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An Apparition @ WEP Entry # Antique Vase

My days start with pots and pans. As they roll further, I push 'l' after 'p' and cook stories. :)
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“If you dare break the glass around me, dare peep inside …… beyond the pride, which you call luster ..…. beyond two and half a millennium - stashed, trapped, within my pores … born of clay, burnt of fire, touched by a few twigs ..… I’m all Memory …... of decays of my long-gone siblings and clan .....”
Through this outburst she confided for the first time. In a summer afternoon. I was sitting before her, appreciating red and black figurines on her lustrous black surface. At Northern Hall in this Villa de Papyri replica. Off duty.
If lucky, my post on duty used to be her. Else, I used to spend awhile with her after my shift. That “awhile” used to range from half an hour to hours, depending on my other jobs and family engagements, since my first visit here, half a decade ago, to reconnect to my Mediterranean roots.
Since that summer afternoon she used to sprinkle at me bits and pieces of her ancestry. Her passage from a Mediterranean island to this Pacific coast in New World.
That summer I spent several afternoons with her. My son was camping North. His mother was doing afternoon shifts at one job and evening on the other. I had only day and evening shifts in all my jobs.
I started here anew doing odd jobs since I had fled a military coup d'état, more than a decade ago. One of my jobs was at a Gas Station on Sunset Boulevard.
Mr. Benenio Klavan, my rescuer, used to be a regular customer there. He visited Turkey several times on journalistic assignments. He used to talk about home a lot. Once he suggested, “Why don’t you visit Getty Villa on PCH, Rafiq? You might feel at home. The ancient odor of life that you miss here, you may feel that there.”
Therefore, there occurred my first visit to this repository of ancient Mediterranean life. I still have my first five-dollar parking stub.
Soon after, I sought employment with them. Because of my Mediterranean memory they hired me.
Then came repatriation. Intellectual property laws were making the vase to return to Athens, Greece.
I got my ultimate opportunity to hold her in my arms. She sighed, “This’ so much wrong...”
I had no time to sooth her. Instead, I started wrapping her with bubble wraps. Then I peeped inside to fill it with paper shreds and met Eutropios, the potter.

In soft light of early morning, Eutropios was offering a prayer to Athena. Euaristos, his son, joined him. After that the father started wheeling vases. The son was drawing and curving on the surface of already dried pots, applying slip on them.
Eutropios left the wheel to knead some fresh clay out of natural pool. Euaristos took his turn on the wheel to scrub off excess mud from previous day’s sundried pots and vases.
Methodios, Eutropios’ apprentice, had just arrived. He brought some natural clay and was pacing towards the natural pool to sink it for getting rid of its impurities.
Suddenly, Methodios threw off the clay; rushed to the kiln, took out the firewood splinters from hearth, splashed water on it. Immediately the kiln was full of fume instead of flame. There were pots and vases inside for first baking. With sudden drop in temperature they all became crudely baked. Euaristos murmured, sticking his eyes on the wheel, “What’s wrong with you?”
Methodios spat his answer, “Wrong you are and your father. All you worship is Athena and Hestia. You must obey Circe. She sent me, Omodamos, to convey her wishes.”
Eutropios listened and asked Methodios, “Take the day off.”

Yet, Methodios stood stubborn by the kiln. Eutropios ignored him, prayed to Hestia, adjusted the flame in kiln and placed next batch of potteries for burning.
Methodios shrieked, “You didn’t pay heed!”

Then, he brought a log from the riverbank, rammed the kiln with it. Fumes started pouring out through cracks of the shattered kiln. Methodios grumbled, “Lesson from Syntribos.”
Leaving all work in hand, father and son started mending the kiln. They were too busy to mind Methodios.
Worshiping Hestia, again, Eutropios ignited the kiln. Euaristos put another batch of potteries in it.

Methodios charred the kiln wholly by airing it too fast and chuckled, “A spank from Asbestos.”
Euaristos ran to the pool, brought pales of water, drenched the kiln to cool it down.
Then, Eutropios asked for Hestia’s forgiveness. Methodios responded by hammering the whole kiln muttering, “Wrath of Smaragos!”
Sun was down. Eutropios called it a day.
Following morning, praying before Athena, as usual, he started working. Methodios pulverized the kiln, shouting, “Sabaktes’ ultimatum.”
Then he ran away.
Eutropios had to, hence, started rebuilding the kiln. Euaristos helped his father by mining fresh mud, carrying it to the workshop, sifting pebbles from finer clay, kneading lumps and delivering them to the building spot.
Once the kiln was ready to use, Circe appeared before Eutropios. She demanded, “Obey me.”

