Well, this is my first entry on CU. So, a couple things. One, Please remember, I'm only twelve, so, if it's not great, I'm sorry, but I'm inexcperienced. Two, tis is a short story that I'm turning in for English so please, leave your suggestions. I hope you like it. Firebird(Get your chatter on!) 23:37, October 13, 2011 (UTC)
Mombasa, Kenya, May 1860
The waves lap against the shore, the sun smiles down on my brother and me, the gulls plead for our sandwiches, and the clouds dance around for us. Everything is perfect. I’m on the beach with my older brother Mosi and we’re sitting next to each other eating lunch while our mama and papa work in the fields. A war horn rouses us. We see a boat docking at a pier a few hundred yards away. Men with skin pale as the moon rush onto the beach and begin grabbing the other children and hauling them onto boats. Mosi and I run as fast as we can but we can’t outrun them. They catch us in nets and do the same to the adults who are running to help us. We’re all being loaded into ships. I see Mosi try to fight. Then I see the knife come down on his neck. He’s tossed into the ocean. I haven’t seen him since.
Close to Manassas Junction Virginia, June 1861
The call of the marshal’s horn wakes my mother and me from our slumber. We’ve been toiling in this living hell for almost a year and we hate it. They try their hardest to ruin our lives. They’re barely human, eating piles of delicacies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while we get a bowl of cold soup, a piece of stale bread, and a cup of water, or for beating us for non-existent reasons. Even our sense of a group community is gone. People are savagely attacking each other for food while the white men watch and laugh. Yes, they disgust me. However, I am a prisoner and I have seen what they do to those who disobey, so I dress and head to the fields. The sight of my friend Angavu brightens my mood slightly but from the grave look on her face I know she bears bad news. We talk to each other in Swahili so the white men don’t understand. Making sure her voice is hushed she says “My father is planning an escape tonight. He, my mother and I will try to escape. I begged for them to let you come with us but they said you could not. So, this is, the final goodbye.”
I can’t meet her eyes and she can’t meet mine. We set to work side-to-side as usual but there is no conversation between us. I hope that she will for she is usually talkative. But as the bright sun makes its way across the sky we work in silence. Finally, night falls. We collect our dinners then head to our cabins. I take one last look at Angavu and see the tears running down her face. I realize that I cannot stop the steady stream of tears rolling down my face.
I head to my cabin and snuggle into bed with my mom trying to preserve heat while shutting out sadness. The next morning the marshal’s horn rouses us but the white men detour us to a wide clearing. My eyes widen when I see who’s there. It’s Angavu and her mother. From their puffy red eyes I can tell that their father is already gone. The white man yells something at us that I cant comprehend. Someone nearby translates it for us and he says, “These two tried to run away on us. You know that does not end well. This proves you cannot overcome our power. I can tell from this act of rebellion that I have been too soft on you. These two kindly volunteered to help us show you the punishments you will receive!” With that the white man does terrible things I almost can’t bear to remember. When Angavu’s mother lies limp on the ground he turns his attention to Angavu. He draws his whip and I avert my eyes. I can hear her cries but can do nothing. After the horror is finally over, I run as fast as I can to the stream in the woods. I sit by the bank and cry. For Angavu and her family, for Mosi, for anger at the white men.
It seems there is no hope. Then, as if heaven-sent, a small object comes floating down stream. I pluck it out of the water. It’s a teddy bear, of all things, with button eyes, a stitched mouth, and a few tears here and there, but a teddy bear nonetheless. Although it may not seem like much, this means the world to me. A teddy bear, an ACTUAL teddy bear. I hug it and ask, “Will you be my Rafiki?” which is Swahili for “friend“. Being a teddy bear, it says nothing, but it smiles at me. I vent my anger to it, releasing the pain of the past 10 months. It sits there and listens to my story then accepts my hug when I’m done. I remember that having toys is forbidden so I hide it as I run back to my small hut.
“Look Mama,” I say “ I have a new Rafiki,” and I show her the teddy bear. She is delighted.
We climb in bed and I bring Rafiki with us. The three of us huddle for warmth but for once, I don’t have nightmares because Rafiki safeguards my dreams. When I wake up the next morning I hide Rafiki, then head to the fields. I hear a rumor that the nice white men from the north are coming to free us and that some other Kenyans are secretly taking arms to help out. I have mixed feeling about this as I remember what happened to Angavu, her mother, and Mosi. If fighting breaks out, what will happen? I’m confused and distraught and I long to get home to my Rafiki. I hear a cry, not of distress but of anger and rage, and many of the workers around me suddenly pull weapons that were buried in the cotton. They charge the white men. There is a blur of sounds: steel-on-steel, guns going off, warriors yelling their cries, and injured howling in pain. I run to my cabin to try to hide but when I open the door I see the unspeakable. My mother lies unmoving on the floor and a white man holds my Rafiki. He says something that I don’t understand but I can tell I’ve broken the rules by having Rafiki. He roughly grabs me and drags me to the field. The fighting has ceased and the field is littered with bodies. Those who are alive are huddled in a circle facing the head white man.
What he says is translated into “So, another act of rebellion. You are groveling and pathetic. Look at the corpses of your so-called warriors. We are almighty! Now, as soon as the fighting began I sent someone to check for any more weapons. We didn’t find any but we did find, this.” My heart stops as he holds up Rafiki. “A child’s toy. A specific child. Him.” He gestures for me to come up to him and I comply. “This boy has broken a rule in the midst of battle and he shall be punished with a hundred lashes and no food or water for two days! But first, we destroy the toy!”
“No! Rafiki!” I’m hysterical, screaming my lungs off and crying my eyes out, “You can’t take Rafiki!”
But they do. They start a fire and are about to drop him in when a gun shot goes off. The head white man turns and sees an army charging. He drops Rafiki into the fire and orders all of his men to help him. I plunge my hands into the fire, grab Rafiki, then faill on my hands and Rafiki to stop the flames. My hands are blacker than coal and burning like lava but I have Rafiki, so it’s okay. I embrace him. Then I see that the new attackers have knocked down the fence while fighting. Like many of my fellow workers, I seize the chance. I run to the gap, trying to reach territory where I am safe, trying to reach the new attackers. Clutching on to Rafiki, I run for miles until I collapse with exhaustion and pass out. When I awake I’m in an army tent. They tell me I’m all right and the civil war has begun. My first reaction is to ask for Rafiki and they hand him to me. My mother, Mosi, Angavu, and Angavu’s family may be dead, but they aren’t gone. They’re here with me, me and Rafiki.