TUTUOBA is the fascinating story of a young woman and her reincarnation, having to survive similar desperate struggles against rich powerful enemies. Violently uprooted from Africa, persecuted in Jamaica where she inspires a Maroon slave riot, before being shipped to Boston, MA where she is tried for witchcraft, TUTUOBA has to survive by all means necessary!
SALEM’S BLACK SHANGO SLAVE QUEEN
A novel by
This is a work of fiction. The events described are imaginary. The setting and characters are fictitious and not intended to represent specific people.
TUTUOBA: SALEM’S BLACK SHANGO SLAVE QUEEN
Copyright 2005 by Prince Justice
All rights reserved under International, U.S.A and U.K Copyright Conventions.
An AU Media Book published by arrangement with Booksurge LLC
AU Media, 12 Durninghall Business Center, Earlham Grove, London U.K. E7 9AB
Dedicated to my Mother, Esther Olufunke Faloye, my aunts, sisters and sistas… and to all those strong women keeping it going on…
JUNE 29, 2010: ATLANTIC OCEAN
She pulled off the headphones and irritably shoved them with the channel guide into the pocket behind the front seat. In an effort to sleep or relax for the umpteenth time, Tutu stretched her long legs and sank further into her seat. She was somewhat tense and despite wide variety of offerings, she could not find anything on the channels to suit her taste or at least soothe her nerves.
Jazz would have been ideal, she thought, having used it to relax since her boyfriend introduced it to her in college. Only God knows who puts things together on airlines, from the music to the food! Tutu sighed. It was becoming apparent sleep was not going to come easily, as she kept reopening her eyes and fidgeting.
To add to her irritation, every time she opened her eyes, they met with those of a middle-aged Indian man. The man sitting two seats away was staring at her whenever she looked up. She caught him a couple of times ogling her cleavage. Nasty old man! She thought and threw him a dirty look as she pulled a blanket over her well-endowed chest, although she knew that wouldn’t necessarily stop the staring.
Tutu Barbara Oba was accustomed to advances from the opposite sex, being an attractive woman with a smooth, golden well-sculptured oval face. A face accentuated by her long locks and clear intelligent eyes. Standing at five feet ten inches, Tutu had a sexy figure that boasted ample breasts, an equally ample, but taut rear with a small waist. These and other qualities triggered off desire in men and jealousy from some women.
Sometimes, she enjoyed the attention and even flirted, but at present she was in no mood. He had tried to strike up a conversation with her, but she curtly put an end to it. Moreover, sitting between them was a middle-aged woman whom she suspected was his wife, since he didn’t make advances until she was miles away in dreamland.
How I wish I could join her, she mused, but it was not going to happen easily after all the months of anticipation, fear and drama. She had come a long way and all types of surprises and disappointments had beset her journey. As Tutu fidgeted in her seat, her mind wandered from the beginning of her decision to leave to the concoction of a scheme to pacify her obstinate father.
And mother! She sighed as she thought of the struggle with her mother. Who would have thought mother would come to be the greatest stumbling block? Tutu sat up in her seat, her face a mixture of anxiety, fear and confusion as she let down her locks and did a few neck and shoulder exercises to ease the tension. How could she expect to relax when all she had been hearing for the last few weeks were warnings of danger and evil?
“We shall see wickedness!” Or was it evil the psychic had foretold? She had heard and said the word over a million times, but had never stopped to think of the meaning phonetically in her language and was sure that none of her friends at home or elsewhere, would have ever thought of it. As a matter of fact, only a minute percentage of the speakers of Africa's largest indigenous language, Yoruba, had heard such interpretation of America from the late enigmatic singer and political activist, Fela Kuti. America pronounced slowly in Yoruba as in "A Ma Ri Ka" means we would see wickedness or evil.
She was aware through her education that the Yorubas and Ibos suffered the most from the American slave trade, but that is history, she argued! In the second millennium with thousands, if not millions, of her contemporaries emigrating to the Western world and seemingly making headway for themselves, she didn’t want to entertain historical perspectives which had no direct relevance to her present day needs and objectives.
