May 1st 2017
I unlock my boss’s house with the key I copied yesterday and let myself in. I tiptoe to the master bedroom where the gun is kept inside a safe and key in the code. It is simple enough. It is one of those things you see once and remember forever.
The Rhino, my boss, is snoring loudly. So loudly, in fact that I think one of these days he’ll bring the whole city down. Thank God I won’t be around when that day finally comes. The safe opens noisily and for a second there I am afraid that he might wake up. He doesn’t. The gun is sleeping in there as peacefully as a newborn.
I have heard The Rhino bragging to his friends before, that he is in love with this baby (I don’t know why he calls his gun ‘baby’ and his daughter ‘you’). This baby that can kill fifteen people without reload.
I grab the gun and fight a recurring urge to shoot him in the head and get this whole ordeal over and done with, but sometimes, death isn’t the answer. Sometimes it is, but then it is not a good enough answer. So I stash the gun in my handbag together with two boxes of 9mm bullets, close the safe and leave the bedroom.
Next stop is Diana’s bedroom. Diana is The Rhino’s twelve-year old daughter. She is his only child. Right now, she is as fast asleep as her father but the moment I open her door and let myself in, she turns and sits up. She is a light sleeper. She has always been that way. I guess when one grows up in a house like this one, sleep is not a luxury that one goes all out on.
Diana: Aunt Felicia, is that you?
Me: Yes Dee it’s me.
Diana: What’s going on? (She stretches her arm to light the bedside lights)
Me: Keep the lights off. Let’s go for a drive.
Diana: Is it time to rebel?
Me: Yes. Tonight we fight the power. Just like I promised that we would.
Diana: Are you sure everything will work out OK? Because the plan sounded a bit dangerous.
Me: I will take care of you. You are my best friend. I will never let anything bad happen to you again. I promise.
Diana: I know Aunt Felicia. (Coy) I’m afraid dad will get mad at me again. And you know what he does when he gets mad.
This bit is very important. So important that I get close, take her hand and say it real slow so it registers;
Me: From today henceforth, you don’t have to worry about your daddy. I promise.
She grabs a coat and a teddy bear and I grab the car keys which The Rhino normally leaves in a drawer in the living room. Fifteen minutes later, I am driving The Rhino’s BMW along Mombasa Road.
23:40h. Mombasa Road.
I place my mobile phone at the holder on the dash and call him. The first time the call goes unanswered. This is understandable because if sleep were a meal, The Rhino would be obese. I call him again and this time he answers sleepily; and I put the call on speakerphone
The Rhino: (Sleepily) What is it?
Me: Hello Rhino
Him: What did I tell you about calling me by that name?
Me: I could call you by your real name Inspector Huria, but tonight I make the rules. And rule number one is that I don’t give a rat’s ass and a flying fuck about what you want to be called. (Diana covers her mouth with her small hands because she doesn’t believe that cussing is good and I mouth “sorry” at her. she smiles playfully)
Him: (He groans and I picture him turning in bed and pulling his blankets up) What’s going on Felicia?
Me: You are a normal human being, aren’t you? Just like me and your wife?
Him: Look, I am not in the mood to play games tonight. If you want to mess around, why don’t you just come over and we’ll play.
Me: You would love that, wouldn’t you? Turns out I am in a mood for games tonight. But I have a feeling you’ll want to keep your clothes on for this one.
Him: (Hissing playfully between his teeth) Sss. See I doubt that very much. I hate games that can’t be played in a good old birth suit.
Me: You can keep your birth suit off Rhino. That’s your prerogative. But I need you to answer my question. Are you or are you not a normal human being?
Him: What do you think?
Me: I think you are normal. But you like victimizing people because you don’t want them to see the real you. Because the real you is pretty ugly and decadent and downright repulsive.
Him: Where are you Felicia? (His voice is sharper now. Commanding even. This is the Rhino I know. The Rhino I was looking for. The Rhino I want to deal with tonight) Are you in a car?
Me: You are fully awake now. Good. Call the cops. You are in trouble.
Him: Why do I need to call the cops when you and I both know that I am the best uniform in this whole damn city?
Me: That’s right Inspector Huria. But I don’t need you to call the best cop in this whole damn city. I just need you to call a cop. Twenty minutes ago I broke into your house. Hard to call it breaking and entering since I had a key, but let’s just skip the semantics and go into the really scary shit. I unlocked your safe, stole your gun and bullets, swung by Diana’s bedroom and stole her too and then went downstairs to the parking lot and stole your Beemer. (I insert a playful voice) I have been a bad bad girl.
I can hear him panting on the other side. I can imagine him rushing to his safe, keying in the passcode, yanking the door open and discovering that the gun is missing.
Him: (Panting as he calls out around the house to confirm my story) Diana! Dee!
I hear a door opening and banging shut and a soft thud follows. He has just punched the wall. He does that all the time. OK. Here come the threats.
Him: Listen to me you little cunt! I am going to turn your life upside down if you don’t bring my daughter back this very second. Do you hear me? I will grab everything in your life and I will fuck with it until all innocence that’s left is all gone. (Diana covers her ears with her hands at this juncture. This is all too much for her.)
Me: Are you done?
Him: Just bring my daughter back and we’ll forget that any of this ever happened.
Me: Call Sergeant Buluma at Buruburu police station. Give him my number. Tell him to call me. You have five minutes.
Him: Or what?
Him: (Snap) What!
Me: I have your daughter in a car that is moving at 90 km/h. And you know BMWs. I can increase my speed to 240km/h easy. I have Dee in the car with me. She hasn’t buckled up. Imagine what would happen to her if my foot suddenly got heavy on the fuel and I crashed into a tree. (Clicking my tongue) Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! She wouldn’t be so pretty anymore, would she?
Him: I swear to…
Me: Quit mouthing off and have Buluma call me in five minutes. Or I will show you what that “Hell hath no fury…” bullshit really means.
And I hang up and turn to Diana with a smile. She seems a little petrified but too courteous to ask questions. I get her to take her hands off her ears so I can talk to her before Buluma calls.
Me: Are you scared honey?
Her: (Nods negatively but her eyes are still wide open, filled with fear) Nope.
Me: It’s OK to be scared. I am scared too.
Her: Am I going to get hurt?
Me: No! No! Jesus Christ! No I would never hurt you. I promise.
Her: But you told my daddy…
Me: I know. But I only told him that to scare him. When I was growing up, my father would invite me to watch wrestling with him on TV at night. And as we watched those huge guys beat the hell out of each other, my father’s hands would always find their way to my thighs. And instinctively, I would try and lock my thighs but he would ask, “Why are you closing your legs darling? Don’t you want me to tickle you?” And so I would let him tickle me because as far as I could tell, there was nothing wrong with fathers tickling their daughters. Right?
