Wages of Sin (The Last Chapter)

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avacyn___angel_of_vengeance___play_mat_by_entroz

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

Muchina’s Home

Kanorero – Kangema

21:30h

China is in his living room staring blankly at his TV on which a movie is playing when his phone vibrates. He reaches for it lazily and sees a text message from “OCS KIRUI”.

The laziness is off his body and he jumps off the couch still reading the text.

Muchoki’s Home

Ichichi Area; Kangema Division

Sunday. February 6, 2000

21:30h

Two young brothers, Kang’ethe 21 and Muchoki 27 are seated on wooden chairs in the smoky kitchen of their home in Ichichi, with a fire running in the hearth. They are taking tea from tin cups.

Muchoki: (To Kang’ethe. Re: His tea) Na mundu uyu ndiui nikii kiratuma wikire mai maingi uguo cai ini na nitu kamaga. (I don’t understand why you insist on adding so much water to the tea when we own cows whose udders are heavy with milk .)

Kang’ethe: Ndindaga ngwikira wethe mutumia. Riu niwe ungirugaga cai na ndungiranegena. (I keep telling you to get married. If you were married, your wife would be making the tea and maybe that way, you wouldn’t be whining.)

Muchoki’s phone rings in his pocket but he deliberately ignores it.

Kang’ethe: (Re: Ringing phone) Ona muhiki waku ndaragikuhurira. (Your girlfriend’s calling.)

Muchoki: Niurona ta ndina ihenya ria kumioya? (Do I look like I’m in a hurry to pick it up?)

The phone continues ringing –

Muchina’s House

Kanorero – Kangema

21:30h

China is pressing his phone to his ear impatiently listening to the dialling sound. The call goes unanswered and so he redials.

Muchoki’s Home

Muchoki’s phone starts ringing again and this time, with impatience burning on his face, he yanks it out of his pocket. His finger is headed for the red button to hang up when he sees who is calling –

Kang’ethe notices the look of worry on his brother’s face.

Kang’ethe: Ni kii kiuru? (What’s wrong?)

Muchoki: Ni meja. (It’s the Major.)

Kang’ethe: China?

Muchoki nods in the affirmative and slowly hits the receive button. China’s steely voice commands over the phone –

China: Muchoki ndina kawira ndirenda turute. (Muchoki, I need your help on a job.)

Muchoki: Kawira ka muthemba uriku? (What type of job?)

China: Tucemanie Nyagatugu ndukaini thaa inya na quarter. (Let’s rendezvous at Nyagatugu shopping center at quarter past ten.)

Nyagatugu Shopping Center

Nyagatugu Area; Wanjerere Sub Location

Rwathia Location; Kangema Division

Murang’a District

Sunday. February 6, 2000

22:07h

It’s a dark town, dimly lit by light from lanterns and tiny lamps from various shops and a bar. Muchoki is seated behind the wheel of his car, which is parked at the middle of the soccer pitch at one side of the shopping center.

Another car pulls up beside his and the driver’s window slowly slides down to reveal Kamanja, 38. They signal greetings at each other using eyebrows only to signify that the two are only familiar with each other but not friends, or even friendly.

Muchoki leans back and allows himself to revisit the last thirty minutes of his life – especially the heated argument he had with his brother just after his conversation with China.

Kang’ethe: Auga ndigathie niki? Ona nii ndi jeshi. (Why did he order me not to go? I’m a soldier too.)

Muchoki: We ni Meja nawe wi Private. Auga ndugeke undu ndukawike na ndukorie niki. Itwagwo chain of command and citagwo orders. (He is a Major and you are a Private. He says you don’t do something, you don’t do it. They are called orders)

Kang’ethe: Ona we ukiui mutinathie kuruta wira wa jeshi. At least ti officially. (You and I both know that this isn’t an official military operation.)

Muchoki grabs his younger brother’s throat and pushes him against the wall of the kitchen glaring and hissing between his teeth.

MUCHOKI: Ndikuenda kuigua. Uguikara guku nginya njoke. Niwaigua?  (I don’t care! You are staying here till i get back. Do you understand?)

And now in his car, Muchoki runs his palms down his face and is startled when somebody raps on his bonnet softly. It is China motioning him to step out of the car.

22:15h

In the soccer pitch, there are four cars in total all parked facing each other. In the middle stands China and his group introducing everyone –

China: Ni munjui uguo ndigute mathaa ngi introduce. Nguanjiriria na uria unjokete ki rank nawe ni Captain Muchoki. (You all know me so I need not waste time introducing myself. I will start with the one who follows me in rank and that is Captain Muchoki)

The group nods and grants at the Captain.

China: Ucio ungi na Senior Sergeant Kamanja. (Next in line is Senior Sergeant Kamanja.)

They offer the same treatment to the Senior Sergeant.

China: Akarumiriruo ni Sergeant Maina, Alafu aya angi eri ni Ma Corporal Kirubi na Njeru. Tukwigaya na company igiri. Nii ngutongoria Alpha Team na Captain atongorie Bravo Team. Nii ngukorwo na senior sergeant na Corporal Kirubi. Acio angi magukorwo na Captain. (He is followed in rank by Sergeant Maina and finally Corporals Kirubi and Njeru. We will divide ourselevs into two teams. I will command Alpha Team and the Captain will be in charge of the Bravo Team. The Senior Sergeant and Corporal Kirubi, you are with me. The rest are under the Captain.)

The Sergeant Maina is 23 and the youngest in the group while Corporal Kirubi is 27 and Corporal Njeru is 25.

Their cars are parked facing each other, all headlights shining towards the middle. China brings the group around him and shows them pictures of the gang.

China: Aya ni akora aria mara uragire sister yakwa na no o manyarirete Kangema ng’ima. Thigari ni iremetwo kudiru nao oguo ithui ni ithui tumkumanina. (These are the criminals who murdered my sister and also they are the ones who have been terrorizing the entire Kangema area. The cops are unable to handle them so it is upto us to put them down.)

Muchoki:  By kumanina ura mean… (What do you mean by putting them down?)

China: Kumoraga. (Kill them all.)

He looks around him, at each man in the eye, making sure that little fact has sunk in.

China: Ndamuita specifically tondu ni ndimui muriothe, ninjui mutikungararia na ninjui muri aguruki. Andu aya ndi renda mumarathe kumoraga. Ndirenda mumatemange. (I called you specifically because i know you all, i know you are loyal to me and most importantly, i know you are crazy. I don’t want you to shoot the people to death. I want you to cut them into little pieces.)

As he speaks, his finger jabs the pictures and the men follow keenly.

