Welcome, friends! Come in, and let me tell you a Story A Day, all May long…
In June and July, I’ll be drafting two new Kifo Island novels. I know something about 5 of the 6 point of view characters, and I’ve got a sketchy idea of the plots – but I need to learn more about these people and their stories.
So, in May, I explore. Every day, I’ll follow the prompts in A Month of Writing Prompts 2016. I’ll play while moving through my planning efforts. Some of these stories may become part of the eventual novels, but my goal is to invite these characters to show me who they are and what they want – and how their lives fit together to make a novel.
I’ve been writing my story each day, but I slipped behind in my posting. I’m hoping to catch up by the 20th, and finish the month out on time.
I continue with May 8, following the daily prompt, “A story with a Cinderella structure.” Here, we learn about how Ubunta came to be pregnant, and her life before fleeing her family home.
Week Two’s theme is: Elements of Story.
Warning: This story deals with rape, abortion, abuse, and prostitution.
Ubunta choked back a sob, and pressed her legs together against the blood and fluid that seeped out between them, against the pain of the invasion.
“Stop him, Mama. I beg this of you. Don’t let him do this thing to me any more.”
“You are his sister, Ubunta, and he has needs. If we don’t meet them here, he’ll go elsewhere, and shame will come to this family.”
“Is there no shame in him using me? In you giving me to him as though it’s right and natural for a brother to – to rape a sister?” Her voice had gone high and shrill, even though she tried to hold it, and she knew she would feel the ringing slap, and the snapping of her head, before Papa landed the blow on her. Her teeth had been in her lip, and there was new blood from her biting. Something new to focus on.
“If he uses you this way, you must be inviting him. Better that than that he look for another. If you don’t want it, don’t invite him with your form and your movements.”
“No! I want this child. It’s mine. Mine. Not his. Only mine. Part of this family!”
“We’ve got no place for another mouth to feed, Ubunta.”
“You do nothing to stop his using me. You tell me I am his; that I need to not grow into a woman, not move in ways that tempt him. I’ve tried. I’ve tried so hard. But he still comes to me, forces me. I begged you to stop him, but you won’t. At least let me have the child he forced me to conceive of him.”
“It is not to you to argue, Ubunta.” Her brother came up behind her, held her arms, and jerked her back until she was arched over, and then Mama grabbed her chin, tight, and yanked her mouth open even though Ubunta fought to hold it closed, sealed against the poison that would kill the unborn child.
She wasn’t strong enough. The poison was poured in. She tried not to swallow, but it came and came, and she was choking, not able to breathe, and then she swallowed, and again, and again –
She was dropped to the floor, kicked off into a corner, and it was there that she huddled while the searing cramps tore into her. She sobbed, but only silently, not wanting them to hear her grief.
That’s what she thought she’d found at Aneesha’s restaurant. She had clothes, and the first real bed she’d ever had in her life. She had a job cleaning tables, and a friend.
And then the African mask, and the forcing of her thighs, the thrusting, but not until it was over, and Theresa saw the pictures of her on the phone, from the time she was a little girl, did she know who her attacker was.
In four weeks, she knew that she was carrying another child, and she wouldn’t let this one be taken from her. Theresa helped her to flee, giving her all the money she had, and Ubunta found herself here, on the beach, staring at an ocean and a sunset that hurt her eyes and glinted off the blade of the pearl-handled knife half-buried in the sand. She took up the knife, wondering what life she could offer to the child growing within her, whether it would be better to end her living now…
“What are you doing with that knife?”
The young woman was tall and so thin she looked diseased, or ill, and Ubunta could do nothing but speak to her.
“Come home with me. We’ve got room. You can help me, and I can help you, and your baby. You don’t need to use that knife.”
Ubunta looked at the young woman, and this chance. Was it another trap, or the answer she was looking for?
There was no way to know, without taking the chance. For life, or for death. For herself, and for her child, still trapped within her, not ready yet for outside life. She couldn’t be the cause of her baby’s death; she had no right, and she wouldn’t kill another child, not if there was any choice.
Ubunta rose, and let Quincette lead her to her home.