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The Whip’s Return
prose [ ]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
by [Die Nacht ]

2013-11-17  |     | 



Imagine the thrill of the hunt, the speed of anthropoid limbs rushing for their life, the
breath accelerating, the heart on the verge of imploding. Running for one’s life brings one‘s
senses to the highest pitch, all orchestrated by the desire to live, to run, to live and escape.
The forest is shaken out of its usual stillness; birds stop singing and the sounds of leaves and
branches cracking under one’s feet echo like sudden thunder.
There is blood in the hunter’s vulturesque eyes, there is hunger for possession. There is blood
in the prey’s eyes, as her own being is thinned out to her wish to survive, that is her ultimate
shelter, nothing beyond it.
The forest wails under this intrusion, its colors swallowed by the forcible red of the delirious
hunt, each step bruising its surface. Trees race along at unimaginable speed, and out of this
vertigo, in self-preservation, the forest fights back, branches spring up violently impeding the
gallop and thickening around the two humans in a mortal embrace. Boughs strike the runners’
faces, hair entangled and broken, scratches on trembling flesh. Yet the murderous hunt
undiminished unfolds in its hallucinating rhythm. The girl screams on the inside, her voice
censored by fear. Blood-thirsty distance between them, he reaches closer and closer as the
forest watches in silent rage, unintervening. The White Man’s fury is summoned from
hundred of years back chasing after and away an Indigenous girl.
His hands reach to his waist in search of his weapon. He grows taller and taller as the hand
fastens the handle. The knowing hand performs the same elegant swing as countless times
before. The long, sleek whip unwinds in its masterful plunge attack, announcing its conquest.
It stretches as a serpent that never misses its prey cutting the air out of its unrestrained
expectancy. The human knows when to strike, always at the silent command of the whip,
their symbiosis unequal in power.
The whip is chasing the girl with murderous desire, the thrill of its imminent display of power
on the verge of exploding.
The man’s first whip lash bites into the victim’s clothing, into her flesh and into her soul.
The wild scream released barely seems human, he thinks, summoned from demonic depths,
piercing the thick morning air and shaking the forest out of its usual neutrality.
The girl’s body quivers for a second, the whip blade sends throbbing streams down her back,
neck and onto her left shoulder. She loses her balance at that very same moment, slides
abruptly against a tree and deeply inhales.
******
The night before this, the whip felt the smell and movement of rebellion made flesh, its
ability to sense weakness and revolt from afar was already inbuilt in its wooden handle, while its leather thong, its sensual side, rejoiced in the pain it inflicted, in its undulant movement, ultimately, in its relation to flesh, any flesh.
******
The building that sheltered the whip, Stringent Hall, had been completed in 1959 in Inuvik,
which is situated 100 km upriver from the Arctic Ocean in the Canadian Northwest
Territories, just north of the Arctic Circle. In Inuvialuktun, one of the languages of the
Inuvialuit people, Inuvik means “place of man.” However, the school itself, established by
the Anglican Church was meant for children. Not for any children, but for the children of
Inuvialuit (Eskimo) and the Gwich’in (Dene Indian) Native peoples that had been on the land
long before the Europeans came. The mission of Stringent Hall Residential School was to
educate Indigenous people by robbing them of their culture, language in order to make them
reliable, independent Canadian citizens. This process involved taking children out of their
homes and families into the residential schools where children were taught English and the
European set of values.
******
In the huge dark building of Stingent Hall, the whip could still feel her shaking, sobbing in
the cold room two floors below. Her dark flesh burning, as its whip marks weep in their own
mourning voices, a funeral chorus of innocence lost. Along the whip’s leather thong there
were still shivers of joy, its extremity, the popper, consumed by the previous orgasmic touch
of young, writhing skin. There is rebellion, there, two floors below, the girl conspires to leave,
and escape from the school, from the prison, back into her land, to her home, to her parents.
She would walk to them until her feet would start bleeding, until she had feet no more. The
whip knew all this, felt it, it felt her ghost-like pacing through the school’s hallway, back into
the kitchen, where the window bars were slightly wider than the other ones, wide enough the
let her wounded body swing through. The whip felt her falling, and then inhaling the night
absorbing the night in her being, becoming one with it, melting into it, escaping.
The whip was losing its power over her. Out of the man’s kingdom of solid, unmerciful
concrete with its dark hallways, hospital beds and barred windows, she was coming back to
life, drawing power from the earth itself, from the land that her people have been inhabiting
from times immemorial. The whip knew that it would eventually follow her; at the crack of
dawn it would meet her flesh again.
******
Hours before the girl’s escape, the evening had ominously announced the whip’s ritual and
more. For the man and his whip rebellion was to be corrected, flesh was to be taught.
