Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gypsy Heart

After a very long time i bring to you one of my very own short stories. Gypsy Heart talks about the good and the evil that lurks in the hearts of all the people. I know that it's far from perfect, but here it is anyway:

Erato was a kind-hearted girl. She would wake up in the morning with a big smile on her face and go to bed at night just the same. Everyone loved her, old and young alike. Her long blonde curly hair, her sparkling blue eyes, her dove white skin, her always smiling angel-like face and the natural warmth of her being, made her stand out among the youth of her village. She looked so different than the rest of them; so nice, so beautiful, so unreal. But, in the small society of a village, the one that is different, that one is also cursed; cursed by the evil that lurks in every human soul.
Everyone she knew pretended to be nice, pretended to be faithful, pretended to be kind-hearted; she were all the above. She cared for and loved all the people; she respected all, gods and humans, and had faith in them. She has always been like that, ever since she was a kid. Back then, she would give her toys away to other kids, who were poor; once she even dared take off her jacket, while walking in the village’s square, and offer it to the beggar’s daughter, who was shivering with cold.
Her father, a very rich and highly respected man, who had more money and land than anyone would ever dare dream of, didn’t really like the ways of his daughter. He didn’t give a damn about what the other people thought of Erato; “money is money and it shouldn’t be wasted,” was his belief, but he wouldn’t say that aloud because everyone would turn against him. His wife was quite proud of the girl, and his sons, well, they just didn’t seem to care.
As time passed Erato would grow to be more beautiful and more generous, a girl with a heart of gold. The old women would pray for her wishing god to have her always well, the mothers of the younger men would wish for her to be married to their sons, and the girls, well, they would be jealous of her, but none of them could ever be like her. As for the boys, they simply worshipped her. However, the idea of getting married never crossed her mind. She had so much love in her heart, and instead of giving it to a single man she’d rather offer it to anyone who ever needed it. So, she’d spent endless nights and days, taking care of sick and lonely old women, who had no one in the world but her, and just as much time teaching the children of the gypsy that settled close by, how to read and write. Even the priest thought that Erato one day would be “declared a saint!”
Well, her father had no use for kind words. All he cared about was for her to grow up and get married, and stop being so damn stupid. Her brothers felt just the same; the silly girl was giving little by little their fortune away. Something had to be done with her. So, many times, they would try to talk her out of her way of life, but with no success. She would just sit there and listen to them with that big shiny smile of hers, giving no promises about anything.
By her eighteenth birthday she was as beautiful as a fairy, like a dream. Her face was shining brighter than the sun, and her hair were framing it in golden perfection. One after the other the young and not so young men of her village, would go and ask for her hand in marriage, but her father would turn down every offer. His daughter was a princess, and to someone like her she would have to be married. Erato, who really didn’t want to break anyone’s heart, was happy that her father did all the dirty work for her. Besides, she didn’t want to get married. “I don’t want to lock myself into the golden cell of marriage,” she thought.
As time went by, the other village girls started to hate her; she was too good, too beautiful, too true; but nobody’s perfect. They were sure that she was hiding some dark secret, and since they couldn’t find one, they thought it better to create one, through the old ways of gossip. So, it wasn’t long before a rumor found its way to every house in the village. According to it, Erato had fallen in love with a gypsy. When she heard that she just smiled, but her father and brothers were not that amused. For the first time they were really worried. They believed that the whispers of the evil-hearted people were true, and they definitely had to do something about it; but what?
The rumors multiplied by the day. People would find dark secrets where there were none, they would turn their suspicions into facts, and they would start looking at her in a different way. The angel that Erato was would turn into devil before their very eyes, as they’d see what they told them to see, and not what really was. And so, their attitude towards her would gradually change. They wouldn’t talk and smile to her anymore, they would no longer feel touched by the kindness of her heart. But, she wouldn’t change her ways. She’d be helpful and smiling as ever, nice with all, despite their behavior. She thought that if she continued to be her real self, people would start looking at her in the right way again. But the seeds of evil seemed to have taken over everyone’s heart. After a while she was friends only with the gypsies. They loved her truly, deeply, even though she no longer had much to offer to them, since her father prohibited her from taking anything from the house and giving it away.
Of course the young men still liked her and flirted with her, but the looks they gave her talked of lust and not of love. All the innocence was gone. They would not longer see her as a human being, but as a simple body; and a beautiful one at that. Her body, that’s what they talked about all the time.
Her once smiling face has started wearing the mask of sorrow. Her life that used to be full of joy was now covered with gray clouds, and it just seemed to fade away.
She would spend more and more time at the gypsy camp. Only there she felt alive. The gypsies, being simple and hospitable people, made her feel like one of their own. She would teach the children how to read and write, and they would make her smile. She liked that kind of life, with all its simplicity. “They only know how to live the here and now, that’s why they appear to be full of life,” she would think quietly at night. But, that wasn’t the only point in which they were different from the other people. The gypsies were always looking for a reason to be happy and to have fun. They didn’t care if they were rich or poor and they never even seemed to ask for something more than what they had. Oh yes, they were so much different.
She’s spent many a night with her good friends sitting around the open fire and singing, or getting up and performing with them some wild dances, which carried behind them centuries of tradition and history.
