qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqw ertyuiopafghjklzxcvbnmqwerty uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyui The Moonlight Again A Sequel of “The Moonlight Bride” opasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiop asdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas dfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdf ghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfgh jklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjkl zxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx cvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcv bnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbn mqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqw ertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer tyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmrtyuiop 02-04-2014
By: Alexandre Cunha; Ana Mestre; Marta Leitão; Miguel Mira; 12ºH
The Moonlight Again Chapter I It first happened in a new moon. Sleep hadn’t come for hours and, giving up, I decided to go for a stroll.I cringed the moment I stepped out into the cold of night. The silence of the night gave the village a deserted feeling, as if something was missing. As if something was wrong. A few things had happened in that year…My baby sister had learned to walk and had recently acquired a taste for running. Ogoli, my cousin and officially my one and only “confidant” (and who gave me, in her presence, the guts to do everything we wanted to satisfy our silly desires and guarantee our safety afterwards), was long gone. Her father had decided she was of a marrying age, and had sent her to be married to some man. As far as I’m concerned, she went to another village to never come back. I was left alone… And so I am now.I suppose next year it’ll be my turn. “I should try to sleep again”- I wisely concluded, rapidly realizing that the stroll through all those familiar places wasn’t really helping when it came to relaxing.Instead of going back to bed right away, I decided to be more adventurous, and soI expanded my stroll to the periphery of the village. I walked a lot. It was not a small village, this home of ours. Step by step, I reached the opposite side of our Ibusa. And it seemed then that I was not the only one having a hard time falling asleep: I saw a shadow leaning against one of the last huts – beyond them, the Bush. How strange… and lucky of them. There was someone sitting carelessly on the dusty floor, back leaned against the wall.“Well, at least one of us is resting.” Life isn’t fair tosleep deprived people, that’s for sure… Should I wake him up? That person seemed so peaceful, with the head close to his chest… I nodded to myself, smiling,with the thought of scaring him. But it wouldn’t be the same without Ogoli here.Realizing that,my heart shrunk a bit. I went back, quietly, to my cold hut. I woke up the next morning with the sound of a horrifying scream. It pierced my ears and froze my chest.I got up as fast as I could, and looked around. The hut was empty. No mom, no siblings. That wasn’t good. That was weird. And someone was screaming. Something was certainly wrong. I turned to the door and ran as fast as I could, following the source of that hideous noise.I could feel my stomach up in my throat and my veins, pumpingdrastically, searching for a way out.As I came closer and closer to the sound, I noticed there were several screams and some cries now. As I reached the group of people assembled somewhere at the outskirts of the village, I couldn’t ignore the expressions on their faces. Some of them were drained and petrified. Others were screaming and yelling.All of a sudden, it all made sense. There was something on the floor. A corpse. It was a dead person, like the ones they usually throw in the Banana Grove. The body was sitting, leaning against a hut, one of the last huts in the village periphery, near the bush. I looked at the body: It was a woman. The figure from last night, the one resting peacefully beneath the moonlight…
Chapter II I couldn’t look away. Those eyes wide open, the empty expression. They meant that inside her there was no longer a soul. I started to get dizzy, and besides, all the screaming wasn’t helping. I had to force myself to look somewhere else. Anywhere.Then I found my own horror reflected inAlatiriki face. Yet, she looked as if she was in a trance… When I was born, I was detested. Albinos aren’t fond of in Ibusa. My mother had had trouble raising me, and I had had trouble being raised. My uncle had travelled to England, a long time before .We used to joke about it: We’d say that like he was a black man in England, I was a white girl in Ibusa. Both were equally unpleasant situations. Then we’d laugh. But it was different. I wasn’t a foreigner. It is even more unacceptable to be as different when you aren’t. I was born here. Most of the women who joyfully helped deliver me, could barely look at me today. It was not a good life. I couldn’t… But now I was being punished. “Stop this nonsense now! What would your ancestors say if they saw such savage and coward behavior?!”- Obi-Okonitsha burst out to his horrified people. “This…” he pointed at three full grown adults mumbling on their knees unintelligible things. “This isn’t the way we act. This isn’t what Ikila would want…” - His voice trembled at the end. The silence got heavier. Everyone looked at the young woman who wasn’t going to wake up… I turned around and saw the spreading impact that those simple few words had had through all the faces of Ibusa. A couple of man started to wipe tears from their faces and others where helping their neighbor getting up. While the whole village was staring at the poor tragedy I searched for one man. I looked around and saw the mostly crushed man of them all. Chiyei, the man who found out, this morning, that he would never talk to his little sister again. “This isn’t fair… it is not right…” - Chiyei stated to himself, over and over again. I was starting to feel sorry for him… Last year I lost my cousin and it hurt like someone was stepping on my lungs all the time. I couldn’t breathe. But she’s alive. Ikila is not around anywhere, anymore… Obi-Okonitsha, being a father to us all, stepped closer to Chiyei and comforted him with a hand on his shoulder and a few soothing words until someone interrupted him… “Obi-Okonitsha!” - called one of the village’s strongest warriors. - “There is a trail near the bod… hmm near Ikila.” He corrected himself.
