Offerings from the gods.

by LUIS KAY

The view from the shack in summer was
ecstatic, and from the lawn, it sloped towards a lake that had pristine
clear waters where on a moonlit evening, one could see silver streak fish
leaping in Joy. In this calm afternoon with a cool breeze, Bertie Monraz lazed
on a swing chair at the front of the shack, looking towards the lake, but his
thoughts were elsewhere. The sun rays momentarily penetrating the leaves of the
giant oak tree hit his blue eyes, making him blink in rapid succession; a
passerby would have noted the beginning of a mysterious smile highlighting his
handsome features. His lithe, athletic body though resting, appeared to be
restless, with the thoughts of Clara continuing to invade his thoughts. Try as
he could, her intoxicating memories stuck to his mind like a relentless bug and
all his efforts at exorcising her pretty image that pervaded his thoughts all
day appeared to him furtile.



He reclined on the backrest and mused that
she was arguably the prettiest creature ever to walk the breadth of the earth,
but besides that, the primordial thought troubling him reared its head again.
Where could she be? for the last one week, no one he knew seemed to know what
had become of the person that he loved most. He had come to the shack, their
favorite meeting place, hoping he would find her here all teary-eyed sorry for
having run away without a justifiable cause, but that was not to be, and
unknown to him fate had other plans in store for him. This seemed to him was as of yet to become one of the most daunting experiences with ramifications that would make or destroy him.



A few weeks before this incident, Bertie Monraz recalled the day he had taken Clara to the movies and in the darkness of the movie
theatre he remembered thinking that all his joys in life had been
actualized in his puppy love. But on this calm afternoon with just a slight
breeze coming from the lake yet chilling him to the bone, Bertie decided he had
enough of sitting around and “doing nothing,” yet the fate of his lover
remained unknown to him. Most likely, he feared she was lying dead, face down
and broken at the bottom of a cliff, her face covered in blood. His mind pushed
away from the thought as quickly as it appeared. He assured himself he was
overreacting and maybe the alcoholic beverage he had earlier in the day was
playing tricks on his exhausted mind. So, he decided to nap in the sleeping bag
inside the tent, and as the troubled sleep overtook him, his lover’s face kept
appearing in disjointed scenes crying for help.



He jumped to full alert awareness, not
knowing how long he had slept or what had startled him; with his heart racing,
he rubbed his eyes and looked at his watch. That is when he realized that all
was not as it should be; his watch though still on his wrist, was broken as though
someone or something had deliberately smashed it in. He moved towards his cell
phone, which did not have a good signal reception but which he chose to keep in
hand in case of an emergency, only to realize his backpack where he had placed
it was missing. His heartbeat increased a notch higher, and he had to make use
of the breathing techniques he had learned in boot camp to calm himself down. 'He noticed a ringing sound in his ears' which he couldn’t place, but it reminded
him of the day at college a mini bomb had exploded in the science complex, to
date the fluctuation in pressure shortly before the blast and the ringing in
his ears is a thing he wouldn’t forget. He recalled bemused how Clara, who had
been his college lover, had hightailed out of the blast scene wailing, yet she
was untouched by the blast. One peculiarity stuck in his mind about that blast,
though when all were running away; he had remained calm as a result of his
delayed response in processing occurrences. "Then he had quickly swung into action".

The sound of a bird made him realize he had become distracted as his inborn
delayed response allowed him to evaluate the scene. He noticed all else was in
place, but being one not given to false appearances, he combed the areas for clues
succeeding in finding none, ‘twas’ as if he was the victim of a professionally
executed hoax.



After assessing the scene and coming to no
candid explanation about what had happened and no longer trusting this shack’s
safety, he decided to trek back home. The light in the sky was fast, failing,
betraying it was early evening. The chirruping of crickets and the approaching
night, compounded by the sound of vermin and beast activated him. He quickened
his stride, making the four miles journey in slightly under an hour, yet having
no way to tell. He arrived at their rented house after a somewhat extended
duration of darkness had enveloped the serene suburb. On entering the house, Bertie
went straight to the kitchen, got a soda from the fridge, and moved toward the couch. En
route, he flicked the lights on, and 'who is he to see in front of his eyes’, but
his beloved sipping a tonic soda.




A thousand probable scenarios jumped to
his perplexed mind. 'Maybe it is her ghost', 'perhaps he is deluded', 'perhaps he is
still sleeping in the shack', and this is a weird dream, his tormented mind screaming out in repressed agony of the unaswered querries. “Hello sweetheart” the
sweet voice was Clara’s all right, there’s no way this could be an apparition,
“I see you have been busy in my absence”. All the while, she was smiling ear to
ear, reminding him of the adage “the cat who ate the golden canary”, blood
thrummed his focal vision as he sat down, the weight of defeatism washing over
his euphoria of gladness.                       

                                                                                            *******To be Continued..*******



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