blue moon (2)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Red Clay: Part Seventeen ©

Bonjour grand-mère

I hope this letter finds you well.
I write to tell you about school and my life since I left you four months ago.
After leaving Louisiana heading for school I found myself at a crossroad.
One lead back top California the other went onto the desert leading to Las Vegas Nevada.
As you know, I am not one to gamble or waste my money but it was as if I was meant to turn right.

In the desert I stopped at a place to get some gas, something to drink and it looked like the dust storm was picking up and I thought it would have been better stopping to let it settle down instead of risking it and maybe having an accident so I opted for what I thought would be the safest choice.
From the moment I stepped into the gas bar my life changed, I was reborn into a world that was more nightmare than dream.
While at the gas bar a horrible gun battle ensued and many people were killed.
I am fine so you don’t have to worry.
They were violent men, such violence I had never seen in real life.
I think it wasn’t the ferocity of the violence that scared me it was the fact that these people welcomed it so easily and didn’t care if they lived or died.
They seemed drugged in their lust for violence.

One man on his dieing breath gave me a satchel filled with money and a small statue, then I ran away from that macabre hell.
I did the right thing and went to the police and reported all that happened just in case there was still someone alive, which I doubted from what I could tell.

A couple of months later I received a package containing a cheque for the money that was in the bag and the small statue.
I have since deposited the money in the bank and I still have the statue here.

The other day I took the statue to one of my professors and showed it to him to see if there was anything he could tell me about it, like where it came from.
He was shocked to see it at first and didn’t want to touch it.
He told me some story about curses and warriors but I don’t believe stuff like that as you well know.

In other news, I have met someone special, Adalia.
I have never felt this good about some before.
Yes I know you heard me say that with the last one but this is different.
We both like almost the same things or we are heading in the same direction.
She is thinking about coming to Africa with me when I go there.
I know you will love her when you meet her in person.

School is going well and I can’t wait until it’s done so I can come home to see you after graduation.
I wish you would come and see me graduate but I know how you feel about leaving dad’s and grand pere’s graves alone.

Take care
Je t’aime


Bonjour Mon petite garcon

I was happy to receive your letter and pleased to hear you are well even after your ordeal in the desert.
I am also happy you have finally found someone that you believe is the one to walk into the future with side by side.
Through the years our family has survived because of the strong men and woman that came together to keep you name alive, a proud and honoured name.
I can’t wait for you to bring her here for me to meet when school is over.
I wish I could be there to watch you graduate but as you know I am to old now to travel around the country and yes, I can’t leave those I so love behind.

Your adventure in the desert though frightening was also intriguing as is the information you learned though your professor.
Your grandfather told me of a similar story that happened to your family a hundred or so years ago about a curse that was put onto a slaver who attacked their village killing many and taking the rest to be sold into slavery, as you know, you are a descendant from slaves

It is said that Thilivhali, the one you are named after was given a small statue that was made with the blood of a dieing witchdoctor mixed with the clay from the village your great great great grandfather came from to give to the man who did them wrong so that he could suffer the same aggonizing pain that he had inflicted on the and to burn is the fires of hell slowly, forever.

That story was said to have been passed down from person to person originating from Thilivhali’s mother who was told this by Thilivhali himself when he found her and his sisters in the jungle after the raid on their village.
Thilivhali was killed in the battle against the slavers while trying to free his wife whom was taken by the leader of the slavers and no one ever saw the statue agains.

I don’t know if the statue you have is the same one but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
From what you have said, it seems you were destined to go into the desert and retreive the statue to complete the task that it was sent on.
That may be your destiny.

I have to let you go now, your nephew, Jebedia brought me a bucket of crawfish today and I have to prepare dinner.

I can’t wait for you to finish and come back with your lady so I could see you.

Au revoir

Je t’aime, votre mère grande Mary

Hali read his grandmother’s letter a couple of times and thought about the story that has been passed down all these years.
He wasn’t a superstitious person but weirder things had happened and what would the odds that the statue he had was the same one as the one in the stories.

Honestly, a statue made of blood and clay by a dieing witchdoctor, how much more dramatic could it get.
He sat there thinking for a bit when an idea came to him.
Hali went and got the statue and set it on the table and then got his medical kit out of the closet and using the scalpel he shaved some of the clay off of the statue and put in into a sandwich bag.
He was going to take it to the lab at the university and have it analyzed to see if there was any blood in the clay.
That should put an end to any guessing about the statue.

