Wages of Sin (Part 1)

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Courtesy: Seo, Young-Deok Anguish 12, Iron Chain

THIS IS NOT A STORY FOR THE FAINTHEARTED. READERS’ DISCRETION IS NOT ONLY ADVISED, IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Lang’ata Women’s Prison

Lang’ata – Nairobi

Thursday. April 12, 2018

14:28h

Njambi, in her prison garb, is seated in the compound at the prison, her eyes barely glancing at the perimeter walls mounted with electric wire. Instead, her thumb keeps rubbing her palm as she talks to the female TV reporter, currently interviewing her.

Njambi: Yes I am fluent in English. I’m a learned girl.

Reporter: If you are so learned, it means that there was a time when your life was normal without the threat of going to prison?

Further away, prisoner cut the grass and others do copious amounts of laundry. Njambi feels her own hands, now toughened by the work she has had to do behind bars. Even though she still looks young, her sharp eyes are loaded with years of experience – years of plans gone wrong.

Njambi: As a matter of fact no. My life has always had room for the threat of going to prison.

Reporter: I don’t understand. You are here because…

She closes her eyes for a second and gets flashes of blood streaks on the wall and a man lying dead on the floor with his eyes open and a large pool of blood forming under him.

Njambi: Because I murdered my abusive husband is why I am here. A cliché, I know, but that’s what the courts found me guilty of.

Reporter: You don’t sound remorseful about killing your husband.

Njambi: Because I’m not. He is irrelevant in death as he was in life and honestly, he is not the subject of this interview.

The reporter shifts in her chairs nervously as the woman in front of her raises her voice a notch with banging impatience.

Reporter: Then what story did you want to share with the world when you agreed to this interview?

Eighteen Years Earlier

Day One

Kangema – Kanorero Road

Kangema – Murang’a

Wednesday. February 2, 2000

21:00h

A 22-year-old Njambi is standing by the roadside sobbing loudly and cradling something in a leso. Anyone would get away with imagining that what she is cradling is a baby. Behind her is a vast avocado plantation.

Hiding among the trees in this avocado plantation under the cover of darkness are TWO BROTHERS; MUSA who is 26 and JAKUBU who is 29. Their sharp weapons glisten in the dark.

Back on the road, Njambi cradles the baby who is curiously silent and acts as if she is mourning. From a far she hears the engine of an approaching car and her sobbing grows to a crescendo.

Njambi: Mwana wakwa! Mwana wakwa ni gukwa arakua! Uui! Uii! Mutindeithie! (My child is dying! My child is dying! Help! Help!)

Among the avocado trees, the brothers exchange glances and hold their weapons tightly in hand. Jakubu is holding a long mean looking, well sharpened machete while Musa is holding a well sharpened AXE. Musa nods at his brother and releases a sigh, a cloud of cold air forming around his nostrils.

A taxi materializes in front of Njambi who continues to mourn for her very sick and possibly dying baby. She stands in the middle of the road waving her free hand and holding her bundle of sorrow cautiously in the other hand.

Njambi: Rugamia ngari! Ndwarira Mwana thibitari ma ndakuhoya! (Stop the car! Please take my baby to the hospital! Please I’m begging you!)

Wambugu the taxi driver is ferrying a young couple to Kanorero, about ten kilometers away. The couple is Chris, who at 24, is finally visiting his fiancé’s home to meet the only other suriving member of her nuclear family. His brother. The lady is Sabina and right now, she is all grins, glancing at the engagement ring on her finger whenever she can. Which is sixty times a minute.

It is all silent in the cab as the couple occupies the back seat. Even in their silence, Chris and Sabina are communicating nonverbally. They are holding hands, their thighs are touching and they keep exchanging knowing looks and smiling.

Suddenly, the love and the silent is curtailed by the wails of a woman apparently in distress. Ahead of them, a woman jumps in the middle of the road cradling what appears to be a baby. She is screaming and wailing, constantly calling out her child and now she is illuminated squarely by the taxi’s headlights.

Wambugu hits the breaks pedal to avoid running over the woman and curses;

Wambugu: Riu ni ngoma iriku ici? (What the hell?)

He stops the taxi just close enough to Njambi and she slaps the bonnet mourning loudly. Quickly, she runs around the car and wails as she tries to open one of the doors;

Njambi: Hingurira murango ma na Ngai arokurathima! (Open the door please and may God bless you!)

She tries the latch but the doors are locked from inside. She screams for them to open the door but since the windows are all up, they can’t hear what the hell she is yelling about. All anyone in the taxi can see is that she is screaming and is terrified.

Sabina: (To Wambugu) Ndumuhingurire murango na ringi ni akora maramuteng’eria. (Just unlock the door for her. Maybe she is being chased by thugs.)

Wambugu: Kana ringi we niwe mukora. (Maybe she is the thug.)

That makes them looks outside closely. All they see is a desperate woman screaming in a terrified manner. Wambugu rolls down the window and catches Njambi as she screams…

Njambi: Mwana wakwa ni gukua arakua ma! Hingura murango tuthie thibitari. (My child is dying. Please open the door and take us to the hospital!)

Wambugu: (To his passengers while looking around) Ni murona andu angi kuu nja? (Do you see anyone else outside?)

Chris: Ona kungikorwo na akora angi kuu nja kweri ni urona ta mangiikara handu turamona? (Even if there were thugs out there, do you think they’d stay somewhere where we could see them?)

Clearly he is not too hot about letting Njambi into the car, but Sabina thumps his gently in the ribs. “Chris!”

They look around and Njambi halts her screaming for a second. She is anxious. She looks over her shoulder into the avocado plantation where the brothers are waiting, holding their weapons tightly.

Inside the car, Chris is looking all around;

Chris: Nii ndirona mundu. We ni urona mundu Sabina? (I don’t see anyone. Do you see anyone Sabina?)

Sabina: (To Wambugu, Irritated. The woman’s child is not OK and Sabina is very concerned about that) Aca. Muhingurire murango, kai utarona ena mwana muruaru? (No. Just unlock the door! Don’t you see she has a sick child?)

Njambi’s ears are corked and the second she hears the locks click and she moves fast. One second she is cradling her ‘baby’, the next the leso is on the ground and in her hands is a pistol. One the ground, a large teddy bear spills from the leso and rolls on the ground, it’s dead eyes open to the world.

Sabina screams petrified and unknown to her, that is the sound that the brothers in the avocado plantation have been waiting for.

Jakubu: Tuthii. (Let’s go.)

The brothers spring to action and their shoes thud softly against the red earth as they run fast for the road where they find Njambi covering her victims with the gun. The gun that looks too big in her small hands. Sabina is sniffling and grabbing onto her fiancé, her eyes wide with fear.

Njambi: (Finger on lips) Shush. Mundu ukuhingura kanua ringi ngumuikia mucinga uyu kanua na ndimukunuranie mutwe. (If anyone screams again, I will shove this gun into their mouth and blow their head open.)

Munyaka Wholesalers Limited

Gakira; Kangema – Murang’a

Wednesday. February 2, 2000

21:00 hrs

At the same time that Chris and Sabina are about to face Njambi, Musa and Jakubu, a robbery is going down about two kilometers north in Gakira.