Eutropios denied. Circe turned Euaristos into a mouse.
Heartbroken, Eutropios brought the mouse home. At night, he dreamed that Athena had sent Hermes. Hermes whispered warnings about Circe into his ears and gave him an armlet of moly to ward of Circe’s magic.
Following morning, Circe appeared at Eutropios’ workshop. Before She could make a move, he grabbed her, dragged her to the kiln, tied her up on the hearth, as if he was going to set her afire.
Scared, Circe murmured, “Untie me. I’ll render such carnal pleasure that no nymph could ever render.”
Eutropios remembered all words of Hermes; hence, ignored Circe’s alluring advances. Instead, he made Circe swear in names of Gods, “I won’t further meddle with your affairs.”
Before leaving She brought Euaristos back to his human form.
Worshiping Athena and Hestia, Eutropios and Euaristos resumed turning wheel and burning pots.
I finished packing and sent off the vase towards its land of origin, among its pugnacious ancestors.
Also available at Google Books
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Thank You Denise for guiding me through the details about participating in WEP Flash Fiction Challenges.
WORD COUNT: 993
FCA – FULL CRITIQUE ACCEPTABLE
It will be great if you weigh every word exploited here and give your honest opinion blatantly.

Comments

  1. Hi Karuna - lots of history here ... and obviously the vase going home is so important. Great take on the feelings of the employee enjoying, appreciating, caring and loving the artefact - understanding its journey through life - well done and good to see you at WEP - all the best Hilary

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    1. Thank you Hilary for your valuable comment. It is my first at WEP. Surely, I am looking forward to be regular. Regards, Sanhita.

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    2. Thanks Sanhita - I realise I'd got your name wrong ... but couldn't find my way back in to correct via a comment - so glad I now can. Apologies!! Unintentional! That's great you'll be around for future WEPs ... they're fun ... all the best - Hilary

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    3. It is not your fault, Hilary. I need to edit the blog name, description, about. It is an old account since Google Plus days. Google plus being gone, gone are my profile descriptions and name. I did not notice until I participated in WEP. The issues with comments, too were due to hasty changes I made in settings. I am sorry. Yes, I am looking forward to more posts with WEP. See you there.

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  2. Cool story! There's a lot going on that made me curious--the main character's history, whether the vase really talks to him or if he's a little mad...

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    1. This is personification of the vase. The mediterranean route of Rafiq makes him identify with the vase. Both are uprooted from their terrain of origin. Both have seen violence. Millenia apart, in terrain of their origin. The difference between the two is that law makes the vase return to its terrain of origin, which in Rafiq's memory is a place of illogical violence and he sympathises with unpredictable and, hence, probably, dangerous fate of the vase, and Rafiq is still at peace in exile.
      It is fun to answer you. Thank you Rebecca for your comment.
      Regards, Sanhita.

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  3. Sanhita, lovely to see you writing for WEP. I hope you enjoy the experience and we see a lot more of you.
    You have a unique take on the ANTIQUE VASE prompt. Very interesting. Love the geography and history and mythology. So the vase returns home, a traveler, returning to its roots.

    Thank you for your participation in WEP. I hope you meet many new friends.

    Denise

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    1. I'm short of word to express my gratitude, Denise. You made my post to WEP possible. You have guided me all along over past weeks. Your responses kept me focused. I am grateful.
      Sanhita.

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    2. You are truly welcome Sanhita. Within you lies a mind which will spread wisdom. I will return to read your entry again and again as there's so much contained within it.

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    3. Overwhelmed by your reply Denise. I am not protesting but reflecting that mind and wisdom is all yours, and of readers. The purpose of flash fiction is to say too little and from that little something each reader builds their own stories. If you're feeling to come back to this post and read the entry again and again, then it's your curiosity and creativity. Thanks you.

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  4. I found this truly fascinating - but attracting the attention of the gods is never safe.
    The geography, and the history merely add to it. I find myself hoping that both the vase and Rafiq find peace.

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    1. Thank you ELephant's Child. Mythology has depicted God's to be whimsical and pugnacious to extract reverence - power and popularity struggle among Gods. Thus, Gods' story seems humane. :) I have tried to make make the resemblance conspicuous. :)

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  5. Only when i finished i looked up and came out of the vase and was back to my roots. Gripping.

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    1. Thank you Kaku again. For making time to post your comment. This is precious. Regards, Sanhita.

