Suffer the Children- Chapter 2 & 3
Brother was almost shaking in excitement, anticipating his first time along with Sister, He thought she had taught them well, even the slower children understood what she teaching. This would be the test of her skills, if he succeeded, she would be more comfortable with taking the ones that were old enough to go out and search along with her on a regular basis.
He had so many ideas to help in their unusual situation, yet many rules held them fast in this draining state. How wonderful it would be to see the young ones go to bed with full tummies every night! Ah!!! To finally be able to see them growing, and maturing as they ought!!
Everything he had learned spun in his head, while his pores contracted in excitement, his pale skin appeared to have been polished like marble. At last he would start to help, as he had dreamed of doing for longer than Sister would ever know.
As soon as he would be able to search on his own, the next oldest Brother wanted to go out. That would surely turn the tide, and then they would be able to move to the city. They would have so many opportunities there, far more than here in the middle of nowhere.
Before he was truly aware of it, he and Sister were on their way, moving so easily that he felt as if he were floating a few inches off the ground. A wave of euphoria shook him until he was getting light headed and couldn’t help a giggle of delight.
Sister kept a portion of her attention on her sibling, it couldn’t be predicted how someone would react to their first taste of adulthood. She felt that her brother would take to it so easily that she would soon be taking another sib along.
After they had spent weeks polishing his attention to detail and sense of timing, before they went looking for food. He was pleased that everything he had pointed out was a possibility, surely he would settle into his role fast.
Having both of them working as a team, they were able to find more food, not always what they wished, but there was no more going to bed with empty tummies. At last the younger ones began to grow, still too slowly, but they were growing.
It wasn’t two full months before he was allowed to go out on his own. Determined to prove himself capable of being a provider, he carefully selected the food he knew would be best for everyone. The first time he found good food, he showed up at home with all pomp and circumstance, and found that the smallest of the younglings had Passed Over.
While the others fed messily, and talked between bites, with food smeared on their faces, Brother took the tiny girl and prepared her to be interred. He styled the honey blonde hair, and thought of the times she had look up to him so trustingly, full of confidence in her oldest brother.
When Sister returned she wept openly, bidding her farewell to the child curled in a foetal shape. Her eyes were bloodshot and puffy as she rocked the child, crooning broken snatches of song between her sniffles.
Finally, Brother was able to wrest the body away from her, and carry it to the place reserved for those who had Passed Over. As Sister wept softly, with too many young ones crying for her, he placed the Traditional Cover on the Resting Place and whispered a sad prayer.
The clan walked slowly back to their home, and tried to rest, despite the sadness staining the air. Sister heard many restless sounds as she was begging for sleep.
It didn’t take long for her to accept that it was going to be one of those nights. Sighing slowly, she slid, snake silent, from her bed and stole her way to the stereo in the dark. She tapped the speaker button off, and plugged in the headphones.
Rapt in velvet darkness she joined with the music, swaying and posturing shamelessly, in the womb of sound she sought surcease. She felt as though she were floating above the floor, and was but feathers away from flight.
A faint, reminiscent smile hovered in her cheeks, and her cheeks were modelled by the shadow of eyelashes, even her head moved with the music.
With her mouth parted a whisper and her hips swaying in smoky counterpoint, the hemline of the faded thin nightshirt began to move as if alive. Were anyone to see her she would seem a vision, something perhaps elfin and fey.
Her big toe and a sliver of sole were all that was connecting with the soft carpet. When she leaned back her hair spread like ice shards on the carpet.
At last, the song arrived; it called to her restless spirit and drew the most sensuous motions from her heart. She slowed, breathing through her open mouth.
She seemed to be rocking herself in the shadows, until the guitar cried through her.
She went from provocative to pleading with a tilt of her hair, and her arms uncrossed. Her hands moved with the sway of warning cobras, slowly moving Heavenward.
Be my pillow…”
Robert Plant’s evocative treatment of the lyrics unclenched her heart and she was lost between the notes, begging the presence of each one, moving in a glory of understanding.
“Take my head
And let me sleep.”
Her face was highlighted with tears, and her fragile hands were beseeching blurs of pallor. She looked the ghost of some danseuse, dead of broken dreams.
Limber and utterly focussed, she slid into the harmonics of Plant’s “Little By Little”. Her mind went into deep Alpha state, and the relaxation spread outward to soothe everyone into gentle sleep.
When every breath was slow and even, she began to change her movements until she swayed almost imperceptibly. At last the sweet sag of sleepiness coiled through her muscles, she crawled gratefully into her bed and closed her eyes.