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RanyR
January 11th, 2011, 09:51 PM
Zimbabwe


Prologue

The brilliant sun has scorched the now barren land, leaving a cracked mosaic of earth in its wake. Miles of desolate dunes paint the breadth of the landscape, crippled with parched riverbanks, and arid wasteland. I sink into the ground, my arms spread wide open either side of me, willing for the Earth to swallow me whole. I lay sprawled at the mercy of the sweltering sun - swollen like a furnace of flames, as the harsh cracked earth scratches at the walls of my skin. The blistering heat serenades the entirety of my body, licking at each fine curve and every chamber. Memories seep from my veins as the weight of my worries wilts into the earth beneath me. I allow myself the pleasure of this release once a day. This emptiness is a blessing. I dig my nails into the dry earth, clawing away for an escape, my hands are so hardened and rough that I barely wince at pain of my nails splintering like brittle wood. I grate my bare heels against the callous surface, and twist my scalp against the coarse gravel, until I collapse into the ground, cradled by the unsympathetic terrain.

I raise my arms to shield my eyes from the fierce glare of the sun, until a figure stands over me. Its shadow sweeps over me, swallowing the heat that engulfs my body and drapes me in a rare, momentary, soothing shade. I lower my hands to discover this individual, this person who has shown me mercy. The face that stares back at me is wrecked with sorrow, the feeble outstretched arm offering me help is a mere worn out bone dressed in a wilting sheath of skin. Yet, beyond the ravaged exterior, an angelic grin cracks the lining of their lips.

‘What are you doing out here by yourself Mama?’ My eldest son, Chadaan, questions intriguingly, curiosity creeping into his expression.
‘Chadaan! I told you stay with your brother and sister and not to follow me out here!’
I howl at him, embarrassed he has found my only place of sanctuary. I can see his eyes glaze with the forming of tears, so I retract my interrogation and start over.
‘Chadaan, I’m sorry, but I did tell you to stay inside with your brother and sister and look after them. It’s very important you listen to Mama, you understand?’ He nods in agreement. ‘Why did you come looking for me?’ I pry him for answers.
Without understanding the severity of his next statement, he casually continues, ‘I tried to look for it myself, but I couldn’t find it, and neither could Dakarai so I came looking for you. Neeyaka cut himself on a rock when playing with us and I tried to find a clean cloth to help him cover the blood.’
My eyes seize in bewilderment, ‘Chadaan! I told you before, how many times! Where are your brother and sister?’
Confused by my uproar, he nervously answers, ‘They are helping him now while I came to look for you.’
‘What! You stupid boy, what have you done!’ I feel the crushing pain of worry swarm through my body. ‘Take me to them now!’

My maternal instinct and worries may often overshadow the subtlety of my actions. They strip away at the veneer of my calm composure, but it’s all for good reason. Neeyaka, along with many other children in the village has been ravaged with AIDS. Living in this village, my life is consumed by a cycle of fear, worry and protection. Almost every inch of the environment is a hazard of contracting some disease; we cannot afford the constant upkeep of medication or treatment, so I have to choose whether I allow my children a childhood that might as well be a death sentence, or imprison them for their own safety, obliterating their freedom and a right to a childhood. The threat of AIDs concerns me most, and ever since my husband passed because of the same God forsaken disease, my life has been dedicated to safeguarding them and catering to their survival. My measures may be extreme, and my children may resent me for seemingly keeping them prisoners within the walls our home, but if this ensures they are shielded from the monstrosities that dwell within this village, then I gladly sentence them to life.

