• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 05
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Temple Prowl

My grandmother was a gentleman tiger, I am told. She shook hands before pawing someone’s face off.

This village, between river and lake, is full of stories. There are trees mushrooming around the periphery and a black stone temple slapped smack in the middle of the square with a goddess glaring back in anger. My grandmother lived behind this temple.

Her house now is full of lizards, some of whom my father calls cousins.

‘Red tiled roofs and empty walls attract pests.’ This by an old man with black eyes, each with a grey ring around the cornea.

‘How did my grandmother look?’

‘Tall, fair skinned.’ He lapses in thought.

‘Grey eyes?’

‘I don’t remember.’ He looks down at the stained chiseled temple floor.

‘Proud,’ he says as I leave, ‘and fierce.’

‘She used to stalk the fields at noon.’ I am told. ‘Listened to no man who tried telling her how to plough the fields.’

‘Forward.’ I am told, meaningfully.

‘If your grandmother had heard that, she would have bitten their heads off.’ An old woman, back bent, eyes to the ground eternally. ‘She was kind. Kind but feisty.’


Temple Prowl

My father rarely visits this village anymore, afraid to mix myth with memory. I have no such fear, I never knew Her.

On the way back I bump into the old man again. He strokes the tufts of hair sprouting from his ears. ‘Tawny, he says. Like yours.’

‘I was told they were grey.’

‘She was part divine, you know.’

‘That sounds like a legend,’ I tell him.

‘You have descended from legend,’ he tells me.

Back home, in the city. I carefully pull the safe open, take off the gloves and start filing my claws.