My theme this year is blogging about my author brand. Tuesdays' posts are on Speculative Fiction.
Today is extra special because it's also my post for the WEP April 2020 Challenge. writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com
Lenape Antique Vase
I arrange the freshly cut lilacs in the vase. She doesn't know what she has here. She has no idea how offensive it is to use this a vase for flowers.
She wouldn't care even if she did know.
"Boy! You get in here and clean this mess now."
I'm older than she is. We both know she calls me "boy" as a sign of disrespect. It's likely also why she uses a ceremonial vessel to hold flowers. I get my rag and head to the living room. She's defecated on the floor again.
"Dogs got in. Gonna have Colonel Jenkins take 'em outback for a whooping. You clean this mess now."
Colonel Jenkins, her father, has been outback with the dogs for ten years. I don't know why they bury their people and animals side by side. When I die, they'll toss me to the wolves. Perhaps the trash pit. Maybe a fire, if it's summer and my corpse has an especially foul stench.
There will be no water from my home-stream collected in the clay jar. No blessing asked for by an elder. Those nearest to me will not gather around, each dipping their hands into the water while whispering a memory of me. Nor will that water be used to wash me one final time. My bones will not go into the ground alongside my ancestors.
For I am far from home. My elders were slaughtered. My parents died of sickness, my siblings died before the auction. I am here, alone, cleaning the feces of a delusional old woman from a family of wealth and power.
I am the savage. She is the civilized one. She who blames dead dogs for her daily indoor defecations. I am the beast she beats every night after dinner. She who demands I fill a sacred object with cut flowers. They are dead as soon as they are cut. Flowers wilt faster than I, for this I envy them.
"Boy! Make tea now. Colonel Jenkins will be home."
If I were to leave, I would be like Colonel Jenkins: dead. So I make tea for two. As I do every night. She will refuse to drink it until he comes home. Then I will give her dinner. After which she'll find the teapot. "How dare you serve this cold." She'll beat me until she falls asleep.
Tomorrow we will do it all again. And I will, as always, think about breaking the vase of my Lenape ancestors. Better to turn this to specs of clay than have it misused for one more day. Except I was purchased for a lower cost.
440 words MPA
This is speculative fiction in that it's fiction, it's historical, and the description of the funeral use of the vase is a myth.
💩 - J Lenni Dorner
Want another story of tribal lore? Lumber Of The Kuweakunks on Smashwords