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Muddled

Futo staggered to his feet, he wobbled and smashed into furniture which fell to the ground with a splash. Futo struggled to open his eyes, when he eventually was able to open them long enough he gazed upon his hands, they were bloody up to his forearms; he looked like he had bloody gloves on. He smelled his hands and sneered and threw his hands to the side trying to distance himself from the stench.

Futo walked to the sink and looked in the mirror and heaved. He looked up and saw the words “YOU DID IT!” written in his handwriting in blood. He looked up and he immediately sobered up. Futo frantically turned on the taps gagging, crying and lamenting aloud as he tried to clean his hands. The water gushed out and then a few seconds later the tap coughed and dried up. He stared in the mirror again looking into his eyes. He was petrified, and began to blink violently hoping that with every blink he would erase what he saw. His eyes eventually shifted from himself to what seemed like a human hand on the floor in the room he had just walked out of.

He staggered back and behind a blood splattered TV box a woman lay prostrate with part of her weave ripped off, toes turned inward and nails dug into the carpet with a crimson ellipse partly dried underneath her torso. Futo screamed and leapt onto his bed, horrified and curling up toward the bed’s head rest it had blood splattered all over it. As he curled towards the head rest he felt something sharp cut him and he squealed exaggeratedly and felt for what had cut him. It was a shard of glass. Futo laughed hysterically and then passed out face first and butt in the air on the bed.

A few hours later Futo was awoken by two hands choking the life out of him. He suddenly felt the need to purge that made the process all more uncomfortable. He kicked very limply and missed the assailant. He could smell whiskey through the person’s skin mixed with musky cologne, it was a familiar smell but at the same time not quite. The assailant’s hands slid off of Fruto’s neck after Fruto heard a loud manly grown followed by a thud on the ground. Fruto gasped for air and immediately purged on the sheets and passed out again.

Futo was awoken by a cool breeze; he opened his eyes to blinding light. He slowly lifted his head and slammed back on to the ground, the hangover was overbearing. Futo squinted as he tried to adjust to the light and lo and behold he was in a park with children playing and screaming around him.

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Saving the future

Heri lifted his machete, let out a war cry and lunged into his brother with the energy that he had left. Bruised Theluji and Heri had been at logger heads with each other for years, but for some reason this time, Theluji, the docile of the two had had it with the unnecessary fights and name calling and he was out to avenge 25 years of fighting this single evening.

“Thelu! Thelu! THEEEEELLUUU!!!” Mum cried out. She knew he was this most sensible of the two and would heed to her cry to walk away from the stupidity of it all. Theluji’s mind had wandered elsewhere. 25 years ago when they had both been given their parcels of land and a pregnant cow each all hell broke loose. Heri was said to have been possessed by the demon of his Uncle Kwera who had initially owned it till he handed it over to his brother, the boys’ father, because he had never married or bore children.

Kwera had been a man with odd behavior, he would occasionally defecate in front of children and climb trees and hit children with the ripened fruits, something grandmother said the ancestors considered taboo and a sign of the evil spirit of scarcity. “For any man with much wealth to throw such bounty away and relieve himself before the next generation of that bounty is a sign that he will never bare any good in his life.” True to grandmother’s word, Uncle Kwera died a msumba, a bachelor.

Once Heri set foot on Uncle Kwera’s land he seemed possessed by a spirit. He didn’t go to the extremes of defecation in front of children, but he was constantly out to attack Theluji. It was name calling and bouts that never had a source. They called him Ja Mirima, a man of much hurt and pain. But where did his pain come from?  After 5 years of repetitive fights and Theluji threatening to leave and eventually leaving. Grandma’s dying wish was to have both brothers slaughter a fattened bull and burn it to dust on Heri’s land to appease the demon of scarcity that Grandmother believed possessed Heri as it had Uncle Kwera.

That in itself was the cause of another bout between the brothers instigated by none other than Heri. The fighting left both brothers bruised physically and emotionally and a grandmother equally damaged. She knew the fault was not of her grandsons or her late son’s. It had been her’s; several decades before Grandmother Dina had fled the tsetse fly infestation of Umata village where she had originally been married she had been told of Umaso village, a village of bounty but with a curse. She dismissed it as folklore and a deterrent by the residents, to those considered as ‘outsiders’ to settle in it.

But this day as she stood in her hut garbed in leopard skin and a spear in hand in readiness for her final battle. She knew there was only one way out of this curse and saving future generations, even if it meant cutting one generation short.

