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"New Project!!! Suds"

SUDS - Displaced  by hebe6405
Djehuti watched the papyrus gently sway toward the east as the wind caressed him from the north.  The land and marsh which stretched out before him was his pride.  He cultivated each long, slender stalk with loving devotion and with bittersweet agony, he cut the grasses when the time was right.  For Djehuti, it was more than business, the papyrus was his life.
                                       
Concern compressed his next breath; that the papyrus swayed contrary to the wind upset him.  Last season, he had to contend with crocodiles hunting and nesting in the area.  They had trampled the grasses flat and created hideous paths through the best harvest locations.  His heart sank; he had prayed they would find a new land to terrorize this season.
                                 
****
                                           
Bai had traveled for a long time and was at a point of exhaustion which she had never known before.  She trekked down from the north having watched the sun make his transit across the sky too many times to count.  She traveled alone but not by choice; she checked over her shoulder often and wished for a familiar face - that of her loving mother or maybe even a rambunctious brother (despite how annoying they could be at times).  Any face, in fact, would be welcome.
                                  
At first, Bai was motivated by fear.  Early one morning, men had come into her home with fire.  Yelling and slashing with their zhanmadao, they chased everyone out into the forest and beyond.  Her family quickly dispersed in different directions.  Bai hid until nightfall, too terrified to move from the branches of the tree she had scurried into.  By the time she climbed down, the loamy earth was cool beneath her feet and the smoke lingered heavy in the air.
                                        
Cautiously, she returned home.  But there was nothing left, it seemed even the memories were charred into ashes and soot.  A gentle rain began then; the water hissed where it met the smoldering ground.  Bai had no haven, no shelter from the rain.  She hid under the trees and looked for her mother.  But she was afraid, she was afraid to call out to her lest the terrible men hear her cry and return to cause more pain and heartache... destruction.
                                     
Bai lingered for a day, two days... her transit around what she once called home became larger with each passing day, but her mother was not to be found and her brothers were lost to her as well.  Then one day, she left.  She picked a direction and walked away from the bamboo fields and shady trees, from the golden monkeys and the melodic songbirds.  She walked, looking for ... home?
                                   
****
                                 
Jendayi pushed through the gate.  Deep in thought, her movements were strictly mechanical memory.  She set the inkwell on the table and adjusted the cushion on the chair before sitting down.  The story in her head ached to spill forth onto the page and she began writing.  One word then the next flowed onto the papyrus.  The words were no longer hers and she watched in stunned silence as her hand guided the ink but did not control it.
                                      
An oracle, she thought, disconnected from her own body.  It must be the way an oracle feels, seeing things happen, yet holding no control over them.  Was it the hand of a god guiding her muscles?  Everything she wanted to write had been inspired by her experiences at the temple.  Feelings, sights, sounds, smells; she ached to relay each and every detail of the miracle she bore witness to that day.  It was effortless; Jendayi watched as yet another miracle unravelled before her own eyes.
                                     
The papyrus was filled from one margin to the next, yet her fingers did not cramp.  The light faded from the sky, and in one final brilliant flash, the sun sunk beneath the horizon.  With the flash came Jendayi's last stoke and she regarded her masterpiece with close appreciation.  The gods had chosen her to write down proof of their miracles.
                                    
She smiled as the moon ascended over the opposite shore.  She was willing to be their instrument.  But, Jendayi realized, she would need more papyrus.
                                
****
                                               
"But, Jendayi," Djehuti protested, "I have already supplied you with all the papyri that I have made.  What have you done with them?"
                            
"I told you, I have used them.  They are full and I need more.  Do not make me go find someone else - I like your work."
                             
Djehuti suspiciously peered out to the swampy ground where the reeds grew tall, yet still moved contrary to the wind.  "Jendayi, there is something living in the papyrus.  I fear it may be a crocodile waiting for his next meal."
                                   
"But you can still harvest from the threshold?  You do not need to go very far to harvest the grasses.  I need your papyrus.  I can wait a day but no more or I shall go mad.  I will go to the temple and pay tribute to the gods and they will send away the crocodiles so that I may continue their work."
                          
Jendayi returned the following day, but Djehuti pointed to the marsh, "Your offerings to the gods have not changed the situation.  Something still moves in the papyrus."
                                   
"Then it is not a crocodile," Jendayi answered.  "I will see what it is."
                            
"No," Djehuti ran after Jendayi.  She moved with purpose and without fear.  The gods could not have small obstacles in their way, and she was determined to get her papyrus.  "Jendayi, I have some papyrus that is ready today.  Take that and to write your stories on.  I do not want to see you murdered by a crocodile."
                                   
Jendayi took no heed of the warning and pressed forward.  Her feet sank into the earth while her hands shifted the grasses to the side.  Djehuti grabbed Jendayi's shoulder to pull her back to shore as she finally reached the area where the papyrus moved with out the wind's guidance and she gasped.
                      
Bai gasped too, waken unexpectedly.  She had planned an escape route because of the lessons learned back home, but she was disoriented and struggled to pull herself up from the fertile earth.
                       
Djehuti was frozen.  He expected to see the green-brown leather of a huge crocodile.  He never imagined anything so... exotically beautiful.  It terrified him.  Glossy and red, the monster's whiskers glinted gold in the sunlight.  Plumes of cobalt defensively rose around its head and followed a line down its back; those, too, reflected brilliantly in the sunlight.  And just as suddenly, the creature was gone; disappeared, it disappeared without retreating.  But the papyrus still outlined where the creature had slept.
                     
"What was that?" Jendayi took another step forward and reached into the void left by the beast.  Her hand made contact with something cool yet invisible to the eye where the creature's glorious head had been seen moments earlier.  "Her eyes, did you see her eyes, Djehuti?  They were like sapphires - the largest sapphires in the world.  She's still here, Djehuti.  I can feel her.  The gods must have sent her to protect your papyrus from the crocodiles."
                        
"How do you know it's a girl?"  Djehuti retreated slowly.
                         
"Djehuti, you should come to the temple with me and offer your thanks to the gods for sending such a fabulous monster to protect your papyrus."
                             
"Yes, Jendayi, let's do that," Djehuti answered, but not because he agreed.  Monsters and crocodiles were one and the same in his mind.
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  'SUDS - Displaced' statistics: (click to read)
Date created: May 19, 2009
Date published: May 19, 2009
Comments: 16
Tags: bai, boy, china, destruction, djehuti, dragon, egypt, girl, gods, jendayi, monster, papyrus, project, suds, swamp, temple, writing
Word Count: 2847
Times Read: 806
Story Length: 4
Children Rank: 4.1/5.0 (9 votes)
Descendant Rank: 0.0/5.0 (19 votes)