Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oshun's Fall by Kendra Mei Chailyn

The rain poured over the land. Oya, the goddess of the storms, was having a bad day and she wanted everyone to know it. Thunder rolled and lightning cut across the sky, sending the outside into daylight and just as quickly back into night time.

Storms this strong always meant trouble. Roads flooded, bridges got damaged, stores got looted and the problems went on and on.

But like all natural things, there were also benefits. When the storm finally ended, farmers would gaze upon soil dark with moisture and be pleased.

Luthando Ife sat at his desk, his chair rotated to face the window. He could not believe the storm. There was something about this storm that was different from any others he had seen. It had been waging for days. The news reports were already saying it was a record-setting storm. If it didn’t stop soon, he could not go to work at the clinic. He would have to stay home.

He frowned and turned back to his desk to finish typing up a report. The room lit up again. He took that as a sign to shut down his computer. He was in no mood to shell money out to buy a new one. It wasn’t that he couldn’t afford it, just that it was needless spending. Saving his work, he logged off. Just as he was about to pour himself some wine, go to bed and read a book, there was a banging on his door.

Dr. Ife darted for the door and ripped it open. No one should be out in this weather.

“Chineke,” He moaned as the woman fell into his arms. Scooping her up, he carried her to the nearest bedroom and laid her onto the sofa. He wrapped sheets around her body to keep her warm and then hurried downstairs to make some tea. Putting the kettle on, he gathered cough syrup and towels from the bathroom, then paced until the tea was ready.

He tried to feed her the warm tea, but she was shaking too badly. Knowing a burn from spilt tea was not going to help her, he set the teacup down and gathered her into his arms and rested against the sofa. She shook against his side as he pulled her closer, rubbing his arms up and down against her body, trying frantically to get some warmth into her. It would be easier to strip her, but he didn’t want her to think he was being indecent. Then again, if she woke up and he was cuddling her she would think so anyway.

Luthando continued rubbing her body until the shaking stopped, then carried her to the bed. He placed her gently into it and covered her with the sheets before moving to the cupboard to get more layers.

As the storm raged outside, he walked across the room and sat in a chair in the dark, just watching her. She was stunning. All he could see now was her face, but her body had pressed against him and he had felt his body tremble with a sweet heat that he welcomed. Even though she was cold and shivering, he could feel something even through his knowledge that he had to remain detached in order to do what was best for her. But she was a woman—his body felt and knew that. She wasn’t just any woman for he had felt killer curves when she was pressed against him. She was his kind of woman.

Shaking his head, he slipped down into the chair, crossed his legs and resigned his body to the fact that he wouldn’t be getting any sleep. His patients at the clinic would have to go to Doctor Obe until he could return.

The thought brought a frown to Luthando’s face but he knew he had to stay where he was. There was the matter of the girl but the weather played a large part in his decision. Until the rain stopped, he wouldn’t be able to use the roads.

* * * *

Before even opening her eyes, Oshun knew she had not had a nightmare. She was shivering, her teeth chattering slightly but there was a strange warmth flowing through her beneath it all. The memory of the voices screaming inside her head to do what they had told her was something one could not mistake for a nightmare. Those voices had a reality to them. The Three had cast her out and she must do as she was told before she could get her powers back. As she lay in the bed of a regular human, a being she had always thought so simple, she tried to find a bright spot and when she didn’t, she squeezed her eyes tighter. It felt as if her world had ended and there was nothing left. All she wanted to do was cry.

She sat up and took a look around her.

“Morning.” A voice came to her ear and she jerked back. “It’s alright. My name is Luthando Ife. What’s your name?”

“O…” She started but stopped herself quickly. The last thing she wanted to do was tell this man that she was Oshun, Goddess of Love. He would just laugh in her face and send her to one of those places she always saw humans put their crazies. “Kendi…”

“Well, Kendi, it has been raining cats and dogs all night,” Luthando continued from his chair, “You may leave anytime you wish, but I wouldn’t recommend it be immediately. As you can surmise from the noise, it is still raining cats and dogs.”

She bit down on her lower lip and took her first good look at him. He was handsome. He had big brown eyes with lashes that were long and curled. His hair was perfect, short and kept neat and trim the way she liked it. . His face had faint traces of a beard that had crept up over night. He was dressed like a westerner in blue jeans and a dress shirt whose sleeves were folded to the elbow. And he looked tired. That told her one thing—he hadn’t gone to bed.

“You didn’t have to stay watch over me,” she said shyly. “I would have been alright.”

“Nonsense,” he got up and something she knew to be fear curled her insides. She knew it for she had felt it each time she saw The Three. Oya had explained it to her on many occasions. “I wanted to make sure that when you woke up in a strange home you would be alright. Now, I am a doctor, let me have a look at you.”

“Stay away,” she clutched at the sheets. Even though her rational mind was telling her to stop being a child and let him have a look, something deep inside told her that he could harm her.

Panic surged through her and when she couldn’t handle it any longer she closed her eyes. She waited for the bad thing to happen even though she didn’t know what that thing was. But when she didn’t feel anything, she opened them to look up at him again. He had backed away.

Luthando couldn’t touch her. The fear that he had seen in her eyes tore at his heart. It was as though she thought he was going to kill her. He could tell her that he had held her in his arms the night before, but he remained silent about that. Perhaps if he showed her proof that he was indeed a doctor she would feel better. Maybe if he just left the room and had a female look her over she wouldn’t be so terrified. All these thoughts rushed through his mind while he tried to figure a way to see if she was physically well. He had to examine her but if she was scared of him he didn’t want to force the subject. He pulled his wallet from his back pocket where he always kept it and removed his I.D. card. He handed it to her.

“See?” he asked her softly. “I truly am a doctor.”

She stared down at the card but didn’t speak. Luthando felt out of options so he changed the subject. “Would you like some breakfast?” he asked as he heard the servants moving around downstairs.

She nodded and he smiled. “Alright. I will send someone up with some clothes for you so you can take a shower and change into something clean.”