IT WAS ANOTHER EXTREMELY HOT NIGHT IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN forest, but the heat was the least of Rose Sayer’s concerns. Her brother Samuel lay ill in his bed, and she knew that he was close to death. Rose was sitting at Samuel’s bedside, and when he began to softly say his prayers, she lowered her head and clasped her hands together.
Samuel prayed to God to bless the mission he andhis sister had spent so many years building. In the decade they had been in Africa, Rose and Samuel had successfully converted hundreds of people to Christianity. Then, World War One broke out and everything changed. The Germans, who were occupying Central Africa at the time, attacked numerous villages and took hundreds of locals with them. These people were then forced to become soldiers orbearers in the German army.
Samuel almost wept when he thought about the day the Germans had attacked his mission and the surrounding village, destroying years of hard work in minutes. The Germans kidnapped men, women and children and took livestock, poultry and food. All they left behind was the Reverend Samuel Sayer, his sister Rose, and their small house.
Samuel continued to pray quietly; he prayedthat the war would end soon and he prayed for peace. He also prayed that England would rise up and defeat the Germans.
“Amen! Amen!” said Rose as tears ran down her cheeks.
Then Samuel fell asleep and Rose went to her room. She lay awake for some time, thinking about the mission and her brother. In the early hours of the morning, Rose heard Samuel call out to her. She quickly jumped out of bedand ran to his room.
“Rose…” Samuel murmured when he saw his sister approach him.
“I´m here, Samuel,” said Rose.
“Rose…” Samuel gasped. “The mission… The Germans destroyed our mission…”
“I know, Samuel, I know,” whispered Rose.
The huts were empty -the happy, smiling people who used to live in them were gone. Suddenly, Rose was full of hatred for the Germans. They were responsible for herbrother´s death- the destruction of the mission had broken his heart.
Now Rose was all alone in the world. She had dedicated her life to helping her brother build the mission, and she had no idea what she would do next. As Rose wondered about her future , she saw a familiar figure in the distance. It was Charlie Allnutt, the English mechanic who worked at a gold mine further up the river. Samuel hadalways disapproved of Allnutt because he never went to church, but he was English and a friendly face and Rose waved to him to come nearer.
Allnutt approached the house with caution. “Where is everyone, miss?” he asked.
“Gone,” said Rose. “The Germans took them”
Allnutt shook his head. “The same thing happened at the mine,” he said. “I took the boat to Limbasi to get food and supplies and bythe time I got back everyone had disappeared”
“You have a boat?” said Rose.
“Yes, miss,” replied Allnutt. “The African Queen. She´s tied up nearby”
“I see,” said Rose.
“Where´s the Reverend, miss? Your brother? Asked Allnutt.
Rose paused. “He´s… he´s inside” she said. “He´s… dead.”
Allnutt gasped. “Oh, I´m sorry to hear that, miss.”
Rose nodded. She could feel tears in her eyes, but refusedto start crying.
“Are you all ring, miss?” asked the mechanic
“Yes, yes, I´m fine, said Rose. “ Why don’t you come inside?”
Allnutt removed his hat and followed Rose into the house. He mumbled his condolences when he saw her brother ´s body.
“How long has he been dead, miss?” he asked.
“About two hours,” said Rose.
“We should bury him,” said Allnutt. “I´ll do it, don´t you worryyourself, miss. And I can do the service, if you want.”
“I have my prayer book,” said Rose, “I´ll read the service.”
“All right, miss,” said Allnutt.” But we´d better hurry, in case the Germans come back”
Once Samuel had been buried, Rose stood quietly beside the grave, while Allnutt nervously looked around for Germans.
“We really should go now, miss,” said Allnutt. “It´s not safe for you here. You...