Ten Candles

Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer

“For a long time, people wondered just what the first-ever crime committed in the Martian Colonies was going to be. The first murder. The first rape. The first vicious assault. The first deletion of a child’s innocence. For a long time, people wondered, but now they wonder no more.”

“Spartan men became men via a series of brutal rites. You’ve probably seen the film. As have I.
Newborn boys were bathed in wine. The child’s reaction to the alcohol’s caress determined and indeed defined the fledgling warrior heart that beat beneath the pale veined skin that stretched across the cage of his being.

I, too, became awash in the fumes. The stink of his breath as he slouched before the blue scrambling lines on the screen. I drank it. I sieved it between the clench of my own teeth and drew it in and down into me. Then, I would shrink and cower as he threw his broken and filthy words into a home he’d scared into being empty and dark. A slumbering slobbering giant of a man and I watched as he dribbled and snored.”

“At age seven, the Spartan boy child is subjected to intense violence. He is mercilessly pummelled and stripped of his dignity and coaxed to believe himself an unworthy and stupid pretender. Yet still he would pull on his mask of a morning, his tainted fouling flesh and he would wear it and he would smell its rot odour and he would claw and dig in and scratch to the end of the day. Tests. Pointless cruel gauges of intelligence, compliance, and endurance. A father’s engrained preferences sated. Tests to be excelled at and passed and beaten. Just as I have done.”

“The boy would be cast out. Oh, how I wish now that I too had been shoved. But the atmosphere here is thick and riven with grains. The shed detritus of the red rock terrain and so in this my cage I did stay. You may not believe me but I would do it and still I might. I’d step through that air-lock and I’d let my tongue fatten and I’d let this cold world gag the very life out of me. I am not scared. I am not weak. I’d have done it and still now… I might.”

“The would-be warrior babes were cast out with nothing but a blade, tasked to kill, sent on a foul errand to seek out and cut down a life. And then… the boy, he returns a man.”

“Today, I shot Daddy. I put the smooth flat end of the compressed air cannon he used to puncture core samples up to his chest. As he balled his thick tannin-stained fingers and, again, he drove them into the side of her head, I laid it against his chest. I laid it there, I laid it bare and I blasted his warrior heart clean through his body and out through his back and onto the flames of my cake. Today’s my birthday. Look at me. Look. I am become”, said she.

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