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.

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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.

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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 Anniversary Coffee With A Writing Challenge

If you were having coffee with me……

coffee mug next to fire

I would tell you that if you haven’t figured me out by now you really should know that I am is a story teller….. I tell stories. Life happens and I tell stories.

Well technically I write them, but in my head, as I write, I tell the story, and I imagine, you really are here, listening, my imaginary audience, I even imagine how you will react the way you are shaking your head right now and then reading this paragraph again from the start…. Its freaky isn’t it

I know right.

…..and there is a fire, there’s always a fire, the Story Gods are appeased by the flames, as it has always been. Fire is my spirit animal.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that you are a voice in my head, correction, one of the voices in my head. Don’t be alarmed I am not a crazy person, and stop It!!! Stop trying to imagine what goes on in my head.

My head for your own information is quite fine, I had it examined today even. I looked in the mirror and I thought to myself I look fine right? And my hair is quite long!!

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My brothers agree with you too.

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If all the people who thought exactly what you are thinking right now (yes I read minds sometimes besides you are a figment of my imagination remember) if all those people were doctors I would be telling you this story from the comfort of an asylum and I would be asking you why straitjackets don’t come in any fun colours…. A rainbow coloured strait jacket Id rock that.

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also dont believe my brothers they are no better, they just dont write

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If you were coffee with me I would tell you that if my blog had gone to High School it would be matriculating or writing its General Certificate of Secondary Education O levels just about now.

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As an anniversary gift to my blog I shall present it with a blogging challenge to write a blog post everyday for the month of September. The general theme of the posts will be #MyAfricaMyWords and you will get an insight into who I am, why I blog and the place I call home.

Brace yourself  and do drop by to read, hang out and encourage me…. If you would like to take part in this challenge, consider yourself tagged… You Are In. Bring a friend.

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Look out for the following hashtags on social media #30DayAfriwriter #BlogTemberChallenge #MyAfricaMyWords

~B

Ps I have been day dreaming on the future of storytelling I wont be impressed until someone invents (you know how some phones have that speech-to-text function) a thought-to-text function you simply think out the words and they are plucked out of your head to magically appear on the screen including the relevant images ……

You should come visit my head.

Have an awesome week.

Of A Web Well Spun

GENRE; Fantasy

If you didn’t know by now you must know; we come from a long line of story-tellers. Long before my people sat around the first fire and whispered secrets of its origins; on nights like this they sat quietly; in a circle around a story-teller; huddled together for warmth and they listened.

Sometimes the story was told, sometimes the story was within another story; other times the story told itself; it was not hard to believe stories talked because back then even the animals talked…. The stories always begun the same way PAIVAPO (Once Upon A Time) ….”

I paused as I had seen my grandfather do; when he told his stories, first you drew in the crowd made them curious what story you would tell them tonight. I glanced at granddad, it was almost imperceptible but he nodded in approval. I held my hands to the fire as and then rubbed them together and begun;

embers

embers

“Once upon a time, when animals walked and talked like you and I. The lion was King of the jungle, and all the creatures would shiver when he roared; they wondered whom he would devour next, that’s what it usually meant when a beast roars. It was a difficult time to be alive living in constant fear of being eaten. One by one the animals all decided they had had enough, all of them that is except for the lion, who had an enormous appetite.

There was a meeting in the forest and all the animals were there; except for the ones already eaten and two others. Lion for obvious was not invited to this meeting and Tsuro the hare; did not attend because he was caught in a spider web and would shortly be making a special appearance at Lion’s table as the main course. It was agreed that it was a time for change; a hero was needed to save them from the hungry lion, someone whom could match wits if not strength with the lion.

Once upon a time Tsuro the hare was the fastest animal until he lost a race to a tortoise; he would have won if he had not stopped to nap, sometimes victory goes not to the swiftest but to the most persistent. All the animals had been happy to see Tsuro lose they celebrated for many days and many nights and long after would never let Tsuro forget it. You see Tsuro was clever; too clever for his own good; we wouldn’t call him wicked but he was definitely mischievous.

Once upon a time while playing with Mr Dovi The Peanutbutter Man; Tsuro said lets eat each other. Mr Dovi got eaten and was soon finished The End.

