Reaping Reprisal

Summer Storm Dorian Wallender flickr

Photo credit: Dorian Wallendar via Flickr



Farmer Kanna always prays twice, once for cause and once to his foreign god Sambar. But now he’s refused to make the spring sacrifice to Nynalla. It is one cut too many. Everyone grumbles, but he only protests louder. I shield my babes’ ears from his blasphemy.

The clouds roll across the plain, piling up like fresh-shorn wool in a god’s barn: dark below, shining white with anger on top. We rush to close up, but it’s too fast. The clouds surround us, sizzling, suffocating all earthly sound. I stare upwards, frozen.  The sky cracks and pours out its deluge, drenching me instantly. Freed, I push against the winds to get the last sheep into the pen.

Huddled inside, the screaming storm batters us. Rain crashes sideways against the walls, seeping in. Lightning burns my vision. Thunder booms so loud, I cry.

It lasts only an hour, but it washes away the seed we had sown, drowns the fields.

We find Kanna in a ditch, still clutching his lamb, both of them burned black.

His wife trembles, her reddened eyes pleading. “I begged him!”

We do not blame her.  She is one of us, strong and true. She can stay.



Word count: 200. Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction.  It’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve been able to participate in this challenge, as I’ve been crazy busy with work.  It’s great to be back!  Big thanks to Susan for hosting the challenge, and to Terri Smeigh for providing the original photo prompt (below).  Click on the link to read the other stories written for this prompt, or to add your own!

For those of you keeping track of Eneana deities, Nynalla is another local name for Kakika, the first deity who discovered Eneana, who is associated with the strongest nature-related magic.  (Although Sambar is pretty good with a lightning storm himself.)

2019-05-19-terri-smeighs

Photo © Terri Smeigh



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21 thoughts on “Reaping Reprisal

      • Good for you on all those posts! I am in no danger of setting my own blog goals that high any time soon. Once a week is the best I can hope for with my current schedule. If I have more time than that, I’ll devote it to my “real” writing.

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    • Thanks for reading, and yes, he was definitely punished. Depending on what you count as “his” god — he would probably say Sambar was his god (the foreign sky god). When he refused to sacrifice to Nynalla (the local nature goddess), she was the one who brought the storm and struck him with lightning. I notice that Sambar didn’t try to save him, though!

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  1. I love the description of the storm and the way the great clouds roll in to suffocate all earthly sound. It seems that Kanna paid dearly for turning his back n the powerful Nynalla. A very well told story, Joy.

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    • Thank you! I was deliberately working on trying to make the storm magic seem magical and scary, so I’m gratified that it came across well. And yes, Kanna paid, but unfortunately so did the rest of the villagers, whose fields were also flooded. The gods can be indiscriminate in their wrath…

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      • Oh. it never pays to incur the wrath of the gods. Although that idea has been used many times in stories, there are innumerable ways of using the idea. I certainly enjoyed your version in this story, Joy. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it’s a common theme but a good one, I’d say. No sense having gods in your story if there isn’t a risk of angering them — with dire consequences. 🙂

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