Of Warriors Who Once Upon a Time, Came Upon a Witch

 

akuamoahThey had been travelling for days after a loosing war; had seen brothers slashed to pieces by the enemies sword, impaled on sticks for vultures to devour, cowards! They had been chased out, like dogs from the battlefront.

And so they walked in silence, hungry but too ashamed to ask for food, thirsty, but no one dared speak, walking, limping in pain, the ache of the soles of their feet,

when the witch came upon them.

Gentlemen, warriors, the clouds turned dark as the night in a rush, it thundered and flashed, the warriors came to a halt.

And she sat there, under the oak tree with a smile, Hair gray as the ash of firewood after ananse has gone to sleep, skin as wrinkled as the cracks on a harmattan floor, a cloth draped around her frame, she turned and she spoke, gentlemen, warriors, her voice creaked, raspy, it shook.

You have lost your battle, I see you forlorn at the shame, I make you a preposition, should you be willing to bargain. Take you to the past, I will order time in reverse, you will know what you did not, you will be stronger in your front.

The warriors were quick to decide, they agreed but at a cost, no matter the outcome of the battle they would give her one of them. Atoanika the brave was quick to offer himself, brothers let her take me, for the good of the clan, there was murmuring but in the end they knew, they were all cowards, it was he who had only run when pulled away. Atoanika was the bravest of heart.

Time swirled, the wind blew back, they found themselves whisked away only to be back with their brothers in a chant, marching on to a battle which they had not so long ago just lost.

And so it came that there was the clinging of swords and the racing of hearts, the battle was won but something had gone amiss, something had happened that no one of them could have foreseen; Atoanika had fallen in battle, Atoanika was dead.

The warriors went on as they had before, only a few of them knowing what lay ahead beneath the oak. There were loud chants, dancing and merry making, closer and closer they approached their joint promise that only a few of had actually made.

Those who knew stayed behind in silence, afraid of what was to come. Soon they were upon her, the old witch sat still under the tree.

Gentlemen, warriors, the clouds turned dark as the night in a rush, it thundered and flashed, the warriors came to a halt.

A promise was made me not too long ago, I see you celebrate, where is Atoanika my love? I long for his embrace, as you are victorious he is mine, Let him come to me, let him come to me now.

She turned her head, a knowing smile on her face….

Now in times of old, when men could speak with beasts, when a devils bargain was set it came at but one cost, to deliver on the promise made while in need. It was that you pay up or Sasabonsam Kraman, hounds of the king of demons came to collect, your soul, captured, dragged to the abyss.

And while they stood, the old witch began to laugh, and then the original who knew jumped to bush, running, screaming, pleading for their lives. The snarls of canines rang clear into the night.

listen and you could hear teeth sinking into flesh.The devils bargain had been met.

Sansa Kroma
Ne na awuo
ɔkye kye nkokɔmba
ɔse ɔnnkɔ ye edwuma
Ne na awuo
ɔkye kye nkokɔmba

 

alvin

Alvin Akuamuah is a writer who likes to jab at intuition.He writes with all of his feelings, and invokes the ghost of his grandfather. You can follow him on Twitter @Alvin_wal_crawl. You can also visit his blog:  https://anansesemsesewu.wordpress.com for more of his work.

Classical Guitar – 1 ~ by Amma Konadu

The first thing anyone noticed whenever he entered through that solid oak door was the scar that ran from right below the corner of his left eye, down across his cheek, ending right underneath that side of his jaw. It was like a tiny gutter specially made for his tears. But I heard he never cried. I’d stand transfixed among the tables I waited, looking at him settle down on his seat with his caramel classical guitar. Then he’d lift his eyes, and everyone forgot the scar. Those eyes…dark, deep, warm, carried smiles that told you he had to learn to carry on in spite of what life had dished out for him.

I had watched him for months…2 and a day, precisely; ever since he got that gig at the restaurant I worked at. Every weekday he was there. He’d settle, tune the stringed beauty, look up, pass his sharp gaze over everyone, and smile; a dimple interrupting the seamless scar – shockingly enrapturing. Then he’d strum, then hum, strum, then sing…and all night as he played one soothing piece after another, singing sometimes, or not, I’d be sailing round the tables, half there, partly elsewhere.

