The Doctor’s Daughter
The young girl is seven years old. She has skin as dark as the twilight and eyes that are darker than the raven's feather. Her eyes are dark. Her face is round. Her eyes are overflowing with sorrow. But it's the type of sorrow no-one around her sees. No-one except for me.
I keep an eye on her, all the time. Just as I keep an eye on all my people. Just as I see all their suffering and their hardships and their pain. I see how they all cling to life, out of compulsion rather than out of want, when truly there is no life to cling to. Not for them. I see how she floats and flits through life like a ghost, as her insides are hollowed out and left raw, scraped, bleeding.
Inside her I see the key to our destiny. The key to our future. The key to finally making my domain my own again. But this she does not know. She does not even know that I look at her. And she cannot even know how much power she truly holds. Not yet. Not yet. The day will come. But it hasn't come yet.
So she lives her life as a silent servant, as an unseen, technically-alive ghost in the household of the doctor. She does the bidding of the family and follows all their orders with a stony mask on her face that doesn't betray all the howling winds inside. And she works.
The doctor and his family make her do much work. Too much work for a little girl of seven years old to bear. She has to sweep and dust and wash and scrub and polish everything in their large, stretching house. She has to cook their meals, intricate meals made of flavourful, savoury foods. And she has to fetch and carry whatever they ask of her to fetch and carry. And she has to do it without complaint, without comment, without any indication at all that she has emotions.
For you see, the doctor and his family do not see her as a little girl. They do not see her as a person at all. They see her as a possession. As a tool. As a thing to be used. As a servant. As a shadow. As someone, no something, that is undoubtedly and unalienably beneath them. And most of the time they do not see her at all.
They sit around the large, polished, mahogany dinner table talking. And they sit on the many plush sofas in the living room, chatting. And they talk of their lives, and they talk of their dreams, and they talk of their thoughts and emotions and experiences and desires.
The girl does not have anyone to talk to. Not in that big house with blinding white walls and reflective white floors with little stones studded in them. She does not have anyone to share her thoughts and feelings with. So she gulps them down. She hides them from everyone, even herself. And she does her work.
Her little tiny figure holds a broom that oh-so-dusturbingly is actually the right size for her. She sweeps under the desks and under the tables and under the bed. She has to keep everything pristine, everything shining, everything spotless. All the rooms in the stretching house must shine.
And the girl must make them shine with her blood and bones and whatever is left of her spirit.
The little child is in pain, all the time. She is overwhelmed by her long working day. She is overwhelmed by how she has to do the work of an adult, being only seven years old. She is overwhelmed by how she is treated by the family. She is overwhelmed by how she has to hide everything that she is, to the point where she doesn't even know what she is. She is overwhelmed by the fear she feels.
You see, she fears the doctor's family a great deal. And she has very good cause to.
For they yell at her, shouting with voices full of control and command and power and superiority. They bark orders at her, with voices full of hated and contempt and hardness and harshness and anger. And they shout at her whenever they are telling her to do something. And if they don't shout at her, because they do not have the energy to do so, then they still speak to her with tones as hard as stone, as sharp as razors, as harsh as gravel being rubbed on your bare skin. Their voices are filled with contempt and disdain, even if they are not shouting. And she has to put up with all of that.
She has to put up with it, cowering and shivering and shuddering inside, but remaining a stony mask on the outside. For she knows that they would punish her if she ever shows emotion. That doesn't mean she doesn't feel it though. Her every emotion pierces into her insides and drowns her in a poison ocean. You would have to look, really look, deep into her eyes in order to see all the brokenness that is hidden away inside of her. You would have to really pay attention to her. But of course no-one does. No-one even thinks to. No-one remotely cares to.
But she is a child. She is a child. She is a child, she is a child, she is a child. I see this. My people see this. But the doctor and his family, they do not see this. They do not remotely care to.
And there is another reason she is afraid as well. And it is another good reason as well. The doctor and his family are the only ones keeping her alive. They are the ones who feed her and clothe her and keep a roof over her head. And they could easily stop doing these things, just as easily as they began doing them.