The faces of the elders took strange expressions, a mix of surprise and recognition. After examining the ground, the elders announced to everyone gathered there: “We have unpleasant news. This trail, my friends, is a python’s trail. Our village is in danger again.” Unsettling whispers rolled through the crowd. “We have to end this once and for all. We will send some men to the Bush to slay the python and assure our village safety! ” Some people cheered. Not many.Little by little, the women started going back home and the men started to slowly go back to work. The Obis chose a group of the strongest men to take care of the python. I saw once more a group of men leaving the village to go kill a creature with no arms or legs that wasyet capable of tormenting an entire community. As I was helping my mother with the households, later that morning, I saw a few men, maybe four or five, receiving the blessing from the Obis to protect them in their quest. I as well gave themall my strength, my best wishes for them to succeed and return safely to their families.The sun had moved to the opposite side of the sky. The day was gone and the darkness was arriving. Since this morning, I had stayed close to the place where our brave menhad departed. Unfortunately, they hadn’t arrived yet. The Obis, as concerned leaders, stayed awake and in watch to protect the village against other attacks. Someone was coming. Running. We could hear the leaves cut the air where he ran past them. As he exited the tree line and got closer to the village, he fell down. It was Shekum. He was one of our men. “They’re gone! My brothers! All gone!” - Obi-Ibekwe approached him and gave him some water he brought in a bowl. He quickly drank and proceeded, exalted “The snakes… We followed it. We saw it, and followed it. It would have been a quick kill… But more appeared from behind us! It seemed like a trap! I heard my comrades screams before any python was upon me, and turning around, I was able to quickly cut the head of one. But as I noticed, my brothers were enveloped, and got smashed. I couldn’t do anything… And then I heard a laugh. In between their cries, I heard a laugh. I looked and I saw what it seemed to be several white spots. But they disappeared, illusions. But one stayed. One big, white figure. Laughing loudly. A white spirit, I tell you! Of a bad man! The snakes never go in groups, that was devil work! Ghost work!” Alatiriki was there, and heard it all. It was impossible to know what she thought, her face was closed… A white ghost.All the ghosts in my life had been white.It was a terrible, cruel color.Even my first love’s black face, as the others, nearly turned white in our hour of distress. It was a forbidden love. He had a status – and I was the albino girl. “My pearl”, he’d call me. Sometimes he went fishing, and when he found clams, he’d check for pearls. He’d hide them from his fishing buddies, and secretly gave them to me. “A pearl for a pearl”, he’d always say. And this was it. He gave me my last pearl so long ago, and I was still being punished for it. White ghosts had followed me my whole life. And even now, even here, even married: a white ghost came.
I spent the afternoon at my brother’s hut. His wife had made three pots for my mother – after my little sister broke three of ours… Mother was really angry, and of course, for some reason, I was the punished one. Strapping the bag with the pots onto my back, I said goodbye, and headed home. As I was heading back, I glanced at someone coming from the Bush. It was a very pale person, so I had no doubts of whom it might be. It was Alatiriki… I could see the fright in her face. Something was wrong. I hid myself behind a tree in order to observe her and try to understand what was going on. It was then that I saw her collapse on the floor, probably from fatigue. I rushed over to her to help and gave her the mango I had been eating on the way from my brother’s house. I calmly asked her why she had gone to that horrible place. She continued pale, frightened and apathetic, and didn’t say a word. Curious and worried, I asked a few more questions, but it was all in vain. Her face was staring into some blank space… As if she were tangled into her own world. Maybe I should tell her. She’s a good girl. But she’s just a girl, anyway. A child. And what I desperately need to tell someone, I can’t. Not to her and not to anyone else. Pearls aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Sometimes, you cut yourself on the clam. Or the pearl breaks, malformed. A lie. And anyway, all pearls are white. I came to terms with my colour, as others did too. But it wasn’t worth it, not after all that. All the memories. Not in that village… And my love and I…Our Pearl. It was a white pearl. We threw it away. And now it came rolling back.
