135 comments

Mystery Historical Fiction African American

August 15th, Wednesday

9:45 PM

1923


You lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. Your mind flashes back to Bakari, as the burly white men drag him down the dark road. Tears slide down your pale cheeks, remembering how he cried out your name in his husky voice. 

*****

“Are you sure nobody will see us here?” You asked Bakari after you had walked up to him. He didn’t respond.   

For days, both of you had met up in the same place: a graveyard. The stones on the graves looked like they would tip over at any moment if a gentle breeze came by. This was the cemetery for black people, as one of the signs said. Since the government allowed segregation, the white and black people weren't even buried in the same place. You shook your head and sighed. The cold breeze made your arms feel chilly, and you rubbed them in hopes that you would be warmer.

"Are you absolutely sure nobody will find us meeting up here?" You asked and glanced at Bakari.

He shrugged and said, "I dunno. I heard from the other slaves that guards never come here."

"Hopefully not."

"Miss Cruz, I don't wanna put you in danger," Bakari said, avoiding your eyes. You knew he called you that because that was what he was used to, but you had told him that he didn't need to say that.

"Bakari, shush. I don’t care if I get into trouble,” you told him, your arms crossed “and stop with the Miss Cruz stuff.”

"If you say so."

"You know what, I do say so."

Suddenly, the ruffling of the leaves sounded very unnatural, and you knew somebody was there.

"Show yourself!" Bakari yelled, turning around and holding you behind him.

Two white men came out from behind the bushes around the cemetery and race towards Bakari, grabbed his arms, and held him to the ground. One of the men turned to you.

"Ma'am, this is your first warning. If you are caught near a black person again, we will confiscate all of your belongings." One of the men said, sounding like a robot with their politeness. You knew that they were only speaking that way because of your family's high status. 

"Let him go," you told them in a warning tone, snarling at the men. The men stared at you in what looked like confusion, Bakari still in their arms. "Let him go!" You screamed again after a while.

"Sorry, Miss Cruz. We can't do that. He's black, and he can't be with you." one of the men apologized, his cold blue eyes glaring at you. You slap him in the face, your teeth bared.

"This is a cemetery for blacks! He can be here, he’s black." You declared, pointing to the sign. 

The man you slapped felt the place where you hit him, and his mouth curved into a frown. "You ungrateful, rich bi-"

"Carson, shut up! We aren't supposed to disrespect them, remember?” The other man yelled, blocking you from Carson.  

“Ugh! Fine,” Carson grumbled, flipping you off. You stuck out your tongue, grabbed Bakari’s arm, and tried to pull him away from those stupid men.

"Would you like one of us to escort you to your home?" The other guy asked, smiling fakely. “Just to be safe,” he said, pausing. “A black person might get you.” 

You shook your head, glared at the men, and crossed your arms. "I can get home by myself."    

*****

"Esperance, why don't you get a bit of fresh air? Forget about that stupid boy. What's his name... Bahari... whatever. Just forget about the stupid black boy!" Your mother yells. "We live in separate neighborhoods for a reason." 

You roll your eyes, wiping the tears off of your face. "Fine, I'm going out for a walk."

"Not yet, missy. I'm not done talking!" Your mom exclaims, grabbing your arm as you pass by her in the kitchen. She leans against the plain, gray door frame of the kitchen. "You should be more like your sister. She doesn't go to where the poor black kids are."

"Enough, Mom!" You yell, biting your lip.

"You're lucky you aren't a slave, or I would give you a proper beating!" Your mom says, shaking her fist at you.

"Okay, see ya later!"

You grab your favorite burgundy coat and leave the house. When you stuff your hands inside the pockets of your coat, you discover a white scarf. Your eyes water as you hold it in your hands. You remember how, although she was poor, Bakari's mother bought supplies to make you a scarf because she thought you were a very sweet girl. Every day during the process of making the scarf you pleaded with her to let you subsidize and provide them with money and food. 

