Written for 3WW - Hint, Sheen, Lust
Old Mother sat by the window watching Mira, her newest stray, who sat cross legged on the floor at her feet. Morning light poured in through the cracked window painting a sheen of dappled shapes on the child's glossy hair. In the three days since Old Mother had found Mira, wandering among the heaps in the Soroton dump, she had only spoken two words. Her name, Mira; and her desire, banana. Old Mother had borrowed money from a neighbor, five pieces, in order to purchase the banana, in the hopes that Mira might be moved to speak again in her infectiously musical voice.
Now, three days, twenty pieces and four bananas later, the child had refused to speak, contented to play alone with broken toys on the floor or on Old Mother's lap. Until now. She had been fingering the discarded wheel of a long lost toy train, her pitch hair a veil over her face, when in her elusive sing song cadence, she said, "He's a bad man."
Old Mother looked up, but afraid to scare the child back into silence, she patiently waited for her to continue. "The bad man wants her."
Old Mother sat forward. “What man? Who does he want?”
Mira raised her head, large black eyes bright and afraid. She seemed to be pleading with those eyes, pulling at Old Mother's heart with invisible strings. Old Mother reached out to the girl. Mira paled as the fear on her small face intensified, and as if Old Mother had extended a blade instead of her hands, Mira skittered backward on the floor until her back was against the wall. Mira, who until that moment, had been as silent as an inanimate stuffed animal, threw back her head and exhaled a pained lusty cry that ripped palpably through Old Mother, throwing her backward in her chair, knocking the wind out of her. The partially shattered window, three large triangular shards of glass held together with duck tape, tinkled in the chipped wooden frame. Old Mother grasped her chest, eyes watering with the effort to reclaim her breath. Until this moment, nothing had hinted to this power, that this lovely taciturn child could effectively move her environment with the power of her voice.
Gripping the arms of the chair, Old Mother pulled herself forward. She felt compelled to go to this child, embrace her, soothe whatever fear had caused this sudden outburst. Part of her rejoiced at this child who undoubtedly possessed a raw untapped power that few could claim. Another child like Honor would be a blessing for the Believers; a replacement standard-bearer should Honor not do what had been prophesied. As much as Old Mother hated to face this reality, she had long ago resigned herself to the possibility that Honor might not be enough to turn the tide in their favor. An even deeper voice reverberated in Old Mother's mind, berating her for not being afraid.
Mira's tiny voice trailed off into a whimper. She raised a small hand, pointed to the window, and whispered, "The bad man is here."
Old Mother's gaze followed the line of Mira's thin pale arm. Old Mother saw a glistening black limousine come to a stop at the curb in front of her home. She straightened her shawl and stood as straight as her aching back would allow. "The Supreme Scientist. I was wondering when he would come."