Yeah. I know. Haven't posted anything for like 4 months. It's called 'having too much to do' and 'writer's block'. It's not a good combo. I moved from England to Sweden and is about to start a new chapter in life containing backpacking through Asia and Australia and hopefully other parts of the world. Busy finding a new job and preparing for the trip of my life. But I do hate leaving stories unfinished, so I'm going to try and write this story, a story about a trip around the world suits me well right now. Sorry to all of you who asked me to update for the long wait, but an endless amount of thanks for your patience x
Chapter 18 - Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, Africa, Part 2.
"Maybe we should run?" Kris whispered as she slowly moved her naked body out of the water, trying to sheild herself against the angry looks of the six people looking at them with shocked and hateful eyes.
Kelly looked down at her foot as she too made her way out of the water. She had forgotten about the pain while being in the water, but the pain came back like lightnings through her leg as she got out of the cool water. She would not be able to run on it, she knew that much. And as Kelly was pulling herself out, Kris was scrambling to get back into her wet clothes than had been tossed off earlier.
Neither one of the two women had ever dressed that fast in their lives, wanting to be in their clothes before the people walking around the lake came up to them. They were still quite far away, but they were walking fast and they looked very, very mad.
"What do we do?" Kris whispered.
"Come on." Kelly said grabbing a hold of Kris' hand and took a leap for it. Trying her hardest to put the pain aside, she still stumbled for every step she took, and the very uneven ground of the jungle didn't exactly help. Kris kept looking back over her shoulder all the time, the people still walking but they had started to speed up their steps, not losing the two women out of sight.
Kelly cursed under her breath as the pain in her ankle was screaming at her to stop, but she knew they couldn't be captured. Capture could mean death, and she had no intentions on letting that happen to either herself or to Kris. Pushing through the bushes, leaving the trail, they tried to get out of sight so that they would be able to hide somewhere. They knew they would never be able to outrun them, so their next option was to hide. Thinking back of their time at Diablo Island, Kelly couldn't even remember half of the things they had done over there. Hid in trees, yes. But these trees were not meant for climbing, and Kelly knew she would not be able to get up. Or down for that matter.
But to their luck, the bushes were many and thick, and after running in several different directions, Kelly's leg just gave up as she collapsed down into a bush. Kris was soon on her knees next to her, pulling Kelly further in into the vegetation, making sure the branches and greenery completely surrounded them. They could barely see out through the leaves, which they took as a good thing meaning the others might not be able to see them.
Kelly kept a hand on her ankle, forcing back the tears building up in her eyes. It hurt really bad, and running on it had not been the greatest idea. But going into the jungle hadn't really been a good idea to start off with either. Making love in the water had been even more stupid.
They could hear the people coming closer, and both Kelly and Kris held their breaths, staying completely still. They could hear the footsteps of the others as branches cracked underneath them, and they could hear shouting in a language they didn't understand. They tried to listen, trying to figure out how many voices they could hear. There had been six people seeing them, but that was for sure not six people talking. Where were the others?
Kris leaned forward to look out through the bushes, but Kelly grabbed her sweather immediately and pulled her back out of sight.
But it was too late.
The sound of the moving bushes had caught the attention of the others, and before Kelly and Kris knew it, the leaves of the bush was separated, and the six people were standing angrily in front of them. Two men grabbed each angel, pulled them roughly to their feeet and took them away.
Kelly glared over her shoulder at Kris, who were sitting back to back with her. Their hands were tied behind their backs, and they were sitting on the ground in a small, handmade cage, made out of old wood. The cage was just big enough for them to be able to sit straight in it, but not more than that. Outside the cage were people walking past, guarding them non stop. A man speaking English had come up to them, and explained that they were preparing their execution.
They had been in this cage for hours, and their bodies were stiff and sore.
Kelly sighed, leaning back towards Kris. This was not how things were meant to happen, and definitely not how they were meant to die. They had to fight their way out of it. She didn't plan on dying here and now, and she definitely wouldn't let it happen to Kris. This was not their destiny.
