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TAMAR (EPISODE 1 & 2)

 TAMAR

Episode 1

“This one doesn’t look too good… too white like the flakes, too thin, too ugly, too weak, too much hair filled with lice… Just too much of everything… How much does she go for?"


“Do not underestimate her... Her look maybe deceitful… She is as strong as a camel, she walked 100 miles from the sahara to the lakey Iceland, I swear with twail, the god of thunder and storm, she maybe thin and frail but she is one of the strongest… And she is going for thirty-five shillings… That’s the price my good friend..."


“Hahahaha, I can’t pay such a big amount for her, I will pay twenty shillings, we are into same business and you know that she doesn’t worth it, everything counts when purchasing a slave, the look and body count, but she has none, she just has big eye balls and I want to buy her because you said she is strong. I just hope you're saying the truth when you say she walked from the sahara to lakey Iceland…


“It's true my friend, I swear to you with the god of thunder. Remember, I can’t lie with the name of twail, twail strikes down those that lie with his name… She's worth the price I have given you. You can pay thirty instead of it thirty-five shillings, I’m giving you a good price, take her…"


"Well, I don’t believe in any god, I worship money, because money answers all things... I will pay twenty-five, if you're not selling then I'll move to another dealer, I don’t have time to waste on some useless slave…"


“Okay... Pay the twenty-five shillings…"


I watched in silent as the first dealer counted the money before handing me over to the second man. He was happy to be free from me, I had been with him for long and nobody had been able to buy me off, and when he finally sold me, he was happy because he was not totally at loss He bought me in the Sahara, from a slave market, after the merchants offloaded us from the sea to the shore, he bought me for twenty-three shillings and sold me for twenty-five, after walking under the scotching sun and arriving at the present port.


The second dealer made me walk so fast as he led me with other slaves through a passage way. We all seemed to be between eleven and seventeen years, not more than that, and I was the most frail among them. I was tired, hungry and thirsty yet, I had no right to complain because I was only a slave. My fate had been predestined, but I was not scared, I might be in a foreign land filled with different gods, carved in different shapes and sizes, I might have lost my mother and father, with Joe my brother, and Kathrine and Deb my two sisters to the cold hands of war, but I'm not scared.


Mother had died in my arms. She had died of starvation, after the war broke out. Joe had gone out in search of food but was captured by the soldiers, and killed. He was dumped on the same piles of dead bodies where father was discarded after he was killed. I watched from the tiny hole of our room as they set them on fire, and the smoke went high, I shut my eyes and held my breath for some seconds, thinking I was going to die too, but I didn’t die, I needed to be strong.

After Kathrine, my sister died that morning, and mother who had been ill for long gave up in the evening, I began to doubt my faith, I had questions and I needed answers. I held my only surviving blood, my sister Deb, she sobbed in my arms and I hushed her severally to be quiet while trying to hold myself from screaming, so that we would not be heard. We were quiet with everything. The soldiers may be passing, they were going from house to house to make sure that they cleared off every household. Any noise from us would attract them faster.

Deb and I cleaned mother and Kathrine up, we combed their curly hairs into bonds, and dressed them up, and laid them on the bed, as if they were asleep and would wake up soon. That was my wish, that everything happening around us was a terrible nightmare, but it was real, real and close to the skin.

Mother was very beautiful even as she laid in death, she was at peace, I sat beside her and watched her, and just hoper some part of her body would move to signify that she was still alive, but nothing moved. 

I touched her body and it was so cold. I held her hands, hoping my warm hands would warm up her cold hands, but still nothing happened. Deb was looking at the street from the tiny hole I created, I saw everything from there. Deb was all I got now, I use to have my elder brother, Joe, my two younger sisters, Kath and Deb, and also my loving parents, but not again. I only got Deb who was the youngest and was nine years old, Kathrine was eleven years, she loved God passionately, she was the strongest among the three among us.

 she was kind and yet God was not merciful enough to save her from dying, he allowed her to die and allowed mother also who stood for uprightness and truth, to go too, leaving the weak ones. my faith was weak, I looked weak physically yet, I got strength of ten people in me which no eyes can see

I knew what mother would say in this present situation, she would say “Tamar, don’t let your heart be troubled, in everything rejoice, this world will pass one day but our souls belong to one true God. Even if he allows us to be struck with famine and sickness, He will heal our land and restore our health, for in Him we live and move, in Him we have our being…"


As I was lost in thought, Deb called my attention to the hole and I saw soldiers approaching our door. My stomach tightened, my heart skipped. I wanted to hide Deb but if she stayed in here she might probably die of starvation. I didn't want to lose her, I thought of what to do, with mother and Kathrine lying dead on the bed as if they were sleeping, and with Deb shaking all over from fear. My whole faith weakened, I couldn’t do anything, and when the soldiers hit our door with their iron boots I was shaking all over, they were two and look scary.

