Of The Lady Of The Creek

Genre: Mystery?

There’s this little creek that just starts abruptly on the other side of the road. Some say it is an enchanted spring and interesting tales have been told about it, ranging from the mysterious to the downright absurd. I have never believed anything I cant prove but one thing is certain, that little creek never runs dry, not even during the drought seasons, when the riverbeds look like sandy deserts, water flows in the creek, it might reduce to a trickle but it wont run dry.

Culvert

There’s nothing extra-ordinary about it, just a little creek that starts across the road flows beneath the tarmac via an unremarkable culvert bridge. If you can believe the mutterings of the old folk, a long time ago they tried to tame the spring put pumps and taps on it but the water would simply start coming out somewhere else. They tried several more times and after a discrete word from the local elders they stopped entirely, lest the spring stop all together.

I am city kid, I believe in the power of the internet, some things man was meant to know and for everything else, that’s why there’s Google. After a few days visiting the grandparents, away from the city, I was going stir crazy. I missed the internet, I missed electricity, I missed that irritating high pitched hum the TV made which gave me a headache, I am surprised I even missed that, just thinking about it gave me a headache.

A walk seemed like a good idea.

I was sauntering leisurely going nowhere slowly, thinking “Yeah, I had spent enough time visiting, that I could safely take my leave without seeming like I was a spoiled city kid who could survive a day in the country.” That’s when I heard a voice, singing, a strangely haunting melody, something a mother would absent-mindedly hum to her baby, long after the child had fallen asleep.

They say you can fall in love with a voice…..

I do not know about falling in love, but this one demanded all of my attention, reached deep into my chest and squeezed; my heart skipped a bit. Searching for the body behind the voice, I came face to face with a strikingly beautiful visage, looking right back at me.

I froze.

The Earth might as well as have stood still and stopped turning on its axis, as time itself stopped; not until that is, she crossed her arms protectively around her bosom, did the realisation dawn that she was bathing in the creek and I was staring.

mermaid-bath.jpg

Oh I.. I.. hadn’t realised” I stammered an apology “I am, so, so sorry.” I said averting my eyes.

I tried to take a step back and walk away but my feet had a mind of their own, they might as well as have been roots.

You are new to these parts aren’t you?” she asked in that musical voice

Yes, I am at my grandparents’ kwaMakaki” I said pointing in the direction of home.

I could tell, I know everyone who lives here. So you are a grandchild of the Madyiras’?” she asked, referring to my grandparents by their clan name.

Yes. I am sorry again for intruding. Well let me best be going” I said as I took my leave. She had settled in the creek and only her head was visible. Talking was a lot easier.

Wait a bit, I know who you, are aren’t you going to ask me, who I am? Besides If you sit over there you can watch the road for me and let me know if anyone is approaching

It wasn’t quite a request neither was it an order, what could I do, but mutely nod my head, as I ambled over and settled on the boulder she had pointed out. I sat facing away from her, and I could hear splashing sounds; as I imagined her frolicking about in the creek. I tried hard not to peek though I could see movement in my peripheral vision, remembering the old fable of why the owl’s neck turns almost 360 degrees, it spied on mother nature while she was changing and she cursed it so it could not move its eyes.

You can call me The lady of the lake” She spoke suddenly and her voice near, that I turned around and she was an arm’s length away and her trilling laughter filled the day, as she splashed a handful of water at me.

water-mermaid.jpg

Naughty naughty” she said with the ghost of a smile twitching at the corners of her mouth.

I am queen of this creek” she said scooping a palm full of water and raising her hand in a regal move that made the water spiral down the length of her arm. With the sun behind her head like a crown of sunshine, she did look like a picturesque silhouette royalty.

You can stop gawking like a common cow herder and help me scrub my back, its not everyday I see royalty walks these paths.” She said throwing a sponge at me, followed by a fresh leaf blade of the aloe vera  plant “Lather the sponge with this” rosing out of the water and turning her back to me, water sparkling in the sun as it dripped down the contours of her undulating figure.

I squeezed the juice out of the aloe plant and on to the sponge “What do you mean by royalty walking these paths” I asked as I sponged her back.

You, silly boy” she laughed, even though she did not seem that much older than me. “You have forgotten the old ways, forgotten me….” she added with a faint trace of sadness in her voice but suddenly, brightened as she exclaimed;

Fire and water! Who would have thought it?

Huh!?” I exclaimed, confused.

Isn’t your totem, fire, is it not?” she teased.

Yes__” I started to reply.

What happens when an inextinguishable fire meets an unquenchable lake?” She quizzed, a playful edge creeping into a her voice.

When a wha____

The rest of my sentence drowned out, as I splashed into the water; she had suddenly turned and pulled my hand; dragging me, clothes and all, into the creek.

We floated inches from each other, water streaming down my face, from my drenched locks, she reached up and pushed back a few strands of hair. Her touch was warm and yet I felt goosebumps up and down my spine.

“I love your hair” she whispered “Though, its not as long as mine” she said flicking her thick locks which flowed  from her head down past her waist disappearing in the water.

mermaid tales

She drew closer still.

