The Seer

Robert, passed by his old home where his family once resided, and couldn’t help feel a sadness overcome him. After the death of his brother, his parents had tried to resume their lives, but the loss had affected them deeply. When Robert turned eighteen, they decided to leave, far away from the memories they held dear. They had hoped Robert would join them, but he had refused. They said their goodbyes and departed. Robert moved in with his Uncle Oom who lived near the harbor.

“Robert, my boy,” General van Rooyen, came walking out his house, which stood on the other side of his abandon family home. “Haven’t seen you in a while. How have you been?”

“I’ve been good, General,” Robert coyly said. He always admired the General and had hoped to be under his command if the day ever came to that.

“Have you heard from your parents?” General inquired.

“Yes, they write to me frequently,” Robert said.

“I hope is all good news?” The General asked with a straight face.

“It is General,” Robert said. “They settled up North where my mother’s sister lives. I was just on my way to mail them this letter I wrote to them.”

“I sure miss them,” The General said, “give them my regards.”

“I will, General.”

“Before, I forget,” the General said, “I saw Eliza by the river yesterday. I don’t know if that matters to you.”

“How did she appear?” Robert was curious about his old friend.

“The same as the last time I saw her,” the General said. “I left a pair of shoes on her doorstep, hoping she would wear them. But, she was out wandering by the river barefoot. Her father, Zachariah, use to go there to meditate with his old black book… such a shame, Zachariah is not with us anymore, he was a good man, a good soldier. He was under my command during the First War. He save me and my man more times than I could count. It was hard to say goodbye.”

Many had mourned Zachariah’s passing. Robert remembered walking up the steps of his home where everybody had gathered to say their last goodbyes. His closed coffin had been set in the living room, all the chairs had been taken by the elderly and the women, while everybody else stood. He hadn’t seen where Eliza was, he never got the chance to give her his condolences.

“He kept this town together,” General said. “I must be going now. I’ll see you around.”

Robert nodded. He couldn’t help, but realize that Zachariah, was known to have a deep love for his people. A love so deep that he warned his people to keep united that there will forces that will tear the community apart, and embed an evil that will tear them from their roots of their culture and traditions. They were to stay as it had been in the old days.

Zacharia had said many things, but not to everyone, General Rooyen was one of his confidants as well as the Mayor Malan, who had tried desperately to find the old black book Zachariah always carried.

Unbeknowest to Robert, after the death of Dr. Verwoerd, a second war had broken out, and Robert would soon be under the command of General Rooyen. Though, many men of the town will die hard, their spirits would not be broken and their freedom would be regained once more. Years later, when the dust has settled and peace came over, General Rooyen would die peacefully in his sleep at the age of seventy-six.




The Seer

Robert, had almost forgotten where he was heading when he realized he had to pass by Eliza’s home at the other side of town. He became upset at the thought of seeing her old home, a house that was showing signs of disregard. Eliza had been his childhood friend growing up. They had a lot of things in common one, but soon that widen as the years went by. They spent many days by the lake, they were always seen together, knew each other’s secrets and even finished each other sentences, many thought they would grow up to marry each other, but that didn’t happen. Something happened to Eliza, he couldn’t understand.

Her father, Zachariah was his name, had been an widower who lost his wife during Eliza’s childbirth. When Eliza had turned sixteen, her father sent her away. A year later when Eliza returned, she had changed, she wasn’t the jovial, funny girl Robert knew, she was different as a stranger he couldn’t recognize. Robert hated to think about that, because, Eliza had grown distant and cold. He tried various to resume his friendship, but it was gone.

Her father, Zacharia, died a few years later, leaving Eliza alone in the big house her father had built before she was born. Zacharia, was known around town, he was both revered and feared in the town of Cadogan. Some would say he was a strange fellow who entertained the town with his stories about the imminent. Those that feared him assumed he was delirious or inebriated, and those that revered him believed him, though, they all agreed he was determined.

Robert recalled the time when the elder Zachariah greeted him at the door when he came to see Eliza. Zahcaria was a tall man with broad shoulders and strong hands. His stoic visage was covered by a long bear and mustache. Anyone rarely saw him smile, as he felt he always delivered bad news.

“Hallo, son,” the elder Zachariah with his usual somber expression, “it’s best you went home, your family needs you. I know you came to see Eliza, but not today.”

Robert could not understand what Zachariah meant, but did as he was told, as Robert didn’t ever question the father. When he did, he found his father had just gotten home for a quick lunch before returning to work. His mother had lunch read for them, and cheerfully greeted them when they entered. She normally helped Robert’s father attend their shop, but his brother had been sick with a fever. She had gone to check on him and his father had began eating his lunch when minutes later his mother came running in, telling the father to go get the doctor.

That day, his world had been turned upside down. Robert and his father waited outside his brother’s room, while his mother was inside the room with the doctor. They heard his mother scream from within the closed room. The door opened and a younger Dr. Verwoerd walked out, shaking his head solemnly towards Robert’s father who had rushed inside to weep along side his wife. Robert exchanged glances with Dr. Verwoerd and without words, Robert realized his sickly younger brother had passed away. It wasn’t until then when he realized what Zacharia meant. Robert wept where he stood.

Days later, his parent’s held his brother’s funeral, everyone in town showed up, even Zacharia as he stood in back. His brother’s death had been unexpected. This was why people feared him. He, alone knew, the hour and the day of someone’s death.

Robert warily passed by Eliza’s house in sadness as if he mourned his dead brother. She was very much alive, but she wasn’t the Eliza he known once. It had been four years since he had seen his friend, but it felt like ten thousand years.