Scintillations

by Nu Scribes scribe bio

Published by NuScribes (nuscribes.com) on Mon 08 Feb, 2016 |

Book Cover Art

This (still little) book, is a collection of deliberately short works (some poems, others mini-stories), that are the shinning gems of various daring and remarkable scribes, from the many NuScribes clubs and families (now forming) in Africa.

Most of these works have been written at NuScribes events (workshops, readings, competitions, showcases, etc), and the one typical criterion for a work to be included in this collection is that it ought have been written within 30 minutes and “within or around 100 words”

Welcome, enjoy and share these little gems of light..

Grotto on a Parchment

Clouds were threatening to break. No, I wasn’t about to abandon the journey! Medici had asked me to pass by his shop, just to show him the precious piece of parchment I claimed to have discovered the week before. Pass by I did, and still he’d not believe its authenticity despite seeing and holding it himself!

It was very daring and stupid of me, as I would not tell or consult anyone else besides him. I walked blindly for about 5 hours; mostly through gloomy forest, on that uneventful Tuesday, and still, there was not a vain of disbelief in me!

I once raced in utter fright, from an impotent twig masquerading like a giant python, only to fall a while later - almost breaking a leg, as accidentally, I fell into a shallow subterranean cave, whose entry was gaping at the sky, but which had been dangerously covered to evade or invade the unwary! Medici had cautioned me about potential booby-traps and had alluded to the multivious nature of the true path.

I forged on. It was approaching dusk when I first caught sight of that delitescent landmark - no where near a certain path, but one whose characteristic outline I gleaned as I scavenged the horizon, atop an imposing tree.

Yes, the parchment confirmed it, and as I walked, ran and crawled in the next couple of hours (and it was already dark), the incessant hunger for being there to witness ancient masters, as they convened again for the first time in almost 200 years, to discuss the fate of humanity and share war stories from the spirit world, propelled me on like a crazed rocket.

I almost lost! My clothes were all torn and soiled, I was sweating and gasping for breath, but the entry into the cave was still open when I arrived. Oh, I was delighted and washed in bliss when I finally got there! No, I can only tell you of those astounding moments spent inside that grotto, some other day!

 


By Nemesis Fixx


Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 (Remixed)

I do agree with the decision of twin minds

let's admit our differences

Is love really love?

Which sways with the wind,

Or changes with pressure.

Or is it a scar,

That is unmovable and unchangeable.

Is it hope for the desperate?

  Whose intensity is boundless.

  Love is timeless,

  Though beautiful

  Within his ability to be captured

Love does not change with time.

But endures to the end.

If I am proven wrong

Then I have never written or seen

   a man in love.

 


By THE GENTS

  • Atugonza Morris Borris (Kisubi Seminary)
  • Mugisha Fernandes (Kisubi Seminary)
  • Migisha Kenneth (Kisubi Seminary)
  • Ssendagire Kevin (Kisubi Seminary)
  • Kule Roland (Kisubi Seminary)
  • Nasingoma Scott David (St. Mary's College Kisubi)
  • Tuhumwire Clancy Dramary (St. Mary's College Kisubi)


The Chwezi, Travel to Margoq

Their ship was already off-course by the time they counted 20 years into the voyage. They'd lost all contact with their home planet, and were only surviving because their on-board computer had been built so perfectly, that it kept their internal environment supportive and preserved and rationed their supplies and engineering resources so well that they were sure they'd make it to the lone planet, which they'd named Margoq, of the star MS12C, still alive.

Ibale, who happened to be the captain of the ship Chwezi-6, had been awake most of this final part of the voyage, as his colleague, Muro was hibernating in the ship's preservation chamber, after he'd started developing signs of mental breakdown on a couple of occasions. 

Ibale, was a man of varied talents, as would be expected and required of such a role as he'd had to assume his entire adult life. But on this particular voyage, his most rewarding skill was one of fantasy! He'd spend most of the lonely, mechanical moments of the voyage ignoring the constant darkness in the void all about them, ignoring the beeps and flickering lights of his ship's console, and instead spend time imagining and planning what it'd be like when they'd finally set foot on Margoq, after so long a journey.

In the final stages of their journey - which was about a year before they'd land on the maroonish piece of rock, Ibale decided to awaken Muro so they'd share in the final joys of their long a grueling wait. On the day Muro woke from his slumber, Margoq was clearly visible in the horizon when seen through the lens of their onboard computer, and oh how delighted the old man was! Ibale wrote in his diary that day, that all his life with Muro, he'd never had him recount the joys of space travel in a more religious way than he did that day. There was a renewed spirit of ambition, and the instruments were constantly reinforcing their wish - a safe a rewarding landing pretty soon.

