0

Hmmm?

Chero had been trying to wake up for the last two hours.

“5 more minutes” she would mutter as she slammed the snooze button on her alarm. At 10 am she eventually arose with a huge yawn and stretch. She slipped on her slippers and went straight to the bathroom to relieve her bladder of the night’s build up.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” She exclaimed gleefully as she wrapped up, flushed the loo and stepped in to the shower. She let the water run for a few minutes to heat up. Chero stretched again, groaning as she felt those sleepy muscles awake.

“Yeah! That feels good.” She blurted as she grinned sheepishly from the relieving effects of the stretch. Chero eased into the shower face first letting the water flow down her face to wake her up. She was absolutely exhausted. She then inched the rest of her body in to the shower just enjoying the flow of water down her body. She smiled and rubbed the water from her face as she shoved it in the water. She sighed in pleasure as the water streamed down her body.

Chero reached out for the soap and lathered up. She began to below out a tune with her rich alto,

“Unbreak my heart, say you’ll love me again. Undo this hurt that you caused when you walked out the door, and walked out of my life….”

As Chero began to crescendo, the shower just dried up, with soap all over her face; stinging her eyes, she carefully stepped out of the shower and reached out for a towel on the rack near the sink. She missed, slipped and fell on the floor with a huge thud! And Groan. She slithered into an upright position and attempted to reach out to where she gauged the towel may be. She reached out and grabbed something; it seemed wide like a tree trunk. Fleshy.

Chero quickly withdrew her hand and slid back into the shower. She used the shower curtain to wipe the soap from her now watery eyes. “Who is that?” No response.

“What is that? I…I…I…I…mmmmmean, what are you?” No response. Suddenly a ghast of wind blew through the shower whisking the shower curtain into a frenzy. Chero began to feel a chill and tried to grab the curtain to wrap herself in it. She finally got a hold of the shower curtain and steadily inched across the slippery floor and off to her room. The bathroom door was lying limp, it had been ripped off its inches, by what? “What was that?” She thought to herself. The hair at the back of her head began to stand, she had no idea what was going on.

Water began to gush out of the shower again abruptly, she dashed back in. She looked around, then resumed showering in silence. She was quiet and a bit distraught. She smacked herself to see if she was dreaming.

1

Awkward!

Pauline had been asleep for the past 18 hours; she wasn’t quite sure what she was going to wake up to do. She had tossed around for almost 3 hours; the sun was short of singeing the curtains open. After another 10 minutes she shot up and sat on her bed, legs dangling from the side. For some reason she attempted to lick her incisors but they were missing. She jolted.

“What the hell?” She thought to herself. What in the world was going on? “Wait! No! Wait! What the hell??!!!!” She exclaimed with an unusual hiss as she spoke as she dashed to the mirror. She began to tear and tap her foot impatiently on the ground. What was going on? She stood in front of the mirror hands hanging limp on either side of her torso. She tapped her foot more violently, closed her eyes tight and then counted to 10.

Pauline steadily opened her eyes and lifted her hands to her mouth; she peeled her lips apart raising them high enough to reveal her teeth and gums. She let out a blood curdling cry like a wounded animal. It reverberated in the house, 6 teeth were missing. She was confused. She fell to the ground in a mound and began searching her mind, what had just happened? She slept the night before with all her 32 teeth intact, now she was missing 6 teeth. And her gums weren’t even bleeding.

Pauline quickly shot up and ran to her pillow and lifted it, six bloody teeth lay there, with a blood soaked sheet. Why was she not experiencing any pain then? It just didn’t add up. She screamed. Her screaming was quickly disrupted by a loud bang on the door. She jolted and pressed herself against the wall, back first. It was such a ridiculous site to behold, a 35 year old woman afraid in her house, and having lost 6 teeth while she slept without any signs of forced entry.

The door bang persisted and Pauline hissed out, “Sawa! I am coming! Eish!” Immediately she opened the door she felt a huge gust of wind sweep her away and she lost her grip of her front door. Pauline screamed wildly flailing arms and legs in the air. She had no idea what was going on, but she was sure of one thing, she was going to die. When she finally landed on something soft, she jolted quickly and fell with a thud again. This time she awoke on the living room floor with a Nigerian movie on TV. Pauline quickly held her mouth looking around the house wide eyed and scared, she clenched her teeth together and using her index finger counted all her teeth. A sigh of relief.

