General Fiction posted January 15, 2022

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The Dancer of Revenge

by Wayne Fowler

"Most unbecoming, my son, most unbecoming."

Man-With-Great-Seeing agreed, bowing his entire body as he lumbered from the village. His job, due to his great eyesight, was that of the tribe's lookout, the one who climbed the mighty rock each morning, tasked with keeping watch for the variety of troubles which might jeopardize the people's safety. To his front was the South Sea. Threats from the South Sea included canoe-filled marauders who in ancient days invaded from both the east and the west.

Also, approaching storms could be seen more clearly from the height vantage. According to legend, there was once a giant wave that flooded the entire plain, sparing only a single family of the people. The tribe came to depend on the lookout's daily storm assessment from every direction, especially from the sea.

The village lay on a peninsula. Sights to the east and to the west from the promenade were generally the same as that to the south, though the south was more important as to weather-watching since that was where far more severe storms lived.

But watching northward was equally as important. To the north was the larger threat in terms of catastrophic violence. Chief among the perils was the constant menace of the neighboring tribe, the tribe that jealously craved the people's warm, sandy beaches and savory fishes. The north tribe was also selfishly possessive of the deer herds that thrived in the land that was considered by the people to be open range, separating the tribes. The northern tribe invaded from time-to-time.

Fire was a threat from the north, as well. Whether set off by lightning strike or by deliberate efforts on the part of the northern tribe to burn them out. In either event, the people must be warned.

The job of the lookout was quite possibly the most important assignment among the people.

But Man-With-Great-Seeing had behaved most unbecomingly.

The chief turned to Meat Killer, who tripped Man-With-Great-Seeing, as he complied with the chief's summons. The entire tribe laughed at Man-With-Great-Seeing. It was obvious that Meat Killer was to win the hand of the chief's daughter.
The mighty rock was, by all measure, a small mountain. In order to see above the treetops in all directions, purchase of the precipice was paramount. Unfortunately for anyone aspiring to effectiveness, that purchase was not without risk - and tremendous cost. Times without number, Man-With-Great-Seeing cascaded from the peak, tumbling head-over-toenails, often face-first. Able to balance himself aright was easy enough. Changing position for otherly viewing was not without great difficulty, more often than not met with grand calamity. Man-With-Great-Seeing was always the most bruised and black-eyed of the people by margins enormous.

Curious as to why the Man-With-Great-Seeing was free of fresh purpling of his arms and face, the chief hauled himself as far up the mountainside as necessary to observe Man-With-Great-Seeing. Greatly dismayed, he retreated to the village to await his dreaded conference with Man-With-Great-Seeing.

"Most unbecoming, my son, most unbecoming."

Man-With-Great-Seeing began a humble retreat, because there was awful consequence to the chief's judgment. He would not let such a disgraced one marry his daughter. And Man-With-Great-Seeing loved the chief's daughter fiercely. Meat Killer would surely soon marry the chief's beautiful daughter.

The old man beckoned Man-With-Great-Seeing to return. "You must find a way to stand bravely." The chief un-arched his back, stretching himself to his maximum height, which was still several inches shorter than Man-With-Great-Seeing, and raised his right hand, fingers at his brows forming a shade over peering eyes. "Like this. You must look out bravely, not hugging the peak as a child over a watermelon, keeping it from his brothers, or another child hugging his old red-bone hound dog. Most unbecoming, my son, most unbecoming."

Man-With-Great-Seeing agreed, bowing his entire body as he lumbered from the village.

The next day the whole village took to the beach in order to see what the chief had chastised Man-With-Great-Seeing about, arriving in time to witness his bounding down from the lookout point, bouncing from rock to rock. They all laughed as Meat Killer commanded the chief's daughter to walk behind him back to the village, the walking behind cultural symbolism of choosing her to marry him.

Dejectedly, Man-With-Great-Seeing clawed his way back to the rock's peak.

On the following day, just before cascading from the great rock's precarious precipice, he happened to glimpse a new sight, a spectacle grand. He spied a beautiful young maiden, the chief's daughter, the very love of his soul, performing a delicate dance on the hard-pack sand between the water and the very hot, dry sandy beach.

Reclaiming his perch, attempting with all his might to bring honor to himself and the revered chief, he stood tall upon the peak. This day, though he would keep to himself the fact that he spent the greater portion of his time watching the dancing girl, attempting to discharge his duty in owl-like manner, swiveling his neck.

"Arabesque," the girl explained to Man-With-Great-Seeing that evening. "You stand on one leg, the other is extended for balance. Properly balanced, you can remain on one leg as long as you like." The conversation continued when Man-With-Great-Seeing's (less than innocently) positioning himself into her path from the eating place. Just as she had his. He'd awkwardly asked what she called the moves he'd witnessed.

"How would you change direction?" Man-With-Great-Seeing asked.

"Pirouette and Fouette turn."

"Oh. Huh?"

The dancing girl, the chief's daughter, had been at the beach for the supposed purpose of conch-collecting, and was happy that Man-With-Great-Seeing had finally seen her. She'd been seeing him for several months.

"Look. Tonight is a full moon. After bedtime, we'll go to the water's edge and I'll teach you to arabesque and pirouette."

Man-With-Great-Seeing smiled with his whole heart.

Once on the hard-pack sand, dancing girl, whose name was Stands-With-Grace reached for Man-With-Great-Seeing's hand. Instantly he felt her song, the rhythm of her soul. He immediately understood her. He felt the rhythm of the waves, the cadence of the sea birds and of the porpoises and of the dolphins. He felt the resonance of the earth beneath his feet. Most of all, though, he discerned the spirit of Stand-With-Grace's soul. As she moved to the mutually shared vibrations, so did he.

Not without a tumble or two, acknowledged by her dimpled smile, Man-With-Great-Seeing righted himself. "Doesn't hurt nearly as much as cascading off the great rock."

Stands-With-Grace chuckled with graceful empathy.

Soon the two twined themselves with the tide's ebb and flow, fluid with anticipations of one another's needs and desires. Ecstasy coursed through Man's veins with each touch to, as well as from, Stands-With-Grace. Best of all, though, was the vision in her eyes. For the first time, he felt as if he might understand his name. He certainly understood hers.

Subconsciously, Man-With-Great-Seeing stored away the moves most relevant to his very important lookout duty: the Pas, Maneges, and Saute, Jete, and the Tempe Lie which would all be of great help from the Arabesque.

Consciously, he vaulted the sensations of bliss.

Stands-With-Grace and Man-With-Great-Seeing, soon known to one another as Grace and Man, danced through the night. Just before the sun was to rise, promising a bright, new day, the two stood before the chief's tent, announcing their completed marriage vows.

The entire village, at the urging of Stands-With-Grace trekked to the beach, soon in awe of the nimble moves of Man-With-Great-Seeing as he arabesqued his Pirouettes atop the colossal rock. They applauded his elegance with choruses of oohs and ahhs.

Meat Killer no longer thought his tripping of the tribe's future chief so funny, dejectedly tramping away.

Honorable Revenge contest entry

The abnormal speech and diction is deliberate.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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