Everything about him seeped into me, leaving me drugged – dazed all the weeks he had been coming over. He’d finish and step into the kitchen, offer to help us clean but ended up playing us a few of his own songs; those he deemed not good enough for those bourgie diners he played for almost every night. He made us laugh – I laughed the hardest sometimes…other times the pain shot without warning through me, reminding me…and I’d wince, turn away to the dishes, and immerse myself in the suds.

The other guys were curious too. The girls especially. They’d ask him questions he answered freely, and piece after piece fell in place, adding to the pieces I had already gathered. His hands poised on the strings and how he worked them with fingers that had known the hard life; gently…reminded me of similar hands that handled a girl as tenderly as he did his classical guitar. His eyes, flitting open, then shut, then open; his lips, very much like mine, balancing teasing smiles all throughout his performances…he’d lift his head high, and work the strings with speed and ease sometimes, the crowd erupted in generous applause, and my heart bled with memories of such excellence carrying me, filling my head, merging with my child heart once upon a time.

His answers sent me back to 16, sent me back to crazy, sent me back to illicit engagements and gripping fear. Back to dark rooms and hushed voices; frenzied limbs and too little time. Back to oohs and aahs, and ‘oh please don’t leave me now, wait, wait till dawn’. To wet, sticky tissue paper left behind and sweet tingling in young thighs…

To disappearances, and guilty tears…

A bulging tummy and numerous lies…

A tiny bundle of golden brown and soft cries…

A child leaving a scar on a child because it was all she could think of to do…

A sorry basket and a long walk up that road, to that door….

A heart-wrenching delivery….

A back turned and feet running as fast as they could.

Back….back to all that pain and as I stared that night I knew it was time. He started the very tune that had captured me 23 too damn long years ago;

Me – – –

Ray – – –

Doe – – –

Tea – – –

La – – –

Sew – – –

La – – –

Tea – – –

And as I felt myself break down right there in the middle of the softly-lit restaurant, I weighed the words in my mouth;

My Son! Oh my sweet little boy!

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Amma Konadu

 

Life After ~ by Shefi Nelson

She could hear voices. There were too many people in the house. Her grandmother poked her head through the door and smiled. She walked in, picked up a brush and sat by the bed. “Theodosia, you need to get up. We leave in less than two hours and we can’t afford to be late.” With her eyes closed, Thea sat up as her grandmother brushed her long hair. It was naturally made of three glorious colors. The roots were a dense color of black coal, the middle had a russet color and finished off with sunset tips. Thea’s hair was so beautiful; her immediate family would spend hours brushing it in turns.

Today, she cared less about her hair, or what her grandmother would turn it into. She impatiently waited for it to be braided and walked to the bathroom. Her chest was clogged but she dared not cry; at least not today. She shut the door and started to bathe. The water brought tears to her eyes and she quickly turned off the shower, grabbed her purple towel and walked into the room naked. Her grandmother was waiting. Thea was eighteen years and yet, she warmly let go as her grandmother took the towel to wipe her body. They both sat facing each other as Thea raised her feet up to be wiped. Her grandmother started with her little toe and stopped to say, “You know how much your father…” Thea quickly stood up and cut her off. “Grams, please! I’ll take it up from here. You should go!” The old woman slowly made her way to the door and left.

Within seconds, Thea had locked the door and put on her underwear. Tears filled her eyes as she managed to take her dress off the hanger. She had always wanted a little black dress but certainly not for this purpose. She slowly made her way into the dress. For the first time, she felt so girly and yet, everything felt terribly wrong. She started to cry as she looked into the full length mirror. She thought about him and how he would have impulsively complained about the dress being too tight. Her clothes were just the right fit and yet, the opposite was what he always said. She smiled as she imagined him walking around her, looking for a hemline that could be released. She could feel her chest clogging and she struggled to focus on the dress. It was her mother’s Vera Wang. Sleeveless and form-fitting, it ended just above her knees. The top half was made entirely of black lace that went down diagonally from her left shoulder to just above her right breast. The skirt was beautifully plaited with a belt that drastically reduced the girth of her waist.