Unfortunately, her mother kept haranguing her over some unexplained danger the psychic claimed to have forecast. How this danger or evil was to manifest itself was never explained, yet she was expected to shelve all her plans. Of course, she remained adamant, which led to a serious rift between them. Now, she wished she could have parted in a more amicable way with her mother, her close confidant.
Now, she was feeling lonely and scared! Mother was never really headstrong unless she was absolutely sure of her point. And that was the scary part, she thought, now that she had her own way. Being a very determined young lady, she knew she had a habit of digging in her heels, once she made up her mind. Tutu was her Zodiac sign, Capricorn - The Goat. It was only after successfully barging her way through opposition that she sometimes had second thoughts, like she was now having.
She asked for a soda from a passing flight attendant, who promptly obliged her and gave her some peanuts to go along with the drink. As she brought the drink to her mouth, she noticed her hands shaking.
"Oh, My God!" she whispered under her breath, "I am all nerves. Why is this happening? Why am I all tense?" she worried and having every reason to.
After all, this was not the first time she was traveling abroad or in a plane. She had been all over Europe, even if she had never been to the United States of America. Nor did she really believe the historical hogwash her mum, and to a lesser extent the old psychic, tried giving to her.
Hmm, America! Amarika! She smiled. Or did she believe? She wondered. No, of course she didn’t, she was too modern to believe, but she still felt uneasy. As her mind continued to wander, she gradually felt more relaxed, and was on the brink of dozing off, when she was disturbed.
JUNE 29, 2010 NEW YORK, NY
There were about 100 or so guests in the large hall that glittered with glass chandeliers and diamond necklaces worn by the well-heeled partygoers. All the guests were formally dressed in black dinner jackets and designer gowns typical of a gathering of the movers and shakers of society. In the background was a glimpse of the New York skyline, which could be seen through the glass walls and open balconies, although nobody was taking particular notice of the scenic view.
Apart from the busy waiters moving around to cater to the needs of the super-rich guests, everyone was grouped in twos and threes discussing politics and high finance. The guests ranged from bank chairmen and presidents to the mayor, governor and many senators.
Everyone appeared to be in good spirits, at least as much as their status would allow them to show in public. This was one of the first parties to break the monotony of what had turned out to be a very bitter winter and wet spring, even by New York standards. But where better to break the ice than at the party of the chairman of the largest bank in New York, America, if not in the world?
George Forrest, scion of the distinguished family that owned Empire Bank, called and organized the cocktail party, which was a shortlist of the crème de la crème of old money. Heirs and contemporaries of family businesses, financial and political dynasties could be seen talking and mingling everywhere as he walked around weaving in and out of conversations.
George Forrest, looking well sun tanned at the beginning of summer, could very well pass for someone in his early forties, although he was soon to celebrate his sixty-fourth birthday.
"Look who we have here! My dear Senator Hankel," he said ebulliently, as he shook the hands of the tall, silver-haired senator from Kentucky. He kissed the hands of the senator’s young, beautiful wife, before turning back to give him a cursory glance. "You’re looking far better than the television has been making you look recently. You are…"
"Thank you!" the senator answered effusively, adjusting his tie as if he was standing in front of a mirror. “You aren't looking bad yourself for a 30-year-old,” he said, pausing for the light laughter to subside. "I asked about you and was told you were on vacation in Bali. I can see it has done you quite some good and…"
"Yeah, I guess one needs to step back from everything once in a while and take a good rest. I’ll see you before you leave, but if I don’t, I’ll be sending down our contributions through the normal channels. Keep up the good work! In the meantime, enjoy yourselves. Excuse me!"
He had barely finished his sentence, when he sighted someone nearby, whom he greeted with equal warmth. To an observer, he was just being a perfect host, making small talk to keep the party moving, but this was only a half-truth. There was something going on under the surface.
Just down the line, he placed his hand gently on the shoulder of a slightly shorter, thickset man that sported a black suit with a dotted blue bow tie.