A 30-year-old Kimachia is standing at the wholesale shop’s main door with a concealed gun in his jacket and a mask on his face. Inside the large shop is another member of the gang. 29-year-old Murefu, so named for his height, is masked too and is standing in the middle of the shop holding an axe.

He is manning the wholesale shop workers who are whimpering and shaking with fear at his feet. They keep glancing at this tall and masked figure with an axe in his hands and he keeps telling them to look away or he’ll slice them up into bits and do horrible things with what’ll be left of them.

Then there is Saimo, who at 33, is the guy with the scariest mask and he is also the guy at the counter, holding a gun to the cashier’s head, asking for money. The young cashier is all frantic as she dips her trembling hands into the cashbox and pulls out wand after wand of cash.

Saimo: (To the cashier) Ikanga mama kana nguanange. Nii ndiendaga uhii. (You better hurry up lady, or I’ll waste you. Don’t treat me like I ain’t circumcised.)

He says it all calmly with a voice muffled by the mask but the gun in her face carries all the threat in the universe. She pulls out more money and puts it into a back pack given to her by Saimo who looks over to his colleagues. They are all relaxed. They are all professionals.

Saimo: (To Murefu) Maundu me sawa hau? (Everything OK over there?)

Murefu glances at the subdued workers at his feet and nods a little vigorously than he should. The fact that no one is trying to raise hell fills him with confidence.

Murefu: Ndi sawa haha. (I’m all good.)

Saimo: (To Kimachia) Wi fiti hau? (You OK over there?)

Kimachia: Ndirona kwina uru nii. (Everything is OK.)

Saimo: (To the cashier) Kai utuikire kimbu mama? Nduikange. (Lady, did you turn into a chameleon all of a sudden? Hurry up!)

Back to:

Kangema – Kanorero Road

Same time

The doors to the taxi are now hanging open and its three former occupants Wambugu, Sabina and Chris, are kneeling in front of the car, just where the headlights shine fully on them.

They are shaking, they are terrified, they are whimpering and Sabina is outright sobbing. Njambi is calmly covering them with her gun.

Sabina: Ndugituiye ma no uthie. Nikii wetereire? (Just take everything and go. What are you waiting for?)

Njambi: (Calmly) Eterera o uguo muhiki ni ukuona. (Just hang in there sweetheart. You will see.)

Wambugu: Please ma ndina twana twiri tunjetereire mucii. Okiria twetereire bata ni mutigaturage. (Please. I have two kids waiting for me at home. Whatever we are waiting for, just don’t kill us.)

Sabina’s crying intensifies when Wambugu talks about death.

Sabina: Ati guturaga? No maturage? (Kill us? Can they kill us?) (To Njambi) Ma mutigaturage tafadhali. (Please don’t kill us.)

She crawls on her knees to where Njambi is standing and holds her legs crying and begging. Chris grabs her and tries to hold her back, away from the smirking Njambi who is currently not in a very listening mood.

Njambi: (To Chris) Ndukinjehererie gathia ino haha kana ndiminine. (Would you please get this garbage away from me before I end it?)

Chris gets hold of his fiancé and cradles her in his arms as she cries loudly as if mourning. Njambi watches them expressionlessly, like she is watching National Geographic on TV. All the fear she creates means nothing to her.

Just then, the sound of steel against tarmac reaches their ears and Njambi smiles. She is the only one who does. She is the only one who can currently smile at the mayhem that is currently walking down the road towards them. The rest can only wait and tremble and hope to God that when the monsters arrive, there will be signs of life left when the smoke clears.

Back to:

Munyaka Wholesalers Limited

Same time

The cashier is done loading Saimo’s bag with money. She hands it back to him and as he takes it, he covers her with his gun, his masked face an inanimate but overwhelmingly scary feature and says in his muffled and calm voice;

Saimo: Uma hau riu. Thii ukome haria aria angi makomete. (Get out of there. Join your colleagues on the floor.)

She obliges him frantically and practically runs over to her colleagues crying a river.

Murefu: (To Saimo) Na umuthi ni wageria mwanake angikorwo twanyita mbia icio utarathite mundu. (It’s an achievement for you today dude if we have gotten that money without you shooting somebody.)

The workers, cowering on the floor, whimper and shudder, the thought of one of the robbers being a trigger happy maniac freezing them with fear.

At the door, the masked Kimachia turns to Murefu and Saimo;

Kimachia: He mundu ukite. (Someone’s coming.)

Kimachia takes off his masks and holds it at his back, away from the view of the young woman who is currently approaching the wholesale shop she can’t be a day older than 25. She has a little sleeping baby tied to her back with a leso.

as she enters the shop unsuspectingly, Kimachia smiles at her and she smiles back; a smile that disappears as soon as she enters completely and sees that she has just walked into a robbery. She turns to leave but bump into Kimachia who is now pointing his gun at her.

Kimachia: Sorry.

Saimo: (Sarcastically) Karibu Munyaka. No nyende gukuhenia ngwire ni weka wega ni gutucerera no umuthi ndi muhonoki na Ibuku itheru ni ringanitie kuhenania. (Welcome to Munyaka wholesalers. I would love to lie to you that you have done well to visit us but today I am a saved man today and the Good Book prohibits lying.)

The young lady is a mother. A new mother. Her baby can’t be any older than six months and instinctively, she takes the baby from her back and holds it protectively in her arms.

A move Saimo notices.

Scornfully.

Kangema Police Station

Kangema – Murang’a

Wednesday. February 2, 2000

21:10h

In the office of the Officer in Command of Kangema Police Station sits the OCS Desmond Kirui. He is combing through the newspaper, hurrying past the news towards the sports section to see if his friends have won a marathon in America, when the door to his office opens and in enters the very athletic Corporal Mbugati who is in his early 30’s.

Desmond Kirui: (His Kiswahili carries a heavy Kalenjin accent) Igo gitu nawesa fanyia wewe leo gopro? (Something I can do for you today corporal?)

Corporal Mbugati: Afande kumeingia ripoti kuwa kuna wizi ya mabavu inaendelea pale Gakira. (Sir, we have reports that there is an ongoing armed robbery in Gakira.)

Desmond Kirui: Ee nachua. Sachent na Inspector walishaniambia. (I know. The sergeant and the inspector already informed me.)

Corporal Mbugati: Basi kwa nini tunakaa tu? Kwa nini hutaki twende tukomeshe hiyo jangili? Si unajua…? (So why are we just sitting here? Shouldn’t we be out there putting a stop to this? Don’t you know…?

Desmond Kirui: (Irritated but not overtly displaying it) Chua mahali yako gopro ama nifanye utumwe Moyale. (Know your place corporal or I’ll get you transferred to Moyale.)

The corporal wants to add something but the look on the OCS’s face encourages him to keep his mouth shut. Angry but helpless, he storms out of the office.

Kangema – Kanorero Road

Sometimes in one of those cheap slasher flicks, villains emerge from the shadows from dragging chain and axes on the floor, advancing menacingly towards tied up and whimpering victims. These villains are most likely to be dressed in dirty jeans and leather jackets with chains all over them, and boots. You can’t forget the boots.