0

Hypnotic Union

David just stood there, hands hanging limb on either side of his windy frame. He stared and said nothing completely no emotion on his face. People walked past him with the occasional shove from the angry or overzealous ‘hand’ talkers. He did nothing he just stood there, back hunched over, head hung, he said nothing.

His striped white and blue shirt was blown by the wind revealing his pristine white t-shirt with a few crimson drops around his chest. Not very noticeable unless you stared right at his chest, his belt buckle – huge silver- with rich tanned leather caressing his hips revealing a bit of his red and white polka dotted underwear. And his navy blue khakis kiss the concrete afer slithering over his beige safari boots.

It had been an hour; David had been staring intently at what seemed like nothing visible. One lady who was on her phone, bumped into him, as she quickly stuffed her phone in her bag passing him, something made her stop. She looked in the direction David stared in and she had no idea what he was looking at. She looked at David, then in the direction again, then at David, then down at his feet and noticed that his left shoelace was undone.

She tapped David on his shoulder and pointed at his shoes. David responded, he steadied his head downwards like a robot of some sort and then turned to look at her then turned his head to look at what he seemed to be looking at before he was interrupted.

David’s shoulders where so hunched his body from a distance looked like a candy cane. The lady shifted her position and stood infront of David and waved her hand in his face. She seemed to hope that she could shake the hypnosis off of him. David lifted his head and straightened his back and started to howl like a wolf. He startled the woman, she jumped up and screamed dropping everything and then she just froze.

A few minutes went by, crowds began to throng around the duo. David’s howling had now stopped; he was panting and sweating profusely. The lady stood still, completely startled and unable to move from her position. People began to shake the two others making wisecracks around them.

“What happened to these two?” some asked.

“They must have done something together, why are they both not moving from this position?”

Others started to pick pocket the two and pry open the grip of the lady’s hands from her handbag. As one thief did that, the lady began to groan detesting what was happening. She couldn’t fight them off. She shifted her eyes from side to side seeking help.

David let out an final earth shattering howl and the crowd dispersed in either direction. One gentleman, Earl who normally runs games of chess had been watching the whole thing unfold from across the street at his diminutive table. As the crowd cleared leaving behind a cloud of dust and the stench of bowels, Earl crossed the road to the frozen duo.

He walked round the two, stepped back and stared at them pensively. About two minutes later, he whispered into David’s ear then into the Lady’s and just like that, the two completely snapped out of the trance that they were in and went about there business, like nothing had happened.

0

It’s a Miracle!

Andy’s skin had been itching for days. It was so bad he was now bleeding from where he had scratched. He was fidgety in bed, his hands had been tied with khangas to the bed post to prevent himself from causing anymore damage.

His grandaunt had been called to apply some traditional herbs to ease the pain. Needless to say the medication had not worked three days later and every time a drop from one of those boiled leaves landed on his body he screamed. It got worse, the last time his grandaunt tried, he passed out from the pain. His body didn’t seem to be getting any better.

Andy’s mum was really getting concerned. Andy’s sister was locked in her room after days of insisting on calling a doctor. Well that wasn’t how Dina found herself in a domestic solitary confinement. She had pretended that she was going to check in on a friend because she felt that she couldn’t handle seeing her brother that way. Her mother didn’t mind, she understood.

“After all, you have never been strong like our bloodline. You took the weakness from your father. Andy will heal.” That was the last thing Dina’s Mum told her. Something in their mum has snapped after Andy’s body reacted so violently to a traditional initiation drink. They had never seen it react that violently with anyone before. Andy’s body looked like a gremlin that had been doused with water. His skin just frothed. It was scary. So Dina’s shock to the scenario wasn’t really weakness any normal person would have reacted violently in shock.

