Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 18): Mouth of Babes

      …  Parts 17 (Testing)16 (Power)15 (Knowledge)14 (Words)13 (Interruptions)12 (Gifts)11 (Punishment),  10 (Warmth),   9 (Found)8 (Lost)7 (Rock)6 (Believe), 5 (Naming), 4 (Home), 3 (Trust), 2 (Hope), and 1 (Nightmares) have posted on previous Sundays…


Part 18: From The Mouths of Babes


     I began to tremble, that old stench returning.  As I looked about the room, I saw not the faces of my sweet Anna, nor the doctor and his wife, but that of little Tilly: in chains.


     We were back in the Slave Gaol where my friends had been punished.  The odors of sweat mingled with blood, dirt, and fear, as the Senator ordered me held and made to watch.  Each slice of that leather whistling through the air brought fresh emissions of noxious gasses, the air befouled with the contents of their bowels, and mine.

     The blood of both friends, whipped one after the other, smeared my face so thickly that my tears ran puddles of blood to the slop covered floor.  My shrieks for mercy joined those of Little Sal, bound beside me, to watch, and to learn.


     No mercy came, only more blood.  The smell of iron rose up so sharply that I could taste the rust.  Then, the Senator drew near with a smile that turned my stomach.


“You shall have a double length bath, now, before I come to see you, My Ann.”


     He’d nodded to his head overseer, turning on his heel to leave as I began to wretch.


     A touch upon my cheek, tender as that of a Grandmother, brought me back to the room.  The velvet hand of Little Tilly was warm as she stretched up to hold my face, like dear Anna had done so many times before.


“Miss Willow.”


     That whisper broke through the tears racing down my face.  I bent down to pick her up, and she touched her tiny face to my ear.


“Be strong, and of good courage, for the Lord is with us.”


       This is the continuation scene in my historical fiction series  Ann&Anna.  I  hope that this series will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools.

  Part 17 (Testing) was last Sunday, and Part 19 (Peculiar Gifts) will be next Sunday.

I look forward to your thoughts.


Action Prompts:

1.) Share your thoughts on how this story may encourage empathy-building cooperation, and might help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.  It is my personal contribution to Project Do Better.

2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.


Click here to read, if you like:

Narrative and Prose Nonfiction,     

or Holistic High School Lessons,

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


34 thoughts on “Ann and Anna, (serial short story, Part 18): Mouth of Babes

  1. ” … the Lord is with us … ” But not on the day of the beatings. This reminds me of a contemporary situation o a Christian church in South Africa, of when children are beaten for some imagined sin, their friends are/were made to watch to instil fear. It made the papers. Steps are taken to further expose the cult.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed, this is the entire point of scripture: it can be used by all, for all purposes, and unfortunately it is. Yet, that order, originally from Moses to Joshua, can and has been re-interpreted by many generations as an order, even from a small child to a young woman, to be strong and do what must be done for freedom, and to build up rather than to tear down. It’s all in the intention of the user.

      I am very glad that that cult was exposed, and I hope that all of the members were eventually helped to liberate themselves in every way from it’s grip.

      This kind of intergenerational traula is the most difficult to repair, and we need every tool at our disposal, including the sacred texts where they are appropriate, while we create new texts for our own times, through poetry, song, and story. No?


    1. Thank you.
      I couldn’t sleep for hours, remembering this scene and what drove it, but it must be shared, I believe, so that all may learn from our history, and so that we can repair what needs to be repaired and build a better future for us all.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. And that was the idea: we have been sustained, in the Black community, for so long, by scripture. My great grandmother took me to Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, the oldest Black church in Washington, DC, which was also a hub for the Underground Railroad, every Sunday, usually on Wednesday’s too, when I was a very small child, so this teaching has never left me.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Quips!
      I missed you last week!
      Sorry I didn’t have time to come searching in your part of the galaxy to ask after you: I meant to, but I’ve been so tired with editing Do Better that I neglected the visit. Please accept my apologies: are you alright?

      ps. Thank you, on this scene: I was worried that it might be too much, and only later thought to add some trigger warnings, but which ones?

      Liked by 1 person

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