 

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Boda Boda Santa

‘Sikukuu! SIKUKUU!!!” Ambira revved his bike screaming as he rode round the round about in his piped up bike! He always loved Christmas, he didn’t need decorations or gifts. For Ambira Christmas was about giving. And in the skeptical society that he lived in he needed to give of himself, however little, so that he could share the Christmas cheer.

After going round the roundabout, he parked his bike under the city clock on Tom Mboya street, it looked like a Christmas tree on wheels with illuminated wheels and a seat with a huge Santa Clau poster plastered to it. Ambira walked toward a gentleman in a suit who looked rather stressed. “Who wouldn’t be when they have to work on the 24th?” Ambira thought to himself. Ambira walked very cheerfully toward the grumpy man and offered his hand.

“Habari ndugu?!” The man sized Ambira up and then limply offered his hand to him. Ambira took the man’s hand and sandwiched it between his two vast palms. That got the man’s attention. The man stood up straight and looked Ambira straight in the eye in amazement of those huge hands. “Habari Ndugu?” Ambira insisted cheerfully. The man smiled weakly and responded, “Niko tuu” He was sad.

“Unaishi wapi ndugu?” The man got apprehensive and pulled his hands out of Ambira’s grasp. But Ambira quickly reached back for his hand reassuringly. “I don’t want to hurt you. I want to help you.”

The man had a skeptical look on his face. “What for?”

“It is Christmas there is traffic everywhere and it is faster on a motorbike.” Ambira pointed toward the direction his bike was parked.

“But I can’t afford to take a bike…”

“No charge.” Ambira cut the man short, “No strings attached.” Ambira nodded at the gentleman and smiled.

The man smiled and shrugged his shoulders in some sort of surrender and followed Ambira to the bike. Ambira gave the man a helmet and a reflector jacket and once again asked the man where he lives.

“Nieke tu De Larue, Thika Road.” The man insisted.

“Mathare is where you are going sindiyo?” The man nodded almost ashamed of where he lived.

“Haina noma! Huko ni home, nitakuweka kwa door!”

The man smiled hopped on to the bike and Ambira smiled. He didn’t live in Mathare but was willing to take the risk for this man who he knew so desperately needed some good old Christmas Cheer. He hit the throttle, turned on his radio, wrapped in a black plastic bag, to the Bonney M carols he was listening to and off they went.

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Gone

“Wanne gari! Wanne gari 44! Beba! Beba!”

‘Hamsini gari! Hamsini gari madam!”

The touts bellowed as they thumped the side of the matatu luring people in with occasional smiles or a forceful nudge to prevent people from being lured to the adjacent matatu headed for Thika road.

The matatu was half full and Nailana was lucky to get a seat in the minibus at front by the window, here favourite. She sat down and continued what’s app’ing a friend with an occasional giggle here and there, 3 minutes went by the matatu was almost full.

‘Watu sita! Watu sita!” the touts yelled out rapidly hitting the side of the matatu in a tirade of excitement.  Nailana stared outside the window and sighed gleefully, replaying the day; it had been a great day. She remembered she had grabbed a snack at the supermarket and looked on her lap for the plastic bag with cookies to nibble on. As she pulled out the packet of cookies she was drawn to the opened zipper of her handbag.
“No, it couldn’t be.” She thought with a quizzical look on her face. She began to mentally retrace her steps on where this could have happened. She quickly opened her bag; found her wallet and her passport and sighed in relief. The tout outside on the street began to call out for the final two passengers to fill the matatu as the driver revved up the matatu and began to inch back and forth ready to roll out.

One person was ushered in and Nailana jumped up astounded and began to shove the passenger next to her. She almost tripped the passenger entering the matatu. She couldn’t wai. She had to go back to the store before it closed in 5 minutes, she had to collect what she had lost. Nailana got there just in the nick of time and collapsed on the luggage collection counter in exhaustion, heels in hand and gasped out, “Wapi mizigo?”

The man on the other side of the counter had no idea what she was talking about, she pulled out a plastic plaque with the supermarket logo and number 42 engraved on it  and handed it to the attendant. He nodded and then looked at the shelf written 42 on it, he was baffled, he looked at her, he looked at the empty shelf then he began to panic.

“Madam are you sure you never took your things?”

“How would that even be possible when I had your plaque?”

Nailana’s stomach began to churn and she clasped it with both hands to prevent the grumbling from being audible. The attendant at the shelf yelled for the manager as the stores closed.

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Love Separated us

Dear bastard who left me,

You know yourself. You treated me like your queen, your entire existence, even your friends and family complained about it. They said you were spoiling me. I knew you weren’t you gave me all of you. And I still love you for it.

