By Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh - http://stephaniecavanaugh.com
Misbah wanted nothing more than her bed of straw and some rest. Abdel, the veterinary doctor, who had tended to her every ailment since her capture and captivity, was just finishing up with her in the medical tent. She didn’t like being in the medical tent. It always smelled of sweaty flesh and rubbing alcohol, and something else- mysterious. But it was clean, cool, and it gave her a momentary pause from the misery of her forced labor. “Now you take care Misbah, and mind the Master,” Abdel said, as he bandaged up her scraped knee from the fall. “No more fainting, particularly if it ruins the opening act! You’re the prized elephant!”
Suddenly, the Master entered the tent. His face was red and twisted up in anger, a vein protruding from his forehead. He motioned for Abdel to leave the room. As Abdel reached the tent’s opening, he turned and gazed back at Misbah; his features sad with a look of pity in his eyes. Then he left. The Master stormed over to Misbah, spitting as he screamed. “You damned elephant, you cost me the opening act! All that lost money!” His outrage continued, “If you think you can make such a fuss in my circus, you’ve got another thing coming! You’ll learn your lesson, I’ll see to that!”
Misbah felt a sting in her left-side rear, just below her hip. It was followed by a burning sensation that seemed to race through her veins. “This, you damned elephant,” he exclaimed, “is a poison that will send you to your grave in a day’s time! Only I have the antidote.” “I’ll not have you ruin another show again!” “You have a choice Misbah, either you haul your big ass out there and finish the show or you die!” “I own you!” he commanded. Then, the Master stormed out as ferociously as he’d come in.
Misbah was in shock. She lay there, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Oh how she missed her mother and India. Those were happy times, full of love and playful days under the trees with her siblings. She could almost hear the rustle of the leaves and feel the breeze on her face. For only a moment, she felt peace again, lost in her memories. But the darkness crept quickly back in, and she remembered the look in her mother’s eyes when they were ambushed, the sheer terror of surprise and the sadness of defeat. Misbah locked eyes with her mother as they bound Misbah’s feet. She was still a child and it didn’t take much for them to restrain her. Her mother charged at them, ready for battle. Misbah heard a loud “BANG!” and watched, unable to move, as her mother fell to the ground. She gave Misbah one last look, as if to say “I love you and I’m so sorry” with her eyes, though she made no sound.
Misbah’s wandering mind returned to the situation at hand. “How could the Master be so cruel?” she thought. She knew now she would not see the comfort of her straw bed for a long time. She stood, and walked out of the tent towards the stage. “The show stops for no one!” she heard the Master saying, in her mind.
About the Author:
Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh - Hi, I'm Stephanie ... pleasure to become virtually acquainted. Please note the views and opinions communicated here are my own and not representative of any particular group or organization.
Interests, ever-evolving: Photography, painting, art, science, medicine, astronomy, yoga, travel, the world, culture, language, education, women's rights, human rights, making the world a kinder, more beautiful place.