Hey!” A voice boomed from the road, I turned to see uncle Jay, waving frantically at me. “Hey wena!” his voice boomed again “What are you doing?

I felt like a child, caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing, like when you steal a spoonful of peanut butter and you are caught, you cant answer because the peanut butter is stuck to the roof your mouth, I felt heat rise to my face.

I turned to see how my newly met lay acquaintance, was taking all this and she was nowhere to be seen. I was in the creek, alone.

She had vanished without a trace.

Uncle Jay had got close enough to offer a hand to pull me out “Did you fall in?” he asked a little too calmly, as he pulled me out.

I…I…I was, I mean there was someone here, a lady, didn’t you see her?

I saw no one” he answered tersely his eyes not meeting mine.

Talk to me uncle” I pressed for an answer.

I saw no one but you.” he begun “But there’s an old story, the Elders say there’s a mermaid that lives in this creek. Every once in a while, someone sees a lady in the creek and soon after gets taken and either never seen or heard from again or they become great healers and an oracle from the Gods

As we walked back home I mulled over his reply, I had not expected that answer, but I could not explain where the mysterious had vanished to, I shivered a little, and stifled a sneeze, the sun was almost setting, I was cold and my clothes were wet, how long had I been in the water? I had laughed it off when she called herself The Queen of the creek maybe the was more to her than I had thought, but a mermaid?  Her body from the navel down thanks to the water had not been visible.

What happens when an inextinguishable fire meets an unquenchable lake?” a voice echoed in the back of my head like a voice from a dream, I turned to look back down at the creek, it could have been a trick of the light but in its murky depth, I could see a figure there, waving; at me……………

WavingTHE END

~B

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Of The Muse In You: The Ogbanje Hacker

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

becoming

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE Hero

The story so far:

A stranger who emailed me may or may not be a missing person, abducted by an extremist group. I was invited to join a Facebook support group of people who pray for the safe return of those taken. someone sent me a private message asking me to give them access to my email account so they could run a trace the email

The popular poll result was that I should run a back ground check on Og Banje so here goes

I opened a search engine tab and typed Og Banje and pressed search.

Could not find a match Did you mean Ogbanje? Showing results for Ogbanje

In Igbo lore an ogbanje is a reincarnating  spirit that would deliberately plague a family with misfortune. The ogbanje child would die and be reborn again and again mostly before the child reached adulthood or got to an age where they could do anything of potential. The curse would be broken if a priest could find the ogbanje’s iyi-uwa (a stone that the ogbanje’s way of coming back to the world) and destroy it. The child is confirmed to no longer be an ogbanje after the destruction of the stone or after they successfully give birth to another baby

Well that was an interesting lesson on the Igbo myths  of West Africa, but it did not get me any closer to finding out my mysterious connection. I decided to check out other posts from the Facebook group while I figured what to do with Mr OG. Mr OG that’s how I had been referring to him in m head. There was an update in the group;

“Authorities have announced that one of the abducted girls is still alive after a voice recording was received of her (as confirmed by her parents that it was her voice) asking the government to rescue her. ”

That was good news indeed as some people had started thinking maybe the reason some of the girls had not be released was because they had died.

I typed a new post to add to the group:

Hi I got a private message from someone called Og Banje after the last message I posted in this group and I wanted to know if its someone that can be trusted.

A few seconds later a reply popped up

Ah we see you have had an encounter with our resident white hat hacker. Nobody knows who he really is or where he is and the authorities keep trying to get his account shut down but it keeps coming back to like a curse to expose government secrets and criminal activities, kind of like a phantom online vigilante.

Ogbanje

I typed whih read  “thank you and if I could ask__”

Before I could finish the comment, my phone started ringing, the caller was on incognito mode and the number did not show.

Hello” I answered.

“Hello my friend, you know me as Mr OG. I believe its time we talked ….:”

I froze, what should I do next:

  1. Nothing, hang up the phone
  2. Start a conference call to emergency services
  3. Put on speaker and record the conversation
  4. Find out how he got my number and what he wants then go to the police
  5. Find out what he wants and just wing it from there

~B

Day 18 of My Blog Everyday Challenge Themed Africa: Stories From Home

Of Sworn To The Depths Of Inyangani

Sworn to the depths of Inyangani

Sworn into the depth of inyangani

is a short novel, a collabowriters project by four authors Lindiwe Dhlakama, Takatso Sibanda, Rejoice Moyo and Banabas Karuma. .

The collabowriters project is a creatively innovative project which brings together different writers who are you doing today then challenged to create a work of fiction one chapter at a time.

Writer A does first chapter, Writer B reads the
first chapter and composes chapter 2, Writer C reads A and B and
builds Chapter 3 and so on……..

Sworn to the depths of inyangani Published in 2018 by Multimedia Box, Zimbabwe and made possible by support from various partners including British Council, Zimbabwe German Society

Sworn to the depths of the Inyangani is an African Fantasy work of fiction based on the myths and folklore of the Inyanga Mountains.

