Secret of the Sao Statue

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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:20 pm

Secret of the Sao Statue

Post by JWOODMAN » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:44 pm

The carved wooden figure stands approximately 40cms in height and is inlaid with mother of pearl across the arms, head and legs. It is the unassuming image of man sitting with his elbows resting on his knees with big eyes and a cheeky smile.

‘Do you have any idea what that is?’ My father obsessed over that sculpture for as long as I could remember and here was some old black removals guy about to tell me of its origins.

My father was a vicious, mean sonofabitch. A hopeless alcoholic who’s anger would regularly descend into violent rages towards both me and my mother, whom I loved dearly. The police and social services were frequent visitors to our little-two-up-two-down but my mother would never press charges, no matter how bad the beatings got!

I would hide away in my room while I heard my mum screaming for him to stop. When I left home at 18 I would ask her why she stayed with a man who was so terrible to her. She said he wasn’t always that man, that in fact he had once been kind and loving but one day that all changed.

My Father was a prospector for an oil company which sent him all over Africa and the Middle East. On one of his home visits my mother noticed how unsettled he had become, anxious and scared even, which she reports was totally out of character. He was an affable guy, well liked with no money troubles.

My mother said I was about three when his drinking started, which is why I don’t remember the nice man he was, only the monster he came to be. Around this time my father had volunteered for a position overseeing the development of a new oil refinery in Cameroon, which brought with it accolades and wealth but ended being a massive failure.

The next fifteen years were hell for me and my mother as we both dreaded my father’s infrequent visits home when we would live under a cloud of fear. If he wasn’t slapping me or my mum about, swearing at us or vomiting up neat vodka he was staring at this statue that he carried in his luggage. The same one that sat on the mantelpiece of our small family home now.

The house was a state. My father hadn’t worked in years and my mother passed away after going into a home some time back due to the early onset of dementia. My father couldn’t look after her. Dad was found dead when a neighbor complaining of the smell called the police and found him sitting in his armchair in the front room staring into thin air.

‘So what is it?’. I asked the removals man. ‘I grew up in Cameroon before coming here to England and my grandparents would tell us stories about the ancient Sao civilization, more specifically fairy tales that would keep us children in check’. I nodded my understanding and he continued. ‘As a punishment for terrible sins the Sao civilization would cast a spell over the accused which would imprison their soul within an inanimate object, namely a statue’.

‘The Sao people believed these souls could be used as slaves to do their bidding. Given as presents the Sao word carve the name of the recipient into the base of the statue and offer the prisoner life again in return for following specific requests. So, you not only had to be a good boy, but you were taught never to accept presents from strangers’.

‘So you’re saying there’s the soul of an ancient man who’s committed terrible wrongs inside that statue’.

‘No. I am afraid not. Once the work has been completed the host soul becomes the new prisoner’. I jumped across the room and snatched up the statue from the mantelpiece flipping it over in my hands to stare at the base in disbelief.

On the base of the statue were scores hundreds of years old, but the carving that stood proudest was my father’s name in capital letters.

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