Not long from now Tsuro would also soon get eaten, but all the animals were in agreement that Tsuro was only one who could best Lion. They asked Spider who happened to be hanging around the meeting to tell Tsuro that if he could defeat Lion then they would crown him King of the jungle.

Spider noiselessly descended on his web right down to Tsuro’s ear and informed him of the animal’s decisions.

“Good” said Tsuro “I have a plan; first loosen the web trap around me then listen carefully” Tsuro told Spider his plan; just before lion arrived all set to feast on hare.

“Wait” said “Do you want to know my fur is always soft, why I never age, why I am the cleverest there is?”

“Tell me, what will you charge me for this secret; to be the strongest and cleverest” roared The Lion.

“For you, no charge, you can even eat me after I am done. Ok; every night I cut off my head so that I sleep soundly and recharge my soul; in the morning I stick my head back on and am as good as new. I will show you how; then you can try it also. Quick give me a knife”

“You are trying to trick me into giving you a knife” said Lion

“Fine then, ask Spider to come and cut my head off” You see Spider was the king’s henchman, he did what he was told and no more.

Lion agreed and Spider cut off Tsuro’s head.

Then Tsuro held his head and screwed it back into place.

“Ta-da!”

Lion was amazed.

But of course he didn’t know Spider had only pretended to cut off Tsuro’s head and Tsuro pretended to put it back.

“Come and cut off my head!!” Lion roared to Spider excitedly

Lion died and Tsuro became king

The End.

Endings are always beginnings.

Once upon a time when Tsuro was King of the jungle; change had come and it was exactly the same; he declared that his name was now “All Of Us” He threw a feast in his honour. All the animals contributed in making the feast for many days and nights. Finally feast day arrived and they couldn’t wait to eat, but Tsuro stopped them and asked whose food this was, the animals all replied “All Of Us!

“Yes!!!! and I am “All Of Us” and this food is mine; you will eat after I am done”

Tsuro ate and ate and ate and then he picked his closet friends to eat and then finally let everyone else eat what was left; which wasn’t a lot

This happened all the time; everything belonged to “All Of Us” and animals not close friends with Tsuro were growing thinner and thinner, they complained bitterly that life was better when Lion was King at least they never went hungry and food was always available, change they decided was bad. When they asked Tsuro about it he would have a clever words in reply words like did he not get them freedom from the hungry lion that oppressed them, should “All Of Us” not feast as a reward did they not ask him to be King, that is democracy. Democracy is for “All of US” and “All of Us” should make the Jungle great again.

Once upon a time; King Tsuro got caught in a spider web’s trap. He yelled for help but no one came. A hunter who was trying to find his way home came across Tsuro; he carried with him a snail’s shell and contained within it was a glowing ember. He thanked his ancestors and used his ember to start a small cooking fire, and after slaughtering the hare, he cooked and ate it; then when went on to have a nap. He had a dream that all the animals in the forest were celebrating and that a spider watched over him as he slept or maybe it simply waited….web.jpg

 

The End

I finished my story and took a deep breath and blew softly into an old snail shell, then I put it up to my ear and listened…. I picked up a red hot ember and placed it into the shell then I walked into the moonlit night.

Always leave them wondering; another lesson from my granddad. I did not say another word that night……

 

THE END

~B

My blogbattle entry prompt Change.

PS Purely a work of fiction any resemblance to real life purely coincidence… loosely adapted from folktales I heard growing up and legends from my ancestors; also inspired by Anansi Boys a book by Neil Gaiman because all stories are Anansi’s:

“Stories are like spiders, with all their long legs and stories are like spiderwebs; which a man gets himself all tangled up in but which look so prettywhen you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each…”

“Much of what a spider does is waiting”

 

 

 

 

 

