To Life (October 2019, Week 2, Day 4)
The brilliant orange moon softened the edges of everything before her, and for that Etta was grateful. Her bark of a laugh rang, bouncing off the sides of the pen and off into the night. There she was, trapped, and the lessons from the past still held on.
“Yes!” She reveled in the reverberation of her voice. “I’m grateful! Did you hear that? Do you care?”
She knew they didn’t. No one could pick people to die like this and care about what they thought. Etta pulled her gaze away from the moon and looked down at her grimy feet and then at the etching on the East wall of her pen.
No shoes, lest you run.
No belt, lest you hang.
No hat, lest you pray.
How many times had she read those words since they put her here? How many times would she read them before it was her turn? Etta shuddered and slapped both hands onto the wall, obscuring the words.
“Why do you care if I hang?” She waited as if there might be a response this time. “Don’t want me to take away all your fun? Or do you just get off on dictating how my life ends?” Once the echoes of her words died away there was nothing but the moon and silence to keep her company.
Etta had been collected at the new moon. Now, here she was, still out here sitting beneath a full moon. It hadn’t escaped her that she hadn’t bled since being penned, and she didn’t know that it would make any difference. These creatures weren’t going to get all warm and fuzzy just because she was pregnant. If that’s what it was – she knew enough to know that the stress of her situation could easily be enough to throw her off her cycle. Etta pulled her arms into the shift they’d put her in hoping to chase away the chill her thoughts had just triggered.
Three things happened then, each demanding Etta’s attention. One – a hand slid through the North wall of her pen. Two – the big orange moon disappeared from the sky. Three – a low thrumming filled the air around her.
“Shit! What the? Shit!” Etta had just started scrabbling away from the hand when the thrumming started to shake the ground and the loss of the moon plunged her into darkness. “Shit!” Etta tumbled back and, instead of bashing her head against the South wall of her pen, found herself rolling ass over teakettle down a hill.
“Oh, no,” something uttered in a deep, velvety voice that lacked any human qualities. “You weren’t supposed to roll.”
Etta got to her feet just as the moon returned to the sky and the thrumming dissipated. She was out. She was, after almost a month, out of the pen. She wrestled her arms out of her shift while running through her options. Home wasn’t safe – going back would just start the cycle over again. The mountains might work, at least for a while, though would be treacherous without shoes. She had just recided to run for the river when she felt a furry something grip her shoulder.