School demands students pay K250,000 reparation for sports death
The man with the light brown eyes

The Odd Tumbler

TumblerAKILINO POWESIU

There’s a belief that, the will to receive is essentially a desire for creatures to enjoy, corresponding to the abundance and pleasure that comes from the Great Spirit. Creatures great and small, creatures like me, creatures like the weary and cunning Mr. Corvus or busy Polly. Creatures, born into this world with that will, attached like a membrane of the heart.

A gift from the Great Spirit, thought Kito to herself, as her thorax lay in all fragility in the pupal case hanging by the surface of a miniature pond.

Rich with ammonia and carbon dioxide, the pond, mainly damp, was due to the leaking underbelly of a pipe that partly extended into the shower basin of house forty-eight, in the Port Moresby suburb of Tokarara.

Surrounded by green fungus, like miniature shrubs in a swampland, the pond was an ideal breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti scourge. They were dispersed from the nearby hills of June Valley after a week’s storm had visited the nation’s capital.

As it is with all mosquitoes, the scourge needed water to complete their life cycle, a vital ingredient to their survival, and what timely spot it was, under a leaking pipe.

Kito, with her peer tumblers, strewn about singly atop the surface of the pond, were in their pupal stage. And for a mosquito, the pupal stage is, by and by, the adolescent stage, the 20 to 21 stage.

It was the third day since the rain had stopped and since the tumblers were laid there as eggs. Three human days is equivalent to twenty-one mosquito years, and in the coming dawn, Kito, with her peers, will develop into adults.

For an Aede aegypta, it takes only four days to reach adulthood, given the right temperature and humidity, which was the case for Kito and the 300 plus tumblers.

To the surrounding human habitat, it was another clear and pleasant day, commanded by the scorching heat of the sweltering sun and the dry breeze that swivelled the atmosphere. But to the scourge that populated the pond, this was the last day of their teen phase; the no-feeding-only-resting phase.

And as the tumblers take advantage of this once in their life time event, Kito was mentally wrestling a virtuous reality. A reality she couldn’t accept; a reality that caused her to burn furiously with hate towards theGreat Spirit. A hateful reality of being a mosquito; a dark concept that had somehow found its way into her stream of consciousness, as if being mysteriously injected with poison.

She bashfully resorted to configuring the question why, the why of this, the whyof that, the why of everything appropriate than being a mosquito. The thoughts gained upon her mind as if gravity was retreating into her compound eyes and tiny head. A self-contradicting concept, seemingly, professing a current of irate thoughts, like a deluge.

But, what of the will?! Her reproachful mind continued, that faculty of mind by which a spirit named ‘Choice’ is borne or so to speak; that nagging spirit of ‘want’, the spirit of ‘to-be’, to be something else.  

A life form on its own, a cosmic entity conjured by the Great Spirit and determined for one like a soul mate. Born before one, with respect to the natural order of things, the sole purpose being that, Choice is to be consulted on behalf of one, before one is born, as to how one desires to be introduced into this world.

Would the Great Spirit, in its absolute wisdom, consider consulting Choice? For Choice represents the nature of one’s will; a will infused by the Great Spirit itself, and appointed Choice as the guardian of one, vested with the powers to assert one’s being.

Yet, this authority, this power, was overlooked, and here I am, a dreadful creature! A vector of dengue fever and yellow fever, mere annoyance developing into a potential deadly threat. As if it was my own becoming, as if it was formed thereof myself alone, as if I willed it!—

Kito also wondered if she was the only one thinking up these thoughts and if this manner of thinking made her any different from a common mosquito. The more these thoughts unfolded into a corpus delicti of nature, the merrier her reality became, much to her agony of mind. It was a cause she could not refuse compliance to, even if she had any disposition to do so.

All she desired was to be something loveable, symbolic in a good way, something revered and respected, a life form other than a mosquito in all good sense. But the piercing fact remained; she is and will always be a mosquito till her oblivion.

Her physiology was mosquito, a true mosquito. But it was her ability to think like a human being that stood out. Unlike her peer tumblers, even the whole mosquito species, she had an evolved mind; a caricature of scientific evolution, a cosmic intelligence that manifested into physical matter, assuming a mosquito form. Like an alien life form in a Stephen Spielberg movie, she wasthe odd tumbler.

A few feet away from the pond, a pile of stone heaped in a pyramid form, and beside them, a brown frog sat in idleness with eyes pacing about its surrounding, like surveillance cameras; seemingly entertaining the idea of a meal appearing out of nowhere. A sudden bark from the house opposite caused it to snap out of its wandering mind and leaped off, presumably, in search of another pile of stones, to assume cover and resume its activity. Imposing a lesser speed and dignity, yet a pleasurable anticipation, its eyes caught just what it was contemplating, another pile of stones.

They heaped not far from where the frog was earlier. But, much to the frog’s surprise, as it progressed towards the pile, an alarming chit-chit-chit erupted from behind them. It was a warning sound only common to wagtails, a sound that is issued when they sense a potential threat to their territory. The frog halted immediately but intelligently observing, as if anticipating an encounter.

