A Necessary Blessing

Sha's Blessing
Trinidad receives The Blessing from Sha

Have you ever been lost? It seems that whenever I’m on vacation like I am now, it is inevitable that at least once I’ll get confused, turned around, or downright lost. When that happens, panic sets in. My heart races. I search the landscape for something familiar. I go into survival mode and try to breathe normally. First, check my phone–isn’t charged. Read signs that say foreign places like Lahontan or Timilack or Truckee. Scope the road as eighteen-wheelers whiz by. When I realize my gas tank is close to empty, I have no choice but to go forward and hope I reach a city, while I chide myself for not updating my backup Garmin.

This is the same feeling Trinidad has when she arrives on shore. She’s lost and alone, but she has no time to feel sorry for herself. She’s about to undergo a dramatic transformation. After floating three days at sea, she’s washed ashore in a carapace similar to that of a tortoise. Like the metamorphosis of a butterfly, she emerges from the carapace which has softened into the consistency of a jellyfish. As soon as arms and legs tear through, the membrane shrink-wraps to her torso–fuses to her skin–to become an impervious armor, a indestructible second skin.

The transformation of Trinidad’s shell isn’t the only change that occurs. She receives The Blessing from her deity, Sha:

An 8,000-year-old flute trilled while sand swirled my body to gloss hair and polish skin to a pearly sheen. Light entered my lifecollar—fifty coin-sized images with a serpent consuming its tail imprinted on my chest—and glowed golden. Instantly, bones strengthened, muscles firmed, skin smoothed. After the wind died, my lifecollar dulled to gilded shadows of bioglyphs adorning my chest like an Egyptian collar. I plumped hair, resplendent and auburn red, and inspected my newly buffed body—eighteen again—but flinched the moment hands met my head wound. The Blessing cleansed but couldn’t heal, my veins still scarlet, and on the back of my hand, my powerglyph—a cartouche of an eye, mouth, and lion—had reddened.

I need Days—now.

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