By: E.G Moore
Genre: YA Fantasy
*1st 500 Words
I shaded my eyes from the Dyshiwi sun, perched atop a heap of red desert stones. The heat of the day ate away at the skin of my ears, but I hardly noticed. Inez would be here soon.
“Rudger, come down and help Bronzy ground up the maize!” Uncle Neechad hollered from a stone’s throw away. “It’s getting hot. We need to finish up the chores!”
I turned and nodded, slipping five toes into a foothold below me. Uncle Neechad’s name and flair suited him. Not only was his body swollen with extra helpings of meat and corn mush, but his temper swelled at the slightest disrespect. The golden flame tattoo on his chest, his flair, shimmered gold. I hopped the last few feet. A cloud of dust from my landing coated my legs and loincloth. Then I chased after Uncle Neechad. I dodged a few cacti and plopped down beside my cousin.
“Don’t worry. Inez will be here soon enough,” Bronzy chuckled as I picked up a grinding stone. He scooped a few handfuls of the shiny kernels into my bowl, and I pressed and crushed, pressed and crushed, just as he’d taught me. In any other Flairian family, the women would do this. But since there were no Flairmaids in our family and Bronzy and I were the youngest, we got stuck with the cooking chores.
A shrill whistle lilted through the hot air and I sighed. Kitchi had returned from his hunting. I glanced up. He and Inez walked together, a fat turkey swinging between them. I sprang up and dashed to Inez.
“Hello boy! How you’ve grown!” A smile split his thin white beard.
“Almost three beans taller!” I squared my shoulders and stood my highest. Perhaps he’d be ready to take me to the cliff city this time.
Inez nodded, his eyes calculating yet shining just as the gem shaped flair on his chest did. He always looked like Uncle Neechad when he’s counting the crops for market day, as though everything in life is as strategic as a game of squares and pebbles.
“Here little man, pluck the feathers,” Kitchi said, thumping the big bird into my chest. I spit out the fluff that landed on my lips and glare at him. He raised an eyebrow, another challenge I wouldn’t meet. “Get going, human, so we can cook it.”
I spun and stomped around our adobe home. I plop down in the shade and slammed the turkey onto the ground. With each yank of feathers, I imagine tearing off one of Kitchi’s limbs. Over and over, the satisfaction of payback prepared the meat. Then I pulled out my stone blade and cut at the joints, popping the sockets apart.
“Don’t listen to Kitchi.”
I jumped, dropping my knife. Inez strode over and plucked it from the dirt. He wiped the blade clean and offered it back to me.