Part I: The Whipped Lovers
We’re inside a bathroom. It’s a simple bathroom with a bathtub that’s starting to stain and a sink that’s full of water because someone is soaking their undies in it. The thing is, we’re not just in that bathroom. We’re inside the inside of the toilet. Not in the bowl, but in the walls.
Do you sometimes notice that the tiles in the bathroom have swirls of colours and sometimes, they look like something? Sometimes they are faces, ships, monsters and just unknown creatures that look vaguely familiar.
Anyway, in the tiles right beside the rectangular mirror on top of the sink where the floating underwear speckled with flowers are, it’s a swirl of nothing, but if you watch it carefully, it begins to move.
If you’re looking at it and not at the underwear’s, you’d start to see a figure of a girl running towards you. Then slowly a swirl on the tile changes it to a girl again but much closer. This time you can see that behind her she seems to be being chased by an angry mob of half-naked men and women. No, that bunch of naked men and women are not going to appear in the bathroom, although it would be appropriate since their practically naked. They probably smell too since their running.
If you’ve been keeping your eyes on the tiles, you’re seeing the face of a girl, ordinary long brown curls surrounding an oval face with two almond-shaped eyes with natural light brown eyes. You won’t see it now with her face in panic but she is a happy individual, and her name is Kera Golding.
The swirl is shifting even faster, and she’s getting closer, and soon a hand appears through the tile. It’s a living hand like yours with blood coursing through it, but it’s covered in sparkly dust.
Let’s s get closer, not to the tile but through it.
We’re standing in a humid jungle surrounded by angry villagers, the ground is soft, and the air smells like damp earth mixed with the sweat pouring out of the angry folks. You can smell the green of the trees, and you should be starting to feel sweat dripping down your back due to the humidity. Even at night here, it was hot.
Kera is disappearing right behind you in a cloud of sparkling mist but let’s rewind, I’m enjoying teasing you too much.
Let’s begin right after the beginning.
Right in the moment when Kera falls hard on the ground behind a hut in a jungle. She was having an ordinary day; she was about to wash her newly bought underwear in the sink of her bathroom.
Kera looks around and doesn’t understand or can even contemplate what is happening. Looking down at her clothes that were supposed to be a black V-neck t-shirt and her pyjama pants were now a sarong wrapped around her waist with a silk short tank top rimmed with beads. Her skin had also changed to a light brown like she’d been tanning for way too long.
A shuffling sound comes from the hut in front of her, and she takes a step closer she peeks through the glassless window and finds a couple all over each other. Kera takes a step back.
“What the freak?!” she shrieks like her eyes had been thrown at with acid. “Where the hell am I!”
Kera looks around and notices a group of people coming fast from the centre of a village, and they didn’t look happy. The men were carrying sticks except for an older man who wore a headdress. He was bare-chested like all the men and some of the women, which made Kera wince.
“Great, angry naked people.” She mumbles to herself. She wonders what she’s supposed to do, were they coming this way for her? It had to be, she was not supposed to be there.
Kera takes off and heads for the trees, thinking if they were out to get her, she could at least hide until they do, but she soon sees they were not after her.
The folk begin to surround the hut and stop there. Kera slips through the trees and moves back near the hut. A man enters and starts to shout as if on cue the rest of the folk begin shouting in a language Kera couldn’t understand, but when she listens closer, she begins to hear a translation going on in her head.
The man pulls a young man and woman out of the hut, and they were wearing nothing. Off course they weren’t.
The elder with the headdress scrunches his face in disappointment, but Kera could see a hint of sadness around his eyes.
“You have broken our custom that dictates, a man and woman who are not married caught together will be whipped and beaten to death.”
The crowd cheers, anger flaming out of their eyes. Men ogle the naked woman’s body as she tries her best to cover herself, but the man holds her enjoying shaking her. Her lover tries to move closer to her to protect her, but the man shoves him to the ground.