Thea quickly crossed over to her dresser, as she heard her grandmother call for her to get ready. She brought out her make-up set, held her hair into a perfect bun and started on her tear-stained face. She moisturized her face with a foundation primer to plump up her skin and filled in the fine lines and large pores. She added a sweep of bronzer before adding a bit of powder to prevent her skin from appearing too shinny.

Theodosia never forgot the importance of her eyebrows in making her face pop. She brushed her brows with an old toothbrush and tweezed the strayed hairs. Thea went on to fill in sparse spots with a brow pencil and a soft eyeshadow that matched her brow color. Moving onto her eyes, she thought of mascara with a swipe of powder on her lids to keep the grease at bay and to even out her skin tone. Instead, she applied eyeliner, setting it over the shadow for a heavier look. She set the make-up powder to keep the shadow from melting into her eye crease. She finished up her eyes by curling her long lashes and applying thick black mascara.

He would have gone crazy! They would have argued until she had wiped off the make-up from most parts of her face. He had never really understood the concept of wearing make-up. She could literally hear him going on and on about how make-up was meant for people who were troubled or had something to hide and frankly, she was beyond troubled and had so much bottled up. She picked up her mahogany red lipstick and smeared three and two coats to her lower and upper lips.

Thea applied enough perfume, released her hair, stepped into her surprisingly comfortable black pumps and walked out of the door. Everyone was waiting downstairs. Everyone but him! Her brother held out his hand as she walked up to him. He kissed her cheeks and whispered, “He would have said you looked stunning. You were always his perfect little baby.” She sent everyone laughing as she chuckled and replied, “No Jeremy, he would have said the makeup was way too much and sent me right back to clean up.”

Her mother signalled for them to get going. It had been two weeks and she had already lost so much weight. In the days that followed after the news came, she had begged her mother to eat. She would begin with a small bite and burst out in tears. Thea had given up and was grateful when her grandmother moved in.

The church was a few minutes away and the moment Thea had been dreading came faster than she had hoped. There were family and friends already seated as she entered the church with her mother, brother, sisters and grandmother. They were almost at the front when her brother caught her mother in his arms.  Her mother, seeing his body stretched out in an open coffin, lost the strength in her knees.

Thea stood there as her family passed to their seats. She gathered the courage to look at him. Her father, her entire world was stretched out in that coffin, right in front of her. He never drank, he smoked nothing his entire life and yet, he had battled with lung cancer. The doctors had said he had two and a half years but in six months, her father was no more.

She wanted him to get up and wipe her make-up off. She wanted him to get up and laugh so hard at her silly mannerisms. She wanted him to get up and be alive, and be the father he had always been. She felt her brother’s touch and followed him to her seat. Father Jacob approached the pulpit and started the service. There were tears from everyone but her. That was the whole point of making up. She couldn’t break down, not yet and definitely not here!

They sang for several minutes because that was all he had loved to do. He would sing to them when they were happy, excited, sad or troubled. He had bought her a musical set for her tenth birthday and they had become best friends ever since. She would stay up late waiting for him to walk through the door just so they could sing half the night away. She had loved him all her life. She loved him even more as she sang her heart out.

The Bible passages preceded the tributes and soon, it was her turn to read her tribute. As she walked past the box containing her father to the pulpit, it finally hit her that he was gone. Tears threatened to flow as she held the pulpit for support with one hand and struggled to open the piece of paper with the other hand.  This was it! He was gone! They would have to get through! It was exactly what he would have wanted.

Slowly, Theodosia aligned the sheet and started, “Daddy Dearest…”

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Shefi Nelson
Shefi Nelson, an alumna of Ashesi University College, is a calm, goal-oriented individual who cognizes the power of words and their ability to shape people’s perceptions and outlooks on the world they find themselves in. Shefi made her literary debut in 2015 with the story “Tatale” – published on Flash Fiction Ghana website. Shefi seeks to make a special contribution to the world by breathing life into the simplest string of words to create a connection, and have a lasting impact on her readers. Her hobbies include reading, sewing, writing and managing people.

You may follow the writer on Twitter: @life_as_shefi