THE RAGING | Chronicle by Shobana Gomes

The troubled seas spoke of colossal danger
The mighty winds its ally
Something had destroyed their quiet
There was a raging brewing in the distance

 

Staring out the creaky wooden window of her dilapidated house, which looked like it would fall off its rusty hinges at any given moment, she muttered under her breath, “Something is not right.” 

The sea was in a furious mood, the rising and falling of its torrent waves denoting a hidden danger close at hand.

“The winds are angry, and so they howl their fury.” she exclaimed in hushed tones, warning the mighty sea to stay calm or the winds could destroy its peace. Her weather-beaten fingers lifted up, in warning.

For ninety years, the mysterious seas and the winds in her tiny village were her constant companion. She spoke to the spirits that dominated them. She understood their temperament.

Many a times they were appeased, pacified by her quieting. Understanding her need for a safe haven to exist. However, this time it was different, they were not in the mood to hear her voice of reason, and she sensed it.

She looked up at the sky. The clouds were dark, menacing, and had an equally ferocious look. The darkened area looked grim and foreboding.

She whispered in quiet undertones to those spirits once more, “What is it? Is there a reason for your turbulent rage? Who has displeased you?”
But the winds and waves responded by creating another massive show of merciless backlash at her gentle probing.

They became even more aggressive and vicious. The winds howled louder, the waves crashed onto the sea in a turbulent uprising. They heard her probing, vexed.

She closed her eyes, still awaiting an answer.

There was no answer forthcoming except for their fierce show of unease. A large wave rose above the waters in a backlash of arrogance, as a warning to what was to come. Its force from a distance sprayed salted water on her thin wrinkled skin.

Her window sunk a little lower. She sighed, concerned. She moved back from the window. She walked slowly to her room, and pulled out the mat from under her rattan bed.  She spread it on the wooden floor, and sat down.

She opened her ritual box that she kept near her bed next to the mat, and took out the old clay urn. She arranged a few pieces of wooden splinters and coal inside the urn. She lit a fire. 

In an upsurge of fiery frenzy, incensed flames rose up. She chewed on a roll of betel nut leaves. Then spat it in out on a piece of rag she had next to her.

It stained the old rag even further, adding to its dirty unwashed remnant of past stain, the smell of it overpowering. Her mouth moved, as if she was still chewing on the beetle leaves.

In an almost hushed voice, fearless, she began communicating with the spirits. Trying to calm their torrid outburst.

She started moving in a circular motion, chanting the language of an implicit rituals, chants to the disturbed spirits.

“O Spirits, What ails you? Do not be angry, Speak to me, Come, listen to my voice, explain your fury” Her shrill voice seeking comprehension.

The flames in the urn danced dangerously and almost shot out of the vessel.

Outside, the rain lashed violently, an eerie thunderstorm to follow. The day became night.

In a louder voice, shaking and shrieking, she cried out, “O Spirits, what has awakened your anger? Tell me, so that I may know, Tell me, so that I can understand”

The winds hissed. In a corner, the roof started leaking, dripping and creating a pool on the floor. Thud, thud, thud, thud….Its sounds creating a diversion to the winds.

The waters of the seas, voracious in their uprising rushed to shore. Its anger mounting. She nodded in understanding. Her face bore the look of a woman possessed. The spirits had spoken.

“An underwater volcanic eruption had taken place, a tsunami underway.
A massive flooding all across the world will occur because of Man’s greed to obliterate the hidden gems underwater.
Volcanic Earthquakes and landslides will be a reminder that nature is not to be deceived and plundered for the riches it manifests.
Where is the justice that is due to nature?
Why do the unscrupulous devour her good nature?”

She screamed, in understanding, accepting man’s mistakes. The seas will never be the same again; they had lost their reign over the mighty oceans. Their mean spirits will be unleashed.

She was moving faster in a circular motion. The spirits now dominated her frail body. Round and round her feeble body moved. Her eyes shut, her face, a mask of terror, she spat out venom. Her saliva dripped insipidly down her ghastly face. Hissing, venomous, the spirits lunged at her without mercy. They berated her, laughing at her hideous form.

She stood up, defiant, and walked out of her house. She heard the calling. The spirits would someday come for her, in revenge, she knew that. They waited in the torrid waters now.

She wailed the cry of a deranged woman. The spirits took possession of her soul and body. She ran straight into the raging waters. The rain lashed out, blinding her. The winds thrust her violently to move faster to claim death.

The spirits devoured her soul to avenge their loss of dignity. She was never seen again.

A massive destruction ripped throughout the whole village. Many lay dead on the shores. Houses broken, trees uprooted. It was a sight that can never be imagined or written, such the gory scene. The fury of nature belts out its worst.

The old woman’s peaceful reverie with the seas died that night. Its spirits claimed her life as retribution for the sins of Man.

The winds carry her voice sometimes through her village, her chants walk the sea shores.

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