As part of  our Blacktastic State of Black Science Fiction presentation  at GA Tech, each of the participating authors was asked to write and read a short story with a powerful and mysterious bracelet as the recurring theme. Below is my contribution. Enjoy!

THE CHRONICLES OF HARRIET TUBMAN:

Soulless Cargo

“We done missed the train ‘cause o’ y’all!” Harriet hissed. “Now we gots to wait three days befo’ that train fly back ‘round to get us!”

“We sorry, Moses,” a man said, rising from amongst the frightened men, women and children huddled at the back of the barn. “But the new massa and his overseer kill us all if we even thank about runnin’!”

“There are twenty grown folk in here and y’all scared o’ two men?” Harriet asked, shaking her head and frowning in disgust.

“They ain’t no men,” an elderly woman replied. “Massa look like a skeleton with a blanket o’ cow-skin pulled over it; and that overseer? Lawd…he twice as big as a old bear on two legs. And got a arm made of a iron whip that spit white fire when it hit a slave’s back.”

Harriet shuddered. The barn suddenly seemed very cold. “The massa…what’s his name?”

“Bell,” the old woman said. “Massa Aleister Bell.”

“Damn,” Harriet whispered as she ran to a leather rucksack she had lain at the opposite end of the barn. She placed her lantern beside it and snatched the bag open.

“You right, Aleister Bell ain’t no man,” Harriet said. “He a Lich. A wizard, who dead, but ain’t dead – all ‘cause he eat the souls of the livin’. Y’all ever seen a bracelet o’ his? Gold…with strange markings carved into it?”

“I have,” A young woman replied. “I’s Flora Jean, Moses. I works in the house. I seen him put that bracelet behind a shelf in the library.”

“That bracelet is the mouth he feedin’ y’all souls to,” Harriet said, removing a fistful of large bullets from the bag and tossing them on the floor. It’s drainin’ y’all as we speak. Did the same on a plantation in Mississippi ‘bout five years ago. Left all the slaves like statues…standin’ in the cotton field ‘til they just wasted away. Been huntin’ him ever since.”

Harriet drew a large black steel revolver from her rucksack. The weapon possessed two barrels and a drum-like cylinder that contained twenty chambers, in two rows.

“And what about the overseer,” Flora Jean asked. “You ever seen him?”

“Her,” Harriet replied, loading the large rounds into the revolver. “The overseer is a her…I killed her mate back on that plantation in Mississippi.”

With that, Harriet flung open the doors to the barn and stepped into the shadows of the night and raised her face skyward. “Lawd, once again you done led me into battle with your enemies. I pray that I finds mo’ favor with you than with Old Scratch, Lawd, ‘cause I shol’ done sent mo’ souls his way than yo’s. Amen.”


About Balogun

Balogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link, Rite of Passage: Initiation and Rite of Passage: The Dentist of Westminster. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at https://chroniclesofharriet.com/. He is author of eight novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika; a Fight Fiction, New Pulp novella, Fist of Afrika; the gritty, Urban Superhero series, A Single Link and Wrath of the Siafu; the two-fisted Dieselfunk tale, The Scythe and the “Choose-Your-Own-Destiny”-style Young Adult novel, The Keys. Balogun is also contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. Finally, Balogun is the Director and Fight Choreographer of the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis and co-author of the award winning screenplay, Ngolo. You can reach him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Afrikan.Martial.Arts; on Twitter @Baba_Balogun and on Tumblr at www.tumblr.com/blog/blackspeculativefiction.

3 responses »

  1. Ebonstorm says:

    Okay, you can stop teasing us and finish that piece. “The Liches of Eastwick.” Reads good, sounds good and left me wanting to know more. Carry on, sir.

  2. authordjadja says:

    RIE. This is so on point. I appreciate your creativity and imagery!!!! Will be watching you!!!
    RIE.

  3. […] Also, as part of the Grand Finale,I’d like to share my part of a collective story that was originally created for a performance several of us did at Georgia Tech on February 16, 2012. The link to the story and a video of the performance is here: https://chroniclesofharriet.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/soulless-cargo/ […]

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