Absorbing the man’s thoughts, the whip starred at the three little Indians who had tried to
escape, but it whip knew all along that they would not get far. Silence froze as the three little
rebels stood there aghast, like devils on their judgement day, the man thought. Around them a
mass of young empty eyes petrified in the semi-darkness of the tall room. Anticipation
thickened, as every second weighed over the silent mass, crushing them down, little by little.
Finally, the whip made its entrance, satisfied by the state of its horror-struck public. Words were babbled by the White Man: “wicked,” “devil’s temptation,”
“burn in hell,” “savage, unworthy,” “God Almighty in its infinite kindness,”
“not tolerate,” “educate,” “no longer Indian” “know your place!” Then a long dining table was brought in by the White Nuns, their
mechanical movements pointing to a liturgy the whip knew too well. The White Nuns
vanished like shadows, the metallic sound of their clothes quickly controlled. Unbearable
silence filled the large room. The whip stirred in itself with excitement as the children were
bent over the indifferent table. Their pants pulled down, their trembling more visible. The
mass stopped breathing.
The White Man’s hand reached for his weapon. He grew taller and taller as the hand fastened
the handle. The knowing hand performed the same elegant swing as countless times before.
The long, sleek whip unwound in its masterful plunge attack, announcing its conquest,
cutting the air out of its unrestrained expectancy.
The human knew when to strike, always at
the silent command of the whip, their symbiosis unequal in power.
The crack of the whip broke the silence with unquestioned authority. The young flesh
answered back with a subdued thwack, imperceptibly retreating into itself. The first wham
sent an almost palpable vibration through the mass that swung like cattails on tormented
waters. The three fugitives screamed as they were born into pain, their shriek young and deep,
echoing their first cry in life, their first cry in pain. The whip bit with hunger into their feeble
flesh, reluctant to let go. The white hand swung again with all its power and the whip
returns to the rebels, now certain of its sovereignty. The mass watched transfixed, tears
dropped unheard, eyes closed.
The whip lashes created ephemeral entities born in sighs and screams and sobs. They lived
for seconds but they froze time and tattooed poisonous spots in reluctant carnal wraps. Whip
stripes penetrated one’s soul, the very core of one’s being. The whip brought one to life and
death within the very same heavy second. The entities were almost spotted by the silent mass
as they flew towards the ceiling, disappearing like tiny, faceless ghosts.
Second strike, third strike, tenth strike and the shrieks gradually diminished. The whip grew
weary of the same young skin, too easy a conquest, no opposition, no counterattack. The
man’s hand tired but kept on counting to reach an exemplary number to inscribe in the mass’s
collective savage brain, or so he wanted. He did not notice that the little rebels stopped
screaming, as they were consumed equally by fear and agony. The hand kept counting.
As the man lost itself in his unmerciful ritual, a voice broke the silence, and it seemed to him
to have been summoned from hell’s most troubling pit. A young Indigenous girl stepped forward,
breaking loose from the homogeneous mass. She was older than the fugitives, perhaps
fourteen and she spoke defiance. She said:
“No! Your god is not our god. You are killing us, and your god says Thou shall not kill!“
Eyes grew bigger, female voices spoke indignation in the background, the man’s voice
thundered over the sudden commotion and the whip…the whip turned murderous with the
rage unforeseen sacrilege. The fugitives dismissed, the mass dispersed, led by metallic sounds and mechanical
movements. White hands reached for the remaining girl, her defiance subdued, the girl felt
swallowed by awe. They dove into her black hair, clawing in and dragging her away through
the dark hallway. The man babbled: “never,” “devilish,” “exorcise,” “whole night”, “until my
hands turn numb,” “beast,” “Almighty God,” “pull it out of you,” “if that’s the last thing I
do.”
The whip echoed this rage, waiting for the moment when it would, once again, carve her
sentence into her flesh. This time though she would feel its rage, if that was the last thing it
did.
******
She screamed on the inside, her voice censored by fear. Blood-thirsty distance between them,
he reached closer and closer as the school watched in silent rage, unintervening.
In his spacious room, the man pushed her against the table. With ferocious hands he pulled up
her dress, leaving her naked and defeated.
The man hand reached for his weapon. He grew taller and taller as the hand fastened the
handle. The knowing hand performed the most voracious swing as never before. The long,
sleek whip unwound in its masterful plunge attack, announcing its absolute conquest. It
stretched as a serpent, cutting the thick air. The human knew when to strike, always at the
silent command of the whip, their symbiosis equal in power.
The whip struck with all the force imaginable burying its minuscule blood thirsty teeth in the
dark, undefendable flesh. Her scream, pushed out beyond her skull, filled the obscure room
with emotion. The whip, drunk with power, swung violently before its second blow. Bloody
marks erupted out of her tearing skin, excruciating pain flooded her body and more.
