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[2008: MAR-APR] Manabai'wok

Delinda Sharee

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“Debauchery and Death are pleasant twins,

And lavish with their charms, a buxom pair!”

Charles Baudelaire “The Two Good Sisters”

Lillian and Jillian served there time the same way they lived their lives, together. As the prisoners were paired alphabetically by name, it seemed the sisters were destined to never be separated. Their life sentences of hard labor found them in the desolate southern plains of Bajor. The sisters were being overseen by three guards as they made adobe style bricks. Bricks they would later use to build their own cells. The sun beat down on their backs, sweat had long ago soaked through the thin rags that were left of their prisoner outfits. The natural spring making the mud stank of sulfur. Mud caked the sisters’ arms to their shoulders, holding in the body heat, further helping to slowly cook them alive.

Pvt Batell looked on the sisters with disgust. He was baffled how their lives were spared to this hellish existence. If they had been uncovered during the occupation the underground would have dealt with them differently. Unfortunately the provisional government had uncovered the ten years of espionage committed by the terran sisters. Now he was stuck here guarding them, powerless to meet out the proper punishment.

“Please, we need water to drink,” pleaded Jillian for the fifth time in the past hour.

As an answer another of the guards, Pvt Olara, brought the butt of his phaser rifle down on the back of the woman’s head. Jillian crumpled to the ground like a marrionet with cut strings. Lillian was left to look on, helpless to aid her sister, lest she receive a similar blow. Instead she continued to work, as the guards laughed at their handiwork. Thirst eventually overcame her. Desperate she finally overcome with thirst she brought the foul water of the spring to her mouth, hydration her only concern.

“That’s right, if you need to drink you know where to get your water,” quipped Pvt Batell, “That’s more then a stinking spy like you deserves.”

That night Lillian laid on the hard ground looking at the night sky. Slowly a wavering purple light appeared low in the sky. Gradually the wavering light began to grow into a long ribbon, the colors slowly growing into lighter hues. By the time the ribbon stretched out above the camp it had become a golden color, filling the better part of the sky. Lillian fell off to sleep as the dancing ribbon of light illuminated the sky above her. That night she dreamed of freedom on the plains of her home. Then every twenty days the shifting lights danced its’ way across the sky. The lights were always accompanied by the same dreams.

After a year of incarceration, the bricks were finished, and now the walls of the sisters cells were half complete. More prisoners had joined there camp as well. The terran sisters had adapted to the brutal environment of the plains, but they did little to help their fellow prisoners. Their lessons had been hard learned, and they were not going to make the experience any easier on the others. Instead Lillian had decided to take on the ultimate challenge. She decided the sisters had to escape. So on the night the lights were to appear next, Lillian told her sister of her plan.

“How can we do it?” Jillian asked her sisters. “We are in the middle of no where.”

“That’s why we have to try now. We are building this prison of ours. They no we won’t run because we can not survive without their supplies,” responded Lillian.

“Exactly, so how can you think we can do this?” asked Jillian.

“Because I already have,” was the simple answer. “The lights are the way out.”

“The lights?”

Lillian thought for a moment to try and explain what they would have to do. “When the lights come you must concentrate. You must hold on to your mind, but let go of your body.”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“Since the first time we saw the lights I have been thinking. Back home, do you remember the Aurora Borealis? The northern lights. It was said the lights were the torches of the Manabai'wok, the hunters. The greatest hunters became one with the Manabai’wok, and they roamed all creation. The Manabai’wok have found us. If we want to leave this prison, we must join them. The great hunt shall be our escape.”

The lights began their slow dance across the sky two hours later. The purple slowly turning into brilliant gold as the light advanced across the sky. Jillian looked deep into the lights, thinking on the advice Lillian had given her. She cleared her mind, holding only her desire to join in the hunt. The desire reached deep into the golden dance of lights. The scent filled her nostrils, the antelope were near. Jillian urged her horse onward. Far on the horizon she could see Lillian, tracking, on the scent as well.

The next morning Pvt Batell and Sgt Wilke found the sisters Jillian and Lillian Horsekeeper laying on the ground before their tent. The sisters had not shown up for their morning shift, so the guards had come to deliver administrative punishment. A punishment that would be unnecessary now. The sisters had died in the night. The private and the sergeant wished good riddance to the sister spies. They then mustered up three prisoners to dispose of the bodies.

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