Friday, 23 October 2015

It's A Rat Race

This is part 4 of my four part East African Friday Feature on the Supernatural. Its based on the slave who appears in every installment of the Child of Destiny Series. I named him Bulitia after my late father; he also had a 'sixth sense' about things so I thought that was appropriate. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Asha stood outside the cabin door, debating with herself. Should she come clean to Bulitia? Tell him she was pregnant and that the jitu had threatened the baby? But he was just as much a slave as she was; there wasn’t much he could do…if anything. But if he wasn’t some kind of special then why was the jitu interested in him? He must have some special powers or something. Which meant he could help her if he knew…Knew what though? What could she tell him really? The jitu had come to her, and asked her to seduce Bulitia; didn’t tell her why or how long or anything. Didn’t tell her anything really about Bulitia. She knew he was from East Africa and he and his shipmates were still hopeful; still green. They continued to think there was a way for them to get home when there really wasn’t. They were fucked the moment they got on the boat. No, probably before. The minute they were captured. Not like their families would be willing to take them back if they returned. They’d probably think the runaway slaves were ghosts and kill them on sight. These Africans were very superstitious. Asha had been born a slave; it was the only life she knew. She watched the new recruits come in, still thinking they were people; still thinking their opinion counted for something – that they had rights…it made her sad for them. At the same time she was contemptuous. Why couldn’t they see? It made things very tiresome for the rest of them; having to train them, teach them; whip them, break them…Asha had watched it happen so many times; she was tired of it. Tired of it all. Sometimes she wanted to walk into the creek and let the alligators take her. But she was scared; scared that it would hurt worse than the whips and chains.  What if the afterlife was no escape, but just more of the same? She had to know for sure before she tried anything.

She pushed open the door and entered. Bulitia was lying on his side, nearest the door. His head was pillowed in his hands and she could see the glow of his eyes as he looked at her. He wasn’t asleep then. Good. She crept to him and lay down next to him matching him shoulder to hip to ankles. She was a tall girl too; almost as tall as him; she looked up into his eyes and smiled.
“Bulitia”, she whispered, “Will you save me?”
“Save you from what?” he asked not bothering to keep his voice down.
“From her. From the woman who holds our souls in her hand.”
“No one but Mulungu holds our souls woman. You are mistaken.”
Asha sighed, “You do not get it; the woman who owns us; she is no ordinary human”, she tried again.
“Oh, I know that. But she doesn’t own our souls”, he said.
There was silence in the cabin broken only by the loud snoring of Jefta on the other side and Abednego’s restless rustling. There was a rhythmic  slap of flesh on flesh. He was stimulating himself as he was wont to do every night Asha came. She wondered why he didn’t just get himself a woman.
“What is she?”, Bulitia suddenly asked, startling her.
“She is a monster who eats souls”, Asha told him.
“You know that for a fact?” Bulitia persisted.
Yes”, Asha cried softly, desperate to convince him.
“How do we kill it?” he asked.

Mama Ruth sat before her fire, scrying for the gatekeeper she knew was nearby. She had settled here because it was a beacon for magic; it drew things to it; including the future Child and the forces trying to thwart its existence. She had followed the trail of soulless bodies; and they had led her here. Met Kafu was up to something; something bad. With the help of Asmodeus the demon he was creating chaos where order should be. Using the lust of man against him. His plans must not be allowed to succeed. Not if there was to be any hope for the future of mankind. Mama Ruth sat back, pondering her own stake in that future. She didn’t know how it would be; would the child destroy her? But she could not let that deter her. There was too much at stake to worry about herself.

Bulitia was standing guard where he had been bade to. Keeping watch on the wall of sugar cane that separated one homestead from the next. He could see the child, the one he had been ordered to kill. He was climbing a tree, following a cat. His nanny was standing below the tree, bellowing up at him to get down. He simply grinned happily at her and kept going. There was no way he would be able to come back down. Perhaps he would fall and break his neck and save Bulitia the trouble of having to make a choice. Do it…or don’t do it? The girl had said that the woman who owned them was a demon. Demons could not be killed; not by humans.  But there were others, others with power. Bulitia could feel them close by. It was his gift; the one that his owner must have known about somehow. He could smell it out like a hound on a scent. He could follow it. But this child that his owner wanted dead; he had no such power. Bulitia didn’t understand it at all. He closed his eyes, sought for the power he could feel. It was close. She was close. He summoned her.

In the name of Mulungu and all the spirits of the ancestors; I bid you…help me’
In the name of your ancestors and the god that you call on; what would you have me do?
The reply was instantaneous; it startled Bulitia. He had known she was there but he had expected to have to do more begging before she answered.
‘Kill the demon’ he begged.
“Bulitia Bulitia Bulitia…you disappoint me. Conspiring with unknowns to kill me? How very impolite of you”, The Woman said from behind him and Bulitia froze.  So she could read minds for sure. He kept quiet knowing that he was fucked whether he spoke or he didn’t. And so he opted to go out with his dignity intact.
“You realise that this will result in severe punishment don’t you?” she  whispered in his ear as her nails scratched at his throat. Bulitia kept completely still.
“I’ll have to kill you”, The Woman actually sounded regretful, “But I will also kill all your friends”, she continued. Bulitia felt his knees go weak.
“Please mama”, he tried to whisper but his voice had disappeared.

“Yeess”, she said with relish in her tone, “I will kill you all; and bind you here…so you can be my slaves forever. Wouldn’t you like that?”

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