No one knows what we did. After today, no one ever will. I lay awake for hours, waiting for the perfect pitch of black before following Zamir’s path. We were leaving; traveling far away from home. Away from the misery. Away from the rules. Away from the pain.
Yesterday, Zamir spent the entire afternoon looking for stones. White ones only, so they’d reflect the moon’s glow. The timing had to be precise or else we’d be caught.
So much has changed since the war. Babies are now considered a commodity, like salt or corn, bought and sold at market. I didn’t know until month five. My thin frame had become round. If the elders found out, he or she would never be mine. I couldn’t live with that. Neither could Zamir.
After the war, all of the adult women in our village were round up like cattle, placed inside stables. They moaned inside for days. Once released, they fled to their homes, no longer willing or able to create life. Any hope of a new generation rested upon us. Our years were too young at the time, 16 being the age of consent. Still, the elders preyed upon us like wolves, the venom strong in their eyes. They were determined. I was determined too.
Zamir and I grew up together, years before the war. Our mothers carried fruit and water together from the market and well. By 13, we were more than friends.
The next three years zigzagged into a blur. What we had done was wrong. What we had created, love. We both knew our punishment was death. Still, we continued, never knowing it would lead to this.
The air was silent. I crept from my pallet to the entryway of our hut. Into the night I waddled, Zamir’s white stones guiding my feet. The path to the scarp that took ten minutes in daylight took three times as long against the moon. Where would we go? How would we eat? We did not know. That uncertainty led us to this dusk-filled night. No one would take our unborn child. He or she would never be ours if we stayed. Almost 100 feet to the edge of the scarp, I could feel the tension rising. Inch by inch, I made my way down the rocky slide, only to discover, I was alone. Had I followed the wrong stones?
Think, Mena think. He told me the white ones would lead me to him. Why is he not here?
Just as I began to retrace my steps, I heard a voice.
“Mena, come, down here.”
My fears quickly washed away. I saw Zamir’s hand reach for mine. Then, instantly, our touch was intercepted by another…an elders’. Just when I believed the three of us were free, bondage ensued. It was then that I knew, things would never be the same, again.
Chills. Seriously love this.
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