Black Short Stories : Amachi's Hope

Discussion in 'Short Stories - Authors - Writing' started by JAMROCK, Sep 19, 2007.



    Sep 19, 2007
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    Copyright © 2004


    There was a time when I walked the Earth in human form. My people considered me a healer but I was also known as an oracle; born with the ability of sight. I was called Amachi , Goddess of Light. Though my people were aware of my abilities and knew that I would harm none, some feared me because my eyes were as clear and fathomless as the sea that surrounded our land. Sometimes, I would hear them whisper, “When she looks at you, it is as if she can see inside your soul.”

    I have existed for many millennia. My spirit is re-born every 500 years into the body of one of my sistren . With each re-birth, I become more powerful than before. But never more powerful than the Gods that created me. Sadly, my powers leave me exposed to loneliness and it pains me to watch those I love, grow old and die before I ever will. Still I continue to use my abilities to try to make their lives on this land a happy and peaceful one.

    On the night of each Summer Equinox, I cast a spell to allow me sight into the future. It is only on that night, that I am able to see what the Gods have planned for the future of my people. With the use of a balefire , I call upon Olorun the high god to give me the strength I need to evoke the spell. “Olorun bless me with your power; help me to see the unseen.” But one night, my insight into the future was different from all the others.

    As the summer moon glowed in the night, my balefire raised high into the sky. The fire turned a sky blue and glazed over into a sheet of solid ice. On it a vision began to materialize. In it I saw a hut and inside, a woman struggling to give birth to a child. Outside lurked a dark presence, angrily circling the hut but unable to get inside. Behind the hut I saw black, sinister clouds rushing towards my land and following it, an ominous wall of water. Then suddenly a bright blinding light, so beautiful that it moved me. Something that has not happened to me in many lifetimes. I raised my hands to touch it and the vision was gone.

    I was afraid because the premonition meant danger to my people, but it also meant that they still had hope. I rushed to the elders and told them of what I had seen. But as powerful as I was, they only saw me as a woman and refused to listen to the message I was trying to convey.
    “The existence of our tribe is in peril. I have seen a great danger, one that our powers cannot save us from. But there is hope; I have also foreseen the birth of a savior. This savior will be the light of our people.”

    “Amachi, that is utter nonsense, we are above all that! We have nothing to fear! The Gods will protect us!” said an elder mockingly. I was furious of their ignorance. Only Elder Shombay one of our high priests, looked beyond their stupidity. He knew in his heart that what I said could possibly come to pass.

    “Every 25 years on the night of the Harvest Moon, a child is born to our people. Upon its birth we will know if he is the true savior.” said Elder Shombay. “How will we know this?” I asked. “The child will have an aura like no other.” Thus the search for our savior began.

    Two Hundred Years Later…

    Two hundred years have passed with no sign of the “special” child we were searching for. With each passing birth, my hopes were dwindling like the flame of a burning candle. I went to Elder Shombay with my concerns.

    “Elder Shombay, I fear that our savior may not be born in time to save us. Each night my dreams grow darker and I awaken with the sheen of fear running across my brow. I am afraid that our time draws near,” said Amachi. “Where there is fear, there is hope Amachi. Isn’t that what you told me, that there is hope? I believe that his birth will not elude us. He is destined to be born, he is our destiny.”

    On that same night, Adebanke jumped up from her deep slumber. “Oluwafemi , Oluwafemi awaken, awaken! The vision has invaded my dreams again! For years its meaning has been unclear. But finally, the Gods have deemed me worthy enough to know the answer. At first I could only see that a woman was trying to give birth to a child, but I could never see her face. Now I realize that the woman is me!” “Well Adebanke,” said Oluwafemi, “the reason why the Gods put us here, is because we have a purpose in this life. Not only was it meant that we meet each other, but it is meant that you bring forth this child into the world. He must be very special if you have dreamt of his birth, even before it has taken place. I hope it will be a boy, but whatever the Gods bless us with will be a blessing indeed.”