China: Inyui othe mwi jeshi. Orders cianyu ni ici. Mutikamateng’erie. Mahitei. Reke manoge hakiri na mwiri. (Your orders; don’t chase them. Hunt them. Exhaust them physically and mentally.)

China: Aya ti andu. Ici ni nyamu. Reke cigue ruo na ikae mbere ya ikuite. (These aren’t human beings. They are animals. Let them scream out in pain before they die.)

China: Manyarire i. Manine i hinya mbere ya mumaninete. No mutikareke mamuhutie. Rucini ithui othe tucoke micii itu twi muoyo. (Terrorize them. Weaken them before you kill them and don’t let them get you. In the morning, we’ll all go back home with our lives.)

China: Tukuanjiriria kumahita thaa thita na ndagika imwe. Kuma thaa icio nginya thinacara cia rucini tugukorwo tukimahita. (We’ll begin the hunt at exactly one minute past midnight. From then till six in the morning, we’ll be hunting them down.)

Muchoki: Ii andu a itura mauma? (What if people get out of their houses?)

China: Ninjaririe na macibu mothe na thigari ciothe na andu aria othe majui Kangema ng’ima. Kwina curfew kuma thaa thita nginya thinacara. Gukigukorwo na mundu nja tiga ithui nao. (I talked to all the chiefs and cops and everyone else i know in Kangema. There will be a curfew from midnight to six in the morning. The only people who will roam in the night will be us and them.)

Again, he pauses, waiting for the points to sink in.

China: Tuthie tukahite. (Let’s hunt.)

Day Six

Musa’s Home

Nyagatugu

Monday. February 6, 2000

00:00h

Notice that the place looks neat. Bags are parked and there is no unnceesary clatter anywhere. The gang is sleeping close together on mattresses on the floor, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Outside, security lights are on. China and his men stand covering both exits to the house. They have two guns each holstered to their waists and in their hands are well sharpened machetes.

Inside, the gang is sleeping beautifully, completely oblivious of the danger that looms right outside their house. It is a peaceful night, quiet except for the crickets and the occasional dogs barking from a distance.

The peaceful night is interrupted by a rock smashing through the living room window and the startling sound of breaking glass.

The gang wakes up confused as more rocks smash into their house and their first instinct is to arm themselves. Njambi runs over to the switch to switch on the lights but Musa yells –

Musa: Ndukamiakie matigatuone! (Leave the lights off or they will see us.)

Saimo grabs his gun and starts shooting outside blindly.

The soldiers are all on their bellies when the bullets start flying. And they are all covering the main exit. Kamanja draws his gun to return fire but China stops him.

China: Reke mecirie ni raia mara deal nao. (Let them think they are dealing with civilians.)

Inside, Saimo keeps firing as Musa issues orders –

Musa: O mundu aguthe mucinga wake! Nii na Murefu tugukua mbia na … (Everyone grab your guns! Murefu and i will carry the money and…) (He remembers something) Nii thaa cigana? (What time is it?)

Outside, soldiers are crawling on their bellies, keeping low so as not to catch bullets.

China: Thiururukai nyumba na muikie mahiga ndiricaini ciothe na mabati iguru niguo mecirie turi andu igana rimwe. (Go round the house, hurl rocks through every window and on the roof too {made of iron sheets} Make them think there is a hundred of us.)

As they crawl to carry out the order, Saimo keeps firing and when Musa grabs his shoulder. He turns around violently –

Musa: Tiga kuratha. (Hold your fire.)

Saimo: (Aggravated) Nikii hihi kingituma ndige kuratha? (Why in the hell would I stop shooting?)

Musa: Ni kii uraratha? (What are you shooting at?)

They both listen. It is grave silent.

Njambi: (Whispering) Ni thaa thita na ndagika inya. (It’s four minutes past midnight.)

Murefu is lying on the floor with his hands covering his head. Musa kicks him in the ribs violently –

Musa: Ndukire mboga ino ugayanie mbia icio. (Get up you cabbage and split the cash.)

Murefu gets up and runs into another room

Musa: Ngari yuma yuke thaa kenda ini koguo tutingimieterera. Tuguthie na plan B. (Our car is supposed to be coming in at 03:00h so we can’t wait for it. We will have to go with Plan B.)

Jakubu: Aca mani ti ithui othe tukuhota plan B. (No man. Not all of us can handle plan B.)

Musa: Tutingihota guikara guku nginya thaa kenda Jakubu. Twaga kuma tugukuira guku ithui othe. (We can’t stay here till 03:00h. If we don’t get out there, we all die in here.)

Saimo: Nii ni kaba ngue ngithie kwi ngari iyo ingi kuri nguire guku njetereire. (I’d rather die on my way to the other car than die here waiting.)

At that juncture Murefu walks in carrying two bags containing the money. He dumps them on the floor.

Musa: Ngari iyo ingi ii Kanyenyaini. Icio ni kilometer ikumi na igiri kuma haha. (The other car is in Kanyenyaini. That 12 kilometers from here.)

Outside the house, China is on his knee with a folded fist in the air, motioning the boys to ‘hold’. He then points to the house meaning ‘attack’

Inside, Jakubu is saying –

Jakubu: Ndina kironda fresh kia mbaru mani ndingikinya … (I’ve a wound in my ribs man. I can’t get…)

He is stopped midsentence by the rocks raining in through the windows with a vengeance. This time, they crash through all the windows and on the roof making immense noise and sending the entire gang to the ground.

The soldiers outside are also yelling –

Jakubu: Nyagatugu ng’ima ni yoka gutunina! (Everybody in Nyagatugu is here to kill us!)

Saimo starts firing again blindly and Musa yells above the noise –

Musa: Saimo tiga kuananga rithathi! (Stop wasting bullets Saimo!) (To Jakubu) Ni ngugukua muru wa maitu waremereruo ndukamake (I’ll carry you when it gets too bad brother. Don’t worry.) (To Njambi) Ta thie urore ni murango uriku tungiumira! (Check out the best exit point!)

Njambi crawls away as the rocks and the noise makes for a very terrifying environment.

Musa: (To Saimo) Hurira andu acio umere matueterere Kanyenyaini, na tugukinya turiateng’erie! (Call those other guys; tell them to wait for us at Kanyenyaini. And we’ll be coming in hot!)

Saimo: Matingitukuhiriria? (Can’t they wait for us at a closer extraction point?)

Musa: Maugaga matiendaga kuoya risk iyo. Ni either matueterere Kanyenyaini tondu iyo niyo taoni yao kana matigatuerere. (They never want to take that risk. It’s either they extract us from Kanyenyaini or they don’t extract us at all.)

