Submitted into Contest #83 in response to: Write a fantasy story about water gods or spirits.... view prompt


Coming of Age Black Fiction



I had to look outside the plane with a silly smile on my face,I am sure anyone who saw the look on my face was certain that this was my face time on a plane but that was partly correct.

The truth is that this is the first time I am allowed to travel using economy flight.This is also the first time I am travelling without Ms Schimst, Mrs Boyle ,Sister Robbins or Evangeline.This is the first time I am travelling to Africa, South Africa to be precise.

This is my coming of age 30 days trip to a destination of my choice before I resume my duties as the head of Johnson Hampton's Winery.Some may call me lucky or fortunate but I have spent the past seventeen years in either an orchard or learning to operate mechanical harvesters or ensuring that J and H are written in capital letters on the labels and Lord knows it has lost it's spark.

"Why South Africa specifically ?" my dad asked his reading glasses perched on his nose, disapproval written all over his features

"I don't know but I have seen the world but I have never set foot in my place of birth but I wish to go there and I promise I will check up on you on a daily basis,I will stay in one of their safest hotels and I will be chaperoned by someone whose identity will be made available to you" I said as quickly as I could before Dad's stare threatened me to re-arrange my words

"30 days ,young lady and I want you back in one piece else I will burn the whole country for my lovely daughter" My mom said ,her hands massaging my shoulders ,she had this epiphany of knowing what I needed whether it was space, a hug , a muffin, a call or just her presence she always delivered in sufficient quantities.

I touched down at the airport amazed that things are not as dusty as my Dad claimed.Even their technology is in line with what we have back at home in the States.I walk towards the exit I spot a man with my name on a white board, you can tell by the look on his face that he wasn't expecting a Black Sandra I am sure that my father recommended the surgical gloves he's wearing.I quickly walk up to him , stretch my hand for a shake he takes it nervously and he almost faints when he notices the bracelet on my hand,it's the only thing my Dad didn't throw away that was gifted by my birth mom.

"Nkosazane" he says something in his native language , bows his head and falls on one knee and stops moving

His little charade is causing a commotion on the exit as a group of people have gathered around us, some are pointing at the scene , some are rehearsing what must've started the scene and some are just dumbfound as I am.

"Can we please go, I really need to be in the hotel by now but if you're not feeling well we can get some help for you and I can find my way to the hotel.I am from the big apple I am sure I will be fine" I said trying to shake him awake because he seemed to freeze on me.

"Nkosazane " He bows , load my bags in a cart and wheel them to the car and I dutifully follow him.

“How long until we are at the Hotel?” I asked closing my eyes hoping for a nap .

“ It is an half an hour ride but I wanted to show a little bit of signature places before we head for the hotel,if you are not in a hurry ” He spoke softly avoiding my gaze

“ I am in no hurry , can you please take me where there is a water, preferably where I can soak my feet on the sand if it won’t get you an earful from your Manager” I loosened the bracelet on my hand, it felt strangely magnetic for the first time in my life, it appeared to be pulling towards something I couldn’t see but only feel.

We made a quick detour and headed towards Beaches, or so the boards claimed he parked on the reserved parking in front of Addington Children’s Hospital,instructed me to remove my sandals and we headed to sand and sat down our feet in water.

“Your people are big on myth’s are they?” I asked and pointed to the statue of what seems like a giant fishy something caught in a fish net which looks like a fountain where people come,stare and throw coins in the water.

“Kwakuwunyaka omubi Nkosazane,namanje kusabuhlungu ukukhuluma ngawo” He speaks softly with so much pain in his words

“In English,please I don’t understand that one”

“It was a bad year,it is not something one finds easy to talk about even today” He shook his head severally as if he’s trying to rid himself of bad memories.