    Chapter I

    The Usambara Mountains of West Africa hold a secret. A mysterious tribe of natives called the Olorun resides there. Named after the high god Olorun, they are rumored to be high priests and priestesses that possess great mystical powers. No one had ever seen proof of it, yet people are afraid and believe that they deal in black juju . Those who are truly connected to the Olorun know they are the originators of white juju. The Olorun do not flaunt their powers, and only use them when it is needed. People come to them in secrecy, when they can no longer help themselves.

    It was to this tribe of mystics, that a special child was to be born. The goddess Amachi foretold, that this child would be their savior. But you wonder, “What does a tribe of high priests and priestesses need with a savior?” Well it was also foretold that a grave danger beheld the Olorun tribe, a danger that could wipe them out in one blow. That person would save all their lives, and the lives of future generations to come. It was prophesized that the child would be the tribe’s defender.

    Even though some refused to believe in the myth, others still held on to the hope that the savior exists.

    So it was a big surprise, when on the night of the Harvest Moon, two children were born to Adebanke and Oluwafemi. This birth was special, for it had been over two hundred years since the prophecy was first foreseen. “This is a great blessing indeed, not only will we have one, but two special children sent by the Gods to protect us.” said a tribe member. Little did the tribe know how different the children would be.

    The first-born, a boy, was named Akin . The second born, also a boy was named Kamau . Akin as hoped, was born with great abilities. When he came into the world he glowed and sparkled. He had the special aura that the prophecy spoke of. Everyone was in awe of him. So when Kamau was born, it was with great disappointment. For Kamau was in fact a regular, healthy baby. No glowing, no sparkling, no fanfare. The people of Olorun did not know what to make of baby Kamau, but his parents Adebanke and Oluwafemi could care less. “Akin and Kamau are beautiful children, but most importantly, they are OUR children!” they announced. “This tribe will treat Akin and Kamau as equals!” Even though members of the tribe doubted this, they did not want the wrath of the parents upon their heads. So they quieted their opinions and cared for the newborns as if they were their own.

    Chapter II

    As the years passed, Akin and Kamau were becoming great men, each in their own right. Akin’s powers grew daily. He could move objects with just a thought and he could even call upon the creatures of the deep. Kamau did not develop powers like the tribe had hoped, but he was powerful in other ways. He was becoming a great warrior, marksman and skilled in the use of the bow and arrow. He was compared to the god Ochossi and considered one of the tribe’s greatest hunters, even at his young age.

    Akin and Kamau were as competitive as brothers could be, but no one doubted the love and respect that was shared between them and their family. Their parents sometimes worried about their well-being. “It seems like the tribe is putting too much pressure on Akin and Kamau is always running head on into danger, as if he has no fear. I swear he is trying to prove something, but I’m just not sure to whom.” Adebanke said worriedly to her husband one night. “So far everything that has been foreseen has come to pass. They believe Akin is, as was foretold and they will not believe otherwise.” Oluwafemi lovingly told his wife. “You need not worry Adebanke; our boys are stronger than you think.” Oluwafemi held his wife close as they looked out at the starry night sky.

    Akin’s mother knew her son’s heart. She knew that her son was feeling the weight of the tribe upon his shoulders. He would often tell Kamau, “I do not feel that I am this great savior that everyone is speaking of! What am I going to do!” he asked Kamau. “What if I can not be what they wish, what then? Perhaps, I should just run away and you will come with me Kamau!” Kamau rolled his eyes upward, for he had heard this many times before. “This will be a part of you no matter where you go, Akin. Do not look upon this as a burden; look at it as a responsibility. You must face whatever is ahead; you owe it to our people.” “I do not owe them a thing; they were ready to turn their backs on you because you were not born with juju. Why should I care?” asked Akin. “Because Akin, everyone had a hand in raising you; in raising us. They are a part of the reason you and I have grown so strong. What is it that our Abiyamo always says, “It takes a village to grow a child ?” Akin had to stop and think about what Kamau said. “Perhaps, you are right brother. But I can not help feeling that there is something just out of my reach,” he said with his hands raised towards the sky. “You think too much big brother; let us enjoy the beautiful day that Buku has blessed us with!” Unbeknownst to them, Amachi watched and waited.