As a prosperous and affluent white family living inside of the yellow lining, your family's reputation is important. If anyone else ever saw you giving to Bakari, everything of yours and your family's would be gone. 


The people of the government have no mercy on people inside the redlining. 


You think, shaking your head as images of Bakari's beautiful, big brown eyes pleaded with you. He was definitely an equitable man, but he was prejudiced when the topic switched to black rights.

"I don't understand why they treat us so wrongly." he would grumble, his arms crossed. "we're people too." 

You agreed with him on that. Although you had been taught that whites were dominant and blacks... just weren't, you didn't believe that. You had secretly hung out with the black kids when you were a teen, even acted like one.   


   But now that he was with the government they were probably hurting and torturing him. 


You clench your scarf more tightly. 


Or maybe... just maybe... he's already dead. 


You shake the thought away, knowing that Bakari wouldn't let that happen. He might've let the men drag him away, but he wouldn't let them kill him.


But in Levittown, you never know what might happen. 


You see, someone standing many feet ahead of you, and lift your hand, which has the long black oil lamp your mother gave you. You thought he was dead, but there he is, right in the middle of the dark street, smiling urbanely at you. 

"Bakari?!" You exclaim, squinting at the figure. "Bakari, is that you?" You call, running towards him. 

As the figure comes into view, you see Bakari's bulky frame. On his body are welts and bruises.  

An image comes to mind. Bakari coming out from a bright room with beautiful designs. His body was covered in bruises and slaps, but his wide smile shone through all of that. He winced in pain, but his smile was genuine.

"I missed you so much," you exclaim, running into Bakari's arms.


I don't care if anyone finds out!


"I know you did." Bakari teases, grinning.

"Oh, shut up, and let me hug you," you tell him, shaking your head and grinning.


July 27, 2020 15:20

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135 comments

Amany Sayed
20:21 Aug 04, 2020

I love this story! And it's interesting to me how you interpreted the prompt. I like how she didn't know 100% sure, she THOUGHT he was dead and he was on the street smiling! It's so very creative and it was wonderful. I honestly want a part 2. Also, I read your bio and I ALSO LOVE THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL SERIES AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. PS. I have a story for this prompt I was wondering if you could check it out in your free time and leave feedback. Thanks and keep writing!!!! Amany :D

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Raquel Rodriguez
23:05 Aug 04, 2020

Thank you, Amany! Always a pleasure to meet a fellow 'School for Good and Evil' fan! :)

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Amany Sayed
23:06 Aug 04, 2020

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS I LOVE IT SO MUCH

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Raquel Rodriguez
23:28 Aug 04, 2020

Lol, I know, right?! :D

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Amany Sayed
02:38 Aug 07, 2020

Hey! Love your new profile, haha. Still waiting for your next story, hopefully, one of the new prompts tomorrow will inspire you

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Raquel Rodriguez
02:48 Aug 07, 2020

Lol, yep! Cookies are my thing. Especially chocolate chip. I was a bit busy and I couldn't think of an idea for the prompts, so yes, hopefully. :D

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Raquel Rodriguez
19:01 Jul 30, 2020

Author's Note: This whole 'pen name' thing isn't working for me, so I'm just going to use my real name from now on, which is Raquel Rodriguez. Anyways, here you go. The story you people came for.

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Daniela Vaudrey
16:34 Jul 27, 2020

This story is really good and I like how you used what’s happening in the world right now. Also, your name is so pretty!

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Raquel Rodriguez
16:38 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you, Daniela! (Btw, this isn't happening in the present time, these sorts of events happened in the years 1600-1950.) I like my name too (thank you once again), but I was kind of unsure about putting it on here, so I appreciate what you said.

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Daniela Vaudrey
16:39 Jul 27, 2020

What I meant was that BLM has come up (again if you count Nelson Mandela as having done a BLM thing) I know it isn’t as bad (yet, who knows what will happen in the future) as what happened in the past. Sorry for the confusion.

