jueves, 23 de junio de 2016

High stakes

   The wind blew gently through the trees. Some pinecones and dried leaves fell softly to the ground and small animals ran to their holes in the ground or in the trees. The weather was getting worse by the minute and they could all feel it. All except for Samira. She was a rather beautiful woman wearing a dress to big to walk around the wood. It had already been ripped apart in some areas and it looked dirty. Some stains on it were because of mud and water but others were clearly blood.

 Samira didn’t stop when the wind got stronger. She kept on walking through the forest, as she tried to make her dress fit between the trees and not get ripped apart more. But that wasn’t possible. She finally stopped when the forest got too dense and it was much darker in the ground that in the upper area of the trees. She just stayed there, in the spot she was, and waited. Sure enough, rain came some minutes after. The trees were protection enough but she got very wet anyhow.

 As the rain poured onto her, Samir began to cry, finally breaking down. She fell to her knees, which was not something very easy to do in that dress, and cried her eyes off. It was confusing to see the rain on her face and also the tears. It was difficult to know what was what but thanks to all that water she was able to finish crying fast and started thinking about what to do next. She had come a long way, or so she thought, and there was no way she would stop midway through the woods.

 Realizing her dress couldn’t come with her, she carefully removed it. It wasn’t easy as it opened in the back and there was no one to help her with that. But after a couple of tries, the zipper lowered enough for her to grab it and pull it down. Carefully she removed the top part and then pulled the dress down her legs. She moved to a side and the dress stood there, as if a ghost was still wearing it in that part of the woods.

 She felt cold and sad to leave her gown behind but life was much more important. So she kept on going. She had been barefoot for a while, as the heels she had been wearing had gotten stood in thick mud not very far from the edge of the forest. Samira decided to keep walking the way she was walking, sure that it was the right direction in order to get away from everything.

 The trees grew closer in that area, which was better for her because rain almost didn’t get to the floor. She was cold and trembling, but at least she could clean some of the water of her body as she walked over pieces of rotten wood, mud, puddles of water and tons of leaves that autumn was taking away from the forest. She didn’t stop until it was very dark and she realized she had to sleep at least a few hours.

 She chose a place between two trees where there was a huge natural bed made of leaves. She didn’t sleep much though, because her brain kept telling her to keep moving, that she wasn’t safe yet and that she just couldn’t get all relaxed and happy yet. Samira had to go on through the forest and then arrived to the fields and, after that, the ocean. At least that’s how she remembered it was. If she had mistaken her route, it would be a major problem.

 After only three hours of sleep, she kept on moving through the trees, in the dark. Sometimes, she had to clean her tears with her dirty hands because se remembered something she had left behind, like her mother and all the beautiful memories of being who she was. Samira had left much more than anyone else had ever left before and the decision had already been taken. And she was sure she had made the right choice. There was no other way around it.

 Finally, she reached the other edged of the forest and, as she had expected, there were fields after fields of different kinds. It was the rural area that preceded the ocean, were most of the food was grown in order for the whole country to have food in their plate. Or at least that had been the idea behind it. Her mother had been the one who had convinced her father to do something like that.

 He always needed someone to convince him, someone to tell him what he should do next. People around him were too kind to tell him that he wasn’t good at his job, at all. But he had advisors and he had Samira’s mother and that could be enough to be mildly successful as a ruler. People liked him but did not love him and it was the same for the family as a whole. However, that worked just fine for everyone. It was the barely minimum, as someone had pointed our once.

 Samira entered the field and hoped the people that worked in them wouldn’t be around for some time still. Because if they saw her, they would ask her why she was practically naked in their property. But after some walking, she realized it was far too early for anyone to be around there. Besides, it was an orange plantation and the fruits were just beginning to grow, so no big masses of people would look after those.

 She walked fast through the small trees until she reached a house. The lights were off. But, most interestingly, the family that lived inside had let a large assortment of clothing to dry out in the sun. Maybe they had forgotten to put it inside or maybe it had been because of the rain. Anyway, some of the things were not really wet so Samir stole a white blouse and some pants.

 The only problem was her hair. It wasn’t that long but it was kind of obvious who she was. She found the solution only a couple steps away, in the shape of some gardening scissors someone had left inside a bucket. She grabbed the scissors, got her head a bit wet with water that had fallen into the bucket and started cutting. It took her a long time to get it even or what felt like even. They had no mirrors on the outside. The sun was rising and when she heard a metallic sound from inside the house, she knew she had to go.

 Samira penetrated the fields again and soon reached another plantation, a cornfield that looked ready to be picked. She had to find a road or something before she got mistaken with a worker or accused of being a thief. So she ran away in a different direction and ended up in a dirt road that seemed to link every single field in the area. There, she could walk down to the sea easier.

 The day began and people were pouring from every single place. Soon, there were carts passing through the dirt road and people working hard on the fields. There were even children playing with mud outside the houses. She thought it was something nice to see, that kind of routine and simple life of the people that worked the land. She even thought about staying but it was only for a second.

 She had to make it to a boat and get fast away from there. She had no choice. Samira had done something she really shouldn’t have and it wasn’t something that got forgiven. Maybe her parents could, but not her promised husband, He had been humiliated in public and soon everyone would know how she ran away form her in the wedding dress, fleeing an arranged wedding with one of the most powerful men in the country.

 What she had done could have serious implications for everyone, not only for her. After all, her marriage had to be fulfilled in order to for m an alliance between different powers in the region: between the wisdom and the strength, or that’s what her father said. But she couldn’t bear to be forced into something like that, out of nowhere. She had not known she was going to marry that man the morning of the wedding.

 Now, Samira looked like a lost boy, asking for work in one of the many ships that made it into the harbor, bringing fish and other goods from other places of the world. Finally, a crab fishing crew accepted her. Their captain happened to be a female, a woman that noticed right away that Samira was not the boy she was faking to be. The girl sailed that afternoon but her adventures were far from over.

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