    Chapter III

    Traditionally, the oldest boy of the family (usually at the age of seventeen) goes up into the mountains to undergo a trial. Akin being the oldest was chosen to go. It is there, that he must confront his fears and return as a man. “You are allowed to bring one person with you, Akin.” said an elder. He of course, chose his brother Kamau. “Understand this young Akin,” said Elder Shombay, “you will not be allowed to return, unless a lesson is learned. Power is not just juju, and juju is not the only power! Keep that in mind when you face your destiny on that mountain. Perhaps, you will both discover something special within yourselves.”

    That night the Olorun prepared for a special ceremony. As was accustomed, tribe members adorned their ceremonial garb and masks to worship the creator. The beautiful indigo blue of their dress expressed their joy for Akin and Kamau and gave praise to Olorun’s presence, his power and the purity of the spirit. Akin and Kamau understood the seriousness of the gesture and was humbled by it.

    Once the ceremony began, there was much hand clapping, dancing and singing around the fire. Tribe members came from all over, food was shared and special gifts were given. One of the gifts that the boys received was a chain of cowry shells with a tiny charm of Olorun attached. “Your charm not only represents the God that our tribe is named after, but will protect you and let you know that we are always with you.” said Elder Shombay.” He sprinkled water on them from head to toe. “This blessed water will purify you, and further prepare you for the journey ahead.” He then poured a sacred wine into the fire in offering to the god Olorun.

    Akin and Kamau were scared and confused but were too proud to admit it to the elder. “What do you think he meant, Akin?” whispered Kamau. “I do not know but I guess we’re about to find out.” mumbled Akin. So armed with his juju and Kamau with his bow and arrow, they braced themselves for whatever awaited them in the dark jungle.

    Chapter IV

    As Akin and Kamau cut through the tall bushes and tangled vines, they felt themselves being drawn in the direction of a cave. The closer they got, the stronger the pull. Neither understood the reason why. “Something is wrong, Kamau” said Akin. “Obviously you feel the pull as I do.” said Kamau. “I think we should turn back.” said Akin. “And risk the shame and disgrace of our family? I think not. We have to face our fate, we cannot run from it forever.” said Kamau.

    It was then that they saw a glowing light. It seemed to be beckoning to them. “You know as well as I, that there is nothing in that cave that bears light! When light even attempts to enter that cave, it turns and slinks away!” said Akin. “Have you already forgotten what the elder said, Power is not just juju, and juju is not the only power! We can face whatever is in there together,” said Kamau. Mentally squashing down their fears, they continued on their journey.

    The moon was at its apex by the time they reached the mouth of the cave. Heavy mist crawled along its entrance and Akin found himself doing a double take. He could have sworn that the Iroko trees started to move towards them. Kamau was seriously considering retreat even after the speech he gave Akin about the whole destiny thing.

    The mist shifted and an apparition began to appear in front of them. It materialized into a graceful gazelle. It was the source of light that they saw from afar. For it glowed and shimmered just like Akin did when he was born.

    Akin and Kamau were so awe-struck they fell to their knees in reverence. It was then that they heard a melodious voice calling to them. “Akin, Kamau, rise up, rise up, you need not fear me! I am Amachi, Goddess of Light. I bring you a message.” Akin and Kamau remembered hearing stories of the great goddess but never truly believed them. It was said that if you saw her, you would forever be blessed with love, light and especially hope.

    “Umoja ni nguvu, utengano ni udhaifu - Unity is strength, division is weakness young ones! Remember this always, even at your most trying times. It can be the difference between life and death!” “What does that mean goddess, are we in danger?” asked Kamau. But before they could get an answer, Amachi began to disappear as quickly as she appeared. “I am always with you young ones.” said Amachi, and then she was gone. Too shaken for words, the boys took a deep breath and continued on their way into the eerie cave.

