Into the black night rose the cold moon. Its glimmers march downwards in cheerless strides. They are as pale as the piglet prepped for the spit. On such a night, sinners know that they must guard their immorality. For the evil spirits are circling, and waiting. They are readying themselves to devour the careless and the compassionate. And when they’re done, they leave only the silent moon to weep over their victims.
Under the ashen tears of the moon, the luster of her blue dress fades into the blanketing shadow of the forest. On the blackened earth, the seams of white harlequin diamonds of her blue dress are like spots of clouds sprinkled across a clear sky. She loved that dress, and it is befitting that she is laid to rest in it.
The muted darkness is disturbed by just a single sound. A shovel laboring against pebbles and earth, and it heaves as it casts them to the side. Under the watchful gaze of the moon, she lays in wait for the digger to break off the continuous burrowing. Her eyes are open but they are oblivious to the specks of dirt that falls on them. Beside the expanding pit, her still form stares upward into the night sky, at peace with the sighs of the crunching shovel.
But the moon, ashamed of its powerlessness, embraces the gloom to hide its face. And without its silver rays, she is swallowed by the darkness, and she slumbers.
When she woke, the warm earth had changed into frozen steel. Everything in front of her was alien. She remembered trees as tall as the sky, and wet soil, soft like the petals of her aloe garden. In their stead were simple halls without thatched coconut leaves for roofs. A dark sea of green grass illuminated by the pale light of the moon, all added to her unfamiliar surroundings. Even her vision felt clearer than she remembered. Then, she heard the sound of children’s laughter and little feet running. The sounds were hammering inside her ears.
As the eldest of six children, those sounds should have been endearing but they were slithery and taunting. From the back of her feet to her neck, she sensed their laughter crawling up from behind her body like a centipede. Unsettled by their offensive happiness, she turned and was affronted by a wooden pole. Her face penetrated the timber and she saw three skinny boys pushing and shoving each other while they ran towards her. She felt a hurricane of rage rising from the pit of her unwelcoming thoughts. The youngsters were still some distance away so she flew across the grey lawn, halting them in mid-sprint.
The adolescent trio were preparing for the upcoming standard Government exams to enter High School. As hopefuls aiming for the best school on the island, the three lads did everything their teachers asked with glee.
It was 7 in the evening, and the teacher had tasked the tallest child in the class with the important duty of calling students to their classes. This was done by beating the school’s big canoe shaped drum, which was made from the trunk of an old mango tree. The drum was laid out in the middle of the school while the classroom buildings surrounded it.
Not a single one would fulfill that mission. In the shadow, where she lurked, the overflowing streams of pale moonlight illuminated her blue dress. The dusty shoeless feet of the three friends staggered and then halted. A dress, the color of a clear sky, swirled right in front of them. There were seams of pointy white squares flowing from the top to the bottom of it. They looked at each other in fearful silence and looked back at the neck of the dress in unison. There was no face. Then, they looked down at the hemline and the dress twirled.
“She has no feet!” shrilled one of the boys in terror.
That scream forced them out of shock. They all began with a backward sprint, which escalated into a racing panic in the direction they came from. Not once did they look back for fear that the blue dress would follow. They didn’t even look at each other. Their little eyes focused on nothing but the school building. In the darkness, the well-lit classroom and their fellow students’ cheery voices were beckoning to them like a safe harbor from the stormy sea of trepidation that was thundering inside their tiny hearts.
She stared at the children’s back till they disappeared into the doorway. Her stationary frame the perfect reflection of her unemotional face, with its unblinking eyes. There were no breaths dispelled from her slightly parted lips. Even the full skirt of her blue dress was unstirred by a stimulating breeze. But her thoughts were in mayhem. She had been appalled by the boy’s lie that she was lacking n limbs. Then, she was dumbfounded by their flight of fright and now, she was amazed by a summoning impulse to follow them into the schoolroom. But she just stood still, watching without blinking, inhaling without exhaling.
An hour passed and another crept by, then the children poured out from their classes, shouting and running, elbowing and laughing. Their liveliness was nagging at all her senses. From everywhere their excitement pestered her. She saw a group of boys approaching. They were led by two of the three that she had confronted earlier.
“Here! This is the spot…” a boy’s confident voice pointed out.