Wrath of Africa by Juanita Morgan Osborne
Experience with Tyler the trauma of seeing family members captured and enslaved by strangers who have invaded his homeland. 134 pages. Black & white illustrations.
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The Wrath of Africa
(Bones of the Soul)
The sun was beginning to peek purplish orange over the background of the mountains’ tops.
Tyler was this day, as he was at the beginning of each and everyday, just over the hillside, tending the goats.
He rubbed the last of the sleep from his eyes. With his fingertip, he pinched the tiny plug of hardened cold from the inside corner of each eye. Then with a backhanded swipe, he wiped a thin dripping of snot from his nose.
The nanny had been so much more difficult this day than other days before; so mean in the spirit, so stingy with the milk.
And so Tyler was trudging back to the village with as meager a pail of milk as the cantankerous she goat would surrender.
What was wrong with her, he had had no idea. Normally, she was so responsive to Tyler’s soothing coaxing and his warm gentle squeezing of her swollen dripping tits. But not today. Today she was anything but generous.
Mama would know and understand.
Mama would know that he would have returned back long ago if there had not been problems.
Mama would make do with what milk he would bring and make the morning food oh so good all the same.
And so down the hill he came, his pet goat, Da, at his side.
Tyer's belly began a slow roar like that of the waking lion. He began to rub it, thinking of how happy his empty belly was going to be when he filled up with Mama's hot tofu mixed with green mashed plantaints. On top, he would have a nice helping of fresh fruit from the tree.
Sounds of Pandemonium
The commotion reached his ears before the horror met his eyes.
Just downside the hill, the screams, screeches, and shrills pierced beyond Tyler’s ability to hear.
The sounds burst the air and shook the mountains.
The fearsome flight of wing, fin, paw, and hoof careened crazily throughout, throughout.
Through the dense, dark smoke encircling the village and blackening the day, Tyler could see the faces of strange men in strange dress and footwear; faces of the color of the conch’s insides, yet likened to that of the trapped wild pig, scowled, dingy, wire-bristled with crazed bulging fire-red eyes.
Tyler had never seen men like such.
He would learn some while later, long after that ugly day that those cruel and evil men from the long away world of those called the Portuguese, come to round-up and rummage his village for the purpose of slave trade.
Home from the Hills
Seeing his son’s return from the hills, Alan, Tyler’s papa, had called out in their tongue-sing (unfamiliar to the ears of their captives) language “Hide, my son. Hide. Etch today’s event forever in your memory. Establish this scene in your eyes, mind and heart, always! All, always! Remember the curse. Then revenge! Revenge! Revenge and retribution.”
It was strange. To Tyler’s mind, it appeared that Papa had stepped wet from a swim in the ocean, but it was as if the ocean’s clear blue-green waters had been replaced with blood. Papa was drenched red!
Filled with fear and bewilderment, the young boy lay noiselessly and obediently in the tall swaying, lush green grass.
Guilt-tinged feelings of cowardice crept in slowly enveloping his still quieted soul.
It seemed his heart took turns drumming first a deafening valley into the earth and then rising and slamming with a mountainous thud into his chest.
As the resonance of the frantic fury appeared to fade to a distance, Tyler cautiously parted the blades of grass to view what was going on.
He could not! Must not! Absolutely would not blink an eye.
He saw his family; friends – all of his loved ones – lined up, shackled, and beated into defeat; being led aboard the biggest water vessel that Tyler had ever seen.
He wondered how one vessel could carry so many and still remain atop the ocean.
Surely such panic with so many aboard should send the vessel slipping to the ocean’s bottom. It did not. Tyler did not understand.
Ahead, behind, and along the sides of his loved ones, Tyler saw the evildoers. Everywhere they were. Even atop the people they were; looking down from the vessel; down from the treetops the evildoers were; their long gigantic weapons which spew out balls of iron fire that blew holes through mighty men (Tyler had seen so), pointed menacingly on his people – his people who were crying, stumbling, falling, pleading to The Great One, who appeared to be in slumber.
They had, too, long sharp weapons, so sharp, it seemed to Tyler, that one powerful slash might have the power to cut one big elephant in two.
Brushing the welding tears from his big mahogany eyes, (Mama used to say that his eyes were his face.)
Tyler determined in his gallant heart “I must not cry. I must see and record every detail – big and little, no matter how hard the bearing, within my heart and head, forever. I must see and say, everyday, so that the memory - the terrible memory - be carved as deeply as Papa’s sharp knife into the gut of the buffalo; into my head, into my heart, into my soul, and into my bones to stay as certain as the dawning of the day; should dawn ever return again.”
His heart was so painfully swollen, it felt as large as the belly of Leniee, his mama, who was to deliver a new baby with the showing of the next full moon.
Mama was in the line.
Renzi, his cousin and favorite playmate, was in the line. Everybody loved Renzi. Boys and girls, both alike loved Renzi.