Microfiction Challenge: The Innocent

https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/microfiction-challenge-27-rescue/#respond

There was a time when innocence walked the world. With all of the magnetism usually given to heroes, she walked among us drawing the animals and children to her. What was most unusual was the lack of pretense she had  of her own value. Adults in the village thought her simple and childlike. They preferred to ignore her and her gifts. But the children understood that if they stood quietly enough, they would see a miracle. So they stood at her side and waited. Soon a fawn, or mother cat with kits, or a fox would come and sit by her side. When she smiled at the children and bid them welcome, the animals would rise and greet them as if they were equals. Sometimes they would allow themselves to be petted by children.

Rumors of her ability to see the simple but exquisite left the village and found the ears of a merchant. He came to the village and brought her gifts of magnificent beauty. He begged her to marry him, but she refused. Angered by her decision, the merchant went to the town’s mayor and demanded that the woman be given to him. The mayor, ignoring all that the children had gossiped about her, agreed that it was well past time for her to be married, as a single woman was a danger to the balance of harmony in the village. Sending a group of elders to the woman they demanded that she comply with the mayor’s orders. Again she refused. The merchant left, angry and full of lies. These lies spread through the country. Lies that told of her possessing the souls of children and animals. Lies that called her a witch or sorceress, lies that gave her power over the divine, and lies that gave her the power of ensorcelling an entire village spread like wildfire.

Eventually the king heard of the woman, and believing a village in his domain was at risk of demonic possession, sent a squadron of trained soldier to arrest her and bring her back to be tried for her crimes.

They found her in her home, the fawn and mother cat by her side, and bound her arms and legs. They slew the animals. The children screamed and cried, they protested the cruel treatment of their friend, but no one paid heed to them. Those that cried the loudest were also bound hand and foot and were taken to the king to show how the innocent had stolen their souls. The parents of the children now cried out in terror, fearing for the lives of their children. They were ignored as hysterical. If the soldiers had any qualms at all it was because of the innocent’s stillness. For she made no cry or complaint, only turned to the children and told them she loved them.

On the trip to her trial, she waited calmly, sure that no one could find a complaint against her. She was wrong. Arriving at the capitol city, she found that a pyre had been erected in advance, her guilt assumed. The trial began immediately. No time was given for her to freshen or eat. No kindness was extended to her or the children. The chief witness against her was the merchant who spoke of how she had refused his marriage proposal. He spoke of how she had so ensorcelled the town that even the mayor’s orders were not obeyed. He said he only wanted to give her the protection a married woman needed, for no woman was complete without a husband.

The children were called to testify, but were to terrified to do more that speak of her friendships with the creatures of the wild. They spoke only of her kindness and sharing. Enraged, the merchant called out. How dare they speak of something they were too young to understand. Surely the judge must see that they were under a demonic curse, that they were possessed. The judge was a wise old man, kin to king, and of a noble house greatly revered.

“Let the woman be led into the forest with myself to guard her. Let us see what she does to free herself.”

The judge led the woman and a squadron of soldiers to a clearing in the nearby woods where it was rumored that one of the great tigers lived. She was tied to a pole and a cut was given to her arm. Bleeding, she sobbed that she had done nothing wrong. But she was mistaken, she had done one thing she didn’t even know she had done. The blood pouring from her arm was pure of evil and malice, and it drew the tigress from her den where her young ones were growing.

Tigress smelled the blood and was drawn to it like a moth to candle. She entered the clearing, ready to kill this scent, for it was like a forbidden wine and she must have it. Finding the sobbing woman, she paused.

“Why do you sob and bleed the tears and blood of the innocent?”

The woman didn’t reply, but she also didn’t fear the great cat. The cat, coming close, tasted the blood flowing from the woman’s arm. The woman stopped sobbing, and did something unexpected.

“You must go, Tigress, for there is a squadron of soldiers hiding in the bush watching and they will kill you. Flee for the life of your children. Roar at me and run. I am doomed as it is. A man has made false charges against me and I can not prove my innocence for I did refuse him.”

“I am not afraid,” answered the tigress. She continued to lick the bleeding arm until the bleeding was staunched. Then she bite through the ropes that held the woman, freeing her. At once the judge jumped into the clearing.

“Take her now and kill her for she has captured the soul of the tiger.” And on that command, soldiers burst into the clearing fearing not the tiger but that innocent who had no protector to stand before her. Intent on killing her, they did not see the whirl of the tigress and she turned and used her claws to strike down the first soldier. They ignored the death of a second soldier, thinking that the woman controlled the tiger. As the third soldier fell, a spear point stabbed the woman in the abdomen and she crumpled to the ground. Enraged, the tigress stuck right and left until at last only the judge stood before her. He cowered, crying out, “Leave me be, I am a righteous man. It was a fair sentence.”

The tigress was disgusted. How had all of the adults missed the sign of a goddess on earth in human form. She turned to the woman who was dying. The last thing she expected was about to happen.

Opening her eyes for a final moment, the woman blessed her and her offspring. “Thank you for your protection. I will be with you in the afterlife to protect you and all of your species for your kindness. I ask only one thing. Please escort the children who were stolen from their homes to a place of safety. Make them part of your litter and care for them as  you care for your cubs. Children deserve wonder in their lives and should not be deprived of it. My mistake was to let others know that kindness was a virtue. Forgive me, Tigress.”

