by Mehreen Ahmed
Before the telltale stick figures of shinned solid bones, a priest sermoned. Etched on a Mountain cave of russet walls, in the pale shadows of a moonlight tall, a tale came to pass. That a famine had struck hard, a terrible pestilence followed. Soils must be appeased. They had to be cleansed. Innocent bodies sacrificed. For there were no rains, certainly no grains. Undeterred in the crucifixion, this was the temple’s ruse to boost harvest. The Kings of the land sat reading from a scroll. It was in the scroll of the dead, where this light was shed. A high price at stake.
Children queued up in short loin cloths. When they heard the divine decree, they were in awe. That the priest picked up a child and he took him to the gallows. Parents witnessed petrified, sunken souls in hollows. Little bodies lay amok at gods’ altar. The severed heads in chaos, but still no crops, nor any flying swallows. The famine persisted for yet another year. A gaping horror of cries; hollering justice to rise. But Nature remained mute. A silence played out. Like this cold marble, an unheard, untuned lute.
Mehreen Ahmed is internationally published and critically acclaimed by Midwest Book Review, The Wild Atlantic Book Club, DD Magazine to name a few.One of the winners of The Waterloo Short Story Competition, her works were three-time nominated for The Best of the Net Award, nominated for the Pushcart Prize Award, three-time nominated for Aurealis Award, nominated for Christina Stead Prize, and Finalist for Adelaide Literary Awards. Her book is an announced Drunken Druid’s Editor’s Choice.