Her: I know. My daddy tickles me too. But he tickles my whole body. From my neck, to my ears, to my chest, to my legs
Me: I know. He’s not supposed to do that.
I call The Rhino back after five minutes and he doesn’t answer. So I call him again and when he answers, he is out of breath.
Him: Look, I am trying as hard as I can to get a hold of Buluma but…
Me: But you’re lying. I might be your house girl, but I am also very smart. I know you are tracking the car and getting your boys to lay roadblocks ahead. Let me tell you exactly why that is a terrible idea. Because right now, I am driving along Uhuru Highway, as, I am sure you can see, at 120 km/h. Pretty soon, I will hit Waiyaki Way. If I see anything suspicious, like anything cop like or so, I will lose control of the car. And every bone in my body will be broken. And so will Diana’s.
Him: I am trying…
Me: Also, I have your gun and about thirty bullets with me. More than enough to turn her little body into a sieve and also to blow my head open. Are you getting the drift of my threats? Do I sound like a girl with nothing left to lose? Because that’s who I am now.
Him: (Desperately) I can’t find him Felicia!
Me: Well then that’s too bad Rhino! Because I know you have spent the last five minutes getting all the cops you can to my family’s house. Well guess what? They are not there! You just killed your daughter you rapist piece of shit!
I hang up on him and he calls back almost immediately freaking out.
Him: Wait! Wait! Give me a minute; I’ll get him on the phone.
He hangs up and a minute later, my phone rings and it is a strange number calling. I answer and put it on speaker
Me: Sergeant Buluma, good evening?
Buluma: Good evening. I understand you have…
Me: You see that “Negotiator” movie you have in your head, throw it out the window. The script I have in mind, you have never read it. So allow me to guide you, OK?
Me: Good. Do you like stories Sergeant Buluma?
Buluma: As much as the next guy I guess.
Me: Awesome. I have a story for you. It is one of those “Once upon a time” stories, so try not to doze off in the middle. (Mischievous Whisper) I will ask questions once I’m done.
Me: Once upon a time, I knew a girl. Her name was Felicia Shambala living in a small apartment in Mbale Town in Vihiga with her father. Her father loved stories and his favorite was Jack and The Bean Stalk. He narrated this story to her most evenings and his favorite bit was where Jack climbed the bean stalk to find the giants. Well, as he narrated this bit, his fingers would always find their way to Felicia’s clitoris and he would laugh and say that the lips were like the beans in the story. Are you following Sergeant?
Buluma: Yes I am.
Me: Well, one day Felicia told a neighbor about her beans and the way her father loved tickling them and the neighbor reported the matter to the police station. Because apparently, fathers aren’t meant to play around with their daughters’ beans. At the police station, the neighbor and Felicia found a very very nice police constable who introduced himself as Constable Buluma. Is this story beginning to ring some bells in your head Sergeant?
Buluma: Look, if this is some sort of grudge you hold against me…
Me: (Snapping) I am here telling you a story and you are going to make it about you? Just how selfish can one person get Sergeant?
Buluma: Just bring the girl back and we will figure things out, OK?
Me: (I continue like he hasn’t spoken) The Constable in the story had a talk with the area chief and a few elders and they settled the matter under a tree where it was agreed that since the father was raising the child alone, it is only fair that he raises her best way he knows how. And the father gave all in attendance a chicken or two, hands were shaken, smiles were exchanged and Felicia’s beans were explored further that night. And from then henceforth, the more Jack climbed the bean stalk, the further those fingers went until finally, Felicia wouldn’t go a night without bleeding. And as days turned into weeks, and weeks into months and months into years, fingers gave way to something else. Unfortunately, this is not one of those stories that end with “and they lived happily ever after.” Are you still with me Sergeant?
Buluma: I understand your pain but Diana has nothing to do with it. Absolutely nothing. Now don’t do anything stupid. You haven’t even broken anything that can’t be fixed. Just bring the Inspector’s daughter back and we will figure everything else out.
Me: I am going to hang up now. Don’t go away. I want you to call me back in exactly twenty minutes.
Buluma: There must be something that I can get you. Something that I can get you in exchange for the girl.
Me: I told you to throw that “Negotiator” movie you have in your head out the window. It won’t help you. (My finger lingers over the phone) Twenty minutes. Don’t be late. (And I hang up)
May 2nd, 2017
00:12h. Waiyaki Way
By now I am approaching ABC Plaza in Westlands and the fuel tank is headed for empty. So I refill at the nearby petrol station and as the attendant fills the car up, I take a stroll, fish a cigarette from the breast pocket of my jacket and light up.
My story doesn’t begin with me stealing and driving my boss’s car on an early April morning. It doesn’t begin with me stealing his gun and kidnapping his twelve-year old daughter either. But this is where I am now and I am guessing that I will be dead by dawn.
My name is Felicia Shambala, and among other things, I am a house girl.
When the day started, I had a plan. Just like everybody else lays out a plan of what they will spend their day doing. Some go to work, others go to school, others spend their days looking for work and others sit in front of the TV and lament about the lack of a job.
A long time ago, a teacher I hated in school said that “man proposes and God disposes.” Another idiot said the same thing but using a different set of words. His words were more disillusioning. “You want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I think this last one I got from a movie. “Sit down. Bring out a paper and a pen and a ruler if you want to. Plan the next five years of your life. Then go to bed angry with everyone because you know that none of those plans will materialize.” Yeah. I guess my point is across by now.
This morning I woke up planning to spend my day at work. I would clean everything in The Rhino’s house and do things that house girls do all day. Which traditionally involves cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking again. If one is the type to ask what the meaning of life is, then being a house girl isn’t a job they would like to have.
A week ago, I hit twenty one years of age.
Now here I am at midnight smoking a stick of Dunhill and staring dreamily at Waiyaki Way. There isn’t much to see besides speeding cars but my head keeps wondering where they are all going in such a hurry. To fulfill what obligation? Why? To chase how much money? What for?
Diana steps out of the car and walks slowly carrying her teddy bear carelessly with her. It is like a useless appendage she just likes dragging along with her wherever she goes.
Diana: I thought you quit smoking Aunt Felicia
Me: Yeah. I thought I did too. Then I asked why myself why I would deny myself pleasure today just because I am afraid of contracting lung cancer thirty years into the future. For all I know, I won’t last another twenty four hours.
Her: (Her tiny hand clutches mine) What does it feel like to smoke cigarettes?
Me: (Smiling from the corner of my lips as I look down at her) Like shit.
Her: So why do you smoke then?