She died, as all true heroines must. But the tigress having heard her words, called  upon her people to join her in taking the children from the soldiers as they were being returned home. Striking with great violence, the children were liberated and given tiger back rides to the forest where they met their new brothers and sisters. No one saw them again, but it is said that if you wander into the woods and sit still and listen, you can hear the shouts of joy as the young of both species played together with great respect for each other and with kindness to all they met.

Innocent died but others came that taught over and over that kindness was a virtue. The tigress still waits for us to learn that lesson.

Poisonous Political Concepts and the Common Man

I have difficulty dealing with the concept that compassion and charity are a sign of weakness. Watching the pundits play with the future of the American public has given me no small amount of distress. It isn’t the first time in US history that this has happened. Our government tends to work while holding onto the pendulum of widely varying public opinion. This pendulum keeps swaying back and forth, back and forth, until someday it will stop. Stopping will be at a median point on the swing. Being in the middle without the influence of left or right will mean that the public no longer cares.

Voting is a privilige and a right in the US. But rights are being disregarded by those who spout conservatism, wealth acquisition, bullying, lying, et al. No one seems to care that libel is committed every day. We have libel laws. We have laws against sedition. They aren’t being enforced. Remember “truth in advertising?” They made the Keebler Cookie Factory change its commercial because cookies can’t be made in a tree, they have to be made in a real factory.

There is a deep dissatisfaction these days. Everything seems tainted by cruelty. People rally so that they can control others. Insurance companies have a tightly held fist on making sure they are first in line for profits, and last in line for protecting the rights of humans. There are loopholes for everything. News reports flood the airwaves with non-essential cute news stories alternating with the current murders. Rarely an in-depth researched piece on economics from an impartial source. Foreign news lacks. We are Euro focused if anything and even that is rare, unless you wanted the cute robe that Harry’s young son modeled for Mr. and Mrs. Obama. The Middle-East news is carefully screened so that the watcher won’t be offended. And Asia, what is going on in Asia. Poor VP Biden with all of his hope for the improvement of the world. He works well with Kerry. We only get the complaints about what they are doing.

Bernie Sanders was subjected to a Facebook whiteout. So many trolls got on the site and spammed that the sites were temporarily blocked. Even when the administration of Facebook reviewed what had happened, those doing the spamming weren’t punished for hacking a feed. People are being hired just to be mean on the internet. GoldmanSachs is feeling oh so good about the increase in profits they are going to get. Trump will fire Congress (someone should tell him it doesn’t work that way.) Cruz will step all over the work the LGBT community has put forward. Fear of going to the bathroom reigns in North Carolina. “A safety issue” is proclaimed about which bathroom a transgender person should use. “We need our privacy” is shouted. My answer to that is, “SHUT THE PARTITION DOOR.” Yes, I yelled it. We stand in line for hours at women’s bathrooms all over the US. The doors to the toilets give some privacy, that is if you shut them. I don’t know how someone transgender could be a danger while washing his/her hands. People seem to just want to hate. Hate travels. The brain likes stimulus, and some people like the rush they get from fear or hating or blaming. They feed off of it. They consume it like chocolate, and then blame some more.

I don’t know how to fix this problem. As long as people are interested in anything other than the overall health of this nation, it’s going to get worse. Simple compassion, sharing, helping life others, ending the blame game and facing issues head on are so important to us as a nation. Ben Franklin must be spinning in his grave. John Adams would blink and ask if you read that document that the Great Little Madison composed. You might remember it as the Constitution of the United States. I’ve read every word of it. There is nothing about using public office to push a religious agenda. In fact, it’s the first amendment for a reason. Separation of church and state allow for individuals to believe in their form of religion without being dictated to by the government or other religions. Madison was governor of Virginia, the first of the states to push through a non-discrimination bill. He had married Dolly Madison, a Quaker. They were from different religions and under the old colonial law, they would have been fined a hefty amount and faced jail time. They even reigned in their own son when he put profit ahead of public service. A town named Woodbridge grew where that bridge that he charged hefty tolls to cross. Your only other option was to hire a ferry across.

Washington’s genius was in getting people to work together. Diverse people whom he respected. He established US 1 as the first highway, found money for canals, stopped armed insurrection with his ability to speak to the common man as an equal. Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, Adams Jr, the Roosevelts, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Clinton, and yes, Obama all have one thing in common. When they acted, they were doing their best so that people like me could grow, be safe, be involved, and have the moral fortitude to say, “Enough is Enough.”

Enough IS Enough.

When enough people get hurt by the actions of our politicians, maybe they will do what Jefferson recommended. “A little bit of revolution” can be a good thing. That revolution needs to happen on a national scale in the voting box. Our voting needs to be  changed back to the inclusive rules that we fought for throughout the history of the country. Affirmative action isn’t a bad thing at all. The right to get to the point where you can stand out needs to be returned, instead of dumping debt on people who went to school to become better at dealing with life. Our children have personal debt. To scream and shout that they should have known their place is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Oh, hard science majors are in demand again. But those in the so-called soft sciences or administrative area are still suffering from under-employment.

If we could only be paid like pro-athletes, and have the power of judicial review returned on the same time table as they use in baseball games. Wishful thinking. Someone needs to get that candidate for Supreme Court up and running. To hold us hostage is criminal.