Above the pond, a single pendant hung helplessly by the leaking pipe. A slight nudge by a passing breeze or an unexpected force and gravity will ensure its purpose. Down at the pond, Kito’s mind continued rummaging through the confetti of contradicting thoughts towards the Great Spirit.

Why, Great Spirit? Why was I made a mosquito? Why me? Was my creation the subject of a sarcastic joke you had with one of your angels or guardians of this vast and perilous ecosystem, you created to ravish, as your Aunt Sally, inter alia? Did it cost you a great deal of time to make me that you disposed off all good ideas, while carelessness dictated the course of my creation? Choosing a path without my consent? Without how I might feel, how I might react?—

As if a stone was shot into the pond with brute force, her fuming mind was abruptly interrupted. A sudden splash upon the pond developed frantic ripples, which jostled Kito and the rest of the tumblers in the process, igniting a helter-skelter. The tumblers quickly dove in a jerking, tumbling motion into the pond.

The wagtail had instigated an attack on the frog, and during that moment, while beating its wings deeply with interspersed swift flying dip at the frog’s rear, the wagtail furiously flew betwixt the leaking pipe and the pond; the impact of the flight passing the pendant caused it to fall, fortunately with much less of an impact as to create a solifluction.

Kito shuddered in her pupal case, a rush of adrenaline coursed through her veins, and an emptiness of mind replaced her bitter thoughts. The Great Spirit had answered in a single furious splash that carried with it all the answers to Kito’s seemingly rhetorical questions. Mist developed inside her pupal case, her breathing, heavy. She felt nausea enveloping her.

The ripples dissipated and calmness returned with an almost somnolent effect. Consciousness slowly regained composure. She felt herself moving, her siphons straightened in anticipation of fresh air and her tagmata, as if controlling itself, jerked upwards. She was resurfacing.

Is that my answer?! Kito’s mind regained its clear conscience with composure, and again, bitterly adjudicated the Great Spirit at its response, which she thought she knew. Her siphons, mildly drawing air in, and her tagmata at ease once more, a single pendant, compound by free surfaces, each presumably having an answer to my questions? Translucent reasons I cannot comprehend, all attributing to one final answer, in a pendant form.  A rapid conciliation, to say the least, the same approach thereof my creation. Carelessness yet dictating—

Her continued debacle was cut short by two profound images of impeccable doom, commonly associated with a mosquito’s nature. Again, the Great Spirit answered, but with a dark twist. The two images, one of smeared blood and black fragments, and the other of a pesticide fog encroaching, simultaneously bobbing at her in a dog-eat-dog manner, and she froze completely.

The strides of time quickly elongated, and she had no choice but to follow. Only then, will she, trying to keep up, appreciate how expertly time ran through itself, and it was all she could do to avoid the path of oblivion. The effect of the images, like sedatives, had weakened her; her mind slowed, and her reflexes, uncertain, she drifted into unconsciousness. The Great Spirit had spoken.

A single high pitched clicking sound, almost deafening, shook Kito awake, as if being pulled suddenly out of hiding. Tymbals? Her consciousness returned slowly, anticipating the cause of the sound, like a fascination of a snake on a wretched young bird. An image of an ‘imagio’ appeared in her head. Answer received.

Prominent red eyes, slightly large, set wide apart on the side of its head, a short antennae protruding between the eyes, coupled with membranous front wings; it was a male cicada, and of course, it was doing its ritualistic signalling of the approaching dusk. She had been asleep for a while, since the two images of doom. Time had quickened its steps. It was the norm of nature.

Cricket chirps replaced the cicada’s loud clicking sound, wagtails joined in, issuing sweet lullabies atop the nearby mango tree. Then screeches, beetle screeches, taking over and sweetening the overture into a phrase of such delight. It was filled with longing, such unfulfillable longing, only nature would comprehend.

A positive vibe, eliminating all the negativity that had been, consumed Kito, and she breathed a sigh of appreciation, of acceptance of what is. All creatures alike, each having an infinite amount of lives before them, like craters in unison in the ground. A soul with its ‘choice’ as its soul mate, the moment they drop out of cosmos into the first crater, having its own life form waiting to be assumed, it is born of that life form.

A mosquito is born a mosquito because of the life form it assumed when it first fell into the carter that contained that life form. As with the case of all creatures, if the mosquito’s guardian, choice, is intelligent enough, the mosquito will live fully to serve its purpose, using up the life form, and dies. End of story, next crater, another life time maybe as a grasshopper or a worm, and the cycle repeats, like a wheel of binomial distribution.

With this in mind, Kito felt calmness develop inside her pupal case like a shrouding mist. She felt a curve slightly evolved just beneath her proboscis, she was smiling, but with great comfort. Her earlier admonitions, and seemingly unfortunate events, never a shred was evident. She was truly liberated by positivity and the acceptance of her becoming.

What will be, come the dawn and what will transpire after, had no strain on her. She was at ease and peacefully drifted into sleep mode.

Comments

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Akilino Powesiu

Sharing one of my favourite quotes by Stephen King:

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work"

Akilino Powesiu

Thank you very much Keith Jackson and the Crocodile Prize competition 2014.

This means a lot to me. Once again, thank you.

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