Atieno stormed out of her home and walked through the hedge straight to confront Nyar Othim her neighbor. She had had it with the disrespect and taunting that her family had received from this elderly woman.

“Stupid!” are the words that greeted Atieno when she walked through the door.

“Idiotic old woman! That is all you can ever say to me?” she barked as she inched toward the elderly woman with a club in hand.

“Stupid just like your mother! I even wonder why my son married your mother; such an idiotic and ugly child. Always stealing from me?”

“Stealing? Tell me what I have ever stolen from you? Show me! What?!” Atieno demanded as she pointed the club right between Nyar Othim’s eyes. Her eyes went crooked straining to see what the club was going to do next.

Today’s feud was a culmination of years of insult. The grandmother that Atieno believed should have loved her, had driven her mother to the grave with her unrelenting insults, scams and accusations. After Atieno’s father died, Nyar Othim, his mother, was convinced that Atieno’s mother was the cause. Juok she called it.

Atieno grew up being told that she was being groomed by her mother to be a witch to steal the wealth of Nyar Othim’s home. Atieno’s father grew up with similar spite from his mother, but what kept him from moving out was pity more than anything. He believed that, because of his mother’s absence of people skills would result in her dying from neglect. He chose to survive the tongue lashing, but care for his living parent, who most hoped she would starve to death and have wild animals devour her corpse.

But that was not what Nyar Othim’s son wanted; he believed that if his father had survived this vitriol, so could he. WRONG! Just 2 years after marrying Atieno’s mother, and making clear what his wishes were with regard to his mother, his spirit gave up the fight and ascended to the tranquil heavens to rest next to his papa.

Atieno’s mother was a survivor; she had lived for 30 years with this elderly witch. Atieno’s grandmother would openly insult her mother, with no credible reason, every waking day. Any crop that bore yield would be stolen and what would be left would be scooped and sold to neighbours. Chicken would be stolen and slaughtered. The straw that broke Mama Atieno’s back was her beautiful dairy cow. It was her cash cow, but also her friend. The cow had grown up in the home and was considered family.

One day Mama Atieno had arisen to find her beautiful dairy cow, Rabuor missing. It had been stolen by wicked Nyar Othim and she now claimed it. Within a month, the cow had been starved to death and was eventually slaughtered. That broke Mama Atieno’s heart and within a fortnight, she was no more.

Atieno had been raised to be resilient and be respectful despite the abuse. But this morning was the last straw. She was not going to die as her parents did. This old witch was going to have it today!


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