Rodric Anthony is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Creating new stories and seeing where they take him is his passion.
Seventh in a series of Woza Moya Ongcwele, IsiXhosa for Come Holy Spirit, it tells the dealings of two brothers, their friends, and family struggling with life's trials as they come. The previous iterations in this series linked at the bottom will catch you up to this chapter!
Lastly, Elders Nkosi and Smarts notice, from the window, a tear forming in their plane’s right wing! Other passengers notice too.
On The Plane
Tranquility resting on upturned lips, Elder Nkosi turns to his friend and mission companion, Elder Smarts, assuring words leaving his mouth as a promise, saying, “The Lord is with us; we will be fine.”
As soon as he speaks the words, the plane smacks the ground, wheels first, with such a jolt its injured wing falters, scraping the runway sending sparks flying into a billowing black plume of smoke where once an engine lived.
Elder Smarts protectively shields Elder Nkosi as the tear in the wing matures into a massive rift, shifting the speeding plane to the right. The scraping dragging wing snatches from the plane, listing the plane à gauche, causing the other wing to scrape the runway, buttering it like toast!
Riveting left, the plane’s windows form slithering cracks, snaking, crackling sounds building to a crescendo of … shatter! No shards appear, just serpented cracked windows exploding outward from the stress of the plane wiping the ground. The immediate drop in air pressure causes more screaming, bursting eardrums, passengers fastened, but seizing. Panic attacks. Falling debris, carry-ons, and shoes fly about.
With the plane ripping apart, Elder Smarts notices a shoe flipping over the seats, wondering, “Whose shoe? What’s going on? Where am I? Someone purposely threw a shoe in all of this chaos, pulling pranks in the middle of an emergency!" Immediately, reality shifts, disintegrating into the background as flashes from the past reel into the foreground.
What’s going on? Where am I?” Immediately, reality shifts, disintegrating into the background as flashes from the past reel into the foreground!
Off the Plane
Where This Starts.
“What’s going on,” Elder Smarts, Heber Junior, Hib wonders aloud, sitting at the poolside in his backyard at one of the patio tables, an official letter for missionary service before him. Furrowing his brow, patiently milling over the papers received yesterday from the president of the Church, he’s doing it. The decision to serve a mission doesn’t come easily to Heber Kumkum Smarts Junior, Hib; however, he’s grateful to accept the invitation.
“All the tests and rules are impossible,” he thinks reading through the new laws he will live under and customs. “I’m doing this! I’ll be serving God.” The words leave his lips, but his heart still feels sorrow, torn about choosing the best thing over a good thing. Torn ... more like a civil war.
There’s always an ongoing
war ‘tween my mind & heart
Mind assaults my tender heart
With armada of reasons
Heart counters each strike
With convoy of feelings
In the bloodshed ‘tween
Two mighty Titans
It’s I who get torn
Knowing not what to do
Whose side should I be on
— Punam Saxena
Strange Game of Tag
Sharp! A thewy force propels Hib sideways, splashing into the swimming pool disturbing the mirror image of the sky reflected on its surface along with Hib's stillness.
“Tag,” parades the younger brother, Hiram casually, as Hib’s head rises above the troubled water, “You’re it!”
Strutting along the edge of the pool smiling like a show pony, Hiram’s defiant triumph over Junior causes more than troubling waters. “So, how’s that for a payback," questions the younger Smarts, not knowing the internal war Hib hosts‽
“For what, you big cow paddy,” Hib manages calm enough to utter the threatening question--irritation rolling off, wet, matted clothing, and blonde locks freshly twisted, now frizzing at the edges, a version of the alien from the classic horror sci-fi movie Predator emerges! Hib’s scintillating muscularity frames the image perfectly.
Most people don’t fear their family members … much. The Smarts family identifies with “most” families, hopefully, full of trust and love, most of the time. Sometimes, though ...
Hiram’s "hostility senses tingle" but he decides not to bolt towards the safety of their house. Rather, Hiram stays well on the other side of the pool, reminding Junior of last week. “Hib,” affectionately coos Hiram, “You remember last Saturday night?”
“What you talking about, Hiram,” demands Junior controlling speech, allowing anger to drip from his body with the water.
“C’mon, Hib. I know you remember. I was sleep on the pool chair, and you picked me up and threw me in" spit Hiram out in feigned disgust as if Hib committed the crime of the new century.
“That’s only because you shaved my eyebrow the night before,” comes the controlled growl of Predator running around the pool to catch Hiram. “It was payback, man! Think pain; when I catch you, it is all you’ll feel.”
