The Bloody Lake
“A story, mother, I desire. I wish to dream tonight.” murmured her five-year-old, shrouded in the cocoon of a Pashmina blanket, yet to be stained by horrors which dare not leave without salvation. Her hands, red as the blood on a widow’s ledger, were cold and she would shiver in peace and in the process, spill the milk from her cup.
“Raid the bookshelf, shall we?” she asked again as her mother gazed upon her precious, her own.
“You wish to dream, Casey? Does the boredom plague you so long?” Her big, blank beautiful eyes wouldn’t care to bother. Her mother, although, was a woman of art, subtlety, and fantasia and to her, it was only obvious to find her daughter treading the road seldom taken.
“Oh mama, I do. I spend most of my time in the bed because of all the pain, staring at the yellow baked walls and what wouldn’t I give to have something to think about.”
Remember, only in the worst of the nightmares, does a man find his threshold for fear and desperation.
“This story, your grandma would tell me every night when I was a kid. I’ve been known to move on like I did with your father but with all that I could afford, the story never found a way out of me. The bones and the blood of me, oh holy, are its cage and the story rests inside. I would get into bed like you do and sleep on the ecstasy the story had to offer.”
“You obsessed? Obsessions aren’t good, mama!”
She knew. It was time she moved on. And so she kissed her daughter on the lips and began with the obsession.
“Once upon a time, in a rainforest far away in the lands of ‘Farista’, the land of blood and lilies, a young princess bore the name of the royal family. Her name is yet not known but the testimonials to her honor still wander the streets of ‘Farista’. It was often said that with every morning that brought sunlight to her door, she grew more and more beautiful.”
“Every morning, mother?” her blank curious eyes could not see the pain behind her mother’s eyes. They were not ignorant, neither wise. Her eyes were just curious.
“Yes and the kingdom often hailed to her as the ‘Fountain of Purity’. She was destined to be the most beautiful woman in the kingdom and so, the voice of the old wise men did matter. But she had a little secret, one that was hers to own and protect, hers and hers only.”
“Ooh, I like secrets.”
So did her mother.
“Every night, she would abandon her bed, when all that breathes would be asleep, and she would walk deep into the forests. No human or beast would befall her and the night owls would show her the path, to a sacred lake; the bloody lake.”
“The bloody lake? Why give such a scary name to a lake, mother?”
“It wasn’t so, at first. The waters were clear as day and five churches were built across the country with the bloody lake on the epicenter of the pentagon. On the bed of the lake, the first king declared that a prison shall be built. The men who had done horrific deeds, the pirates and the war prisoners would step in the prison that was a cubical dark room through a cylindrical entrance. And then they would lock him inside and open the valves so that the water would flow in and purify his soul.
“Did the water never change its color, because of the blood?”
“Never, but the one time. The princess had a secret to share with the lake. Every night, she would walk into the heart of the lake, into the prison and sing for the souls of the deceased. She would stay there for long and when she would come out, she’d be the same woman who went inside, only a little bit more beautiful.”
“How is that possible, mother?”
“It is a story, love. Now, why don’t you use your imagination?” She would’ve given her a reason, only if she had one. She was four when her own mother told her that story and it never left her like a good wife. This may be the reason she never got over it. She was fascinated like her daughter was, and she would live through the story every time.
“Then what happened?”
“A monster. The princess’ mother was celebrated as the most beautiful woman in ‘Farista” until prophecies about her daughter rose fancy. She was terrified. She was the most beautiful woman but soon, her daughter would take it away. So the queen called for the spies, but they could find nothing peculiar. The thought that maybe the princess hid in the shield of the night seemed the most probable and hence, the queen sat pretty, hidden in the princess’ closet. Soon when her daughter woke up and strolled deep into the woods, she followed the trail. The secret was not the princess’ to unveil anymore. She was fascinated by the idea of such a revelation and so, the next night, before the princess could wake up, she walked into the prison and came out, but not more beautiful. Horrible, it was to her and the reason was far from obvious.”
“Maybe, because she didn’t sing.” This kind of stuff fancies kids, she thought. They are the wiser ones, anyhow.
“Yes, and maybe only the princess could get more beautiful and no one else. The queen thought likewise and when she couldn’t bear the remorse and pain and suffering, she did the unthinkable.”
“Did she destroy the prison with her mighty white elephants, mother?”
“No, although, that would’ve been a better choice. One night, when the princess was lost in her song, her mother bolted the doors and let the waters do the rest. To murder her daughter was her last choice left, and she took it.”
“She killed her own daughter? I hate her, mother. I really do.”
Such innocence, such desperation; such was her obsession.
“Why? Because she bore the heart of a lioness and the will of a god to do what no mother would; or because in those dark times, dare she obsess? Would you crucify such a woman who had a dream and she killed her own daughter to live in pain? Where shall I begin to describe what she would’ve gone through? How often do you see women so strong and adamantine? Is it really their fault that we do not possess such passion and such lust? Tell me, Casey, what would you have done if you were her?”
“I don’t know, mother. You’re scaring me and I’ve been feeling nauseous after the milk. My head hurts, mother. I want to sleep.” Her each word was short of a description and her voice couldn’t be more weak. Her mother, who so shamelessly, took a stand for the evil, frightened her. Some would say that she was trying to justify the queen’s actions, or probably her own. That kind of commitment to a cause does not come without guilt, or love, or any such thing that may stir the soul of a human.
“Mommy, why did you tell me this story?” she asked and fell asleep before her mother could answer. But she did anyway.
“Oh honey, I want you to remember that sometimes, some things are way too beautiful to live and so, they must be slaughtered. Sometimes, my beautiful, one must choose between the beautiful and the evil. There is definitely something more powerful than love. It’s called desire. Remember what I taught you, we always forgive.”
She said these words to greet her fading eyes and with them, the light they bore. She headed off to the balcony, where her husband would rest in peace. She sat on the fence, rocked her daughter’s old cradle and cried staring at the skies.
Her daughter never woke up to see another sun. That sick night, she murdered her own daughter with a lethal dose of a drug, ‘Mizara’, only found in the lands of ‘Farista”. She stood under the rains as her daughter threw up in her bed, had a cardiac arrest and a severe nervous system failure. As her daughter screamed for her with her final breaths, she hoped that her daughter would forgive her.
It was only logical and passionate for her to want to live her fantasy. Desire, my friend, is a city for the insane. The queen had desire ripping the skin off her face in the veil of the lust to be the most beautiful woman to live. For the mother, the story was her lust.
She gazed at the skies, with each rain drop asking her questions, cursing her for the evil she had succumbed to. If she wanted, she could bring them all down. But she stood dwarfed and let the rain ruin her daughter’s smell off her. She went through a stream of emotions that could drive a sane mind to comatose, but then she was no common woman.
It takes a mother’s heart to kill one’s own daughter. It always has.