Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter One: Woman at the Lake
This story began with the setting of a dirt road. I wanted to write something that reflects my faith and cultural heritage being raised in the South, Georgia specifically. The best way to create is from a place of intense feelings. Many things have influenced intense feelings in my life as relating to a dirt road--fires, accidents, long walks, fearful hikes, etc.... This is the first of a series of stories I plan to write on HubPages about Woza Moya Ongcwele--Come Holy Spirit. This story, or chapter is about Hiram.
The smell of freshly churned earth saturates the air as clouds gather above. Rain is coming. Hiram predicts that by the time he reaches the end of the old dusty dirt road, his bare feet will find comfort in the warm wet clay. It’s not the rain as much that he relishes, but the feeling of the wet clay between his toes and under his feet as he walks. His father will know he skipped Sunday school and went to the fishing pond. Only one dirt road exists in town, which winds behind the church building, through the cemetery, and to the fishing pond.
It’s not like I’m leaving the church or anything just because I left after sacrament meeting, he thought. He just needed to leave the new bishop celebration for a minute or 60! It’s a small town. Everybody in the town goes to the same three churches, which happen to all be a part of the same church! An entire town of Mormons is weird, he thinks. He always thought it was weird growing up not to see people from other religions around. He knows they exist because he competed against them at state events and saw them on trips to larger cities. Life is good in Enigma.
“Why do I have to justify not being in church,” he wonders aloud. Besides having the red sandy clay on his bare feet, his clothing will be wet from the rain. How could he get wet in a church building? He cannot lie; it is against his nature. Hiram knows what will come—the talk in his father’s office, the decision to choose the correct spiritual path to glory, figuring out what his punishment should be, and on and on….
His dad is the new bishop of their congregation in town, the Enigma Lake Ward. Almost a year has passed since Hib started his mission—a three-year mission. Hiram misses his brother’s friendship. The emails and letters are not enough to replace what they had before he left. He is doing it for a good reason, Hiram reminds himself.
The raindrops touch lightly on Hiram’s flesh. The rain-smell fills his nostrils and sends sweet chills running through him.
Dad will understand. After all, he is the bishop. Hiram needs to ponder the news that he received the day before. His stake president (similar to a Catholic archbishop) asked him to submit his mission papers early. He could not help but think of Hib, or Elder Smarts. Now he has to make the same choice. He chuckles inside himself wondering if their family is marked to serve missions early. He is 16 turning 17 next month, and had graduated from high school. In 12 months’ time he had completely changed his life around spiritually and emotionally with only Elder Smarts or Hib knowing. He has always attended his duty, but now, he does so with purpose and devotion.
The wind blows intensifying the smell of rain—the moist air a welcomed respite from the dust-filled air of moments ago. Hiram ascends to the top of the hill on the dirt road and sees something unexpected. Off to the side of the pond near a large gray stone he uses as his thinking spot, a figure topples into the pond.
Hiram rushes over bursting through the branches of the low-lying trees. He runs to the edge of the pond near his thinking spot to see if he can see what he thought he saw. Glancing down at his feet to discover they scratched from his hasty trump through the trees and scattered branches and stones on the ground. Alarm ripples through him as he scans the pond again to notices a person face down floating towards its middle and dives in for rescue.
Hiram swims to aid the person by flipping, grabbing, and swimming the person to shore for resuscitate surprised to find the person to be a young woman about his age. She has on a hooded windbreaker; the sleeves appear to have been torn. The young lady is pale and sickly, but undeniably beautiful. This revelation causes him to hesitates a second before doing mouth-to-mouth. Water springs out of the young woman’s mouth, and she coughs uncontrollably and shivers. Hiram responds quickly embraces her to keep her body warm.
Hiram is afraid. The young woman heaves as she coughs, weakly clutching the body of her rescuer. She relaxes her hold and Hiram gentle settles her in his arms after she stops coughing and opens her eyes to see the worried face of a handsome young man. Hiram feels relieved as she gazes at him with a glossy look. “My name is Hiram, are you okay,” he manages right before she loses consciousness. The color returns to Hiram’s face, who sits puzzling at what to do next with the young woman. What a face, Hiram thinks sitting for a few minutes staring. He could not help it. It was something about her that seemed familiar. Something about her drew him to her.
Church, he decides. Church is where he will take her to have an ambulance called. Fearing that Bishop Smarts would try to call him, he left his phone at the ward building. He stands and cradles the young woman walking away from the pond and to the road where he left his shoes, wincing as he puts his scratched feet in the slide-on shoes and wonders how he will make it to the church carrying the young woman who was already getting heavy.
“Come on, wake up,” Hiram said jiggling her a bit. He could see the church building as he approached the cemetery. She opens her eyes and again looks at Hiram as if she is dreaming.
“Help me,” she whispers. Hiram stops and lowers her to the ground to rest his arms a bit before he carries her to the church.
“I will take you to the church building, and someone will help. It is just over there.” He points to the church, and it begins to rain. He notices his hand is bloody, but not from his blood. It is hers. He picks her up and runs toward the building ignoring the pain in his feet and the heaviness in his arms.
“He tried to kill me,” she says wearily before she passes out. Thunderous noises clap from the darkened sky. Lightening flashes as Hiram turns cold and angry at what the young woman said. The rain falls in torrents as Hiram rushes in the church building.
“Call 911 now!” he yells to the person standing near his father’s office. “I think she is bleeding.” He places her on one of the foyer sofas and tends her as his father rushes out of his office.
“Son, what happened?” asked Bishop Smarts as he sees his son wet with rain and blood.
“I found her at the pond. She really looks bad.” Hiram stands and looks at his das, a rather thick man with hard features and soft penetrating eyes—markedly shorter than his son. “I happened to see her when I went out to meditate on some things.” Hiram looks deeply into his father’s eyes to see if a lecture is there. All he sees is concern and understanding. “Bishop,” he calls his dad to action, “I think maybe she needs a blessing.”
Words Can't Say Too Much: Woza Moya Ongcwele - The story is about two brothers who seem to have enchanted lives but live with struggles of faith and conscience. Following is the Introduction with links to subsequent chapters following.
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© 2016 Rodric Johnson
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