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Raquel Rodriguez
16:40 Jul 27, 2020

Oh, okay! :) You don't have to apologize, it's fine.

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Daniela Vaudrey
16:41 Jul 27, 2020

Just wanted to clear it up 😊

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Raquel Rodriguez
16:42 Jul 27, 2020

;)

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17:35 Aug 01, 2020

Very good! Nice way of bringing the racism problem we have in the world today!

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:44 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you, Akshat! I appreciate you coming and reading my story! :D

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18:22 Aug 01, 2020

You're welcome!

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Raquel Rodriguez
19:07 Aug 01, 2020

;)

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Orenda .
06:24 Aug 04, 2020

Man, what do I say?? It was awesome. Fast paced and really engrossing. Amazing job, Raquel!!!

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Raquel Rodriguez
14:49 Aug 04, 2020

Thank you for reading my story, orenda! Really appreciate it. :)

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Orenda .
15:09 Aug 04, 2020

Anytime, pal!!!

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Raquel Rodriguez
16:41 Aug 04, 2020

:)

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Aditya Pillai
08:58 Aug 03, 2020

This is beautiful, such a good read! The shackles of society separating destined souls, such a classic concept and you have more than done justice to it. The end is also so good. Love the dialogue, and the use of second person is also done really well. Thanks for sharing this work with us! Would love it if you could check out mine too:)

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:03 Aug 03, 2020

Thank you, Aditya! I appreciate all that you've said, and I will check out your stories too. :)

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Derrick Kakooza
13:32 Aug 02, 2020

Nice one Rodri.....

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:35 Aug 02, 2020

Thanks!

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Deidra Lovegren
10:15 Aug 02, 2020

Great pacing and interesting characters! Very timely topic.

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:36 Aug 02, 2020

Thank you, Deidra! I appreciate it.

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09:35 Aug 02, 2020

Nice story. Is it in the ante-bellum period or is it a dystopia? I love the wat you engage the reader by using the personal pronoun "you". Keep going.

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Raquel Rodriguez
00:00 Aug 03, 2020

Thanks! I guess it's a bit of both. I hope you liked the story! :)

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Sam T.
07:12 Aug 02, 2020

This is a beautiful story, and i really loved the ending. I enjoyed reading :)

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Raquel Rodriguez
07:30 Aug 02, 2020

Thank you, Sam! I appreciate what you wrote! Have a nice day! (P.S. would you mind following or checking out some of my other stories?) :)

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Sam T.
13:44 Aug 02, 2020

Welcome! And sure :)

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Arya Preston
05:06 Aug 02, 2020

Wonderful story, Raquel! I really enjoyed the fact that it took place in the past, allowing you to explore their relationship in another context. Due to the story's historic ties, there was more of an impact from the characters. Though it was a little cliche, I liked how each scene added an extra layer of emotion till the ending. I would suggest working on writing natural dialogue, that would pull your characters closer to a more realistic world - based on the readers' perspective. Overall, well done and I apologise for taking a while to com...

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:37 Aug 02, 2020

Thank you, and it's fine! Also, thank you for the advice. I am working on improving my dialogue.

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Skyler Woods
22:29 Aug 01, 2020

Wow, such a heartwarming story!

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Raquel Rodriguez
05:42 Aug 02, 2020

Thank you!

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Mustang Patty
18:36 Aug 01, 2020

Hi there, Great job with this. I enjoyed the storyline very much I did notice a bit of weakness in your dialogue. (I probably only noticed it because I'm working every day to make mine more believable - and natural.) Be careful with the adverbs -- Thank you for sharing, KEEP WRITING, ~MP~

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Raquel Rodriguez
19:09 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you so much! I'll use your advice for the next stories I write, but I have a question. What makes dialogue weak?