“She is dirty now, the Gods and her people must see her dirtied body.” Growls the man holding her exposing her body to the villagers.
Kera watches this through the trees; she could feel her heart pumping with panic. If these people could treat lovers that way what were they to do with an outsider like her, plus, she was no virgin or married. Could they see that kind of thing?
It wasn’t right, either way, she didn’t know the couple, but they did seem to love each other. Although it was shown more towards the physical aspect of love when she saw them, it was their choice.
The crowd drags the lovers into the village and Kera, not knowing why, got the urge to follow them and maybe help them, somehow.
They bring them to a large gathering area in the very centre of the village that is surrounded by plenty of huts in different shapes and sizes. Children were playing there, some were butt naked, Kera begins to understand why. Even with what she was wearing she was sweating under the humid air.
They are tied to poles, and the people surround them. Some mothers begin to drag their curious children away while some leave them to face what is about to happen.
Kera swears out loud when she sees the same man who dragged them out of their hut appear holding something that resembles a whip. The elder with the headdress nods his head.
The man begins to whip the two lovers. Exerting everything he had, extremely mad. He seemed to hit the man hardest, and his eyes going rabid.
At each scream and shout from the lovers, Kera winged and looked away. Kera couldn’t take it and walked away fast, heading back to where it all started.
“Horrid, horrid people! What am I doing here?!” She shouts to the sky.
As she reaches the couple’s hut, she hears something move inside.
With no one around she enters and finds it barren. Except for a sack that was filled with clothes and items that belonged to the couple.
There is a thin bed halfway rolled up, and Kera realised the front of the house was empty unlike the others she saw earlier nearer to centre enter where there were objects that looked like pots hanging from the ceiling and clay bowls by the windows.
They were going to runaway, off course!
Kera sighs, “They just couldn’t keep it in their pants just a while more could they.”
There was nothing here to have caused any movement that she heard earlier.
“Strange.” She mumbles to herself. Then she sees smoke rising from behind the sack. Something was burning, walking around the sack she sees a jar. The jar was burning, it had mud paint scribbled on it. Somehow her mind begins to blur the letters.
Oh, world beyond we seek your help, help us flee with freedoms wings under our feet!
Kera’s eyes widen at the text revealing itself to her in English.
Could they have accidentally called her with some kind of magic?
Kera begins to pace, realizing maybe she could get back if she helped them but how would helping them do that? As well as how was she to help them without being dragged and whipped along with them if she was caught.
“Hey.” Greeted a voice. Kera looka around but saw no one.
“Up here, weirdo.”
Kera looks up and sees a bat.
“Erm, hello bat?” Kera greets back.
The voice begins to laugh, but it didn’t come from the bat.
“You’re losing your mind Kera.”
Kera crosses her arms across her chest.
“Well, at least I’m much nicer than you.” She taunts.
A bright cloud shimmers and forms itself into a bat.
“Can you see me now?”
“Well, I must be seeing things, cos I see an ugly bat dressed like a fairy.”
If a bat could roll its eyes, it would have done so.
The colorful misty bat flew down and changed its form into a cat.
“I guess I must introduce myself. I’m mist an—“
“Noooo, your name can’t possibly be that, could it?” Kera mocks, interrupting the cat.
“I didn’t say that was my name, I was about to explain what I was but since you don’t seem to want to know, I’ll leave that for another time. I’m here to help you, not because I want to but because I have too.”
Kera blushes, she was enjoying poking the bat, cat, mist or whatever it was, forgetting she didn’t know where she was.
“Right, well, how do I get out of here.”
If a cat could smile, it would have at Kera’s question.
“I’m your ticket out of here, but I’m not going to give it to you.” If cats could smirk, it would be smirking right now.
“Why not?!” Kera shouts, “I have no bloody idea why I’m here and why I look like this and why I’m talking to a talking cat that calls itself Misty!”
