A tear of blood and water fell onto my chest dying the white muslin. A reddening pool spread across my blouse as if I’d been shot. As if it were my own blood.
I held the little head beside my heaving heart and looked forward instead of down. Along the path children sat dusting their eyes.
Their burning eyes. Their bleeding eyes. The dust made tears. The tears washed the dust and the blood.
None of the children cried out. They only cried with their eyes.
I stared forward at The Father’s hut.
He would have the answer. He always had the answer.
The setting sun danced between the branches of the Living Tree. I stomped my feet on the rag mat and tapped the base of the door with one bare foot.
The door opened inward.
I ducked inside holding the little head close.
“So you’ve come.”
“I couldn’t help the others.”
“I will help the others.”
He furrowed the white bushes above his clear, clean eyes.
“Yes.” I laid the child before his leather knees. “I will taste the Living Tree.”
I sat straight and stared at him.
He stared into my clean eyes.
“You know – “
He stood hobbling out. The wet, pink muslin stuck to my skin. He returned with a four-petaled flower.
I took it, stepped out, and tasted it in the light of the setting sun. Their blood was now my blood.