As would be expected, they almost could anticipate exactly what Margoq would be like, and this was made possible, thanks to the skillful utilization of hundreds of on-board instruments, all surveying, making millions of calculations and analyses on every little piece of data the ship's on-board sensors collected from the roughly oblong planet as they neared its orbit. The numbers got more realistic, the projections more concrete, the visualizations less fantastical, and the atmosphere thicker! They both believed, there would be few surprises for them when they finally did land - and indeed, Muro kept reassuring Ibale, as they sat at their lifeless consoles, during most of their waking hours in those last days of the decades long trek.

Margoq was no typical planet though. Based on their calculations, she had snow along the equator, and probably had methane lakes or something of that sort near the poles. Her nights were typically 8-9 months long, and likewise for the days on her humid and nebulous surface or so the mathematics showed. She had a very powerful gravitational force given her size, and this hinted at her being made of very dense material - something which kept Ibale's imagination wide awake, especially as he brushed that pair of shoes that he would probably never wear! There was something out there, and it was waiting for them. But what it was, only cartesian planes, Maxwell's demons and Schrodinger's cats could dare anticipate with precision. Muro and Ibale steered the ship ever closer, praying that their estimates for a safe landing would workout, and that their expedition would be worthwhile.

On the 27th year of their voyage, having travelled about 2.35 light years away from Earth, the ship Chwezi-6 finally entered Margoq's orbit, and it was certain, now than ever, that they'd rather die trying to get to Margoq's surface, than waste away studying the suitability of its atmosphere for them and their ship. It was a 4 hour drop, as they steered through thick clouds of ammonia and ice, and as persistent thunderstorms ever warped them from their planned course, though not from their intent of finally landing onto their new solid home.

Finding a place to finally land wasn't a luxury they could enjoy, as the planet's strong magnetic fields and turbulent atmosphere caused their electronic gyroscopes to constantly recalibrate themselves, against pulsating electromagnetic interference, and this forced the onboard computer to prematurely, though safely, identify a fairly flat plateau near the equator, onto which they finally set foot.

89 hours and 35 minutes they had to wait as their on-board computer analyzed the atmosphere as well as the terrain upon which they'd landed, before it could allow anyone to even turn a knob on any of the exit laches. The analysis Chwezi-6's best models gave of the planet, proved to Ibale that he'd not been very far off with his fantasies - the planet had water in a proportion of about 1:7 in the air, and about 3:11 on the ground. There was no familiar biological lifeforms, but the life engine onboard had managed to isolate and classify about 800 base-pairs in the gene sequencing analyses of microbes analyzed both in the air and in the ground, which were similar to those cataloged in lifeforms on Earth! But compared to the 3.3 billion base pairs found in the human genome, Muro convinced they'd probably not find any kind of life forms even remotely similar to those encountered or dreamt of on the blue rock they used to call home.

Whatever it was that was waiting for them out there, Muro, Ibale and their sleek rover called Djembe-51, finally exited the ship that had been home to them for almost 3 decades, and finally beheld the strange and virgin world they'd unfairly baptized Margoq. On their first day, roaming slightly away from the ship, they mostly spent their time collecting more samples of the surface's composition, and propelling instruments into the atmosphere to setup an adhoc GPS tracking system, the first elements of what could one day be the first internet on the strange but exciting planet.

Meanwhile, about 98 nautical miles from where they'd landed, a radar of some kind, whose sweeping energy pattern they couldn't even detect nor even anticipate, was starting to probe their ship and remotely lay the foundations of a expedition by the real explorers of Margoq, who'd waited stealthily for the earthlings to deliver themselves into their non-invasive, deeply advanced laboratory, whose exotic scientists knew better than to disrupt a self-organizing specimen like the human species, in the early stages of their study. It was clear though, that whatever the future was for both species, this was going to be a very exciting encounter, whose results would have cascading effects on the futures of both species, and the natives of Margoq knew far much about such encounters, that they were eager to let Muro and Ibale explore further deeper into the unknowns of their new-found land. 

 


By Nemesis Fixx


AIRY, THAT NIGHT…

I was sitting alone, the night cold and unforgiving in its silence and gloominess. I was thinking of the past, tears rolling down my cheeks every now and then. I knew of the sins of my past, I knew of the pain I’d caused every one of my past friends (who’d since turned into venomous foes of everything mine). I was breathing hard, but it felt like the air couldn’t make it past my throat – the sadness filling my entire self wouldn’t let the ether comfort me with new life. I felt like I would suffocate, seated there in the open, facing out at the darkness above – at those impersonal, twinkling stars, so far and out-of-reach. Sitting there thinking of myself, it felt like misery deserved yet a more somber name, but I couldn’t even conceptualize anything! What pathetic sadness I felt… I cried.