“I didn’t say my name was Misty and I didn’t even say Misty, I said Mist. You can’t even hear right.” It grumbles.
“What am I doing here Misty?” Kera mutters as she slumps against the wall of the hut.
“My name is not Misty. You’re suppose to help Jerinda and Kol. They called out for help, and you answered.”
Kera shook her head, “No I didn’t, I was washing my—I was doing laundry. I want to go back.”
“Don’t you want to help them?” it asks.
“Off course I do, but I don’t know where I am, how can I possibly help them?”
“I’ll explain it all after you’ve helped them. You don’t have much time. After the couple gets whipped, they will be left there overnight, and tonight there will also be a celebration for the River God and that’s when you can free them.”
“They are going to celebrate to the River God for whipping them?”
“No, it’s a different celebration!”
“Oh I see, so if I help you help them, you will help me get back home?”
“Yes, sort of. They have their creature to help them carry it all. I’ve been keeping an eye on it but I can’t for long.”
The cat then disappears.
Kera, not knowing what else to do, she packs the other items in the room except the smoking jar and heads into the forest.
It doesn’t take long to find the creature; it was an animal she had never seen before. It looked like a moose with an elephant’s body. It was dark grey while its antlers were silver. It had giant pockets made of cloth on either side of its body where she could see the other items that probably belonged to Jerinda and Kol.
“How am I supposed to get on it exactly?” She asks herself out loud.
The creature must have understood her for it brought itself down and Kera caught a short ladder made out of cloth on its side. Taking it before the creature rose again, she soon found herself atop the creature.
After stuffing the other items left in the hut in the less filled pocket, Kera looks around the forest. It was getting dark fast. “Hmm, now to save your owners.”
“You know talking to yourself is a sign that you could be crazy.” Says Misty, appearing on top of the creature’s head as a strange looking bird with a long pink beak and bright green feathers.
“Is that even a real bird?”
“Yes, its one of the creatures from here. As well as the one you are sitting on. Now, the villagers will be at the river, which is quite a distance away from their village. This would be the best time you attract their attention. Perhaps misdirect them after you’ve cut Jerinda and Kol free.”
“Wait, wouldn’t there be guards or something?”
If a bird with a pink beak and green feathers could smile, it would have.
“Yes, that you will have to figure out.” And the bird disappears.
“You know birds are meant for flying not disappearing!” Kera shouts into the forest.
Kera hides behind the trees near the center of the village, she could see Jerinda and Kol but barely, the clouds were currently covering the moon. The villagers had left no fire for them. There was only one man with them, and he was the one who dragged them out of their hut.
He was talking to Kol.
“She was meant to be my wife, brother. Now neither you nor I can have her. It is such a waste, she is, was beautiful.”
“She is still beautiful to me.” Kol replies proudly but it earns him a bash in the head knocking him out.
The man walks over to Jerinda, even in the dark Kera could see his teeth as he leers at Jerinda.
“You chose wrongly woman. Soon you will die and die ugly. Scars that the Gods will see and bar you from entering their gates.”
Jerinda was either too weak to reply or had no time too before the man grabbed her chin and yanked her head to face him.
“You should have chosen me!” he spat to her face.
Jerinda weakly smiles at the man, earning awe from Kera.
“I chose correctly, fate led us to be together and your anger will only feed the flames of where you will go at your death.”
The man howls into the night but did not hit her.
“Foolish, arrogant woman! I was a fool to ever think you were worthy to be my wife. Tomorrow I will rid of both of you and it will not be a swift death.”
Jerinda didn’t bother with a reply, angering the man but before he could hit her the elder with the headdress appears.
“Come Ero, leave them be. They have paid for their sins and more tomorrow. You must not forget it is time to visit the river; our God will not be pleased if your pettiness distracts you. They will not go anywhere with their blood dripping down their backs and their bodies tied. Come.”
The elder leaves followed by Ero who glares at their direction but no one is looking, not even Kera, distracted by a cloud of mist with sparkling light forming just a few steps away from her.
