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Being a Samaritan is Overrated

“Hi there! Glad you let me sit here.” Cheptoo smiled, she had this look of great relief on her face when she saw me.

“Man, what a day huh?” She continued, I just started,  had been rained on after such a long day I needed something warm to drink, I was the idiot who nodded when she asked if it was ok for her to join me. She just wasn’t shutting up.

“I am so glad I missed the rain, this hair, you want to touch it, I spent so much money on it, I couldn’t let it get wet.” Again, she volunteered my hand for me to stroke the poor horse’s inheritance. There were so many lulls of silence I began to feel sorry for her. She just seemed lonely and in need to talk to someone.  I said someone, not Hassan.

I sipped on my steaming hot cup of rich ginger tea. The steam warmed my face with every sip and rich ginger had a nice warm burning sensation that I just loved. Man! Aaaah! There is nothing like it. Oh! Lord here we go, here we go.

“Why? Why me?” Cheptoo burst into tears, I normally would be empathetic, but I just wanted to be left alone. I honestly wanted warmth and silence, I would have been home now in my pajamas enjoying a hot meal but the early rains pounding the city left me stuck at a table with a now sobbing parrot.

I was really toying with the idea of dashing to the counter paying my bill and leaving her there. My conscience won the battle I stayed.

“Are you OK? What’s wrong?” I really tried to sound as genuine as I could, but I was rolling my eyes inside thinking attention seeker.

“No, I am fine! You don’t worry about me, I am a total stranger my problems have nothing to do with you.” She blew her nose and fanned me away. I almost jumped or joy and walked away, but again my conscience yelled at me.

“Are you sure you are OK? Is there anything I can do to help?” She nodded her head in agreement, good Lord why did I do this? I waved in the air to get the waiter’s attention and what do you know she happily ordered a slice of the most expensive cake an ordered a double mocha. She had no idea who I was or how much money I even had in my pocket.

“Thank God I went to the ATM before I got here” was all I could think. Her order appeared, the sobbing ended and she ate like nothing had happened before.

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Super Ugly!

Geno was fed up of being beautiful, as vain as it sounded, no one seemed see her talent and genius behind her voluptuous coke bottle body, face chiseled by Zeus and seductive lips finished by Aphrodite. Her neck, long and regal, bosom sufficient to cure hunger in the developing world, a slight and even waist and hips ready to bear generations, her calves raised by her 4 inch heels ready to conquer hearts. Geno looked like she belonged on the cover of Glamour and on catwalks in Yves Saint Laurent. Her good looks opened more doors than she had imagined.

Geno was made to believe that her stunning brilliant brain and knowledge in nuclear physics would propel her in to the world of energy generation. Not quite, she was more like the secret ingredient that every chemist had been seeking to create the new formula of heartbreaking beauty. Geno was now working as a bank teller thoroughly underemployed because in Kenya, there was no room for beauty and physics it was one or the other. She was too overqualified and no one was interested in funding her research on nuclear energy to power Kenya. It wasn’t “commercially viable in Africa” she was constantly told in her grant applications.

Geno was thoroughly frustrated. On a fine October evening Geno plunked herself on the couch in front of her ‘idiot box’ stuffing her face with Ugali, managu and matumbo. She needed to reward herself with some of Mama’s best made meals after the day she had. For the second time in a row, someone had stolen cash from her counter costing her more deductions from her pathetic salary. She needed to quit and work elsewhere, she knew who it was, she had befriended one of the guards at the security desk and had seen who had been sabotaging her.

Geno wasn’t surprised, it was Mr. Rapiro, he had wanted to get in her pants from the day he interviewed Geno. And he wasn’t subtle about it. She had shot him down so many times. The most recent incident was two weeks ago when she bumped into him and his family at a mall. He shamelessly flirted with her in front of his wife and kids.
“Si, you come join us, we can have a good time…” Rapiro said licking his lips and winking at her suggestively. Geno ignored him complemented his wife’s outfit and cordially left the two in an ugly spat in the middle of the mall attracting people’s attention.
Now Geno was in front of the TV screen watching an old episode of Batman and Robin. “I wish I had a superpower.” She thought out loud. “I wish I was ugly, I would have the power to make myself invisible to others and approachable to those who genuinely are kind and caring and are truly interested in seeing me for what I can do not my looks.” Geno said out loud. She finished her dinner dumped the dishes in the kitchen sink and went to bed.

