In 2008, I entered a competition for short story writing in which the story had to conclude with the following line: “The guardians of the rainbow don’t like those who get in the way of the sun”. The story also had to use the above image.
I won the competition, here is my entry:
THE MAKING OF A NEW KING
It was a long and difficult pregnancy, an unending reminder of the brutal scene of the child’s conception. Sureya loathed the foetus with a fierce dread; honed by the heaving, bilious nausea that stopped her sleep and made her bedclothes reek of rancid sweat. She teetered on the edge of madness, sometimes wishing she could simply yield to its seduction.
When she did collapse into sleep, it was to enter the inside of the macabre theatre of her skull; to feel the callused hands of the men tearing at her, forcing her apart, licking her with their tainted tongues. She smelled again their putrid breath and heard them screaming encouragement to each other, laughing at each new climax, every new spurt of vile and virile semen; to the accompaniment of the crescendo of frenzied noise made by the circle of drummers around the flower-strewn platform.
The thirteen ancient crones sat in a tight knot around the fire, chanting their constant mantra from beneath their lavishly jeweled hoods; symbols of their august status. Never seeming to look directly at the bed in the corner, they watched Sureya every minute of the day and kept their slit-eyed vigil throughout the night. It had taken too many years to find the right girl, they had had to sacrifice many along the way and time was running out. Darkness was drawing close and hope was dying amongst the people too quickly, this baby was their last hope.
It was not at dawn, as they had planned; that the first pains came and her waters broke. She uttered the first long, telling wail in the afternoon, as the rains flooded down on the dusty cracks of the courtyard floor. Blood streamed from her chewed lips and she clawed at the ground, crawling as if to move away from what was trying to wrench itself from inside her. The blood mixed in with the foetid mire and tattooed her body with a thousand tales of her agony.
For long periods of time, she let herself slip away from her body and float in her childhood; where sunlight prevailed in a world of lush green. She allowed the long-ago music to wash over her and heard the laughter of the other children; ran with them again and felt the soft wind on her face. And then the searing pain would bring her back to this place and make her body bear down against the will of her mind.
In the liquid light of the early moon, they caught the perfect infant and laid him on her breast. As she bent her head to smother him in a first kiss that would stop his breath and would be his last, the high-priestess drew a gleaming, ancient dagger from the sash at her waist and plunged it into Sureya’s heart. She handed the precious child to the others and told them to prepare him for their long journey.
The guardians of the rainbow don’t like those who get in the way of the sun.
©Cindy Taylor 2008