So off went Dina ‘next door’ she had spoken to a friend to get a doctor to rescue her brother from this traditional herbal madness. Andy was in agony and seemed to be deteriorating from this unusual skin disorder. So when Dina was found out, she was quickly shipped back to the house and locked up in her room.

About two days later Dina was awoken from her in and out again prayer slumber, by her mother’s distinct chanting. This time no one else joined her. The other voices wailed and called out to the ancestors. Dina looked at her phone it was 4am. What in the world was it. She banged on the door!

“Aaaaannnnddyyyyyy! Answer me! Aaaaaaannnnnddyyyyyyy!” Silence.

Mum opened the door snot filling her face with good luck charms in her right hand. As the door opened further, Dina saw her brother standing behind her mother. It was a miracle! Andy was alive and well, normal. What happened?

0

Loved

It had been a really long day for Mildred and her two children. She had walked 40 kilometres to the nearest health centre and around Yasya town to get the prescribed medication for her two sons. One had pneumonia now tied and soaked on her back. And the other soaked to his knees in red mud, was Simon, her four year old who was diagnosed with kwashiorkor. Mildred’s life was only going to get worse. She got home to no water in the storage pots and her mother in law sprawled on the couch barking orders.

“Where’s dinner? Can you go and cook! You want an old woman to starve to death, ey?”

Mildred shrugged, took the children to their room and stripped them down and wrapped them in one of the tattered blankets she had.

“I am coming back Simon, stay warm in this, keep an eye on Omondi?” Simon nodded.

“Where are you going? Can’t you see it is raining outside?”  Mildred’s mother-in-law barked. Mildred ignored her and with a 10 litre jerrican in hand and a bucket balanced on her head she left to go to the river.

The river had swollen almost breaking the banks, Mildred steadily stood on a set of precarious rocks a few inches from the roaring milky river. She quickly filled her containers and balanced them on her head and rushed back to the village.

She opened the kitchen door and the stench of cow dung saturated the room. The cows were in the kitchen. She now had to take them out and round to their shed adjacent to the kitchen. 20 minutes later she was in the kitchen trying to find the kerosene lamp. She felt her way through and found it. Thankfully the matches were near it. To her surprise, the chickens were also in the kitchen. Mildred began to weep. There was no firewood in the kitchen and everything outside was soaked wet. She had ill and hungry children in need of a shower and a hot meal, and a demon mother-in-law demanding food. She stood in the dark room with flickering light in desperate need of saving.

“God why? Why me? All the…” Mildred’s ranting was abruptly cut short; the kitchen door slammed shut and the light went off. The chicken began to fidget and cluck. Mildred tried lighting the candle again and it seemed as if someone was blowing out the match.

“What now? Oh! Right! It can only get worse. What sick joke is this?” She said saracastically

She felt a hand on her shoulder, she jolted and dashed for the door. She rammed into what felt like a human form, but when she tried to touch it, there was no flesh, it was invisible. She screamed attempting to push the form and yank the door open. Hands emerged from behind her and grabbed her by both her wrists.

“Mildred?” A voice gently called out. Mildred peed on herself; she was trembling.

“Mildred, it’s me, don’t – don’t fear!” Mildred was speechless. She fell in a heap to the ground the hands let go of her and the light went on. Mildred blinked to adjust her eyes to the light in the room. She could see the shadow of a man, a familiar shadow.

“Wellington?”

“Yes, Mildred it is.”

“How is that even possible?”

“Can you remember the last thing I said to you when….”

‘…when I spoke to you last – alive and dying?”Mildred blurted outraged.

“Yes,” the voice said saddened. “Then!”

“Why now? It has been 2 years we have suffered that long, why now?”

“You need help in handling the children, I am here now. Just…”

“…Just what Wellington? Why the hell am I talking to a ghost? Am I mad?” Mildred headed for the door, she opened it and it quickly slammed shut. She could hear her mother-in-law yelling from the main house.

“What are you doing in there? What is taking so long?” Mildred rolled her eyes and cursed loudly.

“Let me help you now, we can go through the details later.” Wellington pleaded.

“FINE! What people do out of desperation? HELP! Ghost of my husband Wellington!” Mildred felt a warm breeze and she was propelled to the stool. Plonk! She sat.

