Welcome, friends! Come in, and let me tell you a Story A Day, all May long…
In June and July, I’ll be drafting two new Kifo Island novels. I know something about 5 of the 6 point of view characters, and I’ve got a sketchy idea of the plots – but I need to learn more about these people and their stories.
So, in May, I explore. Every day, I’ll follow the prompts in A Month of Writing Prompts 2016. I’ll play while moving through my planning efforts. Some of these stories may become part of the eventual novels, but my goal is to invite these characters to show me who they are and what they want – and how their lives fit together to make a novel.
I’ve been writing my story each day, but I slipped behind in my posting. I’m hoping to catch up by the 20th, and finish the month out on time.
I continue with May 10, following the daily prompt, “Paint a Vivid Setting.”
Ubunta Oswalla runs from a lifetime of abuse into an ocean of guilt…
Week Two’s theme is: Elements of Story.
Warning: This story contains adult themes, including references to rape and abuse. It’s rated for mature audiences.
An Ocean of Guilt
Ubunta ran, her eyes unseeing. Her mind held the memory the veldt, where it seemed she could run across the plains forever, and never find an end to the land. She’d been as the breath of the wind, then, a strong girl caressing the high grasses in her passing through them.
But she wasn’t like the wind now, and this was no time for sweet memories. She turned to look behind her in the dark, almost certain she’d see him, on her trail, maybe even close enough to grab her.
She could see nothing, in this moonless night. And she was too near the ocean – of water, not grass. its strange music drowned out all the sounds her gasping breaths didn’t. She wouldn’t hear anyone else breathing. She couldn’t hear any footsteps that might be crunching on the gravel paths she’d left behind.
But, if she couldn’t see or hear, no one else could hear or see her, either. Maybe there was a certain safety in that. Ubunta kept running, because this beach had no high grasses to hide in. Didn’t she remember there was a rocky place, with many shadowed spaces large enough to wriggle into?
Fadhili’s fluids, his seed, still leaked from the abraded place between her legs. He’d filled her again. After so long, why didn’t she have calluses there, like she had on her feet from the long years of running, or the scar from her ukeketaji –the first time her body had been invaded by another’s will.
When she ran into the night, Theresa still held the stick, but she’d been taken to her own bed by another, and Ubunta couldn’t ask what it said. But did it matter? He’d filled her with his seed again this night, twice more; even if the test said she wasn’t wajawazito, that didn’t mean that she wouldn’t.
Did she want a child of her brother’s wicked seed? Would her own better nature be enough to ensure such a baby grew up kind, or would it become as he who fathered it?
“I won’t let another child of mine be killed.” That’s why she’d run as soon as he left. She hadn’t even waited for Theresa to be done “turning her tricks”- three men, in succession. That’s what they had agreed to, but Ubunta couldn’t wait, couldn’t take the chance that he’d decide to come back for more, once he’d lost himself in the bottle he’d brought with him. That she wouldn’t be forced at the point of Aneesha’s knife to accept other men within her –
But she also didn’t need to conceive of this night, if she hadn’t already. A child not yet started couldn’t be killed; it was only the raw materials of a baby, and not the materials she’d choose, if she had her own way in it.
That decided Ubunta.
The water was rising, surging, and, with it, her conviction. If a baby had started in her, she would gladly give her life that it might live. Three times, she’d had no choice. The killing liquid had been poured into her; she’d nearly choked to death, fighting it, fighting for her child, but it was no use; she was given the liquid, made to swallow, and then had come the sweating shaking cramps, and all that was the baby had died and been pushed out while she cried, alone, unclean in the eyes of a family that did nothing to stop the raping.
No. They blamed her for that, for having a form that appealed and tempted. Always, it was her fault. Her fault, like an ocean of blame…
She ran out into the sea, meeting the water as it rose, feeling its power, sucking at her feet and legs, trying to push her over, drown her in blame that tasted like tears. Maybe this was another form of raping, but a more natural one. And she’d have what she wanted of the water, too…
Ubunta kept going, even though the water was cold against her skin, even though the ocean of guilt and tears stung her raw places, so that she had to bite her lip to keep from crying out.
If she was wajawazito already, so be it. But if she was not, she wouldn’t let the seed he’d planted in her tonight grow into a new life. No. Let this ocean of guilt – not hers, but his – wash away the possibility.
And with it, the chance that he would ever plant another seed in the too-fertile ground of his own sister.