Falling. He was falling from the sky. Mlilo could easily imagine the ground beneath him rushing to embrace him, in a fatal embrace.
He pictured the red smear his body would leave, well on the upside he would most certainly leave a mark on the world, an exclamation mark even. If he could, he would have laughed at his own morbidity.
When you are already falling, it is a little too late to wonder if there was better way to fly or even if there should be safety regulations. A seat belt? But that would be absurd where would the seat belt be attached to, pinned to a cloud?
Cloud riding, that’s what Sekuru had told him it was called. You simply lay down on the soft brown earth, stared at the big blue sky, looked at the marshmallow like clouds then picked one that was shaped like a bird’s wing that’s the one you would ride. Sometimes you would have to wait for hours to find a cloud with the perfect shape, it was the one rule that you followed, without question.
Curiosity that was his downfall, no not a downfall, at least not all the time, that’s how he got to ride a cloud in the first place. He had watched birds fly, and wished it too, tried it even and fell, many times. That was when he sought Sekuru, for it was said Sekuru possessed many secrets about many things and for a secret, he told you a secret, that was the price. He had found the old man scratching strange symbols in the dirt and then rubbing them out with his bare feet.
“I want to fly”
“One secret I will keep, for one secret I will give, young Chief” Sekuru said without even looking up.
“I know where the moon’s missing bits can be found, when it’s not quite round” Mlilo answered.
“The moon is due, to be full today and I know what colour it will be when it is not blue, the colour of blood that’s the clue and the missing bits they will be that too.” Sekuru replied somewhat cryptically.
“I know the true name of fire, there is power in knowing it.”
” Yes, young chief that is a worthy secret, one I will keep for one secret I will give.”
“I am named after fire, Mlilo, that is what my name means but that is not it’s true name” he begun “Fire is an animal, that feeds leaving nothing but ashes, and to call it’s name is to bind it to your will but only for a while, never speak its true name above a whisper, listen closely.” He leaned close to Sekuru and whispered very softly and for awhile it seemed life stood still, as if the world had taken a breath then held it. The breeze sighed softly and life resumed.
“Yes my chief, there is power in the name, more than you claim. To balance the trade I will tell you a secret for a secret, and also a favour for you my curious delver, when your nose winds you in a bit of a pickle simply sneeze and you will be out in a tickle.”
Sekuru had told him the secret it was childishly simple; imagine, believe, wish and a little faith.
He had found the proper cloud, imagined himself riding it, believed it was possible and then wished. Just like that, he was there, among the clouds, seeing the world through a wispy mist. Do clouds taste like marshmallows, he wondered as he scooped a handful of cloud to his mouth, some brushing his nose, as a lingering doubt came into his mind. He hoped that his actions would not change the shape of the cloud.
That was when he started to fall, do not eat the cloud you are riding should be one of the rules he thought, as he plunged to the ground.
He sneezed and a familiar voice spoke to him, but in his mind. “Young Chief, the favour I promised, you fall not because your faith is all out, but you replaced it with doubt, to turn this around remember Falling is flying if you never reach the ground.“
Mlilo imagined he would keep falling, he believed it, and wished it, to fall, on and on, it was better after all than to go splat, like an overripe tomato.
That was when he realized it, he was not falling, he was flying, he was really flying.
My entry for this week’s #blogbattle
The theme Ride.
🔥🔥🔥Fire is my spirit animal