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A Small Taste
“And this legend, what’s it called?”
“It’s just a story they like to tell…one of those Armageddon ones.”
“The Snake and the Dove.”
“The Guardians vs. The Samuel Strand.” Ian clarified. “Yates’ll explain it…just listen.” We all leaned forward, as did the rest of the people gathered around the fire, sitting on the old logs. Yates paced in front of the fire, twiddling his thumbs on the edges of the pockets of his jeans. His voice was weathered, cavernous, and eerie when he first spoke.
“The Snake and The Dove.” He said simply, and there was a titter of excitement around the fire. “In Greek Mythology snakes are seen as a symbol of evil doing, of death and lethal antagonists. The snake is a chthonic symbol, meaning, or pertaining to under or in the earth. The snake is “earthbound”. Some figure this to mean a hellish creature, under the earth, while others would argue otherwise, that snakes, in Ancient Egyptian times, were worshipped as gods. But one who would look closer would see that the snake was used for sinister purposes, for murder, and sacrifice. The snake, meant blood.” Yates stopped, and took off his hat, sighing. “The dove.” He said, and replaced his hat, starting to pace around the fire again. “The dove is a symbol of peace, of the Holy Spirit in the new testament. We all know the story about the Dove and the olive branch in Noah’s Ark, do we not? The Dove assisted Muhammad in the great Hijra. Like most birds, the Doves both, father and mother, care for the young, feeding them through regurgitation until they’re ready to leave the nest. The snake, otherwise, lays it’s eggs, and leaves it’s young. The last installment of the snake in the bible was in the book of revelation, reappearing as Satan. ‘And he laid hold on the dragon the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years’ Revelation 20:2.”Yates quotes, going on. I can’t help but follow him with my eyes as he walks around the fire, and notice many people are watching him, same as I. beside me; Ian and Taylor are both entranced. “The dove,” He said, raising his arms. “Has no reason to be a symbol of evil, of wrong doing to us, and so, for centuries, it has been the symbol of peace. The snake…” Yates laughed and I shivered. It was deep and crackling. “Well…The snake has just too much evidence… But it all comes down to this…One family. Two young girls.” He sat down carefully on the tree stump, his cowboy boots in the dirt. Yates turned, and I stared straight at him. He was grinning, and the fire flashed against his teeth, shining. “They couldn’t be more opposite, one was shy and elegant, the other scrappy and loud. While the younger would be the one to get in trouble, the one who’d speak up before spoken to, the eldest girl was intuitive, graceful, a kind idol to her sister. The two sisters were always competing with each other; who was better at what, who was the prettiest, the smartest. They would fight, they would have their differences, but at the end of the day, they were still sisters, even if they didn’t know it…and you know one day they’d get married and have children, and they’d laugh all about how they used to be as kids themselves…how they used to fight. But then there came a time, when both were married and settled down, that they learned of the prophecy. For once they weren’t competing, not for the chance. How could a mother wish this upon her child, how could she wish this curse? It was known, that within this family, one daughter of a daughter would suffer from the prophecy. They did not know which. ‘She who does not sleep; an evil curse upon her lay.' Unfathomable terror in her future, pain is all she will know. From that pain, heir apparent to guard her, Guardians to give her life. Unbeknownst to us all, she hides the key to the morning star’s fountain of youth. It is her choice, the one who bears the curse, to fall victim to Sammuel’s Strand, or rise above the rest. She will be betrayed, and forgotten, broken. Her true sentinel will find her; the only one who’s aberration is of difference. While inexhaustible phrentis and ignominious slaughter comes, so does love, freedom, and glorious life.’ That was the prophecy, spoken aloud by a witness, at the birth of the child.” Yates pulled out a long, silver knife, and I felt myself going rigid.
“It’s just a prop…” Taylor whispered in my ear, but I snuggled in close anyway.
“Now, this child.” He said, looking down at the knife, glinting in the light of the fire, turning it over in his hands. “This child would suffer…suffer so much, holding the fate of the world in her hands…But it wouldn’t be hers for long. A part of the world wanted to get a hold of that power, to change fate, and therefore, when the Sammuel Strand, just that part of the world; adopted the snake as its symbol, our mind was made up- the snake was Satan’s mascot.”
“Sammuel’s Strand was a group of individuals, women and men, who believed that they could decide the fate of the world, that they alone, had the power to decide whether the world lived or died. They stood up and flashed their hoods as the snake, taking on names of demons and promising to do whatever they had to do to get a hold of that child, even if it meant death, murder, the apocalypse.” My flesh started to creep when he ran his index finger along the blade of the knife. There was a flash, and it was in his other hand. Yates moved as if he was defending himself, knife poised in chamber at his side, ready to slice into someone if he needed to, though there was no one there in the dust out in front of him. “But then there were the Guardian’s, the ones who stood to defend her. They believed that the fate of the world was boundless, and that one person could not change it. For the most part, the Guardians believed that it was their job to stop the bloodshed that the Strand wanted so badly. They took it upon themselves to protect the child of the prophecy, and they swore to give their lives to her cause.”
“ In this they took the symbol of the Dove, hoping that through their actions, they could bring peace to this child that would one day grow to be a woman, to this world that would need her alive and well to live and thrive. There would be a daughter for both sisters,” Yates said, and the knife disappeared once more, gone this time.
“And then, when the younger sister had her first child, a man she did not know would walk into the room and reach out to her. He would recite the prophecy, and then, that’s when she knew her daughter had the curse. She herself promised to keep it a secret, she would protect the child well until that dreadful day would come and the Strand would find out who she was. Then, only the Guardians would be able to protect her. Heir apparent, young, to ascend the throne of the guardians, would be marked at birth with no parents, and that of the cursed child’s night terrors.”
“She who does not sleep, the prophecy said…she who does not dream, it means. The one whose sleep entails of nothing. The Sentinel, a good Guardian man, would be her closest ally, one who would risk life above all to make her safe. She would have it good…if only she could survive…” There was a buzzing in my pocket, but I was so involved, mouth hanging open slightly as Yates told the story, that it took me awhile to realize my pocket was vibrating, and my phone was ringing.
“Sorry…” I murmured, and Taylor nodded knowingly when I squeezed his arm and slipped off the log, jogging off into the stalks of corn to answer my phone.
“Hello?” I asked when I didn’t know whose number was calling. “Who is this?”
“Do you love your mother Samantha?” A voice asked on the other line. I froze quickly, and glanced over at the fire. No one there was on their phone.
“Is this a prank call?” I asked. “Malloy, is this you? I swear to god I’ll kick your butt…” I was stuttering, afraid. I walked off into the stalks, trying to get away from the fire so no one would hear me if I had to use a few…strong words. That, or if I started crying, which was always as embarrassing as heck.
“Shut up.” The man on the other line said quickly. “Keep walking.”
“What?” I exclaimed, whipping around. “How do you…”
“If you want your mom to keep her right hand,” He growled. “You’ll keep walking through the corn stalks.”
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