"Make your way to the room with blue ribbons on the door. The meeting starts soon!" The younger man nodded and discontinued his conversation with the politician he was talking to.
In a smaller Scandinavian-style room, which had a different view of the New York skyline through its glass windows and walls, there were plush chairs and sofas around a long cream marble coffee table. Seated in some of the chairs were men of varying ages, ranging from late thirties to late sixties, although they all emanated wealth and power. A few were standing along the wall sipping their cocktails, either looking out into the night or lost in thought.
The door jerked open and a portly man in his late forties with a jacket, slightly tight in the midsection, entered. With a fat Cuban cigar burning between his fat lips, he smiled, as he looked around taking in the familiar faces sitting around the table. "Who called this meeting?" he bellowed. "And what for? I have a busy itinerary…" He was interrupted by George Forrest’s voice, coming from behind.
"The drinks are not going anywhere, Jack!" Forrest said boisterously, attracting everyone’s attention. "I called the meeting,” he admitted and made his way to a vacant seat. After gaining everyone's full attention, he continued.
"A serious matter has been brought to my attention, which I believe is of paramount importance to everyone and our continued existence. It is so…”
"Another tax increase?" someone queried cynically.
George Forrest smirked, "No! Worse!" He sighed pensively. Pausing, he contemplated how best to present his information.
"I was told by my wife, Mrs. Quincy and your wife,” he said, pointing vaguely to one of the elderly men seated across from him, "that there is a force heading towards this coast, whose main objective is to put everything we’ve worked and stand for in great jeopardy!" There were sharp intakes of breath across the room.
"Has the force been identified, so it can be isolated and negated?" asked the cigar-smoking, large-bellied Jack Michaels arrogantly. Chairman of a heavy manufacturing multinational firm, Jack was legendary for his ruthlessness in both business and personal dealings, but sometimes overplayed the role, while trying to live up to expectations.
"No! It's not that easy, but the women are working on it, at this present moment,” Forrest answered gloomily, rubbing his hands together nervously as Jack slightly startled backward, but said nothing.
"Sorry, I don’t understand,” the youngest member of the clique confessed. He was in his late thirties and had just taken the reins of his family’s business empire, due to his father's death in a plane crash a few years ago. "You said there is a force heading towards us that is supposed to threaten our well-being, and its counteraction is being placed with our womenfolk?” he asked, gesturing with his fingers to stress his confusion.
"May I ask what kind of force is this that warrants the bravery and ruthlessness of our women?” he asked with loads of sarcasm as a small wry smile twisted the corners of his mouth.
"They are the best to handle it,” Forrest insisted testily, not amused by the snide comment. He leaned forward to place his cup on the table before continuing.
"There have been fears of a return of this force for some time. It has been known to come every 160 years, bringing along with it great disruption whenever it appears. Apparently, it is due once again and we seem to have been hoping against all odds that we won’t experience it again. Last week, we received confirmation that it was surely heading towards our shores.”
"And what is this force, or whatever, supposed to do?” asked a bespectacled man in his fifties, wearing a black pinstriped suit.
"Well, we don’t know for sure, otherwise our job would be much easier. Going by precedents, I guess it could be quite ominous. For the older ones among us, I guess your parents would have told you a bit about our history, which is not common knowledge. The first experience is what is known in the history books as the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts.”
"Sir, I think we all know that the Salem witch trials were a travesty of justice and there were no witches. Moreover, I don’t think anyone in this day and age believes in that medieval rubbish,” the youngest man said derisively.
Anthony Pierce, a lawyer, who fancied himself as being worldly and intelligent, could not believe his ears.
"My young man, as much as you might disbelieve it, there is more to life than meets the eye. If you disregard all that you can’t see, it will be to your detriment,” a slightly irritated Forrest reproached him. "It is unfortunate that your father, Eric, could not teach you all he would have wished to before he moved on.”