But sitting in here, she could not understand how they would ever be able to escape. There were too many people guarding them, and getting out of the cage would be impossible. All they could do was to wish for a miracle.
"I don't know Kris. Keep your head low, don't say anything that can upset them and send off a prayer that someone will come and help us." Kelly whispered, her eyes focused on the man walking back and forth outside their cage, with a fighting staff up on his shoulder.
"Do you think anyone will help us?" Kris whispered, worried and scared. They had been in dangerous situations plenty of times before, but they had never been in a situation like this. They had broken a country's law, and they were waiting for their execution. Like lambs waiting for slaughter.
"I don't know Kris. But I do know life changes in mysterious ways, and sometimes help comes from the most unexpected ways. Let's just keep our fate, and if they let us out of the cage, we will do everything we can. I refuse to die here and like this, and neither are you."
The fighting staff smacking hard towards the wall of the cage made both Kelly and Kris jump, and the man looked down at them angrily, his index finger pressed towards his lips.
"Sch! No talk!"
Kelly narrowed her eyes as she was looking at the man who had told her to keep quiet. Last hours of her life and she wasn't even allowed to talk to her wife. She was starting to get angry instead of worried.
They both sat in silence for a while, both of them looking at the man walking outside the cage.
Kelly tried to stretch her legs as far as she could, flexing her sore ankle. Sitting still in the same position was not helping at all, but at least the pain had gone numb and the bleeding had stopped.
Kelly leaned her head back and closed her eyes. Memories of past times sailed past her eyes, and hopes for the future followed. Her whole life had been a roller coaster ride of emotions, and she was sure she had felt everything that a human being could feel. Pain, worry, shame, and fear. She had felt useless, worthless and helpless. But just as well she had felt happy, pleased and loved. And now, she wasn't even sure what to feel. Everything she knew was rushing past her, she was working her brain hard, trying to figure out where to go from here and how to get out of all of this, but her brain was standing still. Now, when she needed it at its most, she had no ideas. At all. What so ever.
Day turned into dusk, dusk turned into night. The hot and moist weather suddenly turned a lot colder as the sun set rapidly, and both Kelly and Kris could feel the chill going down their spines. It was going to be a cold night. None of them had a clue of what time it was, but it was probably past midnight, at least.
Both Kelly and Kris had fallen asleep. They had said they should sleep in shifts, but they hadn't managed it as both of them had nodded off when it turned dark. It had been a lot more difficult than they thought. They had sat awake during nights in shifts before, but it had always been under other circumstances, more often than not with coffee in their hands.
Today had stressed them out and they were both exhausted. But they were not the only ones. The guard who was meant to walk outside their cage, had fallen asleep as well. Sitting down towards a tree, just a few feet from where they were, he was snoring loudly, head knocked over to the side and arms fallen to the cold ground.
A quiet rattle woke Kelly up. She might've been sleeping, but her instincts would always keep her alive, and even the slightest noise could wake her up. Today was no different. Her eyes popped open, and her head twirled around as she tried to distinguish where the sound had come from.
Turning her head towards the opening of the cage, she saw a black woman, dressed in animal skin and leather, her hair long braided in thin braids, and her skinny fingers were unlocking the cage, with ease. Kelly didn't know what else to do than to stare at her, and the woman opened the cage, reached in and quickly untied both Kelly and Kris. Kelly slapped Kris' shoulder gently, to make sure she woke up, and the reaction were as immediate as a Munroe's reaction could be. Kris' eyes grew wide as she saw the black woman kneeling in front of them, gesturing for them to come with her.
Kelly and Kris crawled out of the cage, as quietly as they could, before taking off into the jungle, trying to keep up with the woman as she sprinted through the bushes without making any type of sound.
Kelly couldn't help but to look at her while they were trying to keep up. She was skinny, but in amazing shape. Her slim body looked like the one of a fighter, ridiculously strong, but in the same time just as gentle. The long hair with the colorful strings of beads among it was swirling from side to side as she ran.
Who was she, and why did she help them?
