Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Chikunga clattered to the packed dirt floor of the songi's hut.

The Chikunga clattered to the packed dirt floor of the songi's hut. Despite its garish red paint, lines of darker, wetter red could still be seen in streaks and spatters across it's surface.

"You are certain that this is what you want, Mbandu?" The older man's voice trembled. Mbandu was not sure if it was from fear, or from something else. Normally, he would have been concerned. Tonight, he could care less. Still, this man was his village's songi--a skilled and honored maker of powerful items and totems--and he would pay his elder the respect he was due.

"Yes, Obeng. I will not falter. My mind is set." Mbandu bowed as he replied.

Obeng could see that the man bled from several deep wounds. The blood had already begun to flow, he thought, knowing what was to come would be far worse. "It is as I feared, Mwene's son. So be it, let us begin."

Something had told Obeng that nothing would steer the young warrior from his fearsome course. The white men raiders--Portuguese he believed they called themselves--had first come as peaceful traders, seeking wax, rubber, and ivory. These things their people, the Tchokwe, had in abundance. It did not take long for the white men to begin desiring and then taking other things, such as brides-to-be, which were not had in so much abundance.

"Will I know myself when the mahamba walks among the living?" Mbandu asked as he lay down amid the massive and strange pile of woven reeds, tanned leather straps, and desiccated elephant bones. Still spilling from the young man's many wounds, Mbandu's blood vanished into the construct like water into parched sand.

Obeng saw the young warrior's skin shiver, but the songi was not sure if it was from the scuttling of the hundreds of roaches and beetles that inhabited the piecemeal, skeleton-like framework; from the fear of the unknown that lay before him; or from the innate magic which had already been woven into the thing. "As we complete the ritual," he answered, "You must focus on your desire for revenge, your hatred of the men who stole your bethrothed. Once the mahamba walks, that it all you will know for the rest of your life, however long--or short--that may be."

The songi saw something good and pure die behind the eyes of the proud, young warrior whom he had known for nearly twenty-two summers. Mbandu nodded. "So be it."

Obeng nodded and with tears in his eyes, he began to chant, placing the Chikunga--the ceremonial mask of the now murdered rival tribe's chieftain--over Mbandu's face. The old songi began to chant, beginning the ritual that would give the mahamba life. Soon, a horrid fusion of man, animal, and plant; of death, life, and spirit would roam their lands, seeking the blood of white men.

White men who should have known better than to steal what was not theirs.

Art Source: "Vessel" (c)/by Dhenzel Obeng
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #creepy #mahamba, #Africa, #Portuguese, #1930's, #songi, #Chikunga, #Tchokwe, #Chokwe, #revenge


Post a Comment