He recomposed himself and continued, “Contrary to present-day beliefs, a whole lot happened in Salem, Massachusetts that was never publicly admitted. The real Salem witch was never identified and terminated but believe me, there was definitely a force at work. There was a whole lot to do with the supernatural and what is never told in that story was how it changed the course and destiny of this nation and the western world as a whole. Thanks to their determination and versatility, our forbearers, were able to turn an ugly situation around, otherwise we would never have dreamed of the prosperity we are now accustomed to,” Forrest slowly elucidated.
“One of its effects was a shift of finance and business from Massachusetts to the New York Islands in order to distance themselves, if only psychologically, from the myriad problems of the mainland, especially slavery and religious fervor. The example of Britain’s progress, due to its separation from mainland Europe and its religious and political problems, informed the decision and many others afterwards all the way to Hong Kong.”
The man in the pinstriped suit rose and walked to the windows as he asked tentatively, "So how do we identify this threat? Do we know where it is going to strike?"
"Unfortunately, we don’t! Which is why I called the meeting. At this moment, the women are working hard in the other room to identify and counteract this force. At the same time, we have to make contingency plans and be very, very alert,” he sternly warned them.
The second youngest of the group, a man in his early forties who normally wouldn’t have been invited to the meeting and had kept quiet all along, cleared his throat and spoke in a deep voice. "Being in charge of the security arrangements, I can reassure you that all our systems are in tip top condition and can confidently say we are up to any problem!"
"That’s nice to hear, but I would rather not be too confident! This is not like anything, we have encountered in recent memory,” Forrest warned.
"I am sorry, but I don’t see how any person or force, could upset what we have in place. We are not a small outfit that some witch or whatever can derail. No matter how strong!" the young heir, Anthony Pierce contended. He explained himself further, when he saw the derisory looks around him. "For example, in a worst case scenario, even if this force were to kill the business leaders, we have reached a state in our development where there will always be continuity and it will be a futile exercise and sheer waste of lives for the force to take on such a doomed venture.”
"You can never fully rationalize the supernatural! Don’t you know how many people were killed or destroyed in Salem and elsewhere?" one of the elderly men questioned him tetchily. He was annoyed by what he saw as the younger men's impertinence, but they took no note of his irritation. After all, everyone was invited in their own capacity as the leaders and protectors of their families and their interests.
"But why does this force choose us and where does it actually come from?" Anthony asked, still baffled by what he was hearing.
"Her background is shrouded in mystery due to the officials who did not want the whole truth out, because of their fear that it might incite the slave populations at the time. Contrary to official reports and historical records that she was an Indian slave from Barbados in the Caribbean Islands, what my grandmother told me was that she was from the heart of Africa, from the Yoruba.
“At the time, Africans made up ninety-nine percent of slaves in the West Indies, where her master was supposed to have brought her from. Although she was supposed to be a bit lighter in complexion than the average African, she was definitely a dreadlocked Yoruba woman,” he explained carefully.
“And who are these Yoruba? Or what is it?” asked Mr. Andrews, the man with the blue bow tie.
Forrest smirked as he took pride in enlightening people. “Presently, it is the largest indigenous African group and language....”
“I thought Swahili or Hausa were...” Anthony interrupted.
“No!” Forrest shook his head forcefully and sighed deeply, before continuing pedantically. “Although Swahili and Hausa languages are spoken more widely, they are basically Arabic inspired trade languages, African languages mixed with the languages of their conquerors, the Arabs. They are not original African ethnic groups, but peoples living in the grassland fringes of the African forest. The languages are to Arabic like what the various types of English spoken by Africans in the Americas is to Queen’s English.”
“Like Ebonics!” Anthony quipped.
“Yeah! Anyway, before the advent of Europeans, the Yorubas used to be the major peoples, gold traders and rulers of the forest area of Africa. There are also claims that they were the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt...”
“Rubbish!” Jack Michaels interrupted. “How can you believe that?”
