As she dreamed, she saw a handsome man walking through a tropical rain forest. The man wore military fatigues, and his boyish face glistened with sweat. Carrying an AK-47, he walked in a direction parallel to a stream. She noticed that the stream was red with blood. There was a primordial greenness and moistness about the forest. She could feel the thick, warm air. A monkey, sitting on a tree branch, yawned lethargically, as it watched the man walk by. The man started to run, and it seemed that he was pursuing someone. Suddenly, the forest gave way to a clearing. She saw the man stop running and look around. Green hills were everywhere. Then she saw the corpses of men, women, children, and babies. Some were clothed, and some were partially clothed. It was like a sea of human corpses, covering the hills; the people were so freshly killed that she hoped and anticipated that the bodies would move at any moment. However, to her despair, the bodies did not move. They just bled and began to rot. She wanted to call the man in her dream, as she saw him looking down at his military boots; blood had splattered over his boots. He looked up to the sky. Then he grasped the rosary around his neck and prayed. She heard him whispering the prayer of St. Michael the Archangel.
Washington, D.C., September 1990
Sojourner Brown felt giddy as a tall, dark brown complexioned attorney approached her in the law library of Livingston & Richards, a corporate law firm. Livingston & Richards was located in Washington, D.C., in an office building on Pennsylvania Avenue across the street from The Old Post Office Pavilion. The location was in walking distance to The White House, The Capitol, and The Supreme Court. That she was in close proximity to these institutions made Sojourner feel like she was in the center of the world’s most important location.
The attorney approaching Sojourner was a lean man with an angular, boyish face and an aquiline nose. As the attorney approached Sojourner, he seemed to grow with each step. Sojourner estimated that he was about six foot four inches tall. She stood behind the counter of the law firm library, where she worked part time as a library assistant. The attorney’s name was Joseph Kalisa, and he was a new associate attorney at Livingston & Richards. Joseph’s name was included in the monthly employee newsletter, along with a note about the universities from which he had graduated, and his native country in Africa, Rwanda.
“Good Morning, Miss,” Joseph Kalisa said. His voice was low and soothing.
Sojourner detected a rich foreign accent.
“Hi, Mr. Kalisa, how are you?” Sojourner said.
“Fine, thank you. I would like to check out these books, please,” Joseph said, glancing quickly at the books he held in his arms.
Joseph wore a chocolate brown three-piece suit, which seemed to be fresh from the racks of a couture designer’s studio, and a cream-colored dress shirt with a matching cream-colored silk tie. The cream and brown colors accented his smooth complexion, creating a vanilla and chocolate effect that made Sojourner’s mouth water. However, on the outside Sojourner was cool and professional.
Sojourner opened the circulation binder and proceeded to show Joseph how to check out books from the library. Joseph signed his name for each book that he checked out, and she watched him. Joseph’s long, elegant fingers curled delicately around his expensive looking gold pen, showing clean, well-groomed fingernails. Ostensibly, Sojourner watched Joseph as if to help him in case he had questions about checking out the books.
Standing near Joseph, Sojourner absorbed his scent, a light, clean, woody fragrance. His hair was closely cropped and neat, with a healthy sheen. Joseph carried himself with the dignity of royalty, and his disposition was serious and reserved. Although he made eye contact with Sojourner, his facial expression was almost blank. His dark eyes gazed, not at her, but through her. She was transparent to him, she thought. Sojourner was intrigued.
Quickly glancing at her clothes, Sojourner thought about what she wore that day, a pale yellow oxford shirt, beige gabardine pants, and brown Penny loafer shoes. The faux pearl necklace that she wore matched her faux pearl earrings. She was glad that she had taken some extra time that morning to style her hair in a chignon.
By Angeline Bandon-Bibum