As they advance on the victims, noisy metal rock music plays. The kind of music when you hear nothing but the chaotic instruments and some guy who won’t stop screaming.

If this were a movie, that would be the scene playing as Musa and Jakubu emerge from the avocado plantation and materialize in front of the taxi.

Musa is dragging his axe on the tarmac creating a very gritting sound that drives the fear of God right into the taxi passengers and driver’s souls. Jakubu is slapping the side of his machete against his palm and they are both smiling.

Sabina is on the verge of having an anxiety attack – wide eyes, shaking lips, clattering teeth – the axe drags on the tarmac and the sound gets closer and closer to them as little sparks fly.

The taxi’s headlights shine on the brothers.

Musa grabs Njambi, pulls her close and plants a sensational kiss on her lips before turning his attention to the hostages who he examines them like they are goods in a market. They watch him with varying degrees of rebellion, fear and wonder.

And Jakubu, the belly of the machete slapping his palm, casts a longing eye at Sabina and a smile that anyone should be afraid of, crosses his lips.

Njambi: (Watching as Musa checks the hostages out) Ureciria atia? (What do you think?)

The thugs look at Musa, awaiting orders and it is easy to see that this 26-year-old with hollow eyes, handsome baby face features and a stern look about him, is the leader.

Wambugu: (To Musa) Nikii murenda mani? Oyai indo ciothe ni cianyu no mutigaturage ma. (What do you want man? Take everything. Take it all. It’s all yours, just don’t kill us.)

Musa stands in front of Wambugu and looks down at him. The driver looks up and a cold sweat drips down his armpits. One look into Musa’s eyes tells him he really should have kept his mouth shut. Musa lifts his axe slowly and touches Wambugu’s face with the cold steel.

As he runs the axe up and down Wmbugu’s cheek, Musa’s head bobs from right to left – side to side as he grunts like a recovering addict who has just seen a line of cocaine placed on the table in front of him.

Wambugu can’t remember being more scared. He is looking for signs of life inside Musa’s eyes and can’t seem to find any. Njambi is watching with a tiny smile, as she massages the barrel of her gun and Jakubu is still waiting patiently.

Chris is hugging Sabina, blocking her away from these people who haven’t yet said what they want.

Musa: Witaguo atia? (What’s your name?)

Wambugu: Wambugu

Musa: Wambugu wau? (Whose son are you?)

Wambugu: Wa Nyokabi. (Nyokabi’s)

Musa mumbles to himself.

Musa: Wambugu wa Nyokabi.

Wambugu is visibly trembling now. Musa slowly take the axe away from his face and pulls out a penknife from his pocket.

Musa: Wambugu niui guoya ni uri mucamo? (Do you know that fear has a taste, Wambugu?)

He cuts Wambugu’s cheek just a little to produce a drop of blood. The driver trembles even more, his fear putting a guttural groan in his throat.

Musa lifts the knife to his mouth, licks off the blood and grunts some more before turning to Njambi laughing.

Musa: Kina murio ii. (He is so sweet. Then he turns to Wambugu who is rubbing his cheek gently and looking at his hand, with a little blood on it) Wambugu kai wi gathirange? Uracama ta gathirange. (Are you a virgin Wambugu? You taste like a virgin.)

The driver is taking deep breaths. He looks at the assailants, from one to the other. He sees the cold ruthlessness in Musa’s eyes, the open brutality in Jakubu’s and the laughing mischief in Njambi’s and then he knows. There is no way these three are letting them go.

Some people are robbers, solely interested in material wealth. Then others are hunters, out to hunt for sport. Wambugu can see the hunger for sport and thrill in the eyes of these three and in a moment clarity, he jumps to his feet and pushes Musa back, aiming to run.

But he doesn’t get a meter past Jakubu before Jakubu’s panga comes down hard on his neck and chops his head clean off his shoulder.

Chris buries Sabina’s face into his chest but it is too late. She has seen the head chopped off and only hides in Chris’s chest just when it rolls off Wambugu’s shoulders, lands on the tarmac with a soft thud and starts rolling away from the group.

Munyaka Wholesalers Limited

Saimo is walking slowly toward the woman and her child as he chuckles playfully –

Saimo: (To the woman) Turia maru. (Kneel down.)

Murefu, not looking forward to just how fast this scene can take a nosedive for the worse, heads over to Saimo quickly and whispers in his ear.

Murefu: Already twina mbia. Tuthie. (We already have the money. Let’s go.)

Saimo: Thiagai ndi thutha. (Go on. I’m right behind you.)

Murefu makes as if to say something but Saimo pushes him gently away. Murefu backs down and they exchange glances with Kimachia. Though they cannot see each other’s faces through their masks, they know what each is feeling. Terror.

The young woman with the baby slowly kneels down, bathed in terror. She squeezes her baby closer to her breast shielding it away from the approaching maniac.

Saimo: (To the lady comfortingly) Ndiri na bata nawe. Ndina bata na kanyamu kau unyitiriire hau. (I’m not interested in you but in that little thing you are holding on to over there.)

The woman bursts out crying and talking at the same time.

Woman With The Baby: Aca ma! Ndatha tu ndakwihoya; no ndukahutirie mwana. (Please, no. Just shoot me but don’t touch the baby.)

Saimo: (Cold. Unconcerned. Uncaring) Nuu wauga ni ngukahutia? (Who said anything about touching it?) (To his colleagues) Njetererai hau nja ni ndiroka. (Wait for me outside. I’m coming.)

Reluctantly, Murefu and Kimachia oblige him. The woman continues begging and crying.

Woman With The Baby: Tamaka ma no kana. Ni ngukuhe kindu giothe ukwenda. Ona ngukuhe nginya mwiri wakwa undue ngombo yaku no tigana na mwana. (It’s just a baby. I’ll give you anything you want; I’ll even give you my body. I’ll be your slave, just leave my baby alone.)

Saimo: Wauga ni ukuhe kindu goithe ngwenda? (Anything I want?)

She nods in affirmative too quickly. Too desperately.

Saimo: Kindu o giothe? Wina ma? (Anything? Are you sure?)

Woman With The Baby: Kindu o giothe ningukuhe. Ma ya Ngai! (Anything! I swear to God!)

Saimo: Ii waremwo ni kuhe kiria ndirenda? (What if you can’t give me what I want?)

Woman With The Baby Ndikuremwo. Ma ndingiremwo! (That won’t happen! I swear!)

Saimo: Waremwo tutikuirana wega. Niwaigua? (If you fail to give me what I ask for, you and I will not be so nice to each other. Do you understand?)

The woman’s lips are in her mouth, her baby squeezed deeply into her breast and she is using all the power she has to lock in her need to cry out loud. Still, she nods affirmatively.

Saimo: OK. We wi gathirange? (OK. Are you a virgin?)

Suddenly knowing that she can’t give him what he wants, her lungs burst out through her mouth with a desperate cry as she squeezes her baby closer and closer to her body.

Saimo: Tondu kiria ndirenda thaa ici ni kuigua cama ta ndina gathirange uriri. (Because what I want right now is to experience a feeling so glorious that I will feel like I have a virgin in bed.)

