To my people, I make this pledge
To do what is right and forget all that is not.
If once I do what is wrong, To the gods Above I shall return, to be reborn, pure and holy.
“Please, I beg, don’t do this” Kiobo pleaded, of course, it fell on deaf ears. No one would listen, no one can help him, no one could help any of us. It is compulsory for every villager to attend an execution, probably for reason of impacting fear and order in the villagers.
“My Son, How do you plead,” the priest asked standing next to Kiobo who has tied both hands to his back and a rope around his neck, standing next to what we call Saviour.
“Please I am sorry, I will never do it again” Kiobo pleaded. “No one Ever does Kiobo, No one Ever does it again, but eventually, it happens it always does. Your body has sinned, it needs to be replaced”
I’m sorry, please don’t Kill me. My Lord” tears pouring from his thick red eyes rolling down his chiseled shirtless body, his mother already soaked in tears. “Don’t kill him please” she pleaded with empty knees on the ground.
“We are not killing you Kiobo” the priest Walked closer to the Saviour with his long black robe following. “We are only saving you, from yourself” the priest said as he used a kerchief to clean the tears from Kiobo’s cheeks. “You have Sinned my Son, We are only giving you to the gods above to cleanse you and send you back to us as a new being, pure and holy, without blemish” He spoke proudly with a sinister look raising both hands to the Heavens.
The rope suddenly caught Kiobo’s neck lifting him off the ground as his body stiffens, struggling for survival.
“My people I make this pledge, to do what is right and forget all that is not. If once I do what is wrong, to the gods above I shall return, to be reborn, pure and holy” the villagers chanted softly as Kiobo’s Life fades to nothing.
“Let us not forget that no mercy can be shown to a sinner, or else we reap the curse of the blue witch, this is our way, This is the way to keep us” The priest said with authority as he dismissed the villagers and walked away from the Saviour, leaving Kiobo to be saved.
It has been two hundred and nineteen years since the war. The great war that ended all wars, or ended everything. My Africa fell, our building’s broken down, our culture vanquished, our knowledge disappeared. When there was nothing left to destroy in the world, the war came to an end leaving only a handful of survivors. My people found ourselves amongst the destruction and that was when the first Priest was appointed. He taught the people of the gods above that rule without mercy, he taught them of the one true religion to keep them safe. To ensure the safety, rules were set to keep the peace;
1) You shall never try anything out of the ordinary, as anything new may risk the safety of the village.
2) You must never commit a sin, as everything will be accompanied with a death sentence.
3) The Words of the Priest should never be rejected as it is always the wish of the gods above.
4) You will never leave the Village.
“Victor, Let’s go home, it’s a full moon, the blue witch would come,” my mother said to me Putting a hand on my shoulder. The blue witch, another superstition the priest fed us with, a mystical creature that comes at night to take people.
I stood and watched Kiobo’s body wrapped in linen clothing and taken away. “it shouldn’t have to be this way” I said still looking at the body. “He committed a sin, he should have known” mother spoke softly, “there are other punishments that could be given,” I said as a tear ran down my cheek. “Like What…I know he was your friend, besides, he will be brought back to us”. “do you really believe that mother?”, “I do” she hesitated before answering. “Then where is my Father,” I said looking her dead in the eyes. “Let’s go home it’s dark now” my mother took my hand and we walked home together.
The curfew for the community was 9 o’clock, 8 o’clock on a full moon when everyone locks their doors and windows in order not to be invaded by the blue witch.
Ever since my father died, I have hated our way of life. Spoonfed with what we should believe. My father believed in the old knowledge, the knowledge before the great war, so he named me “Victor” an old name. I was the only person in the entire community with an old name. My father was a researcher, he dug up books from below the ground. Books buried in debris and he coins out whatever he can from these old books. I have continued in his works, in secrets more or less, i don’t know what they will do to me if they found out I have a hidden library.
Night one (1)
I waited till I was sure no one was out, exactly 11 o’clock. It should be dark, but the full moon fed the town with just enough light. I quietly left my house to my secret library. It was always a good feeling to feed myself with new knowledge. My father had stored a good amount of books and hidden in an underground room covered with leafs. I searched through anything I could till it was time for me to leave. I left without a trace back home just before the sun came back up.