 They came in and I held Deb as she cried and shook. I was trying to be brave like father would do, but not this time. I was truly afraid, I didn't know what fate held for us. Outside was deadly, yet inside was lonely and smelt of death. Nowhere was safe to stay.

The first soldiers looked at us,while the second passed to where mother and Kath laid peacefully. The first soldier swore as the second one called his attention to mother and Kathrine's corpses in bed. The first stepped out and brought a wooden truck, which they used in evacuating the dead. They threw in mothers and Kathrine's dead bodies into the truck carelessly, and they were pushed to where dead bodies were kept and burnt.

 I cried, I screamed, I wanted to hold mother for the last time. I wanted to check if she would shake, I wanted to look upon her beautiful face and be strengthened, but she was gone. I would never see her or father or Joe and even Kathrine again.

As I was dragged outside with Deb, I looked up to the sky and began to curse. 

I hated God, I hated him for allowing so much bad things into the world, and for allowing the wicked to oppress the helpless. I hated God for allowing father to be killed on the street. Father was a religious leader and he was a faithful follower of God, yet he was killed. Joe was a young man who was trying to follow every of father’s step. He became the breadwinner when father died, he was sixteen years old, and was killed as he went in search of food. God allowed hunger and sickness to take my mother and my sister Kathrine, leaving me with Deb. What kind of God was that? If He was strong enough, he could have saved us, and stopped the war. Why did bad things happen to good people, especially people with good hearts like mother and father? God allowed it.


I had unanswered questions. I was filled with anger as they dragged Deb and I to an open square where other survivors of the war were kept. We crawled up to our knees and sat on the ground, holding one other. Whatever laid ahead was far bigger than what I could face. I silently hoped I would die too, because life was like a pure definition of hell.


Deb, my only surviving family became ill and died after five days. 

She contracted flu in the open square and started coughing out blood. I tried everything, even prayed to God not minding that I was angry with Him. I had prayed that if He could save my only surviving sister, I would love Him again. I would apologize for every bad thing I said to Him or did, I would serve Him more than I had ever done, but God was silent. 

The flu quickly spread all over Deb’s body. There was no good water and food and medicine to properly care for her. I used the piece of cloth tied to my waist to cover her from cold at night. I stayed awake trying to warm her up with my own body because Deb was my only family.

 If she dies what would I do? I kept begging God, but God didn’t hear me, He didn’t listen to my supplications. Deb died in the middle of the fifth night at the open square, and the soldiers came to take her away, I still couldn’t believe she was gone.


“Hey, walk fast or I will be forced to use the whip on you, I don’t want to touch you because you look too frail as if you'll drop dead any second. I want to resell you and make even if it's a little gain. I gave that dealer twenty-five five shillings for you, and it's way too much. I shouldn’t have spent such a huge amount. You look weak and I wonder how you managed to trek from the Sahara to the Iceland, that dealer must be a good liar swearing with twail because he didn't want you to remain with him... I hate to waste money because money is my god, now tell me the truth: do you trek from sahara to lakey Iceland?"


I looked at the man's stone face, he distracted me from my saddened thought, I was still wondering why I was still alive, the thinnest and weakest one in my family. I had been shipped and smuggled like ordinary goods, I had been exposed to cold and heat, been hungry and thirsty. I had gone from hand to hand of slave traders, and yet I am still alive. The only thing that had not happened to me was rape. I watched as other beautiful slave girls got raped in the cabin but any of the dealers that got to me would look at me all over, shake their heads and walk away. I didn't look like good food to them, only my sunken, big white eye balls, with my full curly hair, the trait I got from my beautiful mother which was now covered with lice and dirt scared them away.

 They tagged me ugly, which was an added advantage too, being frail had also saved me from some maltreatment. I was strong enough inside, I had enough strength to walk and run miles but it was never shown in my physical body. 