Jonas was in the club when a business associate of his found him sitting and reading the business section of the paper in one of the large leather armchairs.
Many of his friends were investing all their money in companies, speculating that they would make lots of money if the company took off and with the way industry was taking off in this time and age they were raking it in then reinvesting in the same companies.

Jonas wasn’t fond of investing all his money on one thing just in case something went wrong and he lost everything.
He didn’t like taking the risks his friends did and always wanted to control his money not leaving it for someone else to control.
Up to now his approach had rewarded him very well, true it wasn’t as much as his friends were making but he was safe from loosing his capital.

Leonard Cohn asked if he could join him and Jonas welcomed him to the chair next to his.
Mr. Cohn was a businessman whom Jonas has had some dealings with in real estate.
There was a rumor that he also dealt with the local mobsters in some illegal business but those were only rumors and most of those we whispered by the competition.
They were discussing the current state in the world when a man ran in calling out that WAR had been declared in Europe.
Someone walked over to the mantle and turned on the radio and sure enough, they were saying war was declared in Europe against the Germans.

Within an hour of everyone hearing the news the club was empty but for a few people.
Jonas and Leonard being two of them.
Leonard told Jonas that this was an opportunity to make a lot of money from the war.
Jonas was thinking the same thing.
He had a lot of money invested into the iron works foundries and they would be needed if the United States entered the war driving the price of the stocks sky high.

Leonard changed the subject and told Jonas that he had come to sit with him because he had a proposition for him from one of his friends.
Jonas looked at Leonard and remembered how shrewd this man was in their previous dealings.
Jonas told him that he was open for business as long as there was a profit to be made.

Leonard told Jonas that he had a friend who was looking to rent some warehouses and some businesses that were in building owned by Jonas.
Leonard took out a piece of paper from the inside of his pocket and passed it to Jonas.
Jonas looked at the paper and recognized some of the addresses written on it as properties he owned along the waterfront.

Jonas’ brain was quickly thinking of what to say and how to approach this proposition.
He told Leonard that yes these were his properties and some were empty and for rent if anyone was interested but he would need to know the nature of the business going into his property before hand.

Leonard smiled at him and told Jonas that his friend was willing to pay double the asking rent.
Jonas looked at him and knew right then that whatever Leonard and his friend were up to, it was illegal and probably very profitable.
Double the rent was probably not enough but pushing for more might bring him more trouble at this moment but letting them get in and established would be more to his advantage.
He told Leonard that he could tell his friend that he just rented some properties and could stop by his office to sign the leases and put down the first six months rent.

Leonard smiled at him again and reached into his inside pocket and pulled out an envelope.
Laying it down on the small side table by Jonas he told him that there was a years worth of rent in the envelope and there was no need for a lease or for him to meet his friend.
He would be running the businesses for his friend and if Jonas had any concerns he could discuss it with him any time.

Jonas was hoping to meet up with Leonard’s friend; it never hurt to make new acquaintances, especially in the business world but that could wait to.
He asked Leonard when they planned on moving in and Leonard told him that they will be sending in workers to look at the place next week and to move in what was needed to make that place ready for their needs.
Jonas nodded his head acknowledging what he heard and told Leonard that he could stop by and get the keys from his office any time he was ready.
Leonard stood up, shook hands with Jonas and left the club.

Hali shot out of the bushes without making a sound and raced off toward the group of men at a dead run with Dakarai on his heels.
Even from this distance he could see Jeb’s eyes bulging from the rope around his neck squeezing the life out of him.
His would be executioners didn’t see Hali and Dakarai coming on them like two missiles in the dark.

Hali swept past the man standing over the woman and without breaking stride struck out with his hand hitting the man in the throat then plowed into the men holding Jeb knocking them down and releasing their grip on the rope holding Jeb suspended in the air by his neck.

Hali was back on his feet and was striking down on the men he had just knocked down.
He quickly ran to Jeb and cut his bonds with his knife before turning on the men once more that were stunned by the sudden attack but now beginning to get off the ground.

Dakarai was following in behind cleaning up in Hali’s wake.
He began by clubbing the man Hali struck in the throat by breaking the man’s neck with one powerful blow of his walking staff.
Then stepped into the crowd gathering around Hali and swung the stick with deadly accuracy.

A man ran up behind Hali poised to stab him in the back with his blade when Dakarai’s staff came out of nowhere breaking the man’s arm before coming around once more to reunite the attacker with his ancestors.

Just then a shot rang out and Hali turned to see Dakarai stager back against the same tree that just a few minutes earlier had Jeb as a decoration.
A man holding a pistol then swung the gun around to take aim at Hali but by then Hali had slipped his hand under his shirt and was now brandishing the new pistol Domingo had given him.