Forrest shrugged. “Well, they argue that most Egyptian Pharaohs, especially Osiris was called an ‘Auni’ in the ‘Book of the Dead’, which is what the Yoruba’s have always called their foremost king and spiritual leader in Ife. Coptic traditions also mention a god-king Shango from Ife and Egypt means sheep in both Greek and Yoruba, which is what the Nile area has been known to supply them from antiquity till today!” Forrest told them and raised his hand to stop being interrupted.
“Anyway, whatever they might have been in Ancient Egypt, their forest homeland was to later experience the worst of European slavery. They possibly would have been annihilated, if not for the intervention of this force, which struck an insidious and fatal blow at the heart of slavery,” Forest said sternly, but despite raising his hand and voice forcefully, the security chief interrupted Forest’s concentration as he waved a cigar around gesturing for a light.
After pausing for him to light his cigar, Forrest continued, “At the time, millions had been shipped to the sugar plantations of the Atlantic coast of Brazil, which spread to the Caribbean islands as the pace of development increased. This was followed by the south of present day USA, where slaves were used for cotton, tobacco and rice. The next and last in line to be brought under cultivation was the Northeast coast, the land between Washington DC and Boston.”
“This is getting interesting,” the young lawyer interrupted him jokingly as he moved his chair closer.
Using the opportunity to take a sip, Forrest continued, “Cultivation would have resulted in the people being completely decimated, considering the numbers that would have been required. Bear in mind that would have meant every piece of land on the eastern shores of the Atlantic being cultivated by slave labor. It was for this reason that the force allegedly from Mother Nature was dispatched,” George Forrest explained to the younger men.
“So what happened? You mentioned she struck a blow at the heart of the slavery system. How?” The security chief, Bill Jones, inquired with keen interest.
“Well, it is not fully proven, but it is believed she struck various blows and planted seeds that had far reaching effects. At her first place of call, which was in Jamaica, Britain’s largest sugar producer, she was alleged to have sowed the seeds of rebellion. This was the Maroon rebellion, which would eventually force Britain out of the sugar market, due to its disruptive impact and the resultant high cost of maintaining law and order.”
“Britain, as a result of this, became abolitionist and pressured all other countries into abandoning slavery. This was due to Britain’s comparative disadvantage with the losing of its sugar producer, which at one time earned it more income than all the other colonial income combined.” He paused again to take another sip from his glass.
Clearing his throat, he continued, “Here in America, she ensured the Northeast coast would remain the barren coast to prevent it from going along the slavery route, which all other lands on the Atlantic coast had followed. It was this Northeast area that championed and fought the slavery cause against the south, Massachusetts being in the forefront to discard the system shortly after her presence. Actually the judge, Samuel Sewall, who sat at her trial, shortly afterwards became one of the first white abolitionists.”
"Wonderful! So why was this never known to the public and what happened or who were those hanged in Salem?" Bill Jones asked incredulously.
George Forrest smiled. "Today, it’s called damage control or limitation!" He paused, as he seemed to be enjoying their looks of incredulity. "We couldn't come out and say that a slave girl had given us a bloody nose. It would have caused mayhem and dissent among the huge and growing black population.”
“I understand all that, but what I don’t understand is, why now? There is no more slavery anymore! What’s the bloody problem?” Jack Michaels asked irritably.
“It’s true there is no more slavery, but the people will tell you they are under adjusted slavery. They argue that after slavery came colonization, after which came the International Monetary Fund’s Structural Adjustment Program, the S.A.P, introduced in the 1980s throughout the black world. The program backed by us resulted in the killing of their economies, abject poverty and mass migration here and in Europe. They call the SAP the slavery-adjusted people and many are bitter about it. Moreover, they accuse the West of imposing leaders on them that sell out their interests. So this might be the bone of contention, but we are neither sure nor willing to find out!”
In another room on the same floor, which appeared to be a boardroom, twelve women sat around a long polished table, lit with candles. Just as their husbands quietly excluded themselves from the partying, so had the ladies unobtrusively excused themselves to the room for their meeting.