The woman is crying, he is not. She is powerless, he is not. She is the prey, he is not. She is begging… but there has never been a more futile thing as to try and beg Saimo. His voice is a calm force of steel muffled beneath his inanimate mask. It is as if he is a robot, an unfeeling robot.

He cups the sobbing woman’s cheek and feels her warm tears in his hands.

Woman With The Baby: No ndume uigue uguo. (I can make you feel like that.)

He lifts the gun and instead of resting it on the woman’s head, he points it at the baby, who is now awake and whimpering softly.

Saimo: Aca ndungihota tondu already ninjui hakirini ciakwa ati wee nduri gathirange. (No you can’t because I already know in my mind that you are not a virgin.)

When her fear doesn’t appear to be working with Saimo, her desperation pushes her to ferocity.

Woman With The Baby: Wahutiria Mwana wakwa ningukuraga. (I will kill you if you touch my child.)

Saimo: (Laughing) Kunjuraga no unjurage. No ti umuthi. (You can kill me, but not today.)

He takes a step away from the woman and the now crying baby.

Outside the wholesale shop, Murefu and Kimachia are waiting for Saimo and keeping watch to make sure there isn’t another interruption. They can hear the baby crying but then this crying stop after they hear three loud gunshots from within the wholesale shop.

Saimo runs out of the shop, his gun in hand and bag of money on his back. He is laughing uproariously as he says something political that rebellious Kikuyu people say while running away from the oppressive KANU thugs.

Saimo: Tutiure tutanamarwo ni cia KANU. (Run before the KANU thugs catch up with us.)

Kangema – Kanorero Road

Wambugu is lying on the tarmac in a pool of blood. Sabina is buried into her fiancé’s chest sobbing. Jakubu is watching her contemptuously and Musa has seen it.

Musa: (To Jakubu. Re: Sabina) Kai urakenda? (Do you want her?)

Jakubu: Ini. Kwanza uru muno. (Yeah. Very badly in fact.)

Musa: Ndugikoe. No utige wacucanga mwanake. Ithui tugugweterera haha ngari-ini. (Take her, but chop up her boyfriend before you do. We’ll wait for you right here at the car.)

The kneeling couple receives every word with burning terror. Chris, knowing that it is fight or flight time stands up, pulling the sniffling Sabina with him.

Chris: Teng’era! (Run!)

But Njambi shoots him twice in the chest killing him, even before he can do anything.

It is going on half past nine at night and it is a very quiet night. Therefore when a gun goes off so close to Sabina, the loud bark renders her temporarily deaf. All she can hear is a ringing sound in both ears. The shock of seeing Chris sink to the ground, blood caking the front of his shirt, renders her mute and frozen.

Next thing she knows, there is a pair of strong hands circling her waist from behind and pulling her away. She knows she is screaming even though she can’t hear the sound of her own voice. She tries to dig her heels into the tarmac but he is too strong for her.

Jakubu knocks her down, grabs her ankle and drags her on the tarmac as she kicks and screams, the tarmac eating into her flesh. He is dragging her to the avocado trees –

With the machete dripping with blood in one hand and Sabina’s leg in the other, Jakubu is like a man with one mission and one mission only. Drag his prey into the plantation and play.

Kangema Police Station

Corporal Mbugati bursts back into the OCS’s office and stands before Kirui’s desk.

Corporal Mbugati: Afande kuna ripoti mingi za wizi na mauaji huko nje. Kwa nini unakataa twende? (Sir, there are numerous reports of robbery and murder out there. Why don’t you want us to respond?)

The OCS watches him with a tiny smile on his face. The corporal grows more agitated.

Corporal Mbugati: Sisi ni polisi! Kwa nini hutaki tufanye kazi yetu? (We are cops! Why don’t you want us to do our jobs?)

The OCS smiles some more, places his elbows on the table and looks at the Corporal squarely in the face –

Desmond Kirui: Kwa sababu huku Kangema mimi ndio Mungu, sio wewe. (Because here in Kangema, I am God, and you are not.)

Avocado Plantation

Kangema – Kanorero Road

Sabina is lying on her stomach with a grimace on her face. She is in pain. Her panties are at her ankles and Jakubu is lying on top of her doing an in and out shoving motion that seems to bring him immense pleasure but causing her immense pain.

She bites her lips so hard that she draws blood and with her hands, she grabs and uproots the undergrowth under the avocado trees.

She sees Chris in her head – Chris, Chris – when she first met him, his best friend told him, “Finally Chris you have met she whose beauty is going to be the death of you.” Who knew how literal that’d be.

She is numb, having taken all the pain one person can take within such a short time.

At the Taxi

Kangema – Kanorero Road

Njambi is seated on the taxi’s bonnet. Her panties are on the tarmac, right on top of Wambugu’s blood. Since she is in a skirt, her legs are on either side of Musa’s waist and he is shoving himself inside her.

Njambi: Na hinya. (Harder.)

Musa’s lip is in his mouth. He shoves hard but Njambi is unsatisfied so she slaps him.

Njambi: Wi mundurume kana wi kihii?! (Are you a boy or a man?!)

She slaps him again and he shoves himself harder into her. She slaps again and he punches her hard on the lips drawing blood. She licks it off her lips with a hungry look in her eyes and says hoarsely –

NJAMBI: Ini ugu. (That’s more like it.)

In the avocado plantation, Jakubu has tied Sabina to one of the avocado trees. Now he is sitting on the ground in front of her. He holds her panties in his hands. There are several rotting avocados at his feet.

Jakubu: Ngigukururia guku ngwendaga nguhuthire njoke ngucucange. No tondu wina cama muno ri, ndigugucucanga. (When I dragged you in here, I was going to use you then chop you up. But since you are so sweet, I will leave out the chopping up part.)

Sabina looks pretty roughed up. Messy hair and everything and her mouth is gagged. Her head lies on her chest. Jakubu stands up, smells Sabina’s panties, pockets them and grabs a couple of the rotting avocados which he smashes and smears her with some of the disgusting, stinking greenish stuff. As he smashes other Avocados at her feet –

Jakubu: Thuraku ni ciendete muno kuria makondo. Handu ha gugutinangia ngugutigira thuraku. Mundu oka akuhonokie wina bahati. No thuraku ciagucerera utahonoketio – {He nods his head and makes some ‘you’ll be in real trouble’ clicks with his tongue.} (Black ants love avocados. Instead of chopping you up, I will leave you to their mercy. If somebody saves you before the ants pay you a visit, lucky you. But if they visit you before you are saved – {the tongue noises})

He smears the place with the avocados, picks up his machete and walks away towards the taxi where he finds Njambi collecting her panties from the blood soaked tarmac. She ignores the blood and puts on the panties anyway leaving red streaks on her legs as the panties go up.

Musa: (To Jakubu) Wi mukenu? (You happy?)

Jakubu: (Smiling) Biu (Very.)

Musa: Tukiinuke ii riu. (Let’s go home then.)

Kangema – Nyagatugu Road

Wednesday. February 2, 2000

22:00 hrs

Inside the taxi they have stolen after killing three people who were in it, Musa is behind the wheel, Njambi is riding shotgun and Jakubu is seated at the back.

