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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
the old coin returns home.

Submitted: March 15, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 15, 2017













Banjul was a lonely place to local Sam London.  The hundredth passport

had been stamped.  His country was a packed with people, but most ran about, only caring about themselves or dear ones.  Or so it seemed sometimes.  Sam was a slim black man of Gambia.  Part of his job was receiving goods.  One suck item was an envelope with something sealed inside.  It was addressed to ‘Anyone, Africa.’


Sam laughed to himself.  He turned to Tanya Hussain.  She was the office girl.  Most there were men.  But she was a strong and clever young woman.  Sam had much admiration for her and always kept a friendly eye on her.  She typed up some needed documents.  Then filed them for the next day.  Tanya stared at the object that fell from the letter that came with the envelope.


Something heavy and clunky fell onto Sam’s desk.  When it thudded a door slammed shut.  The picture of Banjul’s major juddered on the wall.  It was then that a very small girl entered the office and collapsed at the feet of Sam London.  It was all a bit too much for Tanya.  She choked on the last of her coffee.  Sam sat the girl in his chair.  It was clear that she was from an even poorer part of the small country. 


The girl sipped on his can of coke.  Sam read the letter that had come with a yellowy amulet.  Tanya had phoned for security and a medic.  The office was part of the airport.  So there was always someone to call for assistance.  While he waited Sam read the letter to himself.




Sam London found his breath.  A strange tiredness overcame him.  The girl by his feet stared at him.  Then slumped in his arms.  The medics came and took her to hospital.  Sam held his own talisman, a St Christopher medal around his neck.  Then just as the men closed the door behind them, Sam was sure that a shadow moved behind them.  Away into the midday sun.  Sam London grabbed some Asprin and prayed his headache would go away soon.


The packet had postal mark from London, England.  So Sam went to see the UK Embassy, in Banjul.  The people there told him to go to a tiny home in Janjanbureh (Georgetown).  Deep into the Gambia.  A historian there would tell him about the charm.  It was going to take a few days so, Sam informed Tanya to get someone to cover for him.  The pretty temp made a phone call and it was sorted.


The streets of the Gambia were always busy.  Many buses raced along with cars and people on battered mopeds, rusty and mud packed mountain bikes or families laden with all kinds of things.  The littered road became a bit better on the main highway to the East.  Sam fanned himself cooler, seated at the back of the small not quite full bus. 


It was destined for Janjanbureh, some two hours away on a good run.  To the left gushed the hefty flow of the river Gambia itself.  Sam could have used a boat or highered river plane.  As long as he got there, he did not mind.  The lone traveller just hoped that the History Man was in.  And that he could help with the matter at hand.


Halfway there the bus stopped at another bus that was being robbed.  Several masked men shot and wounded several passengers.  Sam’s bus driver pulled out a pistol, always ready for such events.  This is quite expected in Africa, mused Sam to himself.  Inside his jacket, his hand touched a small cannister of mace.  Ready to stun any trouble.


Next to his weapon, in his deep short sleeved combat jacket, was the envelope.  A foul aroma came from his side.  At first Sam thought he had sat on bad eggs.  Then looked out and saw the bad men hitting a woman in the other bus.  One menacing black face looked at him.  The machette was waved at the silent airport man.  


In the brightness of the afternoon, a strange darkness came over the roadway.  All, including the terrorists cowered at the presence of a shadowy cloud.  Almost everyone there believed in God and the Devil.  A blinding fear came upon them.  The seige ended.  And the day was too.


The late bus arrived in what was once called Georgetown.  Some of its name still appeared on some buildings.  The centre was as cluttered as anywhere.  Sam alighted the bus and found the way from a bright white chapel, to a side street.  There in the humble undergrowth was a shack.  The home of the History Man.


Sam London took out his hip flask and sipped on some sweet brandy.  Not having too much, so he would not get dehydrated.  His travelling bag was under his arm as he tapped on the yellow door.  After a few seconds, a voice hailed from behind the hut.  Sat in the garden was a white man.  Sipping white wine.  With his nose in book of the Romans in Africa.


