Tribal-15

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.
Image Source: Jef Cablog

TRIBAL

Chapter 15

No Fear
BY Rabindranath Tagore
 
Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken 
into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee
into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, 
let my country awaken.

Darkening Light ䷣

Zara weaved her way across the jungle floor near the edge of the cliff. Her senses enhanced from life as a tracker on planets too numerous to remember flooded her with sensations and scent. The panther that followed was an orb of silence where the sound of small creatures once chattered in gossip and song. The monitor lizard’s claws scratched across stone and roots of trees converging on her location.

Echoing in ears that could locate the drop of a pebble in a running stream came the clatter of metal and the hum of voices. Zara knew this was not the team of scouts she abandoned to the dispassionate whim of nature. Who was it then? At the edge of the cliff near the waterfall, a glance down into the bowl answered all her questions. Two natives clamored around the silver remnants of an Eosian escape pod, the one Sgt Hughes had come to destroy.

The half-breed heart pounded in Zara’s chest as she studied the two natives. Sgt Hughes would kill them outright and then destroy the spacecraft. Zara knew she couldn’t stop the men she had shared her life with since age 17. Freedom and the right to live with her mother’s people were all she wanted, not blood or vengeance. 

Below was Zara’s Tribe. She had to warn them before Hughes spotted them and ended their lives and her chance to join the fantasy of life her mother promised if someday she returned to their native lands on old earth. Wind wheezed in a constricted chest. Sorrow and longing filled the dark shadows of Zara’s memory at the sound of her mother’s voice, soft and dripping with her native accent reciting her village’s stories. The childlike pitch of her mother’s voice filled Zara’s thoughts with songs of ancestral deeds, deities, and the last gasp of breath before mom left Zara an orphan in the hands of the war. 

The tall figure, wild as the big cat tracking her, eased back from the abyss. There was no need to live long. She had come home and to die here among her ancestors free of indenture to her father’s blood was good enough. 

Zara whipped her body around in a blur as her laser ended the panther’s life in mid-leap, its mouth open wide and claws extended in a failed grasp at survival. The smell of burnt hair and boiled blood forced a snarl of repulsion from Zara as she hurried away from the scene. Reptiles the size of tree trunks adjusted their attention from the fleeting figure to the smell of blood wafting along on currents of air that breathed life into the jungle.

❂❂❂

The hacking sound of a parang through vines and brush fell to silence only a few meters upstream from Sgt. Hughes. The rushing water drowned out all sounds as it washed over boulders and trees fallen into the river.  Sgt. Holmes halted the men in a jumble of stones the size of houses that hid them from view.

“Damn slow going, Holmes said as he wiped the sweat from his brow with his sleeve. The salt in his uniform stung his skin and eyes. Take ten minutes and camel up on the water.”

The team relaxed and sipped water from their water bladders as they checked their weapons and supplies. Holmes looked at the map on his communicator and saw they had 200 meters to go before arriving at the bowl where they detected signals from the Eosian craft. He figured they could torch the ship, make a quick look around for survivors, and get the hell out of here. 

The place gave him the creeps. It had swallowed up Zara without a trace, and she was the most prepared of them all to face the jungle. Tough way to go for the girl, he thought. Hughes choked back his emotions. There would be others, but none like Zara.

“Carter take point. Report anything you see, and Carter,” Sgt. Hughes paused.

“Yes Sergeant.”

“Watch out for the damn wildlife around here. Everything is big, toothy, and hungry,” Hughes replied in a matter-of-fact tone that didn’t do much to boost Carter’s confidence.

“Fuck me to tears,” Carter replied under his breath as he leaned over and picked up the parang from his scout member and crunched his way across the river bed near the bank.  After 20 minutes of slogging through the low hanging brush, mud, and rocks, Carter halted the team and signaled Sgt. Holmes to move up to his position.

“Whacha got kid,” Holmes whispered when he was close enough to feel Carter’s wretched breath on his face as they lay side by side in the mud and debris at the edge of the water.

Carter pointed to some rocks that shielded the head and shoulder of a figure in the water. The soldier wore an Eosian Expeditionary Force flight uniform. The legs and arms moved and twitched as if treading water to hold a position. 

“What is he doing?” Carter asked.

