Shelter Number Twelve

We walked together. We travelled back and forth in time. Two madwomen just like each other. We laughed like little kids. We wore each other’s clothes. We exchanged our sandals. We cooked and visited each other’s dreams. We were chips drowned in jelly, we were the sound of turning pages and floating words, we were the crushed ice and colours, we were the salt on slugs, we were crooning bugs in the dark. We discovered a prehistoric cave full of rock shelters. The rock shelter number five had paintings in red ochre. It was vivid. Battle scenes, sticky figures, leaf-like sword and ribs, a hunter, a bull with bow and arrow, a dancing peacock, soldiers riding on horseback. The animals were sketched with greater details while human figures pinched merely in outlines.

In shelter number twelve, We discovered in the dark a three-metre-long bull ready to attack. We froze. You told me about the person who would have chiselled the rock, the bull, while others might have gone hunting or tied with babies, collected mushrooms, hauled meat back to camp. Your voice reverberated within the rocks and silence, and I couldn’t see your half face in the dark. You were slowly vanishing. You were saying something like “ We are yet to discover ourselves. We needed to come out of these daily hums, listen to ourselves, and sit like that person chiselling.” You stopped speaking and suddenly moved back. I tried to touch you but you disappeared, I started to look for you, and couldn’t find you.

OMI ANISH is a writer based in Ahmedabad, India. She is a reader at The Maine Review and an ELT trainer. A lover of all things surreal and abstract, Omi is increasingly drawn to the art of brevity while writing and intricate patterns while crocheting.