Science Fiction



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A nuclear conflagration renders Earth dead. All living species become extinct. It’s now Erstwhile Earth. The Seas, through their Mer agents rescue some humans and other living species and cocoon them in the coldest depths of the underwater Realm of New Atlantis. Humans are later returned by the Atlanteans to Africa, now the only continent free from radiation and are given the right to govern themselves again. Humans vow to abolish violence and not repeat the mistakes of their ancestors. Afrilantis is created and humans strive to create an earthly paradise. Humans again suffer a reversal of fortunes when a sinister faction of the ruling Council - the Atavida seize power and rule oppressively with help of aliens from Planet Ominus. The Atlanteans ally with the human liberation forces - the Redemption Council - to defeat the Atavida and expel the aliens. But this is only possible through a great Prophecy: The Tatu Omen. The Omen prophesies possible liberation under the leadership of a Chosen One - a part tree-spirit, part human child called The Abasa. The Abasa, however, is herself a target of her sibling forest spirits who have earmarked her for a human death before she reaches adolescence.


Mummy Bud was Abasa’s mother. She was in the highest 

state of anxiety humanly possible. Her soul had been 

rendered desolate. She was inconsolable. She focused her 

haunted gaze on her other daughter, Tulip, who sat on the 

hard dirt ground a short distance away. She knew Tulip was 

struggling to comprehend why their world had so suddenly 

and so viciously been turned on its head. Her daughter was 

traumatised as a result of what had transpired, and could 

undoubtedly use some consoling from her mother. Bud, 

however, felt just too drained and defeated to attempt it, 

despite dearly wanting to.

Oblivious to her mother’s stare, Tulip was catatonic from 

shock. All she could do was stare silently down the dusty road 

that led to wherever it was that they had taken her beloved, 

kidnapped sister. Tears streamed down her face. She was 

mystified and heartbroken.

They had finally come for their Abasa just before she turned 

13; just when she was just stepping into the throes of puberty. 

Bud knew that Abasa was going to die. She had known there 

was a high probability that they would eventually come; and 

that when they did, Abasa would not live beyond that day. 

There was a history to this, which was why Bud was certain. 

But she couldn’t tell her eldest daughter everything she knew 

about her sister and why they had come for her.


Prior to her abduction, Abasa and her elder sister Tulip, 

who was 15, had the chore of fetching water from the tightly 

controlled Water Quarter. Water was in very short supply in 

their area. This meant a daily pilgrimage some three miles and 

back over parched land to the outskirts of their labour camp. 

Their route unavoidably took them past the pristine patch 

of forest, which stood out like an eerie oasis that didn’t 

belong. Water storage was not permitted for personal use 

despite being in constant demand for very basic needs, such 

as drinking, cooking, limited laundry and ablutions. Water 

storage was only permitted for farming – the produce of which 

barely sustained the virtually enslaved population. Water for 

recreational and aesthetic gardening, swimming or the taking 

of refreshing showers at will were mere pipe dreams of a 

bygone age. Such ‘unnecessary indulgences’ were forbidden 

by the local Atavida authorities.

Usually on these water trips, Abasa with her heavy 

canister, which appeared more than her fragile body could 

manage, would wander off into the forest, sometimes for 

hours. She could be seen from a distance by those who, 

like Tulip, sensibly wouldn’t venture, swinging about in 

the trees on the forest periphery. She was often thought to 

be whispering to herself as she swung along, or so it seemed 

to the curious passers-by. At the beginning of their water-

fetching apprenticeship, Tulip had complained to their mother 

that Abasa’s frequent wandering into the forest was the reason 

for their often lengthy delays. 

The forest in question was deemed strange by those 

who lived in the area because it was a mysterious anomaly. 