The following morning, as usual waking up in the shower, Geno felt her face, there was something odd, she felt swollen. She went straight to the mirror her face was normal when she looked at herself, but she could feel bumps and zits on it. But weirdly enough she had crooked feet, she was waddling, and her back was unusually hunched over.

Geno stood in the mirror and quickly turned her back and through the double mirrors noted something awkward that startled her. In the reflection she was an old woman, knock kneed with zits and bad eczema all over her face. Her teeth were uneven, her incisors were so long she couldn’t close her mouth, she looked like a rat. Her arms were bony, they looked like used math sticks ready to disintegrate into ash.

Geno got what she wished for. She got dressed looking normal when she looked at herself, but when she looked in the mirror she was a wiry sage, ready to cast a spell and bellow out incantations to call upon other ancestors she seemed to have resurrected from.

This was going to be an interesting day at work.

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Phantom Abusers

The sun’s bright and warm rays shone through the room, piercing through the thin curtains stinging Ella’s face. Her ears awoke first now listening to the birds chirping their morning tune and the moan of the fridge from the kitchen. She turned around and groaned, her face was raw, black and blue and her arm was broken, it was swollen and she was beginning to feel numb from the pain.

Ella tried to shift her weight to sit upright; she felt this surging pain from her toes through her spine to the top of her head. She screamed. Now she couldn’t feel her legs. She wriggled her toes, in her mind they were moving but they weren’t. She began to pant looking around for any kind of assistance. She lived alone there was no one to help her. She sat on her bedroom floor she fell back on her side and could feel her legs again she squirmed to the other side of the room where she saw her cellphone on the ground.

She dialed a number.

“Harry! Please come and get me. I can’t walk. I can’t walk…” She began to weep as she dropped the phone to the ground. Her mouth making ‘O’ shapes as she wept and tears streamed down her face, she couldn’t recall what befell her to cause her so much physical pain.

The front door slammed open startling Ella, snot and saliva was oozing out of her. She was writhing in excruciating pain. It was so much she opened her mouth and no sound came out, but her face told it all. Harry rushed in and dashed to her side, paramedics not too far behind with a stretcher. They whisked a moaning Ella on to a stretcher; she had lost a lot of blood and had stab wounds on her back.

The ambulance siren roared through the streets to the hospital where Ella arrived unconscious. Harry was panicked, he didn’t know who to call, Ella’s mmediate family was dead and she wasn’t close to any of her extended family. Harry was all she had. What had happened to her? Ella had had suicidal episodes, but this couldn’t have been self inflicted. Someone must have caused this, but whom? Ella had said she had broken up with Drew. And the last he had checked Drew had moved out of town. There was something that wasn’t adding up.

Harry saw doctors running into Ella’s room and heard yelling and the sound of the defibrillator igniting and thumping. This happened three times and then the doctor rapped instructions. He pulled the curtain aside just enough for Harry to see the faint pulse of Ella’s beat. What just happened? What had caused this? Harry had been with Ella just a day before and she was fine. What really went wrong?

4

Extraction

Stephanie’s phone rang for the 17th time, in a span of 15 minutes; she looked at her phone screen. It was an unknown number. Just yesterday night as she walked home she had been followed from the bus stop by a hooded gentleman. The same hooded gentleman the security guard at her flat had mentioned a few months earlier.

“That man really loves you. He follows you everywhere, but gives you space. Where did you find him?” The security guard told her. He hadn’t noticed till he saw Stephanie’s facial expression that she had no clue she was being followed. Every evening after work Stephanie would plug in her ear plugs, crank the volume and drown out the world till she walked in to her flat.

After the remark from the security guard, Stephanie started receiving anonymous notes stating unusual statements like, “You are not safe meet me at the staircase in exactly 15 minutes,” began to appear. “Don’t take the elevator” was another one she received. Stephanie became completely paranoid. She didn’t understand why she was the target. She was just a copywriter at an ad agency. She was apolitical and areligious. Her life was mundane and under the radar. She barely knew what her own siblings and parents were up to on any given weekend.

Stephanie was a loner and OK with it. Why was she now being subjected to this? She didn’t want to know or try to understand. She just wanted it to all go away. It was noon and Stephanie was hungry this fine Thursday afternoon, she normally went to grab something to eat at Kenchic restaurant, chips, chicken and soda. She loved her food greasy and artery choking. But today something told her to get it delivered to her office.