MUSA: (To Njambi) Tahurira aa Saimo umorie kana ni marikirie. (Call Saimo and the rest. Ask if they are done.)

Musa’s home

Nyagatugu area; Wanjerere sub – location

Rwathia location; Kangema division

Murang’a district

Wednesday. February 2, 2000

22:00h

Most conspicuous is the roots reggae music streaming from the dimly lit house. Playing is Sophia George’s “Girlie Girlie”. Murefu, Saimo and Kimachia are busy playing cards noisily. Saimo is shirtless and he has a glowing joint hanging from his lips.

As Kimachia deals the cards, he sings along horribly and impossibly out of tune.

Kimachia: Young man you too girlie girlie

You jus a flash it round the worldie

Young man you too girlie girlie

You jus a flash it round the worldie.

Fingers go up in the air and heads bob in rythym with the reggae music. The joint of weed moves from lip to lips as they all sing together;

All of them: (Horribly out of tune and laughing about it)

Him have one up here

One down there

One in Hannover

One down a vere.

One she’s a lawyer

One she’s a doctor

One wen dem work with a little contractor.

One down a east

One down a west

Him have one up north and two down south

One a sell cigarettes on the roundabout – LOOOOOOOOOOOORD.

There is a huge mobile phone on the table where they are playing cards. It rings and Saimo picks it up.

Saimo: (To the guys)Kira i. Nio aya marahura. (Shut up. They are calling.)

The guys shut up as Saimo answers the phone.

Saimo: Ona tutigukianjitie guiciria Kirui niatumire ihii icio ciake. (We were beginning to think Kirui sent his boys.)

It is Njambi on the phone with him –

Njambi: Aca. Ithui kai utoi tui nguri. Tutikoragwo na ihenya. (Nope. We own the night. Why hurry when you’re the true nocturnal animals?.)

Saimo: No niguka riu mukite ii? (Are you on your way here now?)

Njambi: Ii niguka tukite. Twina gakari ke haha kuguo wire Murefu e wira rucio. (Yeah, we are coming. We are bringing a stolen car over so tell Murefu he is working on it tomorrow.)

Saimo: Sawa. (OK)

The line goes dead and Murefu passes the joint over to Saimo;

Murefu: Ni guka maroka ii? (They are coming?)

Saimo nods affirmatively.

Inside the taxi, Njambi hangs up the phone and turns to Musa for further orders.

Musa: Hurira Kirui umuire nitwarikia. (Call Kirui. Tell him we are done.)

Jakubu: Ambe weterere kindu ta mathaa meri uguo. (Hold on for a couple of hours.)

Musa: Niki? (Why?)

Jakubu: Ndinatiga ndoraka kairitu. (I didn’t kill the girl.)

Musa brings the car to so screeching a halt that the tires produce some smoke. He cranes over his seat now to have a good look at his brother addressing him in a tone that seems to ask, ‘How stupid are you?’

Musa: Ni kii kigiririe umurage hihi? (Why in the world wouldn’t you kill her?)

Jakubu: Ndimutigiire thuraku? (I left her to the ants.)

Musa: Ciuke cimuhambate kana? (So they can what, massage her?)

Jakubu: Ndiciririe ati… (I thought…)

Musa: (Cross) Waciririe ki? (You thought what?)

Njambi: Muhe kaanya eariririe my dear. (Allow him to explain himself my dear.)

Jakubu: Ndigire ndamuhaka makondo arafu ithuothe nitui thuraku nicikumurikiriria hau hangi. (I smeared her in avocados and we all know that ants will do the rest for us.)

Musa: (He begins to smile) Na ni utigire wamuoha wega? (Did you tie her up properly?)

Jakubu: Ona we ukiui ninjui kwoha. (You know I can tie a good knot when the moods strikes.)

Musa: Nginya kanua? (Did you gag her?)

He is smiling big now and so is Jakubu who is nodding affirmatively. Suddenly Musa laughs out maniacally as he says –

Musa: Ma ya Ngai ukaragwo uhiana ngoma. (I swear to God, you are the Devil.)

Jakubu: Tuhurire Kirui kindu thaa ikumi uguo. Thuraku ni igukurwo irite muiritu kindu ta mathaa matano kana matandatu uguo. (Let’s call Kirui at 4 or 5 am. By then the ants will have feasted on the girl for say five or six hours.)

Day two

Desmond Kirui’s house

Mukarara area; Kangema township

Murang’a

Thursday. February 3, 2000

05:00h

He is sleeping on the couch with the TV and the lights on when his phone rings. It jerks him awake and he groans as he gropes around for it. It rings noisily until he finds it on his coffee table.

Desmond Kirui:  Nyinyi wachinga kwa nini mlikaa ifo? (What took you so long you morons?)

Musa: (Over the phone.)Tumepiga sasa. Tuma vijana njia ya kwenda Kanorero na uwaambie pia waangalie uko kwa miti ya avocado. (We are calling now. Send your boys to the Kangema Kanorero Road. Ask them to take a look inside the avocado plantation.)

Desmond Kirui: Alafu pesa yangu ntaitisha nyanyako ama? (And do you expect me to call your grandmother for my money or what?)

Musa: Kama sijawahi kosa kukupa pesa yako saa hii ndio nitaanza? (I have never refused to pay you before. I don’t plan on starting now.)

Desmond Kirui: Sawa. (OK.)

MUSA: Kitu ingine moja, ukiwahi niongelesha ivo tena nitaenda hadi Kericho na nitaua watoto wako wote. (One more thing, if you ever speak to me like that again, I’ll go all the way to Kericho and kill all your children.)

Kangema – Kanorero Road

Thursday. February 3, 2000

06:00h

The police land rover carrying OCS Desmond Kirui pulls over at the crime scene. He steps out, his impressively shining boots just catching the early morning sun rays and looks around importantly.

There is a growing crowd of early risers that has converged all around the crime scene mumbling amongst themselves, exchanging tales of the unsettling screams that dominated last night – and the cops are trying to keep them away from contaminating the crime scene.

On the tarmac are Chris’s and Wambugu’s bodies whose blood stain the earth and streams downhill. Tens of police officers are all over the scene barricading it from the rest of the tarmac with tape, taking photographs, looking around for evidence and generally doing police work. Or a feeble resemblance thereof.

Corporal Mbugati is standing a few yards from the bodies talking to Sergeant Lumbasi, a pretty and petite lady in her early 30s. Desmond Kirui watches the corporal talk gravely to the Sergeant. The Corporal’s eyes meet the OCS’s and they lock for a second gravely, before the Corporal looks away and continues talking to the Sergeant.

The OCS approaches them –

Desmond Kirui: Hapari ya asupui? (Good morning)

Sergeant Lumbasi: Mzuri sana Afande. (Good morning sir.)

The Corporal stays defiantly silent but Kirui ignores Kirui ignores the defiance and looks over to the nearby avocado trees.

Desmond Kirui: (Re: Avocado trees) Mmetuma watu ugo ndani? (Have you sent some boys in there?)

Sergeant Lumbasi: Miili iko hapa afande. Nilionelea kwanza tushughulikie hapa kabla tuingie huko. (The bodies are out here sir. I figured we first clear this place before going in there.)