They are all at the converged together; all watching Musa for directions. Musa is calm like this is the norm.

Musa: Twina micinga, nao matiri. Tuguthie hamwe turiothe nginya Kanyenyaini. Nitugereire bara hiu kuri ino. Mundu ndagatige uria ungi. Tutuire hamwe na akorwo ni gukua tugukua hamwe. Na tugukua tukiruaga. Ngoretwo ndi mutongoria wanyu kahinda gaka gothe, na angorwo uyu niguo muthenya wakwa wa muico wa kumutongoria ndingerindire gutongoria gikundi kingi. (We have been through worse. Let nobody leave anyone behind. We’ve lived together and if need be, we’ll die together, but if we are to die, we’ll die fighting. I’ve been your leader all this time and if today is the last day that I lead you, I wouldn’t have wanted to lead any other group.)

Njambi crawls back in-

Njambi: Tumire murango wa mbere ihenya biu! Tuikurukire macanine na mundu ndakaguague. Twanjia ihenya tukurugamira Kanguru thukuruini. (We leave via the front door as fast as possible! Then run down the tea plantation! When we start running, we don’t stop until we get to Kanguru school!)

They look at each other a little taken aback. Kanguru School is about two kilometers away.

MUSA: Twambe tumenye kiria kirathi na mbere nja niguo twanjie haro turue tui thu citu. (We need to know what’s lurking outside so that when we fight back, we fight knowing our enemy.)

The front door is yanked open and the entire gang runs out at amazing speeds. The first one out is Saimo with two guns in hand, yelling loudly, ready to shoot.

He is followed closely by Murefu, Njambi, Jakubu and finally Musa.

The soldiers lie low as the gang storms out and they remember what China asked of them. “When they leave the house,” he said, “Hunt down just but one of them. Let the others runs. We’ll catch up with them.”

The entire gang is running fast down the tea plantation with Murefu trailing behind everyone.

China is heading the assault. He isn’t running hard. He takes out his gun, takes a knee aim at Murefu’s back. The boys are standing behind him watching.

Muchoki: Ugire tutikamarathe. (You said not to shoot them.)

China: Njugire matikamorage na rithathi. (I said don’t shoot to kill.)

He fires and Murefu’s thigh bursts open. Screaming, he loses his balance and crashes hard on the ground.

Musa and Saimo turn around to aid him. Njambi and Jakubu want to help but Musa screams at her to keep running –

Musa: Thiagai twi thutha! (Run! We are right behind you!)

Njambi wants to ignore that order but Jakubu pulls her with him roughly yelling –

Jakubu: Ni aguka! (He’ll catch up!)

Musa and Saimo try to raise Murefu up but other bullets from China’s gun fly around them forcing them to lie down flat –

Saimo: Ugire matiri na micinga. (You said they ain’t carrying.)

Musa: Obviously ni hitirie. (I obviously made a mistake.)

Murefu: (Weakly) Thie ii ndimuhe kanya ga kura. (Go on. I’ll buy you some time.)

He is lying on his back, using his fingers as a tourniquet to ease the blood flow without much success. The bullet hit an artery and he is losing too much blood.

Behind the gang, the soliders are now running towards them screaming and China is firing in the air. He ain’t exactly trying hard to hit the rest of them.

Saimo: (Re: The military’s noise) Niguka mokite! (They are coming.)

Murefu yanks out from his back the back pack holding cash and hands it over to Saimo.

Murefu: (To Saimo) Thie ii. Kururia Musa mure mutananyituo. (Go! Drag Musa if you have to and get out of here before they catch you.)

Saimo does exactly that. He hurls the bag to his back and screaming, he grabs the struggling Musa’s hand and drags him downhill as bullets continue flying all around them.

Murefu struggles to lie on his belly, panting, bleeding and points the gun in the direction of the approaching soldiers.

When their heavy steps are close enough he shoots at them and they fast.but he doesn’t stop firing until his clip goes ‘click’. He is out of ammunition. He continues lying on his belly listening as the soldiers’ heavy footsteps draw closer to him. Then he starts laughing.

By the time they get to him, he is hysterical.

China: (To Murefu) Ninjui tutiuwaine no ndakuhoya undeithie na moko na maguru maku, ndina bata namo. (I know we don’t know each another but could I please borrow a hand, and maybe a leg from you?. I need them.)

Musa and Saimo come crashing downhill to the bottom of the tea plantation where Njambi and Jakubu are waiting for them. Jakubu’s shirt is open to reveal the heavy bandage that is tied around his ribs. At the moment, blood is sipping through it and he is flinching and hissing in pain.

Musa: Nikii muetereire tutithii! (What are you waiting for? Let’s go!)

Just then, Murefu is heard screaming loudly… and it is a continuing cry signifying that he is in deep pain. Then comes China’s loud voice screaming at them from uphill-

China: ETERERAI MURATA GUO!!! (WAIT FOR YOUR FRIEND!!!)

Something is flying in the air – flying fast towards them. Then it lands right at their feet. With a shriek, Njambi jumps away because at their feet is Murefu’s severed arm.

Musa: Tuthii! Tuthii. (Let’s go! Let’s go!)

The Green Boulevards of Nyagatugu

00:12h

The gang is running, panting, tripping and falling. It is a cold night so when they pant, a cloud forms around their mouth.

These are thin paths with high green fences on either side. Occasionally, gunshots and loud yells can be heard from behind them.

Every now and then, they look back and Njambi is really scared.

She has has seen lots of crazy stuff, committed atrocious crimes in her time but this moment right here is the darkest moment of my life.

Musa is holding her hand, keeping her close. Every now and then, he looks at her reassuringly. Saimo and Jakubu are tailing close behind. All have guns in hand.

The Nyagatugu terrain is not the friendliest. It is full of hills and valleys and it is not a place you want to find yourself running for your life.

Behind them, the soldiers are jogging and they are all handling machetes in one hand and guns in the other. Sergeant Maina is slower than the rest of them.

China: Nikii Maina uthire kahora uguo? (What is wrong Maina? Why are you so slow?)

Sergeant Maina: Hatiri Major. Ndi sawa nii. (Nothing Major. I’m fine.)

The Sergeant’s hand is covering one side of his stomach and he keeps flinching.

China: (To his boys) Rugamai. (Hold.)

They all stop and China advances on his sergeant. He takes his hand off his stomach to reveal blood sipping through his clothing.