Kelly didn't have time to think about that now. She had helped them out of the cage and that was all that mattered.
Keeping up with her was not easy. Both Kelly and Kris was battling fatigué, but their bodies were also horribly stiff after being in the same position for hours and hours. The pain that had gone numb in Kelly's ankle were all of a sudden back in full blast as she put more weight on it in a few sudden movements than she probably should.
And it didn't get better when they realized that the people that had caught them had woken up and realized they were missing. They could hear them coming behind them in the bushes. They were screaming, hollering and breaking branches under the soles of their feet as they were running. They did not sound happy that their captives had managed to escape.
The strange woman in front of Kelly and Kris had heard them too, and she was speeding up. Jumping over roots and rocks, ducking under hanging branches and going straight through bushes, she was hurrying through a land she knew very, very well. She all of sudden shouted out 'right!' just loud enough for Kelly and Kris to hear her, and then she made a quick turn. Kelly and Kris followed, quickly turning right. They were not prepared of what would happen next.
The woman jumped. Straight out. Pushing away from the safe ground with her feet, and leaping straight out into the air. Kelly and Kris followed, the speed they had kept were too fast, they didn't even have time to react, to stop, before they too were flying through the air.
Only minutes behind them were the others, the gang wanting to execute the angels. They dead stopped at the edge of the cliff, looking down into the feisty rapids rumbling far, far down, below the rumbling waterfall. The big group of people let out screams of anger, losing their captives, shouting out promises that they would get them eventually.
Standing by the edge of the cliff, they looked down in the rapids for several minutes. Not seeing a living soul, they turned their backs and left.
Down in the streaming, powerful whitewaters, three women were fighting to stay afloat. The currents were trying to pull them down under water with all the force the water could bear. Kicking, twirling their arms, they managed to just pop their head over the surface for a breath before getting pulled back below. But it was long enough, each time the managed to, it was just long enough for them to take a breath and stay alive until their next opportunity of air.
They couldn't see anything, and they didn't have any say as their bodies were shoved towards hard rocks hiding under the surface. The currents were harsh, but luckily, after what felt like eternity, the harsh stream faded out, and soon, all three women were able to swim in the direction they wanted to go. Emerging to the surface, one by one, they all saw each other, and the black woman let out a small laugh of relief as she waved to her two new found friends, and shouted for them to follow her.
Kelly swam up towards Kris as the two of them followed the stranger.
"I was not prepared for that cliff to just… pop out like that." Kris said, breathing labored as they were trying to calm down from their dance with death. Falling about a 100 feet down the waterfall into the streams, was not somethign they had been prepared for, but it had most likely saved their lives. At least it had gotten them away from the people wanting to execute them.
Not much later, all three women swam ashore, and for the first time, they took a break, sitting down in the soft and cold ground. It was still dark outside, but the place they had reached were open from the high trees, and was bathing in sunlight, giving them some light to at least see each other.
"Thank you." Kelly said, looking up at the woman and meeting her eyes. For the first time, they could actually see each others faces properly, and Kelly realized how young the woman looked. She couldn't be older than her early 20's. Dressed as a hunter, a type of people that both the white women found interesting, and so different from themselves. The African woman knew these woods, and she had just saved their lives. Kelly nd Kris both guessed that it wasn't the first time that she'd jumped from that cliff.
"You're welcome." The woman said, in English with a heavy accent but understandable. "I heard what happened, and some of us living here think you should be allowed to love whom you want. We try and stop the deaths. Love is love."
"You are an amazing woman and we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts." Kelly said, taking the young woman's hand.
"No need to thank. Live. Be happy. Love."
"What's your name?" Kris asked, smiling gently to the woman.
"Kamili. Kamili Sow. Me and my family live nearby, here, in jungle. You need to go from here, far away."
"We will. We just…" Kelly started, looking around. "Don't know where we are."
"I show you out. Then promise to leave. If they catch you again, you will die."
