She was a Ninja. Born to run. So, she ran to the percussive sounds of her own heartbeat, her grandmother’s words echoing in her ears, almost splitting her in two. “Run child, run to Dar Es Salam where your white skin won’t be ridiculed – or worse.”
            She ran through the thick green undergrowth of the jungle, that snatched and bristled at her body. Creamy pearls of sweat beaded her albino brow. She yelped as a thorn brush ripped at her. Red blood on snowy white skin. She didn’t know how long she’d been running when the light in the jungle started to take on a luminous quality. Everything around her started to expand with colour and grow larger. She was thirsty but did not dare stop to look for water. Then she heard it. The sound of the witch doctors’ planes, circling and then landing. Disembodied voices hissed, “grab the ghost... juju body parts… magic medicine.”  Footsteps sounded, speeding in pursuit, slashing at the undergrowth.

Her grandmother had hidden her after her father had beaten her mother until she lay in a

bloody heap. Accusing her of infidelity, knowing that Aailyah’s white skin, and her halo


of shiny white hair, were a sure sign that she’d been with another man.


By the time she was 8 the witch doctors had heard of her too. Knew that her body parts could bring them great wealth. The grapevine of the village had unfurled, and her grandmother had little warning. So, she told Aaliyah “run-child, run and don’t look back.”

As her feet pounded the ground, she tried to remember what her Babu had told her about learning how to disappear. She focused on her breathing, let her hearing go outwards, listened to the sounds of the jungle. The loud whooping of the birds, the red hooped monkeys’ braided chatter, but still the disembodied voices seemed to be getting louder, closer.

Then she felt it. The first hit of cold rain on her head, her brow, her arm. The crashing of thunder that ricocheted through the inky greyness, and the rain now so hard against her skin, it hit her like a thousand pebbles falling from the sky. The sound of the intangible voices increased in an agitated pitch and suddenly she was falling, slipping, sliding down a hill, rolling, her body gathering speed as it crashed and landed. It happened so fast that she was relieved when she realized that her body was now quite still. She looked up to a sea of faces staring down at her. Pointing at her. Yet they did not move. She pulled out an arm from the slimy dungeon where she had landed. She looked in amazement. Her body parts had always glowed, effervescent. But now they looked like chocolate. The ghost-like faces of the men staring down at her, as they shouted in dismay. She was no longer white.

Then she heard the sound of car wheels spinning in the mud. Heard the sound of sirens and the ghost-like men started to run, their agitated voices mingling with car doors slamming shut.  The sound of car tires spinning out on the rutted roads surrounded by jungle and sugar cane.


Gillian Tregidgo
Gillian attended the University of British Columbia, in Canada, where she studied film production. Her gift for writing has been recognized with several awards for her dramatic screenplays. Gillie has also attended the Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio, where she wrote Serena Lodge; her first full-length novel which she is currently trying to publish. More recently, she was invited to read one of her short stories at the Vancouver International Writers Festival.

Gillie’s favourite moments in life occur when the unexpected comes out of the blue to excite her imagination to build stories and create new insights. Gillian is focused on dedicating her life to writing mixed genres


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