I thank you for that. I thank you for the tears that you wiped and the comfort you gave me every evening after a horrible day. You would spoil me with treats to cheer me up. Thanks for the wisdom you shared when I was lost and for the loving reprimand you accorded me when I wallowed in self-pity.

I am angered that you didn’t fight for us harder, that despite the years we had been together you opted to have your own peace. You left me with this hurt, with this pain. You said you would love me till the end. To what end, now it seems clear. It was till you got tired of being around me.

And the thing you now put your arms around….look at her! What does she have to offer you that I couldn’t give? Does she listen attentively to you like I did? Does she rub your back when you are grumpy in the morning to ease your tension? Does she feel comfortable when you are completely vulnerable after coming back home and feeling beaten down by the world? Tell me? What is her allure? What is it that she has that I couldn’t give you?

Writing this is now exhausting me, I will hate you for the rest of eternity for leaving me Dad! It’s been 10 years and that woman, Death, which you courted, ripped you out of our lives in ways that you can’t imagine. I hate you and her for being together. If there was a way I could win you back and spend more time with you I would.

We all miss you and despite the pain, I still love you.

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Healing smile

Toti always had such an active imagination. She would sit back and on occasion imagine herself in the thick of the jungle breaking bone with her Kung Fu, spinning random tree barks and branches, commando style, fighting assailants of illegal trafficking syndicates, rescuing women and children and winning international recognition for her work. She would occasionally sing freedom songs in her own honor.

Today she was up to something different she wasn’t fighting armed rebels, this time she was playing teacher. She hadn’t been playing outside since the accident happened. Toti had been disfigured from a really bad accident that collapsed her jaw and left her face unusual. The upper half was normal, but her lower jaw was completely contorted, her lips no longer existed, it looked like a mash up of teeth and flesh. She wore a surgical mask to try and distract the stares and mockery from the ignorant. She was only eight years old.

Toti’s mother watched her keenly from the grilled front door. She left the front door open but pulled back the grill so that she could have a good look of how Toti was faring on with the kids and ample time to run and rescue her if she was in any distress. Because of her jaw, Toti’s speech sounded very muffled and she drooled a lot. She had to wear a bib. Her friends in the neighbourhood were more receptive than Toti’s mother expected. They ran and hugged her and quickly dashed to play bladda then ‘teacher’.

The children were very aware of Toti’s injuries and weren’t willing to play any batting games, ,that Toti requested, for fear of causing her more harm. They played for about four hours and Toti’s mother called in all the children to have lunch with Toti. At the table they all watched in silence as Toti slowly pulled off her mask to take her liquid meal. The room’s silence was broken by Noni whose spoon landed on her plate when she missed her mouth while staring open mouthed at Toti.

Toti laughed, looked around the table and then said, “this is the price of saving other children from the bad people who steal us and sell us to be hurt.” The other children smiled, got up from their seats and went to Toti and hugged and kissed her.

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Revving symphony

The roar of that engine got me giddy inside like a 12 year old. I had just bumped into Allan in town and we were conversing. But the conversation was soon disrupted when I heard a revving bike. I literally raised my hand to signal Allan to fall silent. I know it was rude; Allan attempted to raise his voice above the rev to express his disapproval of my actions. I closed my eyes in awe and in love with the repetitive rev. It was like classical music and whoever ran the ignition was submissive to my imaginary baton guiding each and every rev.

I saw smoke in the distance and then I heard another set of revs from different bikes. I dashed and left Allan rambling on in irritation. I had to meet the people behind this musical genius. I didn’t think, my eyes were focused on my location, from a distance I could hear screeching, hooting and insults in the air. I hadn’t realized how callous I was running till a blinding light zoomed passed me, with someone yelling out “WATCH IT IDIOT!” with a tinge of a West African accent.

I slowed down and hopped on to the pavement for a few seconds, the closeness of the car scared me a bit. If he was any closer I would have been road kill. I ran and ran and there it was a dozen sets of two wheels of dazzling beauty. The gleaming rims and two exhausts jutting out of the rear made me want to cry. It was so beautiful. The rev was musical. My mind had wandered and I had lost track of what I was doing physically. This time I wasn’t running in traffic, I was rubbing a biker’s back like I was trying to get laid. All I remember is him smiling back and letting me sit on his bike. He smiled again and he placed the helmet on my head and let me rev the bike. I opened the visor of the helmet and smiled at the biker and said “thank you.” I walked away with a huge grin.

‘Hey! I didn’t get your name madam!’ The biker yelled as I walked away. I grinned and turned cheekily and said, “My name is Harley……just Harley” and walked away. I hadn’t felt so alive since that day.