Though aesthetically pleasing, it simply didn’t belong to the 

dry, barren landscape. Its presence didn’t make sense, and 

its shape was weird, almost a perfect circle. And too, it was 

evergreen. The trees and plants were always lush, their leaves 

never aged or discoloured regardless of the season. The forest 

also didn’t play host to animal life. Even the birds that sailed 

by on their migratory searches appeared loathe to stop there and perch for much-needed rest and food. It was as though 

their collective ornithological instincts led them to conclude 

that something was just not right with that particular patch of 

pristine vegetation.

Residents couldn’t classify it as an oasis since there was 

no obvious water body to support it. There was no lake, pond, 

river, rivulet, brook, creek, weir, lagoon or stream. It just stood 

there, vast, circular, lush, silent and sinister. The presence of 

this anomalistic forest was baffling. Here was an entity that 

ostensibly symbolised life and its continuous regeneration 

and yet stood ominously silent and lifeless

Growing up, Abasa had faced constant admonishing by 

her caring single mother not to venture into the inexplicable 

forest. Her father had disappeared during the mass riots of 

the previous decade against the early excesses of the ruling 

Atavida government when they first aligned with the alien 

Omini. It thus fell solely on Bud to set her daughters to rights.

For a while, Abasa was regularly punished for disobeying. 

No form of punishment, however, made any difference to her 

in this particular matter. She was a well-behaved child who 

obeyed her mother apart from the business with the forest. It 

was like an addiction that couldn’t be cured. At times, when 

relieved of her water fetching duties that Bud had hoped 

would keep her away, Abasa still managed to find her way 

there. It was as though she couldn’t live without entering the 

forest every single day.

On the days when she was physically confined and 

prevented from going there, she went desperately cold turkey. 

She became actually ill, lost colour and couldn’t eat nor 

drink for the duration. Her mother, baffled, simply gave up in 

despair and eventually permitted her almost unbridled access, 

as long as Abasa’s strange forest visitations didn’t interfere 

with her daily chores and the very limited studying that was 

permitted by the authoritarian authorities.

Her adult neighbours, who knew of the child’s penchant to 

lurk within the ominous forest, began to see her as an oddity, a freak, despite her undeniable pleasant and gracious manner. 

And many looked seriously askance at her, accordingly.


On that fateful day they came to kidnap her, Abasa was up 

at the crack of dawn. Leaving the mattress she shared with 

her sister on the floor, she went to lie by their mother in the 

cluttered single room that served jointly as the kitchen, living 

and sleeping quarters. She pressed against her mother’s back 

on the tiny camp bed, holding her tightly.

Bud, her mother, woke up with a start at this unusual 

intrusion. Bud was perplexed by her daughter’s out-of-character 

clinging. Abasa had never been clingy and demonstrated a 

determined independence that belied her tender years. That 

morning, for the first time ever, Abasa appeared somewhat 

reluctant to leave home for their water rounds.

Bud was, by this time, becoming very unsettled by her 

daughter’s uncharacteristic behaviour. She went limp when 

Abasa suddenly rushed into her arms saying, ‘I love you very 

much, Mummy Bud, and I’ll always be with you and Tulip 

whether I’m here or not.’

Abasa’s words hit her mother like a fearsome blow to the 

gut, expunging all air from her body as she gasped. Had she 

not been in her daughter’s embrace, Bud knew she would 

have reeled and keeled over. This was the moment she had 

been dreading for so many years. Upon hearing her daughter’s 

words, the terrible fears she had so stridently banished to the 

deepest recesses of her heart and mind instantly resurfaced 

with a vengeance. The hopes she’d permitted herself to 

cherish came crashing within seconds and instinctively, she 

knew their time was up.

They were coming for her Abasa, just as they had decreed 

they would. For a second, she thought of keeping Abasa back 

at home, but knew it would be futile. She couldn’t thwart 

the inevitable. She was under no illusions about what would happen. The Seer, Mr Boaf, had been very clear in explaining 

what was to occur. She felt paralytic as the sheer extent of her 

powerlessness sunk in.

