Story a Day Prompt used – May 19 – Dark Day, write about something inexplicable to the people in the story. Perfect! I’ve been wanting to describe this event from the non-participant view. Admittedly it’s rough but needed for the larger WIP.
Azarah stopped suddenly as movement on the ridge caught his eye. Was it the oxen they’d been hunting? Not likely, but it had been a long day and the frustrated young hunter was eager to make a kill. It had been Azarah’s idea to come this way and he didn’t want the first time he led a hunting party to be a failure. The mid-summer grasses were low enough that they should have been able to easily see the large oxen herd that grazed out here just yesterday. But today, for some reason only the gods knew, the herd had moved on.
“Why did you stop?” asked Azarah’s older brother Imsu.
“Something moves on the ridge,” Azarah explained as he tried to see what had caught his attention.
“Probably just birds. The oxen know better than to go up there. That place is for Anu alone. Come, let us hunt elsewhere. Father will not be pleased if we lead a failed hunt.”
But the hunt no longer dominated the younger brother’s mind, “Look,” Azarah finally spotted what had caught his attention.
Two unknown women stood on the ridge. One, tall and willowy wore a brightly colored long wrapped shawl common in the region. Her long dark hair hung long and loose with only a small head piece to hold it back. The other, shorter, and wearing strange, drab clothing. Her hair was intricately coiled on her head seemed almost a crown. Both leaned into the ever present ridge wind. The afternoon sun glowed behind them, highlighting their figures against the deep blue sky and added an other-worldliness to what was already a strange enough scene. For as Imsu had said, no one ventured to the ridge. Tales abounded of those who had gone there in the past and never returned. Many said that the god Anu had taken them to be his servants.
Apparently unconcerned with their potential fate, the two unknown women seemed to be having a heated argument. The taller one kept pointing to something and trying to get the other to see it. But the other kept circling her arms as if to try and find where she was supposed to be looking. Clearly frustrated with this, the taller one leaned down, picked up a rock and then suddenly threw it with great force toward a nearby scrub tree.
Down below, Imsu gasped “Where did it go?” He wasn’t the only one. The rest of the hunting party had now stopped with the brothers and several other excited gasps and comments were heard.
High up on the ridge, the women seemed oblivious to their audience. Instead the taller one, who was clearly in charge seemed pleased that the shorter one could finally see what she had been shown. Soon the smaller, foreign woman began walking around the area where the rock had disappeared, occasionally stopping to squat down and make a pile of stones as high as her knees, apparently marking boundaries of the site. This seemed to amuse her companion for some reason and brought about another exchange between the two.
But what came next scared the hunters even more. The taller woman confidently walked straight toward the marked off area, and disappeared like the rock. Her companion seemed as unconcerned about this as she had been when the rock had been thrown. The woman was gone for a few moments and then strode back into sight just as surely as she had left and after a short conversation, both women picked up their packs and disappeared.
The hunting party stood still, shaken by what they had witnessed. Finally one of the young ones voiced the question all had been thinking, “Are they goddesses?”
“They must be,” answered Imsu,
“That is why the oxen are not here today,” Azarah added, relieved to have an excuse for the failed hunt.
Imsu nodded his agreement. “We must go back and tell everyone what we have seen.” Happy enough to be away from the ridge and the strange occurrence, everyone agreed and the group hurried back toward their encampment.