She does not want life, not really. Every day, every hour, every moment a part of her feelings long for easeful death. She longs for the oblivion of simply ceasing to be. For in her life she is already in an oblivion. She is already seen as and treated like nothing. It is a much kinder, softer oblivion, the oblivion of death. Much kinder and softer than the harsh, cruel oblivion of life.
But still, she is a child and it is her childish instinct to hold onto life. And so she cannot let herself die. She longs for death, but she also fears it. And she hates herself for longing for it. And she hates herself for fearing it. And she hates herself just in general, the child, for too many people have taught her to. And she fears the family.
She knows that she has been brought here to work. She has been kept alive to work. If she doesn't work, she won't be kept alive. If she doesn't please them, she won't be kept alive. She knows that her purpose in front of them is to please them, and to work goodly and diligently, as young as she might be.
She knows that she is not a real person. She is not a whole person. She is definitely not a child. Or at least, she is not allowed to be any of these things. She is only allowed to be a worker.
And so she watches everything she says around them. She watches everything she does. She even watches everything she thinks, everything she feels. Until she feels not like a human at all. Until she feels like a puppet being pulled this way and that by harsh, strong chords she has no control over.
She does not move through life as if she is a person at all. She moves through life as if she is a puppet. She does not feel as if she is a person at all. She feels as if she is a puppet.
So she scrubs the floor on her hands and knees, working robotically fast though all she longs to do is rest. And so she ignores the way the sky is blue outside the window. So he tells herself that the blue sky is not for her. She tells herself that she is not blue. But she is blue. She is the darkest brown like the earth after rain. And underneath that brown she is the brightest blue like the sky on a sunny day. She just cannot see it. But I can. So she scrubs and scrubs the floor until it is shining. And she asks the mistress of the house what her next task for the day is.
She sits on the floor of the kitchen, a dirty, grimy, dark kitchen. She sits all alone. And she eats the simple white rice with a bit of cooked leaves. It's the only food she's been given. It's the only food she's ever given. While the family talks loudly as they eat tenderly cooked meats.
She feels hollow. She feels weary. She cannot even think thoughts of happiness, of childlike mirth, of brightness. Not even when she is alone. Not even when she has no work. All she can do is sink deeper and deeper into the mists of her sorrow, which is what she always does.
I watch her. I watch her. Every single moment of every single day I watch her. And my heart breaks. And I weep all the tears that I wish I could weep. I weep all the tears that I know I will not be able to make known to the world. I weep and my heart shatters. I wish, more than anything, that I could deliver her from this fate. I wish I could deliver her. I wish I could deliver them all.
But I cannot. Not yet. It's beyond my powers. For now. Only for now. My powers will grow stronger. And with her by my side, we will deliver them. We will deliver them all.
I watch her polish the furniture until it is softly shining. I watch her dark eyes, at once both dull and shining. At once both hollow and filled. At once both saved and saviour. Though that last part is for the future. For now, she pays minute attention to detail as she makes sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of the carved wood. She is a good worker. Because she has to be. She always has to be.
I watch as she sleeps on a blanket on the hard stone floor, alone in the darkness. I watch as she looks out into the darkness. And she thinks that it is as dark as her life. She thinks that it is not as dark as her life is. She sheds invisible tears from her dry eyes, lying there like a stone, like a doll, like a dead corpse, until the sweet oblivion of sleep takes her away. I sing a lullaby for no reason, knowing that she cannot hear me.
I watch as she is forced to get up the next day. And I feel her wish that she didn't have to get up. I watch as she prepares breakfast for the family.
The doctor's family is truly her own family. They are the only ones who are around her. They are the adults and other children in her life. They are the people who she has to live with. They are her only form of social interaction. They are the only people she has. The people who feed her. The people who keep her close.
She could not possibly have a worse family. No-one could.
She did have a good family once. A kind family. A family that truly held her close and hugged her and listened to her. A family that told her stories and told her she was beautiful and told her she was going to change the world. She had a family who played with her, who gave her the best food, who slept tucked close by her side.
But that family had to let her go. They couldn't keep her, because they couldn't feed her. They couldn't clothe her. They couldn't keep her alive. That is the truth of the land's people. They often have children they cannot feed. Children they cannot clothe. Children they cannot keep alive.
