by D’Chaiya Emmanuel, 15, Antigua Girls High School
ROAR; Roar, that beckoning roar in the distance.
Howl; Howl, it’s coming closer in persistence.
What is it?
I have no idea.
Is it dangerous?
It’s that wretched noise I fear.
I have lived in Waladli for many years.
I know the dance of the coconut trees;
The cry of the quarrelling wind and leaves.
Even the soft click of a twig, snapping under an animal’s feet.
That sound, however, I’ve never heard nor seen.
The gods are punishing us!
I knew I shouldn’t have taken more than ten maize.
You’re just in a daze.
The end is upon us!
Everyone needs to hush.
Hush my people, do not fret, do not cry.
That is no sound made from nature’s spite.
That is no sound from the raft of our ancestors.
Maybe the Tainos are planning an attack?
That’s unlikely since the last war left them on their backs.
The sea has risen.
What is that? What is that floating prism?
Oh the curiosity is more than I can bear.
Achak don’t you dare!
BIRDS! Birds! There can’t be birds without land.
Sand? Sand! tis sand!
We is about to reach our fortune.
We should be glad.
A whistle! That’s a whistle!
They have spotted the land.
Hey, up here! Give me a hand.
Well boys, wees made it to the promised Neverland.
If only my mother could see now.
I will find gold and spices, she would be so proud.
Halt! I can see strange figures standing on the shore.
What are they?
They could be inhabitants or new species? I’m not quite sure.
If they are inhabitants, then we’ll force them to give us gold.
If they are species, we’ll round some up and take them back home.
We are blessed with this world from God.
Thank our father, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Crunch, Crunch; polished boots meet Waladli’s sand.
Crunch, Crunch; it is greeted by a barefooted man.
Skin as pale as the sand on our beaches.
Skin looks as dirty as spoiled peaches.
Two men who both bleed and breathe.
One was raised on concrete, one within the trees.
That shiny armor could blind an eye.
The nudity is no holy sight.
Long straight hair, as golden as the sun.
Coarse black hair, similar to my hound’s.
Who is lesser, who is greater?
Were they made by the same creator?
Such God forsaken creatures.
They have come to lead us.
Life and death does not discriminate.
The only real difference, is that their worlds were separate.
We can use them to provide us with gold and labor.
Gift them with your most valuables for they are our saviors.
Two worlds collided and history changed.
The life of all Europeans and Kalinagos would never be the same.
ABOUT the story: “This piece was inspired by a history class in second form. During the lesson, my history teacher sparked my curiosity when she asked, ‘How did the Kalinagos and European feel about their first ever meeting?’ From since then, I have always had this deep desire to find out more about the people who once inhabited this land. The story depicts various indigenous personalities and how they responded to their first encounter with the Europeans who invaded their land. It also vividly shows how the Europeans felt about the original inhabitors of the land once called Waladli.” This work of fiction is winner of the 13-17 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.
ABOUT the author: “I take a liking to anything related to the arts, such as music, acting, story telling and painting. Unfortunately, I thought I wanted to be in the medical field so my core subjects are the pure sciences. My hobbies and extra curricular activities make my love for the arts and poetry evident. I am a part of the AGHS Honey Bee Theatre and I have participated in many of their plays. My most memorable role was when I played the character Ti-Jean in Derek Walcott’s Ti-Jean and his brothers, directed by Ms Zahra Airall. I am also a member of the Lyrical Hive Poetry Club and a former member of our school’s debate club. Though I am not certain about my career path, I know for sure that it will be something related to the arts.”
ABOUT prizes won:
Prizes – Patrons:
EC$200 – D. Gisele Isaac (writer – Considering Venus, Wadadli Pen co-founder); EC$50 – Lawrence Jardine (founder and technical director of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Enlightenment Academy); free eye exam – Paradise Vision Center; Bath and Body gift packages (2) – Juneth Webson (businesswoman and writer – Milo’s First Winter); external hard drive – Cushion Club (reading club for children in Antigua and Barbuda)
Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.
For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.
ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.