Tusitala Short Story: A World Put Upside Down

By Siumalae Diana Sione 24 November 2022, 10:00AM

A World put Upside Down

2nd place Year 13 English Siumalae Diana Sione, Church College, Pesega 

In a faraway island located at the center of the Pacific, there thrived a secluded and cultural civilization. That place was my home Samoa. The beautiful people lived in villages which were ruled by their allocated chiefs that held titles of value, represented prestige and status. One of them was my dear father who was a respectable man of honor who was both very loving but stern. He also held a Tafa’ifa title this meant he could be a potential candidate for King someday. I was the Taupou of my family and had the name “Tapuva” bestowed upon me. According to my only sibling Siumalae and best friend in the whole universe I had “looks that could rival a goddess” this in turn made me a more desired target for males, however few dared to approach me out of fear of my father who was not one to be reckoned with.

Here we lived out our days in bliss under the soft rays of the golden sun along the lush greens of our lands. The water ways that sparkled like diamonds were captivating like the stares. Our people worked in harmony and unity where everyone knew everyone. Perhaps due to the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” that held true for my people. We lived off of the fruits the earth would bear, and we were happy living by our rules that were by the people, for the people.  But everything changed when the papalagis arrived.

They come to us without warning armed with silver sticks that could spit fire rocks coming at a speed that was barely noticeable by the naked eye. With their selfish greed looking to exploit us for they did not see us as people anymore, but only as mere tools for cheap labor to help satisfy their power-hungry appetites. They had stolen lands from right under our noses because of our anger they had amplified made us too blind to see the truth and focused on meaningless titles. Mistrust between Samoan began to arise and so traitors were born. In a desperate attempt for the king title my father was brutally murdered at my house by an opposing side.

When Siumalae and I had found him, he was covered in bruises laying in a pool of his own blood. There I held my beloved father in my arms. His body was no longer warm. I had cried out to the heavens “This right here is the man who raised me and sister by himself. Who loved us so dearly and you … you took him away from me” I asked as a cascade of tears ran down my face “how could you let this happen? What did we ever do wrong? What can I do to get him back?” my voiced trembled as I gazed at the lifeless body of my father “Dad come back, I need you. WE need you so please…please don’t leave us. I am only fifteen and I don’t know what to do without you, so please come back” I then whispered the words I wished I had said to him but was never able “I love you dad.” That night I made a vow to never let what’s left of my family slip through my hands ever again.

Once the Germans had left to war we were annexed by a far worse colonizer, New Zeeland. They were stricter, more aggressive and ruled us more like a military then a country. One of the soldiers even offered foreign items if I had laid with him. The worst of it all was that they had brought an influenza epidemic to Samoa that killed thousands of our kind. Despite having the means to take care of the pandemic, instead of helping the Samoans they choose to neglect us. They had us toss our loved ones into mass graves. Just like unwanted animals the leader showed no signs of sympathy. The day that I had dreaded had come. Siumalae had started showing symptoms of the influenza.

Upon finding out this fact my heart dropped. I couldn’t let the only family member I had left slip through my fingers. She is only 11 for crying out loud! Day after day I searched endlessly for any cure that could help. During the nights I gave her messages and catered to her every need in hopes it would help but to no avail. I looked at her lying in bed barely breathing, shivering with her little stuffy nose she then turned to me and asked “Tapuva my body hurts a lot, does this mean I’m going to die like the others?” her question caught me off guard “of course not don’t say such things-“then Siumalae cut me off by coughing out blood. I shouted “Siumalae are you ok?!” she replied “yes Tapuva because coughing out blood is an obvious sign of good health” we both chuckled. “Tapuva I’m sorry I’m a burden because I’m sick. You know what dying won’t be so bad you know why? Because then I won’t hurt anymore and I will be with daddy and you won’t have to suffer anymore because me so it’s ok if I die” tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at my sickly sister and clung to her “No you’re not a burden don’t ever think that. I would jump through fire for you. You are not going to die. I won’t let you I will find the help you need I promise just hang in there ok?” she answered softly “ok “

She was getting worse and I was getting desperate so I rushed over to the solder that had constantly pursued me and asked if he had any medicine “Of course we do but if you want it you have to pay a price” he said as he undressed me with his eyes. My palms were sweaty and I took a deep breath in to say “I’ll do it just give me the medicine”, the man laughed and took me to the bushes where he had his way with me. Once he gave me the medicine I rushed as fast as I could back home with my tattered clothes and new found pain coursing through me. Only to find my sweet little sister sleeping a deep dream from one she will never wake up from.  There I sat weeping quietly thinking “I had failed yet again. How could this land that was once filled with much laughter, pride and freedom become a land of sorrow death and oppression?  When did this house that was once so warm and crowded with people be replaced with cold and lonely silence? When did it all change?”

By Siumalae Diana Sione 24 November 2022, 10:00AM
Samoa Observer

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