The man was counting, the force of his hand diminishing, her sobs piercing the air, his
forehead covered in sweat. The whip drew in shimmering blood, his thirst gradually
quenched. The man abruptly ceased, trying to fasten the inner quake of his body, he muttered:
“Almighty God!” to himself, “Devil, devil”. The other hand touched his forehead, wiping
the shameful sweat as it covered his eyes. Pandemonium on the inside, his other hand reaches
for his clerical collar, lingers and then it tore it away with bestial rage.
The whip resumed its cadence, this time with a different stroke, noticing how the girl’s carnal
defiance was turning numb with mute pain. The whip’s thong stroking, not striking, the
popper lingering on the flesh longer than it should. She screamed on the inside, her voice
censored by fear.
To the girl, these moments seemed to stretch to eternity but then the room finally came to a
standstill. The whip fell into itself with exhaustion. The white hands reached for the
remaining girl, her defiance subdued, swallowed by awe. They dove into her black hair,
clawing in and dragging her away through the dark hallway.
Back in the man’s room, the whip could feel her crawling to the washroom, the warm blood
trail following. The whip knew that as the blood is washed away mutiny took over, mutiny speaking through bruises and wounds. She might try to leave, he thought, but it would find
her.
******
Eight years before this night, the whip and its man had gone on a mission. Ten of kilometers
beyond the forest the Inuit people were living in their insulated and robust stone huts. The
whip had felt uneasy in the unknown, wishing it could exert its authority and claim it as its
own. And it did. The man had entered one of the houses and had come out with, what he
perceived as a little devil-girl, dressed in a short buckskin dress and wearing a colorful parka.
The man abhorred her screaming in what seemed to him a devilish language, as the little girl
was fighting to escape his sturdy grip. The White Man had walked away, followed by the
plaintive cries of an Inuit woman, pulling her hair off, scratching her face, kneeling down and
reaching for the White Man’s leg, begging in what seemed to him the same devilish language.
The man had tried to shake her off, but she was holding on to him as she would hold on to
life.
Then, for the first time, his hand had reached to his waist in search of his weapon. He had
grown taller and taller as the hand had fastened the handle. The hand had performed its first
elegant swing. The long, sleek whip had unwound in its masterful plunge attack, cutting the
cold winter air. Even then the human had known when to strike, always at the silent
command of the whip, their symbiosis unequal in power.
As they walk away, maternal sobs had vaporized in the air like tiny, faceless. As they were
walking away the whip had already sensed defiance in the child’s glassy eyes.
******
A century before this very moment, old wise Inuit hands had braided finely cut caribou skin
strands onto a wooden swivel foundation. Near the butt end the braid and other material had
been covered in a sewn skin cover to make a heavy section. It had taken thousands of days to
complete and it had been used with dog-teams, and it had never hit a dog, but it had been
used mostly for the cracking noise it made, signaling commands for sled dogs. People, dogs
and whips had depended on each other for survival, a symbiosis that had demanded their
power equaled. Later on, the whip had fallen into greedy hands and had been turned into a
weapon, demanding power unequaled. And in that change of ownership the whip was reborn,
infused with the identity of its owner. As time went by, it absorbed the core of its owners,
their most intimate thoughts and dreams of possession.
******
The girl’s body quivers for a second, the whip blade sending throbbing streams down her
back, neck and onto her left shoulder. She loses her balance at that very same moment, slides
abruptly against a tree and deeply inhales. The chase resumes as the forest watches quietly,
unintervening. The second whip strike tears into barely healing wounds, the blood rushing
out in disarray. She loses her balance, and she is propelled further as her exhausted body falls
onto lenitive leaves. The man rushes forward as the whip is ready to swing a lethal blow, but
his legs are suddenly hindered by branches that arrest their movement, and drag with them, in their entanglement, the heavy white body. The whip is dropped, catapulted further in
between hunter and prey. The movements freeze, but the forest comes to life, its sounds
permeating the red veil of female fear.
The whip was losing its power over her. Out of the man’s kingdom of solid, unmerciful
concrete with its dark hallways, hospital beds and barred windows, she was coming back to
life, drawing power from the earth itself, from the land that her people have been inhabiting
from times immemorial. The whip knew that it would eventually follow her; at the crack of
dawn it would meet her flesh again.
She reaches for the whip as the White Man’s arm twitches just a second too late. Her hands
reach for his weapon. She grows taller and taller as the hand fastens the handle. The knowing
hand performs the swing as never before. The long, sleek whip unwinds in its masterful
plunge attack, cutting the air out of its unrestrained expectancy. The whip’s thong aims for
the man’s head and lashes his eyes with unrestrained resentment. He wails in despair, blinded
and weak, growing smaller and smaller as his hands try to discipline his blood back into his
veins, back into his body.
The whip shakes in the girl’s hand, as she gathers her strength and starts walking. Walking
away, not running. She would walk to them until her feet would start bleeding, until she had
feet no more.
As she evanesces into the forest’s embrace, the whip senses the girl’s defiance safely curdling
in her womb.

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