As the Sun Rose


I remember holding the knife in my hand, my hand tight against the green glass, obsidian they called it everywhere, we called it something else. Actually, that’s not quite true. I don’t remember that, not really, not as an action I undertook. But I remember in emotions. Remember what it felt like to be standing atop that mountain, on top of those many steps that I had not climbed in a long time, as my place had already been confirmed up there, but he had, the night before. My lover, the most important person to me in the world. The one person who’d stood by my side, who not only encouraged me to power through, but who’d divert my attention in as many ways as he could, always ready to show me something beautiful, a deer in the distance, a flower, or the way the sun rose when you viewed it from a certain angle, and only there, of the tower belonging to the mountain we now all stood on. How the rays, if you positioned yourself just right, and only for a few minutes, would bathe the buildings below in a glow of orange and benevolent pink. How seeing this was enough to sustain you through the day. He would wake me up in the morning, very gently, take me by the hand and lead me past all the other male and female priests sleeping, positioned me on the precipice of the temple we called the tower, and holding me so gently, yet firmly, he’d allow me to lean over without falling so I could see, but the High Priest would not see me.

I thanked him by plunging a knife into his chest, while he was still breathing. I remember his heaving body, the power it gave me, knowing his life was in my hands, his heart was in my hands.

His eyes were on me the entire time, pleading, searching, grieving. He knew in his final moment what was about to happen, why it was about to happen. But he had already crossed over, into the other realm, the realm where all the answers lay, and so could not tell me.

It stayed with me, the memory of what I had done without understanding. At times I remembered the feel of the knife in my hand, in my left hand, which I never used again after that, cold and yet strangely warm. Remembered, too, the feel of the morning breeze, the air just cool enough to not make you shiver. Remembered also seeing the sun rise, bathing the buildings below in a glow of orange and benevolent pink. Just as I plunged the knife into his chest to rip out his beating heart. Sacrificing him to our gods at precisely the moment the sun turned pink into orange.

The most precise timing at the behest of the High Priest, who had asked me to sacrifice what was most precious to me so our tribe would continue to live. Who demanded this sacrifice from his youngest priestess and priest because he had witnessed their secret tryst. Rest in peace, my eternal warrior. And maybe one day, when our souks have ceased to wander the earth in eternal damnation, you will find it in your heart to forgive me for that.


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