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  • Writer's pictureSantra Navas

Love & Terror

Taken from the Digital Journal of 8-year-old H’uit

My family has always told me, since as long as I could remember, that they wouldn’t share me with the world. Every day they would repeat this to me. I would be awoken before sunrise from a kiss on the forehead by Chi’i. Chi’i would always leave for assigned work before the rest of the family was awake. Some mornings Chi’i would stir so much, getting ready for work, that it could awaken the six others. All my parents awake at the same time in this room can get a bit chaotic which is why they take shifts and spread their morning rituals throughout the day. Chi’i first then Ba’raam. Still struggling to find sleep I would hear Ba’raam getting up. Ba’raam was the parent that spent most of the day with me. Ba’raam would get ready and begin to prepare us all something to eat. Ba’raam seemed to love this part of the day, showcasing a smile in the kitchen while all the members of our family consecutively emerged from the bedroom. All six of us would crowd around the kitchen with Ba’raam in the centre serving everyone, splitting the rations, we are given, meant for seven members into eight. We seem to never have enough but our family makes due. Sometimes I think that if I weren’t here, a part of this family, my parents would be better off but I know that they wouldn’t let me say that, not for a second. Because if they entertained that idea it would call into question their choices. It would make every risk they made be in vain.

Vendis, Jo’Ven, and V’neris were the next to leave for the assigned day’s work. They always kissed my forehead before they left for the day. Reminding me to stay in my room, not to whine or complain or make noise, especially when the Governess made her daily visit. The Governess came every day appearing in the centre of our home. I’ve never seen her; I’ve only heard her voice echo through the house. She would say that she wanted to make sure my parents were doing well, and when they should receive their rations but I don’t think that’s why she appeared. She was there looking for something that was off, something extra. She was looking for me. Making sure we’re not one too many.

Finally, the ones to leave for the day are S’Baht and L’Ahad. I am the child of their body but I do not place them above the others. My parents, all seven, have been together since they were small children, practically babies. They were assigned to one another by the Governess. Ba’raam told me when a family has an extra, the Governess takes it to the orphanage and creates their own family. So, Ba’raam said and they all agreed that they wouldn’t share me. But it’s very hard to keep me from the Governess. I’m not allowed to go outside. I have to stay in my space most of the day. The space behind the mirror.

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