Rock City

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Continued from Sometimes it Is what you don’t have.

The car wended its way through the sand streaked tarmac road, Georgina let down the window. The humid wind felt good on her face. Mwanza was not as hot as the coast of Tanzania but being at the lakeside, it was not cool either. They were on their way to a traditional doctor, known for a detoxifying herb that cleaned out the colon. But Georgina and her sister, Saika, didn’t know that. Having visited these kinds of doctors from one end of the country to the other, they hadn’t bothered to find out specifics. They were all the same now.

Her history of mental problems had led them a merry chase. The doctors never really say what the issue is, and when they do, it’s always worst-case scenarios. Some bizarre possession case, with her housing more than five variations of demons. Them raping her every night and starting communities in her body. It was all very crazy, and she got used to it. After laying it on thick, these practitioners would then proceed to perform some sort of ritual meant to get the demon(s) to talk and eventually leave. This would involve actions that would be rationally terrifying, humiliating, definitely degrading, and just wrong or plain stupid when you later thought about it. But they were desperate, nothing seemed to be working.

Georgina felt bad for her sister; having her entire life turned over and ruined by these money-sucking, cow-tail wielding, gibberish-yelling incompetent POS humans. Every one of them always knew what was wrong; was always sure their methods would work; that it was brutal but necessary; hence the absurd amount of money you’re wasting here. And no, it’s not sacrilege to sacrifice a goat with the supposed demon’s name; we have to call it by that so that it knows we’re talking about it. Trust me, I know what I ‘m doing. Said all of them all the time. One can only care so much.

On this hot afternoon going on evening, the car stopped at the side of a road, next to a ditch, past it was the back of a house with a winding path on the side. This path climbed upward into one of the many hills with many small houses in them. Rock City, it was aptly named. Many of the large rock formations had homes built into them so that at night the hills either had eyes or could be giant spiders. Depending on your imagination.

Georgina, Saika, and a cousin to their dad climbed the steep rise. She did not look up. After near to half an hour, they stopped in front of a house with a small front balcony. Slippers were all over the front door. Arabic incantations from the children poured out of the narrow opening of the door. A well-rounded woman came out of the house when their footsteps echoed on the tile floor. Her lesso was secured downward from her torso, going round beneath her armpits, leaving her shoulders bare. Her head was wrapped, and her smiling face was friendly as she greeted, then ushered them inside. They were taken to a back room to wait for their host.

“They haven’t changed very much in their backroom decor, have they?” commented Saika.

“Nop, still dark and seedy as usual,” replied Georgina.

A man pushed the curtain on the door aside. His waist was covered in the traditional shuka, but his chest was bare.

“Good day brother, ” said the sisters’ uncle. He got up from the floor mat and clasped hands with the man.

“Good day to you too, how are you?” he replied.

“Thank the good Lord, and you?”

“I’m fine as well. I’ve brought you a patient. How can you help her?”

“My methods are very strong, I will try my best and God willing it will ease her,”

“That’s all we can ask,”

After some more light banter, the two men proceeded toward the front of the house, the girls behind them. The middle of the sitting area was set up with a white floor rug, and two smoking lamps, two stones, and a large piece of rectangular paper with strange writings sat at the near end. Saika was given to kneel at the far side in front of it. Draped in a large white sheet, she did so while the man passed the lamps over and around her murmuring even stranger things. His voice raised and dropped in intervals. Georgina would have laughed if it weren’t so serious. It sounded like some old bullshit to her, but it would be the easiest thing if that was all they had to endure.

Dispensed with the spell casting, he bade Saika drink from a mud cup and led her back to the back room. Georgina went with her. The smiling lady came back after they were left alone. She had a long, thin transparent pipe wrapped in her hands. Like the kind they use for blood transfusion. She asked Georgina to leave. Going back to the sitting area to wait, minutes passed before Saika came back out. Georgy studied her; nothing looked out of the ordinary. Her face wasn’t green from swallowing vile mixtures, there were no traces of blood from cuts administered to try to drain out the demons, no bruises; they hadn’t tried to beat them out of her either. But why was her face all ashy? Had they tried to scare them out of her? And her gait was all wrong. Her fingers clenched as if she was struggling to hold something in.

“You need to head straight home. No stops. Get home right away. It will be for the best,” said the woman. She had her hands on Saika’s shoulders, and her face was a study in sympathy. Their uncle, as if zeroing in on something the woman hadn’t said, was compendious with the goodbyes and had them on their way less than five minutes after those words were spoken. The ride home was tense. Saika’s breathing came out in quiet gasps, and her grip on the door handle was deadly. Georgy knew better than to ask.

The car was not in a complete stop before she had the door open and was making a mad dash for the front door of her uncle’s house. Through the shock and sudden fear, Georgina vaguely wondered if this was not the treatment that would finally break them.

 

 

 

Author: L.Billal

Behold! You are the Universe! You are rarely ever just one thing your whole life. You are never in one state of mind. You are many things. Like the body in which you live. You breathe life into the one and the many. You live them. You are them. But they are never you.

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