Her innocent child was to be literally taken away from her 

to be put to death and there was absolutely nothing she could 

do about it. There was no one she could talk to, no higher 

power to appeal to. She felt like screaming, but couldn’t for 

the sake of her children. The verdict, as she had been told then, 

was inexorable. Woe, woe – they were all lost, completely lost 

unless… unless the good man came. But the good man hadn’t 

come, so there was no ‘unless’. This was it, she thought, with 

grinding misery.

Deeper into her reminiscences, Bud’s mind reverted further 

back to when it had all first began, and how it came about that 

they came for her Abasa just as she was turning 13.


Abasa was seven when it all first happened. By then her mother, 

perplexed by her daughter’s inexplicable need to spend half 

her life in the forest lingering in trees, was beginning to think 

her daughter not quite normal. She was much closer to the 

truth than she could have ever imagined possible.

Yes, she had discovered who her daughter truly was six 

years before they finally came. On the day of her disquieting 

and destabilising discovery, it was her once-weekly day off 

from her forced-labour work. She had begun her morning 

chores by getting rid of the perennial film of dust that coated 

everything, everywhere. It made their little shack that barely 

passed as home even more unsightly and distasteful than it 

already was. Light but steady breezes lifted dust off the dry 

barren landscape and distributed it everywhere, without 

discrimination, virtually throughout the day. It was a nightmare 

to live with, exacting lengthy dusting sessions each day. Her 

daughters had been gone an hour for their water duties.

After her initial phase of dusting, she had gone to the 

communal baths to have a wash with the limited water 

available. She soon returned and donned one of her three 

loose-fitting regulation brown dresses that did nothing to show 

her curvy yet taut, work-hardened body. She was 40 then and 

very pretty with the pleasant, open-faced Andalusian features 

of her Spanish forbears. She had shoulder-length, silky, 

auburn hair that was full-bodied yet prematurely greying, a 

light Mediterranean complexion, and sad, smouldering, big 

green eyes.

But her sadness was never about herself or her 

circumstances. She was only sad that her daughters were being 

forced to grow up in an oppressive, restrictive environment 

that promised no future beyond bleak despair. At least she 

had, at some point, been fortunately blessed with a fulfilling, 

carefree life of love, friendliness, material abundance and 

social harmony as a youth in the twilight golden days of the 

true New Experimental World. That was before the rise of 

the Atavida.

Nonetheless, she strived daily to make herself as presentable 

as possible despite their drab, dismal circumstances. This 

wasn’t an exercise in vanity. Rather, she did this to set an 

example for her daughters. She wanted to teach them never to 

give up and always make the best of whatever was available.

She had been standing in front of her only aged, cracked 

mirror sprucing up herself when she heard the screams and 

had rushed out to the front of their hovel in apprehension.

Her elder daughter, Tulip, ran towards her with a dozen or 

so of the neighbourhood children in tow. Most of the children 

were whimpering and Tulip was a picture of pure panic.

‘Mummy, Mummy, you have to come, you have to come! 

Something is happening to Abasa, Mummy. Something bad 

is happening to Abasa,’ Tulip screamed over and over again.

Bud was transfixed. Fear washed over her in waves, 

rooting her to where she stood. Maternal instinct, however, 

took over, granting her an almost instant recovery. One of her daughters was in danger and had to be saved – was all that kept 

pulsating through her brain. Some of her off-duty neighbours, 

having heard Tulip’s screams also rushed out of their identical 

tiny hovels to offer assistance. Theirs was a closely-knit, 

interdependent existence. A procession of parents led by Bud 

was soon running after the children in search of Abasa. Not 

knowing what to expect, many carried rudimentary farming 

implements, such as pitchforks, shovels, axes and scythes, 

along with them. These could come in handy as combat 

weapons should the need arise.

On arrival at the scene, they all literally skidded to a halt 

as one. The sight that met them at the fringes of the forest was 

one they could not have anticipated in the wildest stretching 

of their collective imagination. It was strange, sinister and 

shocking. It was a vision that would haunt many for a while to 

come, especially the children.