 

But, as the tears rolled, something played with those wet pellets… I felt like occasionally, a very soft, almost tingling puff of air would play with the skin of my face, but I hardly noticed from whence it originated. As the sadness intensified, so did this soothing, counteracting interruption occur, more and more often. Then I took notice; there was something about me in that sad moment; something was sharing in my solitariness and gloom, except, where I felt pain, it would reciprocate with a playful, teasing touch of soothing air.

 

I bit my lip for thinking I could wish my way out of such sadness, but no, I realized I couldn’t cause myself more pain than I already felt burdening my heart, and so I swallowed the bits of blood forming on my lips, and hoped, wished, something or someone, anywhere, could lift me up towards the stars, and maybe rid me of this bitterness and self-hatred. The wish was sincere – my mind and heart concurred.

 

As would happen when one sits still for more than an hour, and especially in the deep hours of the night; with no other people in sight and not a single motion of interest disturbing the monotonous motif, sleep started to ambush me. First I didn’t realize it, but then I knocked my head in an automatic jolt as I dozed into the wall behind me… the heat of that impact I could sense from the front of my head, and I was getting pissed with myself. I knew I should have been in bed, but at the same time, it seemed like bed would be the worst means of recovering from my dire state…

 

And then, a wind, no, not the same tiny puffs anymore, but a strong wind, raged all about the place for no apparent reason, and from no particular side! That’s when I realized I really ought to have retired to bed already. I was standing up - heading back into the house, having had enough of the night outside, but as I clutched the door knob, something tugged me backwards as though to make me fall backwards on my head! I knew it – finally, I’d met with my just punishment, death must have come for me at last! I was almost correct…

 

I fell back as though nothing inside of me could fight – I’d lost all hope already anyways. But, instead of hitting the concrete floor (an impact that would have lethally out-done the dizzy knocks of my head on the wall a while before), I simply, and really breathtakingly floated in the air! I didn’t hit the floor! I was floating, with a buoyancy I’d never witnessed before, and one I couldn’t explain even to myself - it felt like my heavy self was held afloat, in empty air, by some invisible fluid I couldn’t discern no matter how much I tried, turning about in a mixture of shock and awe.

 

Then, quick as the fall had come, I felt myself being sucked up and away, by a cool whirl wind that was causing the shrubs, trees and poles in the immediate neighborhood of home to swerve from side to side; some gyrating, others bending over as though in adoration, and still more shaking fervently! Whatever it was in that wind, I didn’t know or see, but something powerful and amazing was happening to me… And with that experience, exhibiting more amazing twists every other moment, the sadness and darkness that’d eaten at my inner self, started to vanish as though I’d been brought into the presence of an illumined essence?

Yes, it had to be something divine… there was no face, no voice, no name to it. But, the force was real! I was carried higher and higher, the tears I’d had rolling down my cheeks due to inner incarceration, replaced by tears of joy as the wind toyed with my eyes, and with my shirt flaring and flapping wildly with the pulsating breeze all about me. That buoyant, exquisite and dreamy feeling of flying in the air (without wings), rocked me from pleasure to pleasure… I felt free and light as a feather! Felt like I’d become a fairy or something of the sort…

 

The lights of the village were scattered like little fireflies, far down below. I couldn’t see many distinct features given the lack of light in most parts of the vast land below, but I could clearly see the outlines of the hills and valleys delimiting the horizons. I’d never felt such profound love for my place on this daunting rock. In that moment, I wished I could fly anywhere, to any place across the poles and beyond… But, the wind, or the wind fairy, wouldn’t grant me any more wishes beyond the bliss I’d been allowed to experience. I didn’t complain though… Only wished some more.

 

In total, they must have been like 19 or so breath-taking swirls that I was given in a most unbelievable manner, all about those skies above the village. At some time, I recalled those fantastical Scooby-Doo cartoons in which grisly old ladies would fly about in the air at night, on enchanted broomsticks! I had no broomstick, and so I felt I mustn’t have looked that sinister to anyone witnessing my epiphany. Furthermore, I did feel elated and too some extent, accommodated much pride... I’d never seen or heard of anyone experiencing such encounters, and so, for me to have been living it, really felt not only blessed (by whatever force it was that had granted me the experience), but also dignified.

