Omen

One of my first memories is of water.  A wave roars against a pillar and water splashes up onto the wooden boards at our front door, the spray cool against my face and arms.  I remember squealing with delight at the feeling and the twinkling sound of my mother’s laughter.  Since the day I was born water has been a constant in my world.

The air here perpetually smelled fresh and briny, and the taste of salt lingered on tongues.  One could always hear the roar of the water, the splash of waves as they crashed against the thick wooden pillars that held the village above the surf, and the cry of the seagulls.  The sounds were almost as musical as the harmonious speech of the villagers, the Omenai, whose words wove a dulcet melody in the air.  The sun shone bright over the deep blue water that covered the entire surface of Omen.

The only piece of land the world possessed was The Mountain in the east that towered over the immense village at its base.  The Mountain stood tall and proud above the immense expanse of choppy water, almost as if it were the Guardian of all that its shadow reached.  It seemed to burst out of the water without any indication of its origin and went up, up, up, until it ended in a snowy peak high in the clouds.  High green grass swayed over most of it for the majority of the year, strong rooted trees rustled in the wind, shed their leaves, and offered shade, and the few animals the world had left inhabited the fields.

Centuries ago, there had been villages in the low fields and the high reaches of the mountains as well as the stilted homes over the water.  When the world suddenly found themselves with a depleted amount of land and more and more water every day, they ran to the mountain for protection.  They built their homes out of reach of the surf and saved whatever they could.  Earth became Omen and nothing was the same again.  Though some folks still dwelled in the high grassed fields, the majority migrated down to the water once the ocean became steady.  Now bridges of wood and rope branched out from docks at the base of The Mountain and stretched on for miles over the water.  They were a network of paths that, to a new comer from the grasslands, may have seemed confusing, but were the villagers’ links to each other and to The Mountain itself.  They connected house after house and all the platforms, swaying and creaking in the breeze even though they were sturdy in build.

The tip top of The Mountain was a place that these days only few were allowed to see.  It was a sacred place, heavy with importance and power – The home of The Elders.  The Elders had been the voice of the people.  They had been the law.  The Elders of the east had ruled the villages in the shadow of the mountain, had protected the people and helped them lead healthy lives.

Life under The Elders was organized.  The men fished, or farmed, and kept an eye out for bridges that may need fixing.  The women raised the children, were healers, and shop keepers.  Everyone was treated the same under The Elders.  Yes, everyone had different responsibilities, but they were necessary positions that kept the villages alive. Everyone in the east part of Omen got the same amount of yearly spending money from the government.  It was what the villagers did with their money that separated classes, but they weren’t extreme in their differences.

20 years or so ago the Elders had been taken with an idea: what if they could find out what was under the wavy expanse?  The waters in which the villages rested over were deep, but shallow enough to build in.  No one alive had ever seen Earth, what Omen was before.  Curiosity as to what lie in the mysterious depths beyond the villages quickly spread through the east.  The Elders wanted to expand, and the people were all for it.  They trusted their leaders and lived happy lives.  The Elders, however, were no more.

They had been overturned by a bitter man who now ruled the east of Omen with an iron fist – Nicolai.  His voice was jarring compared to the others in the villages, his discordant tone slicing through the air whenever he spoke.  He did not believe in full equality as The Elders had and he did not approve of exploring the deep-sea or even living in stilted houses.  Nicolai hated the water – He did not trust it.  He warned us all of the danger.  What if the water rose up against us, as it did in the days of old, and drowned us all?  Life on the water was no life at all, was what he preached.  All talk and plans of exploring the water were put to a stop, and, slowly, Nicolai was forcing the people back onto the mountain.

I was only a child when Nicolai came into power.  I was too young to fully understand what was happening around me, why my mother didn’t seem as happy anymore, or why my brother had joined the guards.  I didn’t understand where the cruel set lines around my father’s mouth had come from.

I heard the whispers when I left our house at my mother’s side.  Heard how parts of the outer town had collapsed, sturdy bridges just falling into the choppy, unforgiving water one night.  Some whispered it was the new government.  Others wondered aloud if the mountain truly was a safer place to live.  My mother scoffed at those people, but she never joined in the whispers.  I was too young to understand just how dangerous my world was becoming.

The above is a piece I discovered when looking through my documents, written for the creative writing class I took last year.  The assignment was to create an entirely new world.

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