Because Of Me

This is a historical fiction about slavery. Warning: there is dark and brutal things in this story. It teaches about the horror that was black slavery.

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7. Forgiven

I work on helping the other nurses getting wounded men back behind the front lines. But as I lift a man onto a stretcher and two nurses run away, holding him, I hear a bang that’s different from the continuous others. I look to the noise, and as the gunshot that will stop my heart speeds towards me, time slows down and so does the bullet. A light flashes and I can see myself as a toddler. I’m playing and laughing with my mom as she chases me around a meadow in front of the village. We were so happy. Tears are in my eyes from the tinkling, babyish giggles coming out of my mouth. My mother looks younger, with less wrinkles. I didn’t know I still had that memory. Then another light flashes and I’m chatting with Katrine. I realise that this was when I told her I was pregnant with Andre’s baby. She hugs me and we both cry from happiness, sadness, and fear all rolled into one. Then the light flashes once more.

I’m standing in a meadow. This one isn’t a memory. I reach down and smell the flowers that grow in my home. This is in Africa. I notice that there are people walking toward me in the distance. They all wear white, and have long, feathery wings the color of a cloud spreading out from their backs like a butterfly. They keep walking towards me until they are all only five meters away. I realize that this is my village. Before I can apologize for having ruined their lives, two walk forward and Katrine and my mother are standing in front of me.

“Mama…” I whisper, tears in my eyes.

“It is okay. You do not have to talk. We know. You have come so far, so far from a girl that didn’t know how to love or sacrifice, to a beautiful woman that has done more than I could ever have dreamed of.” My mother says with a big smile spread on her face.

“Don’t worry, it’s beautiful there.” Katrine says with a dreamy gaze.

“Katrine? Why are you here? And what’s there?” I ask, confused.

“There is Heaven. You no longer need to be guilty, for we are all forgiven!” And on that last word, everyone starts floating upward except for me.

“Aren’t I coming?”

“You haven’t died yet Gemma. Be patient!” Calls Katrine, and then I think she rolls her eyes.

“But what about my family?” I say, worried about how Andre will feel, and how it will affect my unnamed daughter.

“They’ll be okay. You are able to watch them whenever you like, and you might just be able to visit them!” My mother yells silkily, her voice trailing off distance.

All of a sudden, I’m on the ground, blood slowly dripping from my stomach. Somehow, I don’t feel a thing. Just before I black out for eternity, I quietly sing the unfinished lullaby.

 

Go to sleep now

Go to sleep now

Your sleep may be restless

But I will hold you in my arms

 

Go to sleep now

Go to sleep now

For when your eyes open

Your fears will be gone

 

Go to sleep now

Go to sleep now

Your heart is pure

And your mind innocent

 

Even though this is where I couldn’t think of any more verses, I keep singing.

Go to sleep now

Go to sleep now

And the weight of your past will fade

Your dark memories

Will turn into light

 

Go to sleep now

Go to sleep now

Don’t worry little baby

You are safe with me


 

As the song becomes complete, I smile before everything goes black.

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