Kareena’s limp became more pronounced as she made her way up the mountain. Her worn, stout walking stick could only help so much when she was in this state. The only things she noticed in her climb up were the tendrils of her salt and pepper hair that had affixed themselves onto her sweaty face, shoving them only when they impeded her sight. Her steps may have slowed down, but by the gods she was going to keep them as steady as she could.
She stopped at an opening in the side of the mountain, a scant few feet just below its summit. Kareena indulged in a look back at the setting sun creating a deep red backdrop behind the village she was responsible for. Before she could think about it too much longer, she stepped into the cave and walked off the ledge of the pit inside it.
She fell, and the pit’s darkness engulfed her completely. The air rushing past her scourged the sweat from her exertions off her body. Only after she took several deep breaths did she begin to shout.
“I ache and I am angry. I listen to every complaint put before me. I mend every broken body laid in my hut. I sometimes don’t eat because I have no time to. And no one tends to me. No one nurses me in my pains. But they notice if it makes me slow in caring for theirs. I am angry and I need my anger to be heard.”
The pit’s darkness wrapped itself around her like a lover, slowing the feeling of falling. It held her close and whispered comforting words to her. Some of them she didn’t understand, because she wasn’t meant to at that moment. Others she did. And she reached back out into the Darkness, too tired to whisper back her gratitude for all of its words and for its understanding. For a brief moment she and it were one, no longer falling but flying.
Then her feet touched ground. Kareena walked back out towards the light of the outside world, shining a few feet ahead of her. She stepped out again though the same entrance she came through, but this time her village was illuminated in the light of the rising sun behind her.
Kareena looked at it, breathing deeply again, just enjoying the feel of the air flowing in and out of her lungs. When she was ready, she started walking down the mountain path, swinging her walking stick back and forth as she went. In all her years of coming here, she had never needed to use it when she returned home.
Song Choice: The Beginning by One OK Rock
This short story was created for the amazing Magaly Guererro's Witches In Fiction 2016:Spelling Healing Into a Rotten World