Kelly nodded, as the three of them stood to their feet. Kelly winced as she put weight on her sore ankle, it was once again giving her more and more pain. Kamili saw Kelly's pain, and she gestured for Kelly to sit down, before hurrying off in among the trees. Kelly and Kris looked at each other as Kris pulled up Kelly's ankle in her lap.
"It's alright Kris, it's just rather sore."
"We need to get you some antibiotics, it looks like you're developing an infection."
"We'll be out of here in no time, if Kamili comes back." Kelly nodded, looking back up again.
As on a cue, Kamili came out of the bushes, holding bark in one hand, a big leaf, and a rock. Smiling to Kelly and Kris, she put the big leaf, bigger than both of her hands, down on the ground, put the bark on the leaf and then crushed the bark with the rock until it was completely pulverized. Kelly and Kris couldn't help but to study her every move, wondering what she was doing. She grabbed another big leaf, folded it skillfully in her hand and reached over to the water and got some water into the leaf. She then folded the leaf with the crushed bark, and poured it into the water, before handing the water to Kelly.
Kelly took it, but hesitated. She had no idea what this was, and she was not sure if she dared to drink it.
"Salix alba." Kamili nodded. "Good for you. Takes pain away."
"Salix alba, that's the willow tree." Kris said. "I read that it's often used within African medicine."
Kelly nodded, took a deep breath before she poured down most of the mixture Kamili had made her. It tasted awfully and Kelly had never imagined how it would taste like to drink pulverized bark from a tree. She shook her head and swallowed several times after finishing it, but it only took a couple of minutes before she could feel the pain fading away in her ankle. She smiled happily to Kamili, who handed her a handful of bark.
"It's good for you." Kamili smiled, standing to her feet and helping Kelly and Kris to her feet. "If it doesn't heal well, you can put some on your wounds. It will help."
Kelly nodded and smiled. "Thank you."
"Now we get you out." Kamili smiled to her new friends, and the three of them started making their way out of the jungle. They didn't rush anymore, but kept a lookout for anyone else, knowing they had to stay away from the people looking for them. They couldn't get caught now.
"I can't wait to get out of here." Kelly said as she pressed the last of her things down into her backpack. The bark had been deep down into the bag, to keep it away from nosy eyes by the borders of the different countries, but still so she could reach it.
She had cleaned the wounds off as they got home, with water and salt solution, and they did look better even though the skin around the puncture wounds remained red and swollen. Kelly had bandaged over the wounds, and promised Kris to keep it clean.
"I know what you mean. I doesn't feel very well knowing some people out there wants us dead just because they know we're in love."
"You can't expect everyone to be okay with people of the same sex loving each other. Maybe in a couple of years more people will open up to it and see that love is love, no matter if it's between two women, two men or opposites, but until then, I think we just need to be more careful in the more conservative countries. I wish we could express our love openly everywhere, but we need to remember that we are visitors in these countires, and many of them still death as the penalty for same sex."
"You speak oh so wise." Kris smiled, bumping Kelly as the two of them heaved their backpacks up on their backs. "But oh so true, of course. We'll be careful. My love won't fade just because we don't show it openly all the time."
"Good to know, otherwise we might have to go back to Amsterdam." Kelly smiled, bumping into Kris as they left the room.
Walking down the stairs in silence, they were not sure where their next stop would be, but they had a feeling they would find another adventure soon, and it would always be as exciting as the earlier town. They were just hoping that it would calm down a little bit, they didn't want anything close to running in the jungle, after breaking the law, waiting to be executed.
Still curious at what would happen around the next corner, the two of them packed the last in their bags, walked downstairs and paid in the reception. Walking out on the street, they looked around before meeting each others eyes.
"Where do we go?" Kelly asked.
"Bus station was down to the right, should we see what they have?"
"Sounds good to me." Kelly smiled, as the both begun walking. Kelly turned left, and started walking down the street, until she heard Kris whistle behind her. Turning around she raised an eyebrow towards Kris who giggled, and pointed her thumb to the right.
"Right is this way, silly."
"Oh. I knew that." Kelly smiled, turning around and following Kris down the street, heading towards the bus stop with new adventures in sight.