I run like I’ve never run before, and then some. My legs strain to support my body, they feel raw and ruptured; then an unbearable surge of pain devour my legs, like battery acid coursing violently through my veins. I clench my teeth in a titans grip, and grimace through the pain, sprinting after my son, with a cataclysm of thoughts corroding my mind – I replay every possible disastrous scenario that may have befallen my family by the time I get to them. I reach the village, and screech out their names, passing our hut I see my children are not inside. Chadaan calls out for me, saying he’s found them. I trace his voice and find Dakarai holding a piece of cloth to Neeyaka’s bloodied leg. Like the monsters I try to protect my children from, I transform into one as I barrel toward the barely ten year old Neeyaka and hurl him away from my children. Enraged, I turn to face my three children, frozen with fear, I charge toward Dakarai and grab his hands, which have fallen limp and are stained in blood. I explode with a barrage of questions.

‘Did you have any cuts on your hands before you touched him? What other parts of your body touched his? What were you thinking? God, why did you let this happen?’.
I order Chadaan to fetch the little remaining water as I attempt to wash away the blood and reveal any cuts it may have entered into. Caught up in this moment of chaos, I don’t realise that Neeyaka has returned to his family and informed them about my intervention. His infuriated mother rages toward me as I wash Dakarai’s hands.
‘Ever since your husband died, you’ve become a heartless and paranoid monster; all of us have tried to understand and tolerate your treatment of your own children since it is not our business, but you crossed the line today and I have run out of sympathy for you and your family. You’ve degraded their lives to nothing more than prisoners while you parade around in misery. What kind of life is that for anyone, especially your children?’ Her voice swells with the ruptured pain of a horrified mother, except she cannot see that we are just the same. ‘Neeyaka may have AIDs, but at least he’s living, unlike your children who have been stripped of any freedom. You do what you want with your children, but you touch my child again and I will kill you myself!’
Her threats melt on my cold shoulders as I escort my children back to the hut. Dakarai’s hands seemed to be fine, I couldn’t find any cuts he could have contracted it from. For now, another day, my children will live.

InsanityStrickenWriter
January 12th, 2011, 08:36 PM
Pretty powerful writing, though I worry about you referring to the village being filled with AIDs, or in other words, I worry that you imply that every single person there has it.

It would perhaps be more interesting for the mother to suspect that anyone could have AIDs and be incredibly paranoid of it, while in reality most people in the village don't have it. Eg. On the last peice of dialogue with the mother of Neeyaka:


‘For the last time, Neeyaka does not have AIDs! Why must you be so paranoid!? Even if my son did have AIDs, at least he’s living, unlike your children who have been stripped of any freedom. You do what you want with your children, but you touch my child again and I will kill you myself!’


Though of course, that may just be because I like unhinged characters.

EDIT: I mean I like making unhinged characters even more unhinged. :)

Johnathanrs
January 12th, 2011, 10:12 PM
Zimbabwe


Prologue

The brilliant sun has scorched the now barren land, leaving a cracked mosaic of earth in its wake. Miles of desolate dunes paint the breadth of the landscape, crippled with parched riverbanks, and arid wasteland. I sink into the ground, my arms spread wide open either side of me, willing for the Earth to swallow me whole. I lay sprawled at the mercy of the sweltering sun - swollen like a furnace of flames, as the harsh cracked earth scratches at the walls of my skin. The blistering heat serenades the entirety of my body, licking at each fine curve and every chamber. Memories seep from my veins as the weight of my worries wilts into the earth beneath me. I allow myself the pleasure of this release once a day. This emptiness is a blessing. I dig my nails into the dry earth, clawing away for an escape, my hands are so hardened and rough that I barely wince at pain of my nails splintering like brittle wood. I grate my bare heels against the callous surface, and twist my scalp against the coarse gravel, until I collapse into the ground, cradled by the unsympathetic terrain.


I think this is good. Your writing is good, only one error that I see. In orange highlighted is a example. You suffer from the same writing problem that I do, getting so caught up in explaining the feeling that you carry on too many thoughts in the same line. Run-on Sentence.

Highlighted in red is a example of where I think you can tone down the descriptiveness. The prior sentences you did so many references towards the earth and the sun. Then you re-state this by once again going into this.

Besides that, I think this is good, also this works well for a prologue, good job.