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Jaguar Woman - Jennifer Adele

Jaguar Woman - Jennifer Adele

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Published by Jennifer Adele

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Published by: Jennifer Adele on Dec 31, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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12/29/2013

 
 1
JAGUAR WOMAN  A Short Modern-Day Fairy Tale By Jennifer Adele
In honor of my ancestors and my heritage. With gratitude for all the people I call  friends, family, tribe, and community.
 
 2 Atonal was tired, more tired than he could ever recall. It was not that the day it hit him was any harder or longer than the other days before. It was not so much that anything bad or overtly strenuous had
happened during the course of the sun’s
great and graduated arc. It was just that there was a tedium that had finally taken its toll. It sat upon his shoulders like a lead yoke. And Atonal could not help but wonder as he bore up under his invisible burden, if anyone else in the village felt as he did. None of them appeared to, at least there were no readily available outward signs. But then again, he was not sure if he gave any external indications of his inner state either. Being up at first light was not what bothered Atonal. It had never made him weary the way it seemed to do the others. In fact, sometimes he rose even earlier, stepping out of the confines of the mud-brick home he shared with his aging mother to embrace the silence and the countless stars on a blue-black canvas that glittered in the darkened sky and the last moments of nighttime. It was then that he was most himself. But as dawn broke, cracking the veil of sacred dark, it was time to conform, to contribute to the needs of the community. Day in and day out he, and to some lesser extent his mother, worked the fields his people had claimed from the swamps. He cared for the crops and guarded the harvests that naturally followed right alongside her, and he had done so since he was a boy, for as long as he could recall. He aided in the fishing and the hunting as needed, too. He had kept his home in fine shape and was also known to lend a hand to the others on either side of him. His days were just as long and arduous as almost
anyone’s.
 There was much to be done
 over and over. And, his mother would use those words as a chant, as a justification whenever he wanted to wander off in search of something else
. “There is much to be done,” she would say in that
all-knowing way, as though she were beyond the point in her life where dreams had any influential weight. The only time he found for himself to have any sort of clarity and hope, after falling into a deep and dreamless sleep from the demands of the day, was in the last hours of night; it was also in the early hours of morning. That time that was betwixt and between and that he thought belonged to no one other than himself. But, he was wrong.
Atonal’s life was not 
 
so different from anyone else’s around him.
 Most worked hard, most gave their lives to the work, to the needs, and to the wants of their own selves and their betters. It was only a select few that had what appeared to be all the time in the world; they had time for greater, nobler, and higher things. And, this was part of the frustration. For he, too, longed to experience those things. He also pined for something else, something primal and primordial. It was an essential essence that he could not name and yet felt so keenly, as it prowled about the shadows on the outskirts of the village during the hours when he was lucid and all others were not. It was a relatively new arrival in the greater scheme, but as days melded into weeks and even months he began to realize the pre-dawn was not his alone. The more tired Atonal had grown with each passing sunset, the more brazen the shadow thing had become near daybreak. He could hear it just before first light
 
 3 almost regularly now, stalking about the brush and rubbing up against the dense jungle foliage. And, it was right around the time that he thought there was no more he could give to the tedium and the toils that the distinctive sound of the beast itself caught his ear. Initially, Atonal thought it was a predatory cat, a jaguar or jaguarundi, as the signature roar sounded much like that deep, chesty cough. But, it was when the practically human sighing became intermingled with the roar that he knew in his bones it was something else. And, that sound opened within him a chasm that held the answers to what he longed for, beyond all the time in the world for greater, nobler, and higher endeavors. Atonal found himself at the end of his proverbial rope and so very, very tired
because he longed for escape… escape coupled with an odd sort of
unity. As the night had grown dark as it could, or as it dared, Atonal admitted it to himself with a startling and stark personal revelation. He felt instinctually that how he had been taught to live was not natural; it was not what should be normal; it was not wholly right. To toil all day to barely be able to provide for himself and those he loved while others perched above him so high, had driven Atonal to an unknowable brink. He longed for what he figured he should long for
 to be closer to the land as it initially lay, to be closer to the waters with their perfectly rhythmic time and tides,
to feel the sunlight and the moon’s glow and the winds and the heat for the very
sake of it. But most of all, Atonal desired to know the hidden beast that lurked so
near and echoed his own soul’s beckoning for him to return to his roots and great 
er root source. It was on the day Atonal had found himself the most tired that the beast spoke. The light from the horizon was low, gray and dusty, almost smoky. He was sitting just outside of his mud-brick home, back to the wall, and enjoying the sounds of the not too distant ocean when he heard it.
“Come with me,” whispered the voice. And, it was so
soft at first that Atonal was not even sure he had really heard it. He thought perhaps he had somehow perverted the soothing sounds of the ocean or the brush of the leaves into words he simply wanted to hear.
“Atonal,” the voice came again, “I have watched you. I know you. Come with me.”
 
Atonal stood to full height and slowly began to approach the tree line. “Who are you?”
 No answer.
“Who is that?”
 No sound greeted his ears, as he stopped right along the edge.
“Why would I want to go anywhere with you?” he challenged
his phantom, half afraid he might be going mad with boredom and overwork.
“I am sorry. I thought you were tired of your life and seeking a new one…” the
lovely lilting voice trailed off as though it meant to leave him to what was left of his pointless existence.
“No! Wait!” he shouted as loud as he dared. He did not want to wake all the
others. He took a couple of paces into the dense grow
th. “Wait. I am seeking. Who are you?”
 

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