She stood at the top of the hill, looking down at the valley below. The view was beyond words. The village nestled in the valley looked almost like she imagined a fairy city would look. With squat houses fenced in by hibiscus bushes. The houses were cheery and looked inviting, there was not a patch of dry land to be seen, every square inch was covered with foliage of some sort. The land was flourishing, but the most amazing thing was the stream! It flowed serenely down the hill, a sparkling silver snake that wound its way through the heart of the village, providing the dwellers with drink and sanitation.
Ah, the river! The river was the village it self, the life force of the village, flowing clear as a diamond that has been newly buffed, the river was a serene animal, but it was deadly too. The villagers knew this and respected it. You didn’t mess around with River Vistic, it was a kind life giving force, but it would kill you too.
When the town was mourning a death, River turned black, when the chief died, it was blue. When River was hungry, it turned blood red. And yes, it got hungry every day. When it was hungry it had to be fed, otherwise it would turn a pale malevolent shade of purple, and when River turned purple, the town began to die. The green grass would shrivel up and die. Whole trees would disappear, the houses would lose their cheery aspects, but, worst of all, the villagers would begin to vanish. Body parts would be missing in the morning; no blood or pain, they would just… go! And by night that person would have been erased from the town, permanently. At this point River would no longer require an animal, it would require three living humans, a man, a woman, and a child.
The week before, the town had watched in despair as the river had rejected meal after meal, deepening in color until it reached the dreaded violet. The townsmen were frightened because River had never in the history of Jnaten rejected a sacrifice when it was hungry. The Head Abayedo or mystic of the Vistic village made enquiries but River Vistic was silent, all the while slowly turning purple while its depths churned and released an alarming stench over the village. While the Head Abayedo was seeking for answers, Nkanee, the village’s personal troublemaker kept insisting that there was no problem, she said that River was just trying to scare them, “Soon”, she said, “that rotten river will come begging for scraps. We make no sacrifices. Who will we give up? Our children and our parents? Never!” The chief listened to her, despite the Head Abayedo’s warning.
The day after the Head Abayedo tried to communicate with Her, River spoke. Her voice was terrible and the village shook with fear at the sound of her voice. Trees crumbled to dust as She flung her wave babies onto the grass beside Her domain. When she sent her messages through the wind, houses burst into flames, burning to a crisp the families they were supposed to shelter. And when she made her complaint to Nkankan the host of the sky, the wind messenger, Nvantei the Wild lost control. She spun in circles carrying River in a hurricane to Nkankan on his throne in the clouds.
Nvantei the Wild, While River was away from Vistic used the opportunity to cause havoc in the village. She blew their houses to bits, sucking the pieces into the funnel of her hurricane, and she used River’s water to turn the pieces back to earth, as a gift to Raweiwei the Stolid, holder of earth. Nvantei pillaged the village; she stole their life stock and gave to Raweiwei, in the hopes that he would accept her as a lover at least. The villagers made pleas to Nvantei’s governing goddess, Nevei the Maid of the winds, but either she was also at the meeting with her husband Nkankan, or she was busy trying to call her sons (the four winds) to order.
While the people where groaning under River’s unwarranted punishment and Nvantei’s mischief, there was a serious council holding at Nkankan’s throne holder. One would expect the throne holder of the host of the skies to be white and fluffy, but the host was called Nkankan the eccentric for a reason. His home was a riot of colors. When River arrived at his home, the drops of water that make up her essence drew together in a small whirl and, borrowing some of Nvantei’s wind, she held her body together. Her manifestation was that of a naked, tall, fluid looking woman. Her skin was a rich brown, like liquid clay, her eyes were almond shapes and beautiful, there was no pupil, all that was in her eyes was water; sometimes it was a calm mini sea, but in her vexation, there were waves crashing in her eyes. A small pointed nose and thick sensual lips pressed together in restrained anger accentuating high cheekbones on a slender neck completed her mysterious look. Her hair was a silver waterfall that fell to the back of her knees and stopped there, and walking by her, one would always hear the sound of falling water.
