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B@@ks: Odessa

ODESSA loves nothing more than to see her family again. Taken from her home in Africa, Odessa finds herself stranded on an island in the Caribbean. She soon discovers the island is not all that it seems and magical events start to take place. With the help of NYABINGHI, the hidden queen, will Odessa make it back home? Written by Zoe Logan

Chapter One: Odessa

The blue midnight moon beat down on her back

Odessa ran with all her might

The tall cool grass parted as she hurried through

Her body was now swift and light

Odessa ran and ran until her feet refused

The sun was rising in the east

She lay down, in a field of corn

And waited patiently for the beast

Heavy footsteps climbed the grass

Like a cricket stalking its prey

But as Odessa was ready in defence

Two young boys were dancing in play

Afraid of the unknown, Odessa lay still

Her heart full of fear and strife

Amazed how her people danced free

She questioned, ‘was this the afterlife?’

Odessa then fainted right there in the field

The boys hearing her sorry yelp

Worried that she had fell to death

They ran to the village to get help

Cold water splashed her tired eyes

Odessa awoke with a start

Five or Six faces gazed from above

No instrument could mirror her beating heart

‘Dear child, we are of the Maroon Tribe’ said an elder

‘And what tribe are you from?’

Muffled with fright, she opened her mouth

But the words suddenly didn’t belong

‘Don’t be afraid’ said another

‘We come in peace, are you lost?’

‘We know how that feels’ said one more

‘We too have paid the cost’

Odessa arose from the ground

And sat with the her newly formed shields

She told them her story

And how she was very nearly killed

‘It was early one morning’

‘The sun hot as an oven’

‘I went to fetch some eggs’

‘Mama had asked for half a dozen’

‘There was something strange in the air’

‘Like a sickly thought of dread’

‘But I continued with the day’

‘Erasing such thoughts from my head’

‘The next I knew, I was kidnapped’

‘Connected to a shackle of another’

‘Then marched to the coast’

‘That was the last I saw of Mama and Brother’

‘When we arrived at the shore’

‘My people were climbing huge ships’

‘Scurrying on like weeds’

‘Afraid that they would be picked’

Odessa remembered where she was

In a field with the Maroon Tribe

She had got lost deep somewhere in her story

She pinched herself to see if she was alive

‘Well dear child, this is our land’ said the elder

‘It was taken from us by the men who kidnapped you’

‘We lost many of our people in battle’

‘We ran up to these mountains too’

Odessa suddenly felt at home

Kindness and love surrounding her

She settled into village life

And embraced their culture as they would prefer

Chapter Two: Nyabinghi

Odessa stayed in the village for three years

She was now a part of the family

Although she still always wondered

If Mama and Brother were also free

One blustery evening

Odessa started to dream

Of Mama and Brother smiling

Odessa’s heart was filled with their beam

Just as the dream started to unravel

A noise of thunder clapped outside

Odessa alarmed from the noise

Sat upright in her bed unable to hide

As she peered through the window

Her eyes amazed her mind

The sky was filled with purple and orange

Her heart jumped, anticipating what she might find

Amidst the colourful light

A beautiful woman appeared

In a soft and gentle voice

She said ‘Odessa come here’

As Odessa walked out to this wonder

The woman’s beauty grew vast

Her hair was curly and black

Her features reminiscent of the past

Her skin was as dark as a blackberry

Her smell as sweet as the nectar

Her nose reminded her of Mama’s

This was a magical spectre

‘I am Nyabinghi, the Hidden Queen to many’

‘I have come to guide you back home’

Her words flowed so tender

Odessa no longer felt alone

‘You were taken from the earth’ said Nyabinghi

‘Transported across the seas’

‘Afraid, frightened and lost’

‘The gods sent a message to me’

‘But I have no way of getting home’ said Odessa

‘The journey was long and rough’

‘With my help dear Odessa’ said the Queen

‘Nothing is too tough’

With Nyabinghi’s last word, came a swarm of butterflies

Their wings had borrowed colours from a rainbow

They aligned carefully together to form a shape

Nyabinghi pointed and said ‘look closely at my window’

Odessa was astonished

The butterflies acted like glue

To create a window of dreams

Odessa went ahead and climbed through

Chapter Three: The Rainforest

Odessa awoke under a giant silk cotton tree

She wondered where she had been placed

All around were enormous green trees

And rain had clearly shown its face

‘This is a rainforest’ Odessa whispered to herself

‘Well aren’t you a clever girl’ the tree had spoken

Odessa jumped to her feet in panic

The silk cotton tree had been awoken

‘Well, don’t just stand there looking shy’

‘What is your name?’

‘My name is Odessa, and you are?’

‘Me….Well I am tree (laughs), are you insane?’

Not again, thought Odessa

Was this reality or a dream?

At that moment the sun broke through the clouds

Presenting the most beautiful beam

‘The rainforest is just fine’ said the tree

Odessa gave a huge smile ‘It’s wonderful’

‘What brings you this way’ the tree questioned

‘I’m trying to find my way home, that’s all’

Odessa’s worries came flooding back

The tree could feel her pain

Mama and Brother were all she had

Her worries trickled up the roots, just like veins

‘Don’t be afraid’ whispered the tree

‘The rainforest will guide you’

Odessa hugged the tree tight

They both laughed, as off the birds flew

The tree introduced Odessa to Mrs Humming Bird

Who wore the colours of a rainbow

A striking bird of beauty

‘I will lead’ declared Mrs Humming bird ‘and you are to follow!’

