I woke up with a start to find Little One nuzzling close to my stomach. I called him Little One as he was really tiny in size when he was born. I’ve been a mother several times before but I’ve never seen an infant as tiny as Little One. I was afraid we might lose him but he was a fighter. Meanwhile dawn was breaking in the east and it was time for me to feed Little One. That’s the disadvantage of being a mother. Just when you think you can catch up with all the lost sleep, it’s time to tend to the babies again. My whole life revolved around motherhood and I have been through these motions like many many mothers I’ve known.
Time flew watching Little One grow bigger and stronger and before long it I was hungry for a partner. The boys stood growling, horny in the heat. And like it always does, it happened again. But this time it felt different. I could smell wet earth strong above the smell of sweaty male bodies mixed with pheromones and urine. No sooner than we were done, it started raining heavily. Some girls took it as a bad omen. As for me, I soaked myself in the wonderful wet feeling of contentment. Little One pranced around in the rain following me as I went about my day looking condescendingly at the girls who sat in the shelter of shrubs, bushes and rocky outcrops. The land was green again.
But I had no idea that it would be the last time that I enjoyed the rain.
That night the cicadas were chanting noisily. The rain had stopped but rainwater dripped from overhanging foliages adding to the zzzhhhh of the insects, creating a lulling din that helped me doze off. It drowned any other sounds that my sensitive ears may have picked up. And before I knew I felt a sharp pain on my thigh. A hideous looking object stuck out like an arrow. It didn’t hurt that much but it looked very familiar to me. A wave of nausea followed along with a dreaded feeling deep down my stomach. Last year just after the rains one of the girls had been struck by the same object. And she went missing since then. The nausea became overwhelming. It engulfed me making me feel light headed. I thought I could make out some kind of a light beam. Is this what you see when you are about to die?
I woke up blind. Or it may have been dark. All the same, I couldn’t see anything. I searched for Little One but he wasn’t there. The ground felt hard and cold. It wasn’t the earth. It was something artificial. I could hear strange sounds but they were not the cicadas or the crickets or the gnats. They came from a particular direction unlike the sounds of insects which seems to surround you. Suddenly there was a loud grating noise and the blanket of dark in front of me was lifted. But the bright light was too much to bear. I tried to make an angry face but my muscles hurt. I tried to let out a growl but all I could manage was a whimper. Thinking it to be a sound of surrender weird creatures on two legs closed in on me with strange looking instruments in their hands. Where is Little One? What have you done with him? I thought of running but my legs felt rubbery. My head was throbbing and I was very very angry.
In what seemed like a stupor I saw the strange biped approach me from the left and stick another ominous looking think on my spine. This time it hurt so much that I prayed to God to let me die. And I think God granted my wish for the next thing that I knew was a bleak emptiness and calm. It was a throbbing gray light and in it I saw Little One’s frightened face. I thought he had grown bigger. His whiskers were longer and he smelled different. But that is all I could remember.