The ladies were in their late forties to early sixties, with Mrs. Forrest, who was seated at the head of the table, appearing to be the oldest. Mrs. Forrest was the daughter of an old distinguished Bostonian family, who married into another old money family of New York. Formerly of the Lawrence family that made its fortunes from the cotton mills of New England, before diversifying into arms, she had brought her family fortunes together with those of the Forrests, being the sole heiress of her family.
All the other women were also of the same breed that had also married into respectable families. The combined valued of their jewelry alone could offset the national debts of many third world nations. Although the flashy jewelry and smiles they had worn moments before at the party were now replaced with serious, worried looks. There was a heavy and tense atmosphere in the room.
They had now congregated in the room for 45 minutes discussing their plans for the evening. A few were first timers and very apprehensive about the planned proceedings with fear written boldly across their faces. Even those who weren’t novices, but had heard stories of what had once transpired in similar circumstances, were scared.
"We need absolute concentration and I must warn you, this might be the toughest thing we have ever endeavored to do.” Mrs. Forrest paused to look around the table to see, if she had everybody's concentration. "If you all understand and are ready, I guess we should get on with it and confront this threat to our families. Let’s all link our energies.” She stretched out her hands, linking them with those seated next to her and they formed a complete circle for what was to be a séance.
Mrs. Forrest started some incantations in a low voice, which gradually increased in intensity and decibels. "I call to you of the great beyond…” As she spoke, a mild spring wind from the Atlantic Ocean gently blew in, causing the candles on the center of the table to flicker.
At last, Tutu made her first successful attempt to sleep, but was disturbed once again, this time by early morning sunrays that were reflected into her eyes by some movement on the wings of the airplane. She thought she saw some metallic movements on the wing, but couldn’t be concerned as she stretched to pull down the visor in frustration. Still half asleep, she heard a rumble to which she paid no attention, but before she returned her hand to her lap commotion ensued.
Suddenly, the plane took a near 90-degree dive, prompting panicked cries. Her carry-on luggage slid from under her chair and hit her calf, with a sharp protrusion stabbing into her calf at the same time as a bag from nowhere hit her on the head. Almost immediately, the plane evened out for a second or two, before making a steep climb, also of nearly ninety degrees.
There were screams all round the plane as people not in their seats flew across aisles. The seat belt signs started flashing, but many people weren’t even in their seats and tried grabbing onto anything, including a few oxygen masks that were released from the overhead cabin.
Once again, the plane took a steep dive, making trays, bags and a few toddlers fly forward. One lucky toddler landed right on Tutu’s lap, smiling. He thought it was a game. The Asian woman sitting beside her woke up in shock and was speaking Punjabi or some other Asian language, while Tutu could not even utter a word in any language, as bile rose in her throat.
She heard the pilot announce, "Everyone please remain in your seats! We are experiencing extreme turbulence due to pockets of varying air pressure...”
"For real? That’s news!" someone shouted sarcastically from somewhere behind her, but could hardly finish his statement before another dip. More oxygen masks dropped from the overhead cabins. Screams for help and prayers rent the plane, while many people just squeezed their eyes shut waiting to die.
Tutu was quiet. An observer might have thought from her blank expression, she had dropped into a state of shock. In fact, she had slipped into a trance, or more accurately, was experiencing a sense of déjà vu, but somehow it was no longer an airplane, but a ship!
On the ship, there was also pandemonium, with screaming people all around her being thrown or running towards her. Tutu was wearing traditional African wear, with a blue top and a matching wrapper around her waist. There was a raging storm, actually a ferocious hurricane, but the strange thing was she remained unaffected and calm, apart from her locks blowing wildly.
Afterwards, she appeared to be alone on the deck, everyone else having escaped to the lower decks or washed overboard. Strangely, instead of escaping from the ferocious wind, she was moving towards it, towards the hull. She moved effortlessly as if she was in a trance with her lips moving slowly and her hands outstretched.
Tutu startled awake from her reverie and found she was in her airplane seat and rubbed the side of her head, which was slightly sore. She was mystified that amid all that was happening at present, she was having daydreams, which she could not in the least begin to explain. Yet they seemed so real. Once more, she rubbed the side of her head and noticed there was a little blood. Apparently, a flying piece of luggage had hit her in the temple, knocking her out of the reverie.
