Women of Tetchki (Part Two)
1.) Women of Tetchki in the Evening
The two moons shone in the sky overhead. The larger moon, Ut, white as the robes of a holy man. The smaller moon, Sha, shone red as the flames of Tetchkin ancestors funeral pyres. They seemed to shift from one side of the sky to the other while clouds found comfort in between. Soon the clouds drifted away and both moons took over the sky.
Kamin placed his prayer blanket in front of his porch toward the place of worship. Afan placed hers gently next to his as they both knelt down for prayer. In their silence they could hear Osha as he prepared for his prayers inside.
“May you all find peace.” Kamin went inside to his room to look over his monitoring devices before sleep. “Everything seems in order.”
He laid on his bed, bowed slightly before an icon on his bed stand, and slept.
Each traveler set out a sleeping pod, around the work vehicle, and curled up in blankets within.
2.) Mother and Daughter
Afan and Sophie crept up to the truck and looked at the sleeping Uzka.
“The orphan sleeps.” Afan clasped her hands together. “All skin and bones! No Mother here on Tetchki! I wonder does he remember his Mother?”
“How should he remember? He twisted himself into a roll.” Sophie sobbed and laughed in pity. “Poor little orphan.”
“May you find peace my daughter.” Afan turned around to head inside.
“May you find peace also, Mother.”
3.) The Sisters
Later that night when everyone slept Sophie awoke, moved outside, and sat upon a block of Diudya. She looked out over the heights of the city. The stifling heat of the night caused her head to slightly ache.
The street they lived on stretched from one end of the city to the other. One side was lit by the moon where moonlight reflected off the Diudya of homes and embraced the place of worship in a mixture of red and white light.
Something moved in the shadows of the place of worship and produced a sound like birds moving in trees. Suddenly out of the shadows came a female figure who after seeing Sophie stood still.
“Varva. Is that you?” Asked Sophie.
“It is.” Varva stood still a moment longer then came over to the porch and sat with her sister-in-law.
“Why are you not asleep?” Asked Sophie.
Varva was silent.
“Where have you been?”
“I needed to pray.”
“Why? For being out in the evening after Kamin is asleep.”
“The same could be said of you Sophie. Why are you awake and outside after curfew?”
“You are right.”
4.) Women and Sha
“Sophie, I crave more in life. I am young, attractive and healthy, and my husband is deformed and slow. Before the arranged marriage I had enough to eat and walked barefoot. But now I am Osha’s. I am caught in a fish net. I would rather sleep with a serpent than bend over for Osha. What about your life Sophie? Can you bear it?”
“These thoughts are impure Varva. They come from Sha.”
“I do not care. I do not regret my thoughts.”
From the place of worship a mournful nighttime song began. The song, sung by the same three voices as before, once again filled the air.
Varva whispered to Sophie that she wanted to run away with passing officials or travelers. Sophie laughed. She felt impure for listening yet she envied Varva.
The song ended across the street with a sound of crystal chimes indicating half the night passed.
“We must go inside and sleep.” Sophie insisted. “Kamin may catch us.”
Both moved slowly into the house and to their rooms.
“I left and missed the end of Matvei’s story. What happened at the end?” Varva asked as she lifted her covers and crawled into bed.
“Shenka used her power, the power of a being a daughter of Ut, to organize, manage, and bring success to her family.”
“I do not wish success for my family.” Varva laid down her head and looked over at Sophie.
“You talk nonsense Varva. Ut be with you and may you find peace.”
5.) Do Not Go Alone
“Do not run away without me.” Sophie whispered to herself. “Do not give into Sha alone.”
Neither of the women slept well. Both thought about what would happen if they ran away.
“It is cold.” Sophie shivered. “Soon the night will be over did you sleep Varva?”
“No….Sophie pay no attention to me.” Whispered Varva. “I am happy with my life here. I just get worked up sometimes. Let us try to get some sleep before the rise of the sun.”
The two sisters finally calmed down and fell asleep.
Afan woke first. She called up to Sophie and both went outside to milk the Nasie. Osha moved out of his room without his Certina. He wore dirty clothes and looked disheveled. He walked past Afan and Sophie towards the porch to sit.
“Go back to your room Osha and put yourself together!” Scolded Afan.
Matvei woke and started to pack their things when the planets sun filled the sky with a fierce glow.
“Uzka. Manni. Time to wake.”
6.) The Galactic Cruiser
Varva noticed the ship first. A loud crack filled the sky as a Galactic Alliance cruiser broke into Tetchki’s atmosphere directly above Kamin’s home. The cruiser seemed to levitate above before slowly moving towards Riab’s Galactic Travel Station.
Kamin ran out the door and looked up at the metallic underbelly of the ship. He wondered who these travelers were and what they wanted. Varva followed behind Kamin. She pointed out the Galactic Alliance emblem towards the bottom of the cruiser.
“That’s odd.” She thought. “Riab has not seen a Galactic Alliance Cruiser break atmosphere for many years.”
She wondered what the ship looked like inside.
“Matvei here is your payment for the Diudya. Afan prepared a meal. Please stay and enjoy before your journey to the city gardens.”
“Thank you Kamin but we must be going.” Matvei made sure Uzka and Manni were packed and ready. “Your hospitality will be remembered.”
“Safe journey’s Matvei.”
Kamin looked over his shouder at Varva as Matvei’s vehicle slowly left the yard.
“Varva let us go to Riab’s Galactic Travel Station and find answers.”
Varva stopped in her tracks and looked at Kamin with surprise.
“Well don’t just stand there staring at me finish your morning chores, do your morning prayers, and let us journey ourselves.”
The family finished their morning chores and placed their prayer blankets down to face the place of worship. Everyone took a moment to pray except for Osha who fell back asleep in his room.
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