Abasa was suspended in mid-air, tautly spread-eagled 

between two sturdy, branchless trees. As the only branchless, 

leafless plants in the lush forest, the anomalistic trees resembled 

unyielding, inanimate pillars of death. She was at least twenty 

feet above the ground and thus unreachable. Lifeless-looking, 

brown sisal twines that extended directly from the trunks of 

the trees bound her outstretched arms and legs. She resembled 

someone about to be drawn and quartered.

A singular lifeless twine from an indeterminate source had 

also snaked its way through the entanglement and managed to 

coil itself loosely around her throat. Both ends of the twine, 

however, appeared poised in mid-air, as though waiting for 

some mysterious green light to choke the life out of her. Abasa 

appeared to be in a trance and wore a serene, seraphic look. 

Her eyes suddenly started to flutter as the twine around her 

throat very slowly started tightening. The signal seemed to 

have been mysteriously given. Her life began to gradually 

slip away.

Those who were not screaming were at a loss as to what 

to do. Others had turned their tear-stained faces away, unable to bear the horrific sight of the young girl being gradually 

asphyxiated to death by some mysterious, unseen ominous 

force right before their very eyes.

Bud had rushed to the base of the trees hysterically 

screaming to whatever malevolent spirits responsible, to 

please spare her daughter. She repeatedly kept jumping up and 

down in an attempt to reach and grab the twines that bound her 

daughter’s ankles. It was an instinctive yet ineffective venture 

as her daughter was too high up. Sympathetic neighbours 

felt initially powerless to help the stricken mother, and the 

children added to the bedlam with their wailing. Having 

recovered from their shock, and being propelled as well by the 

anguished lamentations of Bud, a section of the adults began 

discussing how best to save the child with the implements 

they had.

But before any strategy could be agreed upon, a figure 

came crashing loudly through the dense foliage. This caused a 

sudden hush to fall on the gathering of bewildered parents and 

children. He emerged between the narrow opening of the two 

death-laden trees that bound and held Abasa. The man sat on 

a large sabre-toothed tiger, tightly holding onto the creature’s 

mane as reins. The crowd was horror-struck and instinctively 

backed away, frightened by what appeared to be an immediate 

danger to them all. Some adults and many of the children 

instinctively fled pell-mell. The braver adults, shakily stood 

their ground, menacingly brandishing their farming weaponry 

at the man and beast. Even the stricken mother warily paused 

in her anguished keening, but did not retreat, despite her fear. 

There was no force on earth that could scare her away from 

her helpless daughter.

Though many of those present had heard of formerly 

extinct animals being reintroduced onto Upper Earth, none 

had ever actually beheld such a magnificent yet deadly 

looking beast with such fierce, extended fangs. While this 

held some of them in thrall, the stranger dismounted in haste, pointedly ignoring the pugnacious posturing of the would-be, 

implement-wielding combatants amongst them. The man and 

his beast were strangely silent. He wore a determined look 

and was draped in bleached sackcloth. He was Caucasian, tall, 

lean, white-haired and heavily bearded. He appeared quite old 

and had a knife between his very white teeth.

Walking hurriedly towards Bud, he firmly held the now 

whimpering mother by the shoulders and led her away from 

the base of the trees. He surrendered her to some of the 

neighbours who had become less belligerent, having surmised 

that neither the stranger nor his beast meant them any harm. 

Those who had fled also returned as their curiosity over the 

beast and what was to transpire got the better of them.

The stranger then motioned everyone to move further back, 

signalling them to form a perimeter some twenty-odd feet 

away. From around his waist, he uncoiled a lengthy, pristine 

white, silk rope with what looked like a palm-sized grappling 

hook at one end. He repeatedly swung the end of the rope 

that sported the hook in circular motions above his head with 

increasing speed and in a sudden deft motion lassoed one of 

the trees just above the sisal twines that bound Abasa’s left 

wrist. He took off his voluminous sackcloth, flung it over his 

silent beast and bare-chested, shinned up the rope with agility. 