Day one (1)
“There is a dead man on our shore ooo” I woke up to the loud cry of a woman. “A man has been killed” she continued, desperately throwing herself on the ground. I quickly got up from my bed and walked outside my house. “What do you mean” a man asked trying to lift the woman from the ground. “Mr Vonte, I went to the waterside to draw water and there was a body there” she said while crying. “Did you recognize the body” Mr. Vonte asked. “No” she said calmly. “It was an outsider” she continued. The villagers immediately began to panic. “An outsider on our Land”a woman screamed. “they found us” another man said.
“Quiet” a voice rose from the panic. It was the priest. “An outsider on our shore you say?” The Priest walked up to the woman that saw the body. She nodded in acceptance. “Clean yourself up” he told her and turned to the villagers. “The body will be examined, and I will consult the elder gods, as long as we have been good, there is nothing to worry about” the priest said as he rose his hands to the sky.
“My people I make this pledge, to do what is right and forget all that is not. If once I do what is wrong, to the gods above I shall return, to be reborn, pure and holy” the villagers chanted as they returned to there various homes.
“I hope all is well” my mother said. “I’m sure it’s nothing” I replied as we walked into the house.
Night two (2)
All the doors where locked, Windows shut. I quietly left my house as I do every night. Went to my hidden library and did what I had to. I returned home and went to bed.
Day two (2)
“There is another dead man on our shore” I woke up to the cry of another woman. Madam Loke this time. In no minute, the entire villagers were standing outside their homes already.
“Not again” a man said as he restlessly walked out of his home. “How have we offended the elders” the Villagers murmured among themselves.
“There will be a cleansing” the priest walked to the center of the village. The people were immediately quite.
“Our homes will be searched and cleansed with holy water at once, if any of you are hiding something, we will find it” he continues as his guards rushed the homes of the unsuspecting villagers scattering everything in their presence. Trying to find something to blame, or something out of the ordinary.
Nothing was found. The priest left angrily probably needed someone to sentence to the Saviour.
Night three (3)
I continued with my daily routine not knowing what I had brought upon myself.
Day three (3)
“Victor, Wake up” I woke up to the sound of my mother. She looked confused. “The priest has paid us a visit” she continued, her eyes thick red and sweating profusely. The priest didn’t just pay visits. The last time they visited us was during the execution of my father. I immediately put some clothes on and walked out to meet him right in front of my house”
“I hope you slept well my son?” The priest asked to my Nod in acceptance.
“Do you remember your father” he asked. I bent my head to the ground.
“That was what I thought, he disrespected me and tried to change our ways, he tried to stop an execution” the priest said lifting my chin up with two of his fingers.
“The elder gods gave us these rules to protect us and you have broken them my son” the priest spoke with a thick voice.
“What do you mean my lord, there must have been a mistake” my mother spoke gently to the priest.
“Who do these belong to” the priest asked as a guard poured old books on the ground. My mother gasped at the sight of the strange books. “My father” I hesitated before answering. “Has he already been brought back to us” the priest asked. “It was he’s” “and now” the priest asked, “now… now it’s mine” I stuttered. “You have broken our rules Victor, rule number one and rule number two, You have sinned and fallen short of the grace of our almighty elder gods. You shall be cleansed. I sentence to death and you will be reborn body and soul, pure and holy” the priest said calmly.
“No not my son, not again” my mother cried. I was filled with shock, someone must have seen me, it was all my fault. The priest raised his hands to the sky.
“My people I make this pledge, to do what is right and forget all that is not. If once I do what is wrong, to the gods above I shall return, to be reborn, pure and holy” the villagers chanted.
You will be cleansed on the Savior the priest said.
“Run Victor…Ruuun” my mind was blunt. All I could hear was my mother. I didn’t know when I began to run away. As fast as my legs could carry. “Stop right there” one of the guards yelled. “Leave him, he will die in the woods” the priest told the guards. “Your mother will pay the price on the Saviour” he continues. All I did was run away out of the village. There is only one way and that path was created to take those that have been saved out of the village.
I have been walking this place for hours now. It was dark out here and cold too, it was a death sentence returning to my village and a death sentence staying out here. I have now broken all four rules and my mother is going to pay the price for my carelessness. I walked hopelessly through the thick forest, the moon have forgotten to shine her light on this part of the world. It was cold and I was exhausted, couldn’t hear myself think, that was when I decided to rest by a tree and continue my journey by mourning if I hadn’t already been consumed by wild animals.