“Let me handle this.”  Mildred rolled her eyes while mouthing “fine!”

In 20 minutes flat her food was prepared, bathing water for the children ready and some tea. She took the tea first to her mother-in-law with some biscuits she had bought for the children. She bathed the children who had already drifted into a slumber. She fed them as they dozed in and out of slumber, gave them their medication and ate dinner with her mother in  law and by 10 pm everyone was fed, happy and off to bed, except Mildred.

Mildred went back to the kitchen to whip up a cup of some hot milk to drink from the little milk that was left over. She was exhausted in need of a shower herself. She opened the door, the tin lamp was flickering.

“Great! No paraffin!”

“I will solve that?”

Mildred jumped and screamed; luckily she didn’t wake anyone up. She had forgotten her husband or what was an apparition of him in the room.

“Sorry I startled you.”

“It is ok,” Mildred uttered picking herself up from the earthen floor. “I just want a shower and…

“Hot milk!” Wellington finished her statement. “I remember. You always loved your milk.”

Despite the shock and initial repulsion of the idea, Mildred loved hearing her husband’s voice again. She missed him dearly and that night after all the chaos of weeks of ill children and starvation and working for meager pay, she needed to feel safe and cared for. That night Mildred slept in the kitchen in the arms of her husband after hours of talk and laughter, just like he had never left.

0

Love reclaimed

The rich orange sun rays beamed through the forest and kissed Nerea’s face. Her soft forehead and ridged nose regal; carved by Ngai himself, her eyes shaped like tear drops curved downward at the edge, cloaked with eyelashes that would make a horse green with envy. Her lips, luscious ruby; Nerea bit her lower lip and craned her neck further back to suck the slow dissipating warmth from the setting sun. She had been in the forest since noon, she needed her green lush ‘castle’, her fortress from the madness of the city. She wanted to get lost and never be found again.

Nerea left no word with anyone; she left her phone on her pillow. She needed nature’s caress and assurance to make her whole once again. The forest began to awaken; the gentle breeze kissing Nerea’s face shook the forest’s canopies violently. A song began to resonate; a nest of birds in the distance began to chime in their song, the contracting tree branches began to howl; forming a dark symphony casting an eerie feeling in the forest.

The cold began to set in and Nerea was awoken by a pulsating hot breath, the stench of saliva dominant, drool. She opened her eyes which met with bright white menacing eyeballs. Nerea sat upright startled. Her company was now snarling with the leaves above her shaking rapidly, something was above them in that tree. She inched away as fast as she could, she heard a snap, felt a rip in her calf and a loud break. Nerea fell to the ground, her head violently resting on a rock.

xxxxxx

James wept bitterly as the sun shone violently, brows shone, reflecting the light. The dark parade concluded and the crowds dispersed no tomb stone, no eulogy, no one was to ever speak of Nerea again. James was lost, he sat by the wet mound of red soil staring intently at it. Tears flowed freely converging at the hook of his aquiline nose and dropping straight in to his handkerchief. He used the lapel of his dark suede trench coat to mop away his tears. A few metres away from James music was blaring, it was ululation and a feast. James stood and said nothing. He was craving to be in one place, the only place that mattered and comforted his grief.

xxxxxx

It had been five years since Nerea had died, no one had spoken about her since. James had left the city and moved back to a small rural town. He ran a hardware supplies store. He had aged by 20 years in that time span. His countenance was downcast, eyes sagging from the weight of tears, his cheeks lifeless and limb seeking to reach their destination on the ground. His shoulders hunched over, arms rested on a long wooden cane supporting his weight. His shoulder blades sharp and more pronounced through his worn shirt and trousers held up by a sisal rope, shoes…he wore none. James coughed, his body shuddered violently. His feet dragged across the floor, inching for the black steel door. James opened it and as he turned to lock the door, he pushed the door open and looked up at the wall one more time. “Goodbye my love!” he mumbled longingly at the portrait of Nerea. James looked like a sage with his grey shoulder length thining locks.