The airplane was still making wild dives and climbs and in despair, she held firmly on to the toddler, still on her lap. Her seat belt was nearly torn loose from her seat. "Oh! God!" she cried as her mind raced through her life. She now thought of her mum and remembered the scary words of the old psychic, whom she had viewed as a "player hater,” a "trouble making old hag" and every other hateful thing.
In the midst of the commotion, with people and objects flying around, she tried to recollect everything that the psychic had said. This was not an easy task, since she had never really taken note of the psychic’s words. She had viewed everything suspiciously and saw it merely as an exercise to upset her carefully laid plans!
Some people talk of life-threatening experiences and how one’s entire life flashes across one’s mind vividly at the point of death; this was one such instance. As scenes of her meeting with the psychic flashed, she recalled asking whether or not she would die, but couldn’t remember whether the psychic gave an affirmative answer.
Psychics! She hated their dishonest tactics. They always gave vague messages and riddles. At the same time, she had claimed to see a lot of benefits, she had also said she saw a lot of death and danger. However, the psychic had advised her to go on with her plans and gave her two rings, which were supposed to protect her.
Initially, she had no intention of bringing along the rings, being skeptical, if not disbelieving, of the whole premonition. It was her mother, at the last minute of her departure who had begged her to abide with the psychic’s advice. Coming from her mother, who had become a nervous wreck, trying everything she could to halt the journey, Tutu just couldn’t refuse her last request. Even then, due to her stubborn streak, she didn’t follow the exact order. She wore the rings on fingers of different hands, rather than on the same finger as advised.
The plane took its longest dive, which caused louder screams. Tutu clasped her fingers in despair, rubbing them together in prayerful submission. Suddenly, she stopped and drifted away into what seemed to be another trance. Her face became blank, her sharp intelligent eyes appearing miles away, but her lips slowly started to murmur. In a whisper, she started what could be called an incantation.
"The hands of evil shall not bind me, as no hand can bind the wind nor dam the rain. The rain, the wind and thunder go hand in hand helping one another! Help me the gods of nature. Help me, Shango, god of thunder!"
There was a monstrous clap of deafening thunder followed by an immediate calm. The loud clap was taken by most in the plane as a crash. Many fainted, while others with their eyes open thought they were dead, especially with the eerie silence that followed. The clap jolted Tutu out of her trance-like state and she momentarily looked around, not knowing where she was or what had happened.
Suddenly there was a loud clap of thunder followed by the sound of shattering glass. Momentarily, there was silence due to shock, before screams and panic rented the air. Anthony Pierce was the first to reach the door and run into the ballroom, closely followed by George Forrest and others. The guests were milling around a door from which screams were coming. George Forrest hastily made his way through the shocked guests, some of whom were calling for help using their cellphones.
On entering the room, he was met by the ghastly sight of bleeding women with cuts and various wounds. A few were lying unconscious on the floor and everything was torn apart by what appeared to be a massive explosion. The long mahogany table was shattered beyond recognition and a few fires were starting to spread.
"Call 911. Get the fire department and the paramedics!" Anthony Pierce shouted as he pushed people back to create a path for those bringing out the injured. "Everyone move back! Move toward the exit. There has been an explosion and a fire!" The word explosion caused further panic as people stepped over each other in order to escape from what might have been a terrorist bomb. This caused problems for the arriving emergency staff.
Eventually, the emergency team made their way to the women, whom they placed on stretchers. George Forrest stood by his wife as she was carried onto a stretcher, frail and bleeding from a number of wounds. Lying on the stretcher, she stretched her hand to her husband, who took it and gently squeezed it to let her know he was by her side. She pulled him towards her as she tried to speak.
"She is here, I saw her face!" she said feebly." I think she is going to Boston, get on the phone.” She paused to cough and continued, "Find out all flights that are coming in from Lagos, Nigeria. It is…." She collapsed before she could finish her statement.