“It’s the door out of here, you can leave all this behind and just go home to washing your flowery underwear.” Mocks the mist.
Kera looks back at the tied up couple, they didn’t deserve what happened to them but who was she to save them. She was just Kera Golding, proud loner.
“Why are you doing this to me?” she asks but Misty doesn’t reply.
She knew what she had to do. “Go away Misty, you’re sparkling too much, you’re giving me a headache.”
Misty cheers and disappears, the mist sucks out of the air like a vacuum.
Kera checks the couple again to see if anyone else was there to guard him or her but no one was there.
Kera goes up to them to find their backs shattered by the whip. How they were still able to talk and think was beyond her understanding.
Quickly untying Jerinda, Kera overestimates her strength and they both fall onto the ground but Kera takes the blunt protecting Jerinda’s back.
“Sorry sorry sorry, did not think this through properly.” Kera struggles to lift Jerinda up to stand on her own feet.
“Who are you?” Jerinda asks as she adjusts herself awkwardly fighting the burning pain on her back.
“I’m Kera, I was sent to help you guys. I realize I’m not doing so well at it.”
“Hello Kera, give me some time, and I will be able, go to him.”
Kera heads to Kol but he is knocked out cold. Kera gently shakes him hoping to wake him.
“Umm, Kol, Mister Kol, please wake up. Hello, Mister —“ Kol wakes up calling out Jerinda’s name.
“I’m here my love, someone has sent us help. Do you think you can walk?”
“I will not unless I am untied.” He replies.
“Sorry, sorry, its just, you’re naked and I’m not sure if you can carry yourself…” Kol looks up at Kera, “I will be able to carry myself, do not worry.”
Kera shrugs, “Ok if you say so but I’m sorry if I don’t catch you. I just don’t want your body parts falling on me, if you know what I mean.”
“I do not know what you mean.” He replies as his body heads for the ground but Kera grabs an arm and Kol grabs hold of the pole.
“Thank you, I did not expect to be that weak.” He looks up to the sky. “We must go soon, the celebratory ritual by the river will not be long.”
Kera takes a peak inside huts while they gain feeling back in their legs and stole bits of food and a jug of water.
“Here you go guy.” They nod their thanks and as she watches them eat Kera had a feeling they weren’t going to make it in time to their ride. She needed to stall the angry crowd somehow.
“Erm, the angry people, were they angry because of what you guys did or is there more?” Kera asks.
Kol’s face darkened but Jerinda answers, “We were caught in each others arms. This is against our custom if we are not married. Although it doesn’t help that Kol, is Ero’s brother who is to be the next chief of our village. He has always been jealous of our close friendship since young.”
“Who are you?” Kol asks, “We have never seen you in our village although you look like one of our people but yet you speak like a stranger. Are you a God in disguise?”
Kera chuckles, “Me? A God?” she laughs louder causing her tummy aching, “No, no, I am not a God, I am just lost. I am from another place.”
“So you are a messenger of a new God? We had prayed for a new god, one who would understand our dilemma and help us. Perhaps you are a messenger.”
“No, no I am no God’s messenger. I’m too much of a free thinker to be any God’s messenger. Not very loyal to any so no, but if I was, I would say you guys better get going to your antlered beasty in the forest and move fast. I’m going to try and find a way to distract the villagers. Somehow.”
Jerinda smiles lost in thought, “A freethinker, I think that is a God of it’s own.”
Kera shrugs, “Whatever you want to believe. You guys better go though, honestly, can you guys do it on your own?”
Kol stands as straight as he could, helping Jerinda. “Yes we can, for we have each other. We also have ointments that can help us in our sacks. We will survive, we owe our thanks to you freethinker. “
Kera nervously laughs, “Ugh, thanks thanks, no problemo, just doing what I can. I’ll head to the river, I’ll try to follow the path Ero took?”