He immeaditly looks around him and spots a nearby house. He takes his phone off his pocket and makes a call –

China:  Cifu ndina kimwana kiarathwo… aca ti uru muno no niagubatara kuhwo na guthambio kironda… tui hakuhi na nyumba ya Njaramba… muhurire umuire ahingurire Sergeant Maina na amuhe uteithio uria wothe agubatara… niwega muno cifu. (Chief, one of my boys is hit… No, not very badly but he’ll need immediate medical attention… We are close to Njaramba’s place… Call him and tell him to open the door for one Sergeant Maina and assist him with anything he needs… Thank you chief.)

Sergeant Maina: (As China hangs up) Major ndi sawa na nondikie mission ino. (Major, I’m fine and i can complete this mission.)

China turns to Muchoki.

China: Niurona ta akurikia Captain? (Do you think he’ll make it to the end captain?)

Muchoki: (To China) Aca. (Nope.) (To the Sergeant) Sorry mani. (Sorry man.)

China: (To the Sergeant. Re: The nearby house) Mucii uria niwa Njaramba. Thie umuire wiu niagukuhingurira na aguteithie. (That is Njaramba’s home. Tell him who you are and he will let you in and assist you.)

Sergeant Maina: (Reluctantly) Niguo Major. (Yes Major.)

Muchoki: Tiga micinga yaku na mai. (Leave your guns and the water.) (Prompted by the sergeant’s reluctance to leaves his weapon behind) Nitugagucokeria rucini. (We’ll give them back in the morning.)

In the meantime, the gang is running downhill towards a stream whose only bridge is a thin piece of wood. Jakubu is visibly weakening and his bandage is wetter and redder. He trips while half way downhill, falls and rolls all the way into the stream immediately staining it with his blood.

They run over to him and carry him out of the stream. His eyes roll to the back of his head and he is on the verge of losing consciousness.

Musa: (Slapping his cheeks gently) Ukira mani. Ukira. (Wake up man. Wake up.)

There is a hint of concern in his voice. Saimo is looking around, listening.

Saimo: Ta thikiririai. (Listen everyone.)

Other than the sound of the flowing water in the stream, and other night sounds, i.e. Crickets etc, it is silent.

Njambi: Nitatuamatiga. (They’ve fallen behind.)

Saimo: Kana marenda tuicirie ni tuamatiga. (Or maybe they want us to think they have fallen behind.)

Njambi: Tutikarugame. (We need to keep moving.)

Musa hands over his back pack to Njambi and hurls his brother over his shoulder. More running, more huffing and puffing, more tripping –

Behind them, China and his men continue the hunt –

China: Kira ii riu. Reke matikamenye tukimakinyira. (We’ll be quiet now. Let them not hear us coming.)

Instead of jogging, they are now running hard, closing the gap between them and the gang fast.

Kanguru Primary School

Kanguru Area; Wanjerere Sub – Location

Rwathia Location; Kangema Division

Monday. February 7, 2000.

00:30h

There is a tiny and an old and rusty signboard bearing the institution’s name. Nearby there is a church. The gang gets there huffing and panting and Musa drops his brother hard on the grass.

Right after passing the institution, the road forks into two.

Musa: (On his knees catching his breath) Nii na Jakubu tukuoya short cut na inyui mubuate bara iyo ithiite main road direct. (Jakubu and I will take the short cut and the rest of you will follow that path to the main road.)

Njambi: Ndirona gutigana ari wega my dear. (I don’t think splitting is a good idea my dear.)

Musa: At least twatigana gikundi kimwe nigigukinya Kanyenyaini. (When we split, one group stands a chance at getting to Kanyenya ini.)

Saimo: (To Njambi) Musa ena pointi. (Musa has a point.)

Njambi gets emotional.

Njambi: Ugire tuguthie hamwe Musa. Urenda tutigane riu i twaga kuonana hindi ingi? (You said we’ll go together Musa. What if we split now and this turns out to be the last time we see each other?)

Musa: Nitugucemania haha kabere Njambi. (We’ll meet right ahead Njambi.)

Njambi: Ca! Nii ndiragayanyuka na mundu. (No! I’m not splitting up with anyone.)

Musa turns to Saimo helplessly.

Saimo: Nii ningugithie ndi woika. (I’ll go alone then.)

Njambi: (Almost begging) Tuthii hamwe ma. Ni muona uria meka Murefu twamutiga? (Let’s stick together. Did you see what they did to Murefu when we left him behind?)

Musa cups her cheeks –

Musa: Nikio tutangi afford kunyitwo turi othe. (That’s why we can’t afford getting caught together.)

Musa kisses his doubtful girlfriend, hurls his brother on his shoulder and runs to where the path forks into two with Saimo and Njambi following close behind.

When they reach at the fork, Musa and Njambi take the road that goes down south on his left and Saimo takes the one that goes on right ahead – they exchange brief looks like they are saying goodbye, but afraid to spit it out verbally.

Musa then turns around and runs down the hill and Saimo runs up the hill – but he doesn’t get far. He stops suddenly at the middle of the road as if he has just had an idea.

He holds both guns in his hands at the ready and hides in the bushes that make up the fence – waiting.

The soldiers come running past the signboard and China motions them to stop. He is looking right ahead at the branching path.

China: Alpha team tukuoya njira ya umotho, bravo team thiei straight. (Alpha team will go left, Bravo team go on straight ahead.)

Muchoki: Urona ta magayanyuka? (You think they split up?)

China: Ingiri o na kugayanyuka. (It’s what I’d do.)

Saimo is watching them from his hiding place, smiling at the corner of his lips – congratulating himself on his brilliant idea.

He watches as they split up and as China and his boys run on after Musa and the rest of the gang. Muchoki and Corporal Njeru run on past where he is hiding. He waits till they go round the bend ahead of them, then he follows them silently, ready to shoot at any moment.

Musa is slowing down. He is getting tired. His knees rattled knees tremble terribly as he climbs down yet another hill with his brother on his back. His clothes stick to him as he drenches them with his sweat. The look on his face shows that he is on the verge of giving up and Njambi can see it.

Njambi: Muige thi ma. (Please put him down.)

Musa: Aca. (No.)

Njambi: Muige thi. (Put him down.)

Musa: Ca. (No.)

He manages to get downhill without tripping and hurries off towards the main road. Between them and the main road where they should be meeting Saimo, is a flat stretch of a path followed by a very steep hill.

Behind Musa is China and his Alpha team. China sees Musa disappear around the bend and he motions the boys to stop and come closer to him.

China: (Whispering the Njeru) We tondu ni we ui area ici urona ta mathie ku? (Coz you are familiar with this area, where do you think they are headed?)

Corporal Njeru: Kanyenyaini.