Soon Sam joined the old but friendly man.  The man introduced himself as, John Stone.  He had settled there as a historical guide to tourists.  Showing them old churches, ruins and parts of the river where battles had been fought against the Germans and earlier with the Romans.  Sam found it hard to believe that Romans would have been in the Gambia.  Yet some ancient finds of Doctor Stone, showed a piece of  the truth. 


It was then that Sam showed the historian his find.  The envelope was placed on an outside coffee table.  John Stone stared at the item that fell into view.  He put on some gardening gloves before he picked it up.  Old yellow eyes noted the markings.  A blue nun and a black slave stood beside a large cross.  Above the carvings was the scribed name St Godabya.  A long hum was heard by Sam.  The older white man was clearly impressed.


‘What does it all mean, Doctor?’ urged Sam.

The historian had also read the letter.  He hummed some more.  And more intently.  His old hands shook a bit.  Then placed the letter and charm on the coffee table.  Gloved free hands took a gulp of white wine.  His eyes saw the many black people walking too and fro.  Some were local friends.  Others traders or tourists.  His face met the curious mind of Sam London.  Still waiting for an answer.


‘Do you have a place to stay, after your long trek?’ Sam shook his head.  ‘Well there is a spare room in the church, across the way.  The priest won’t mind.  After a good nights sleep and breakfast, we can plan for the next part of your journey.’  Sam looked at John Stone lost for words.  ‘You see my young man, it will take all tomorrow to get to the Site of the Old Village.  Deep in the jungle.’

* * *



A night in and near a jungle was a lot different to the hustle and bustle of a big city.  The West of Gambia was full of people making all kinds of noises.  For those with decent homes, most sounds and smells could be sealed off.  Sam London loved his small appartment that was a mile from his parents even smaller shack, that was once his home.  He would swap all that back, for the terrors of the deep dark depths of The Gambia.


This fear he had, he felt, must be the real secret of his homeland.  It may have been less than a fifty miles to the border, North or South.  Yet Africa’s wilderness did not have bounderies.  The savages here, were true natives of his land.  Sam lay in a cot, in a small spare room of the Christian Chapel.  His sleep was often interrupted by local women or men, coming in to kneel and pray at the alter.  This was only in the next room.


The alter and room of the small church was quite impressive, walls of white met simple rows of timber to kneel and pray on.  The alter was a solid brass cross that hung above a nice looking table.  This was set upon a platform, just a few inches higher than the rest of the floor.


Most of the visitors said, ‘Amen.’  Then their sound vanished into the night.  Distant howling echoed from the Chimpanzee Park, just a few miles away.  Other things cried out in the night.  Sam eventually grew use to the new sounds that he could not see.  Mostly because he had fallen asleep.  He did not sense the cold that loitered by the main door of the chapel.  It too eventually joined the darkness of the jungle.  And became just another unknown thing.


The morning came with a thunderous movement of feet.  It was Saturday and fun time for the local children.  Sam was woken by girl tapping at the door.  The visitor quickly dressed and combed his short afro with his fingers.  Then opened his door to a smiling kid.  She pulled him outside to the awaiting Doctor Stone.  The man sat in a small sturdy jeep.  It was what the historian used to work in as a guide or to go and study old and new finds. 


‘Ah,’ sighed his charming English tone. ‘Come on.  We don’t have all day, young man.  Besides the children need to use the church for singing practise.  We may have to cross the border today.  As a road is out to the Old Village.’ 


The grey haired balding old man, pulled Sam into the seat beside him.  They both sped off North West.  Deep into the jungle.  The tyres raced along the dusty track.  It was the dry season.  Sam was pretty glad of that, as the rainy season brought floods and ugly roads.  The warming heat of the day passed soon, when the doctor pointed to the road signs that read in English, Hell. 