“Let’s go find out,” Hughes replied. The sergeant slid off his tactical pack and load-bearing equipment without making a sound. He drew his bayonet and motioned to Carter to follow him. The two men eased into the water, and like countless times before, they made their way toward the figure in the water. Sgt. Hughes motioned for Carter to approach from directly behind while he would slide in hidden by the rocks. When they were in position, Sgt. Hughes counted down with three fingers, and then they lunged. The water exploded in the fury of violence.

Lost Soul (Part 4)

 

 

lostsoul3

I heard another sound that made my heartbeat pound like a non-stop drum from a marching band. It’s no longer just a branch of tree falling but stones being thrown at my shack! I remained still and silent, my back leaning at the improvised door I made while i grasp my knife with both hands. If it’s the Ha La Lau, my plan, ever since I came here, was to jump over him and stab that creature in his eyes so he wouldn’t be able to see me as I run away and then just find a new place to build a new home. Living in this peculiar world for such a long time, I have learned how to survive and I will never let any ugly creature take my life away. No, never.

On the third sound that was louder than the first two, whether it’s a bigger stone or a stronger force I wasn’t really sure, I got more tensed. I’m 100% certain someone’s throwing it at my house and that I have to do something. With unending drops of sweat onto my neck up to my lap, I peeked through the small hole from where I sit and peered into the darkness. After a thorough search from the west side of my shack, where the stones were thrown at, I found nothing. Not until I saw a hand that released the fourth powerful strike—dang! it hit the bull’s eye! For some weird reasons, I was able to anticipate it would get through the hole so even before it could hit me, I moved back and rolled like an action star who successfully missed a gunshot.

Oh my God! I’m still fuck*n’ nervous but the thought of seeing a hand that resembles that of human’s, calmed my nerves a little bit. What if there’s another human being trapped in here just like me? But how sure I am that the hand who threw them stones was of a person’s? I walked silently like a frog to reach for the stone at the other end of my tiny house and I couldn’t help but to wonder why it doesn’t look like a stone. Ain’t a stone supposed to be black? This one looks like it was covered with white crumpled paper even from afar. When I reached it, I scrutinized it before touching it worried that there could be some magical spell and as I look closer to this stone as big as a baby’s fist, I saw some symbols from the paper covering it. I have this gut feeling that this is a positive message so I held it while I cover my face with my left hand, afraid that it could be a bomb but when I carried it and heard no explosion, I released a deep sigh of interim relief. I straightened out the crumpled white paper and this is how it looks like:

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I have no idea how he (if he’s a “he”, or if he’s actually a person) was able to wrap this symbolic piece of paper but all I know is I have to decipher it. It’s obviously not English but I know this means something of significance. What if this could be my ticket to go back to Earth? Anyhow, I have to find out first where this came from and who that mysterious messenger is.

Leaving the stone behind, I folded the paper and put it in my pocket. I gathered all the courage I have saved in this planet and armored myself with it as I walked outside to search for that messenger. I examined the dark surroundings and walked tiptoed, trying to make no sound and staying alert and attentive all the time. After a couple of minutes of search, a sweaty hand grabbed me by my arm it lifted me from one place to another, like a ball that has bounced from the surface of the earth. The force was too strong I thought he was a giant or a monster but the fact that the hand was sweaty indicates he’s human. And I was hell right. He was hugging me from behind, his right arm clamped in my waist while his left hand covered my mouth ’cause I couldn’t help but to scream femininely as I tripped over.

“Shhhh. The monsters will hear you and we’re dead” whispered the guy with a face I haven’t seen yet.

“Who are you? Are you human too? Are you trapped here as well?” I moved back and saw a shirtless man looking like a caveman with long brown hair same as Tarzan’s with a bizarrely long beard I can hardly see his face.

“I am, but hang on, let’s go to my hideout first before I answer all your questions. Did you bring the piece of paper from the stone?” asked the man, while he kept on looking around, perhaps checking if a Ha La Lau heard my scream.

“Yes, it’s with me.”

“Alright then, let’s go.”