China: Ni kii ki hakuhi kingituteithia? (What’s close that we could take advantage of?)

Corporal Njeru: He karima haha mbere. No tumahandire ho. (There is a hill right ahead. We could corner them there.)

China: (To the whole team) Tukumarumirira kahora riu. Makinya karimaini kau turathe kanda iyo ikuitwo mugongo. Yagua mahota kumitiga, tumiuragire hau. Maga kumutiga turathane nao, no mumarathe maguru kana ciande kana moko. (We follow them slowly up to the hill where we shoot the one being carried in the back. Chances are they will drop him and leave him. If they do, kill him. If they don’t, we might exchange fire, in which case, shoot them on their limbs. Legs, arms, the like.)

Meantime, the Captain Muchoki led Bravo team is oth running hard headed for the main road.

Corporal Kirubi: Captain ndirona ta magayanyukire. (I don’t think they split up Captain.)

Muchoki: Tugiteng’ere biu niguo tukorane na acio angi na hau kabere. (Let’s keep going. We’ll catch up with Alpha team up ahead.)

Saimo is tailing them at a distance, slowly enough not to arouse their suspicions and also fast enough not to be left far behind.

At one time, the Corporal looks behind and Saimo just hides before he can be seen.

Musa and Njambi are running as fast as they can on the flat stretch of a path just before taking a bend that immediately introduces the sharp hill. ‘Running as fast as they can’ means they are not running admiringly fast at all.

Behind them just out of sight, Alpha Team follows;

Senior Sergeant Kamanja: (Whispering) Anga nimanogire Major. (I think they are tired Major.)

China: Moya corner iyo tumabuate ihenya. Kamanja woe mwena wa urio, Njeru, woe umotho, nii ngukoma bara gatagate. (Once they go round the corner, we pick up the pace. Kamanja, you will position yourself on the right side of the path, Njeru you’ll take the left and I will lie in the middle of the road.)

Senior Sergeant Kamanja: Wina ma uguo ni wega gukoma bara? (Do you think it’s prudent lying in the middle of the road?)

China: Ni anogu already. Ndirona ta makuoya time yao kurua ta kura. (They are tired. I don’t think they will take their time to put up a fight. They’ll focus on running.)

The gang is at the much anticipated bend is here. And Jakubu who is slung over Musa’s shoulder has a view of what’s happening behind them. Just as they go around the corner, he opens his eyes and sees the soldiers following them from a far.

As soon they are around the corner, out of sight from the soldiers, he says –

Jakubu: (Urgent voice) Njiga thi Musa. (Put me down Musa.)

Musa quickly puts him down and Jakubu grabs both of his guns.

Musa: Ni ki? (What is it?)

Jakubu: Kwina andu maratuma thutha na micinga. (There are people tailing us with guns.)

Musa: Me hanene? (Are they far behind?)

Jakubu: Kidogo. No ihenya maroka twina sekondi nini mbere ya matukinyirite. (A little bit far behind. But they are approaching real fast. They will be here shortly.)

Musa’s eyes dart to and fro, looking for the best line of defense. Finally, his eyes land on Jakubu then on the intimidating hill.

Musa: Ni ukuhota kuambata? (Can you climb?)

Jakubu: No ngerie. (I can try.)

Musa: (To Njambi) Ambata ihenya Njambi ni ngugukora rugongo. (Go on up Njambi. I’ll meet you at the top.)

Njambi: Aca ndikumutiga. (No. I’m not leaving you behind.)

Musa grabs her collar, pulls her close roughly, plants a hard kiss on her lips then pushes her roughly off up the hill.

Musa: Thie na ndiraguthaitha. (Go on. And I’m not asking.)

The soldiers see the gang disappear around the bend. Now they are running fast after them guns at the ready.

Bravo team has just climbed up a small hill that spits them into the main road. A few hundred meters down this main road (Wanjerere –Kanyenyaini Road) is where Alpha Team and Musa and crew should be.

Muchoki: (Pointing to his left) Tuthie uu? (Should we go on this direction?)

Corporal Kirubi: Ii. (Yeah.)

Behind them, Saimo catches their backs just as they disappear to the left. He picks up speed and as he runs into the main road, he hears distant but sporadic gunshots.

Bravo Team has heard them too and they run hard after toward them.

Muchoki: Anga matinagayanyuka. (Maybe they didn’t split up after all.)

The Gun Fight at the Hill

The soldiers run after the gang hard but upon getting to the bottom of the hill, they find the gang waiting for them with aimed guns and they are close to the top of the hill.

Musa is the first to fire and Corporal Njeru is the first to go down with a bullet buried deep in his face – dead.

As the gang fires, they are retreating too. The once silent night is polluted by the loud gunshots, as they all exchange heated fire.

Njambi is lying on her tummy right at the top of the hill firing down. She has the advantage of being on higher ground and the soldiers, having lost the elemnt of surprise, have more of a challenge on their hands than they thought they would. China and Kamanja take cover.

China: Mena advantage ya kirima na ni mui oguo. (They have the advantage of higher ground and they know it.)

Senior Sergeant Kamanja: Nita onao mathiete training ya mbaara. (It’s like they have military training.)

Musa takes advantage of the cover taking act of the soldiers to get uphill, dragging his brother along. Just as Jakubu gets uphill and onto the main road, China leaves his cover and fires. His bullets lands into Jakubu’s shoulder drawing blood and screams.

Musa pulls him onto the main road on top of the hill and crashes hard on his ass, dragging his screaming older brother with him.

Musa: (To Njambi) Ndukareke mambate kirima kiu. (Don’t let them climb this hill.)

Muchoki and Kirubi are running down the main road to their colleagues’ assistance and unbeknownst to them, Saimo is running after them.

He is in the middle of the road. He holsters one gun and holds the other in both hands, aiming. He is calm and collected. His finger clasps the trigger and squeezes once.

The bullet catches Corporal Njeru right at the back of his head blowing a half of it away. Instinctively, Muchoki dives to the side of the road, lies on his tummy and returns fire.

Saimo doesn’t even bother with hiding. He starts running hard for the Captain, screaming his lungs out. Muchoki is shooting but it is hard to lock on his target. Because Saimo is zigzagging all over the road as he approaches fast.

Muchoki grows nervous which is what the approaching and screaming force of nature wants. He fires sporadically, hoping that one of the bullets will land but he hopes wrong.

One time, he squeezes the trigger but the gun goes click. Saimo, as if waiting for that all along now heads straight still screaming up to where the Captain is lying. Muchoki in his nervousness to yank out his extra side arm just ends up fiddling with it. Like it is stuck to his waist but his hands are shaking too badly to help him much.

