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PURITY 2  
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PURITY

River became a zealot of the goody two shoes kind. She stood on the corner giving out pure water, a liquid to flush the badness from anybody passing. Those that refused to drink she drowned in the belief they must be rotten anyway.

A little girl approached. ‘You are a bad river, you drowned my mother.’

In her certainty River gripped the girl. ‘You must drink my water or you will die too.’

The girl stared at River with hatred. ‘I don’t need to drink your rubbish water, I am already as pure as pure can be. If there is a sinner on this corner it is you. I dare you to take your own medicine, drink your own water.’

River considered then she picked up a bottle of the pure water and drank.

‘Drink it all,’ said the girl, ‘drink the last drop.’

River felt a wave of purity rush through her, clearing out the hidden places, the scum, the dross, the dregs, the rotenness, the deceit, the deception, the treachery, the hypocrisy. It shook her through and she trembled, she felt very, very ill and did a violent vomit. Out came all the people she had drowned.

‘Mummy!’ the girl shouted to a women lying there. Mummy was not moving, neither were the others, they had all passed from here to another place.

River paled looking at all the people she had killed while in the grip of her passion.

The little girl in grief screeched at River. ‘Are you happy? Look at all these people you have killed, you are evil you are the one that should be dead.’

‘To be fair you do have a point.’ River acknowledged and went off to commit suicide.

She got a gun shut her eyes and fired. The bullet just parted the water and came out the other side. She strung a nose from a tree but River poured right through it. Poison she diluted. Fire she doused. Knives just tickled. Jumping from high places made a waterfall

River returned to the town and searched for the girl, she found her in an orphanage. ‘I have tried to die but I just cannot do it.’ The girl who’s name was Bane spat at River. ‘Not so pure now are you? As well as being evil you are also very stupid. Go to the hottest place in the land, the desert, the burning sun will bake you dry.’

River journeyed to the desert and found the hottest place. The Sun bore down, pummelling her, steam rose up and formed a cloud. Very soon there was no water left. But with the cooling of the night the cloud rained down and River lived again. Each day River died, evaporating to form a cloud. Each night the cloud rained down and River was born again. Day after day, night after night, River died then was reborn, River suffered a thousand deaths.

Her changing states continued, but one night River noticed something, she saw that tiny plants were beginning to grow at the edges of her body. When River was a cloud she tried to shield these plants from the worst of the Sun.

One day a young women ventured into the desert, it was Bane. She pitched a tent and watched River for many days. She saw her die, she saw her be reborn.

‘Hello River, its me, the one without a mother because you killed her. I came to see your grave but this is even better, you die, then you are born again, day after day. I hope it hurts, I hope you are in agony, your agony is ecstasy for me.’

Bane walked round River. ‘I see little plants growing at your edges, are they your friends?’

River coughed up a reply. ‘They are my only comfort, I regard them as my children.’

‘Thats nice.’ Bane tore up the plants and threw them out to shrivel in the heat of the Sun. She looked around. ‘Nice spot you have here, very drear and ghastly but no hustle bustle that must be a plus. So how’s the purity business nowadays? All the accuser, judge and jury rolled into one. Must be lovely never having to think, your certainty trumping any other opinion.’

River was steaming up to be a cloud. ‘Being certain is like an elixir it gives you such a high but then when you’re not you drop to being less than a piece of cockroach shit, all the colours go and self denigration kicks in.’

Bane paddled through the disappearing River. ‘Do you know that without my mother it was you who shaped the way I grew.’ Bane does a twirl. ‘What do you think, are you proud of me or do I disappoint? Would you like me better if I’d become a mass killer, wrecking children’s lives like you?’

Days, years pass, River steamed up then rained down, Bane destroyed any sign of life that might appear.

‘Bane why do you stay, you’re just wasting your life?’

‘No you wasted my life when you killed my mother. There can be no other pleasure for me in this life than to see you suffer. You killed those people and my mother because of some kind of perverted belief you believed you were better than them, you were the one who saw the true path. Well I curse you River for a thousand times a thousand years, what ever shape you may take I want you to remember the killing of those people and may you walk in constant agony. Don’t say it, I know I curse myself with the act of cursing you, well I will bare that so long as I know you’re in pain.’ Bane sat down and ate some beetles.

‘I hear what you say but it will not be enough, no punishment can bring those people back to life. There is no peace for me, I bear a killer’s stain nothing can wipe that way. But I urge you to make something more of your life, I will suffer whether you are here or not.’

More time passed. Bane became old and died, in some strange way River missed her company. There were no seeds left to grow, River had no more children. As the years rolled by River noticed she was shrinking, less rain fell, until the day she was little more than a puddle. The steam rose up but there was not enough to form a cloud, the winds scattered the water vapour and River was no more. Its being smiled, then faded too.