The Omnibus was packed. No one seemed to notice him, though. The sole Black man on a “Whites Only” omnibus? He shrugged and scanned the vehicle for an empty seat.

          Luckily, he spotted one in the middle of the omnibus, next to an elderly man with dead eyes that rolled around in their sockets. Good, the old man was blind. He should be okay and be able to avoid any unwanted confrontation as long as he kept his head down.

          He shuffled to his seat and sat down, staring at the floor.

          The omnibus pulled off again.

          There wasn’t much to see on the floor, just scuffed wood, but it didn’t matter, he kept his gaze downward. He just had to remain as indiscreet and as quiet as possible. This way, with any luck, no one would bother him.

          As the omnibus continued on, the noise of the rabble mixed with the slow ticks, clicks, whirs and hums of the clockwork engine began to melt into one another within the man’s head. The aches and pains of a long day’s work were massaged by the omnibus’ slow, rocking gait. His eyelids fluttered and then closed as sleepiness overcame him and he drifted off into his wild and troubled dreams.

Who are you?

I am Nat Turner…God’s warrior; given the divine mission to break the yoke of slavery put about my people’s necks. Some folks call me “The Prophet;” I reckon it’s as good a term as any.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

That he is a godly one. A man should have heart. He should be willing to die, kill and live for what he believes in.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

A woman should be willing and able to fight should her man fall. We all have equal responsibility in freeing ourselves and our people. Well, I have a little bit more responsibility than most.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

God is the greatest love of my life. Without God, there ain’t no love.

What is your most treasured possession?

My freedom.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Spending an eternity as the undead. The undead suffer the worst form of homelessness. They are no longer natural, so the earth ain’t theirs; something so wicked can’t enter Heaven and Hell don’t want ‘em, ‘cause they ain’t got no soul to corrupt. For them, there ain’t nothin’ but the Abyss…oblivion.

Wait…you mean “undead,” as in…

As in vampires, ghuls, draugrs, jiangshi, liches, mummies, revenants, wraiths and wights, yes.

So…monsters are real?

Yep. As real as you and I. Well, except for The Easter Bunny. Belief in him is just silly.

But the Easter Bunny isn’t a monster.

If a rabbit laying colorful eggs isn’t monstrous to you, I don’t know what is.

Obviously, you enjoy fantasy stories. Who are your favorite writers?

Monsters aren’t fantasy, boy! They’re as real as they come. Pray you never encounter one. People have to become more aware, or they’ll keep becoming victims of the ungodly creatures. That’s why I put part of my memoirs in the Rococoa anthology.

What is your greatest regret?

That I only got to tell one story in the Rococoa anthology.  There is so much more to tell about the world that lies within the shadows of our own.

It is still a great anthology, though.

Is it? I have not had time to read it yet, as I have been busy hunting.

What is your motto?

This is what I always say after slaying a monster: “Some incestuous fools always want to ice skate uphill.”

Wait, didn’t Blade say that?

Who is older…me, or this Blade?

You, but…

Well, then.

Check out Nat Turner’s story, An Omnibus Ride in Scarlet, in the Rococoa anthology. Available now!

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. I LOVED that story! Great job, Nat Turner!

  2. […] out Emmalia Harrington’s story, Seven Thieves, in the Rococoa anthology. Available […]

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