Of Castles in the Sand

Fireside Tales

Fireside Tales

The moon shone brightly as would a freshly minted silver coin, polished and valuable. He could feel the many pairs of eyes on him their silent plea almost palpable. He stoked the fire they were all gathered around, then cleared his throat as if he was about to speak but settled back into his ancient rocking chair. The chair creaked like a dying creature of the night. “Please sir” a little voice piped ‘Tell us a story” another chimed in. He looked around at the heads all nodding in agreement. This was part of the ritual on nights like this, he told stories, sometimes they had meaning, the value of a story without meaning you ask, why that’s the best kind of story, told simply for the telling.
“Very well” he finally acquiesced he took a long deep breath and let it out slowly “I will tell you the story of the day I died.” There was a collective gasp and a young voice asked “But grampa, if you died how come you are here with us?” He laughed then replied “Well maybe I am a ghost, anyhoo, I am the storyteller and the storyteller reshapes the tale but never lies.”
“Where to begin, where to begin” he muttered almost to himself. “Start at the beginning” someone yelled “The beginning is always a good place to start” another agreed.
“Very well, let me start at the beginning. On a moonless night, unlike this one I was born__” A voice cut him off just then, “But grandpa isn’t that too far back? Ma says we mustn’t stay up too late and you mustn’t tell us scary stories some of the youngins are scared of the dark.” “Child are you not afraid? You should be, witches are abroad this very hour” “Grandpa you mean the witches are overseas? Did they fly by aeroplane?” The old man laughed then replied “Remind me to never send you to law school.”
“I was born at precisely midnight on a moonless night unlike this one many moons ago. I was delivered by a half blind midwife in a hut without lights on the darkest night of the year. They tell me I never cried, not until sunrise and some said it was an omen that the darkness walked among us as man that day, marking souls to reap. I grew up knowing that the night was simply a shadow of the day and the time would come when I had to face the one who walks in the shadows, planted in the desert sand just like a root___”
“That’s when you died grampa, am I right?” a voice cut in again “No silly, he didn’t really die gramps was being metaflolyric” another answered.
“The word is metaphoric, now hush, as any man, I cared not much for darkness or being planted, so I went to see an old man, who knew many secrets, and is said to see more kneeling down than someone standing on his tiptoes on top of the highest mountain and that is metaphorically speaking. He told me, this man, that my destiny was to walk and find the secret at the heart of the desert. Many men attempted this journey, never to be heard of again but I knew I was different, was I not born on a dark night feared by wise man. I set out with only the clothes on my back, some sensible shoes and not much of common sense, because after what seemed an eternity of walking, I grew thirsty and had no water. I asked myself if anything could possibly get any worse, the desert accepted the challenge and conjured up a sand storm. Sand blown all over the place, howling as if the gate keepers of the beyond had come for me. I kept walking, by then rather, I think I was crawling up and down the massive dunes that seemed to pop up from nowhere. The storm passed, as all things do, nothing lasts forever, not even the bad things more so the good, the irony of balance.”
“After the storm, I had sand in my eyes, my clothes, sand in places you do not even want to know” Some giggling broke out, he waited for silence. “I was at my lowest my dreams crushed, lost and waiting to die, the desert does that, destroy dreams and kills flowers, it is a desert after all.” He paused to stoke the fire and to shift his position, the chair he sat on groaned as if in sympathy. “That is when I saw it, the oasis. A perfect island of lush green on a sea of sand….. and a castle. A castle in the desert, with a fountain in its courtyard I could almost taste the water that sparkled more precious than diamonds, diamonds to a man in the desert mean nothing but water, is life, and here was a fountain full of it, life. I descended from atop the dune tumbling, crawling and clawing my way with a purpose of singular intent, water. I dived into the fountain and that’s the last thing I clearly remember. I am told that I must have gotten lost and went round in circles till I ended up diving into the ancient well next to the old man’s house. I was found days later, dead they thought but miraculously I was still alive and recovered. They say castles in the desert are simply sand dunes and mirages of thirst addled brains but I know what I saw, now off to bed all of you us old ones never sleep because the story never ends, that’s immortality for you. When everyone was gone, he was the only one left, such as it is with all things. From underneath his tunic he brought a bottle on a silver chain, with water that sparkled beneath the silver moon, poured a drop on the ground and took a small sip.
The End.

On a whim I decided to dabble in a #blogbattle hosted by Rachael Ritchey and the theme: Oasis. This feels like my first night at Fight Club 🙂