Ray’s Rambling: Ugly


Ray’s Rambling

He entered the room as he always did.

Turning, he walked through the entrance sideways; facing the blank east wall, he kept his back to the west.  He hated it on those days when, distracted, he walked in facing forward; for out of the corner of his right eye he would catch a glimpse of what sat in the middle of the western wall.

After a day outside, working in the communal fields, he did not need that dreadful sight to compound his misery.

For twelve hours, from Cock’s Crow until the sound of the evening horn, he had to endure the averted eyes; the sudden downward swoop of heads as he approached.  The most hurtful, though, were those whose gaze he caught before they could look away.  The looks of fear and revulsion, especially from the females who brought water to the males as they labored among the plants especially pained him.  From some, the looks were of pity.  But always, the fear.  It was as if his appearance was somehow contagious.

The females who were big with child avoided him; avoided even the sector of the fields in which he worked.  Perhaps they thought gazing upon him would curse their unborn young.

He was not unaware that no one else drank from the gourds from which he drank.  No one seemed to dare risk touching their lips to anything that had been pressed against his.

Even his dam, she who had carried him to term, did not kiss his forehead when she tucked the furs around his chin at night as she did for his four siblings.  The four of them, all male, and all younger, got affectionate kisses and pats when they were tucked in for the night.  He didn’t get so much as a good night.  His dam never looked him in the eye, although on occasion he would catch her sneaking glances in his direction when she thought he wasn’t aware, always a look of deep sadness in her eyes.

He didn’t blame her.  He knew how loathsome he looked, and that she must somehow blame herself for his appearance; that somehow she had displeased the gods who then reached into her womb and laid a curse upon her firstborn.  When he was very young, it had not made much difference.  He didn’t know that her keeping him inside was not the normal practice.  It was only after the birth of his next two brothers that he realized that he was different.  When they were old enough to walk and talk, they began to taunt and laugh at him.  That was when he stopped looking at the west wall whenever he passed through the entrance chamber.

The crystal slab that hung in the center of the wall; a crystal mirror made from rock hewn from the mountain to the west of the village; told it all.  He was a monster.  His deformity was beyond imagining, but the mirror reflected it dispassionately.

His slender, pale as goat’s milk limbs; the oval head with the limp, wheat-colored hair that hung down over a straight, smooth brow; hazel eyes set wide apart in the hairless face; and the long, straight nose with a slight flare of nostrils.

He was monstrous and he knew it.  That’s why he avoided looking at his image in the mirror.  That was why he hated it when people looked at him with fear and loathing in their eyes.

He knew, though, that he would not visit his curse upon another; the village would not have another young one whose dam had to keep it inside so others could not see.  When he was gone, there would never be another like him.  He knew that because he was so ugly, no self-respecting troll female would ever mate with him.