Hiram’s fight or flight instincts kick in! “You cain’t chase me forever,” he tempers, avoiding, again, fleeing to the house! “You bound to give up; you always do!”
There’s always an ongoing
war ‘tween my mind & heart
— Punam Saxena
In the distance, a car alarm signals and chirps to a stop while the young men duck and dodge between pool chairs in a contest of strategy, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote style!
“Anyways,” continues Road Runner-Hiram, as Wile E. Coyote-Hib shuttles a pool chair pillow with perfect aim. Hiram dodges it, swan-like. “I cut your eyebrow off because you put pickle juice in my mouthwash.”
“Negro, you put Sun-In in my conditioner which bleached my hair,” thunders Junior, knowing his mother forbade them to use the term “Negro” referring to any person since some find it offensive. Their mother finds it offensive.
“How was I supposed to know you were going to use conditioner in overnight? I didn’t think locks needed that type of “girly” hair treatment anyway,” Hiram teases as he and Heber lap the pool playing keep-away, Hiram, the object to keep away from Hib!
“And don’t lie, you like the way your hair looks. I think blonde does you well,” Hiram counters, throwing a pool chair pillow back at Hib, hitting him in the face, and causing him to fall over a pool chair into the pool again. Road Runner never retaliates against Wile E. Coyote, so more like Tom and Jerry, this time--Hib being Tom.
Tom and Jerry
“You want to call it a truce, we can” Hiram offers, nursing a laugh and knowing that all six feet five inches and 245 pounds of Heber will thrash him if he catches him! “I will even let you throw me in the pool, what do you say?”
Hiram, a spry muscular kid himself at 6''2’, knows he can’t outrun his older brother forever; yet, he finds joy in the journey! Both kids, outstanding athletes, come from a family of athletes.
The boys make their parents look like dwarfs since their dad is a shorter man at 5” 11’, their mom two inches shorter. There is always a competitive spirit in the house between the boys. Consequently, there is always some level of punishment or restriction because of it too.
Hiram, a twinge of apprehension nipping, notices Hib, who normally laughs off pranks to plan his revenge, is emotionally compromised today. “Has the gentle giant finally stopped being so gentle,” questions the younger Smarts internally?
Heber Junior climbs out of the water and takes off his drenched shirt and shoes. Locking eyes with his little brother, Hib smiles big. “Okay. Let’s call it a truce. You got me good today.”
Think Of Me With Kindness by Gentle Giant
Hib remembers at 12 years, large for his age even then, in an act of defiance, he snatched away from his mom (because he didn’t want to eat chicken instead of pizza) with such force it threw her to the ground, startling her.
Immediately he burst into tears begging for her forgiveness and promising her (and himself) to never put another soul in that position, except on the football field. He keeps that promise still.
Always bigger and stronger than his peers, he understands his size and strength put him in a different category than other kids his age. Throwing a tantrum could injure people; so at 12, he stopped.
Hib senses Hiram’s apprehensiveness, breaking his heart just a bit, chopping it up to the intimidation effect his size causes. He’s not wrong. “I know he saw me get angry,” he thinks. “It ain’t like I would have done anything but throw him back in the pool.” Consciously, he’s gentle with everyone--not that he is the only tall person around. The other tall ones do not possess inordinate strength as a gift, though. The other ones do not have a record as the strongest kid in the county by freshman year.
Never does Hib want anyone to fear he’d hurt them, even in anger. Actually, even on the football field, he holds back some, feeling like a giant among ants. He’s not about hurting people, only protecting.
Never does Hib want anyone to fear he’d hurt them, even in anger. Actually, even on the football field. He’s not about hurting people--only protecting!
Inwardly, Hiram, of course, never could let on that he had to swallow his heart to keep from running to their mother tattling that Hib wants to annihilate him! No, he will never admit to that feeling. “Truce it is then. What’s eatin’ you Hib,” he asks with forced joviality. “You looked like you wanted to football tackle me into the cement.”
Hiram deliberately eases toward Hib, hands on hips. Stopping trustingly next to his now sitting sibling, he asserts, “I musta really geared you up? You normally don’t try to get yo revenge back so quickly seeing as it usually gets us grounded if you do.”
“Hiram, man, I was set off before by what happened yesterday,” explains Junior, glancing at his wet mission papers and back at Hiram. “I still don’t believe what came in the mail!”
“Your mission call,” smirks the younger Smarts. “How could I forget? I didn’t know your voice could get so high.” Heber Junior laughs the type of laugh that comes too hard, and too boisterous. Junior’s trying to clear emotional cobwebs, combing his massive hands through his locks--wringing out the remaining water.
