When The Angels Came - Chapter II: New AfrikA Chapter by DeusExMachina
Much more 'grounded' than the first part. I think its better.
II- New Afrik
Ten Years Later
ARS had been generous to the people of The Kanbia. When they had arrived on what seemed to be barren, red surface they found a prosperous land growing tall with plants and teeming with animal life in the vast canyons of the place, hidden from view when looked upon from above, where they set up villages and camps. The trees in these hidden havens were lofty, with needle-like leaves, and large furred animals roamed these forests that, more than a few men found out to their cost, did not take too kindly to newcomers.
This new place took some adjusting to, but after a few years of labour and hard work, the Kanbian way of life was moulded to the new environment with only a few minor changes to society.
One bright blue afternoon, four teenagers lay by a brilliantly sapphire lake among the scarlet hills and emerald fields. They each reclined on a woven sheet, breathing from pipes that were attached to a tall, ornate pot. The teenagers slowly blew rings of curling smoke into the air above them, sighing as they inhaled the noxious fumes.
“Where would we be without opius, eh?” said one wistfully, a girl. She looked normal until you set eyes upon her face, which was horrifically scared and had been for years. Her name was Jemania. The others, two boys and another girl, agreed heartily. The boys were Makammad, a wayward boy with a passion for women and anything that went against the strict codes he used to live by, the other Lahmin, bright, happy, carefree. The other girl was named Famina, and she had no idea who she was. Young and foolish? Sensible and caring? Angry and anarchic? She felt she belonged with these people, the ones she’d grown up with, but did she really agree with all the opius? She had just decided she must, or she wouldn’t be doing it herself, when Lahmin spoke.
“The universe hates us.” He said simply. Famina knew the drugs were playing with his mind, as they were hers, but the simple, random statement put a shadow in her mind. It was true. The universe did hate them.
Once the effects had worn off, they slowly trudged through the greenery of the forest back to the camp. It was called the camp, but it was much more like a village with a growing number of huts, shops, halls, drug-stores and brothels. No-one ever said Mars would be perfect.
It had taken few years for Mr Wayiid to seize power. There had been political conflict when he had, followed by suppression, violence, riots. People still disappeared for no apparent reason, stolen away in the night or snatched out of family homes. Adults dealt with it. Kids rebelled. Some were killed in the process.
The teenagers made their way to a food house down a short alleyway that they always enjoyed, and sat, shaking off any last fuzziness from the opius. They sat, ate, talked. Famina fretted over a boy she was courting, Makammad laughed at her civilness.
“For fakk’s sake, just ask him to bed you,” he chuckled, at the angry stares of Jemania (who didn’t much approve of cussing or vulgarity).
After they’d eaten their share, the foursome left the eatery and the boys headed to Lahmin’s house, were they would practise for the upcoming round of assessments, and the girls each went to their respective homes to sew or cook - their parents had never funded schooling for them.
The prospects for the boys seemed bright and prosperous; Makammad was a talented mathematician and Lahmin could pluck a tune on a bongo like no other as well as also being fairly good at almost every subject he turned his mind to. The girls, however, seemed destined to be housewives, in fact not even that for Jemania after the scarring left her more than slightly unpleasant to any potential husband. Settling down and giving over your body to the hassles of children and the demands of men did appear to be a miserable option to take for Famina, but it was the one her parents had decided and, in her mind at that time, whatever her parents said was to be upheld.
“No!” she shouted with all the force she could muster. “No! He is a friend to me, nothing more. I will not be with him!” Her mother attempted to calm her, while her father looked on, nonplussed.
“Famina, we think he would be right for you. Do you not think him strong enough to be a husband?”
“I will not take him. He is a very good friend but I shall refuse to take him. There are hundreds of boys in New Afrik, yet you choose him? He is my friend and no more!” She said angrily, before sitting on a wooden stool. The room was cosy, the smell of food rising from outside were a meal was being cooked on a fire. A rug sat on the sandy floor, patterned with maroon swirls, and on it sat a heavily panting dog which the family named Chikawa. How the thing had got to Mars was unknown, but many things had somehow appeared over the years, the alcohol, the drugs...
“Famina,” began her father, “you must see this as an opportunity. Lahmin is a lovely boy. And then there’s the fact that he has a fair share of money...””
“That’s it, isn’t it? It’s Money and the family’s honour. Love isn’t part of it!” Retorted the girl, strong and filled with burning anger. Her father, retaining his air of calm, turned to her shaking mother and placed a hand on her shoulder, before sending her out of the room to assist with the cooking outside. He leaned into his daughter and glared into her eyes.
“You will be with him, Famina. You make the choice, or I make you.” The simple threat sent a chill down her spine, her eyes glancing around for some way of escape. Since none could be found, she turned back to her father and stared back into his deep, blood-shot eyes with a hopeful sense of defiance.
“I will never do as you say”, she said. The look on his face was enough, but that thought didn’t stay his hand as he proceeded with his fists.
“How did you get those bruises?” Asked Lahmin with a great deal of concern. Famina shook her head slightly and muttered some convoluted excuse, which seemed to satisfy him. The pair of them turned and set off down the street, hoping to find some quite place away from human life. It took about half an hour or so, all spent in virtual silence, for them to make the trip down to the lake out of town. The air between them was filled with awkwardness and ice, the awkwardness emanating from Lahmin and the ice from Famina. They reached the place, and, for a short while, stood staring into the depths of the blue water amidst the towering mountains.
It took some time before either of them spoke.
“I guess you know why I’m here.” Said Famina with more bitterness than intended. The look on the boy’s face told her he didn’t, which dismayed her slightly. Her parents had forced her through all of this, yet she may still be rejected? It seemed almost like a glimmer of hope to her.
“Why are you here?” He said with all the dumb confusion that she so hated in him. She had no idea how to respond, whether to tell him about her parents and their beatings, or to act all love struck like her father wished.
“My parents have been telling me for some time that I should find a husband.” She spoke, hesitantly at first, “Every day they’ve been trying to find me a man.”
“So?” asked Lahmin, although she could see on his face that he knew where this was going. Famina took a great sigh, and in that second made her choice.
“I have something to tell you”.
© 2012 DeusExMachina
Added on July 22, 2012
Last Updated on September 1, 2012
When The Angels Came
Nowhere! (It's in England).
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