Without slowing down, Saimo runs up to Muchoki and delivers a massive football kick with much heat behind it – collected during all the running he has being doing – to Muchoki’s chin, breaking the latter’s neck instantly.

Quintessential of Saimo, he doesn’t stop there. Instead, he grabs Muchoki’s side arm, shoves the muzzle into his mouth and blows his head right off. Then empties the rest of the clip into his back and when the gun is empty, he hurls it hard down at the dead man’s back. And he doesn’t stop screaming either.

Still screaming, he runs down the main road to help his friends.

China and Kamanja are firing and diving as they make their way up the hill. Njambi is the only one returning fire and she isn’t doing much damage.

Njambi: Ni guka mokite Musa! (They are coming Musa.)

Musa is busy ripping his shirt up to make a bandage.

Musa: Ndukareke makinye rugongo! (Don’t let them get to the top.)

He folds the cloth into a neat pad which he places over Jakubu’s wound and ties the rest of the bandage around his shoulder. Jakubu is sighing hard. Trying to keep and hold onto his consciousness.

Njambi gets cautionless since she is under so much pressure. She figures she will have a better vantage point if she just gets on her knees and shoots. Which is what she does.

With both guns firing simultaneously, she lights up the dark hill with her immense fire, momentarily pining China and Kamanja down.

Just then, a screaming Saimo is seen running from their right with two guns in hand.

Saimo: Niguka njukite andu aitu! (I’m coming people!)

Njambi is on her knees shooting. China and Kamanja are half way up the hill, on their bellies, crawling to the top. Saimo is running toward her and Musa is tying the bandage around his brother’s shoulder.

Jakubu: (Hissing between clenched teeth) Wanjoha uhe micinga yeri na muure ihenya. (Once you’ve bandaged me up, give me two guns, then take everybody and run.)

Musa: Aca mani. Niwonire uria mekire Murefu twamutiga? (No man. Did you see what they did to Murefu when we left him behind?)

JAKUBU: (Re: The shooting Njambi) Tarore kairitu gaku. One uria karuire gutuhonokia turi othe. Koe. Urai. Kahikie. Giai twana tuingi. (Look at your woman. See how hard she is fighting to save us all. Take her. Run. Marry her. Make lots of babies.)

Musa takes a moment to look at her. She is on her knees, gun in each hand, firing continuously, her lower lip in mouth and her face set the way it gets when she is firing a gun. Then she runs out ammunition and she just has enough time to dive out of the way before China and Kamanja return her fire.

Njambi: Ndingihota kumahingiriria ringi! (I can’t hold them off any longer!)

Jakubu grabs Musa’s guns, pushes him away and edges to the top of the hill. Saimo is here.

JAKUBU: (To Saimo) Moe! Makururie muthii. (Take them! Drag them out of here!)

Saimo grab’s Musa’s hand and lifts him off the ground. Musa is struggling to grab his brother but Saimo punches him hard on the face and pulls him away.

Njambi needs no prompting. She is on her feet, pulling Musa with her off the cursed place. Musa takes one last look at his brother and Njambi sees the concern and all the emotions on his face.

Lang’ata Women’s Prison

Lang’ata – Nairobi

Thursday. April 12, 2018

17:36h

An older Njambi is her prison garb, is rubbing her palm with her thumb and saying softly –

Njambi: As we tore him away from his brother, we knew he knew that was Jakubu’s end.

She closes her eyes and sees Musa look away from Jakubu, tears himself away from Saimo and runs.

Njambi:  When he ran off on his own, I guessed he didn’t want to see his brother die. Maybe he wanted to remember him alive, not dead or dying. So he ran and I loved him more for it. But I looked back and saw what happened to Jakubu. It was nothing good.

Wanjerere – Kanyenya-ini Road

Jakubu is on his knees just like Njambi had been and he is yelling as he sprays bullets downhill. Kamanja rises to return fire but Jakubu shoots him on the shoulder first. The pain and the force of the bullet forces Kamanja to turn around and another bullet sinks into his chest prompting him to cough out blood. It has gone right to his lung.

He is too busy concentrating his fire on Kamanja, he doesn’t notice China get up and aim. Jakubu is shooting when his body starts leaking red.

China is emptying his magazine into him. Njambi sees Jakubu’s arms lose strength and his guns drop at his side.

Saimo is pulling her away from the horrendous sight. Jakubu slumps back on his legs and his head rests on his chest with his half open mouth streaming blood. He dies on his knees.

China gets to his feet and looks down at the dying Senior Sergeant. Kamanja is lying on his back coughing.

Senior Sergeant Kamanja: Ndirona ta ukumakinyira itari ho. (I think you will have to continue without me.)

China: (Squatting beside him) Wimuhutie mahuri. (The bullet hit your lung.)

Senior Sergeant Kamanja: Ninjui. Ndugate mahinda na nii. Rikia mission. (I know. Don’t waste time with me. Complete the mission.)

China squeezes the Sergeant’s shoulder gently, relieves him of his weapons and runs uphill.

Wanjerere – Kanyenyaini Road

01:00h

China is running fast – like wind fast – quickly cutting the distance between him and the gang. And he seems furious.

Now that there is no one slowing them down, they too are moving fast. Occasionally, they glance over their shoulders to see if there is anyone following them but they seem all alone.

Saimo: Ni murariguo nikii gutari na ngari ciragera bara umuthi? (Is anyone wondering why there are no cars on the road tonight?)

Njambi: Ni tondu guku ni giacgi na ni thaa mugwanja cia utuku. (Because this is the countryside and it is one in the morning.)

From a far, they hear the roaring sound of a river.

Saimo: Twi hakuhe Gondo. Twakira ndaraca tugukorwo hakuhi na Kanyenyaini. (We are close to Gondo River. Once we cross the bridge, Kanyenyaini will be close.)

Musa is running ahead of them and he is not even glancing over his shoulder.

Njambi: Nia acio matuteng’eririe? (Who came after us?)

Saimo: Etagwo Muchina. (His name is Muchina.)

A hint of terror touches Njambi’s eyes.

Njambi: Tuongerere thibindi. (We need to to hurry.)

They are running fast down hill towards Gondo river. It is a big river on whose other side lies another hill. Njambi glances over her shoulder again and catches China racing fast towards them and an involuntary scream escapes her startling the rest of the gang.

Saimo sees what has made her scream and increases his pace. Musa looks back for once and sees China. He slows down, holds his girlfriend’s hand and runs with her.

