#Writephoto – Harbinger

Sitting cross-legged on the rough stone floor, she sees the world through a gauzy film of unreality. The chunk of dark sky at the end of the stone chamber looks thick, like the canopy of the leaves in the jungle at night, and the stars are larger and brighter than they should be. They move forward and then back, shrouded in shimmering light, that brightens and darkens in rhythm with the movement of their ethereal dance.

Relaxed and happy after consuming large amounts of maize beer and coca, a lump of which remains in her mouth, she half smiles at the shadowy spectral shapes, with no discernible faces, moving around at the entrance of the cave. She can hear their voices, indistinct and rumbling like distant thunder, but she cannot understand what they are saying. It doesn’t occur to her to try and speak to them and, even if it had, she could not have forced her cold lips to form the necessary words.

Neither the icy wetness of her fine clothing, the result of her bladder letting go earlier in the Capacocha Ritual, nor the uncomfortable tightness of the mat of finely braided hair that covers her strangely elongated head, permeate her dreamlike state. The blood in her limbs is slowing down and her eyes are fluttering closed from time to time as hypothermia sets in.

She forces her eyes open and watches one of the faceless shapes metamorphosis into the form of a large raven with spread wings. “Tap, tap, tap,” she fancies its beak goes on the rocky walls surrounding her. Her drug induced dream is ending and this harbinger of her doom has come to escort her into the great darkness of death. A horrid, croaking giggle forces its way out of her slack throat and then she closes her eyes for the last time.

This piece is written for Sue Vincent’s write photograph weekly prompt. You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2019/09/26/thursday-photo-prompt-harbinger-writephoto/

56 thoughts on “#Writephoto – Harbinger

      1. I remember when the healers had to do a reverse month so they could carve the cycle of the moon in a clay tablet. Then years later I actually saw an article with such a tablet that some archaeologist dug up! I can only wonder if Auel knew about that. 🙂


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