The Center (story by R.C. Peris)

In the center of the world was a kingdom. In the center of the kingdom was a forest. In the center of the forest was villages. In the center of the villages were little homes. In the center of the homes were pillars. In the center of the pillars was a seat. In the center of the seat was a spirit. In the center of the spirit was a changeable heart. In the center of the heart was murder. In the center of murder was love. In the center of love was fate. We prayed to fate.

Our home was two hundred years old. We worshiped the pillar in our home. The pillar supported our home and kept us safe. The spirit loved us.

Papa told us we were moving to a vast icy island called Kaira. Papa wanted to fish instead of farm. We packed our belongings and dismantled the precious pillar. I felt the pillar quiver in my hands as I helped Papa take it down.

“Perhaps we should leave it, Papa,” I said.

“No,” said he. “It’s protected our home for two hundred years. It will protect us in Kaira. Now be a good girl and lift.”

We boarded the boat and sailed for one month. I spotted snowy mountains and then the shore was in view. Papa and the sailors threw the pillar overboard. They tracked the pillar and when it floated on shore, near a cold mountain, Papa said that was where we would build our home.

We built our home with the pillar at the center. Papa began fishing. There were so many fish and soon we had money.

One winter there was a terrible blizzard and we huddled inside near the fireplace. We had our backs to the pillar. I thought I could hear the pillar whisper angrily. I told Mama the spirit in the pillar was unhappy and she laughed.

Soon we heard a horrible quaking. We rushed outside and an avalanche, rolling from the mountain, headed towards us. I ran. Papa and Mama died and the house was destroyed except for the laughing pillar.

On that day I left the old religion behind. I now have a home of my own. There is no pillar in it and I am not at the center of anything.

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