She walked down Nkankan’s Garden, noting with interest, the various colors and the strange plants, none of which was present in her land domain. The grass was a vibrant mauve for instance, and there were flowers that looked like the roses that she knew, but they were not black, they were various colors, blue, green, orange, but no black. There were other flowers that she did not know; the garden was rich with color and scents. She flowed down the garden and got to the indigo front door.
“Who?” The door asked.
“River Vistic!” Her voice was the sound of a tsunami destroying a city; she was really ticked off
“You are not expected”.
At this, her body disintegrated into water and she began to crash wave after wave against the door, roaring out insults as she did.
“Let her in!” the voice was like thunder and she instantly took on her pseudo human appearance, looking chastised and a bit skirmish, though small waves still crashed in her eyes.
The door swung open and she entered Nkankan’s domain. The throne holder was a mess of color: splashes of blue, silver, pink, yellow; every color you could think up, and some that she had never even imagined.
“Advance”, it wasn’t so loud, more like a rumble in the distance.
She walked forward keeping her eyes on the leopard skin that stretched all the way to the throne.
“Vistic, is it?” She bowed, still keeping her eyes on the ground. “Very insignificant River, I cannot even remember your birth!”
Her head snapped up and the wind she used to shield her nudity began to howl in empathy with her anger.
“This is why your foolish mortals show me no respect!” she said in the voice of angry waves crashing against rocks. She looked at the albino man sitting atop a black cloud. He was huge, even in the immense throne holder, Nkankan the eccentric seemed to be more than the room could contain. His neck bulged like a bull’s and his biceps and triceps were like huge boulders squeezed underneath his skin. His eyes were deep black holes and the rest of his features where blurred. Beneath his right foot was a lightening bolt, and underneath his left was a surly looking cloud, rumbling softly. River stepped back involuntarily.
“If my father will show me no respect, how will that insolent child…”
“Insolent child? You dare call another insolent?” This voice was like the laughter of a brook on a nice sunny day and came from behind River.
“Mother” River said, turning and bowing on one knee, her eyes trained on the floor.
A silvery hand passed over her waterfall hair. “Rise Child!”
She rose and stood before Nkanee the Still, the Mother of all water. “Which one are you child?”
Resentment blocked river’s voice as she stood staring at the semitransparent Amazon that stood before her in her watery splendor. “Speak child or be ready to face death!”
“You birthed me! Why? So you could forget who I am?”
“Is that why you invaded the sky?”
“Still One, the foolish mortals starve me. I am diseased and dying because they do not feed me!”
“You lie!” Thundered Nkankan, “Nvaryen the Swift reports the Vistic region to me daily, He says they pay their sacrifice of one animal a day!”
“Did he also tell you that they give their leanest and their sickest animals? Three days ago, their sacrifice was a bull that had gone mental!” She stopped then added, “Mother, this is an insult to Water! They throw their rubbish into my depths, urinate and defecate in me too. I will have them punished! Especially the one named after you! She is the chief offender and she encourages this assault!”
“What would you have us do child?” This was from Nkanee who had taken a few steps away from her child after she heard what she had to report.
“I want Nkanee! Let me deal with her in my way! I want all the water from her body! Then I want her body! Piece by piece!”
“As you wish Vistic!” Nkankan reached under his left foot and plucked out a piece from the black cloud there. The cloud rumbled really loudly and then replaced the chunk that was taken out. The piece in Nkankan’s hands expanded till it was large enough to sit on, he sent it toward River and she sat on it, turning the cloud purple.
“This is my blessing! Nvaryen has already gone ahead of you to the Head Abayedo and will tell her your judgment!”
Nkanee stood at the top of the hill, looking down at the valley below. The view was beyond words. The land was flourishing, but the most amazing thing was the stream! It flowed serenely down the hill, a sparkling purple snake that wound its way through the heart of the village, providing the dwellers with drink and sanitation. But she had to get away from that village. She was already a ghost of her herself. Her skin was like paper and even talking hurt. Water had rejected her and kept finding ways to leave her body. She could live with that, but when pieces of her body started to disintegrate, she knew it was time to leave; after all she could only look down at the purple stream with her one remaining eye.