xxxxxx

It had been 3 months since the 7th anniversary of Nerea’s death. James didn’t join his family in the commemoration ceremony. He sat in doors at his shrine of Nerea. Pictures of her encircled by lit candles caked with layers of used wax. James said nothing he gazed upon his love rocking back and forth tears dousing out his candles. James whisked himself up, carried Nerea’s favourite blanket and book, “Where the wild things grow” and headed straight to the forest. He had been back in the city for a year.

xxxxxx

2 hours had gone by and the sun had began to set. The forest grew cold, James wrapped himself up to fend off the chill. And just like his love 7 years before, he smelt an unmissbale stench of saliva and felt hot breath on him. The trees began to sway violently birds fleeing as they chirped. He turned and met eyeball to eyeball with a snarling and drooling beast. It smelt unusually like Nerea’s cucumber and watermelon scent. James was too tired and too frail to move. He sat there, then he heard a snap and felt an excruciating rip in his calf.

When James awoke, a silhouette stood before him, he saw nothing but blinding light. The silhouette moved and James saw the forest. It was cold, with the sun’s golden beams rushing through. The intensity of the sun grew causing a sting on his calf. James sat upright and looked at his calf, a hand touched him on his shoulder disrupting his self examination. The touch was familiar yet incomprehensible.

He turned and saw nothing, but he could still feel the gentle touch on his shoulder. It was persistent. James looked around him frantically, could it be? The birds chirped loudly and flapped off violently, something had disturbed them. The silhouette emerged once again. “It’s me honey! Take my hand. Take it!”

James reached out, he knew that silky voice. He took her hand and with a long effort he arose. He couldn’t gaze upon the radiance of the bearer of the voice. “It’s time” James involuntarily breathed in deeply and collapsed.

When he arose, he was on the top of a tree looking down at familiar faces, in a familiar scene; only they couldn’t see or hear him. The birds chirped, the tree branches snapped. And just like that, he and Nerea were together again, at peace, at home where they belonged.

 

0

The Resurrection

Chebet’s eyelids fluttered violently with an occasional pause. When her eyelids fluttered her eyeball seemed to move around unsettled and unsure of where to go. As her eyes rotated from side to side, so did her head in the opposite direction to where her eyes went. Chebet began to groan, it steadily grew louder, violent and guttural, her body began to seize and her arms flapped on the table like fish out of water. Chebet’s thoracic cavity began to lift. Her head tilted uncomfortably backward; her neck appearing swollen and ready to snap, as if she was trying to see what was by the door behind her.

She began to spit phlegm like it came out of a semi automatic machine gun; it was targeted and relentless. Her legs, now hanging off the table, held tight together; glued in that position. The lights in the room began to flicker and Chebet began to make the guttural sounds again, lifting her head and now menacingly growling like a rabid dog. Her arms began to scratch at the sides of the table. Chebet seemed tied down to the table by some invisible ropes; you couldn’t see why she was struggling so much.

Chebet spat more phlegm this time landing on her sisters face; Mary was now exhausted from the crying. She stood still with phlegm snailing down her forehead heading straight for her closed mouth. The windows slammed against the walls and broke the glass, there wasn’t any breeze from outside to cause the violent slamming of the windows; but inside the house a storm brewed. Furniture lifting across the room, debris smacking Mary in the face; Chebet was groaning like a wounded animal. Mary was still, face turning pale and urine streaming down her calfs. Her eyes were now fixed toward the bedroom door which was sealed shut.

There were footsteps running from the corridor followed by a huge WAM! on the door. This happened 3 times, on the fourth attempt the door fell to the ground. Mary fainted, and the room fell still. No one emerged from the other side of the door and Chebet sat up on the table looking down at Mary.

“Get up!” She laughed. “What are you doing on the floor? We need to go and see Aunty Sarah, she’s been waiting!” Chebet laughed and pranced outside of the room sane; as if nothing had happened. Mary arose 10 minutes after Chebet’s departure, the room was intact; she was back in her childhood bedroom, 20 years younger, without a scratch on her body, in a pristine room.

“Come on Mary!” Chebet called out from the corridor. “Breakfast’s ready!”

“Chebet?” Mary called out. “Chebet?”