 

The altitude kept dropping, I wanted it too, for I’d started to feel dizzy… and I’d been laughing and shouting hysterically as the invisible hands moved me maddeningly about in the air unlike any roller-coaster or other machine I’d ever experienced at the kids park during my long-gone childhood days. Finally, the motions subsided, and I perched down in such a glorious manner – erect, and on my two feet, so as to leave me standing there in the compound, as though whatever it was that had been tossing me about, didn’t want anything happening to ruin the memories I’d returned with.

 

I will never know who or what it was for sure, as it’s never happened to me ever since. But then, I’ve never returned to my pathetic, dark and gloomy self either – not since that momentous, magical air ride. I took long to return inside the house that night – wondering and hoping I’d get an answer concerning who’d bestowed such an ethereal experience unto me, but the night just looked back at me, utterly helpless (and possibly envious).

 

It was 4am when I finally retired to bed. I had dreams of flying for the next almost 2 weeks! But, whenever I’d wake up, I’d wonder whether the experience I recalled so vividly from that first night, was but a most lucid (waking) dream? I would never know, but talking about it with a wise man, the native shaman in my village, and one I knew to be gifted in things strange and mystical, he kept emphasizing that I’d been visited by a fairy from my wildest imaginations, and that if I wanted to, I could learn to bring her back some other time in the future. He also indicated that I had the potential to attempt even more daring, more fantastical adventures than that! His words made little sense to me though. For example, he mentioned the word “astral-projection”, which for me, sounded “too arcane a term”, so I told him, but he laughed it off, and said I’d learn about it someday.

 

And now, here I am sitting, having nothing interesting to do on this boring night, and how I wish I could just fly into the air right now… I close my eyes and wish… imagine or dream. I can fly, away from this moment, right now…

 


By Joseph Willrich Lutalo


JOE’S STORY

“I don’t know how best to break it to you, buddy…but my daughter died in my arms this morning,’’ Joe had spoken to me huskily that morning through the mouth-piece of his cell phone. The glum in his voice betrayed it that it was the worst possible thing that could ever happen to him.

Megan had been present in her dad’s life like the bedroom in which he slept every night. She had been the soul and heart of Joe’s life. Her existence in his life had consoled her profoundly after the death of his wife, Katrina, Megan’s mother. Joe had pet named Megan spooky after a puppy he had loved so much back in the day. We, all his friends didn’t matter as much as Megan mattered to him. 

There she was on the hospital bed which doubled as her deathbed that fateful morning. The crux of the matter between father and daughter was that Megan’s life was slipping away like a soft gust of midnight breeze yet Joe couldn’t do anything to bring her life back. His sinewy hairy arms wrapped around her wasted cold body, careful not to tangle wires and tubes attached to monitors and I.Vs. He wiped a tear from his bearded cheek with his old New York baseball cap and tucked her blonde hair, spread like a halo upon the stiff pillow, behind her ear. He whispered unheard words in her ear about his love for her. He freely let his imagination ran wild as he remembered their life together. This indescribable memory tried, though in vain, to make him more alive than ever.

“My wife died in my arms, too,” Joe said in spite of himself. He looked at Megan’s cold body again, swamps of tears welled up in his large eyes earlier made permanently red by tobacco and whiskey. He went on softly as if not to wake her from her slumber, “All of this would be nothing compared to the loss of you because you come from my loins.”

The grief in his heart suddenly gave a free rein to an overpowering surge of disillusionment. He regretted having ignored the first stages of asthma that now gnawed at Megan’s life. He wished he had not taken this dreadful infection lightly. When she had first complained of an odd throb in her chest, he had thought she would be all right. He had known Megan for being a strong 12-year old angel. When Katrina died, a few years before, Joe’s resilience crashed miserably. Megan had succeeded in consoling him where we, all his close friends, had failed to bring him back. She had helped raise his spirits high albeit her age. Joe had known Megan to be a strong spirit her innocence notwithstanding. But now asthma firmly overpowered her small but jaunty life. With its eerie icy hand, death had reached for Megan’s sweet soul. Her body now slept inert like a nail right there in Joe’s arms.  

As I stood there looking at a broken father enfolding the fast cooling body of her only daughter, sorrow consumed my heart too. I didn’t know what to do. I felt horribly humiliated by my lack of adequate words to cheer up my long-time friend and crony. The sentiment translated into betrayal. I felt I betrayed him. I knew he needed me to tell him it was going to be okay. And there I was, standing tongue-tied like a character in a paused James Bond movie.

The scene was sadness in its ugliest form. Megan didn’t have to leave Joe. Not now; not ever!  

 

By Joseph Kimbugwe