    Chapter V

    Upon reaching the center of the cave, they were suddenly attacked by whispers coming from every direction. The sounds paralyzed them and confused their senses. A gray fog swept into the cave and headed towards them. When the fog surrounded their bodies, they began to shiver from fright and cold. It was then that the whispers became clear. “Do you know who I am?” said the voice. The boys were too frightened to answer. Then the voice bellowed, “Do you know who I am?!” Boldly, Kamau responded, “Yes, you are Eshu !” “Eshu? How do you know this?” said the voice. “It is said, that your spirit dwells in this cave.” Akin answered timidly. “You are brave to utter my name with such disrespect. You pray that I am only your imagination, and when you close your eyes, I’ll no longer exist. But I am more than what I appear.” said Eshu.

    In a blink, their surroundings changed. Akin and Kamau found themselves in different places and realized that they were separated. Akin was on a tiny raft in the middle of the sea and Kamau, deep in the dark jungle. Despite where they were, they could still hear Eshu’s voice in their heads. “Amachi has no power here! She broke the rules and warned you. She made you think that you had a chance. But no one has ever defeated me, and you will not be the first to succeed.” At that moment, a giant whale leaped out of the cool waters and snapped up Akin. Kamau then found himself being chased by two very hungry lionesses wanting food for their young.

    Akin tried every juju spell he knew, with no luck. He was slowly but surely losing air. He even tried controlling the whales mind, but all he got for his trouble was a voice saying, “I am child of Eshu, your silly tricks and spells have no effect on me!” Akin was starting to lose hope, but something deep inside calmed him. He suddenly felt a presence. He closed his eyes and within his center, saw a bright light. He saw himself being surrounded by it. And he was then filled with hope, even though he didn’t see any in sight. As disgusted as he was with the smell of whale and dead creatures surrounding him, he forced himself to let go of his tension. “Relax, Akin,” he said to himself. “The answer will come to you, the Gods do not wish you harm.” But with the trickery Eshu had planned, he was not so sure.

    Chapter VI

    Kamau was running for his life and the lionesses were swiftly gaining on him. He tried dodging, he tried scaling a tree, but nothing worked. It was like they knew his every move. They even tried climbing up a tree after him. He attempted to use his bow and arrow, but their incredible stealth made it impossible to hit a target. His knowledge of the jungle, his agility, and speed were of no use either. He found himself surrounded by them and he knew he was in trouble. For the first time in his young life, he truly felt fear. He always thought he was above that, but as the lionesses moved closer he knew better. It was then that he too felt a presence. He felt courage surge through his body and cloak him like a heavy blanket. He knew then that there was hope, and knew what he had to do.

    He called out, “Eshu! You are nothing but a coward! You use your pets to taunt me! Show yourself to me! Face me! Let us end this like men!” yelled Kamau. The lionesses both laughed and spoke at the same time, “We are children of Eshu, your silly threats and insults will have no effect on us!” As they spoke, they took swipes after his arms and legs. “Eshu is master of your destiny!” they said. They repeated this chant as they closed in on him.

    With one last attempt at escape, Kamau jumped up the face of a rock and prayed that there would be something to hold on to. He managed to find a foothold and boosted himself up. Luckily for him, the rock was too slick for the lionesses to get a grip on. They roared in frustration, for they knew that their young would not feast that night.

    As the lionesses circled the rock, Kamau sat down and reached deep within him for the calm he so desperately needed. He started to feel his connection to his brother and called out to him. “Akin! Where are you? Can you hear me? I can feel how weak you are, but you must fight. You must listen to me! This is all a trick, an illusion. Eshu’s purpose is to keep us off track, and away from our true calling. We must fight!” said Kamau. “But how? I can barely breathe Kamau….” said Akin. “We must reach within, Akin. Your juju and my abilities are not enough! Focus, Akin! You must or we will never survive!” said Kamau. In their heads, they heard the melodious voice of Amachi saying, “I am always with you young ones….”