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  6. A vase that incites or was created in anger, 'pugnacious ancestors,' is sent back to its land of origin. Hopefully to be appreciated for another millennia. Thank you, Sanhita for fixing the comment problem. And welcome to the WEP!

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    1. Thank you Yolanda. The vase was probably created out of necessity and creative urges. It was somehow saved from whims of pugnacious ancestors. :)
      I used to moderate all comments to avoid spams. I changed the setting and tried to add a verification instead. That put the page code on an infinite loop.... But saved for now, somehow.

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  7. The man's memory intertwines with the vase's memory - what a fascinating take on the theme. And steeped in mythology too. A captivating tale.

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    1. Thank you, Olga. Humans, History, Geography, Mythology fascinated me. The spell cast by them has been somehow transmitted to the story. :)

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  8. An intriguing entry. The mix of past and present is interesting. Glad you've joined in the WEP!

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  9. Cool take on the prompt and a clever delivery. I like the mix of memory from the man and the vase and the connection to past and present. Mythology is always a plus.
    Glad you've join us for your first WEP entry and hope to see more of your entries down the road.

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    1. Thank you Toi. Me, too, looking forward to keep posting at WEP.

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  10. This is a clever story. I loved getting a glimpse of the vase's past before it makes the return journey home. I also loved the voice of your piece. Your storytelling is wonderful. Well done!

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  11. Hi,
    Welcome to the WEP. Your beginning paragraphs about the Vase and its Mediterranean background brought me into your story. What I especially liked was how you characterize the man who was taking care of it. I would have loved to hear more about this man's love for the vase.
    You have packed a lot in the story. Good job.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

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    1. Thank You, Pat. I have tried to connect dots across spaces, times, people and creations. I grateful for you've reflected your views on the final product. Shalom.

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  12. Welcome to the WEP! I loved how you personified the vase and made the connections with the vase's history and mythology to Rafiq's life. Very clever.

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    1. Thank you Anstice. I tried to tell a story of survival, its obstacles, migration and repatriation so that our ancient history and our present can be compared with some parity. Mythology is reference point to pugnacious ancestors and Rafiq's situation is reflection of our aggressions. I am overwhelmed that you liked my story.

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  13. Methodios sounds like a troublesome employee and poor Eutropios seems to have had more than his share of bad luck. I enjoyed the description of the spellbinding vase.

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    1. Thank you The Ornery Old Lady. Your feedback suggests quite opposite of your name ! ha ha ha ha. Thank you.

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  14. Fascinating take on the prompt. Loved bringing in the ancient goddesses and gods.

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  15. Taking inspiration from past and present alike, to create an imaginative and detailed story. Well done.

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    1. Thank you Christopher for the feedback. The fun with flash fiction is that the writer writes as little as possible and readers read as much as possible. Thanks again.

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  16. Too many ancient creations have been taken and not returned, Sanhita - and people uprooted too. This is a powerful piece and a reminder of those who crafted the antique vases - too often gathering dust in museums. And of a time when the gods were so real to people, they lived. Your writing is so evocative - touching both times, the vase linking them. A touch of Ovid's Metamorphoses in there too. Last line could be spaced - if it's modern. Otherwise, many thanks for your rich words.

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    1. Thank you very much, Roland. Your critique made me thought of the last line. Surely, it could have been spaced. Could have been an alarm or doting from supervisor for Rafiq so that he can detach himself and the story from the past. I would like to add that in other versions of the story. Ovid's Metamorphoses is huge, Goliath. This is just a flash fiction. Your mention has made me obliged.

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  17. Thank you Sanhita for this journey into the lore and legends of a vase in the making. Take care.

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  18. This is an interesting take on the prompt. I love how man and object, both displaced, intertwine with history and mythology.

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  19. I like your take on the prompt. Good story. Cheers.

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  20. Enjoyed reading the flash. Like the intertwining of mythology and history too. Look forward to more of your entries in future.

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    1. Thank you Nilanjana for the response. Surely, I'll bore you bimonthly with my entries. :)
      Hope, you have found strength and overcome your difficulties. Wish you all the best.

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  21. This was a many layered story that required a careful reading to ensure one caught all that you were saying. Very unsual. Welcome to WEP. I hope to read more of your stories.

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    1. Thanks Kalpana. Thanks also for speaking of the layers. It is really rewarding when readers get to the core of the craft. Overwhelmed.
      Promise, I'll annoy you with my stories. :)

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