Me: Well, it is one of those things that I started and just never stopped. Not because I couldn’t but because I didn’t want to. I would go out with my friends and someone would bring a packet of cheap cigarettes with them and I would ask for one. And someone would go like, “You smoke?” and my answer would most likely be, “Not really. Only when I am out with people who smoke.”
Her: Can I smoke?
Her: Why not?
Me: Because you will get cancer at some point in future if you smoke.
Her: Aunt Felicia?
Her: Will my daddy kill you?
Me: Your daddy? No. But someone else will.
Her: Why? You haven’t done anything wrong.
Me: Well, I have kidnapped the daughter of a police officer.
Her: But I don’t even like my daddy. And I don’t even feel kidnapped. I came with you because I wanted to.And my mom isn’t even home most of the times. Sometimes I wonder why she gave birth to me if she didn’t want me around.
Me: (Severely) Hey! Don’t you ever say that about your mother, OK? She loves you.
Her: (Shrugging carelessly) Well, I don’t love her.
Me: You know what, (Passing her the cigarette) Here. Smoke up. Children who don’t love their mothers deserve cancer.
And to stick it to me, she grabs the cigarette, puts it in her mouth like she sees people do in movies or like she sees me do it, and pulls in a timid drag before coughing out a lung and passing it back to me with a million contours of disgust on her baby face.
Me: You alright?
Her: (Coughing) You’re right. It feels like shit.
Me: (As I crash what’s left of it with the sole of my shoe) I am glad you know that.
After paying the attendant who gives me crap for smoking near a petrol station, we drive off towards Nakuru and I make sure that Diana has buckled up properly.
00:30h. Kangemi. Outskirts of Nairobi City
Sergeant Buluma is punctual. I haven’t even gotten to Kangemi when the phone rings
Him: We noticed that you stopped at ABC Place. We could have swarmed in and captured or killed you but we didn’t. That was a show of good faith on our part. Now please let Diana go or next time we won’t be so considerate.
Me: Oh really? I am so sorry if I gave you a reason to think I am dumb. So dumb in fact that I would not know that you wouldn’t risk a shootout at a petrol station because one bullet might stray and the whole place would go boom in a glorious mushroom cloud. And who knows how many people it would take with it. So how about we stop playing games now, huh?
Him: What do you want?
Me: What happened in those twenty minutes? Did The Rhino come to the station or did you and the other officers go to his place?
Him: I don’t know what you are talking about.
Me: Just a second Sergeant. (I turn to Diana) Dee, would you please lean over to the backseat and fetch my handbag? (Diana unbuckles, leans back and grabs it then places it on her lap) Open it. (She opens it) Hand me the gun. (She looks at me questioningly and I wink playfully at her)
Him: (Protesting) What are you doing Felicia? Don’t do anything stupid!
Me: (Diana hands me the gun and I cock it noisily as closest to the phone as possible) Did you hear that?
Him: He came to the station
Me: Buruburu Police Station?
Me: Good. Have you contacted the Flying Squad?
Him: No. I didn’t think there was a need for that. Should I contact them?
Me: How far behind are they?
Him: I told you…
Me: Don’t bullshit a bullshitter Buluma! Where are they?
Him: I haven’t contacted them. I swear to God!
Me: I like you Sergeant. I like that you are not taking me seriously. I am just a girl who has gone nuts and done something stupid. You didn’t take me seriously when I was a kid and you aren’t taking me seriously now. So here’s what’s going to happen. In the near future, I am guessing ten to fifteen minutes; a car will drive alongside me, the windows will roll down, huge, cigarette stained, bangles wearing hands will pop out holding pistols and it will rain bullets. When that happens, and please notice I didn’t say ‘if’ I said ‘when’, two things will follow. (a) I will die and lose control of the car. If this happens, Diana will die too. Either from gunshot wounds or the subsequent crash; (b) The bullets will miss us both and I will kill every cop in that car then go ahead and terrorize Diana till kingdom come. Either way, it doesn’t end well for anyone.
Him: (Firmly) I haven’t contacted the Flying Squad. I promise.
Me: Good. Here is your next assignment. I want you to call me back in thirty minutes. This time round, I want you to have Zubeda Ali with you when you call.
Him: Zubeda Ali? The journalist?
Me: Nope! Of course not! Zubeda Ali the President! Of course Zubeda Ali the journalist. Do you know any other?
Him: What do you want me to tell her?
Me: I don’t know. A girl has kidnapped this city’s most lethal police officer’s daughter and is now threatening to kill her if you don’t have Zubeda with you in a half hour! Hello! What the fuck do I care what you tell her? Just get her on the line.
00:34h. Nairobi – Nakuru Highway
When I hang up, the phone rings again. It is a strange number calling. With a strange code to it.
Me: (Reluctantly) Hello
Caller: (The female voice is broken. Terrified. It could only be one person) Felicia? This is…
Me: (Recognizing the voice) I know who you are. You want to know if your daughter is OK. You want to talk to her. You want to appeal to my humanity.
Diana: (The phone is on the dash and on speaker so she can hear everything) Mom?
Caller: Diana! Baby! Oh my God honey, it’s so good to hear your voice. Are you OK? Are you hurt?
We are approaching the overpass in Limuru by now. The highway is almost as clean as a whistle and I can drive the BMW at 120km/h without any hustles.
Suddenly, something penetrates the windshield really fast and grazes my right cheek. It leaves a small circle on the windshield surrounded by numerous cracks and it takes me a few panic stricken seconds to realize that I have just been shot at! There is a sniper standing on the overpass, probably adjusting his sights so that the next time he fires, he doesn’t miss.
I am not so calm anymore. Diana has released a non voluntary shriek of terror and I swerve the car carelessly on the road as a distant crack hits my ears.
Caller: What’s going on?! Felicia what are you doing?
Diana: (Terrified) Mom! (She follows this up with an eardrum shattering shriek)
The noise is a distant slap of waves against rocks in my ears as I try really hard to regain control of the car.
Me: (Yelling more out of instinct than consciously) Buckle up Dee!
Caller: What’s happening?!
Diana is screaming and her mother is screaming over the phone and the tires are screeching as I swerve left and right, calling all my driving lessons into practice. At the back of my mind, I can see the sniper fighting furiously to take aim. It will take him a few seconds to realize that he can’t aim at the swerving car at which point he will just fire randomly into the car and probably hit even Diana.
A long time ago, I had an elder brother. One day I was in his friend’s car with him and he told me that if you ever lose control of a car, release the steering wheel, get your foot off all pedals and let the car do whatever it wants. It might have been great advice or stupid advice, but here is my chance to find out.
