The bird hovered around the child. It was strange like, yet endearing. It’s eyes were human-like with a knowing purposeful look. It’s wings were rainbow coloured. It’s beak was long, slightly curved and pointed. It was a wonderful queer sight to behold, ”or not.”
The woman did not think so. She watched with trepidation. She had anticipated the arrival of a particular bird but not this one. This particular bird was different. It was the leader. It never came out except for grave reasons. It was rumoured that it had not been out of her home for seven hundred seasons.
The child was just a quarter of a season old. Surely, she couldn’t be initiated just yet. The child slept quietly, oblivious to her environment. Was she the much awaited ‘metteldeszekar,’ meaning leader.
The woman wondered with much fear. She herself was but of the lowliest rank in the ‘ragar’. Her loins could not have borne the next leader. She wanted to protect her child from this spirit. Once a child was initiated, there was no turning back.
She always knew this particular child was different. It’s pregnancy had been difficult and labour was a tale left untold. Her other children were normal, as human as their father was.
She berated herself for not anticipating this moment. She would have been more prepared. She would not have left the child sleeping on a mat outside the hut.
She moved from where she was roasting groundnuts to snatch her child from the presence of this bird, but her feet stuck firmly to the ground. She tried to open her mouth to scream. She couldn’t. Then, she realised the spirit had been released upon her. Her fear grew in boundless fold. An ominous sign hung over the sky.
She woke up sweating profusely. It was but a dream, or was it a sign?
To be continued…