Graphic Design, Computer Illustration, and Production Art
Richard C. James Design

Short story 7

Mizz Nina's Song

This mini-story pays homage to Nina Simone, the High Priestess of Soul (1933-2003). I recommend that you listen her classic tune, "Four women”.

Aunt Sarah was deeply saddened. Her heart had a hole in it. Her life was drained. All had been lost. She wasn’t worth buzzard pickins. She stood there dumbfounded and dazed. Tears streamed down her face and dripped onto her blood soaked blouse.

It had only been a few hours earlier that she chastised her dead sister’s only daughter, Safronia, for being a flirt. Aunt Sarah had promised to raise the girl right but that had not been an easy task. From the day Safronia took her first step, the child always managed to find trouble. Once, the girl picked up a baby water moccasin and brought it into the kitchen to show Aunt Sarah. Aunt Sarah screamed like a banshee, grabbed the snake from the five year old and beheaded it with a deft swing of her meat cleaver.

As Safronia got older the problems got bigger. Aunt Sarah became tired of whippin’ the child. There was always something…

But it wasn’t until Safronia turned fourteen that Aunt Sarah's worst fears came true. Safronia’s breasts could not be hidden any longer. No matter how well Aunt Sarah wrapped Safronia's chest, the girl’s breasts defied confinement. And, eventually, they caught the master’s eye.

Aunt Sarah prayed for heavenly help, but none came. Safronia liked the attention that she was getting. The master would give her an extra piece of salt pork or an extra biscuit after dinner. Once, he gave the child-woman a frilly dress that was his daughter's. Everyone was shocked.

Aunt Sarah forbade Safronia from wearing it. But Safronia had an uncontrollable spirit. Under the pretense of gathering blueberries by the river’s edge, she smuggled the dress out of the house. Aunt Sarah had been ironing the bed sheets when her daughters, Safronia’s cousins, came running into the kitchen’s anteroom. Sweet-thing and Peaches were nearly out of breath from scurrying up the hill from the blueberry patch. Although they were her daughters, they called their mother "Aunt Sarah" as did everyone else on the plantation.

“Aunt Sarah! Aunt Sarah!” the girls exclaimed. Sweet-thing and Peaches was eight and seven years old respectively. Both were terribly excited.

“Chillrun, chillrun. Hush that noise! The master’s in da’ house and…” Aunt Sarah began to say.

Sweet-thing interrupted, “No Ma’am! He down by the river with Safronia!”

Shocked, Aunt Sarah dropped the heavy iron. She ordered the astonished children to find Mizz Nina, the preacher lady.

“Find Mizz Nina and tell her to come running to the blueberry patch by the river! Hear me? Don’t tell nobody else! Scoot!”

Aunt Sarah grabbed her petticoats and headed into the woods, running as fast as she could.

But when she got to the blueberry patch it was too late. Safronia and the master were in the deep throes of passion. His lily-white arse rising and falling like a dog in heat. Safronia’s loud pleas and moans filled the air. They did not hear Aunt Sarah’s approach.

The lovers’ attention turned away from each other as they heard an unearthly wail of a thousand demons. They saw the screaming banshee running toward them with her trusty meat cleaver in hand.

The master raised his hand in authoritative protest. “Aunt Sarah!”

The blade neatly found his wrist, severing his hand and flinging it to the river’s edge, turning the water crimson. Aunt Sarah’s swings possessed a great deal of economy and deadly precision. Like a slashing machine the meat cleaver tore into the flesh of the lovers. Splattered blood turned the blueberries red. Aunt Sarah sliced and chopped, sliced and chopped until her arm went numb.

And she stood there motionless, like a weeping willow. Crying.

Mizz Nina, came upon the ghastly scene. “Oh, mighty spirits save us!”

Aunt Sarah half smiled at her friend. “Mizz Nina, I goin’ home. Take care of my youngun for me. Don’t let them forget me.”

And with that Aunt Sarah waded into the river and drowned.

Mizz Nina, an Ashanti priestess, called upon the spirits of the water to carry her friend home to the land of milk and honey.

The end.

©2006 Richard C. James


© 2003 Richard C. James