They wanted to keep her. More than anything they wanted to keep her. But they wanted to keep her. But they could not let her die. They could not cut her life short. No matter what she wanted. No matter what they wanted. They were not brave enough to. No-one is brave enough to let their child die.
It's too painful for her to remember that family. But the grief she feels at losing them, the mourning she feels at missing them, it haunts her always. It drowns her, leaves her gasping and struggling. It leaves her chest and throat bloody. It makes her feel as if she is breathing salty, sorrow-laden tears instead of air. She can never escape her grief. And she is grieving for people who are not even dead.
Or, she knows not if they are dead or alive. She knows not if her true mother still breathes, if her true father yet sings, if her older sister still weaves bracelets out of blades of tall grass, if her true brother still tells stories.
She often wishes that the family who were forced to leave her was dead. Because if they were dead, they could be watching over her. They could see her. They could feel her pain and maybe even protect her a bit. If they were dead she could be closer to them.
And if they were dead they could be free of their own grief and pain. They could be free of the weight of their hungry bellies and their aching bodies. They could be free of the grief that comes naturally with being a member of this world. They could be free of their own toil and work. And they could be free of the weight and pain of having had to give their daughter up.
She misses her family, she misses her friends, she misses her community, she misses her village. She misses them all so very much. But she cannot speak of this to anyone. She has to swallow it down like a lump of hard poison. She has to keep it deep within herself, clawing to be let out. She has to not acknowledge it, not even to herself.
She has to only feel it, and let it down her.
Sometimes she dreams of her village. Of its bright earth. Of its tall grasses. Of its kind inhabitants. She always wakes up crying after those dreams. She always wipes her tears away and suppresses her sobs before the family can come in and see her.
For you see, the doctor and his family like pretending that they are good people. They like pretending that they are the saviours of their world. That they are the ones who keep the world standing. They have big egos, and those big egos call for them to be seen as big heroes.
I know this. I watch them. I watch them with the same sort of hatred with which I watch all the other leaders and rulers of the land. Of course, the doctor and his family will deny that they are rulers. They will say that they are simply doctors. But they benefit from the system and they help keep it secure in its place. The doctor and his family are rulers just as any of the other rulers are.
The doctor goes to the village every once in a while. There he treats the sicknesses of the people for free. He thinks that he is amazing for doing this. He thinks that he is exceptionally kind and generous. His family, his friends, they all sing him praises. They say that they have never met such a heroic and selfless man. They say that he is an example for all the people out in all the lands.
I I know the truth of what he is.
Out in the villages and the city slums, the people are hungry. They are burning under the bright heat of the suns. There is never enough of anything to go around. But still, they make everything they have go around. They stretch their resources to the very thinnest brink. And they make do. They always make do. They have to make do. It is all they have.
They grieve their loved ones and they grieve themselves and they grieve their children who they far too often have to send far away to be raised by uncaring hands. Grief sits heavy within them, claws at their insides, always.
And the work is hard, it is backbreaking, it is unending. As work always is for my people. Some are luckier than others and get to work in the fields, closer to the earth, closer to nature. Closer to me, though I hold all my children equally close, as close as I can. Others work in mines and factories and warehouses and construction sites and streets and packaging plants and refineries. I grieve them all the more, as they are trapped in screaming, artificial worlds that roar on over them, consuming them.
The people live in tiny huts, often made of clay, made of concrete though if they live in the city. The people all crowd together on sparse floors, trading stories and tragedies and hopes. And they eat plain white rice and barely anything else. They know that it's not enough. Especially with all the energy they have to expend during their days. But they know that it is all that they have, and they make do.
Meanwhile the doctor lives in his large, sprawling house. His wife and daughter have closets full of new, bright, expensive clothes. He has fine, large furnitures and soft, down-feather beds. He has fine, flavourful foods that he can eat whenever he feels like it. And a large television to watch. He had fine suits and gold watches. He has a library filled with books. And he sends his children to all the best schools.
The doctor has two children. A son and a daughter. He calls them exceptionally bright. He calls them smart, talented, the best of the best. He calls them his sweethearts, his dear ones. His bright little birds. He dotes on them and always gives them the best of everything. And he tells them stories of his youth and all the great things that he has done. He tells them that surely they will grow up to be as great as him, if not even greater. He says that he could not have asked for better children.