Corporal Mbugati: (Accusingly to his boss) But kama unaona tutapata vituko uko ndani tunaweza ingia saa hii tu. (But if you figure we’ll find something unsettling in there, we could go in right now.)

Desmond Kirui: (Ignores the Corporal; Addresses the Sergeant) Chukua fijana mbili tatu ifi muangalie. (Take two or three guys with you and check it out.)

The two men watch as the Sergeant scampers off, then they exchange an uncomfortable face off.

Desmond Kirui: Chukua fijana mbili pia na gari moja mwende Gakira. (Take two boys and car to Gakira.)

The Corporal opens his mouth to say something nasty but he catches himself just in good time. Still the effort leaves his mouth hanging open ridiculously prompting the OCS to ask –

Desmond Kirui: Unataga nikulishe ortas kama chagula? (Are you waiting for me to feed you orders like food?)

As the Corporal grudgingly heads off and motions two cops to follow him, Sergeant Lumbasi comes running out of the avocado plantations gasping for air and screaming like ghosts are on her heels.

As soon as her boots hit the tarmac, they loose strength forcing her on her knees where she bends over and vomits loudly.

Desmond Kirui shifts his eyes into the avocado plantation with visible terror in his eyes.

Corporal Kirui is seated behind the wheel of one of the Police Land Rover’s. He is now watching the OCS with a judgmental look on his face which has been prompted by Sergeant Lumbasi’s reaction to whatever mess is in the avocado trees.

Munyaka Wholesalers Limited

Kangema Township; Gakira area

Thursday. February 3, 2000

06:22h

Corporal Mbugati enters the shop holding a firm expressionless face. Out on the shop corridor and windows and even on the tarmac outside stands curious members of the public all wishing to catch a glimpse of the horror.

There are other cops waiting for him inside the shop and one of them approaches him, eagerly waiting to brief him.

Briefing Cop: Corporal Mbugati

Corporal Mbugati: Ni kilifanyika hapa? (What happened here?)

One floor lies the woman with the baby and beside her lies a bloody mess wrapped in blood soaked shawl. It is her dead baby. There is a large patch of blood beneath their bodies.

Briefing Cop: Wezi watatu wali ingia hapa na bunduki mbili na shoka, wakaiba pesa kisha walipokua wakitoka, huyu mama akaingia na mtoto wake. Mmoja wa wezi, ambaye ndio kama mkubwa wao akataka kuua mtoto lakini mama akageuka. Mkora akapiga mama risasi tatu za mgongo. Risasi zingine zilipiga mtoto pia. (Three robbers burst into the place wielding two guns and an axe. They jacked the place and on their way out, this lady walked in with her baby. One of the robbers, presumably their boss, wanted to kill the baby but the mother turned her back towards him. He shot her three times in the back and some of the bullets hit the baby too.)

Corporal Mbugati sees the wholesale workers standing at one corner of the shop.

Corporal Mbugati: Wale ni kina nani? (Who are they?)

Briefing Cop: Wanafanya kazi hapa na wao walishuhudia haya madhambi yote. (They work here and they witnessed everything.)

The Corporal dismisses the briefing cop by smiling curtly at him, pushing him off gently and approaches the witnesses.

Corporal Mbugati: (To the workers) Mmeandikisha statements? (Have you recorded your statements yet?)

KANGEMA – KANORERO ROAD

Muchina aka China {Pronounced not like the country but like it is written. China; Not Chaina} joins the crowd of onlookers at the tarmac.

He grabs the arm of one of the on-looking members of the public and speaks gravely as if he is afraid of something

China: Nikii kurathire guku? (What happened here?)

The on-looking member of the public turns to China and recognizes him immediately. China is one of the most recognizable people in the entire Kangema area.

Onlooker: Ah, kari we Meja? Mani haha hari andu mabatie kuharukio tairi. (Oh, Major! It’s you. I’m telling you man, there are people here who deserve lynching.)

China: Sister yakwa arari oke gakwa ira utuku na ndanakinya. Arafu nderwo kuri andu maroragiirwo haha nikio ndoka. (My sister was supposed to come visit me last night but she didn’t make it. Then I was told that there are people who’ve been murdered here, so I came.).

The police are yet to cover the bodies. All they have done is bring Wambugu’s head closer to the rest of his body.

China’s eyes land Chris’s body and a flicker of recognition jumps to his face. His draws a sharp breath and just stares at the body, riddled with bullets, lying on its back and staring at the sky with open but lifeless eyes

China: (Sotto Voce): Krisi –

Onlooker: Aria ndirona muragitwo haha niarume atheri. Ndionete muhiki. No kuratukia kwina mundu uragiirwo kuria mikondoini. (The bodies I have seen so far are male. No female bodies but I understand there is someone murdered in the avocado plantation.)

Just then, Sergeant Lumbasi approaches Desmond Kirui with an ID in hand. They stand within an earshot of where China and the onlooker are standing. The OCS is busy issuing orders here and there and the Sergeant is trying to get a word in but she can’t, so she has to raise her voice a little.

She hands him an ID card saying –

Sergeant Lumbasi: Ndio hiki kitambulisho cha mwanamke aliyeuliwa huko ndani. (The woman who was killed in there, here is her ID.)

China is listening attentively, apprehension just beginning to cloud over him.

Desmond Kirui: (As he takes the ID and reads) Sapina Cheri. (Sabina Njeri.)

China’s eyes moisten. Red capillaries pollute his white cornea as he draws quick and sharp breaths. His lips are quavering as he fights the urge to scream.

Suddenly, he shoves the onlooker aside and sprints like a gazelle right past all the cops, Desmond and Lumbasi included – he sprints so impossibly fast that all they feel is wind past their faces just before catching China’s back vanishing into the plantation.

Between those trees, China runs. “Sabina!” he calls, dodging tree after tree, his feet barely touching the ground. “Sabina!”

His heart beats frantically inside his chest.

“Sabina!”

CHINA

Sabina! Sabina!

Musa’s home

Nyagatugu area; Wanjerere sub – location

Rwathia location; Kangema division

Murang’a district

Murefu is outside the house, standing beside the newly stolen Taxi. He has a hanging joint from his lips and a spanner in his hands. He squats beside one of the wheels and starts twisting off the nuts.

Jakubu has his own joint on his lips from which he takes a drag and blows the smoke in the air. He is watching Murefu work his magic. Shortly, with a new paint job, new wheels, new plates, the car will be completely different from the one they stole.

Inadvertently though, Jakubu finds his mind flying back to last night in the plantation. He sees Sabina’s grimace as he lies on her, using her with each painful shove.

He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, blows his cheeks, takes another large drag of the joint and reenters the house where Njambi is preparing breakfast.

The Avocado Plantation

China is in the middle of calling out his sister’s name again when he runs smack into it. The scene of his sister’s murder.

There are two uniformed cops and a pathologist in a white lab coat, all processing the scene. Sabina, or what’s left of her, is still tied to the tree, with the most shocking and grotesque expression on her face. it leaves no doubt in his mind. She died in pain. She suffered. A lot.

The two cops are trying hard to hold China down, but he is fighting, kicking and screaming as he struggles to run to his sister. “Sabinaaaa!”

