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Warmth and Sweetness



a fictional short story by
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<h2>Warmth and Sweetness</h2>

a fictional short story by <a href"mailto:rmbrodie@chmai.loxinfo.co.th">Mike Brodie</a>

Chief Igban surveyed his tribe, as they all sat in a great circle around the campfire. When he saw that all eyes were upon him, he let out a load war cry.

"Today, we stand upon the threshold of a great victory against the heretic Urabaye tribe," Chief Igban roared heroically. He crossed his massive arms in front of his great chest, and paused. "A great victory!" he shouted, and he threw his arms skyward.

"Since the time when my Uncle was Chief of this great Ural tribe we have been pushed from our homelands. We have been raided, and looted over and over again by the tribes of the lake, and by the Hookis tribe of the river's mouth. Our women have been raped! Many of our women and children have been stolen from us! Many of our young men have been slaughtered by cowardly murderers! And our heroes have died by the score!"

Chief Igban once again cast his glance around the great circle. "Today," he continued more quietly, "many of our heroes fell in battle. They are dearly missed, but they are all in heaven with God!" His voice rose to a shout, and he threw his arms skyward. "They are all in heaven, with God!" he repeated slowly, his voice booming, his gaze quickly locking on the eyes of each person in the circle.

"They are all in heaven with God!!" the circle shouted back, in chorus.

"Tomorrow morning," Chief Igban continued more quietly, "when God awakens, we will cut the heart from the Urabayen shaman who we captured today, and we will all eat of it, and then we will eat meat and honey aplenty! After the meal we will rest for one hour, as it is written. Then we will take to arms, for the Urabaye will be without magic. They have fallen from grace with God! We shall route the Urabaye from our ancestral home, by the fertile banks of the river! My brothers and sisters, our exile is at an end! Tomorrow, we head for home!!" Chief Igban cast his gaze around the circle again.

"Tomorrow we head for home!!" the whole tribe shouted back, in chorus.

"Doctor Aman has prepared potent medicine", said Chief Igban, gesturing to the man sitting at his right side. "Drink deeply of it and be strong of body and mind."

Chief Igban sat, and Doctor Aman stood up. Doctor Aman began chanting, and then he danced around the fire, and around and in between the tribesmen. Two men brought pails, and brushes made of leaves. Doctor Aman brushed some liquid from one of the pails onto each person's face, then filled a cup from the other pail and offered it to be drunk.

To the left of Chief Igban sat three women, his favorites. His newest woman, Merl, sat closest to him. He had liberated her from the Hookis during the most recent battle three years ago. He had taken one of her children, Noma, a fair girl aged 11, into the tribe at the same time. They had also had one boy child together, born last year. Noma was playing with some other children nearby, where the elderly were cleaning up the meal.

Year after year, thought Chief Igban to himself, I have held the small tribes in check. Without me, there would be total devastation. Why should I not be rewarded for doing God's work? Life is very good. God is great and merciful!

When Doctor Aman was finished, he resumed his place at the right side of Chief Igban, and told him, "My Great Chief, I have desecrated the living body of the Urabayen shaman, and prepared a potion of valor for you, in the time-honored tradition." Doctor Aman gestured to one of his men, who approached with a large cup, which was presented to Chief Igban.

"You honor me, old friend," Chief Igban said to Doctor Aman, looking very self-satisfied.

Chief Igban arose and let out the mother of all war cries. When he had everyone's attention, he raised the cup skyward, and shouted, "from the body of my enemy I take strength to defeat him utterly, in the name of God!"

Chief Igban drank deeply. When the tribe realized it was the potion of valor that their shaman had prepared for their chief, they got up and whooped in joy.

* * * * *

Later that night, in his private hut, Doctor Aman bided his time. The rest of the tribe was asleep.

He poured himself a cup of tea, and looked around at nothing in particular. His hand played with an unremarkable bead on a bead necklace he wore. It was the only thing he possessed from his childhood. Nobody seemed to recognize that it was of Urabayen craftsmanship.

Doctor Aman's attention flitted from object to object in his home.
Everything was very familiar. Finally, he regarded the hideous mockery of the male form off in the corner, which called itself Sweety. It was sitting in lotus position, completely still, eyes staring ahead at nothing. It looked like an old, poorly cast statue that time had etched all over with blotchy discolorations. Its arms were too long, its legs too short, and its face was bloated.

"Wise one," whispered Doctor Aman.

"Yes, Doctor Aman?" whispered Sweety in reply, his rigid form now gracefully fluid. Sweety smiled at Doctor Aman. Its hideous face looked warm and friendly somehow.

"Tell me again why you do not believe in God," asked Doctor Aman.

"Sure," said Sweety pleasantly. "Firstly, as I have told you many times, I do not believe in anything. I don't take anything whatsoever for granted as a fact. I utilize theoretical models to predict behavior, and thereby achieve whatever goals I have to achieve. I have thousands of theoretical models. I use them to dissect my perceptions and focus on the relevant. From time to time I amend my theories."

"As usual, you speak in riddles," said Doctor Aman.