“Please tell me so that I can understand why you’ve gotten so tense…”

“ It was the beginning of October 2001 and according to the long standing treaty between the humans and the animals under the stern eye of Nomkhubulwane no human was allowed to fish from October until February the following year as this is the time the Sea Kingdom crowns and celebrate their New Goddess and she was allowed free reign on the surface of the sea and she usually took the cubs,babies and the younglings as companions . It happened on that fateful year that the world renowned fisherman Caleb was holidaying in Durban. It is rumored that while swimming one day he studied the ocean and concluded that it was the perfect time to fish since it seemed as if all Durbanites were not even bothered .He returned later that night ,started preparing his trap to catch the largest the Indian Ocean had to offer, after midnight he woke to his fishing road pulling his chair towards the sea ,he quickly got into action and tied his reel on the heavy pounds he bought for the occasion after an half hour struggle he won and pulled the fish out of the sea ,he placed it beneath his flood light and was shocked to see it had a human face, hands but the trunk of a dolphin and it spoke to him

“Let me go and I will grant you your heart’s desire” The fish girl pleaded

“So it also speaks,I think I will keep you here,call the world and take my glory,so please be a good girl and keep quiet ,I am going to make you famous”

“You broke the treaty ,you were not supposed to be fishing let alone being here today was my Crowning Day and I had every right being here and you are not”

“I am a guest and I wasn’t aware of any treaty neither will I suffer it’s repercussions because by the light of day I will sell you to the highest bidder and sail back to Australia and live on your stupidity” He abruptly stopped the story and I looked at him only to realize he had tears on his face.

“ What happened next?” Sandra begged softly

Morning came and the man had already contacted friends who moved Princess Marlina to the spot her statue was erected.When the local people realized what the man did they tried freeing the Princess but she had spent a long time outside the Ocean that she died on the spot,the man did not care he continued taking pictures with the dead Sea Princess.

“It a shame that they didn’t even deem it fit to bury her on her home ground” I said wiping tears on my face

“To some the world is not enough after what happened next the events of that day have been reduced to nothing sort of Fairytales but we now better than to indulge curious minds and suffer a fate worse than the new treaty”

As it happened the remains of Princess Marina was sold to some rich men all over the world.After the whole ordeal Caleb decided to remain in South Africa looking for other means to maintain his fame.It was exactly a week later when we woke up to the hugest rainfall ever recorded for our country.We were forced to remain indoors, live stocks and other valuables floated past heading towards the Ocean.Homes, buildings and some statues that couldn’t withstand the waves also made their way the raging Ocean.Graves were opened and caskets as well as corpses littered streets and we didn’t know how to correct the mistake.Caleb’s body was found in his house mutilated by a crocodile.We suffered three long months of rain even the weathercasters couldn’t tell what made it rain or how long it was going to keep us locked in. After those months we were all shocked to see a rainbow and it finally took us seven sunny days to open houses and head out , we began assessing the damage, some was fixable but some was irreparable like the lives of our relatives.

As cultural beings we opted for a gathering of traditional healers , prophets and spiritual healers to head to the Ocean and ask for a way forward out of the five hundred and sixty who took the journey to the base of the sea only two returned with the new Treaty

“For every first daughter of the wise woman and a curious man I will take thee to the ends of the sea where no man can dare to search, she shall be mine to bless with the limbs of most beings of the sea ,she shall sit on my throne and she will be my daughter for as long as the waves will have her ”

“Caleb was stupid , honestly he shouldn’t have done what he did, when is the next crowning ?How will you find this first daughter anyways?”

“The crowning is about twenty nine days from Today …”

“What a coincidence that will be my birthday, dad says I was born at midnight exactly with the sun …

“and moon standing face to face, the Sea Goddess gave her the mark of the fins on her right shoulder as confirmation of her choice ,she knows how to command the wind, she pleads the rain to pour and she bears a bracelet which will turn magnetic when her Coronation is near and it will turn a magnificent blue when he resumes her walk to the base of her new home”

“How do you know so much about me?”

“I don’t know you I only describe the next Sea Princess whether you’re her on not it’s up to you”

“ It can’t be I am Sandra ,after 29 days I am returning home to mount my father’s chair, there must be a mistake Oliver I am not your Princess, take me to the Hotel, dad was right this was a mistake, please take me to the Hotel I will be flying home first thing in the morning.” Sandra ran to the car, took a back seat and slowly closed her eyes.

At her hotel room


It’s not me, it can’t be .I am Sandra an heiress to the Winery Empire, not the lakes and whatnot it can’t be me. I am here to visit but after that madness I am not sure I want to be here a minute longer. Let me find a flight back home…(her cellphone rings it’s her dad)

“You were supposed to check in an hour ago, is everything alright Dear?” He asked sincerely

“Two words, traffic and constant road works, I am sorry I just have entered the room exactly two minutes ago, how’s mom?”