    In a flash, they both found themselves on the beach. Eshu was boiling with rage, and wanted them to suffer for besting him. “You may have escaped, young ones but your trial has just begun!” The sky began to rumble and turn dark. “Sister Oya ! Teach them a lesson!” As they looked up, they could see the thunder-goddess stir the clouds black. The once beautiful and peaceful waters began to roll and thrash. The ground seemed to shake beneath their feet and all the animals of land and sea fled for their lives. The trees began to sway and snap, and even the sands tried to whirl to safety. The heavens opened up, and released sheets of rain that felt like needles against Akin and Kamau’s skin. “You both will die this night! Your tribe will be but a memory!” said Eshu in a booming voice.

    “Is this our destiny, Akin? To disappear as if we’ve never existed?” shouted Kamau. “We will not go without a fight Kamau, take my hand!” yelled Akin valiantly. And as if they knew it all their lives, both brothers raised their arms to the sky and began to chant, “All ancestors near and far, listen to our call, Oloddumare , Eleda , If'a ,Yemoja we plead to you on his hour, give to us your mighty powers. Generations old, generations young, reach deep within your souls, we plead to you on this hour, give to us your mighty powers!” Repeatedly they chanted the spell and with each breath, the storm continued to grow in strength and power.

    All over the land, tribe members had their hands raised up towards the sky. Each heard Akin and Kamau’s chant in their hearts and minds. All of a sudden, great rays of light began coming from hundreds of directions. The rays pounded Akin and Kamau’s bodies making them stronger with each strike. It was then that they began to glow, and rise up into the sky. The Oloruns shared their inner light with Akin and Kamau, helping them with what could be their only chance at survival.

    By himself, Akin was strong, but with his brother he was invincible. They began to spin and the faster they spun the brighter they became. Akin and Kamau emerged into one massive circle of pure light. They were no longer just brothers, but a representation of all love, all light and all hope.

    The light that was Akin and Kamau turned in time to see a tidal wave barreling towards them. Eshu and Oya wanted to destroy everything that they have ever known. Suddenly a powerful mass of light struck out from them, and directly into the center of the tidal wave. The more the tidal wave pushed, the brighter and stronger the light became until the wave exploded into millions of sparkling rain drops. The drops descended upon the earth, and with it came the re-birth of the land, the people and the men (for they were no longer boys) that saved it.

    Chapter VII

    Akin and Kamau floated back down on to the earth, and fell into a deep slumber. Within their minds they could hear Eshu saying “To do one’s duty is to eat the prized fruit of honor. Well done, Akin and Kamau. Well Done.” In their dreams, they found themselves in a heavenly plane called Orun . They were surrounded by their ancestors and thanked for their heroic deed. Then they saw the mystical gazelle, the familiar that guided them and knew that it was Amachi. She transformed into her human form, and was just as beautiful. She had ebony skin, almond shaped eyes, long braided hair, a white ceremonial robe and a golden ankh hanging from her neck. From her they could feel all the love, light and hope that they heard about. Amachi was the embodiment of it. She then said, “You have fulfilled your destinies, and are now apart of the realm of men, but what have you learned?” asked Amachi.

    It was many days later, when Akin and Kamau were strong enough to take part of the celebration given by their people. Tribe members from all over, wanted to come and greet the men that saved generations to come.

    Sitting around a great fire, froth with music, laughter and joy, Kamau turned to Elder Shombay and asked “Elder, I am still confused about everything that has happened. I thought there was only one savior mentioned in the prophecy? And I’m sad to say, that I no longer have the juju I once possessed.” “When the prophecy was foreseen,” said Elder Shombay, “it was assumed that there would be only one child. And with that, the belief that one person could do it all. But what we failed to understand is the power that comes from numbers. Not only did you gain strength from one another, but from your family as well. You have always had power Kamau, your power stems from your love of your brother, your family, and your ancestors. It was only when they truly needed you, that your latent powers were realized. Even though your juju was temporary, it served its purpose did it not?” said a smiling Elder Shombay.

    Akin and Kamau looked at one another, remembering what Amachi asked them. “What is it that our parents always say Akin?”Onipa baako nsa nkata Nyame ani ." said Kamau. “Only with unity can we accomplish our goals.” said Akin. “I am proud of you both,” said Elder Shombay, “for you have truly learned a lesson.”