The Inyanga Mountains found on the Eastern part of the country have long since had an air of mystery which this story explores in this YA Fantasy where a young lad Elisha struggles to find balance between his Catholic religion and the mysterious world of the old ways, tradition and the secrets his parents have kept from him, secrets that now haunt his dreams because the past always catches up……

Sworn to the depths of the Inyangani, takes you to the depths of the Inyangani with its sacred healing pools and mermaids who spirit away people, never to be seen again and sometimes a chosen few come back, with healing abilities and a supernatural understanding of the world around, and where a past wrong if not corrected might have fatal consequences….. .

I love this book and read it at a time I have been thinking of how we are losing certain legends and lores from our culture, the unwritten myths that the modern world has no place for, maybe they are only that, legends; maybe they are a more but we shouldn’t let them fade into no more than barely remembered curiosities.

I never did try to figure which author wrote which part but in some chapters the were rather jarring differences in the story telling and some continuity issues where a chapter would begin on a different track leaving empty gaps in an otherwise captivating plot. Well I guess considering it was the work of four different people, it’s not unexpected that sometimes the difference would show.

It’s a short story which I wish could have been a bit longer to do justice to some aspects and flesh out some one dimensional characters that felt a bit rushed.

Still I loved the concept and I am tempted to start a collaborative blog post project… who is up for challenge?

~B

Of Beasts Made Of Night: A Review

Beasts Made Of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts made of midnight

For the fantasy lovers

Beasts made of night is a book set in a strange world where mages can cast sin out from people and the sin takes the shape of a beast:

“Sin made into living, breathing flesh by dark magic”

The Aki or Sin Eaters either devour or die trying, to absolve the sin so royals, nobles, and those who can afford, get to walk around pure and free; while the Aki carry the permanent marker of the sin they devour, as a tattoo of the beast on their skin. Sins are written on their bodies until the pain becomes too much and they go mad or crossover.

“Sin-beasts are shadows, beasts made of night. And an aki is like a ray of sunlight that comes down from the sky and shatters the sin, kills the shadows.

This fantasy novel explores dynamics of society, the difference between those with and those without and how some customs and beliefs, are simply a tool to keep those rich richer and those without, well less without…….

And in between all that drama the book is also a coming of age story, the main characters are simply young people trying to find their way and maybe love or at least somewhere to belong.

And why it wont score a perfect hundred, first of all it’s rather slow paced, (well it could be because of setting up the awesome world building so you get to understand the land of Kos) and then the time-frames sometimes get blurry, time passes and it’s a bit hard to figure out if it’s been a day a week or months after. Then when the pace picks up everything starts rushing to The Ending. The book ends, just when everything finally starts to get really interesting, this book feels like drawn out intro for the real fun which begins in the next book, maybe………

~B

PS the sequel is coming out October 16 2018…………
Crown of Thunder

Crown of Thunder

 

Photo Credit PenguinTeen

Of A Book Review: Children Of Blood And Bone

My go to book genre is Epic High Fantasy. Why? Because it’s an escape and I love how it addresses “issues” without actually calling a spade a spade… In the way folklore stories teach you about humanity whilst telling you of talking animals……

Just as I got to the end of my last fantasy book series The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson:

I happened to ask suggestions on what to read next and Mable suggested Children of Blood and Bone. Coincidentally a friend who was also reading the Stormlight Archive was going to read that book next…..

If you know me by now you’ll know when the universe seems like its sending me a signal I go where it leads….

Right now the universe is telling you if you haven’t read Tomi Adeyemi’s book what are you waiting for?

My favourite thing about Children of Blood and Bone is that, well, it’s fantasy but not only that, it’s set in Africa, with African characters based upon the author’s own Nigerian roots and Yoruba lore.

On the surface, Children of Blood and Bone is the story about a quest to bring back magic to the mythical kingdom of Orïsha.

“One day magic breathed. The next, it died”

The Divîners who have distinct white hair are left without their magic, powerless to defend themselves from a King determined to eradicate the whole lot of them…….

If I was asked to name the story I would have called it: The Prince, The Princess and The Reaper. The plot unfolds through three different character viewpoints whose perspectives you get to be intimately familiar with and come to understand their actions…..

Children of Blood and Bone is a story of survival in an oppressive system, when the difference between upholding the rule of law and tyranny is simply the uniform your enforcers wear, when the colour of your hair changes whether people fear you or hate you and how all that fear and hatred turns to violence.

This book is about way more than what it is about, as you journey 500+ pages across the land of Orïsha with Zélie

Children of Blood and bone is a story of hope and perseverance.

They killed my mother.

They took our magic.

They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.

From the author’s note

Although riding giant lionaires and performing sacred rituals might be in the realm of fantasy, all the pain, fear, sorrow, and loss in this book is real.

“Abogbo wa ni ọmọ rẹ nínú j àti egungun.”
“We are all children of blood and bone.”

~B
PS Children of Blood and Bone, is the first book of three in the Legacy of Orïsha Series by Tomi Adeyemi, when you get to the end you start looking up the author to see how soon the next book is out because……. I went out of my way to not include spoilers in this review 😂

Also there’s a movie coming along!!!!!!!