None of this, does he say to the little girl. And the little girl always assumes that she isn't bright like them. She isn't smart like them. She isn't kind like them. She isn't good like them. The girl compares herself to the doctor's children and she finds herself sorely lacking. She finds herself nothing in comparison to their greatness. She finds herself without any shining beacon in the storm. She thinks that she must be some kind of mute, dumb beast, not a human.
I cry for her. More than I cry for the people in the villages. More than I cry for the people in the city's slums. I cry for her more than I thought myself capable of crying at all. More than I ever thought anyone capable of crying.
The doctor's daughter is thirteen years old. She likes to draw. She makes beautiful pictures on her very many pieces of pristine, clean papers, with her very many sharpened, long pencils. She colours her pictures in with her set of one hundred pencil crayons. She spends many a long night at her desk working on her creations, while the little girl works. Her parents praise her for her creativity and her artistry and her skill.
The little girl looks at all the daughter's drawings, when she is sorting the daughter's desk. And she feels very sad. She wants to pick up a pencil and draw. But she never gets the chance. She thinks that her own drawings would undoubtedly be ugly, pathetic things. She thinks that she is undoubtedly not as good as the daughter.
The son of the doctor is seventeen years old. He is an arrogant, egotistical young thing. But his arrogance and his ego are very subtle, hidden in the way he holds his head up, in the way his cold eyes and handsome-ugly mouth smiles. You would not notice it unless you really looked.
He likes to do math. He enters many math competitions, and wins them all. His parents preen and coo at all his accomplishments. They tell him that he is unique. He is one in a million. He is destined for great things. All he has to do is follow his amazing mind to where it leads him to. The doctor's son believes all of this, and believes that he is truly special.
The little girl doesn't get sent to school. She wants to go to school. So badly, with a deep ache inside herself, with a thundering earthquake down in her very soul, she wants to go. But the family will not let her. They say she had so much work to do. They say she has to be at home, guarding the house against intruders. As if any intruder would care about a small, skinny seven-year-old girl.
The girl feels a great rising hollowness at not being able to go to school. An aching hollowness that leaves her feeling dark and stale and full of acid. It burns her to her very core, the way that they keep her from going to school. It burns her in a way that leaves her not knowing how she will possibly be able to go on.
She feels as if of course she is not as smart as them, as the doctor's children. She feels as if of course she cannot do what they did. She cannot think the way they think. She cannot possibly be compared to all of their knowledge and their wisdom and their skill.
This, of course, is both true and untrue. For she is not as smart as them. She is truly smarter. It is only that her intelligence has never had time to shine. And truly, she does not know what they know. But what the girl knows is far more important. And the way that the girl is capable of thinking, that way is far better than the way that the doctor's children think.
But all of this, she does not know. All of this, I long to tell her. But I have to wait. I have to wait until the time is right.
So I bide my time until finally the day comes when I can strike.
The doctor and his family are out at a mountain retreat, surrounded by false forests planted by workers whose names they do not know, tended to by the tourism department. They are in a spiritual oasis. Or, what is left of a spiritual oasis. And they are making a pilgrimage.
You see, the doctor and his family think they worship me. They think that they worship me but it is truly the twisted and corrupted god Markeera who they worship. Still, the history of their lands is one in which a twisted and corrupted version of my religion became the dominant religion. And so they say my name as they bend down in prayer. Even as their prayers for more wealth and more land and more power and more status and more glory twist and writhe their way to Markeera's ears. Even as they pray to my rival, they say my name.
And them saying my name, you see, means a lot. Because whoever they truly worship or not, I have power here. I have power with them. And now, since my own powers have strengthened, I am able to use what powers I have with the doctor and his family.
The retreat they are in used to be an endless expanse of rolling fields and wild-growing grasses and shrubs. It used to be a dry plain on a mountain where the earth and the sky both stretched in every direction around you endlessly. It used to be beautiful, wild, free, before some people with too much power thought it would look better as a forest and sent their watering trucks to wet the land every day.
This land used to be accessible to everyone. Anyone who wished could travel up here, could make a pilgrimage up here. The young and strong would sometimes have to carry the old. But working together, all could enjoy. All could revel.
