Vessel of the Beat: Part 1

May 4, 2017 by Patrick Starks

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Since I was a child music had always moved me—always did something to my soul. Whenever I felt it rumble through the ground—my hips would move, my head would sway and even my heart would begin to beat like djembe drums in the night. Today is now the chance I get to finally express this feeling—this passion to the world. Hopefully everyone will feel the same way as I when they see my interpretation of how music should feel. My heart; however, feels like it’s about to jump out of my chest. Looks like the event is starting—here goes nothing.

“Alright party people, the time has come! Is everyone feeling good tonight!”

“Yeah!”

“Well alright then let’s get it started then shall we. Our first performer is… well, you know wo she is—the one and only, Amaka!”

“Yeah! Go Amaka!”

Oh man… I guess everyone was ready for my performance more than I was. Okay, here we go—this is for you mom.

“Oh my, look at how beautiful she is, I have never seen such a beautiful woman before—she has to be the most beautiful woman of Nigeria. I must speak to her after the show.”

“No way Ayo, there’s no way in hell a woman like that would talk to you—she’s got standards you know, I’m sure.”

“Oh, my friend, little did you know I have standards as well and a woman like that definitely fits those standards.”

“Oh, quite you fool, her performance is starting.”

As the music began Amaka traveled the room with much grace. Each step she took followed with the sound of the drums. Her arms were in sync with her body, as were her legs. Her eye’s remained closed; however, was obvious that she had a sense of a direction to where she was going. Her long emerald hair flowed in harmony with her dress, as did her hips. A smile as bright as the African sun was all that was seen or at least, seen by Ayo. Before the song came to an end, Amaka had begun to see visions of her mother from the time when she was just little one—she remembered all the fun they had, and all the life lessons her mother had taught her and continued to teach her in spirit. Tears then began to fall down her pillow soft cheeks as she finally opened her eyes. One could not describe such beauty and love that was held within her at that moment—all the crowd could do is watch in amazement as she continued to take their breathe away.

“It… It’s so beautiful. I… I’ve never… This woman, she must be my bride, I must have her.”

“Oh, come on man… You know nothing about this woman. Look at her eyes, that is not happiness that is complete misery. She will do nothing but bring burden to your life. Is this what you truly want?”

“No… no your wrong, she is happy. Can’t you see Rafa, the music frees her spirit—it is the one thing that brings her peace. One day I too will have this dance and maybe, just maybe, she can be the one to show me that.”

“Whatever you say Ayo—foolish man. I’m headed to the Ugali bar, heri!”

“Wow! Incredible!  I don’t think I’ve seen such a performance. How about it crowd, how did you like it!?”

“Yeah!!!”

“Exactly what I…”

An explosion then set off on the stage— the sound of its impact almost seemed volcanic like. Smoke was pushed throughout the entire crowd while debris fell harmonically in slow motion to the ground—it was if everything around was caving in. People screamed in terror, wondering if the woman that they just saw on stage was okay or even alive. Ayo screamed in the name of Amaka, but no response was given. And then the smoke cleared—what was seen behind the smoke was quite disturbing.

“Ama…Amaka.”  Ayo spoke, as he stared in confusion down the now scorched isle of the stage.

Amaka was no longer beautiful in the eyes of Ayo—her hair was now as grey as the night sky, her eyes were bloodshot red, skin was no longer gold as the sand, but coal like volcanic ash. Her posture too was different—one shoulder slouched forward, while the other remained neutral. Her legs wobbled as her head remained staring up into the glittery night stars. From the looks of her appearance, one would say she was a zombie; however, that was not the case. This thing, this so called Amaka or at least use to be, then finally spoke.

“Dance with me if you dare, dance with me not, I just might care. Take one look at me and have no fear, dance without me now—there will be trouble I swear. So, clap, clap until your hands bleed, for that I am the vessel of the beat.”

“What… What is she talking about?”

“I have no idea, but my subconscious is telling me to get the hell out of here. Ayo lets go!”

“No! Shut you fools and just dance… Because I’m happy clap along if you feel like a … I said dance you idiots!”