More kicking and struggling, more holding down – tears, screaming, sheer determination to breach the gap between him and his sister “Sabinaaaa!”

Finally he wears himself out and is on his knees now, surrounded by feet. Feet of the police officers trying to get answers from the mess in front of them. He is sobbing freely but silently. His hands clasps a handful of soil as he groans.

Hours later, he is still kneeling on the soil, meters away from his sister’s hanging body, but the crying is gone. Instead, he blank stares at what’s left of her as the cops cut off the ropes binding her to the tree, put her in a body bag, put the bag on a stretcher and carry her out of the plantation, into a waiting vehicle and off to the morgue.

Kiumu Health Center

Kangema Township

Thursday. February 3, 2000

10:00h

China is seated on a chair, puffy eyed. The pathologist is a 40 year old female in a white lab coat. The same one he met earlier in the morning at the Avocado plantation.

China: Ndukahenie, we njira tu uria arakuire. (Don’t lie to me, just tell me how she died.)

Pathologist: Arakuire niundu wa kindu gitagwo shock. (She went into shock.)

China: Na uhuthire ruga ngunyita. (And use a language I’ll understand.)

Pathologist: Sister yaku arariirwo ni thuraku mathaa ota matano. Mwiri wake urakinyire handu uraremererwo ni ruo, aramaka makiria na arahura ngoro muno nginya arakua ni shock. Ni sori muno.(The ants fed on your sister for about five hours, and at some point, her body couldn’t handle the pain anymore. She panicked and that coupled with the immense pain was adequate to make her go into shock and she died. I’m so sorry for your loss.)

China: Nio maramumunyire ndwara? (Did they pluck her nails off too?)

Pathologist: Aca. Ndwara ciramunyikire akigeria kwiyohora mikwa. Na hau noho ruo ruramuingihiire nginya aretanuka rurimi. (No. The fingernails came off as she struggled to free herself from the ropes. The pain was so much also that she chewed off her own tongue.)

His eyes moisten again and he shuts them. The tears forced from his eyes silently trickle down his cheeks. He sniffles, rubs his face and tries to smile at the pathologist who watches him sympathetically.

Pathologist: Na ninjui no gukuongerera ruo no angirari sister yakwa ni ingirendire kumenya. (I know this will just add to your pain but had she been my sister I would have wanted to know.)

China: (Sniffling) Ndingiigua ruo ruingi kuri uria ndiraigua riu. (I couldn’t hurt more than I already am.)

Pathologist: (Reluctantly) Ni maramuhuthirire matana muraga. (They raped her before killing her.)

At first he just nods affirmatively like someone has just shown him the directions to a place he needs to be. Slowly it sinks into him, the sheer magnitude of the painful way in which she died – his face creases again and he cries as he talks to the pathologist –

China: Niui ni nii ndarerire mwana ucio aciari aitu makua? Ngimuthomithia, ngimuruta maundu mothe maria oi; nariu… nariu uranjira ati… (Do you know I’m the one who raised that child after our parents died? I took her to school, I taught her everything she knows and now… and now you are telling me that….)

He breaks down at this point and the pathologist just holds his hand and watches helplessly as the man spirals deeper and deeper into his emotional rabbit hole.

Kangema Police Station

Kirui is busy going through some statements when his door bursts open and China strides in followed closely by Sergeant Lumbasi –

Sergeant Lumbasi: Afande nimemwambia hawezi ingia… (Sir I told him he just can’t bulge in…)

Desmond Kirui: Ni sawa tu sachant. (It’s alright Sergeant.)

Sergeant leaves and Kirui motions China to a seat.

Desmond Kirui: Pole sana kwa msipa Muchina. (So sorry for your loss Muchina)

China: Najua mimi na wewe tumesumbuana sana lakini hawa lazima niue. (I know you and I never see eye to eye but I will have to kill these guys.)

Desmond Kirui: Usisahau mimi ni askari. (Don’t forget I am a cop.)

China: (Calm; contained) Wewe ni malaya wa hawa takataka. (You are these criminals’ whore.)

Desmond Kirui: (Calm; contained) Nipe wiki mocha nifanye kasi yangu. Nikishindwa nitakupigia simu – nina nampa yako pato – alafu atawaua wewe mwenyewe. Is tat a til? (Just give me a week so I can do my job. If I fail, I will call you – I still have your number – and then you will kill them yourself. Do we have a deal?)

China stands up then leans uncomfortably close to the officer.

China: Wiki moja. Nikizika dada yangu kabla washikwe nitaterrorize hii Kangema yote; na pia wewe unajua nikijam hii town yote inafungwa. (One week. If I my sister before they are incarcerated, I will terrorize the entire Kangema and you and I both know that when I get angry, this whole town shuts down.)

Slowly, and agonizingly so, China leaves the office, and the fear on the OCS’s face is nothing if not visible. He grabs his phone and makes a call.

St. Christopher Mixed Secondary School

Makuyu Location; Thika District

Thursday. February 3, 2000

11:00h

Saimo is now in a cheap but decent black suit and prescription spectacles. He also wears what appears to be a permanent smile on his face.

Around him, high school boys and girls are playing because they are on break. He is standing out on the corridor with his history books tucked under his armpit, waiting for the bell to ring any second now so that they students can rush back into their respective classrooms and so that he can teach his history lesson.

His big mobile phone rings and he answers it impatiently. He is the only teacher in the school who owns a mobile phone and is consequently the center of admiration for most of the students and some teachers alike.

It is the OCS calling him.

Saimo: Nilikutumia pesa zako. Kwa nini unapiga saa hii? (I sent you your money, didn’t I? Why are you calling now?)

Desmond Kirui:  Mnachua ni nani mliua chana? (Do you know who you killed yesterday?)

Saimo: Kama umenipigia tuchape story, sina time. (If you called me for a chit chat, I really don’t have the time.)

Desmond Kirui: Si unachua Muchina? Ile nyang’au cheshi huua watu ofyo ofyo na hashikwi? (Do you know who Muchina is? The military guy who kills with impunity?)

The moment he hears China’s name, Saimo pulls the phone quickly away from his ear as if it has electrocuted him and immediately, his brow gets damp. He is sweating. But he maintains control, at least for the sake of the ongoing conversation.

Saimo: (Calmly) Amefanya? (What about him?)

Desmond Kirui: Ni tatake tio mlilisha siafu chana. (You fed his sister to the ants last night.)

Saimo draws sharp breath – and he seems scared. But he doesn’t let the OCS know that.

Saimo: Sasa unataka nifanye? (What do you want me to do about it?)

Desmond Kirui: Tafuteni town ikine sasa. Mimi siwesi walinda kutoka kwake. (Find another town. I can’t protect you from him.)

Saimo: Hatuhami. Fanya ile kazi sisi hukulipa ufanye. (We ain’t leaving. So go ahead and do what we pay you to do.)

When Saimo hangs up, he doesn’t know that at that very moment, Kirui is in his office all the way back in Kangema, sweating profusely because he is a man between a very huge rock and an extremely hard place.

The end of the break bell rings and the students chatter and laugh as they run back to class. Saimo takes a brief breather, grabs a second to put the smile back on his face, then he Form Three Zambezi where he teaches History and Government.

