Saturday, February 5, 2011

For Trees Have No tongues - (Muse2) (Part 1 of 2)

If trees could scream we'd hear them still. Reluctant titans felled. Falling leviathans in baritone as they split and break in arboreal requiem. Stout roots exposed and hardwood mutilated by band saws as river oaks are cleared to make way for tent cities, dirt mounds and tailings. How they endure the slaughter in the name of greed and hopeful profit.

Only days into their flight and black trackers have picked up the scent. Quarter offered by friends to Crossan's daughter and her convict lover is no use. The disdain for the aborigine suspended when his skills are needed, he makes an expert tracker and they are discovered. Six Troopers, mounted and armed are in pursuit of the escaped convict. Surrounded, George does not resist. No point at the end of a bayonet. He’s tied and dragged behind while Maeve is offered pillion with one of the officers. Reluctantly she accepts but keeps her hands behind her back, afraid of giving the wrong message to the young man in the saddle.

George is shipped to Cockatoo Island once again and the homeless Maeve referred to the Parramatta Female Factory. She's surprised that the incarceration of her lover doesn't hurt more than it does. A fling? Perhaps but he was never a good candidate for a long term romance, although she feels pangs of guilt at leading him astray. "Nothing will happen, nobody will know" reverberates in her head and she laments the words spoken that fateful night.

Normally the province of female convicts, waifs and strays find themselves within the stout walls of the Female Factory. Destitute and in need of a position, or a husband or even as concubine, the women wait. She is alone among hundreds, penniless. For she cannot go home to a father filled with fury no matter how gentle her mother's touch.

Eligible for marriage, but unwilling to be placed, Maeve works amid the looms and dreams of better times.  More like a prison than a refuge, punishment is harsh, food is scarce and the Matron runs a tight ship while her philandering husband has his way with loose women. She steers clear of the brute.

It is here that Maeve is told of her father's committal and that he'd died a broken man within a padded cell and of her mother's murder.  The farm now belongs to her. Much as she loves the grove, she is not a farmer's daughter nor a farmer's wife but the legacy provides her with the income to forge a wandering path. She keeps the orchard and it's orange groves, safe in the hands of caretakers and is now free to sate her travel lust. The lure of gold gives her wings.

Written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory - River of Mnemosyne Challenge

Continued at:
Reluctant Titans Part 2