“Okay he’s delusional, I’m not about to dance with that… demon, that… that monster.”

“No, you fools! You don’t understand, I tried to tell her before, but she wouldn’t listen.”

“What exactly are you talking about old man?”

“I’m talking about her mother, Sada.”

“Who the hell is Sada and why should we care?”

“Sada was known as the lucky one of the tribe—all that was good, always came into her life, but one night her fortune ran out. Sada was preparing for a performance just like this one, but before performing, Sada went to speak to a woman who she felt could calm her nerves. Man, oh man, did she go to the wrong person. The woman she went to was known as Xylia. Xylia was a voodoo woman born from the woods—some have said that she was over ten thousand years old.”

“Okay! On with it man, we don’t have time, I think we have gotten that things attention already.”

“Amaka you mean…”

“Oh, piss off Ayo!”

“I said shut up you idiots! I’ve never seen such a dumb couple. Anyways, as I was saying, she was a voodoo woman and for that she felt she would test her new charm on Sada. Xylia knew that Sada was an innocent woman and for that she felt that this would be her greatest test—innocents versus guiltiness. To make a long story short, Sada was given the charm and had bad luck on her performance. The performance was so terrible that the people booed her to death. Sada became so distracted she fell from stage and broke her neck—the village never spoke of it again. The sad part is, they never told Amaka; however, looks like she is very much aware now.”

“What the hell! I mean… just what the hell are we supposed to do? Is there a way to get her back?”

“Yes…yes there is.” The old man said with a grin that curled all the way up to his eye sockets.

“Okay…that old man is just as creepy as that thing, I mean… Amaka.”

“Thank you for that bro, but hey… how do you know so much old man?”

Another grin appeared upon the old man, but this time came all the way up to his eyebrows.

“Okay! That’s all the weirdness I can handle today, I’m out of here.”

“That coward Rafa. Yeah go run back to that Ugali bar you fat boar! Forget it, guess it’s you and I old man. So, what are we to do?”

“Oh, dear boy, just follow my lead, I know just what to do—dance with me.”

“Excuse me…”

“Dance with me boy and all will be explained. On the count of three—One, two, three!”

The two then danced awkwardly as any old man and young man would. They danced to the beat of the sound, but seemed Amaka was getting angry.

“Okay…sir… she’s getting really pissed. I don’t think this is working.”

“Shut up! Ayo, was it? Just keep dancing, you will see.”

A young woman then appeared from the shadows. “Boy! Step away from that old man.”

“Who the hell are you? And why would I do that? He’s helping me save Amaka.”

“Right! And I assume he told you the story of the voodoo woman—how she gave a charm away to an innocent women.”

“Yes, that’s exactly what he told me.”

“Step away boy!”

“Calm down lady, I’m just helping the boy get his love back.”

“Right…Boy! Take this potion to Amaka, now!”

“You’re crazy, I’m not getting anywhere near her. At least not in the circumstances that she is in.”

“Do it now or you will be the next victim on my list once I’m done with this old wrinkled bastard.”

“Umm… right will do.”

“As for you old man, you’re finished! Zudi Safahru muhuri!”

“What are you doing girl? Put that down, what kind of language is that—it’s certainly not Swahili.”

“I… I don’t understand… Why didn’t it work?”

Ayo then spoke, but this time in a tone that was unfamiliar to the old man. “Because you idiots it’s me! How could you be so stupid!”

“It… It can’t be.”

“Yeah, yeah it’s me in the flesh. How do you like my new partner? Say hi Amaka.”

Amaka gave a smile just as the old man once did, except her’s was to be quite sinister—with jaw slightly to the right, right eye pointed inward towards her noes as her cheeks went up and down like a seesaw.

“Hey I’m… What the hell? Ayo what’s going on?”

“Oh, and look. The coward decided to come back. How was your Ugali”

“Ayo why are you acting so different, this isn’t you, come down from there!”

“Oh, my brother this is me, the true me and this will only be the beginning. So, stand back and witness greatness—for that Amaka is now my new vessel and I as always, am the beat.”

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