Post by junipernichols on Feb 27, 2017 14:19:09 GMT -5
My mother should never have bathed me in the moon. Now that I’m near sixteen, I’m too old to be forgiven for knowing things no natural person should. I sit in my ancient cell, kneeling before a deep bowl of water. Perfectly round, silvery steel. If the priests knew how much it reminded me of mother’s moon-gathering basins, they would surely find some other vessel for my penitence. The knife is already sharp as shame, but I pass it over the whetstone again - swish-snick. Swallowing anxiety like bitter medicine, I plunge my head into the bowl. One, two, three…clenched teeth, held breath. My shoulders twitch at the phantom memory of a hand gripping the back of my neck, keeping me down. Fifteen, sixteen - I can’t bear more. I whip my head up, water shooting off the ends of my hair to paint an arc on the stone wall. Gasping, I wipe short strands out of my eyes. A priest’s shrill voice penetrates the planks of my door - “Get it done, or I’ll have to come in there!” The Knowing feeling stabs my gut. I see what she’ll do to me if I don’t comply. “No, don’t!” I beg, “I’ll do it, I swear!” “Stop being such a neophyte, Luna.” Contempt drips from her voice, icier than the water running down my back. Both make me shiver. Lips twisted in a rictus of determination, I lift the knife. The edge scrapes along my nape, shaving limp curls from the scalp. Another year, another failure, commemorated with a handspan of growth falling to the floor. I breath through tears in a Sun blessing.