Again I have Alienora to thank for inspiration.
I am currently reading an anthology of short stories based on the steam-age Elemental Mages of Mercedes Lackey. In these stories are people who are mages of one (or occasionally more) of the Elements, Air, Water, Fire and Earth. Alienora’s post is about abuse and what the abused is made to believe by their abuser. This got me thinking about my past and more about what I could have done had I been given such mastery.
I grew up in a sheltered atmosphere. I didn’t have a lot of friends. Children my age did not engage me the way adults did. Children were mean and nasty, one moment smiling and friendly the next calling you bad names and kicking you. So once burned, twice shy. I had very few friends. I didn’t hear about families that fought. I didn’t know about men being mean to women or children or mothers beating their children.
Once a boy visiting from New York (I lived in a small town) talked to a group of kids I was with about being mean to an animal ( tying a firecracker to a cat’s tail and lighting it) and laughing about it, I felt the pain and fear the animal must have felt and wanted to tie a firecracker to the boy’s “tail” and let him experience what he did to the cat. Children are cruel. So I stayed away from them.
When I grew up I didn’t realize that the mean children could become mean adults. Naive, I know.
I married a man who was a different kind of abuser. He never struck me, never pinched me, never left a visible mark on me. He called me derogatory names, nothing like slut or whore, just little cruelties like grumble-gut. When he teased, it was malicious teasing meant to hurt. I took it for almost 13 years until he made a fatal (to our marriage) mistake. He made my child feel like, and admit to him, she was stupid (for eating a piece of lettuce from a salad with her fingers.)
At that point, if I’d had control over any of the four elements he would have suffered. I would have embarrassed him and degraded him. I would have stripped him of all his clothing and hung him up in Times Square and shone a spotlight on his shriveling manhood and carved upon his (shaved – he was hairier than a gorilla) chest his cruelties for all the world (especially his parents and siblings) to see. I would have drowned him in mixed feces and dirt and watched as he suffocated only to pull him up just before he succumbed and flood his lungs with sewer water then again, just before death, I would have thrown him into a lava pit and forced him to be conscious until the lava destroyed every last bit of his flesh and bones. And as a final insult to him, I would have brought his essence back and made it relieve every painful thing he’d ever done, thought, or experienced, including his deaths for all eternity.
Don’t make the mother Tiger mad. I accepted what he said to me as a valid opinion. I didn’t accept it when it came to my child. The abused must become the parent of themselves and not let anyone ever again take advantage of them. However, it’s easier said, or written, than done. Now I would not accept that abuse. But I do not have to. I know I am a valued person because I value myself.
And it probably was a good thing that I didn’t have any powers over the elements.
But it might have been entertaining, maybe even cathartic.