They all run fast down towards the bridge and a gun barks behind them attracting another shriek from Njambi. China is shooting. Saimo slows down prompting them all to stop.

Musa: Ni kii kiuru Saimo nai ti ture! (What’s wrong Saimo? Keep running!)

Saimo: Nii ndikura ringi nindanoga. (I’m tired of running!)

Musa: Twi hakuhi gukinya! (We are almost there.)

Saimo: Inyui thie ii. (Go ahead. Both of you.)

China is quickly catching up.

Musa: Turi eri na ee woika. No tumuhote. (There is two of us, and he is the only one. We can take him.)

Njambi: Turi atatu. Na ndigakarario ni mundu (There is three of us. And don’t anybody dare say otherwise.)

So they wait for China who comes fast with his gun pointed but when he fires, he is out of ammunition so he throws it away and advances armed with his machete.

Saimo is out of ammunition too.

Musa: Anga tukurua ya mwili. (Looks like we will have to get physical.)

Njambi: Anga. (Looks like it.)

Saimo is the first to attack. China hurls machete at his head but Saimo slides off its path and smashes a right into his face while Musa kicks the machete off his hands.

Next time Musa tries to move in, China clubs him with a right, turns to Saimo and they exchange fast punches but it is clear that China is faster.

Njambi tries to assist with her quick kicks but China is quicker and in no time, they are all on the ground. They can’t lose to one man. No. Their egos wouldn’t allow it.

So they get up and attack again. Musa tries to punch but China gets hold of his hand, twists it real hard behind Musa’s back forcing him to bend over, before driving his knee hard into his twisted elbow breaking Musa’s hand with a loud shatter followed by a scream of agony.

He renders, Musa useless in this fight. Musa who is on the ground writhing and screaming in pain and Njambi is kneeling beside him trying to calm him down.

Saimo is on his feet, facing China alone. He takes his back pack off his back and tosses it to Musa.

Saimo: (To Njambi) Muoe muthiage. Thiei na mbia icio (Take him and go. And take the money with you)

Njambi: I we? (What about you?)

Saimo: Tarora haria turi wone uria he hathaka. Haha ti handu horu ha gukuira. (Look around you. It is so beautiful, isn’t it? It ain’t a bad place to die.)

Gondo River Bridge

01:58h

On both sides of the bridge are hills, tea plantations and trees. Trees whose leaves make a hissing sound every time a breeze passes by. Under the bridge, the Gondo river waters smash against rocks and carry on down with a noisy flair.

Yes. It is a beautiful place to die.

Musa has the back pack in his good hand. Njambi pulls him away from China and Saimo and helps him put the bag on his back while she carries the other.

China: (To Njambi. Re: Saimo) Ndirarikia na uyu o riu ndimokere na hau mbere. (I’ll be done with him soon and I’ll meet you right ahead.)

Saimo: O haria tukonanira andu a nyumba. Hau mbere kana iguru. Bata nituonane ringi. (We’ll meet again friends. Right ahead or up above, it doesn’t matter. Just as long as we meet again.)

Njambi and Musa make their way uphill as fast as they can leaving Saimo behind to buy them time. And Saimo tries. But China is faster, tougher and crazier. Still they fight and at one juncture, Saimo grabs China at the waist in a rugby tackle and they both fall off the bridge and into the roaring river below.

Saimo is the first to regain his breath and he approaches China ramming jabs into his face. China fights back and soon, both men are exchanging blows as hard and as fast as they can.

Saimo manages to ram a good one into China tummy forcing wind out of him, and China bends over. Saimo grabs his head and presses it hard under the water drowning him. China tries to free the vice holding him down but he can’t. It is too determined.

When China tries to fight again, Saimo rams a jab into his ribs and presses harder. China is growing desperate. He garners the all the energy left in his body to pull himself deeper into the water.

This surprises Saimo who momentarily lets go. China, running on fumes, produces a penknife from his pocket and uses it to sever Saimo’s Achilles Tendons on both legs and Saimo’s subsequent scream reaches Musa and Njambi.

China gets his head above the water and Saimo, loosing strength in his legs, is being overpowered by the river’s strong current.

He grabs Saimo’s right arm and sinks the blade of his knife into it and slices his way down towards the wrist severing arteries. He pulls it out and hurls Saimo’s weakening body on to his shoulder and carries him to the river bank where he dumps him.

Saimo look up at him with a sneering smile.

Saimo: Wona unjike wega uhonokie ndigatwarwo ni rui? (Have you found it fit to save me from drowning?)

China: Ndirenda ukuire handu mwiri waku ukonekana. (I want your body to be seen.)

Saimo: (Looking up to the sky with a smile and a whisper. Distant stars smile back at him, and so does the gibbous moon.) Haha ni handu hega hagukuira. (This is a nice place to die.

Saimo continues smiling and he doesn’t stop even after China places the blade to his Jugular and slits it open. Saimo dies with a smile of surprise on his face

Kanyenyaini Township

Kiharu Constituency; Murang’a District

Monday. February 7, 2000.

02:02h

They are running on a long straight and flat road. From where they stand, they can see the town in front of them. They can see the tarmac road that leads from Kanyenya-ini into Kangema town and they can see the backs of the shops in Kanyenyaini. They can see hope.

If they proceed at their current pace, they will be there in two minutes. Smiles on their faces. They are hopeful. Their pace hastens.

Njambi: Nituakinya Musa. Twi Kanyenyaini. (We are here Musa. We are in Kanyenyaini.)

Behind them China comes rumbling. He sees them in front of him and he can tell from their pace that they think they’ve made it.

China: RUGAMAI! (STOP!)

They both glance over their shoulders to see China standing at the middle of the road with his machete in hand. Shrieking, they turn around and continue running. He yells after them.

China: Riu niku murathie? Nai mutiui no ngumukinyira ona mutakinyite haria Kanyenyaini taoni? (Where do you think you are going? You know I’ll catch you before you get into the town, right?)

They continue running, but Musa says to Njambi –

Musa: Ena ihenya na niagutukinyira. (He is fast and he will get to us.)

Njambi: Reke atukinyire mbere tugiteng’eraga. (Let him catch us running.)

China: Mwathie na mbere na kura ndamukinyira ngumuraga muri eri! No mwarugama nguraga o umwe wanyu! (If you keep running I will kill both of you. If you stop, i’ll kill just one of you!)

Musa slows down and eventually stops running. Njambi gets hysterical.

Njambi: Ni kii ureka? Nai tituteng’ere na nitukinyire! (What are you doing! We have to keep going! We are already here!)

About fifty meters in front of them, parked in the middle of the Kangema – Kanyenyaini road a car flashes its light at them.