When he got to the top, he untied the rope, then tied one end 

around his waist and the other to the tree, securing himself. 

Carefully yet firmly, he unwound the twine around her 

throat, relieving the pressure, giving her back her life. He 

dexterously cut off her other bonds with his knife and, with 

surprising strength, gently hauled her on to his back. Making 

sure she was secure, he descended with care.

Once on the ground, he carried the unconscious Abasa 

in his arms and made straight for their compound, walking 

very briskly. The beast, however, stayed put. A gratefully 

relieved but perplexed Bud, Tulip, the neighbours and their 

children followed in procession behind the stranger. He unerringly found his way to Bud’s hovel, as if he had been 

there before. As they went along, most could not help but steal 

backward glances at the mighty beast that was now slumped 

and contentedly purring at the forest fringes, waiting for its 

master, who still hadn’t spoken a word.

Inside the hovel, he placed Abasa on her mother’s camp 

bed, settling her with care. He took a clean white handkerchief 

from the pocket of his voluminous bleached toga pants and 

leaning over, gently wiped away flecks of foamy spittle that 

had formed at the corners of Abasa’s mouth. He straightened 

up and spoke for the first time in low, authoritative tones. He 

spoke so only Bud was privy to his words: ‘My name is Boaf 

and I am a Seer. I need to speak to you alone about what just 

happened to your daughter. The danger isn’t over. Thank your 

neighbours and send them away. Have one of them look after 

your other daughter and then come back.’

Bud did as she was bid and returned. The Seer Boaf then 

proceeded to instruct her: ‘Your daughter, The Abasa, is part 

Tree Nymph. She is the forest version of a Mermaid. She is 

human like us in body, but her spirit belongs to the forest. 

That’s why she’s always in the woods with her other tree 

spirit siblings and forest family. What happened today was 

an attempt by the tree spirits to claim her life. They believe 

she belongs with them. It will happen again. They’ll keep 

trying until they succeed. The Abasa won’t be permitted to 

live beyond 13 unless certain events come to pass.’

Bud was dumbstruck. Her green eyes mirrored her 

incredulity. What could this madman be possibly talking 

about? How could he suggest her daughter wasn’t fully 

human? Was this some sort of dastardly joke in very bad taste?

‘I’m sorry, Sir, but what are you talking about? What crazy 

talk is this? I’m very grateful to you for saving my daughter’s 

life, but you’re really scaring me! Who are you and where did 

you come from? How come you just appeared out of nowhere 

on that beast? I desperately need some answers here. Nothing you’ve said makes any sense. Who or what is trying to take 

my daughter, and why are you attaching a ‘the’ to her name? 

How do you even know her name?’ she hurled back at him 

in a rekindled hysterical rush, her animated green eyes now 

flashing dangerously.

‘Calm down, lady. I know all this is sudden, but I’ve little 

time. I must head back into the forest to intercede with the 

tree spirits to grant your daughter more time in this life. I’m 

on a very serious mission regarding The Abasa alone to the 

exclusion of everything else. And from what you’ve seen 

today, I need not remind you that this is a life and death 

situation. If you value her life, which I’m most certain you do, 

you’ll calm down now, sit and listen carefully to me.’ He said 

this even more authoritatively, sterner than ever. This had the 

desired effect as Bud nervously sat to listen. Her huge, now 

sadder eyes never left the mysterious stranger’s face.

‘Your daughter is much more unusual than simply being 

a Tree Nymph. She’s very special. If she’s permitted to live, 

she’ll be destined for very important things. Without being 

able to give you specifics, her destiny is, in many ways, 

inexorably bound to the destiny of Afrilantis, alive or dead. 

Alive means good and dead means bad for everyone.

‘Your daughter is the main object of a great Omen that 

you’ll one day hear about – hence the ‘the’ prefix to her name. 