Jerinda nods, “It is just down the path behind the village huts, you will hear the river and it will guide you. Thank you again, I will send some thanks to your God, freethinker.”
Kera watches them as they head to their antlered creature, walking as fast as they could but they were not going to make it if she didn’t distract the villagers, especially grumpy jealous Ero.
Kera heads to the river. She could just barely hear the water crashing on rocks.
The villagers were standing at the river’s edge. They had moved down stream where the water was gentler. They had created a bridge made of rope and tree branches and at the middle was the elder with the headdress and Ero. They were all chanting in their language.
Kera looks around but she couldn’t figure out how she was going to deter them from heading to the village to soon. Should she start a fire? But that would hurt the trees and she didn’t want to kill anything or anyone.
Maybe start dancing naked, but she had a feeling that wouldn’t draw much attention for long, most of the villagers were practically naked.
What pissed them off in the first place was an unwed couple getting touchy; she wasn’t that particular about kissing some random villager but that would get that guy in trouble.
Kera sighs. “What the freak am I suppose to do?” she hisses to herself.
She could act like a God, Kera laughs at the thought. Looking like one of them would totally throw that off. That was another thing, how was it she looked like one of them. Why couldn’t she be herself?
“Having trouble?” someone murmurs, Kera looks around but could not see anything but an insect on a leaf. She could barely see it in the dark.
“Is that you Misty? You can transform into any thing right? I think I have an idea, but I’ll need your help.”
“Why should I help you?” the insect answers.
“You got me here now you have to help me get out, or I’ll squash you, you are an irritating bug.”
“That’s not a nice way to talk to someone you need help from. I could just disappear you know.”
“You do that all the time anyway. Fine, I need you to become a guy, but first, we need to go further down, farther away from the village.”
“For your information, I am a—“ he began but Kera walks away.
“No time for chatter chitter bug.”
“I could just leave her.” He grumbles to himself before he disappears.
Kera slips through the crowd, who watches her with confusion in their eyes. They have never seen this girl before. Kera tries to join in their chanting but she just sounded off from their voices.
She had a bad feeling she was going to get caught.
Slipping further away at the edge of the crowd, Kera let out a relieved sigh but chokes on it when she catches Ero watching her. She felt like his eyes were sending out invincible lasers through her body.
“Oh-oh, should I stay or should I go now?” she hums under her breath looking away from Ero. Maybe I didn’t need a plan; they were already looking ready to hunt her.
Looking up again, the elder with the headdress opens his eyes, the chant was over, and beside him, Ero was starring daggers at her as he instantly walks towards her.
“Yep, I didn’t need a plan.” And Kera ran into the forest as fast as she could. Thankfully the moon was full, and the clouds had disappeared, its light showered rays through the treetop.
She couldn’t help wonder, they were a tribe, could they run really fast? Like super fast? This place seemed magical, or could they climb and swing through the trees like Tarzan?
“Shiiiiiiit!” shouts Kera as she ran; this was a horrible plan she thought, it wasn’t a plan!
Through the trees, Kera saw it, the similar cloud of mist with sparkling lights forming in the distance.
“Can’t you bring it closer you twit!” she shouts at the mist.
Kera looks behind and she could see Ero not far behind as well as the villagers. She couldn’t see the river anymore or the village. At least she did her job, she could barely breath properly, her lungs were on fire, and she could feel her legs wobbling. She needed to exercise more when she got back.
She takes a leap, and she’s gone, the mist disappears as if sucked into the air like a vacuum.
In the distance far from the village, Jerinda puts ointment on Kol’s back and hears a familiar roar. They both smile, they were free and from Ero’s howl, so was their freethinker.
We’re back in the ordinary bathroom with the over soaked underwear. Now we know Kera owns those underwear. Who, right now, is lying on the bathroom floor asleep in her black V-neck t-shirt and pajama pants, I would like to say she was drooling but I’ll tell her that when we meet.