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The Neon Bible
Engelsk novelle om en slave som rømmer fra sitt kristne "fangenskap".
It started when I was only 12 years old during one of the most grotesque and horrible war, Kenya had ever seen. People where slaughtered like animals and no one could walk around safely, my father and my big brother (Terra) where drafted into war. My mother and I had to leave Kenya and my father begged the government to please take my brother with us, but they said no. They said he was to old. That was the last time I heard from my father, and it’s about 15 years ago. When I first came to New Orleans, I was determined to start a new life. I wanted to forget my terrible past and support my mother through thick and thin.
But I guess that wasn't my faith. Two years later, my mother died of a broken heart…
I was sitting in my room, watching a picture of my family back in Kenya, when I suddenly heard Master calling my name. I rushed down, hoping he hadn’t waited too long. “ You called, Master” I said with a humble voice. Master has always been a stubborn man, and he wanted me to call him “Master” a long time ago. Whenever I forgot to call him “Master” he would slap my cheeks. And after Mrs. Neon died, it got even worse. Now, I rarely forget it. But if I do not call him Master, he may do the most terrible things to us. “We have visitors” Master said “And I want you to fetch my daughter, right after she has said her morning prayers”. I turned away and was about to get her, when I heard Master say “And Tanya, be quick, I do not want to wait here all day.” When I got upstairs, I could hear moaning from Jill’s room. And I thought I knew what she was doing, so I knocked on the door and said, “Excuse me miss Neon, but your father would like to talk to you”. The door went up, and there Miss Neon was standing totally naked in front of me, all covered in sweat and still breathing heavily after I interrupted her. Trough a little opening in the doorway, I could see a young man with brown hair lying naked on her bed. Miss Neon told me that if I ever said anything to Master about what was going on upstairs, she would kill me. I turned away quickly while she was getting dressed.
While I waited for miss Neon to get ready, I got to think of my father and big brother and my thoughts wandered off back to Kenya. I could almost hear the lion running around in the tall grass hunting its prey. I could see a couple of antilopes jumping over a huge rhino, that where just relaxing under a lonely tree in the middle of the great savannah. I imagined thousands of zebras having fun in the sun. And I could almost hear my brother laughing, when I suddenly was ripped away, back to the Neon family and their twisted biblical way of living.
When Miss Neon and I got back down the stairs and into the living room where Master was waiting, the guests where already complimenting the crucifix on the wall. They told Master what a good person he was and that he was the best priest New Orleans had ever seen. I wished they knew the truth about him. I wished they had heard Masters bizarre interpretations of what the holy bible’s meaning really was. Master had told me that the Ten Commandments, really didn’t count for Africans. And that he, as a priest could do whatever he wanted to me and not get punished. All the time, while the guests where still there, Master where keeping an extra eye on me. I knew, that if I screwed things up now, he would make me suffer. After the guests where gone he would drag me down to the stable, take out the whip, and whip me until I could no longer stand. Then he would tear of all my clothes and rape me. But it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t be the first time. That evening I made a huge mistake. I had to go to the bathroom, but I forgot to ask Master for permission, and Master noticed that.
After all the guests had left, I was standing in the kitchen all alone, doing the dishes, when Master gripped my arm and dragged me outside to the stable. I begged him to let me go and tried to get away, but his firm grip was too hard. His face had gone from pleasant, into an angry and bitter face. And all the wrinkles around his face were more visible than I had ever seen. His eyes where more terrifying and his voice more menacing than usual. He opened the door to the stable and pushed me inside. I turned around and saw Master getting the whip, while he told me that he had been waiting for this for a long time. He walked towards me and kissed my neck while he unbuttoned my blouse. Then walked away and I turned around again. I could hear the sound from the whip right before it hit me. A burning pain hit me over and over again, until I collapsed on the floor, crying. Master looked at me, laughing.
I’d had enough. Neither my body, nor my heart could take it anymore. I tried to get up on my feet, but it was too hard. I looked at Master while he was getting undressed, when I grabbed the hayfork lying next to me and used it as a help to get on my feet. Master couldn’t see me because he was standing with his back facing me, so I took the hayfork and placed it onto his skin. Master froze and turned around, so I could look him in his eyes. The hayfork was now pressed up against his chest. I took a deep breath and shoved the fork into his chest. I could see his eyes widening and he gasped for air. He fell over with the hayfork still stuck in his dead body. I looked at Master lying there dead, and started running.
When I got outside the stable door, I saw Jill walking fast towards me. I started running cause I knew that Jill would find her dead father any second now. And there it was. A dreadful scream that penetrated my entire body, leaving me with a feeling of fear. I had to run to the train station, which was two hour away from Master’s mansion. I kept my speed up, and ran the fastest way through the dark woods. Behind me I could hear dogs barking, I could hear people yelling and someone where screaming my name. As I passed the trees, I felt a tired tinkling feeling in my legs. All the hopes I had of escaping, now was shuttered into pieces but I kept on running. I looked behind me, and I could see the dogs closing inn on me. And when I looked back at the path, I noticed the pipe on a locomotive. It was no more than a hundred yards from me. When I saw the locomotive getting closer to me, I realized that hope was not gone, and I ran onboard. I heard the train leaving the station.
A man came over to me and asked me for a ticket. I panicked and put up an act for the ticket collector, and told him a big lie, of how I got robbed just before I got on the train. He looked at me with a suspect look upon his face before he said that he believed me. I smiled and found myself a seat.
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