Before the people with power walled it up and put barbed wire at the top of their great, large fences. They made checkpoints at gates and meticulously verified the identities of anyone entering the sacred land. They charged exorbitant fees for entry. Fees that most of my people could never afford.
Once upon a time this space was a sacred ground to me. It was the centre of my worship. It was where all people of the lands would make a pilgrimage to. It was the site at which my great prophet, Essenion, fell to their death many centuries ago. The site at which they transformed into the plains themselves, and breathed with new life.
There is no power left at this place now. No spirituality. No sacredness. The rich and powerful, those who rule the lands, they have leached every bit of holiness from it, draining it dry as they showered it wet. Drinking it to death like a vampire. There is nothing left of Essenion's life force, they died their second death. There is nothing left that there once was.
But there was once sacredness here. It was once the site of my power. And that means something. It means I still have something here.
The doctor and his family are with a tour group lead by a priest. They are being led to the highest point of the once-fields. This is when I choose my moment to strike.
The skies swirl with great, fluffy, white clouds. They form into the shape of a fire. And from that fire, I speak.
"Mortals of the land, of the land that is ultimately mine. Harken well and give me thine full attention." My voice booms. The awestruck and afraid small group looks up. Even standing here, under my glory, they are still haughty. Still arrogant. But still. It is satisfying to see them at least somewhat afraid. There is no sound as I speak my next words. "I shall deliver amongst you the power to heal any wound and cure any sickness. I will grant this power, this power that flows from myself, to the one whom I deem most worthy. Go! Speak this truth to all the lands! So that all might see what miracles I will bring about!"
I finish my speech, and the bewildered onlookers are still staring at my flame cloud. I turn the cloud to real flame, and there it stands burning in the sky. At this, they all go onto their knees, keeping their heads looking up. I smirk, to know, that they are kneeling to me. Soon enough they will be kneeling to my chosen saviour. I wonder if she will choose to grant them mercy.
I turn my mind back to all my people, who are struggling and suffering and mourning and loving. Who are standing as strong as they can amidst all that is weighing them down.
And so the tour group makes it known to all their families and friends all that they have heard and seen. They make it known to all that they actually care about, the truth that I told them up on the mountain. That I will be giving to my chosen one the power to cure all sicknesses. Those people then in turn tell all their family and all their friends. So on and so forth until all of the upper classes know.
But they are not my goal. They are not the people who I am hoping to share the truth of my mission with.
Servants overhear their masters. They must, when it is all that their masters talk about for hours on end. The god they think they're worshipping making an appearance, declaring that They will make a sign onto the lands. That They will choose a saviour. The servants overhear this.
And they tell their people, and the word spreads. It spreads to exactly the people I want to spread it to. It spreads to my people, who toil under the hot sun or in sweltering factories.
My people are amazed, as I have always known they would be. They are amazed and they are humbled. But not only are they humbled, they are also given a new confidence. A confidence that was long denied them. The confidence to be sure that their god is listening to them, their god is real, their god will send something to help them.
For I am their god, I am their god truly. When they pray on my name, their prayers slither and snake their way to me. Their prayers prowl and howl their way to me. Their prayers tread across the sky and make their way to my ears. Not to Markeera, but to me. When they pray for deliverance, for hope, for healing, for mercy, I hear it all. When they pray for protection for their loved ones I hear it. When they pray for comfort for those taken away, I hear it. And all their prayers make me stronger.
And all their prayers have given me the strength I needed in order to make my move.
And I know I am giving my people strength. And my heart wells up in joy and glory at the knowledge that I am giving them strength. I know that I will give them more strength yet. I know that I will give them more hope. And I will give them victory. If all goes right. Which it will. I will make sure of that.
The upper classes and the lower classes alike wonder who I will give my gift to. The upper classes are sure that it will be one of them. It must be one of them. After all, they are educated, they are well-fed, they are well-off. After all, they think, they know best. The lower classes on the other hand know better. They know that whoever I give the gift to, it will be one of them. And they are right.