“You started clapping and jumping up and down like a little baby getting a sweet candy treat,” Hiram continues gently introducing joviality again. “I already uploaded that to social media, by-the-by, with three thousand hits and counting."
More laughter ensues between the two, laughing away all of the tensenesses Junior feels about the mission choice (good, better, and best--best being the missionary service). Trees surround them like sentinels guarding their private world against the peering eyes of the neighbors. The two of them share time, brothers. Missionary service means this time’s limited, never to be had again as teens living in their parents’ home.
“Hey, just wait ‘til you get yours, man,” says Hib pointing his finger into Hiram’s chest.
Internally, Hiram snaps at his suggestion that a mission call is in his future, an unsure feeling. “Ignore,” he thinks.
Missionary service means this time’s limited, never to be had again...
Hard Choice or Easy Choice?
“Well, anyway what’s it you so ripped up about, man?” Hiram sits next to Hib, glancing toward the house to see if their mother’s milling about. She’s not so he just stares as Hib speaks, not wanting to think past this moment of brothers, chillin'.
“I got a full scholarship to Florida State University offer in the mail, and a full scholarship offer from Tennessee,” explains Hib wincing with his head in his hands.
Hiram stands excitedly flexing through his arms and chest with pride! “So, that is why you wanted to pound me in the pavement,” he yells into the trees? “Let’s go! That’s good news!”
“No, man. I'm going on a mission. I cain’t take the scholarships, and they won’t hold them, I was told,” yields Hib mournfully, though resolute in his decision. Ever since speaking with Senior about it, Hib did not look back with regret. Praying to God about whether he should serve a mission, he always felt it's the right thing to do, though the answer did not come right away. Today marks the day his final decision came.
Deflated, some, Hiram sits down again contemplatively before suggesting, “I would take the scholarships man. You can hold off on that mission. I could see if you were older. You only 17, Hib. Why’d you send off for mission papers so early anyway? I still don’t get that. You just graduated.”
Hiram turns to Hib awaiting a response. These are Hibs favorite schools and he has scholarship offers from them both that may not exist in a few years! Hiram convinces himself that God would not expect his brother to give up on that dream. He wants an answer. Again Hiram pleads, “Well?”
“You know, the stake president told me to send in my papers early, right” Heber Junior says flatly? “He said he got a revelation that I needed to send off my papers now. It takes months for a mission call to come. I gues it came back faster than me and dad and mom, and Grandpop thought!”
A few dragonflies zip past distracting them for a moment as the sun hangs in the sky relentlessly bathing them in effulgent rays of light. Almost as if a celestial force determined this moment when the truth needs revealing, the truth about everything they've been taught! Hiram has to ask Junior where he stands!
“Do you believe it Hib?” questions Hiram not hiding the fact that he thinks it is far-fetched that the things the Church teaches are so important that his brother should give up his career path to professional football. It's far-fetched that God wants to rip away his brother too soon. "Just 'cause Grandpop is the stake president doesn't mean this is right for you. Do you believe it?"
Hib hesitatingly answers, “Yes, I do,” shocking both of them! “I do believe it, man. I felt something …”
“Okay, man,” incredulity and disappointment combining with a tinge of anger in Hiram’s response. “This is scaring me more than that Terminator-look you gave a few minutes ago. Don’t go gettin’ all spiritual on me, hell! I’m just not ready to see you become a nerd—one big GIANT nerd!”
“What, I thought you would be happy I had a spiritual side" Hib returns ignoring Hiriam's angry words, the profane way he used hell. Oh, he plans to punch his arm for it later seeing that they have a running game of B-B. It's a game their dad taught them where if those who play the game say a word with the letter "b" get punched until they say B-B for every b-word said! Hiram and Hib changed it to swear words since they tend to get loose with the tongue playing football. Hiram had a thrashing coming until he said B-B!
"Did my hostility,” Hib uses finger quotes, "become contagious?”
Something More Than That
Something else is there. Something Hiram doesn’t want to admit, but time ticks down to when his brother leaves. They’ve done everything together. Hiram plays football because Hib inspires him with his sheer talent, athleticism!
“No, man,” Hiram offers, stuttering out. “I just … never mind. Well … forget it.
“What” inquires HIb more seeing his brother hesitates to speak?
The redwoods sway in the sky, their shadows dancing over the yard as if long arms reached heavenward singing the songs of the old American slaves:
Come by here, Lord, Come by here.
Come by here, Lord, Come by here.
Come by here, Lord, Come by here.
Oh Lord, come by here.
