There they stood staring at each other. Okoth stood there drenched in his own blood and swollen. He was moaning like an injured animal. The crowd was littered with blood splattered faces. Bug eyed and angry, a young man’s pronounced lips moved in slow motion raising his club in the air over Okoth who was now slowly heading straight to the ground. Two women stood there drenched in blood they were not sure was their own. One woman’s scalp was a gushing bloody fountain. She lost consciousness and fell to the ground. The other blood drenched woman yelled and fell on the woman she simply called Mama!
A man riding a motorbike was drawn to the commotion and dashed straight to where the two women had fallen and felt for a pulse on both of them. They had steady pulses. His face was now covered with blood from the gushing artery. He quickly lifted and looked around in what sounded like a war torn village with machetes and clubs waving in the air. A large thudding sound stirred the ground beneath him. He looked around to see a mammoth of a man standing close to 7 feet high bearing a huge club with the girth the size of an adult human. He would periodically strike the ground, as he inched closer, with the heavy club while bearing a murderous grin.
The motorbike rider reached into his pocket, pulled out his phone and called some chap called Kama! He was literally screaming into the phone panicking. He hung up and dashed to the women. He had ripped off his T-shirt to serve as a tourniquet to Mama who was now almost bleeding to death. The young lady who now looked like Mama was now coming too and started to slap Mama awake. The thudding drew closer, the crowd had now grown silent and people froze once again and gazed upon the vast being.
Okoth was now in pieces, limbs strewn across the ground, skull cracked open. He was pulp, he was no more. People drew away from Okoth, the eldest of the crowd stepped back faster before turning and running to the nearby forest. The Mammoth chuckled and struck the ground again. This time all those who had not turned froze to the ground and were incapable of moving save for the Motorbike rider and the two women on the ground. Mama had come too and sat up. She lifted her head to a mammoth man gazing straight at her. He lowered his hand to her, she reached up and he lifted her effortlessly into his huge arms. And he carried her away as the young lady who was with her meekly followed.
Screech, bump, halt, smashing of glass and screaming; blood was splattered across the road. White hats hovering in mid air, a cracked open skull at the end of a torso balancing lifelessly through the windscreen.
It was such a warm day; everything around June seemed to be smiling, the sun, and the sky. Her dusty neighbourhood didn’t seem dusty anymore, it seemed calm and less aggressive. The wind would occasionally toss the seams of her dress a few inches higher, she would playfully push it down. She felt so alive this morning. June awoke and something was just different, a good kind of different; the kind that gives you a bounce in your step and a huge Colgate smile in the morning.
June was cordial with everyone; even the mjengo men. They didn’t stare some were proactive in greeting her. And this time she could hear them and respond she didn’t have use for her iPod this morning. For some reason June really didn’t want to drown out nature; she wanted to absorb all the great energy.
June got to the bus stop, but something was not quite right! She couldn’t place her finger on it. But a few seconds in after inhaling colossal amounts of the stench of burning rubber she had a rough idea what was going on. Her organically great day had taken a turn.
Women were screaming in torn clothes. Men were wielding machetes in the air baying for blood dancing around a shelled matatu. Car tyres were strewn all over the road bellowing furnaces of rage setting the perfect backdrop for violence. June froze where she was. From the side of her eye a woman was headed in her direction with blood running down the side of her face. Everything seemed drowned; the sound was so close yet so far, and it steadily moved close to her. June lifted her head and turned in the direction of the drawing sound and was whisked instantaneously.The next thing she knew she was in a car speeding off.
June didn’t understand how in a distance of no more than a 1km there was an entirely different scenario. She looked down at her trembling hands, she clasped them together trying to stay calm and come to terms with what had happened. She turned her head and saw other unfamiliar and scared faces around her. One man had a tourniquet tied to his left forearm. The man looked distraught; the driver kept glancing at June through the rear view mirror. About 20 minutes in June’s thoughts were disrupted again. This time by a loud bang, she felt dizzy and then the car seemed to come to a screeching halt. June looked up, the driver was hanging through the windscreen and the woman strapped in the front passenger seat’s hysterical screaming was muffled by the airbag. She had glass all over her.
It had been a long cold night and Haya hadn’t had anything to eat for the past week. She sat curled up in the corner staring in the dark hugging her knees rocking back and forth. Haya’s lips were chalk dry and her skin pale and lifeless. Just as she rocked forth again a rat stopped by her toe and nibbled at it. She just watched it as it began to blow and nibble her toe. She did not see the need to make an attempt to chase the rat or scream. To Haya in the lonely wet dump, the plague was the last of her worries. She needed a friend, and even if it meant letting a rat gnaw her, any company was good enough.
Haya had no idea where she was, she had canvassed the area several times looking for a way out past the adjacent forest. The last attempt she made to get past the forest, she had a dead Gazelle to thank for saving her from a wild dog. She got back to the house that evening drenched in sweat and dew, leaves and brush. It was a long tedious day which left her dead starving, that night when company came round, she stabbed it to death with a piece of broken glass and ate it raw. She didn’t have the time or care in the world to attempt to light a fire in the only dry space in the house, the three stones centred in the kitchen. Starvation has no room for creative alternatives.
