IF THY RIGHT HAND OFFEND THEE

Published July 29, 2018 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman takes us to Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by the location. Feel free to use the image provided in the prompt, or chose from photo spheres around Kinshasa. Once your piece is polished, share it with others using the linkup below.

Many thanks to Karen and Josh for facilitating this challenge for globetrotting writers. It’s the extra 50 words that keep me coming back. 😉

Remember – Reading and commenting on others’ work is part of the fun!

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

IF THY RIGHT HAND OFFEND THEE

                                                                        August 12, 1896

Ma chérie,

I signed on for the Congo, eager to serve Leopold—to civilize the savage.  

I hold your face in my heart—the celestial blue of your eyes, the curve of your fair cheek and sweetness of your lips. But this vision is no longer enough to sustain me. Forgive, my love, another face has replaced yours. It is magnificent. Brown with midnight eyes. Every whit as handsome as our own Francois and no older.

I followed orders. I lopped off his right hand for not meeting our rubber quotas. What kind of savage does this to another human being?

________

Upon entering the tent, Andre dropped to his knees. “Dear God!”

Louis tutted and pulled a blanket over their fallen comrade.  “Why on earth did Thomas take his own life?”

Picking up a blood-spattered hatchet, Andre shuddered. “And how could he chop off his own hand?”

 

In 1896, a German journalist reported that 1,308 hands were collected in one day.

CLick HERE to watch the disturbing documentary.

33 comments on “IF THY RIGHT HAND OFFEND THEE

  • Oh, wow. That’s a very hard-hitting story, Rochelle. Although your story is historical, the practice of mutilation as a weapon of terror continues. It’s hard to imagine the callous nature of those prepared to do such atrocious things.
    Shalom
    Penny

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Penny,

      Comments that begin with “Oh wow” make me smile. 😀 I can’t imagine how humans can treat each other that way. I’ve never understood nor do I want to. 😦 Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      PS your story gave me an ‘oh wow’ moment, too.

      Like

  • This is a story that, once again, shows man’s inhumanity to man. Genocide, unfortunately, was not limited to any particular place or time on this blue spaceship called Earth. Your story is a vivid reminder that we must, as a species, evolve into a more peaceful and understanding people. Another revealing, well written and researched story. Keep educating us Mrs. Wordsmith Wisoff-Fields.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jan,

      I often wonder how someone could carry out such orders and still live with themselves. In my mind Thomas couldn’t. Thank you for your support and kind words. Happy to be your co-passenger on this blue spaceship. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Way to hit us in the gut this fine morning. It’s funny, I was thinking of doing a Pegman along these lines. Then couldn’t make it happen. You did – so very well. Humanity has not been its most humane over the years (and still today).

    Very well done, Madame!

    Lotsa love

    Dale

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale,

      What can I say? I casually hit the trail, not really sure if I was gong to Pegman this week. Then the story socked me in the gut so what could I do? I submitted to the muse. I just shake my head at what human beings are capable of. How can a person go on after committing such atrocities? So I decided that my fictitious Thomas couldn’t. Thank you for your kind words. Sorry for the sucker punch…but not really. 😉

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle,

    This story of yours, it provides . . on so many levels. For one, and the most obvious, your ability to drop inside a place and time and to flesh it out for the reader is thrilling. You learn us a lesson in such wonderfully brilliant prose. And for another, your post provides much needed perspective on the many dark and hopeless places in this world. It’s a numbing portrait of the realities, and a reminder to be thankful for what we have.

    Shalom,

    Marco

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Francine,

      This story caught me unaware. I knew of the viciousness of the slave trade but this bit of history passed me by. (I may very well have been sleeping in history class.) Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • I knew the Belgians colonised the Congo, of course, but I hadn’t realised how brutal their rule was. Truly horrifying, Rochelle. I admire the way you managed to weave a narrative around such terrible acts, such a widespread system of oppression. Again, you share part of history that need to be remembered with your fantastic writing

    Liked by 1 person

  • This use of the letter as background is so good. The comrades who find Thomas confounded by their lack of knowledge. Another great introduction to history – so much told so succinctly and fully – of feeling and information. You sure you needed those extra 50-words?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Your story proves the point that inhumanity damages the victim and the oppressor alike (though in different ways.). My poem mentions Leopold, too. After reading yours, I’m afraid mine is but a sugar sculpture next to this harsh but hearty meat and potatoes.

    Liked by 1 person

  • What a disturbing and heartbreaking story! To think that any people can go to “civilize the savages” and then treat their hosts so brutally, what a shameful legacy to bear. In a way, although I cannot condone suicide, Thomas almost redeems himself by being unable to live with his actions.

    Like

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