My slim nature was deceiving anybody that came in contact with me. The dealer that sold me off thought I would drop dead along the way from the Sahara, but he was surprise that I made it, while some other slaves dropped dead and they were left there to be devoured by wild animals. The mere thought of wild animals feeding on me was enough to keep me moving.

I was jolted out of my thoughts when I heard in a harsh loud voice “... Answer me slave, or I will throw you to the circus animals by the entrance gate!!! You're are just a mouthful to them, nothing in you will be enjoyable. speak up or can’t you speak , don’t you have a voice?"


“I can speak sir! Yes, he was right. I trekked from the Sahara to the lakey Iceland..." I replied him.


“Then, that’s good. let’s keep going, you still have lots of trekking to do, I just hope your body can carry it, and that your hair will be barbed. It stinks, and I wish you'll be a good sale for me because I don’t deal with loss, I like making profit…"


I was ready for whatever that comes my way, and I also hoped I would end up as a household slave not as a temple slave.

Temple slaves were used to serve different gods. The land we are in were filled with pagan worshipers, there were different hand made gods and temples everywhere, in every square and junction, hung on trees and houses.

 Everybody chose what they wanted to worship, but the faith I was practicing since I was born was never allowed here; it was a taboo in this place.

However, I will be given a choice to choose the god I wanted to worship here if I ended up as a household slave in a good house or I will end up serving my master and mistress as gods. 

It was well expected of every slave to make their master or mistress their god, whom they would serve for the rest of their lives. 


I was not afraid, I used to be, but not anymore. I have seen too much calamities in my young life to be scared of anything.


Wherever fate lead, I will follow.




TAMAR 

Episode 2



The dealer paid five shillings to a fat woman by the pool to bath me and one other slave girl who looked worn out.

 The fat woman shaved my hair and gave me a new wear after the bath, she gave me a small turban to wrap my head so that no buyer would be discouraged by my look, I wrapped the turban round my head as it was instructed.

We journey to another district, and the other slaves got buyers quickly and as usual, no buyer wanted to give me a second look. 

Most of the beautiful ones among us were either bought to be temple prostitutes or household slaves. I stood there hoping to get a good buyer so that I could be free from the dealer who was already getting frustrated with having me, he didn't want to run at loss, he worshipped money and liked making profit. No matter how he convinced customers to take me for a negotiable rate, no one wanted to buy me because they thought I would probably die soon or that I had an illness due to how skinny I look.


The dealer who bought me for twenty-five shillings wanted to sell me out for thirty-five shillings, he was determined to make ten shillings of gain from selling me.

A man in a white ruber decorated sash, was headed to the public well with his wares, he was obviously a merchant and he looked rich.

 My dealer increased the money to forty-five shillings when he saw that the rich merchant was looking at me interestingly.


“She is very strong, her look is deceptive, she can travel far by foot, she walked from the Sahara to lakey Iceland, she can do all sorts of job... She has been washed and cleaned up too. I don’t deal in dirty slaves, ask about me around here and my slaves are all healthy and hardworking, she is going for forty-five shillings..."


The rich merchant replied, ”She is just a child, she looks sober. I have watched her from afar and seen that she doesn’t have a buyer, nobody wants to buy her from you. I felt pity for her, I just hope my wife will like her. I need a household slave for my wife, she already has two, but she complained that they are lazy, she wants a stronger slave, and if what you said is true then I will take her for forty shillings..."


“Bring the money and take her then, she will serve your wife and the entire household well."


I was sold for forty shillings surprisingly, just same amount meant for two small slaves like me.

I was happy as I journeyed with the merchant who bought food and water for me along the way. He was silent through out the journey and was not harsh to me, he later spoke:

“I don’t know what pushed me to buy you but it must be some unseen god because I can't explain it. paying forty shillings just to purchase you was too much. The highest amount I paid for a slave was thirty shillings, and they were full and beautiful. The kivi slaves girls are beautiful and my wife likes beautiful slaves, she hates some certain set of slaves. It's better to know now so that she will not take you to ludrus temple. What god do you serve?


”I have no god, I only serve my master and mistress." I replied boldly, hoping he and his wife will atleast keep me as a household slave.