I make sure that Diana has buckled up, then let go off the wheel and get my foot off all pedals. The car is now skidding under the overpass and it makes a sharp right, turns over and crashes loudly on the tarmac. I have never been in a car crash before. It is a scary business. The sound of twisting metal and breaking glass is nerve wrecking and then comes the sickness inducing motion as the car rolls over and over on the road.
When it finally stops, everything is silent except for a distant hissing sound. I am dizzy and terrified that now that we have stopped, the sniper will come down from the overpass and shoot me. I have to think and I have to think fast.
We are hanging upside down, Dee and I and that is because the car stopped on its roof. I look over to her and see that other than a small cut on her face, she looks fine. And conscious.
Me: (Reassuringly) We have had a small crash honey, but we’ll be OK.
Her: Your head’s bleeding.
It is when she mentions it that I feel sharp pain on my forehead. I feel it with my fingers and there is blood all over them. That’s got to be a nasty cut.
I unbuckle myself and land on my shoulders then feel around for my gun because soon, I will see the sniper’s feet as he approaches the car. My fingers touch something which I pull into view. It is my phone but it is so shattered now that it is completely useless. Yet there is a sigh of relief at the back of my mind because that got Diana’s mother to shut up. I am so engrossed in my pursuit for a weapon that I only focus on something else when Diana holds her breath with a sharp gasp.
Me: Are you OK?
Her: (Whispering) He’s coming.
One look into her huge round and terrified eyes tells me all I need to know. I follow her eyes and approaching from a few meters off are the sniper’s legs. He is coming to finish the job. I grope around fast and finally touch the butt of the gun.
From a far, I hear a radio crackling to life. The approaching sniper’s radio
Voice over radio: Confirm target is down, over.
Sniper: Just a minute.
Voice over radio: Roger that.
My gun is trapped under a seat and the more time I spend trying to get it out, the closer the legs get. I can hear the soft footfalls on the tarmac as he gets closer and closer and my desperate breathing as I edge closer and closer to full freak out mode.
Sniper: Approaching target now. Should have eyes anytime now. Over
Voice over radio: Roger
Sniper: Do I still have orders to execute the target even if she is incapacitated? Over
Voice over radio: Your orders remain the same. Repeat. Your orders remain the same. Do you copy?
Sniper: Loud and clear.
Diana must have recognized my terror because she touches my arm and attracts my attention.
Her: (Whispering) It’s OK Aunty Felicia. Just stay calm. Everything will be OK.
Me: (Mumbling continually to myself) Stay calm. Stay calm. Breathe in. (I take a deep breath) Breathe out. (I release loudly)
I use both sight and my fingers to notice that the gun is trapped under a seat which I could lift and retrieve the weapon without much other hustle. By now, the sniper is really close. I lift the seat, take the gun and as the sniper stands beside the car planning to lean over and take a look inside, I aim the gun at his foot and fire.
I have never fired a gun before. I have stolen cars with my elder brother when I was growing up; I have driven those stolen cars at neck breaking speeds, but I have never fired a gun before. I don’t know what dazes me more. The loud bang, the sight of the sniper’s foot turning to red mash or his subsequent scream.
He crashes on the ground and as he prepares to aim his rifle at me, I point my gun at his head and scream;
Me: Please don’t shoot! Or I will have to shoot you first! (My hands are shaking so badly and there is an embarrassing plea in my voice.) Please don’t make me kill you. (He is just laying there; sprawled out on the tarmac; gritting his teeth with pain from his foot and glaring at me with his stare) Throw the rifle away. (He obeys) Now, I know you have a sidearm on your waist and a little gun strapped around your right leg. Throw them away too.
Sniper: I don’t have any more guns on me.
Me: (Crying and pleading and prodding the air with the gun in my terribly shaking hand) You are lying to me! Stop lying to me please or I will be forced to shoot you! You are a soldier. Or used to be. I can tell. You have a sidearm strapped to your waist and a tiny gun strapped to your leg. Please, just toss them. Please.
Sniper: I am telling you lady; I don’t have any more guns on me.
Me: (His eyes tell me that he is telling the truth. But I can’t trust his eyes. So I tell him soothingly) OK. I am just going to shoot you on your right knee cap, OK? It won’t kill you unless I miss and hit the femoral artery on your thigh. If I do that, you will bleed to death, OK? So don’t move. (I move the gun to aim at his knee and start counting) OK, I am going to shoot you now in one… two…
Sniper: Are you kidding me right now?
Me: (Still crying) I can’t trust that you don’t have two other guns. I am sorry. Now stop talking. You are messing with my aim.
Sniper: (Puts his hand up in protest) OK! OK! Wait! (With a loud sigh, he reaches for his waist)
Me: Two fingers soldier!
With his free hand up in a surrendering fashion and his thumb and index finger of the other hand, he pulls his sidearm off his waist and tosses it away from him.
Me: The other one. With two fingers. (He struggles to sit up and does just as instructed.) Now toss it away. (He tosses it) OK. Good. Now, I know you have a knife…
Sniper: Ah come on lady! I have done everything you’ve asked. I don’t have a knife. I am not a butcher!
Me: (Freaking out again) I know you have a knife! You have a knife! Soldiers and mercenaries carry knives! Throw it away or I swear to God I am going to empty my gun into your fucking chest!
Angrily, he takes a Swiss Army Knife from a sheath strapped to his thigh and tosses it away.
Sniper: There! It’s all gone! Now unless you want me to take my pants off, I believe you and I are done!
Me: No. We are not done. I want the car you got here in.
Sniper: I was dropped off sweetheart.
Me: No you weren’t.
At once, I get scared. I get to thinking.
Me: Every sniper travels with a spotter. Where is he? Where is your spotter?
Sniper: I am more of a lone ranger.
Me: Bullshit! I know soldiers. I grew up among soldiers! Where is the spotter? (Still aiming the gun at his chest) Do you know what my dad used to say? A sniper without a spotter is like a penis without testicles.
Sniper: I don’t know what you want me to tell you. I guess you have just met your first penis without testicles.
I take a chance. I crawl on my elbows and knees out of the car still keeping the gun aimed at the sniper and instruct Diana to stay in the car for a while. In my crawling out, shattered glass cuts into my skin driving blood from my hands and elbows. Blood which I can’t focus on until this is handled.
Me: Here is what is going to happen. You and I are going to take a walk to your car
Sniper: You just shot my foot to hell. How am I expected to walk?
Me: Skip like a kangaroo
Diana: Aunty Felicia, let’s just make a run to the bridge. He probably left the car up there.
It is not the best idea, but it is the only one we have. We have to move before reinforcements can get here. So I tuck my gun at my waist, grab my handbag which has the bullets in it and get Diana out of the wreckage. Such a beautiful car now lying mashed up in the middle of the road at night. What a waste.
