Shame or Death in Kii Field
Kii Field felt harsh and exposed to Kyur. The grass drooped from the heavy afternoon rains. Even the grass knows the reality of this place, Kyur thought. For non-Gorians, Kii Field is a romantic lookout on top of Furenu Peak in the Fakat Hills. The exposed hill, not really a peak but the highest of these centralized hills and fresh air, attract Gwijeans from every prefecture to its spectacular panoramic city views. To these ‘outsiders’, the park was a welcome getaway from the stagnant air of the crowded streets and allies below. During rare sunny afternoons, the park is covered in a patchwork of multicolored picnic tarps and joyous screaming of kids enjoying the rare open space. In the evenings, silhouetted couples dot the outer edges in gentle embrace watching the sunset or the millions of flickering electric eyes of the city starring back at them. The park is kept treeless above a certain level to guarantee those special views. Picnic goers do not go up there for the shade, since open sun is a treat and not something to hide from under a tree. Furenu Peak is affectionately nicknamed “Uncle Fure” because it reminds people of a middle-aged man whose head is bald save for a bushy ring encircling the shiny top.
Kyur used to think Kii Field was what everyone else thought – beautiful and special. He remembered running around the gentle sloping edge, almost making it all the way around what seemed to his small body like the entire city. He never quite made it and usually collapsed on the soft grass, his stomach and chest heaving as he caught his breath. Kyur let a small smile lift up his cheeks ever so slightly, thinking of the look of his face after he awoke from those care-free collapses; impressions of the grass blades he used as a pillow covering one side. That happy memory quickly turned to the dark reality of the present. Those painless impressions made from those supple miniature swords turned into the ugly brutal scars he would have to endure, and hopefully live the rest of his life with, at Maasun this time tomorrow.
This place will become my own dkoei after tomorrow either figuratively or possible eternity, he thought looking at the couples starting to pick their private lots for the masking of the city from its daytime grey jagged face with the twinkling smooth blackness of night. No sunset today, Kyur thought as he looked out to the dimming metropolis.
Kyur walked down the southern slope to the first line of trees. He did not want to be exposed; it hurt his skin. “I could just run away.” He started talking to the first comforting tree he came to. “If I could make it up one of the mining roads to the top of the Cliffs, your brethren would protect me up there, right?” He looked up almost waiting for a response.
The tree was silent.
“I understand, Tall Guard.” He gave the wooden guard a name. Like most Gorians, Kyur anthropomorphizes nature and other inanimate objects. “You lost respect for me. I am a coward, I know.”
Tall Guard remained silent.
“Tomorrow’s ceremony may kill me. How can I not be afraid?” He voice was becoming panicked. “I am 23 years old this year. I will be a full member of my people. Is that worth my life? I live in this city, not only in Gorigori and these wretched hills. I can go anywhere and be anyone. He calmed down a bit and lowered his head in thought. “I wonder if I could become a Busim, they’re our cousins but with less deadly rites and much more modern in their ways. Their scaring rituals are more for appearance-sake than anything else.”
Tall Guard seemed to have sighed, forcing Kyur to look up to the giant and out of his dream of exile.
“I know Tall Guard,” he stared at the tree, knowing full well that the moisture-laden breeze announcing the coming of the evening’s New Fog was the cause of Tall Guard’s sigh. It did not stop Kyur from continuing his one-sided conversation. “I know I will always be Gori, doesn’t mean I can’t also be Busim or even Gesjingani. I could live underground. I hear their warren towns are quite comfortable. Neo-Metros are more welcoming to outsiders anyway.”
Kyur caressed his right cheek. My face will never be the same…if I live, he thought slumping down in front of Tall Guard, tears welling up under his eyes. His fathers’ faces suddenly appeared in his unstable mind. Those heavy rings. Those cheeks; no longer cheeks but grates with long slits. And their eyes; the whites tattooed with the most painful-looking designs. Kyur could not think of anyone he knew who died during their coming-of-age, but his family told the most agonizing stories. He scoffed, remembering how he relished those stories of death, bravery, and gore when he was younger; a lifetime away from his own ordeal. Then he wished he was a girl. Females tended to fare better during Maasun.
The New-Fog breeze started to pick up. Kyur swore he could hear Tall Guard and its fellow troops, he didn’t know why he militarized them, laughing at his ridiculous reasoning. “Stop laughing at me. You have no idea what its like to be Gorian – no idea!” He shouted forcing couples nearby to turn their heads towards the shouts in the darkening fringe. He noticed the turned heads and quickly stood up, looked up at his new stern friend. “Good-bye” Tall Guard, and thank you for your advice. He ran deeper into the trees until there was nothing but the falling darkness and the laughing troops.
Kyur never came back to talk to his stoic friend.