WishfulKittyKat1

United States

Writer. Future lawyer. Nerd. Sister. Christian. Violinist. Singer. Actor. Not-a-dancer. Queer. I'm this kaleidoscope of labels that are supposed to describe me.

Message from Writer

I... have no idea what I'm doing here. You're saying I was supposed to be doing school?
Sounds fake.

When the Gods Go Silent #KNContest_1

December 10, 2019

FREE WRITING

2
Queen, twilight, water.

She knelt at the edge of the pool, the falling moon reflected in the shimmering water. She dipped a finger in.
"It's cold."
Behind her, her guard sighed, dressed for the summer that graced this side of the world. "Of course it is, Your Highness." She shook her head, correcting herself. "Your Majesty. It's winter over there."
Alif drew a loop on the surface, watching the ripples corrupt the nearly full white orb's reflection. "Bad timing."
"People don't exactly choose when they're going to die."
"No," She agreed. "They don't. The gods do."
"The gods don't speak for life and death anymore, Your Majesty."
"I know."
There was quiet for a moment as the two listened to the night. It was quiet, of course, except for the whisper of wind warning the trees the danger of the water they drank from. No animal risked nearing the crowning pool when the moon was full, and it was close enough that most frogs didn't know the difference. 
Light was seeping into the sky, a solid black becoming a lighter blue, and fear shot through Alif. Here, more than anywhere else, she was in danger. Without the gods speaking up for mortals when they wandered too close to the hole in the world, she was vulnerable peering into it.
Her guard, Lisbeth, knelt beside her. "How does this work?"
"You're just trying to distract me, love." The soon-to-be queen said, and Lisbeth flushed.
"So what if I am?"
Alif clenched her nails into her palms, trying to still the rising panic. The moon was moving faster now, almost below the horizon. It was almost day, and day brought the crowning ceremony. The crowning ceremony that for the first time since the tradition began, the gods would not speak at, despite being the most important guests. Not that the council had listened to that bit of reason. "I guess it doesn't matter."
"How does it work?"
Lisbeth's voice was calm, and Alif focused on it, focused on matching the other girl's breathing.
"I am crowned."
Lisbeth rolled her eyes, Alif could feel it, and she couldn't help but smile. "Of course you're crowned. It's called a crowning ceremony. I meant..."
She trailed off, and this time, the silence was heavy between them, a tangible curtain that cleaved the inseparable in two.
Alif spoke suddenly. "I have to pass, right? I can't drown here. I am a good person."
And then Lisbeth was tense, tenser than Alif was as she tried to slow her breathing, and Alif could hear the sharp threat as Lisbeth said, "What will happen today, Your Majesty?" 
A lump gathered in Alif's stomach and she was a million miles away when she spoke, chasing the thoughts that had caught on the edge of the fleeing moon. "The council tries to drown me. I try to survive."
"Drown you... In that?" Alif silence was enough. "No. No, Your Majesty. They can't make you do that. The gods aren't around to save people anymore."
"They say that makes it more accurate. Now the world itself will be choosing the next queen."
"The world was only alive before because the gods were still here."
"I know."
"They can't kill you. There is no other heir."
"I believe that's the point."
Lisbeth stilled. "You think they'd abuse their power?"
"There's nothing stopping them anymore." The color drained from Lisbeth's face, and Alif flinched. "Don't look like that. No one's told you?"
The guard was still, too still, too quiet. "No. No one has told me anything about today, Your Majesty. What happens tonight?"
Alif stood, turning to face the older girl. "The council has the right to bind me and throw me through. If I survive, I am queen. If I die..."
"They choose a new ruler."
"Failure was how my mother was chosen to be crowned. And I am not as controllable as she was. It would be in their best interest if I never saw the surface again."
"They can't just kill you."
Alif shrugged. "As the gods will it."
Lisbeth grabbed her arm. "Your Majesty, this is madness. The gods don't speak for life and death anymore. Even if they were to choose you, they can't intervene!"
"I know."
"But you're going to do this anyway."
"I don't have a choice."
The sun was peeking over the horizon now, flashing off rocks and sparkling on the water. Without the moon, the pool looked like just that- a pool. There was no glow, no ethereal light. At least at night Alif could almost believe that the gods still spoke, but not in the light of day.
Dark water, all the way through.
"Your Majesty..."
Alif knelt by the pool one more time, cupping the water in her fingers and letting it fall, watching it stream in the morning light.
"It's so, so cold."

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2 Comments
  • Loser

    The world you capture in this piece is amazing...it would be interesting to hear more about this fascinating place and its rituals.


    9 months ago
  • KN Husna

    Thank you for the entry!


    12 months ago