The doctor thinks it will be him. He thinks that for sure it will be him. After all, he is a doctor. He is a healer. He is the one who takes care of the sick of the respectable people. And, he thinks, he even devoted some of his time to helping the people of ill-repute, to helping the lower classes. He thinks that he is the one who could do the most with the gift of healing. And that he is the one who deserves it most. After all, he thinks, he was right there when I made my announcement. It was him I decided to reveal myself and my intentions to.
He tells all of his family this, with pride flowing in his voice. He stands there primping and preening in the mirror whenever he gets the chance to. He tells his brothers and his cousins this, and they smile and clap him on the back. They tell their families and those families tell their families until a rumour is being spread amongst the upper classes that the doctor is the one who will receive the gift of healing.
The doctor's son becomes even more prideful and arrogant upon hearing this. He holds it for sure that he is the child of the one who god chose. He tells all the girls in his school this, and they all cling to his arms and plaster themselves by his side. He basks in the attention and he holds his head up higher than ever before.
The doctor's daughter smiles wider than ever before. She tells all her friends about the news and they clap their hands in excitement. They buy sweets to celebrate, and they buy shimmering paper to make crowns out of for their little party. The whole school wants to be friends with them, and they are instant, young celebrities.
The doctor's wife receives a promotion at her job. She takes it gracefully, with a large smile on her face. She tells everyone about her husband and how good he is and how kind he is. He tells everyone about how much he needs her, how much he relies on her, how he is nothing without her. They all congratulate the happy couple, and wish them luck in their journeys.
All of the doctor's household is overjoyed. All except for one.
And so I wait until my power reaches higher heights. And I come down to the doctor's house, when all of the inhabitants are sleeping.
I take on a form, the form of an withered woman with dark curls and thin arms. And I pad down the hallways until I reach my destination.
The kitchen, where the little girl sleeps under a thin, worn, ratty blanket, her dark little head on a thin, worn pillow. She does not look peaceful, not even in sleep. She looks small and frightened and tense and powerless. She looks mired in shadows and darkness. I bend down close to her. And I put my hands on her curled in shoulders.
She awakes with a startle, and I quickly yet kindly shush her. She falls into a confused silence, looking up at me with her wide, dark eyes. I create a small flame between us, so that we can see each other's faces. It is a fragile, flickering thing. But it is strong enough.
"My sweet child," I exclaim in a whisper, like a grandmother seeing their granddaughter after many years, "let me kiss you." I catch her face in my thin hands and pull her to me, the fire moving so that it is beside us. I kiss her, and rub my bony hands over her face, and hug her. It feels like freedom. It feels like victory. It feels like coming home.
"Who are you?" the girl asks as I hug her.
"I am Avaldi, little one. And I have watched over you for a very long time. I wept at your suffering. I cried at all the hurt you have felt. At everything you have gone through over the years. And I have felt rage well up in my heart towards all who have hurt you."
At this the young girl begins crying. She cries in earnest, not just one or two tears. They come streaming down and down and down over her cheeks like rivers. And it's such a delight to see her crying. It's such a relief to see her finally allowing herself to express what she feels.
I pull her into another hug and I we stay there for a long time. Crying in each other's arms. Holding on to the only gentle touch the little girl has had in a long time.
"I love you, my sweet child. I love you." I whisper this to her over and over and over again, through my own tears. I need her to know. I need to know that she knows. "I love you. And not only me. Your true family loves you. They miss you so dearly. All your community loves you. They feel the hole that you've left so acutely. All your people love you, and they hate the fact that you are being hurt. We all love you. All of us."
"It feels like no-one loves me," the girl sobs quietly.
"Of course it feels that way. You are entrapped by these horrible people who are keeping you captive. But know this. There are numerous people the world over who love you so much."
"I ... I'll try to remember."
"That's the spirit. Now, child, listen to me." I draw back from her a bit, still keeping my arms wrapped around her, stroking her hair.
"Yes, my lord?"
"No, none of that 'my lord' nonsense. You will call me grandmother, or whatever else your heart desires."
"Now, anyways," I whisper to her in the darkness, keeping my voice as supersaturated as possible with kindness and softness and love, "I will give you a gift, if you wish to receive it."
"What is it?" The little girl whispers, amazement in her voice.
"It is the power to heal anything and everything, except save for what can never be healed."
"Oh wow! Really?" Her large, gazing eyes are disbelieving.