Just that night while she craved for edible company, with the rain pouring and flooding the house, a brick flew in with the last piece of broken glass from the living room window. Haya barely moved, she slowed down her rocking and stared out the glassless doors for a few seconds and went back to staring at the blood stained walls opposite her. She was blank, she stood and walked up to the wall and heard footsteps wading through the tall grass outside the dilapidated mansion. They were steady. Haya accidentally kicked a glass bottle and the footsteps came to a halt.
“Now is when you show up ey?”She yelled in disgust.
The footsteps hastened and then suddenly stopped and from the moon reflected puddles on the floor Haya gazed upon a familiar reflection. She froze and her legs fell in front of her.
Whizz! The first bike sped by. Some people turned, but not with much concern. When a second and a third sped by, conversations on the street stalled and finger pointing began. Everyone was trying to gauge what this was all about. A little boy holding his father’s hand began to jump up and down pointing and counting out loud.
“29, 30, 31…..wooosh! Daddy! Daddy! Woosh! Woosh! 32, 33, 34, 35, Woosh! Woosh!” His father barely moved his lips, he was in awe yet concerned at what this meant. In days long gone when he was a little boy, he believed that the village sage would have foretold of this day and warned them accordingly. This was the city’s capital, no sage, just statistics, with weird and curious coincidence. “50! Dad! Dad! 50…Woooooosh! Wooooosh!” His son was now screaming hysterically and tugging at his arm for acknowledgment. He lifted his son up on his shoulders. His son was so giddy he could barely stay still on the top of his shoulders.
“Yes Shaka!” He responded with much warmth and affection. It left a smile on his adorable son’s dimpled face.
“WOOOOOOOSH!” They chimed in together and began to chuckle. Polycarp lifted his shoulders and wriggled them Shaka laughed so loud, long and cute. Everyone around them began to laugh as well. Just for a moment Polycarp wasn’t thinking of what had just happened. He had heard of Biker gangs rising across the region, the terror they reigned subduing all form of political leadership and taking economic control of markets. They did not bribe, they maimed and killed.
Then a deep revved engine whizzed by again. Polycarp and Shaka chimed again, Shaka giddier, Polycarp not so much. His worry was somehow subdued when he saw the back of the biker’s leather jacket. “We come in peace” it said with a picture of a red rose in the centre. He sighed cupped his brow and began to laugh first slowly then steadily building to an earth shattering laugh that almost ripped his son from his shoulders. He lifted Shaka off his shoulders and cradled the four year old boy in his arms still laughing, now hysterically.
Shaka just followed his father’s lead. He thought Dad was excited about the bikes as well. And they would periodically “woosh!” 10 minutes later as the street turned back to normal. Polycarp decided to try and seek where the Bikers had gone. These were the “Revving Crusaders” a group of Bikers who were mostly ex-military and police intelligence who were slowly and steadily getting violence out of biking and working with authorities to keep the cities safe. Polycarp wanted Shaka to meet his heroes. A few turns and curves across the city and 15 minutes later they were standing right next to the last Biker to wheel in.
“THE END!” For real! That is what he yelled and that was it. Splat! It was over. Agano lay still right in front of me, his brain strewn on the ground. My mouth was wide open and I just froze there staring. My mind was blank I just started crying. I had grown up with him. I knew him. Well I thought I knew him.
I was off to his office to check in on Agano; he had been down in the dumps the past few weeks. It really wasn’t anything, I thought, that we should worry about. He was going to be fine. He always was fine, he was the one who would break his back to cheer me up and I needed to return the favour. It was work stress, he always bitched about work. I always encouraged him to try something else and just quit. We had an open door policy in our homes; none of us would be homeless on the street and in need. We were friends forever.
Just this past Saturday we were hanging at our joint! He had his usual drink and I was busy experimenting virgin cocktails. “Why don’t you just tell him you like him?” Agano would laugh and tell me. He knew I adored the mixologist. There was a reason I was on virgin cocktails, because once any booze was introduced, the 2005 episode of bush barfing would repeat itself.
I smile sadly because even at his lowest Agano would cheer me up. I on the other hand found it hard to find the right words of encouragement, but Agano would oblige me a smile when I did try, “A for Effort!” he would always chuckle. He just became so hard to read lately. I just couldn’t figure out what was bothering him. Agano had lost both his parents and was adopted by mine, we grew up as siblings. He barely knew his parents, so I figured after 30 odd years, I doubt that would be it.
It was work, every job was a bitch fest, he just loved the regular income and was too lazy to run anything on his own. Then what was it? Did someone break his heart? No it couldn’t have been. He never hid his girlfriends and man-whoring partners from me. What was it?
I leaned over as I saw a bystander point at a white piece of paper in his hand. I knelt next to Agano and read; “I……Love…..Juice!” I laughed hysterically and thrust myself on the curb. That’s what he had been trying to tell me all this time. “You are my sister and what I want to tell you can’t be taken back and might make things weird between us.” That was what he told me last. I just never realised that it would tear us apart, literally.