Another day in our Ibusa had started. The sun was pretty high and the palm trees were full of ripe coconuts. It was time to get out of the hut and start the chores. To my surprise, the whole village seemed to be awake, gathered, and whispering to each other. All of the other children, as much as I could tell, were still asleep. When I approached the gathered people, I noticed they were around Chiyeiâ€™s eldest cousin. She appeared to be sleeping. No, she was dead. Another death. I felt a littlesick,and wondered how long itâ€™d take until this was normal. Until we were all slaughtered. I retired from the scene and went to sit beneath a palm tree. I wanted to cry, I wanted to shout. What was going on? My mother noticed me, and my state, and instantly looked at me with compassion, with as much tenderness as she knew how to have, and tried to comfort in some way she did not know. Alatiriki was stepping out of her hut, both looking for her husbandâ€™s cousin (who had been watching the baby earlier, but was nowhere to be found since she had returned) and wondering what the commotion was all about. As the closest woman informed her of the situation, she ran to the site. As she saw the corpse, she went back inside her house, and closed the door. All the elders join up in their council and have been deciding what to do the whole day. A new moon night was arriving again that day. And so, I prayed to the skies for this night to be a calm one.
I woke up, suddenly, with the most terrible of feelings. As I did, my son started crying. Since the last killing, I was always on edge, and so I got up quickly and ran over to him. It was a New Moon and, consequently, no moonlight shone. It was hard to see in this darkness. His crying was different tonight… It was not from hunger,nor from cold. It was something else. When I reached the crib, I saw him. My son, holding my baby in his white arms. It was him. It was definitely him. I knew I was being punished for having him, and for letting him go. I knew it was my fault, all the killings. Punishment for my guilt. But when I went to the bush, it was no ghost I saw from afar. It was no ghost that, before I saw him, was running my way. I ran back to the village and whenever I looked behind I saw white. Always white. I thought it was him, but it couldn’t be. My love, my first love, he had made sure to find a family for him to be raised in, our little pearl – and he did. I couldn’t have raised an albino in that village… I couldn’t do that to him. He didn’t say anything. In his angry look, he held the crying infant in one arm, and with the other, from behind his back, took a knife. All white, very sharp, it seemed carved in bone. And it seemed as if he was threatening to kill my baby. I didnt’t understand. I couldn’t act. I couldn’t even ask. Were you mad at me, my son? I only wanted what was best for you. Or was I being selfish? Maybe I didn’t want the trouble of being an albino mother with an albino child… I could not be certain. But of one thing I was certain: I would not lose my son. Without thinking of it, I advanced, raising my hands as if to grab the baby. As if nothing was going on and I’d just grab him. I felt something sharp going through my stomach. My vision became blurry. My blood, a darkened red was pouring out from the open wound, with the calm rhythm of the summer stillness over a slow moving river. “You had a child, and you were no mother to it. Leavingit to die! And then you had another one, and suddenly you are a mother to it. Suddenly,you try to save one, when knowing you had killed the other! Protecting this child…While you never did that to me. How could you leave me to die? How could you live all these years with the blood of your child on your hands, thinking that your problem was taken cared of!?” “You went to a family… In a good village… Far away…” I said, in between spiting blood. “My family were the snakes of the Grove, and the voices. White, but not like me. Not like you. The whitest white. They told me everything. They taught me all. They raised me. They allowed me this revenge, when you had dared come to this village, to live, and create a family, as if for the first time. Even they could not leave that go unpunished. It as if torture. You thought me dead, I know, I know, but I wasn’t.” “Olasupo…”
“Who is Olasupo?” – The confusion in his face reminded me of his father… “Olasupo.It was the name I had chosen for you, before your father told me he knew of a family who could take you in, as their own, and raise you away from that intolerance. ‘Don’t worry, my love’ he said to me one night, as we met in secret, ‘I found a home for him. He’ll be happy there’. I was holding you. I had been hiding since before your birth, and wasalways holding you. You were my pearl.” – I told, nostalgic, sad and smiling, in between coughs of blood, of a raising quantity. “Why… Why Olasupo?” “It means…” A long sequence of coughingfollowed, my voice ever lower, the blood ever redder, “Wealthy. It means wealthy. Like the pearl you were, and…” Her face was paler, and paler, however impossible from the natural white of her face “Like the pearl you deserved to be able to be. Don’t take my baby, leave him, and give him the life you never had”. I ended, smiling calmly. All of sudden, everything went white. Everything was vague and distant.The pain didn’t bother me anymore. The screams and cries of my baby were disappearing along with my life. “I’m sorry, mother! The fathers, the white fathers, they said… And the snakes tried to help me get to him… I’m so sorry mother…” These, also, were now just like the sounds of a small child. A child that I had abandoned. A child I angered. A child I loved. A child I dreamt with constantly. My Pearl. I could see him. I could now see him and take his image with me. As my eyes closed decisively, the baby had already been placed down and my albino son raised his knife, slowly, up to his own neck. We went together.