Since the sniper’s foot is all shot up, he can’t do much in terms of movement. I cover him with my gun as I pat him down for a mobile phone and car keys. I don’t find a phone but I find the keys in his pockets which I grab kick his guns and knife further away from him and head up to the overpass with Diana running ahead of me.
Parked beside the road on the overpass is an old Jeep and it gets me curious. The key fits in the door and it unlocks it. It is a stick shift and nothing says fun driving like a good old stick shift Jeep. Inside the glove compartment is a phone. Good.
I start the car; drive down the road and head on towards Nakuru.
Since my phone ‘died’ in the crash, I now have to use the sniper’s to establish contact with people that I need to communicate with. Lucky for me, Diana knows her father’s number off-head. As usual, I place the phone on the dash but since this is an old car, it doesn’t have a holder. So I have to tape the phone in place. The Rhino is a scared man when I call him and put him on speaker.
Me: (Feigning excitement) Rhino! Hi! So good to hear your voice. Gosh I had missed you. How’re you doing?
Rhino: What the hell happened Felicia? You just went silent. Sergeant Buluma has been trying to reach you.
Me: Oh yes. I had forgotten the rules. You lie to me and I catch you at that lie so you lie again to cover your other lie until I get angry and threaten to kill your daughter. At which point you stop lying and start begging and negotiating. Can we not do that this time? It’s getting old.
Him: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Me: See what I mean? Can I talk to the Sergeant please?
Buluma: (Comes to the phone almost as soon as I request for him. This gives me a picture of what’s going on. They must have established a command center complete with recorders, trackers, behavioral experts, a bunch of officers and tactical teams on standby waiting for the orders to hunt me down) Hello
Me: I was wrong. You didn’t send the Flying Squad. You went ahead and sent a soldier on a shoot to kill order.
Buluma: I’m a cop! I can’t command soldiers.
Me: Well, someone did. Someone sent a sniper after me. And do you know how I know that that was an off the books mission? The guy didn’t bring a spotter. And he was communicating with someone over his radio. Maybe someone over at that command center you have set up over there. Or maybe someone over there hired a mercenary to retrieve the girl.
Buluma: Look, that wasn’t us.
Me: I don’t care. Anymore surprises and I am off the map with the kid. You can take that to the bank. Get me the journalist ASAP.
Less than five minutes later, the journalist is on the line with me.
Zubeda Ali: Hello Felicia. My name is Zubeda. I understand you’re looking for me.
Me: Ah yes. The journalist. You know how people say “It’s so nice getting to talk to you” sometimes? Well, I can’t say that in this case.
Her: Is me asking why that’s the case relevant?
Me: As a matter of fact, yes it is. Why don’t you go ahead and ask why? See where that goes.
Me: I am thinking of a while ago when you were a correspondent for the BBC. I am thinking of a case that came to your attention. Defiled girl’s case being settled under a tree by the police, the chief and the village elders. Then the girl in this case is sent back home to continue living with her defiling father. I am thinking of a young journalist who had the opportunity to share the girl’s plight with the world because in her opinion, had the case been reported, it would have been somehow politically incorrect for you.
Her: Look, I was supposed to handle happy themes, OK? Cultural weddings, blossoming love, art, a new master chef in the country, music, poetry…
Me: And “Father Defiles Daughter” would taint your happy themes stories. I get it. I do.
Her: But you asked for me tonight. Why?
Me: Thing about looking the other way when terrible things are happening to other people is that one day you will wake up and find the same things happening to you. And then there won’t be anybody there to help you because they have all fallen victim to things you left them alone to deal to with. Aren’t you tired of looking away Zubeda? Aren’t you tired of the loneliness in that “Play it safe” cloud? If you are, then congratulations. A politically incorrect story has just landed on your lap.
01:16h. Nairobi – Nakuru Highway
Diana: Do you know what I want to be when I grow up?
Me: A doctor? A lawyer maybe?
Her: Nope. Everybody wants to be a lawyer or an architect or a doctor when they grow up. Nobody wants to be a mechanic or a farmer or a house girl like you…
Me: Yeah. Trust me, being a house girl isn’t something you plan on becoming. It’s just one of those last straws you grab on to before you drown.
Her: But you are more of a friend to me than the lady who cleans our house and does laundry. And you can drive too.
Me: Let’s just say I had a life before I started working for your father. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Her: An angel. An angel of death to be precise.
Me: What? Why? You are twelve years old. Why would you think of something like that?
Her: Well, angels are like those people who hang out with God in Heaven, right?
Her: And they are supernatural. I am thinking supernatural beings feel strongly than us mortals do. So for example if I have an angel who watches over me, when I feel pain then they feel the same pain but in triplicate or something, right?
Me: I don’t know. But keep going.
Her: If that’s the case then angels must cry a lot. I want to be the angel of death who kills people who make angels cry. Because by making angels cry, those people are hurting other human beings and human beings aren’t supposed to hurt each other. Just like angels aren’t supposed to cry.
Me: But sometimes angels must cry because they are sad, right? Not because they have been hurt. You do cry sometimes, I suppose.
Her: Yes, but only when I miss my mom and I don’t have anyone to talk to.
Me: So the fact that your mom isn’t around makes you cry sometimes. Meaning your angel cries three times as much as you do because of your mom. Would you want the angel of death to kill your mom?
Her: (Thoughtfully with a tiny crease between her eyebrows) Hmm. Let me think about it a minute longer.
01:31h. Naivasha. 72 Kilometers from Nairobi
I call Sergeant Buluma.
Me: Has Zubeda brought her crew? Cameras and everything?
Buluma: How did you…?
Me: Know that she would? Same way I knew that you guys would send someone to try and recover the girl. Same way I knew everything else before it happened. Have you ever noticed how predictable human beings are? Gosh, it’s so frustrating. For example, I know that now that you guys don’t have eyes on me anymore since you are not tracking this Jeep, so you have sent people after me. It’s what I’d do. So it won’t be long before I see a car following me or maintaining a steady speed ahead of me. Or maybe I will look up and see a blinking light above the car. Then I’ll know you sent a drone. And I expect that Zubeda, if she’s as ambitious as I think she is, will come over in a chopper.
Zubeda: What do you want Felicia?
Me: I am on speakerphone. Good. It means that The Rhino can hear me. You there Rhino?
Rhino: Yeah I am here. Just tell us what you want.
Me: I want you to confess to everything you have done to Diana in the past. I want you to confess to the world just how much you love girls.
Rhino: I, I, I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Me: Dude, you will by morning. Or you will never see Diana again. And that is a fact.
