Preview #1

Excerpted from Chapter 4: Separation:

“Come,” the ancestor instructed.

Dumisai sat momentarily frozen in his seat, mesmerized by the ancestor. After slowly summoning his courage, he stood and followed the Chikunza through the wooded area. They plodded through the dark forest until eventually reaching the river. Dumisai recognized the location as the spot where he had taken his purification bath. Upon reaching the shore, the Chikunza continued walking, trudging directly into the river without pause. Dumisai hesitated briefly before following. The ancestor continued its march into the river until its head was completely submerged. As the water reached up to Dumisai’s chest, he dipped his head beneath the surface hoping to maintain his close proximity to the Chikunza. The nighttime darkness made it impossible to see anything in the water. Dumisai reached out, feeling around for the ancestor without success. Finally, he began swimming just below the surface, hoping to locate his guide. He came up briefly to take a deep breath and then returned to his underwater search. He swam deeper this time, aware that he may soon reach the bottom of the river. As he descended further, the floor of the riverbed began to come into view. Dumisai noticed that the water appeared to be getting brighter despite the nighttime darkness, as if he was swimming towards the surface during daylight rather than deeper into its murky depths. He continued his effortless descent, almost as if his body was being pulled in a current. He noticed that the deeper he went, the more illumined the water became. After arriving at the bottom of the river, he reached out for the white, clay soil lining the riverbed, expecting it to stop his descent, but instead his hand shot through the water’s surface. His head also quickly emerged from the water, allowing him to inhale deeply in order to fill his lungs with oxygen before swimming to the shore…

 

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