Resting Place

Tiny - Posted on 15 April 2014

Felix Chico

April 15, 2014

Three figures repose in the fallow soil, holding hands, gazing skyward, two small figures flanking a larger one. The mother’s arm raises to point at a cloud above, the twins heads moving to follow.

The cloud is majestic as it slowly passes across the horizon. Ubadah tells her children the greatness of Omnipotent Sky God, of His wisdom and infinite mercy. Another cloud’s wispy tendrils brings to mind Spider, the mother sharing tales of the trickster her own mother had told her as a child. The twins giggling devolves into a contest to laugh the loudest, and the mother knows it is time to bring her tired daughters back to the village. Ubadah arranges the slings of the small harvest bags over the twins foreheads, shrugs her own bag full of cassava over her shoulders and follows the girls as they set forth onto the trail.

Sniffing at the breeze, the mother’s senses come alive. She hears a dry branch snap behind her, turns to behold a group of men in the distance who begin to run towards her. Shrieking “Panin! Kumaa! Gwan! GWAN!” she throws off her burden and runs to protect her children.

As her daughters sleep alongside her, each one chained to an ankle, Ubadah quietly endures the thrusts of a Foreigner. What had once been a loving gift to her husband was now something foul. Eyes closed, her lips move silently in prayer, devotion and dreams their only respite from the fear and misery of the slave ship. Eventually she joins her daughters in blessed sleep.

Elder Twin stands alone on a flat white mound, surrounded by Foreigners wearing crowns. People of all ages sit upon the ground nearby, chained ankle to ankle. One Foreigner emerges from the crowd to approach Elder Twin, pulling her mouth open to peer inside then squeezing her arms and legs.
Now it is night, and Elder Twin is in a large hut, candlelight flickering to alternately hide then reveal her face. A Foreigner enters, roughly pulling off her garment. Eyes closed, lips moving silently in prayer, the child endures.
The child’s eyes snap open, staring directly into hers.

The mother awakens, tears fresh upon her cheeks. Looking to one side, she hears Younger Twin’s soft breathing. Moonlight illuminates the sleeping girl. Turning to the other side, she gasps. Elder Twin’s eyes still stare directly into hers. Her daughter whispers urgently, asking where Younger Twin was, asking where Ubadah was, begging not to be left by herself again.

There are names for the Foreigners. Red Face Foreigner, Angry Foreigner, Wood Leg Foreigner. One exhibits a bit of kindness, unchaining the women so they might more easily relieve themselves and bringing extra water to sick children. He was called Young Foreigner. Along with a weapon that would soon be hers, he represented a path to freedom.

Ubadah has begun to smile at Young Foreigner, her smiles rewarded with extra yams at mealtimes for herself and the twins. Once she allows her legs to part slightly, her reward an obvious stiffening of his root. It will be time soon.

She smiles widely at Young Foreigner now, allowing her legs to part again. Drawing near, he sinks to his knees and crawls the last few feet to kneel in front of her. Ubadah holds both hands in front of her eyes briefly, then glances at each daughter. She makes the gesture once more, again glancing at each daughter, then brings her hands together in a supplicating gesture. Young Foreigner nods and unchains the three of them. The mother drops a hand to her side, throbbing shredded fingers closing upon the iron nail she has painfully extricated from the wooden planks.

Thrusting the nail into his scrotum, she rips upward, cleaving his root in two. Scooping up her screaming daughters, she races onto the deck and leaps onto the edge of the ship.

Her eyes deep pools of pain and adoration, Ubadah presses her lips to each terrified child’s forehead and then bends her head back to regard the sky. Whispering “Onyame fofora biara nni ha ka Wo ho“, she hugs the twins tightly and steps forward.

Three figures repose on the ocean floor, holding hands, gazing towards the surface, two small figures flanking a larger one. Undersea currents buffet the larger figure, lifting a skeletal arm to point upward. Two small skulls move to follow.


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