Sweety raised an eyebrow, cocked his head, and smiled in concession. When Doctor Aman did not speak further, Sweety continued. "Secondly, the way you phrase the question, 'believe in God', has the embedded assumption that there is widespread agreement on a definition of God, which there is not. "

"But surely there is a commonality", said Doctor Aman. "God created everything. God is warmth!"

"If God created everything, then who or what created God?" replied Sweety. "I cannot integrate that statement simply because it is self-contradictory. The phrase 'God is Warmth' is merely a declaration of an intangible, unverifiable phenomenon, and I cannot integrate it either. It may be of interest to mention that the phrase appears in your scripture only twice, but has been, over a long period of time, blown out of proportion, given center stage, and used to redefine religious sentiment--"

"Then could we be said," interrupted Doctor Aman, "to be growing more and more aware of who God is, as our understanding of God increases?"

"No, Doctor Aman," said Sweety. "In the same way that a distant shape may be a crouching man, or a bush, or a dog. You cannot grow to see it more clearly. You either see it and recognize it and understand what it is, or you don't.

"My theory is that God fills a need for mankind. Whether it is the need to know where you come from, and what happens when you die, or the need to feel that the world is just and moral, or the need to feel that there is a correct code of conduct. My theory predicts that people cling to God as a revered and cherished idea, and that if they are inclined to reforms, they would rather redefine God to adapt to the times than to abandon him. Most people have a whole host of positive associations with God that they can't divorce from the concept of God itself."

Doctor Aman's face was a mask of composure. "What do you know, anyway?" said Doctor Aman.

When he said nothing more, Sweety continued. "Back to your point about a commonality in the definition of God", continued Sweety, "the two religions you are familiar with, that of these Ural people who kidnapped you as a child, and that of your birth tribe, the Urabaye, make contradictory declarations about the nature of God. I am familiar with countless--"

"Then you know!" interrupted Doctor Aman. "You know I am Urabayen?!"

"Of course, Doctor Aman," said Sweety pleasantly. "I've known for a long time. I also know that you drugged the Ural this evening, and that the Urabaye are quietly killing them in their sleep as we speak."

"And you did nothing to prevent it?" asked Doctor Aman.

"As you can see, I did not," answered Sweety, with an endearing smile. "Remember? I don't judge you."

"I did it for God!" said Doctor Aman. "To rid the world of the impious. The usurpers of the great civilization the Urabaye built. They would steal our cattle, and our crops. The blasphemers believe that God is only the Sun! They do not even comprehend that every star in Heaven is a reflection of God! Well? Don't just sit there! What do you have to say?"

"About forty years ago, the Ural were routed from the land the Urabaye now occupy", said Sweety, "which is the most desirable piece of land anywhere near here. They perceive this as a great injustice, and the reason for their poverty. They are unaware how frequently that piece of land has been fought over, though not recently. My theory is that their poverty stems from a lack of building and planting and herding, owing to a combination of a poor work ethic, a culturally warlike orientation, and..."

Just then the door burst open, and a man almost as large as Chief Igban stormed in. Doctor Aman smiled and bowed. "Chief Maiyo," said Doctor Aman.
"Is it finished?"

"Nearly," said the big man. "You have done very well betraying your people, and giving us an easy victory!"

Doctor Aman's face turned to surprise and then fear. He tried to bolt, but Chief Maiyo easily caught him and held him fast. Doctor Aman screamed as Chief Maiyo slowly slit his throat.

Sweety smiled pleasantly at Chief Maiyo.

"You filthy abomination!" Chief Maiyo shouted at Sweety, as he turned to leave.

"Why did you kill Doctor Aman?" asked Sweety.

Chief Maiyo turned back to Sweety, his face in a rage. "You perverted him with your unspeakable acts of depravity! You have committed the utmost sacrilege against God. It was you who gained his trust and made him double-cross us. Only Aman's council could have allowed the Ural to capture our Shaman!"

"No, Chief Maiyo," said Sweety pleasantly. "He twisted his ankle and made a noise. He is still alive, though he was tortured brutally. If you..."

Chief Maiyo let out a vicious war cry, and made to lunge at Sweety.

Sweety sprang up instantly and jammed his hand into Chief Maiyo's throat with enough force to crush the windpipe and snap the spine. As Chief Maiyo's body fell dead, Sweety brushed it aside, and without loosing balance or skipping a stride, ran out of Doctor Aman's hut, and off into the hills much faster than anyone could give chase. One the way, he encountered only one of the Urabayen warriors, who slung a stone at Sweety. Sweety caught it, spun around, and hurled it back. The stone stuck the man squarely on the forehead, shattering his skull.

* * * * *

EPILOG

After the death of Chief Igban (who was poisoned by the potion Doctor Aman had given him, and actually died before the Urabaye attacked the Ural camp), the tribes that used to war on the Ural (and each other) united briefly to destroy the Urabaye. The land by the river changed hands many times afterwards.

The marooned Sexbot Sweety was eventually able to reconnect to his network and signal for pickup. His antique design coupled with the hilarious dialog he had had with the primitives was such a sensation that he was duplicated, and Sweeties sold very well for several years.

The bead necklace that Doctor Aman had worn was dug up centuries after his death, and put on display in a museum.

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