Stephanie called up the restaurant and her order showed up in exactly ten minutes. After praying over the food, she opened the box and lo! And Behold! In her food was finger with a note tied around it, instead of her chicken. “You are not safe. You will be next if you keep pretending.”

Stephanie was so afraid, she closed it and shoved the box away from her and began to shake and tear. He lips trembled, she couldn’t speak, she was afraid; she didn’t know where to go, whether to report it, who could she trust? Who would take her seriously? Stephanie was paralysed. She sat at her desk in a daze, tears streaming down her face. Her colleagues walked past her desk, as if completely unaware of her emotional state. Everyone went about their business completely oblivious to the mental breakdown occurring at Stephanie’s desk.

After about 30 minutes Stephanie sensed someone standing behind her. Who was it? She had no clue. He placed his hands gently on either shoulder and grasped her blades tight. Stephanie raised her shoulders gasping and crying. She screamed and in an instant her mouth was covered, muffling the sound and everyone turned to stare. They stared then went about their business.

Stephanie was hoisted from her workstation and the man she only felt, but couldn’t turn around to see, frog marched her to the exit in full view of everyone. No one did anything. What was going on? This wasn’t normal. Why didn’t anyone care?

0

Fight to the Death

Opot sipped his millet and sorghum porridge from the calabash watching his cattle graze in his vast fields. He was poised on a stool observing his surroundings intently. Nothing was going to take his cattle from him. His forearm was wrapped in banana leaves, and was due for a new dressing. The wounds were fresh and would take time to heal.

Just a week earlier, Opot had fought off leopards attacking his cattle; he lost his most productive cow reducing the milk yield substantially. The leopard had become more antagonistic and aggressive the past 3 months.

“Hunger!” Naiserian, his mother stated. She had seen this many years before when she was young girl. When the wild animals faced starvation they would seek new hunting ground and because of the increase of the inhabitants, the new hunting grounds were now human settlements. The Leopard’s desperation meant attacking livestock.

“Do you know what that means Opot for you and your age set?” Naiserian looked at him knowingly. It needed to be done. It was something he had been prepared for as a younger man during initiation. But it felt unnatural. It was the only thing that was viable to keep the predators at bay. Once Opot’s wound had healed they had to hunt down the leopard and kill it, as well as any others that may have eaten the cow.

“Any animal that has tasted something will seek it till it can find it no more.” Naiserian uttered to a nodding Opot. She had seen the vengeance of Lions when she was younger and living closer to the Tsavo area. The man eating lions of Tsavo tasted human flesh and couldn’t fight the urge. The Impala and Gazelle was no longer a match for the salty and supple human flesh.

Opot hissed as his mother peeled off the Banana leaf to reveal a green gunky residue on his forearm. Naiserian drew a basin of water filled with bougainvillea petals. She scooped it with a small calabash and Opot screamed. Naiserian laughed out loud, “Even grown warriors feel pain? What kind of training do you receive? I thought you were immune to pain Opot?” She stated sarcastically bursting in to laughter afterwards. Opot gave his mother the evil eye.

The afternoon sun shone as the grazing cows began to moo. It was time to take them to the river to drink. Opot whistled and the cows led the way to the riverbank. The reeds by the river bank were unusually still, unmoved by the gushing breeze. Opot was suspiscious. There was something improper about the scenario; save for the sound of the cows splashing around in the water there was no sight of anyone fetching water or washing clothes.

Opt pulled out his dagger from its sheath, something heavy and fury jumped him from behind and pinned him to ground. It was too fluffy to be human. The leopard was back and this time for his blood. His eyes and the leopard’s were now eye to eye, who would take the first and probably fatal move to survive would be determined in the next moment. But the weight of the Leopard and his now exposed arm; stinging in pain, made the situation less favourable for Opot.

 

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Pinned

There was a lot of chatter in the room that seemed to be moving in closer, awaking Daisy from her slumber. A deep sigh and stretch and her eyes opened up to a blinding light. She shut her eyes with a moan, the light stung her. Her ears began to hear clearly now. There was a rhythmic bleeping sound on her left and on her right there was a sound of deep and deliberate breathing. It sounded like Darth Vader was sleeping next to her.

Daisy tried to raise her head to see where she was, she couldn’t feel her legs, she tried stretching her hands, but there seemed to be something off. She wiggled her fingers, something wasn’t quite right there either. She drew her hands toward her and to her surprise; they were gauze covered, with blots of blood. Her heart began to race and the rhythmic machines pace began to pick up. Daisy was scared, what was going on?