Rhino: You can’t do that! You can’t grab my daughter then force me to confess to something I didn’t do. That’s the very definition of torture!
Me: (With my finger hovering over the phone screen) You would know that, wouldn’t you? Tick tock Inspector. Tickie tickie tock. (I hang up.)
Over the car radio is Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” playing and I pump up the volume a little bit so that I can drive in silence.
Diana: (Over the music) You look sad.
Me: No I don’t.
Her: Yes you do. You should pull over.
Her: So we can dance.
Me: It’s one in the morning. You want me to pull over in the middle of nowhere just so we can dance?
Her: (Nodding eagerly in the affirmative) Yes! Are you going to deny us a chance to dance? It might be the only chance we’ll ever have.
And so I oblige. We pull over a few kilometers past Naivasha, pump up the volume, switch off the lights and step out of the car.
Me: So, what now?
Her: Now we dance.
She comes close enough to hold me and right there in the moonlight, we dance slowly as Diana hums along. “I have died ever day waiting for you, darling don’t be afraid I have loved you for a thousand years, I’ll love you for a thousand more.”
Then she lets go and starts a ballet and swaying conventionally like she is a character out of “Black Swan” – a little ballerina on a night when freedom for her begins. She doesn’t know this but this is the best moment of my life. That smile on her face, knowing that I put it there, I wouldn’t give up this moment for anything else in the world.
02:57h – Gil-Gil Weighbridge
I have been getting Buluma to put me in touch with Diana’s mother who is away in New York on some United Nations conference. She is a woman who travels a lot. Gets to hold talks in conventions all over the world. A professional woman. But to Diana, she is just an absentee mother.
Now she calls and she is as petrified as before
Diana’s Mother: Look, I just want my little girl back. OK? I don’t care what I have to do, I just want her back
Me: What do you mean you want her back? That would mean you had her and then lost her.
Her: I don’t understand.
Me: When was the last time you sat down with her and drew those shitty little pictures with her using those shitty little crayons you had bought with her in that shitty little supermarket near the house where she lives? When was the last time you sat down with her and read a shitty little children story to her? When was the last time you had a conversation with her? Not a shitty little “Hi baby, how have you been? Mommy loves you” skim-talk but a real conversation. Where she tells you what’s going on in her life. When was the last time you were a real mother to your own daughter?
Her: Is that it? Now you are going to blame your mistake on me? You kidnapped my daughter because what? You felt like you were more of a mother to her than I am?
Me: Exactly. Oh. That and that your husband likes to mess around with her vagina.
Her: You are crazy! My husband would never….
Me: No he wouldn’t, would he? Because he is the man you married. He is her father. You have trusted her with him. Well, he touches her. And you’d know that if you took a minute to listen to her. Look lady, I have been with Diana for two years now. In that time The Rhino has made advances on me, threatened to rape me and I have put up with it because I needed the money. And I convinced myself that I am a big girl and I can take care of myself. But she can’t. She is a little girl. And you know, I would rather she grew up inside a foxhole with me, than spend a minute longer in that house with your husband and a mother who is never home. And you know it goddamit! You know what he does to her. Deep inside you have had your suspicions. When Diana tells you, “I don’t like watching TV with daddy because he keeps playing with me” you wonder what kind of games these are that she doesn’t like playing. When she says she wants to lock her bedroom at night, you must wonder why. When she won’t let your brothers hug her, when she walks around afraid of these bearded men with huge hands, when she told you “Mommy come and get me” over and over and over and over again, you must have wondered why. Deep inside you must have suspected that something sinister was happening. But it just didn’t register, did it? I mean, how could it? How could you convince yourself that you husband was sexually abusing your daughter? That is the kind of thing you hear in the news. It is something that happens in other families, but not your own. You would have to accept that this demon exists inside the walls you call home. That it is happening to you. To your daughter. Perpetrated by your own husband. And that’s simply not the kind of thing you accept, is it?
A lingering silence follows. I can hear her breathing hard on the other side. Like she is thinking. Remembering. Connecting the dots. The numerous “Mommy come and get me” dots. The clues she couldn’t put together because she was only home a few hours every week. Clues she missed because she delegated it all to me and her husband. A husband who she trusted and who abused this trust in ways frowned upon by every community in the world. Even the most primitive.
Her: Diana… (Her voice is holding on to strength. It reminds me of that scene in the movie “Seven” where Brad Pitt’s character is asking Kevin Spacey’s character, “What’s in the booooooooox? What’s in the fucking booox?” It is the kind of voice you use when you know that you are about to confirm your worst fears)
Diana: Yes mom?
Her mom: Is it true? (And she accompanies the question with a little whimper like a dog that has just been kicked in the ribs. I can picture her shoving her palm against her mouth to stifle a scream. She just can’t believe she has to ask that. That it really is so bad that she has to ask her daughter if her father has been touching her inappropriately. That she had missed it all.)
Diana: (She looks at me as if to ask me if it is OK for her to tell her mother the truth. Like “Will everything be OK after this?” I nod, assuring her that everything will be OK) He tells me that I am daddy’s little girl. And that he loves me so much. Last night he made me sit on his lap and told me that he loved me so much that he wanted us to be one. To be connected. Then he took my panty off and… (Her voice trails off)
Her mom: (Her voice isn’t dramatic. It is calm. Calculating) Did he take his pants off?
Diana: Not last night. Aunt Felicia walked into the room so he stopped.
Her mom: What do you mean not last night?
Diana: Sometimes he takes them off and makes me touch his wee wee. When it gets bigger he asks me, “Do you feel my growing love for you?”
Do you know that silence that lands before something really drastic happens? Like when a child is in pain, then it draws in a large gulp of air in silence before releasing a shattering yell? That’s the silence that Diana’s mom drops. Then when she finally speaks, her voice permeates an aura of decision. And precision. She knows exactly what to do now. She knows exactly how to fight the power and she knows exactly how to do it.
Her mom: Felicia, are you there?
Her mom: Whatever happens, keep that monster away from my daughter. I am taking the next flight home.
Me: Get him to confess on TV. Do whatever the fuck you need to do. (It’s always a glorious moment when two erred females unite against the errant foe, isn’t it? Kinda reminds me of Stephen King’s “Dolores Claiborne”.)
When I was Diana’s age, I was used to my father’s hands feeling every bit of my skin with his rough hands. It started out as “Jack and the Bean Stalk” and ended with him tying me to the bed and defiling me for days.
I remember when my elder brother came home and found him on top of me; they had a huge physical fight about it and my brother won. Temporarily. Temporarily enough to untie me, get me dressed and get me out of the house. Then as he was rushing me down the stairs towards the parking lot where dad parked his car, he was shot twice in the back by his own father but I kept going. I knew my brother would want me to keep running.
