Monday, November 9, 2009

NaNoWriMo'09, Words 4602-5163

It was the smell of frying pancakes that woke Niti that morning. It was an energizing smell to Niti, and she was bright-eyed when she entered her Mama's kitchen a quarter of an hour later. A few minutes later, a large stack of cakes was on her plate. Niti's family lived on a berry farm, where her parents worked. The workers were given a bountiful berry allowance, and Mama had cooked the berries right into the cakes, and was pouring her award-winning syrup all over Niti's stack. Niti was big for a Coryan girl. She ate well and finished her stack in a few minutes.

"Where's my backpack?" she said to Mama.

"You're not going to school today," said Mama.

"Why not?"

"We're waiting for something," said Mama, "and we're going to wait here—together. Come, let's sit on the couch."

"Can we watch television?"

"No, we're not going to watch television."

Niti sat on the couch next to Mama. She was surprised when Mama suddenly wrapped both her arms around Niti and squeezed her towards her.

Niti and Mama sat close and silent until Papa entered with Niti's baby brother. Papa fed the baby, then came with him to the couch and sat down right next to Niti.

"Why are we just sitting?" asked Niti of Papa. Papa sighed.

"Our Coryan leaders must make a great and frightening decision," said Papa. "We will wait for it here, together."

"What must they decide?"

"Do you know what freedom is, Niti?"


"Freedom means if I want to leave the berry farm and work in the jam factory, I probably can. If I want to try the city, I can. I control my own self and my own life; what I do and a lot of what happens to me. And so do you."

Papa's voice broke. "The Coryan leaders must now choose between life, with no freedom; or all of us being no more."

"No more?"

"Being gone. All of us. Forever."

"Where would we go?"

"I mean we would stop. Our lives would stop, all of them. They would all be ended."

"How?" asked Niti, breathlessly.

"There has been a Great Threat. A people on Urtthri have the power to end our world. They have shown their great power to our leaders. The leaders told us, and asked what do we want?"

Papa sighed. "I said I would choose life. Your Mama said differently. We are waiting to know what the leaders will choose."

Niti sat silent, absorbing the news.

Mama said, "Niti, if you go on, but not free, remember that you will always control one thing." Mama tapped Niti on the head. "This," said Mama. "You will always control this—what's in here."

"And we want you to put one thing in there right now," said Papa. "We want you to put in it that we love you. We want you to lock it up and keep it for as long as you live. Will you do that right now?"

"Yes," said Niti. She felt like crying.

"Remember," said Papa. "Remember hard." Niti nodded, and leaned hard into Papa's side. She accidentally leaned against her brother's foot as well. The baby squawked.

Sixty-two years later, Niti lay on her cot, her eyes wide open. "I can't remember," she whispered. "I can't remember my baby brother's name."

* * *

Author's Note: Um, this scene came out so naturally, and felt so vivid, that i'm half-afraid I must have seen part of it in a movie, or something. And yet I can't remember seeing any of it in a movie, or anything. Anyway, let me know if I stole any specifics. The general apocalyptic theme has of course been done before--I just hope my version is my version . . .

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