The Green Sea | A flash fiction story
The shaman approached the young woman. She was kneeling on the humid vegetation, sobbing, her face down.
"You can't simply come in here and expect to be accepted," he said, his face a pile of wrinkles. "I'm impressed you even got this far." A large piece of purple cloth covered the top of his head and fell down the sides of his face, loosely wrapped around his neck.
She raised her head. The entire world was composed of shades of green, except for the people. They had serious eyes, all pointing at her from the ground and the bushes and the boughs of the giant trees.
"Please," she said.
He crouched in front of her with a piercing look. "Why?" he asked. "Don't you enjoy the pleasures of the city? All the freedom that money can buy? Everything! Why come here?"
"I'm pregnant," she said.
For a second their eyes connected and his face changed. The eyes around them, until then protective and hostile, now showed a hint of compassion.
The shaman got to his feet.
"You have five days to show us how you can make yourself useful. If accepted, you will lose all your belongings. No money. No hi-tech devices. You're allowed to keep shoes, garments, and weapons if we judge we can use them. Above all, you won't keep anything that bears the forbidden name."
She rubbed the tears away, trying to contain a smile. "What name?" she asked.
He answered with a chilling whisper. "Atlanta."