“She’s happily chatting to Ms Osbourne , a glass of wine on hand and laughter, remember what I always tell you” She imagined him shaking his head disapprovingly

“I think I made a thousand and one promises, which one do you need me to remember” She heard a soft chime and suppressed a laugh, Kity has just entered her dad’s study

“I have to go and kick your cat out, stay clear of water and you won’t turn fishy, okay?”

“Fishy? Who am I daddy?” She had no idea she has raised her voice at the only father she has always known

“You dare raise your voice at me ? that does it then I am booking you a flight home this instant and God knows I’ll personally throw you myself in the ocean if you’re not in the flight home” She heard him muttering something about the fish dynasty

“What was my birth name daddy?”

“Zanemvula, she who brings rain or she who fills Ocean with water or something like that ,or so claimed the fool who gave you to us , all that doesn’t matter what matters is that you come back home I have spoke to some people who will help fix you should you develop fins or whatever the fishes walk on so please get on the next available flight and I will fix you, okay?”

“All my life you’ve taught me lies upon lies, I’ll beg for it to rain and did so that your orchard remained the most fertile, you made believe I had a pure soul that is why I could command the forces of nature you now go and call friends who will fix me, fix me how? By throwing me to the Ocean and what?”

“I am a businessman through and through and like my uncle Caleb I got myself the biggest catch but I was imagining being a little wise and asking for three gifts instead of killing you like that Blue eyed mermaid”

“You’re not my dad and I …”

“I would rather prefer we have this talk face to face, so please wipe the tears I imagine are flowing on your face, carry your bags downstairs the driver will be there in half an hour and yes before you can complain about being tired you can sleep on the way oh and another thing if you’re going to run just be sure it’s towards your solitude, hungry country, hungry people and Lord knows I can be able to feed the rest of them”(ends call)

“Maybe I am dreaming” Sandra mused at the sight before her

Sandra was at the base of the Sea without as much as a scuba surprisingly she was breathing normal, and she was walking upright. She was amazed by the colorful and beautiful sea coral reef which seemed to change colors for her own benefit. She heard and followed the melodious music only to find seven sea horses singing softly , she stood forever to the spot listening to the soft tunes of this amazing group when she felt a nudge on her left, she turned and saw Kinambo, the beautiful blueish dolphin that she had befriended in the land of dreams at the age of 2.

“We meet at last, dear friend” She spoke the words in her mind hoping Kinambo can read her thoughts

“As promised I shall take you to the Queen my Princess”

The walk to the Queen took forever and Kinambo taught her as much as her human brain can absorb, until her eyes landed on it.

It being some sort of a house made of the skeleton of a large blue whale ,2 male mermaids guarded the entrance with a bed of eels before the two royal guards .The castle basks in the light of the rainbow which consists of at least seventeen colors ,she watched in fascination as Oystie ,the oldest tortoise herded all the sea younglings to the gardens for their tea break Kinambo told her.

She move around the castle with ease it is as if she know where she is going and finally she reached her destination, a room at the center of the castle .It's a throne room I guess there is a huge chair made of an enormous sea shell there can be ,on it's side two female mermaids flank it. A beautiful lady wakes up from her sleep, she looks young but a sense of wisdom lies in her knowing smile.Her hair as white as the Zanzibar sands,her eyes as blue as the peaceful sky ,her mouth as firm as death , she looks at me and pats the space next to her and by divine power I slide until I am sitting next to her and the irony of it all is that she looks at lot like me.

“What took you so long?” She asked without opening her mouth and Sandra had to marvel at the way she carries herself, regally.

“My Dad specifically warned me off visiting here” She felt like she had to shrug because all this felt like a dream

She huffed and took off her crown made of sea grass

“Welcome home Zanemvula , the waves awaits you”

Author’s note

Nkosazane: means the first daughter of a family or it means the daughter born by the King or Queen

Nomkhubulwane : Is a mythical creature believed to have the ability to shape shift, she was known to be an advocate of justice ,some say she was Mother Nature herself.She fought for equality for all living beings .

Durbanites : It is a slang word for people living in Durban

March 03, 2021 13:13

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.