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:
“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.”