She looked around her frantically and as she lifted her head to where the light was a few minutes ago, a dark shadow was cast, and she saw a hazy figure and heard a deep voice. “God?” she wondered aloud. She heard a deep chuckle. Then the voice reverberated through her ears, she was drawn to it, attracted, she couldn’t hear him well. It sounded like Barry White chocolate candy spread all over her ears. Even though she couldn’t hear what exactly he was saying the texture of his voice was right up seduction alley.

Daisy closed her eyes to fully take in the experience of what she was hearing. A few seconds later, she was jolted by intense pain. She screamed like a wounded animal and subsequently began to cry. She felt woosey and she was out like a light. The voice now completely gone and she was back to complete and utter silence.

XXXXX

A clapping sound and what sounded like sheep singing is what Daisy awoke to 5 hours later. She thought it had been five minutes. Hear hearing was now clearer; she didn’t care to open her eyes for fear of them almost being singed off like the last time. She felt hot breath and what felt like spittle on her cheek. “We love you Daisy, you will be fine?” Her brow furrowed quizzically.

“Who was this and why was I going to be fine?” She slowly opened her eyes and there before her was her mother. “Mum?”

“Shhhhh… it is OK. I am here now, close your eyes and get some rest.”

“But…I…”

“Shhhh…Daisy….reeeeessssttt.” Her mother encouraged her ever so gently. Daisy did feel a bit sleepy and she closed her eyes for a moment. She felt this impression next to her arm and a caress on her face, hands so soft, so gentle, so caring. She felt a warm and prolonged kiss on her forehead. She smiled and mouthed, “I love you.” Then there was another kiss, more urgent yet equally as gentle on her forehead.

Then in the distance, she heard the Barry White voice again, she opened her eyes. An immaculately blinding white coat caused her to shut her eyes again to avoid being blinded by its splendor.

“Can you hear me?” The sensually deep voice asked. Daisy smiled knowingly, and provocatively. She nodded slightly to acknowledge.

“You are in a hospital; my name is Doctor Carlson…” The voice now not so appealing after it divulged the contents of its presence. Daisy’s smile turned into a frown. And the rhythmic machine sound she had heard earlier began to race. She began to shake and tears began to stream down either side of her face.

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Incredible Do-Over

Barbara patted her weave and shook her new found hair infront of the mirror with such pride. She imagined that she was a fair skinned brunet walking on a red carpet in a glamourous dinner gown.

Bang! Bang! Bang! “What are you doing in there? It’s been an hour?” Frank yelled from the corridor.

“Leave me alone! Can’t I have some peace in this house?”

“Get out; I need to get ready for school as well!” Frank stated in utter irritation. His sister had been in the bathroom for the past 45 minutes and he only had 20 minutes left to get ready, have breakfast and head to school. Barbara had been up all night staring at her purchase. For the first time in her life, her self perceived, “bad” kinky, afro curly hair was now flowing and fair. She was in love.

Barbara had her blue contacts on, slapped on some crimson L’Oreal red lipstick and caked her mocha skin with foundations, for black skin, two shades lighter. She looked like the ghost of Christmas past. As she opened the bathroom door to let Anthony in, the full view of her startled him, he almost dropped his towel rested on his narrow shoulders.

“Don’t say a word!”

“Ok! Geisha!” Anthony chuckled and aptly shrieked after Barbara wet-towel whipped his back on her way out. She knew he would respond the way he did. What would he know? He was just a man. And as a woman Barbara needed to look good. She had always been miss popularity. The duo were alone in their family house following the death of their parents, two years earlier, while on a humanitarian mission in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

After that Barbara went on an unusual tangent seeking some form of new image as if to do away with the old. The new was tormented and at times, “demented”according to Anthony. Barbara wasn’t able to talk about her parents and was constantly trying catastrophic looks to see if that would make her feel better. It never did.

Initially Barbara went on a drinking spree, months later she was involved in any plausible sport in school. After a semester, she tired and moved on to weird beauty and diet treatments. And now she was trying, quite literally, “striking beauty” regimens. She was on the, “scary witch with low selfesteem” phase. She adorned cakes and cakes of ill applied make up and proudly wore it publicly.

Anthony had taken to caring less about what people thought of her and let his sister go through the phase. His only hope was that she wouldn’t end up as the documented clown on social media.