The man is nice to me, after buying food and drink for me, he spoke softly without any harshness like the other dealers uses to communicate to me


“Don’t be afraid, I’m not like everyone you have encountered. What god does your household serve? Are your parents still alive? What god do they serve?" He asked calmly


”my parents and siblings are all dead, they served the unseen God, they were Christians…"


“Shhhh, don’t say it loud. That religion is an abomination to the ear. For your safety, don’t tell anyone or you will be stoned to death or they feed your meat to the circus animals by the entrance gate. My people think Christians act like they know it all, worshipping an unseen god who can’t save them, it's a good thing you told me. Listen, When we get home, tell my wife you worship lucrus, the goddess of fertility and production. my wife will be happy because we are hoping on the gods for a child.."


I thanked him for his kind heart.


When we finally got home, the merchant’s wife was on the stairs. She was beautiful, she spoke from there as the household slaves came to unpack what the merchant returned back with.


” Lami, you have been gone for four days, and you said you will only spend three days. who is the little witch with you? Don’t tell me you bought a slave girl looking like she was a left over by the gods, hope you didn’t spend money to buy her? The merchant wife queried him immediately she saw me.


“Can my beautiful wife come down to greet her husband whom she has not seen for days? I’m sorry I took an extra day, I needed to sell all the wares before returning home..."

The woman came down and gave her husband an angry look before turning to me. She looked at me all over and pulled off the turban on my head, she became angrier as she saw my bare head with no hair.

”Lami, no, no... I don’t want her, and there is nothing you will say that will convince me to take her. Hope you didn’t spend up to fifteen shillings on her? Return her and get your money from the wicked dealer that sold her to you, I can’t allow her into my house!" She barked more angry


“Just give her a chance first, she is strong and she also worships lucrus, I know she looks too slender but with food she will add more flesh to her skin and her hair will also grow. Give her a chance of fourteen days and if you still don’t want her, then I'll sell her off at your pleasure..." The merchant said to his wife.


”I swear by the name of lucrus if she comes into my house I will send her to the circus animals and her blood will be on you because I warned you, I said I don’t want her! Look at those eyes of hers, so deep and sunken like the blue sea, she makes me to me shiver in fear, take her away from here now!" She stormed out in rage.


The merchant took me out at the wife's command, I wrapped my head with the turban again. He didn’t know what to do with me. He rode on his horse wheel searching for buyer, he was willing to resell me for twenty shillings, he didn't want to be at a total loss and if he had told his wife he paid forty shillings to purchase me, the woman would have torn him into pieces. After sometime, he saw a young man who was coming from the slave market with two male slaves with him.


He said to him, “She is for sale, very strong for your household, add her to your slaves. I could have kept her but my wife didn't want her, please, take her and give me what you have."


The young man looked at me and smiled, making me feel at ease. He gave the merchant fifteen shillings which seemed like the only money with him and I silently followed.


When we got to the big beautiful gate, he looked at me for sometime before speaking quietly to me.

“There is something about you, you are special. this big beautiful house belongs to the second prime ruler of this whole kingdom. He and his wife are kind, they have two children, Vim their son is ruthless, he does whatever pleases him and the princess whose name is Zity, She is full of life and may be of same age with you. I am the head of the household slaves, you can call me Abel. We have enough slaves here but my master has ordered me to get two male slaves for his shipping business. I don’t know why I bought you from that merchant, but I know that the madam is looking for a little personal slave girl for her only daughter Zity. Zity may not want you but don’t be afraid, for God will soften her heart. I was also little when I came down here. I was just eleven then and I’m thirty-two years old now. My master and my mistress just got married back then when I arrived here and I was here when they gave birth to all their children, both the ones that died and the two that survived. Vim is twenty and Zity is fourteen. My master and mistress are good people, they have wanted to free me on several occasions but I told them I wasn’t ready, may be because I had become used to them. I feel comfortable here and they are kind to me. What is your name and how old are you? What god do you serve? Tell me the truth, don’t be afraid."


“My name is Tamar and I’m fourteen years old. I used to be a Christian before loosing my faith, I’m ready to serve my lord..."


”I’m not your Lord Tamar, Call me Abel. Now, I understand why God led me to the path I took today. He wanted me to meet you. I’m a Christian too but I hide it well from everyone. it's very dangerous to announce such faith here,. I will help you believe again, but keep your faith to yourself and don’t let anyone to know about it. I can see you have been through so much, You have survived what killed others and is obviously not because you are stronger but because there’s a reason for that and soon you'll find out why God kept you till this time. Lets go inside, the prime ruler and his family are all in.."


I quietly followed him into the big beautiful gate.

My life is about to take a serious turn which I may not be prepared for but as Abel said whatever reason God kept me is a mystery and I'm about to find out.


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