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Mustang Patty
21:08 Aug 01, 2020

I'd be glad to answer the question. When I'm reading dialogue, and I can't quite 'hear' the voices of the characters, it usually comes down to the use of speech tags rather than action tags or comments that really don't have an impact on the story. I talk out loud when I'm writing dialogue. I use a lot of action tags to 'show' my characters as they talk, and I work hard to make sure each character has a unique voice and tone. Hope that helps, ~MP~

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Raquel Rodriguez
05:41 Aug 02, 2020

Thank you so much for explaining! I’m very grateful!

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18:14 Aug 01, 2020

Very good story.

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Raquel Rodriguez
19:07 Aug 01, 2020

Thanks, Catherine!

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Sue Marsh
15:11 Aug 01, 2020

I enjoyed this story, although I have to ask why did you choose 1923 as the year for the setting of your story? That made me think of other times in history when these things took place. Actually John Jakes when he wrote North and South one of the main characters in the story comes from a wealthy family and marries in name only a black man, that was just prior to the beginning of the Civil War. I enjoyed that Bakari lived. It was a pleasure to read.

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:08 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you! I was reading another comment, and redlining started in 1934, so I was obviously mistaken about the years, but yeah. I chose 1923 because racism was still a serious situation back then. But I got the year wrong, I should've put like 1935 or 1936. I'm glad that you enjoyed this story!

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09:25 Aug 01, 2020

Hidden deep down despite the love is the fear of being caught. I like what you've done here, Raquel. I don't usually like love stories but this was good. Now, I think the part where Bakari is taken wasn't clear or as clear as was necessary. I only got the feeling when she thought about it and it was a bit confusing.

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09:25 Aug 01, 2020

Hidden deep down despite the love is the fear of being caught. I like what you've done here, Raquel. I don't usually like love stories but this was good. Now, I think the part where Bakari is taken wasn't clear or as clear as was necessary. I only got the feeling when she thought about it and it was a bit confusing.

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:05 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you, Abagail! Oh yeah, I should've thought about that, sorry. I'll try to make things a bit clearer next time. :)

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Doubra Akika
09:25 Aug 01, 2020

Really beautiful story. I love how this is set sort of in the past. So much has changed since then but we’re still a long way from learning to accept each other. Loved the storyline and the way you wrote it. Amazing job and thanks again for checking out mine😁.

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Raquel Rodriguez
17:03 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you so much, Doubra! I appreciate you coming to read my story! ;)

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Doubra Akika
19:45 Aug 01, 2020

Of course!

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Charles Stucker
06:52 Aug 01, 2020

The opening is strong. 2nd person can be very tricky, but can accommodate either present or past tense. Historical notes FDR began the process of redlining in 1934. The tale takes place in 1923? So redlining is not a practice. Slavery ended in 1865. Although Jim Crow laws substituted prison gangs in several areas, those men would never be allowed outside except on a chain gang. Yellow lining was barely better than red- an affluent family would likely live in the "Green" type A area. But none of this takes effect until FDR. Research is ...

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Raquel Rodriguez
16:57 Aug 01, 2020

Oh yeah, Charles. I usually do search things up before I post them, but yeah. Thank you for telling me. Unfortunately, now I cannot edit my story, so I will take your advice for future stories that I may write. Yes, thank you so much for helping me! Please have a nice day/night! :)

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Rodrigo Juatco
04:21 Aug 01, 2020

"Love will find a way." A bit of a cliche, perhaps, but I am a hopeful romantic at heart. Enjoyed your story. Nicely written. Thank you for not only sharing your piece, but also for your thoughtful comment.

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Raquel Rodriguez
04:29 Aug 01, 2020

Thank you, Rodrigo! I appreciate the fact that you chose to read my story because you could've said no. Of course, while I was writing this, Emalyn - who was panicking over how and what to write her story about - was criticizing me about the cliché. I told her that I would be fine. So thank you! (On the contrary, I am a hopeless romantic!) Hope you're well! ;)

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