Willingly or not Erato, leading that way of life, kept feeding with ill comments the mouths of the people. And even those of them she once helped, now wanted to have nothing to do with her. The other girls felt happy with her sorrow. With their poisonous tongues, they’ve managed to put her aside; with their devilish ways, they paved the way to her total destruction. All the mothers that once thought of her as an angel, now talked about the cursed one, and as for the young men –we’ve already said this- they would only think of ways to conquer her body. Just a few old women still loved her. For when they were sick, only she would look after them. She would bring them medicine and cook for them, and she would spend many sleepless nights by their side.
One dark night, as she was going back home from the gypsy camp, she heard footsteps approaching her from behind. And at the very next moment she felt a strong hand grabbing her from the waist, and another closing her mouth, so that she couldn’t scream. “Tonight you’re going to be mine, you bitch,” someone whispered in her ear, and she recognized the voice at once. It was Andrew; her brothers’ best friend. Tying her hands at the back and covering her mouth with a scarf, he led her to a remote olive field. Once there he pushed her down at the roots of an olive tree and wildly raped her. Her body watered the tree with the red fluid of her lost innocence. As the beast of a man left, he took with him a life and left behind a human rug.
Almost crawling, feeling too weak to walk, Erato found her way home. She woke up her family and told them what happened. As she finished her story, her mother started to say something, but she just didn’t manage to do so. At that very moment Erato’s father hit her fiercely with an open palm on both cheeks, calling her a cursed one, because as he said she disgraced their name. Her mother sat still and heavy on a chair weeping, while her brothers were trying hard to hide a smile. They were sure, that Andrew was not to blame for anything, since he was a good and honest man. Probably, “the bitch made it all up,” they thought.
Erato started shedding bitter tears, crying out that she was innocent, but her mother did not have the strength to stand up for her, and as for the men they were sure of her guilt. After some time, when all was still and quiet, her father who spend the whole time thinking about what to do, suddenly looked at her in hatred and said: “You no longer have a place in this house; you can leave.” She stared back at him fixedly and made him turn his face down to the ground, as in her eyes he read her contempt. Then she got up decidedly, bid farewell her poor mother, and started of to go and find the only good and openhearted people she knew, her gypsy friends.
The next morning, as the news travel fast in the villages, everyone was talking about what has happened; and everyone would ask Andrew why on earth that evil girl tried to destroy his reputation. He, the big liar and hero of the day, told them that she asked him to marry her, but he refused; thus she decided to take revenge. Right next to him stood her brothers giving credit to his words.
And that is how that angel of a girl, suddenly became the bride of Satan. The priest every Sunday at church in his speech would advice the young girls to be faithful in god and virtuous otherwise they would too face the ill fate of the cursed one. And they would listen to him carefully, in order to have something to talk about and laugh afterwards.
Erato, now living with her gypsy friends, felt happy, and thought that she was safe and out of harm’s way. But, she had no idea of the ways that evil works in the hearts of men. Most of the people of the village, headed by her own brothers and father, Andrew and the priest, would every Sunday meet and discuss ways of making the gypsies go away from their land. “What are the devils doing in our fields, in our houses?” her father would ask aloud. “We must drive them away!”
One night, a few weeks after the rape, Erato in fear and in joy, found out that she was pregnant. At that very night a shepherd went running to the village square, screaming that someone has stolen three of his sheep. The evil men found the opportunity they looked for for so long, and so, they put the blame on the gypsies.
Early next morning, many men armed-to-kill with guns and knives, started for the camp, to make that poor people go away, no matter what. The gypsies denied that they stole the sheep and simply refused to leave. Andrew, drawing out his knife, was the first to start the dance of murder, and the others followed. Surprised and unarmed the poor gypsies started to fall one after the other under the stubs of the murderous knives. Rivers of blood were shed and the land itself seemed to lose its life. The gypsy women mourning their hearts out tried to take the children away. They had to at least save them from the ball of Death.
Only one woman didn’t run away but grabbed a knife and thrown herself into the battle. And as the devil’s best of men, Andrew, was getting ready to slaughter a kid that stayed behind, he felt a knife finding its way deep into his breast. The last thing he saw before breathing his life away was Erato’s blazing eyes. A moment later a bloody coward of a man, reached her from behind and cut her throat. None of the killers, in the mist of battle, was able to see the father-murderer cry.
By noon all the gypsy men were dead or seriously injured. The women were crying about the evil that has befallen them, but they were determined to make life worth living again. According to the legend, one of those women somewhere found a knife that possessed some magic powers. They said that every wound it touched it immediately healed, and that was a sign that their god now lived with them.
They buried Erato at the top of a hill from where she could look at the vastness and the beauty of the world. All around her grave, there appeared on their own dozens of strange and beautiful flowers.
As the legend goes, at the very place that her father killed her, the gypsies opened a well, that all year around pours out sweet water that gives life to the plain.
Her father was tormented for many years by terrible nightmares, and one day they found him with his eyes frightfully open, dead in his bed. The people said that: “He met the Lord of Death, even before he died.”
Both of her brothers were hit by a terrible illness that kept them nailed on their beds till the day they expired.
The priest passed away during one of his passionate speeches in the church, which talked about “the gypsies, the children of Satan, who want to destroy our religion.”
The olive tree under which Erato saw the face of evil and terror got withered, but all year around it bloom some weird-looking poppies.
Erato is the most common name among the girls at the gypsy camp.

1 comment:

Dark Conofman said...

A Cypriot writing in English?