Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

There is a stream that runs from the foot of the dais where I meditate; shimmering and trickling along the length of the cave system before it fills the little pool under the shading overhang, which drains into the aquifer.

M’tembe smiles as I blink and look up. He hands me a gourd of fermented goat’s milk. As I sip slowly and appreciatively, he brings me up to speed on events that have occurred while I ‘Zenned’ my way through the last two weeks.

“Kinshahou killed his father; the Kinsha tribe has joined the peace. Obuwega came to see you. The spirits fell upon him and he rolled in the dirt. When he stood up, he pronounced you ‘Watela’ and placed his entire nation under the peace.”

I wish I’d seen that. A fifty-year old war chief and notorious barbarian suffering an epiphany before a skinny, white-skinned teenage girl sat in the lotus position deep within a cave deep in equatorial Africa.

My parents thought I had a glandular disorder. I spent my childhood going from specialist to specialist. I was eleven before someone thought to stop the intravenous fluids and see what happened.

If I am not under exertion, I sweat fresh water. More than that: I make it. You can feed me dry ration bars for as long as you like, I do not dehydrate. The water running from me only slows a bit. How I do this is a mystery. All sorts of new ideas were postulated. Arguments still rage, because the proof of their theories would need me to be vivisected. I doubt that they would find the answers even then. When something defies all laws and balances known to science, they don’t need to take the subject apart. They need a genius to deduce the reasons and how they were missed, or to propose a novel solution.

My genius was named Hubert Monchamps and he was brought in after their second attempt to see if I could breathe what I produced all-but drowned me. I was thirteen, having my first encounter with puberty in a place where no-one thought to treat me like a teenage girl.

Hubert arrived as part of some deal made with the fringe science groups and internet lobbies. He took one look and had his thirteen year-old daughter rushed to the facility. Eta was blind but could echolocate. Through her, I found out that a spate of freak child mutations had occurred around the time of my birth. Eta was probably the only one with any semblance of a life as her brilliant father had worked out early what was going on, then taught his daughter to lie to everyone except her close family.

It took Hubert and Eta ten days to work out how to steal me. Through my extensive non-fictional reading I told them where I needed to go. To my surprise, they agreed.

Hubert’s last words were: “Vanish. Become a mythical being or goddess in a place where so-called civilisation has not insinuated itself too much. In you, I see the potential for more good than any since the mythical prophets.” He smiled: “But please make sure your followers do not become bigots.”

My name is Elizabeth Shannon. The tribes call me Elzbeshanou. My peace – the water peace – has ended wars fought for generations. It has destroyed the myths of female inferiority. There is a network of wise men and women now. Missionaries provide schools. I provide counsel. My blessing came from somewhere closer than heaven, and the Earth sorely needs our reverence.

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