Adofo and Henry stood on a hill overlooking a valley. A small river meandered down the middle; the crystal water glittered like diamonds, yellow, blue and red flowers lined the banks of the river. Henry sat down and he felt the cool dew on the grass soak through his pants. Adofo sat down next to him. They had walked most of the day and needed to take a rest.
“How can a place so beautiful have such evil things happen?” Henry asked, Adofo was drinking from a water pouch,
“You put man in anything beautiful and he finds a way to bring evil to it. Birds don’t enslave each other; butterflies don’t put evil spells on dragon flied. The difference between them and us is we have the intelligence justify that it is our nature to be evil, at least that is what my father once told me.” He replied. Henry scanned the valley. A flock of parrots flew into the trees on the other side of the jungle. Henry followed them as they glided over the water and back into the jungle.
“My father said that sometimes evil deeds are necessary for progress. My sister said it was his ways of making his job not seem as bad as it is,” Henry said. Adofo were looking around.
“Hey look,” Adofo said pointing. Henry looked in the direction he had pointed. A group of five people emerged from the jungle and walked along the river bank.
“It’s Akosua and the others,” he said and got up and started walking. They stumbled down the mild decline trying not to fall. Rocks tumbled down the hill taking chunks of mud with them. They reached the river and waded through a part of it that was ankle deep. The cool water felt good in the afternoon heat. Fish swam out of the way with every step they took.
“Akosua!” Adofo shouted. Akosua and her group stopped and looked around.
“Hey!” Adofo shouted again. Akosua saw them and began running. They met and stood in the middle of the river, the water rushed past their waist. It was crystal, until the point where it touched their bodies, then it was greyish, white. Akosua’s dress floated above the water, it looked like it was about to wash away with the rushing swell. Kwao stood his eyes ablaze with jealousy. Adofo and Akosua stood for a moment holding each other, and then looked into each other’s eyes. The parrots flew overhead, their feathers a rainbow of colours in the tropical blue sky. Kwao stepped forward.
“You were told to stay in the village,” he said walking past Adofo bumping him on his shoulder as he went.
“I wanted to make sure the lady I love was safe,” Adofo said, smiling at Akosua. Kwao kept walking trying hard not to look at Adofo.
“Come on, we have to get back to the village since no one is in charge,” he said.
“Ampah can handle it,” he said. The two warriors walked up to Adofo and hugged him,
“It’s good to see you friend,” one of them said as he smiled. Lassette walked past him looked at him then looked at Akosua and smiled. Adofo looked at Akosua.
“Long story,” she said “I will tell you when we get back to the village.” She said then took Adofo’s hand and they followed the others up the hill and back into the jungle.
It was late afternoon, hot and muggy as they walked across a field of wild cotton bushes. Small cotton balls floated around in the air around them and into the jungle. Bugs flew between them as if hypnotized by the sweat that glistened off their bodies. Kwao had not spoken since Adofo and Henry showed up. He pushed ahead trying not to listen to what was being said behind him. Lassette walked behind Akosua and Adofo. She was breathing hard, her mouth open, her eyes red from being in the sun too long. Her beige coloured dress was ripped and came to just above her knees. There were scratches on her legs from the bushes and thorns that ripped at her skin. Adofo and Akosua talked, their voices the loudest thing in an otherwise quiet jungle. Kwao stopped,
“Shhhh” he said, he looked around for a second. Adofo and Akosua walked up next to him. He stood like a cat; his eyes scanned the jungle, his spear at the ready.
“What is it?” Adofo asked. Kwao looked at him as if to silence him. They stood for a minute then Kwao relaxed.
“Stop the chattering and stay alert,” he said and began walking. Adofo caught up with him,
“We saw what looked like boats coming towards the island earlier,” he whispered.
“And you are just telling me that,”Kwao said. Adofo looked a little exasperated
“I just remembered,” he said, Kwao rolled his eyes,
“If you were not so captivated by love you would have remembered,” Kwao retorted.
“I am telling you now so be alert.” Adofo said and he stared at Bartholomew.
“Make sure and let the boys know,” Kwao barked and walked off.
They got to a part of the jungle where the trees stood tall and there were no bushes around their trunks. The red top soil was hard and it crunched when they stepped on it. A peacock trotted by, its tail a glitter of colours. They stopped and watched it go by. Lassette tried to step in front of it, but the bird evaded her and lumbered away. Henry took a drink of water, and then brushed the back of his hand across his forehead.
“Its bloody hot here,” he said, Kwao looked back at him,
“What Kindoki can’t take a little heat?” he said then snickered.
“Shhhh!” Adofo said, Kwao gave him an evil look and was about to say something when an arrow whizzed by his head and stuck in the tree next to him. They froze for a second, then there was a shrilling war cry and an army of men rushed out of the jungle screaming. Henry pulled out his machete and braced himself. Adofo bumped into him,
“Take Akosua and the lady and go hide,” he said.