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.