The Village in the Shadow of K’prut – Steve Campbell

“K’prut was born of the land an’, gatherin’ all rock an’ soil, she rose up high, burstin’ up from beneath an’ shapin’ all that surroundin’. With one finger sweep she forgin’ a ridge, a slice from her crown to the valley so low, that she fills with flowing water she scoopin’ from clouds. The sweet, sweet water that bloats up our bellies. But K’prut not done. She takes her hands, two great stone ‘uns, an’ she drags ‘em through the land to make all them fields an’ meadows. And delicate like, she moulds trees an’ shoves them in row, after row, after row, after row. Still she rises up, bigger an’ taller an’ wider than all, crowned in the cold white.

“For our glowin’ she takes one eye an’ holds it high to feed the land with bright an’ hot. She plucks another ‘un an’ drains out all the burnin’, leavin’ the eye pale for when darkness creeps an’ sneaks in.

“All surroundin’ K’prut is lush. It grow taller an’ fat an’ bright with all them ages gone an’ soon tiny creatures come to eat all the rich an’ sweet. They attract screechers an’ swingers, an’ them attractin’ hounds, last came the son. He a man brave an’ strong with all the smarts. His fire an’ chippin’ an’ buildin’ in that valley soon bring others an’ they all chop an’ dig an’ begin ages of shapin’ an’ livin’.

“K’prut was happy an’ stood up tall an’ wide over village, majestic like. An’ all man look up at K’prut with awe an’ thankin’.

“It wondrous for many ages. The village spread an’ the sweet lush grow but man stopped thankin’. They think village come from their own work an’ shapin’. This boil up K’prut proper like. She roar an’ bellow an’ clash her stone grinders together an’, pullin’ wide her mouth, she spew a fire red flow so mighty that it sunk an’ black all trees an’ screechers an’ swingers. The soil shake an’ the sweet water bubble an’ when K’prut’s boil up had done, the village was swallowed an’ most man been ate up. Only a few lonesome missed that fire red flow.”

Jobe listenin’ with no speakin’ as Chief re-tell that shapin’ tale. Occasional Jobe eyed the cave wall where elders, with digits dipped in bright, had long since smearin’ visions of all those happenins. Followin’ Jobe’s seein’ Chief an’ spin to poke the smears, “Yes. K’prut she proper show what no thankin’ does!”

When Chief stares, Jobe sees K’prut’s rage down deep in Chief’s eyes an’ he start feelin’ it in his own middle an’ all, in his beatin’. Jobe listenin’ to this tale hundreds over ages, but this re-tellin’ was a proper symbolic. It readyin’ Jobe for X’em.

“K’prut speak through me, she come in visions clear an’ bright, and I hear ‘an all. She whispers low an’ deep an’ tells of X’em. She say young ‘uns who ready to bloom must show smarts an’ strength an’ worth. Them go live without shadow an’ when returnin’, them men. Men who worthy of livin’ in village. X’em is village way of showin’ K’prut proper thanks.”

*

In the first bright eyes of X’em, Jobe stay in trees that surroundin’ the village too scared of unknowin’ to go on. Soon scavengin’ grow slim so, with only a sharp at his side, Jobe follow the windin’ and turnin’ water, just like he done all them times huntin’ an’ scavengin’ with Father. It flow to nothin’ after many eyes but Jobe push on, choppin’ the lush an’ makin’ his own track.

Many times Jobe thinkin’ to spin an’ return to village with crown low in shame but he keep on track, even when pale eye come an’ he limbo with belly grumblin’ an’ sob-sobbin’ eyes flowin’.

Many times Jobe askin’ K’prut for guide but waitin’ many bright eyes she not speak. Knowin’ he on his lonesome, too far from village, Jobe takes up his sharp in rage…

Since beginnin’ X’em, hounds been creepin’ an’ waitin’ to drag Jobe into dark when he weakin’ an’ limp. Them hounds long gone now. Full of boil an’ rage Jobe sneakin’ proper quiet an’ sticks one an’ guts it. Them others soon get smarts and spin. That pale eye Jobe’s belly bloat up proper like with roast hound an’ limbo was best since beginnin’ X’em. In wakin’ Jobe thinkin’ less about village an’ K’prut an’ X’em an’ returnin’.

After many bright an’ pale eyes, Jobe break free of them trees an’ face wide flow that runnin’ fast an’ true an’ deep. All around Jobe the bright is brighter an’ the breathin’ is sweeter than he knowin’. The other flow edge is lush an’ green but not like Jobe eyed before.

Sparkin’ fire for waitin’ an’ thinkin’ about the crossin’ Jobe listenin’ a tappin’ come from the flow. Movin’ close he eyes a fallen branch that ratt-a-tattin’ on a rock an’, strainin’ an’ stretchin’, he drags wood to edge. After delicate snippin’ an’ chippin’ he soon have a staff which stand as tall as self.

The flow was deep an’ fast an’ it make to sweep Jobe away but the passion an’ willin’ inside him too bold. The staff hold true an’ all, and soon, gaspin’ an’ splutterin’, Jobe make it to flow edge.

Waitin’ for breath and devourin’ the last of roast hound Jobe eyes the crown of K’prut one last time. Then he take up his sharp an’ staff an’ spinnin’ his back to Her before pushin’ on through the lush green to seek out the unknowin’.

 

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Bio: Established in 1973, Steve Campbell is a taller, designer, writer. You can find his words in places such as: Sick Lit Magazine, Ad Hoc Fiction, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Occulum and on his website standondog.com. He somehow finds time to manage EllipsisZine.com. Follow him on twitter here: @standondog.

 

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Image: Mandy Beerley
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