However, I’m not privy to everything as yet, so there’s not 

much more I can tell you about that in particular. Are we clear 

so far?’ he asked the bewildered mother, wanting to make sure 

she was absolutely in no doubt about his meaning.

Bud was by now even more alarmed and mystified. Where 

was she even to begin with her questions? Of course, she 

had long suspected something unusual about her younger 

daughter. But certainly nothing as scary nor as sinister as 

all this! She had thought along the lines that Abasa had an 

over-active imagination, which given proper nurturing, might 

have probably amounted to something in a more auspicious environment. And there was also the worrying business of her 

forest visitations. But to be waylaid with matters pertaining 

to life and death and destinies and forest spirits and Tree 

Nymphs? She had a million questions, yet an overarching 

concern for her daughter’s safety compelled her to remain 

silent. She nodded her head in response to his question. 

He continued, ‘I know this is plenty to take in at one go, 

but we’ve no choice but to get on with it. I know you have 

many questions, most of which I’ll not be able to answer now. 

That doesn’t mean there are no answers. But I cannot show 

you where to go and seek them. Right now, I have to give 

you a pair of dice, which you must accept. Hide them where 

no one can reach. Lock them up in a strong box and keep the 

key on your person at all times. Open the box after three days. 

If both dice are still there, then your daughter will live. The 

tree spirits won’t come for her. She’ll inherit her destiny then. 

If only one remains then there is only a fifty-fifty chance that 

your daughter will remain alive beyond 13. If however, both 

dice have vanished then I’m sorry to say that nothing can be 

done. Only the good man can do something. But the good man 

may not make it to you in time. This is what’s been revealed 

to me.’

It took a supreme effort for Bud not to lunge at the stranger 

and shake some better explanations out of him. ‘My daughter 

has three days to live?! Is that what you’re saying? Are you 

senile or plain stupid? What the hell is this nonsense? Maybe I 

should call in my neighbours. I won’t accept this!’ Bud reacted 

with some force and was on her feet like a shot. 

The stranger quickly raised his hand firmly, halting her. 

He raised his voice a notch. ‘Sit back down before you do 

your daughter more harm. Now! I said now!’ His voice was 

steel but Bud could sense concern in his voice. She sat. He 

continued, ‘I didn’t say she will die in three days, but she 

won’t see puberty if the dice vanish. And you’re not, under 

any circumstances, to reveal what I’ve told you to anyone. 

To do so would put your daughter in greater peril. I’m sorry about all this, but I remain hopeful for your family. I saw a 

vision of the good man trying to reach your daughter. A very 

good man. The vision was blurred, but it persisted. But that 

guarantees nothing. Ask me no more questions. Don’t even 

ask me about the good man. Just take the dice and do as I’ve 

said. I must be off now.’

With that, the Seer Boaf gave her the dice and waited 

until she had placed them in the only box with a lock that she 

possessed. She placed the key in her brassiere after making 

sure it was firmly locked and vowed it would never leave her 

person. Boaf then left.

The following three days were a living nightmare for Bud. 

They were days of lonely, quiet, and intense desperation. She 

couldn’t discuss the matter with anyone and took great pains to 

act in a manner that wouldn’t needlessly alarm her daughters. 

How could such a sentence be placed over a mother’s head 

like a diabolical Sword of Damocles, looming and quivering 

malevolently to decapitate and thus terminate the life of a 

most beloved daughter?

And now they had come and taken her away. Yes, the dice 

had vanished but that was so many years ago. Why couldn’t they just leave her be?

About the author

I am an aspiring novelist seeking to both entertain and share experiences where possible. I am from Ghana but I am living in the UK at the moment. I published my first novel called The Day of the Orphan in 2018. With guidance and experience, I hope to become a better author with a wide readership view profile

Published on October 16, 2020

Published by Acorn Independent Press

90000 words

Genre: Science Fiction

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