I was raised from that point on by my uncle. My father’s younger brother. They were both in the army. They were both hopeless drunks but at least my uncle didn’t like kids’ beans.
When my father was arrested, he wasn’t charged with defilement. In spite of there being evidence that I had been defiled by him, in spite of doctors coming forward to testify that my father had been inside me and torn me apart in the process continuously, he wasn’t charged with that. They slapped him instead, with a murder charge that was reduced to manslaughter because apparently my brother had provoked him. The court sentenced him to seven years in prison. Let justice be our shield and defender. Let justice be our shield and defender my ass.
Last night when I walked in on The Rhino taking sexual advantage of his daughter, I knew where it was all going. And that coupled with the fact that my father had just been released from prison gave me the courage to do what I knew needed to be done. Evil prevails when good people sit on their asses and do nothing.
I have a gun. I have Diana with me. I don’t have a plan because by now, everyone must know that I am not going to kill her. I might kill myself, but I can’t kill her. So when Buluma calls again, I fight to keep my bluff on the table.
Me: I will kill her unless he confesses. I swear to fucking God I’d rather Diana died with me than have her live in that house with him a minute longer.
Buluma: But you are basically coercing the guy into confessing. Anything he says now won’t be admissible in a court of law.
Me: I don’t want him to go to prison. I want the whole world to know what he does to his daughter! Buluma, you can’t attest to my mental stability right now. You know I have been abused for a long time now. You know that the man who abused me just left prison. Ask yourself this; am I capable of doing something completely stupid? You already fed me to the wolves once before. Do you seriously think I’ll let you do that to another girl? Do you Buluma? (Yelling over the phone) DO YOU??? Coz if you do I dare you to fucking try me!
Buluma: Don’t do this kid. There are better ways to handle this.
Me: Yeah? Like what? Sending him to prison? Talking about it on TV for a few days? Trending on Twitter? What better ways are there? What will happen to Diana that didn’t happen to me already? Get me a live confession on TV, or I swear to God I am emptying this gun into Diana before putting one in my head. Ain’t no way I’m letting Huria touch her again. And I pray to every deity ever prayed to by man that you’re taking me seriously right now. You have until eight a.m.
I have parked the car on the street adjacent to the Administrative offices in Nakuru town and we are just sitting there enjoying snacks we bought at Tuskys. On the radio, Queen Ifrica’s “Daddy” is playing and I am humming along.
“Daddy don’t touch me there, I am gonna tell on you one day I swear. Can’t you see I’m scared? You’re supposed to be my father.
Every day I wonder why my daddy had to be the one to take away my innocence. Sometimes I want to die, feels like no one cares for me and it’s evident. Something must be wrong with me, I’m not as happy as I seem to be, the long showers I take don’t wash away the memories, why do I have to face this tragedy? We all go through struggles in life I am aware, but to have my daddy touching me there that’s just not fair. Stop him from destroying my future; believe me he’s behaving like a creature.”
Me: I met this kid once. His name was Max Kazana. (Distant chuckle) Can you believe that? His parents actually named him ‘Kazana’. Who names their kid, “Struggle On”? But I loved the shit out of this kid. Him and his big eyes, red lower lip, soft sweaty palms that threatened to soak everything he touched, tough beard that scratched my face every time we kissed or hugged… but Lord of mercy, I loved him.
Wanted to marry him and everything. We were going to get a little money. Seven thousand shillings. Then we were going to walk into one of these offices here (Pointing at a bunch of government buildings beyond the hedge) which is like the Attorney General’s office and we were going to get married. (Another chuckle. A sad one this time.) We were nineteen and in love. But all along I felt like I would be living a lie with him if I didn’t tell him what my father had done to me, so about a couple of months before we were to get married, I sat him down and I told him everything. All of it. All the way to my brother’s death. And after that things weren’t the same again. He looked at me different. The tone of his voice when he spoke to me was different. Sympathetic. I was this delicate vase he felt like he needed to tiptoe around like I would break if he told me what he really meant. And the sex just died off. He simply wouldn’t or couldn’t rise up to it. I guess in his mind I was already this broken object that he didn’t know how to put back together. He had no idea what to do with me. I tried to show him that I was still the Felicia he knew and loved but there was simply no way for him to think of me without thinking of this abused kid who he could be friends with but couldn’t marry. So, we didn’t get married. (I drop a helpless shrug and wipe a trickle that has made its way to my cheek)
Diana: I am sorry Aunt Felicia
Me: It’s OK. It really is OK. See that’s the thing about being abused. It stays with you forever. It isn’t something that you can just dust off and keep walking. It becomes a part of you and if you let it, it becomes you. People might not see the sign on your forehead but it is right there. And it reads, “Here walks Felicia. A girl who was raped by her father.” And you spend your life trying to prove to yourself that you are above that sign. That in as much as you are the girl who was defiled by a parent, you are also something else. But there will always be something to remind you. That guy who was on TV when your father was on top of you. That smell wafting from his armpits as he dug himself deeper and deeper inside you. The song that was playing in your neighbor’s house. You keep telling yourself, I should have screamed. Why didn’t I scream? Maybe if I had screamed I wouldn’t be thinking of how damaged I am every time I hear Enrique Iglesias playing over the radio. Maybe if I had screamed I wouldn’t be associating beans with clitoris. Maybe if I had screamed…
But it doesn’t have to define you Dee, I swear. It doesn’t have to be who you spend the rest of your life being. You are so much more and don’t you ever let anyone make you feel otherwise. Humans walk around feeling like they are a sum of all their mistakes and all the bad things that happened to them in the past but we are not. You are not. You are the sum of every terrible thing you recovered from. The past is a place you will visit every now and then, but don’t build a house in it. Don’t live there. Always remember that. Do you understand me baby?
Diana: Stop crying Aunt Felicia. Everything will be OK.
She comes closer and sits on my lap and I stroke her hair and let time pass as we sit there listening to music and enjoying the tranquil morning in Nakuru. We must have dozed off because when the phone rings, there is light everywhere.
May 2nd, 2017. 07:57h. Nakuru Town.
It is Buluma calling telling me that he and Diana’s mother have “talked” him into confessing and that I should go to a place where there is a TV set or a radio. I set the car radio to a news station and catch a press statement going live on every major channel in the country.
“My name is Inspector Tenacious Huria and until an hour ago, I worked for the Kenya Police Service. I have been a police officer for nineteen years now and what I am about to say has nothing to do with me in that capacity. It has everything to do with me as a man. A flawed man.
On Friday, July 14th the year 2000, I was based in Lokichogio and at around six p.m. I and another officer rescued a young girl who was being gang-raped in a bush by a group of young men. She was around ten or eleven years old and her helplessness, her vulnerability was something I will never be able to get off my mind.