"Yes, young one. You will be able to heal everything. Not only bodies, though you will be able to heal bodies as well of course. But you will also be able to heal broken hearts. You will be able to heal shattered spirits. You will be able to heal aching minds. More importantly, you will be able to heal society itself. You will be able to heal all the injustices, all the inequalities. You will be able to stop all the hardship that people face. You will be able to put families back together, to bring people back home. And you will be able to heal the future. You will be able to heal the hope and the confidence of the people. You will be able to heal their fighting spirit."
"But ... how?" She looks up at me and I know that she doesn't believe me. She doesn't believe that she can yield this power. But I have to tell her otherwise.
"You have the power to do it. You have the power to do it all. All that you have to do now is follow your heart."
"But my heart ... it feels like it's dead. How can I follow it?"
"Your heart may feel like it's dead but it's not. It never can be. It's living and growing inside of you always. It's protecting you always. And you can follow it. All you have to do is believe. Do you believe in me? Do you believe in your people?"
"I do." And I know that she does. "But," she continues, "how am I strong enough? How am I good enough?"
"You are good. You are strong. You are kind. You are wise. You are revolutionary." I tell her these truths and more. "I should know. I am god. I am god, sweet child, and I have been watching you for all of your life. I watched every moment you lived, every step you took. I saw each of your thoughts, your words, your actions, your emotions. And you are worthy. You are beyond worthy. You are amazing. And you can save save the world. Do you choose to take up this mantle?"
She sits there thinking for a long time. I stroke her cheeks, her shoulders, her hair. I pull her close to me and kiss her and hug her. And she thinks about all the things that I have told her.
"Are you sure I can do it?" She finally asks me.
"I am sure you can do it. I'm absolutely certain. More certain than of anything I have ever been in my life. You are meant to be my prophet of the new age, you are meant to be the saviour of the new world. And you can do it. I am sure you can do it."
"What if I fail?"
"You won't fail. Trust me. I don't pick my saviours easily."
She thinks about this for a long while, chewing the bottom of her lips. I continue to cuddle and caress her.
"I will do it." Her words are final. She carries surety in her voice. She carries a sort of confidence that she hasn't had in a long, long, unbearably long time. Her spirit is full. It is still scraped raw. It is still broken and bleeding. But it is full. And feeling that within her makes me cry all over again.
"I love you," I tell her. "And I don't love only you. I love all the people who are hurting in the world. All the people who face injustices. I love you all immensely. And you all deserve so much better."
"I love you too."
We stay there cuddling and talking all night. And with dawn's first rays I steal away so that the doctor and his family will not find me. I tell her that I'll be watching over her. I tell her that I will always be right there, in her heart, connecting her with everyone else.
It won't decrease the grief and the pain and the hurt. It won't decrease the loneliness. It won't decrease the desolation. It won't decrease any of the many miseries that have plagued her and are plaguing her throughout her life. I know this. I know all of this. But still, it will give her something to cling to on the midst of the storm.
And so I watch her. And I watch all my people. And I watch them hurt. I watch them grow. I watch them bloom.
I watch the bright and radiant leader that the girl becomes. The dark and secretive leader that she becomes. I watch her burn like the sun and soothe like the moon. I watch her inspire her people and spark the flame of revolution as it ignites and grows and eventually comes to consume the entire world.
I watch her heal minds and hearts and bodies and spirits. I watch her heal families and friends and neighbourhoods and communities. I watch her heal forests and fields and deserts and plains. I watch her heal rivers and oceans and lakes and ponds. I watch her heal the earth itself. I watch her heal everyone and everything. And I watch her heal society.
The flames of revolution burst forth everywhere. People across all the lands, people across all my lands, they come forth to revolt. They gather together in streets and under trees. They create a vision for a new world, a fairer world, a more equal world, a better world. And together, they fight for that vision with everything that they have.
Soon the world remakes itself. It renews itself. All walls and borders are broken down. All the lines and stations are destroyed. And I smile to see what my people have created. And they smile to see what they created as well.
The young girl, now a woman, addresses the crowd gathered around her.
"My name is Onima," she states.
If you like this piece check out my Mastodon my account is FSairuv@mas.to and I post about human rights, social justice, and the environment.