Ansa…The End

14 Feb

Chapter 3

It seemed they stood watching each other for an eternity. Ansa took his time to look intently at his captors. One by one he took in their faces and memorized them until he got to Tome. He could not keep the surprise away from his eyes for standing before him was none other than Osei.

   *                             *                  *

Osei…

Ansa met Osei for the first time when he was twelve. Osei had been his father’s close acquaintance. It was therefore no wonder when he started frequenting their home upon his father’s demise.

Osei had been his father’s hunting partner before Ansa came of age. They spent less time with each other, as far as Ansa could tell, as Ansa grew older and more useful around the home and during hunting expeditions.

Ansa had been one of those myopic enough to frown at Ansa’s having any form of education. In fact, it seemed to Ansa that they grew apart from then on.

Osei resurfaced in a big way after Anan’s death. He was visiting their home every day and bringing gifts upon gifts for his mother. These gifts started off as foodstuffs and the occasional bush meat, but gradually veered into other items such as clothing. When one day he brought his mother the rare ceramic bowl, his mother had to stop to it. It was quite obvious he now desired something in return.

Ansa’s mother, Nana, refuses his proposal and returns all the gifts he had sent to her—gifts which she had not dared use. This causes quite an upheaval for Osei is not just her husband’s friend but also a kinsman.

No amount of pressure would break Nana’s decision. She relies heavily on Ansa to provide for the family of three and Ansa does not fail her.

Osei gradually reduces pressuring her and after a time, stops all together. He recognizes Ansa is Nana’s backbone and resents him for that very reason.

       *                        *                       *

“You?”

 

Osei walked forward and standing in front of him struck him across the face.

 

“You bow to the earth when you address your master”, he told him in a voice reeking with hate.

 

Mensah came forward and relieved him of his gun.

“I must tell you”, Mensah said, “You are really fleet of foot.”

 

“I knew he was up that tree” Osei said not taking his eyes off him, “a snake does not just fall of a tree for no apparent cause”.

 

Kwame tied Ansa’s hands behind his back and after stuffing some cloth into his mouth, gagged him. “This would fetch us a very good price”.

 

“Yes”, Osei agreed. “He would be a prize for whoever gets him”.

Someone gave him a shove and he stumbled forward.

 

“The wait was worth it” Mensah said after a brief consideration.

 

Ansa followed their lead like a zombie. To him the gag was unnecessary for he was completely speechless. How could a man who professed so much love for his mother abduct him to be sold into slavery? They were already speaking of him as a commodity…a commodity to be sold.

 

He had heard so much about the trade in human cargo, but he never imagined it would be his fate someday. His fellow kinsmen in Denkera, a province conquered by the Ashanti in 1700, had their own slaves, the Alatas from Lagos, Yoruba. These slaves were accorded the dignity that every human being deserves, but not so the slaves that were shipped from the dreaded El Mina.

They travelled south of Dankera, avoiding the usual trails and creating their own bush paths.

 

Ansa had not had a meal from yesterday noon and it was telling in the lack of precision of his steps.

They soon arrived at a thatched cabin and Ansa was shoved inside. The cabin was small and dark, and smelt of muck. The walls felt grimy and Ansa stayed away from it.

 

“Sit down!” Mensah commanded.

 

“No,” countered Osei, “Strip him of his kente. He really must have a nerve to be hunting in the attire of the royals.”

 

Ansa was stripped and made to sit in the altogether. The men went out of the cabin. Ansa heard one of them talk about having him blindfolded, but could not get any of Osei’s reply.

 

Some moments later, one of the men came back in with a piece of cloth had him blindfolded and went back out.

 

There was some movement outside for a while and later everywhere went still but for the surround noise.

Ansa tried to pry his hands loose but it was virtually impossible. The rope was tied too tight and besides he had been made to sit at a very impossible angle. If he could even stand up it would be of no use, he was blindfolded and naked. He therefore decided to keep still and reserve his energy for the journey ahead.

 

Ansa did not want to burden his mind guessing at what was in store for him, but rather drew a blank on his mind and soon drifted off to sleep.

 

It was later at night that he felt something fleshy on him. He stirred and wiggled and found out that it was a body. He could feel the person’s breath on his arm and by the feel of the body he could tell this was a female. His breath caught in his throat. How mean can these men be, subjecting the weaker sex to this kind of treatment? He could hear her whimpering and felt the tears as they ran down her cheeks and dropped on his arm. He knew she could not get up from that position even as he himself had not been able to move.

 

It was several hours before dawn came. Sometime in the middle of the night the girl had stopped whimpering and fallen asleep. He too had dozed off, but his sleep was quite epileptic for he woke up intermittently from cramps and body aches.

At dawn someone came in and shoved the girl roughly.

 

“Wake up!” he commanded. “This is not an inn”.

 

The girl was dragged off Ansa as someone else pulled Ansa by the arm. He could not stand on his feet and wobbled before he fell to the floor. He was dragged roughly to his feet again and he had to will his feet to respond and carry his weight.

 

The man slapped one of his legs, “Raise it”.

 

Ansa raised his leg, standing unsteadily on one foot. He felt something like a piece of hard cloth passed under his foot and raised to cover his loins. Instinctively he raised his second leg and the same cloth was passed under him again. The cloth was drawn up to cover his nakedness and held in place at his hip with drawstrings.

 

He was still blindfolded but he could feel the cool breeze and knew he was outside the cabin. He hoped they would take off the blindfolds soon.

 

“Move!” one of the men barked at him and shoved him in the direction to go.

 

Ansa took three steps and felt something drag him backwards as someone bumped into him. A hand steadied him roughly and he started on his journey again.

 

He did not need to think so hard to realize that he and the girl must have a rope holding them together. This was surely going to prevent anyone of them from mischief or any thought of mischief. He moved at a moderate pace to accommodate the girl whose face he had not yet seen. They moved quite a considerable distance before the girl tripped and Ansa found himself falling with her.

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