“Hello, are you hurt” I heard a voice of a woman. I immediately looked up, my vision was blur, I don’t know how long I had slept. “Quick come with me, you’ll die out here on your own, my home is not quite far” she continued as she helped me off the ground. My lips were too cold so I couldn’t speak, I could barely even walk. She slowly carried me to her home in the middle of the woods, her entire body covered in cloth, must be because of the cold I thought to myself. She stayed in a small but proper home. We got in and she made a fire for me, gave me a cloth to cover my body and a hot tea to drink.
“What are you doing out here all on your own” she asked sitting right next to me. I could finally see her face even though it was still covered in veil. “I sinned, and I was to be executed” I spoke with shivers. “And what sin did you commit” she asked, “all of them” I replied looking her in the eye. “My priest blames me for the dead bodies found on our shores” I continued. “Dead bodies?”she asked, “yes outsiders, he said the wrath of the elder gods was on us”. There was a brief silence with only the sound of burning woods.
“There was a ship wreck not too far from here, the bodies have been carried by the waves to your shore line” she said. ” I know the ways of your people” she continued, “did you live there?”, “No my mother did” a very long time ago when the rules was being created” she said. “Why did she leave?” I asked. “She was banished, with me in her stomach.
We found ourselves here and made a home, a better home. She named me Rita” she said. “An old name?” I asked “Yes”she replied. “My mother is still there, she will be executed by tomorrow” I said hoping she could help. “There is nothing you can do to help her, I have prepared a bed for you in the corner, get some rest, you’ll feel better in the morning”.
I got up and went to bed, feeling unsure about this stranger. I must save my mother, I have to, that was my last thought before I fell asleep.
I quietly opened my eyes, and there she was, still sitting next to the fire, putting sticks in it. I quietly got up and grabbed a knife I saw in the corner. I walked and stood right behind her.
“I know what you are thinking” she said with a small voice. “The stories that you were told, they are not true” she continued while playing with the fire. “My mother was the daughter of a priest, one of the first Priest that made the rules. During the time, a rule was set that priest should not have children in other not to be biased in judgement” she continued as she trew a stick in the fire. “But my mother was born, with thick blue hair and blue eyes, the first ever seen.
My grandfather tried to protect her but he failed. He was executed by another priest”. I was still silent and didn’t move. “My mother was pregnant with me at a very young age, and terrible coincidences occurred in the village at that time, the people blamed my mother and called her a witch, the Blue Witch, she ran away from the village and started a life here” she turned around and looked at me. “I will never hurt you, I would never hurt anyone. I have no idea why I was born with this blue hair, but I am no Witch” she said as a tear ran down her cheeks.
She slowly got up and have me a hug. I felt her struggle and her pain, so I ended it. “I’m sorry, but I need to save my mother” I said as I stabbed her deep in the back. Her blood flowed down her cloth painting the boring ground. She shivers in my arms and loses balance, I slowly placed her on the ground. “You” she pointed at my face and used her bloody palm to rub on me. A tear ran down my cheek, “you are just like your people” she said as she took her last breath.
I immediately wrapped her in her own clothing and dragged her out of her home. The trail of blood following behind us. I dragged her through the dark forest. That was when I saw them, all those that have been killed before, hanged on the forest trees, body dried up to bones. They all gave me a look as I dragged the blue witch through the forest. It was almost morning and I finally got to the village. My mother was already on the Saviour, ready to be executed or saved.
“Stop” I spoke with authority as I dragged the body to the middle of the village. The villagers looked at me with surprise, probably thinking of how I could have ever returned.
“Have you come to die” the priest asked, “or watch your mother die?” He continued, my mother looked tired with hands tied to her back and a rope around her neck. “Neither, I have brought a present for the gods” I replied “what is that” he asked. I bent down and opened the cloth revealing the woman with blue hair. “The Blue Witch” I replied. “Impossible, how is that true” the villagers mumured as they took turns to look at the body.
“I am sure the elder gods will grant me my life and my mother’s for such act” I asked the priest. “Very well, but you may never set foot here again” he said looking down at the Blue witch. “Never” I replied. My mother was released and given to me. “I’m sorry. But my people needed something to believe in” I told the dead woman as I left the village with my mother.
I started a new life, outside my village, my mother and I. We lived in the home of the blue witch, out of the rules of my village.
My people I make this pledge, to do what is right and forget all that is not. If once I do what is wrong, to the gods above I shall return, to be reborn, pure and holy.
Sleep well Blue Witch.
Father never returned, not one of them were Reincarnated. It was a lie.