From the deep jungle village to life in the city runs the trail of our heritage.
|Chapter 1 (Excerpt)
Thomase woke with a start. This sudden movement frightened the furry night time intruders causing waves of panic among them as they scampered about the bare dirt floor diving into anything for cover. He paid no attention to them, the rats. He was used to them. Stretching himself to his full five feet, he yawned taking in a lungful of the stale dawn. He was very certain that all was not well.
By allowing his thoughts to wander about, Thomase semi consciously saw various past scenes float by across his half sleepy mind until finally one in particular fixed itself firmly in and began to gradually transform itself into that dream which was just now interrupted.
He could see himself moving stealthily through the low elephant grass toward one of his many deer traps set yesterday, Thomase realized that he had made a catch; the trap stick was heavily weighed down. A little closer, and he could see the animal tied tight by the trusty nedoo swamp vine that always grows on the trunks of trees. A little baby deer stood uncertainly beside its mother. This was luck indeed. " I could sell it for something good at the next market day", he thought, "for some of those whee people things". He smiled to himself as he doubled his steps to capture his prize. Thomase sprang forward eagerly to get hold of one of those tiny long unsteady legs, but the little creature somehow just managed to slip out of his strong calloused hands.
As the little creature nimble off on its thin legs into the nearby bush, the hunter was close behind giving it no chance to escape. "Amazing", he thought again as he entered the bush and looked around. He was in a deep green tropical rainforest with great ancient moss covered trees everywhere like legs of some giants standing above. There was a tangle of stout creeping vines, some dangling from above while others, old and twisted, crawled along to bury their heads in the rich black earth among the mattress of dead leaves.
Keeping the animal in view, Thomase could see how breathtakingly beautiful this place was. He was sure that he had never seen this place before. The jungle was alive with all forms of moving creatures. A big hairy yellow and black stripy spider dangled from her thread watching for her chance to drive her deadly fang into the bird caught in her web. Just overhead, big colorful butterflies fluttered from one snow white orchid to the next in continuous search of their sweet food. Few beams of eerie sunlight filtering through the canopy from overhead cast yellowish green gleams like spears of rainbow which reflected from the leaves. The melodies of many hidden singing and whistling birds floated through the leaves. Now and then one of them would dive after some unseen insects.
Taking all of this in at a glance, Thomase inhaled deeply, breathing in the clean freshness of the place and blinking so as to adjust his eyes to the semi dimness. "Hmm, This feels like being under water in a rich bed of coral " he thought. But he still had to get that little deer, and he would. So slashing away vines and creepers, he pushed ahead steadily through the sparse undergrowth, rapidly gaining on the little deer. It ran back and forth as he carefully advanced toward it. He was just about to wonder why it stopped moving forward when he realized that a deep rushing stream blocked its only means of escape. The deer was much too young to leap across the stream, nor could it turn back. Thomase was close behind.
"Kpon ni, no escape now" said Thomase, grinning and revealing his sparkling white teeth.
Stooping a little, he braced himself for what he supposed would be the finale. Thomase unconsciously pushed forward his right foot as he leapt, but oh! something entangled his leg, throwing him off balance head first down the ravine. Quickly he stretched out his hands to cushion the fall. But instead of the coldness of the forest streamwhich he expected, he felt a handful of the dry palm leaves on his own bed on which he slept.
He was feeling a bit tired after all this dream chase. So for a long time he remained motionless with his eyes still shut, not bothering to open them. Even so, he knew that it was still too dark to stir.