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This is another contribution to a writing challenge my dear friend Bartek has created again to combine creative minds from around the world. So happy to be part of this and so thrilled to read the next parts. Please click on the link below so you can see how this story started. Please let us know if you’re challenged enough to do the next part through the comments. Maybe make a romantic twist? Or a magical one? It’s all up to you. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Part 1 by Enni

Part 2 by Joker

Part 3 by Bartek

(Photo credit to the owner)

A woman’s edge (Part 1)

It’s 7:06 in the morning and we started the day bickering. Good way to start the day, ain’t it? My stupid husband hated confrontations he usually walks out to evade emotional arguments like this. I was crying, I couldn’t help it. He witnessed my sobbing but he still managed to walk out like he always do, grabbed his car keys and left me with his deep sigh of anger. Does he really understand what I am going through? I know how much he suffered too–from our three consecutive loss. Yes, I got conceived because of his f–cking sperm but it was me who felt them in my womb, they were inside me, they were a part of who I am and I was supposed to be their protector. But damn it, I failed. Don’t you know how hard it is to know we have created an angel, three angels in fact, but we lost all of them in the process of letting them stay in me for 9 months?!

Yes you heard it, I had a miscarriage three times in a row and that made me second guess the idea of living. I hated myself, I hated Ryan, I hated my job—and everything else. I’ve been on and off from being completely happy. The latest miscarriage was the hardest part because he stayed in my womb for 107 days and I prayed everyday to the Lord and promised Him I’ll surrender everything to Him in exchange to this tiny gift—but He didn’t. It was absolutely terrifying, because due to this unlucky life of being an “almost mother”, my now catastrophic marriage might also make me an “almost wife” soon.

I’ve been so hard on him, I’m aware of that. But you can’t blame me. The pain that has built up inside me has almost eaten up my whole being. Ryan would try endlessly to turn me on, but I just can’t do it no more. It’s not because I ceased loving him, because I still love him despite what’s been happening. It’s merely hard to explain, I reckon it’s because the fear of losing has already overruled my brain.

My husband Ryan is an introvert so he doesn’t literally say everything that’s on his mind, but he knows well how to showcase it, unlike my innate personality of being so honest and straightforward. He always have something going on in his mind—especially these past few days. I started seeing this odd behaviour when I noticed him bringing his phone with him most of the time. Yesterday he took such a long time inside the shower and it sent some queer signals to my brain, something’s changed in him, I thought. He also seems so pre-occupied lately, like his attention has partly drifted away from a far away land. I felt like he’s hiding something. What if he’s cheating?

I could hardly sleep last night because I’ve been overthinking his sudden change of behaviour. Even the way he sleeps now has changed. His body’s lying against the mattress, sided on the left, facing away from me. All i can see is his back full of hard muscles ’cause he’s been going in the gym lately as well, he said it’s his way of holding up from the tragedy. He’s looking so macho though, I figured I forgot to look at my husband this way, it’s been a long time since. I brushed off the revived attraction I felt and focused on the messages of my instincts again. I got up from our bed, trying not to make a sound so he wouldn’t wake up. I need to feed answers to the long list of negative questions in my head.

What if I’m right? What if he met a hot girl from the gym and he’s having sex with her already? Ughhh scratch it.

I can’t have this unwanted thoughts linger whilst I’m trying to get hold of his Iphone—I need to put things together and stay focused on my plan. I searched for his phone on his table, and then in his drawers, (which is weird i know), and I even looked at his bag despite the tiny chance of finding it there. Where is he hiding it? It took me almost 15 minutes of seeking, and then viola! I found it! Why did he has to put it under his pillow though? Hmm. My heart doubled its beat when I held his phone and it tripled when my fingerprint isn’t a match anymore. Ugh. I wanted to punch this bastard now! But nooo, I need to stay composed and focused on this. I put 111185 for the passcode since it’s his birthday but it didn’t push through. I tried my birthday, 091990, but failed again. Entered a couple more combinations—our anniversary, the day we met, the first time I got pregnant—until the phone got blocked. Shit! I wanted to throw his phone for being too mad but I refrained myself from doing so and decided to scrutinise his things instead. I found his laptop and tried to open it. It’s requiring a freaking password again! Oh no, nevermind. I decided to stop this crazy agenda and returned the laptop back to its bag. Before I can manage to fully zip the laptop bag, I saw a small black rectangular shaped thing in the side pocket of it. I rapidly held it and to my astonishment — it was an old model of Nokia mobile phone back in the day. This is it. This will end all my worries. I’m sure of it.

As i try to unlock this evil extra phone of my husband that I didn’t know exists, it scandalously beeped twice indicating that the battery is now low. Darn it! My husband suddenly moved and then….

To be continued…

#fiction