For hours which seemed like days

Odessa followed contently and closely

Mrs Humming bird flapped her wings so fast

Just as Odessa was to give up, she suddenly spotted the sea

‘Mrs Humming Bird is that the sea?’

‘Yes Odessa, this is where we say goodbye’

‘Look for Mr Crab, he will be on Fisherman’s Bay’

Mrs Humming bird then left, before she was to cry

Chapter Four: Fisherman’s Bay

Approaching the bay Odessa stood still

The beauty around her was vast

Colours of greens, blues and yellows

For a split second she forgot of her path

She began to run downhill towards the beach

The sun beating down on her skin

Out of breath she slumped on the yellow sand

And saw a crab doing a backspin

‘Are you okay?’ worried Odessa

The crab muttered ‘Can you help, I’m upside down’

Odessa carefully placed the crab the right way up

‘You very nearly sat on me’ the crab frowned

‘Oh I am so sorry’ Odessa insisted

‘Not to worry, all is well, no one is to blame’

‘So you are Odessa’ said the crab

Odessa grinned ‘and Mr Crab is your name?’

Odessa and Mr Crab spoke for hours

He spoke of his children and their mother

And then of the beach and the sea

Odessa remembered Mama and Brother

‘I hear you would like to go home’

‘You were taken, against your will’

Mr Crab sighed ‘I have witnessed many lost here’

‘Your wishes I will fulfil’

The memories all came back at once

Odessa suddenly felt weak

Her hands started to trembled

She felt uneasy on her feet

Odessa fell into a deep sleep

Right there, on the sand

Mr Crab watched over her all night

Resting her head on a soft mound

Chapter Five: The Journey Home

‘Odessa, Odessa wake up’

Odessa stirred with the voice so sweet

‘You have made it this far my child’

Nyabinghi helped Odessa to her feet

‘Where is Mr Crab?’ enquired Odessa

Nyabinghi replied ‘He has returned home to his love’

‘But look he has arranged a vessel’

‘The captain of this ship is Miss Dove’

Odessa’s eyes were alight

Her heart skipped a beat

Finally she was going home

Mama and Brother she would meet

‘There is one thing Odessa’ said Nyabinghi

‘When you arrive all may not be the same’

Jubilant, Odessa thought nothing of this comment

‘I’ll be sure to tell Mama and Brother of your name’

With that Nyabinghi rose in a teacup of butterflies

She commanded a safe journey across the sea

‘Go forth young queen and always remember’

Odessa roared back ‘I love you Nyabinghi’

Odessa, Miss Dove and her nephew Motmot

Sailed on towards home

Odessa felt safe and protected

She was happy she was not alone

For six weeks they travelled the seas

Making it through on Nyabinghi’s wish

By day they sang songs of joy

At night they danced with the fish

They finally saw land in their sight

Odessa could sense home was closer

Suddenly the vessel began to rock

Odessa’s heart beat faster

‘Who goes there!?!?’ a voice echoed

Odessa kept as quiet as a mouse

‘I said who goes there!?!?’ repeated the voice

‘You have trampled right through my house’

‘Why we are ever so sorry’ said Miss Dove

She spoke as smooth as satin

‘We never meant to cause upset’ cried Motmot

Odessa added ‘No we would not want that to happen’

Just as Odessa uttered her last word

A colossal mammal arose from the sea

‘My name is Master Whale’

‘So why have you bothered me?’

Odessa felt it was right she spoke

‘Motmot and Miss Dove are helping me’

‘Master Whale they are taking me home’

‘For six weeks we have been out to sea’

Master Whale was confused

‘Why would you want to return?’

‘Life was not great to you there!’

‘What is there possibly to learn?’

Odessa started to become irate

How could Master Whale, question

Her love for home, for family

She answered without hesitation

‘I wish to return Master Whale’

‘As like Mr Tree in the rainforest’

‘My roots are planted in the soil’

‘Home is where I will grow best’

‘I wish to return Master Whale’

‘As like Mr Crab at Fisherman’s bay’

‘My family mean the world to me’

‘Home is where we will play’

‘I wish to return Master Whale’

‘As like Nyabinghi’s beauty and soul’

‘I wish to become a leader for my people’

‘Home is where I will have that role’

Odessa was shocked by her confidence

‘Well then Odessa you shall pass’

‘How can I contest such courage?’

Master Whale smiled ‘You may trespass’

The warm air touched Odessa’s face

Land was within her grasp

The smell of love entered her nostrils

She was finally home at last

Odessa stepped from the boat

On the ground she kneeled

Sand filled her fingers and toes

Her anxieties and fears had been healed

As Odessa climbed to her feet

‘Go forth young queen and always remember me’

The treasured voice echoed in her ears

Odessa whispered back ‘I love you Nyabinghi’

All at once the birds started to sing

Odessa was surrounded by brightly coloured butterflies

Nyabinghi’s presence had filled the sky

She whispered ‘Now Odessa we can finally say goodbye’

Copyright © Zoe Logan


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