The gun leaped in his hand once, twice and the man stumbled back a few steps dancing on his toes before he fell flat on his back.
Hali swung the gun around stopping the rest of the men dead in their tracks like frozen statues in the night.

One man made a move towards Hali and he shot him through the stomach dropping him on the ground at their feet, the rest begun raising their hands not wanting any part of the fight now that they were on the loosing end.

Hali told them to pick up their dead and wounded then to get off of this place and never come back because if they did, he would follow them back to the homes and kill them in their sleep.
The men moved around picking up their dead and wounded before running off into the night.

When Hali was sure they were safe he ran to his brother Dakarai as he lay next to the tree.
Tearing open the tunic he could see that Dakarai was hit in the chest above the heart.
Hali quickly took off his shirt and began tearing it in strips.
At the same time his eyes scanned the area to make sure none of them were still in any danger and also looked to see where Jeb was.
The woman had crawled over to Jeb and was helping him to his feet.

Jeb came over and knelt by Hali’s side and asked him how bad Dakarai was, Hali told him it was bad.
Jeb told him that they should take him inside the house and try to fix him up there.

Hali asked Jeb where the doctor was.
Jeb looked down a little and told him that the doctor didn’t call on the Negroes even for double the money.
Hali held a look of shock at Jeb’s words before he went back to working on Dakarai’s wound making sure it was bandaged up with some herbs to hold back infection
When he was satisfied he looked at Jeb and asked him if he could have his wife watch Dakarai while Jeb took Hali to the doctor’s house.

Jeb told Hali Betty wasn’t his wife, she was his sister and that the doctor wouldn’t treat a black man.
Hali dismissed what Jeb said except the part of Betty being his sister.
Betty was a beautiful woman, tall and slender with bright brown eyes.

It only took seconds for Hali to come to a decision he didn’t have much time to think. Dakarai was hit hard and needed medical attention.
His herbs would keep him from infection and fever but the bleeding needed to be stopped and for that he needed the skill of a doctor.

Betty led the way through the dense swamp.
It was dark, even with the moon high above in was dark here, the darkest place he had ever been.
The air smelled of things long dead and the sounds that reached him were of creatures that could only bring death to live in such a place.
Hali had to stay close to Betty so that he wouldn’t loose her because it was so dark.

After about an hour they came out of the swamp and Betty told Hali that the doctor’s house was just across the meadow and pointed towards the distant glow of a light.
They walked across the meadow and stopped behind a bush where Hali told Betty that this was as far as she could go, he would go to the doctor’s house from here.

Hali moved from behind the bush and quietly made his way to the front door of the house
He could hear voices from the inside and one was getting louder as he got closer to the door.
The door swung open and there standing before Hali was a familiar face.

Jonas was sitting at his desk tallying the books for the year when he came across rental properties and saw the address of the properties he had rented out to Leonard.
Six months had passed since Jonas had rented his properties to Leonard and his silent partner and started wondering how or what business they were running out from there.
He didn’t really care as long as he got his rent money, so why was it bothering him right now.
He let it go from his mind and continued his book keeping until he had finished; it had been a good year for his investments.

When he was done he walked to the safe and opened the door and placed the ledger next to the satchel.
He stood there looking at it and then reached in and took out that hideous statue he hated so much.
He couldn’t understand what compelled him to keep it but he couldn’t throw it away for some reason.
He put it back in the safe and closed the door.

Jonas looked at the clock on the wall and saw it was 5 pm and decided he would stop by the club for a few brandies before going home to Maggie.
Things at home were not what they used to be of late either; Maggie had become more distant in the last couple of years.
When he was home they didn’t talk much unless she was asking for money to buy one thing or the other.
Maggie had expensive tastes, especially when it came to jewelry, always wanting to look as good if not better than some of the new high society wives she has been spending time with lately.

There was more, they weren’t having as much sex as they used to and Jonas was beginning to wonder what was wrong.
He was also starting to think about children, he would want to have an heir to leave all of this to but he wasn’t sure that Maggie could give him children.
She hadn’t gotten pregnant as of yet and they have been together for ten years now.

Jonas walked out of his office and to his car.
He started driving towards the club when the properties he had leased to Leonard came to mind and he decided to take a little detour then drove off towards the waterfront district.
Jonas pulled in front of one of his buildings and saw that they had given the outside a fresh coat of paint and a sign above the door said North Side Social Club, members only.


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