A Snapshot Of A Life

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As a child, everyone dreams of riches. Whether they live in the beautiful Eastern tribes of the Sun or the Moon tribes on the left of the island. Every single child knows nothing about boundaries, laws and structure. When you're younger, it's as if the world is yours, even though no-one promises you anything. For most people, they learn through the course of their adolescence that this is not the case. They learn that things don't come to pass as they would like. No matter how much we yell, the sky will not rain for us every summer. Even though everyone begs for it, the Gods will not let the palm trees regrow. These hard, solid facts are what generally secures the idea of annica into a child's mind. They gear the children, prepare them for life.

But when I grew up, I was faced with none of these. Everything was perfect, and everything was provided for me. I was shut up inside our house, having few friends, but many luxuries. Living in a palace, I lived a beautiful life that my people never even dreamed of. Although I didn't know about it, I don't think I would have shared. When the New Moon festivals rolled around each year, I'd always be up there, dancing and reading out the oaths. “Umntwana, ilobolo umntanakhe ivezandlebe ; umlanjwana. Umntanami inagne mina ngi.” Soon, however, the servants were whispering bad news to me. They told me they were worried for my people and our kingdom, and that they needed to talk about it though they could not say why. I knew the time would come, and I tried emotionally separating myself from home. Because no matter how much I screamed at time to stop, the day would inevitably come. Come it did.

The day when war broke out. The day my army lost. The day my town was taken. The day the food ran out, and when myself, my family, two of our servants and one fighter ran for our lives to hide in the rapidly declining forests.

THUNK THUNK! CRACK CRACK! My little brother nearly cried, but my mum desperately stuffed his face into her stomach so as to silence him. It was quite evident why he was crying. We were in a cave. We'd hidden in an old lion's den. Hidden in a crevice. Ultimately it was a foolish thing to do. The cave faced out to Western Rapanui lands. Our enemies lived there. However, it was the best we could do to hide. We could hear the murderous soldiers walking above us, searching through the edges of the forests. There was barely any left. In order to distract myself from these morbid thoughts, I gazed out onto our horizon.

How beautiful. It was a stretch of desert and rock. Red and orangey soils formed the ground, and some finely worn sand garnished the earth. It wasn't exactly desiring to look at. There was a small spruce tree in the vicinity, and a lazy gazelle flock was resting under it to shelter themselves from the morning sun. At least the sky still held it's own. Yes. A wonderful forget-me-not sky, that filled the horizon with life.

“Olgi mandatale ogalambda mini inatui,” whispered my mum. Words of prayer. She was in her royal dress, which she had worn before she had adressed our soldiers. It flowed off her, and sat gracefully wherever she went. A purple-dyed and golden-tinted symbol of status and power. Which we now lacked. Because of the war.

I remembered the day with startling clarity. The weather had been slightly cloudy, so much so that our scouts barely saw the encroaching army in time. The war had erupted for a simple reason. Food shortages. And timber shortages. We had drawn all we could from the land for as long as we could. Now there was precious little food to go round. The day of the battle, we sent our army out. Seven fine warriors, all armed with long spears and bows and arrows and large rounded shields. They were met by a swarm of Moon tribe troops, who swept in amongst their ranks, and massacred them. The large tattoed beasts ripped out their organs as part of tradition, and ate them in our full view.
After that, it was a simple matter of walking into our town and demanding everything we had in exchange for our lives. That was why we had fled. Everyone knew what would happen. Not everyone's lives would be spared. As the Royal Family of the Sun tribe, we were the spoils of war. We were to be exectuted. Our hearts would have been ripped out and held before our dying eyes. Those hearts that still beat were held infront of relatives, who were made to eat the heart while they watched their siblings and parents burn, die and bleed.

That was the fate we had avoided. By running away.





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