In the shadows of pleading trees, Hiram sits, accused of the trees for not swaying with the same flow of things, being the same kind of Latter-day Saint as everyone else, for not understanding, for not seeking the Lord to come by here because somebody needs Him.
“Do you believe it Hib?” questions Hiram... Hib hesitatingly answers, “Yes, I do..."
“I don’t know if all that stuff the Church teaches is for everybody,” leaves his mouth almost followed by a sob of relief. He’s waited too long to express it. “I mean, I see it in our lives all right, how it helps us; but Dad hardly goes to Church, and he served a mission too. Mom is the only one … Well, I guess you are now too ...”
Hib places a heavy arm around Hiram, shaking him affectionately not knowing what to say but understanding. Hib had been there before. Faith is a hard thing to have when everything else seems easier to get. Both brothers stand.
“Okay, I changed my mind,” Heber Junior declares.
“What,” comes a bewildering reply from Hiram? “You not going to serve a mission now?”
“Of course, I am. I mean, I changed my mind about the truce,” Hib whispers, scooping Hiram up and tossing him into the pool. “It’s Payback!”
Junior triumphantly dances a jig as Hiram takes his turn to fume in the pool, not so warm in the South Georgia sun. Huffing and puffing as the water saturates his hair, Hiram doesn’t know whether to curse or to cry, but he holds it in, for now.
On The Plane.
"Home. Home! What! It’s not time to go home,” screams Elder Smarts inside as his mind, aware of the plane now, and the flashing lights and tumultuous sounds! “Did I pass out,” flashes across his mind! “Did my life start to flash before my eyes?” From the core of his soul, he knows his missionary companion prophesied the truth. “All would be well! All will be well today in mortality! We need to live,” realizes Elder Smarts internally!
“Father in Heaven, our work is not done,” declares Elder Smarts aloud pressing a long arm against Elder Nkosi’s chest as if by doing so he’d be safe! “In the name of Jesus Christ, Save us!”
Rumbling and rattling, a vibrating electric razor to a giant, the plane stops short of sliding into a terminal! Smoke fills the plane. Hissing sounds. Crackling sounds and sparks litter the atmosphere, but still, calm.
“Amen,” finally concludes Elder Smarts releasing a protective arm from Elder Nkosi. Intense peace floods his soul. Emergency workers pull passengers from the plane alive, shaken, broken, and needing medical attention.
In amazement, Elders Smarts and Nkosi, ushered quickly out of the plane, sit on the transport trolley for minutes. Both burst into a tired triumphant laugh. Elder Nkosi predicts, closing his eyes and shaking his head, “You know, this is just the beginning of our new journey. Yes, this is the beginning. I do not know why I feel that way. Your prayer was answered, Elder Smarts.”
Grunting in agreement wearing a smile, he too feels their new journey begin. Perils ahead, no fear, a peaceful feeling, and a familiar presence encompass them both. “Elder Nkosi, just the beginning.”
- Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter One
Woza Moya Ongcwele, translation from Xhosa to English, Come Holy Spirit. This story is about, Hiram. a boy who finds a girl but not the way you would expect. This is the first of a number of stories about how God works to help Hiram do some good.
- Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Two
His brother gave up his dream, temporarily, to serve the Lord. If Hiram is to follow in Hib's footsteps, why is it so hard to get an answer?
- Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Three
Is it the Jane Doe in the hospital room that Hiram should focus on or the missionary papers on his dresser at home. One seems to be calling, while the other seems...
- Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Four
Hiram discovers lost parts of his past while searching for answers affecting his future.
- Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Five
Dim light from the glare of a paraffin lamp casts shadowy figures dancing in the glow around the room as soft thumps of rainfall filter in through the slightly raised window...
- Woza Moya Ongcwele Chapter Six
Peace, a calming peace fills him with tranquility and love, more than he could have imagined. At one time, he thought these blessings amounted to nothing but hysteria...
© 2021 Rodric Anthony Johnson
Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on August 07, 2021:
Pamela, thank you. I planned on writing a book about these guys. I'm glad I didn't. This story needs to be on Hubpages. I look forward to writing more.
Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on August 07, 2021:
Bill, I'm glad I intrigued your interest! I almost thought to leave that out. It just seemed right to write.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 06, 2021:
"Tranquility resting on upturned lips,"
As a writer, I live for phrases like that one. Bravo! You stopped me in my tracks with those five words.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 06, 2021:
I really enjoyed reading this chapter, Rodric. Your description of the awful plane landing is terrific. I also think the relationship of the boys is interesting. I look forward to reading more as you write. This is really very good.