It seemed to take all day to reach the Old Village.  It was still daylight and hot.  The brightness helped to cast long shadows from several outstanding buildings.  The highest was a 20 foot tall monolithic slab of stone.  The sign of a cross had been hetched on one side, that always faced the sun.  Smaller stone huts were used by local peasants.  Doctor Stone welcomed Sam London, to the once home of Godabya. 


An unsettling feeling came upon mind of the visitor.  He tried to pass the charm to his historian host, to place it back where it belonged.  Stone pointed to a shabby stone tomb.  ‘This was the place that slaves and prisoners were held.  The story goes that a nun helped the black slaves, that were tortured before being taken to ships for the New World.  The Americas.  She fed and tried to heal them of any wounds.  Some were beaten and left to rot.  Till the slave traders arrived.’


The historian explained all that he could.  The Old Village was once a Roman Villa.  The early Christians changed it into a place for pray.  Then after the missionaries took over the place, slavery grew to be a great and grave industry.  Several holy men and women became matyrs throughout Africa and the World, trying to save and free the slaves.  One such person was Godabya.



Sam went with John Stone, into the dark room.  The odour of bad meat was met with the sight of black ash.  In here slaves were burnt to death, even today some local military seem to think it is fun to do the same.  Just to get rich or bully weak natives.  The men placed the envelope on the floor in the heart of the chamber.  Hoping any badness would stay there.  Never to haunt the world of today, again.


Yet in the corner of the room, Sam was sure that a shadow stood there.  Waiting for something.  At that a rush of wind filled the place.  Then the sound of men marching was heard by both men.  It was not on his mind.  Doctor Stone had never had any trouble.  But the sight of soldiers pointing rifles stunned them.


Even he began to think that the talisman was cursed.  The armed guerrillas had them in a corner of the tomb.  One wanted the shiny coin.  It looked like silver in the glint of the ebbing sunlight.  The two other gunmen pushed the old man to the ground.  They spoke in French.  Sam obeyed the slaveholders.  His heart raced, his mind prayed to God.



Silence seemed to fill the desolate dungeon.  The air was sucked outside.  An image appeared at the doorless exit.  A blue light graced the sky like a one coloured rainbow.  Pearcing black eyes met the three soldiers equally.  Visions of rage became pain in their chests.  They fell to the charred floor.  Writhing in agony.  A voice echoed from an angellic person, ‘Leave this place.  Let the suffering end.  My time is done.  Be gone by the Mercy of Our Lord.’


* * *




The two men tried to forget the incident in the Old Village.  It felt unreal anyway.  The old doctor wanted to get back to the safety of his African garden.  And the shaken Gambian Sam London, wanted to be back in his chapel cot.  Among the singing children.  Behind the alter in the house of God.  Sam had left the old medallion on the floor of the haunted abode of St Godabya.  To his unknown regret.


That night both had bad sleep.  Something was calling them back.  They had unfinished business, to tend with.  The pair had to go back to the Old Village.  Sam tried to sleep in the presence of a brass cross.  His senses told him some people were in the small church.  The white walls were in black in the shadow of darkness.  Thieves had decided to raid the place of the semi precious metal, above the altar.


Tacking noises echoed in the night.  Two hefty local men were stretching to grab the cross.  Sam appeared from behind, from the small vestry.  His flickering candle caused the men to move toward the new man.  The heavy cross was used as a weapon.  The taller thief whacked Sam in the face.  Unseen blood was shed.  The bad pair loitered over the stunned victim. 


The smaller crook tried to pull his partner away.  It was then that a whiteness came over them.  A woman in blue robes faced the petrified men.  One African began to faint.  A clattering sound filled the mind of Sam London, just before he passed out. 


Sam came too back in his cot, with a friendly face by his side.  Doctor Stone gave him a soothing cup of hot milk.  One sip hit the spot.  His friend had cleaned up the mess and had the police take the thieves away.  He told his new friend, there could be an award for saving the church.  But Sam’s eyes told the true story.  Both men knew and understood it now to be the Shadow of St Godabya, that saved the night and anyone else.  By the Grace of God.  Amen.

















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