    Akin and Kamau joined the festivities and Elder Shombay turned and shared a knowing smile with Amachi before she disappeared into the night.



    Amachi - (Ah-mah-chi) –Who knows what God has brought us through this child (Ibo of Nigeria)

    Sistren - in the Jamaican dialect, term for woman/friend.

    Balefire - a fire lit for magical purposes

    Olorun - Yoruba deity, high god, bestows blessings and confers thanks when invoked (Oloddumare)

    Shombay - (shawm-bay) He who walks like a lion (Swahili)

    Adebanke - God is taking care of her (Yoruba of Nigeria)

    Oluwafemi - (O-lu-waa-fay-me) God loves me, God cherishes me (Yoruba of Nigeria)

    Usambara Mountains - mountain range of Tanzania. A relict patch of the great tropical forests that once spanned Africa from the Atlantic to the Indian Oceans, and have more in common with the forests of West Africa than those of the east side of the continent.

    Juju - West African word for magic.

    Akin- Warrior, Hero, Brave Man (Yoruba of Nigeria)

    Kamau- Quiet Warrior (origination unknown)

    Ochossi - Hunter Orisha; he used a bow and arrow to hunt with since their instruments have always been the most effective hunting tools in primitive societies.

    Abiyamo - in Yoruba language, term for mother

    It takes a village to grow a child - (it takes a whole village to raise a child) based on a Yoruban saying (Nigeria)

    Buku - West African sky god.

    Cowry Shells - (also spelled "cowrie"), are marine snails of genus cypraea (family cypraeidae), found chiefly in tropical regions, especially around the Maldives or the East Indies; were used as a currency in Africa (e.g.,
    Nigeria) and elsewhere. They are also worn as jewelry or otherwise used as ornaments or charms, as they are viewed as symbols.

    Charm - A magical object, action, or incantation that affects magic, averts evil or danger.

    Iroko - a hardwood tree of tropical Africa (Late 19th century, from Yoruba)

    Umoja ni nguva, utengano ni udhaifu - unity is strength, division is weakness /Kiha (Tanzania)

    Eshu - Yoruba trickster-god, causes one to mature; god of beginnings, doorways and crossroads. He rules the opportunity and potentiality of a situation, and the risks and rewards inherent in it.

    Oya - Yoruban thunder mother, goddess of the storm and vengeance. Wife of Shango.

    Oloddumare - Yoruba deity represents the creator of all

    Eleda - Yoruba deity represents destiny

    If'a - Yoruba deity represents the voice of divinities and wisdom of the ancestors

    Yemoja – Yoruba deity represents the spirit of water

    “To do one’s duty is to eat the prized fruit of honor.” – Motherland Nigerian proverbs – Re: Hardwork.

    Orun – upper Outerworld, the heavenly plane; earthly deeds and character decide which heaven one travels.

    Familiar - An animal, usually a cat, with whom a witch establishes a special psychic/magical relationship. Familiars offer help, companionship, protection, and usually unconditional love as well.

    Ankh - Ancient Egyptian symbol of life. It looks like a cross with a loop at the top.

    Onipa baako nsa nkata Nyame ani - "A single hand (of a person) cannot cover the sky." Although the Akan use the word Nyame for God who is essentially a spirit, they use the same word, on occasion, for the sky. The proverb suggests that one person’s hand cannot cover the sky, it will take many hands to accomplish that task. Cooperation and mutual help lead to the accomplishment of difficult tasks. (Ghana)
  2. watzinaname

    watzinaname Well-Known Member MEMBER

    United States
    Oct 4, 2003
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    This write left me spellbound. The characters were interesting and complex, the word choice made the tale quite vivid, and the moral of the story...the lesson learned is one we should all be schooled in. Outstanding.
  3. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

    United States
    Mar 21, 2001
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    BUSINESS owner
    very well done as i was taken into this deep gotta be more i want more !


    Sep 19, 2007
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    I really appreciate your remarks on the story. As scary as it was, I wanted an unbiased opinion on the story and I got just that. I have 2 other stories in this series that I will post on a later date.

    Thanks Again!