Even though she was fighting and kicking and screaming, there was this look of absolute susceptibility in her eyes that I knew I wanted to see again and again and again. And the young men had these looks of victory in their eyes like they had conquered something and made it their own. I wanted to be them. And I hated myself for wanting to be them and when one of them tried to escape, I shot him. I killed him. I could have chased him and I could have caught him because he wasn’t the fastest runner I had ever met, but I didn’t. And I didn’t even think twice about it. I just pointed my gun and shot him in the back of his head. I shot him because I hated him. I hated him because I wanted to be him and so I guess I hated myself too.
And over the years I found myself wanting to spend more and more time with young girls. And mostly I just entertained these thoughts in my head. They were fantasies that got me off. Then when the internet landed I found myself searching for kiddie porn but it didn’t feel real. It didn’t have what I wanted. I wanted to see them vulnerable. I wanted to see being torn completely from their innocence in real time. And I wanted to be the hands tearing that innocence away.
So I started frequenting areas where I could find young girls. Young prostitutes. But they too lacked something that I was looking for. And I did find some as young as thirteen and fourteen but they weren’t innocent. Not anymore. Consequently, I had nothing to conquer. Ain’t much use conquering that which has already been conquered, right? Besides, I had to pay for them. When you pay someone to let them let you take them, then that isn’t exactly conquering. It wasn’t what I was looking for.
I had just bought a car so I started hanging out near school gates trying to pick out a lone girl that I could drive home at the end of a school day but most school girls who walk home do it in groups. So I struck out. Then one evening I was just driving home from work and I was still in my work uniform when I saw this kid walking home alone. She couldn’t have been much older that ten.
Getting her inside the car was simple. I was a police officer. She could trust me.
Inside the car I drove around keeping the conversation to a minimum because I knew what was going to happen to her. I knew her future. I knew that that future wasn’t going to be so bright and those thoughts just gave me the energy to accomplish what I had set out to do.
When she noticed that I wasn’t driving her in the direction of her home, she started getting nervous. Then I locked the doors and she knew that everything wasn’t going to be OK. She tried to scream but when I rammed my fist against her face she knew. I could see it in her eyes. She knew that it was all downhill from here.
She didn’t fight much after that. Instead she begged and the more she begged, the more “please” she got, the more determined I became. Finally, I had what I was looking for. That innocence. That purity. That virtuousness. I had it all to myself and it was all for me to grab. And I grabbed.
I drove into a bush and corrupted her like nothing had ever been corrupted before. I remember that look of absolute exposure in her eyes when I grabbed her by the throat and made her submit herself completely to me. That look brought out all the hyenas and dogs and greed and lust in me and I let myself go. It was like I had just exploded into a big mushroom cloud of animosity and I let it all take me over. Control me. Ravish me as I ravaged her.
At one point the look in her eyes changed to that of acceptance. Have you ever seen the look in someone’s eyes right before they commit suicide? I have. It is a look one gets when they hit that “fuck it” moment. I had just given that look to a ten year old and it made me feel like I had accomplished my life’s mission in that one explosive orgasm.
Then when I was done I crawled away from her because I didn’t want anything to do with her anymore. She was like a rag I had used to wipe the house and now it was all dirty and I wanted it as far away from me as possible. And that was really confusing. I kept asking myself, “Now what?” Now that my mission was accomplished, what then? And there she lay, staring blankly up at the evening sky with her panties around her ankles, her tiny little dress soiled and tattered, her hair a messy heap of black hay on her head – what was I going to do with her? Then she looked at me and there wasn’t any fear in her eyes. Not anymore. There was life in there. Hope. Humanity. She looked at me like I was this wounded pet that she could nurse back to health. I guess she could see all my inner turmoil on my face because she asked the most unexpected thing I would ever expect from a person I had just defiled.
“Are you OK?”
She scared me. Like I had conquered her, but I hadn’t. Like I had won, but not really. She was still uncorrupted. She was still a good person. I guess I expected her to fight. To run. To hate me. To give me a reason to kill her. But she asked if I was OK and I started crying. And I continued crying even as I grabbed her throat and choked the life out of her young body. I couldn’t see her face anymore because of all the tears clouding my eyes up but I could feel her body going limp. If I could not take her innocence by defiling her, maybe I could take it by killing her. That way she would always be mine.
I didn’t even ask her name. I just know that I killed her on Monday October 19th the year 2009 at 18:38h in the Amalemba area of Kakamega where I was based at the time. So if your daughter or sister or relative or friend disappeared around that time in that area on that date, then you will find her body in a shallow grave near the Salvation Army Headquarters.
At that time my daughter was about four or five years old. My wife had just taken this job at UNICEF and she was travelling a lot so mostly it was just me and her and a house girl. I also got transferred to Nairobi and I decided since I had innocence right there in my own house, why not exploit that?
But I approached my daughter in such a way that I would always stop myself in time before I really took her innocence away fully. Then I would finish off with another girl from wherever and just bump them off and dump their bodies somewhere…”
And he goes on and on like the President addressing the nation; only that his state address feels more like he is coming clean to his shrink than anything else. And the country stops operating for a while to listen.
And he cites names and dates of all the girls he grabbed and killed and when and where he buried them and at some point, I turn off the radio.
14:08h. Nakuru Police Headquarters
I am seated inside a cell with one shoe on and no belt. I doubt I will ever see Diana again in my life. When I switched off the radio, she didn’t talk to me. I guess we never always like the person who peels the scales off our eyes because chances are, we won’t like what we see.
When I drive myself to the police station and turn myself in, she says,
Her: Kenya is a free country because of people like Dedan Kimathi. But Kenya has never really sat down and thanked those people. And we never will.
Me: And you’re saying that to say what?
Her: You freed me. You fought for me. Now I have to try and take it over from here, because like you said, I am a lot more than the girl who was defiled. You rescued me, but you will forever be part of the dark story of my past.
And in my head I am beginning to ask myself, did I really fight for her or for myself? When I went on this onslaught against her father, who deserved it, was I doing it to get her protection and justice or was I doing it to get closure for what my own father had done to me?
In that cell, I wonder if I just used her as a stepping stone to do unto someone who I should have done to my father. I hoped I would be overcome with a sense of relief that the world saw the Rhino for who he really was but I am not.
I understand that Diana has to move on. I have to move on too. I pray that by choosing different paths, that by never seeing each other again, she and I will be able to start our lives again as women who though wounded and scarred by men we trusted, still managed to get back up and walk with our heads held high and faces absent of that “My name is Felicia. My father raped me when I was a kid.”