and a trainer.  I didn’t want a horse and the trainer would be another short-lived diversion.

Do you have any idea how lonely it is to be property? To be an estate slave with no purpose whatsoever but to fill a void in someone else’s life? A convenience, a trophy, even if never first prize, being of wrong gender? Let me give you a piece of advice before you throw yourself off a cliff, or the fake battlements.

If you ever feel truly alone you want to go down to the sea shore when the wind tears up the clouds as they whip over the half moon, say around midnight, and you want to sit on a wet rock to just listen to the waves crashing in, one after another, and between each one, listen to the water hissing back down into the roiling darkness.  That is the sound, and the feeling, of the heartbeat of the lonely; the truly lonely.  That is the heartbreaking echo of utter loneliness. Only then will you know, for an inescapable fact that your fate is sealed; alive or dead, it’s all the same and it will not change.

If only I could give my life a purpose.  Join the throngs of others going on about their business of struggle, survival and periodic pleasures.  Using my own wits instead of my cursed inheritance of family money.  Using my own hands to create, or just make, something.  Maybe sit down beside a homeless woman and try to feel what she feels. What if my hands could actually hold someone without crushing them? My lips kiss another and my fangs remaining retracted?

These are my thoughts today.  You see, it was his funeral yesterday and I’m just now beginning to realize how truly lost-lonely I am.  I would like to do something outrageous right now, but my mother said, they’re not our kind, and my father, it’s too dangerous.  And the only person I ever trusted, ever loved, was buried yesterday.  I couldn’t even attend his funeral, I was afraid.