Saimo: (Cheerfully and smiling) Good morning everyone. Today we will talk about Lobengula, the last King of the Matabele who are also known as the Ndebele…

Kenya Polytechnic

Haile Sellasie Avenue – Nairobi

Thursday. February 3, 2000

13:00h

There is the kind of orderly chaos that happens around college during lunch hour as groups of students walk, talk, laugh and tell stories. Boys chase girls because college students just have to get laid, girls tease boys, students skip afternoon classes to catch some cheap liquor at some cheap wines and spirits joints down Latema Street.

In the mess hall where the students are in groups around various tables eating, talking and laughing, Musa and Njambi are enjoying their lunch. From a far they are laughing and talking like any other student. He says something funny and she laughs out loud, places her hand on his shoulder and winks at him.

Musa’s mobile phone rings, he pulls it off his pocket, freezes momentarily when he sees who’s calling and turns to Njambi –

Musa: Ni Saimo. Reke najrie nake njuke. (It’s Saimo. Let me talk to him real quick. Be right back.)

Though they try to smile at each other, a close look would betray the worry on their faces. He leaves the hall and picks up the call.

Musa: Tutiaranagiria tutari wira. (We don’t talk to each other if we are not working.)

Saimo: (Respectfully) Ninjui munene no hena gathina. (I know that boss, but we have a problem.)

Musa: Gathina ka muthemba uriku? (What kind of problem?)

Saimo: Ni uraririkana muhiki uria Jakubu aranangire hwai? (Do you remember the woman Jakubu wasted last night?)

Musa: Nikii eka? (What about her?)

Saimo: Ni mwari wa nyina na Muchina (She is Muchina’s sister.)

Musa: (Getting worried) Muchina uriku? (Which Muchina?)

Saimo: Kuri o Muchina umwe ungituma nguhurire thimu. (There is only one Muchina that would make me call you.)

Musa stares into the void air in front of him looking lost and in silent thoughtfulness.

Saimo: Urio o hau mwanake? (You still there man?)

Musa: Reke nitukuaria. (We’ll talk later.)

He hangs up and mumbles a curse word. Clearly, he realizes that offing Sabina was a big blunder. He makes a phone call to the OCS.

Kangema Police Station

Desmond Kirui is working when his private mobile phone rings. He takes one look at the screen, stands up, rushes to the door and bolts it before picking up the call after making sure nobody will listen in on his conversation.

Desmond Kirui:  Natumai Simon ameguapia shita yetu. (I hope Simon has shared with you our problem.)

Musa: Ni shida tu ukiifanya ikuwe shida. (It’s only a problem when you make it so.)

Desmond Kirui: Kama unataka niue yeye unachua siwesi. (If you are suggesting I murder him, you know I can’t.)

Musa: Kwa nini? Juu ni jeshi? (Why? Because he is in the military?)

Desmond Kirui: Iyo na pia watu huku wanapenta yeye kwa file anaua njangiri kama wewe. (That and also people here love him because he kills criminals like you.)

MUSA:  Hiyo ni shida yako. Kisha hii ni ahadi. Ukiendelea kufanya Muchina akuwe shida, pia mimi ntakuwa shida kwako, kwa mamako, kwa watoto wako, kwa bibi yako… unaelewa chenye nakwambia? (That’s your problem and let me promise you one thing; if you continue making Muchina a problem, I will be a problem to you, to your mother, your children, your wife… do you understand what I’m saying to you?)

Kirui is breathing heavily on the other on the line, so heavily that it is clear to Musa that he understands the magnitude of the threat. And with that, Musa hangs up.

Muchina’s Home

Kanorero – Kangema

Thursday. February 3, 2000

14:00h

The sharp axe blade flies in the air and comes hurtling down into a thick chunk of wood, splitting it into two. It is a hot afternoon and China is in his land, in the large field south of his house, surrounded by trees, a large and very green grazing area and a nearby maize plantation.

He is shirtless and sweaty and evidently, he is a man who loves staying fit. At 35-years-old, this Major in the Kenya Defence Forces is a man who loves looking and feeling young and every inch of his muscular body shows it.

His pain, bitterness and anger can be seen and felt in his very vigor to get the firewood chopped. The way he wields the axe, the punishing power with which he brings it down on the wood – it’s like he is trying to expel his emotions through this exercise.

Corporal Mbugati spots him from a far and watches him cut the wood, seriously questioning his decision to come talk to the Major at all. Finally, he approaches him slowly.

Corporal Mbugati: Nimepitia huko nyumbani wenye nimepata huko wakaniambia uko huku chini peke yako. (I swung by the house and the people I found there told me you’d be down here all by your lonesome.)

There are people congregated at China’s home. All people of goodwill who are very sad-eyed and won’t stop talking about how great a child Sabina was and how unfair the evil perpetrated against her by those lunatics, is.

China: Tembea tembea karao, niko busy. (Move along cop. I’m busy.)

Corporal Mbugati: Sawa sawa lakini kabla nitembee acha niharakishe kukuambia chenye nataka. (OK, but just before that, please listen to what I have to say, real quick.)

The impatient look on China’s face prompts him to keep talking but fast.

Corporal Mbugati: Cheki, najua OCS anajua hawa watu ni kina nani na anawaficha. In fact ata anatukatazanga kufanya job hawa watu wakitenda hii madhambi yote. (I know the OCS knows these people and that he protects them. Even keeps us from working just so we don’t catch them.)

China: Bado nangoja uniambie kitu sijui. (I’m still waiting for you to tell me something I don’t know.)

Corporal Mbugati: Nataka unisaidie kuwashika. (Help me catch them.)

China looks at him like he pities him. Like the very definition of ‘naïveté’ is splashed on the Corporal’s face. He chuckles as he walks towards the cop.

China: Hatuezi saidiana mimi na wewe. Unataka washikwe, waende korti, labda wafungwe bla bla bla. Unataka waendelee kuishi. Mimi sitaki ivo. (You and me, we can’t help each other. You want them arrested and charged and all that crap. You want them to keep living. I don’t want that.)

Corporal Mbugati: Huwezi enda ukiua kila mtu mwenye amekukosea. (You can’t go killing everyone who has wronged you.)

CHINA: Tusirefushe hii story. Nikishika hawa watu, na nitawashika, nitawaua wote, polepole nibakishe mmoja. Uyo mmoja ataishi akisema aliwahi patana na Shetani mahali pamoja kwa hii dunia panaitwa Kangema. Na uyo shetani alikua anaitwa Muchina. (Let’s not drag this conversation out. When I catch these people, and I will catch them; I will kill them all slowly, all but one. That one survivor will spend the rest of his life saying that once upon a time at a place called Kangema, he came across the Devil. And the Devil’s name was Muchina.)  

15 COMMENTS

  1. Hahaha you dint have to do this charles,,,but before part two comes to us like 1 did,, Thanks for doing the #ifikiewazai post. Write charlie

  2. Sabina died a painful death,Charles i should have listen to you(THIS IS NOT A STORY FOR THE FAINTHEARTED. READERS’ DISCRETION IS NOT ONLY ADVISED, IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

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