Njambi: Iria ngari itu! Notukinye! (There is our car. We can make it!)

But Musa has lost hope. On his face is the expression of a tired and disillusioned man.

Njambi:  Ma ndukanjikanie uu Musa. (Don’t do this to me Musa!)

Musa stands there shaking his head at his girlfriend negatively. He looks over at China who is standing like twenty meters away and at their car which is parked fifty meters away.

China: Ndiramuhe sekondi ithano muicirie kana ni mukura kana nimukunjeterera! (You have five seconds to decide if you will run or you will wait!)

Njambi: Ino ngari haha ma! Ona ninguira ndereba atugire ma Musa! (Our ride is here. I will even ask the driver to come get us!)

Musa: Ngari iyo ndingikira hau irungie. Territory yao ikinyite hau. (That car can’t get past that point. That’s the extent of their territory.)

China: Ithano! Inya! (Five, Four…)

Musa takes the back pack off his back and hands it over to his reluctant girlfriend.

Musa: Oya muhuko uthie. (Take the bag and leave.)

Njambi: Ndiguthie! (I am not leaving!)

He pushes it roughly into her chest and pushes her away.

Musa: Thie! (Go!)

China: Ithatu! Igiri!… (Three! Two…)

Njambi begins shedding tears. She grabs Musa’s hand and starts pulling him with her but he slaps her away.

Njambi: Musa ningukuhikira! Ninguciarira ciana na nitukuanjia afresh nii nawe ma. Twina mbia riu… (I’ll marry you Musa, I’ll give you kids and we can start afresh! We have the money now…)

China: Imwe! Nimurathii kana mureterera? (One! Are you leaving or waiting?)

The car flashes the lights again.

Musa: Ndikuenda kuhikia maraya nii. Wi giko ni ndikuenda gukuona ringi. (I ain’t marrying a whore. You are filthy and i never want to see you again.)

She starts hitting him with the bag, pulling him, slapping him and punching him and crying real hard –

Njambi: Aca Musa! Aca Musa! Aca Musa! (No Musa! No Musa! No Musa!)

But he holds his ground.

Musa: Wi maraya! Wi giko! Ni ndire ndakuenda! (You are a filthy whore and I never loved you!)

The harder she tries, the harder he resists. China is slowly walking towards them and Njambi is scared. His machete looks exactly mean in his strong hands. She drops both bags of money on the ground and looks at her boyfriend. The tears keep flowing but she isn’t crying hard now.

Njambi: Ndukundiga Musa. (You ain’t leaving me Musa.)

Then she bolts off towards China.

This catches Musa by surprise and he bolts after her but it’s too late. China is waiting for her. She tries to attack him but he grabs her by the throat, collects her right off the ground, and smashes her on the hard road on her back. He then knocks her out with a kick to the side of her face.

Lang’ata Women’s Prison

Lang’ata – Nairobi

Thursday. April 12, 2018

18:10h

Njambi: When i woke up, i was seated at the front seat of a car with two bags of money on my lap and a strange man by my side.

Her voice is trembling and she looks away just as it starts to break, seeking to hide her tears from her interviewer.

Gakira Town; Kangema Township

Monday. February 7, 2000

07:30h

The Extraction Car, is slowly cruising past a crowd at Gakira town. The morning sun is casting golden brown rays through the car’s windshield, rays whose gentle warmth caress Njambi awake.

The large crowd at Gakira is all facing one direction – at a police land rover parked at the nearby petrol station.

Lang’ata Women’s Prison

Lang’ata – Nairobi

Thursday. April 12, 2018

17:36h

Njambi: The police found the bodies of the gang members sliced to pieces and arranged on the Wanjerere – Kanyenyaini road. They collected the pieces – arms, legs, heads, and threw them to the back of their Land rover which they drove to Kangema and parked it there for an entire morning. They paraded the boys’ bodies like they were items on display.

Reporter: What about Musa? What happened to him?

Njambi: I don’t know. They never found his body and that was the last i saw him or heard of or from him. One year after that, i married another man, an abusive one and i put up with him and bore him a son. I was willing to start a new life, a family and put the dark days behind me. But one day my husband came home drunk, laid hands on our son and i stabbed him seventeen times.

Reporter: Do you regret having committed all those crimes?

Njambi: I try not to think about them. But we shouldn’t have murdered that young woman. Sabina. Her death was the death of us all.

She flashes back to that Sunday afternoon. The group is seated outside the house all laughing and devouring huge chunks of meat and ugali.

Njambi: I think of the boys though. But I find myself thinking about the non-violent days when we hung out and were actually happy. When all is said and done, i guess that’s all that matters in your relationship with anyone. The happy days. Years after it’s all gone, the happy days are what you’ll remember. The good times are what you will miss.

Reporter: And Musa? You must think of him a lot.

Njambi: I suppose that’s the worst punishment of all. Not knowing whether or not he’s out there. If he is, does he think about me? Does he miss me? The hope that I might see him again, it really keeps me going, you know?

The reporter nods, her faces rolling with the necessary emotions it’s supposed to be showing, even though she neither feels nor knows what Njambi could be talking about.

Behind the perimeter wall and the barb wire atop of it, the sun sinks, leaving behind the evening sky – a sky of a dimming golden yellow color. A sky that makes her think of a smile. Musa’s smile. A sight Njambi never wants to miss, whenever she can. In the morning, she will catch the sunrise – the sunrise which will bring with it the hope of seeing her long lost love just one more time.

(Once upon a time a time when I was growing up in the parts of Murang’a described in “Wages of Sin” the things below happened, years between them.

a. One morning on my way to the shop to buy milk and bread (or was it paraffin for the stove?) I met a group of people staring at a police Land Rover parked at Kenol Petrol Station in Gakira, Kangema. I have never been a curious person, never been the kind to get closer to a crowd to see what it is that has them so engrossed, but this was different. There was blood trickling from the Land Rover and onto the tarmac. So I moved closer, elbowed my way to the front of the crowd and right there at the back of the Land Rover were bodies – six or seven of them – all horribly mutilated. Apparently these were people who used to be part of a gang that had been terrorizing the area for years and people had finally gotten tired of them and laid their pangas on them. The police left them in the Land Rover in full view of people for a while that morning in Gakira, “Ili liwe funzo kwa wengine wenye tabia kama hiyo.”

b. Another gang terrorized people for years. Violent robbers who would rob you blind then kill you. I never understand why people do that. If you’re going to rob me, leave me alive. If you kill me, who are you going to rob tomorrow? Anyway, this was a gang of six and they all met their end in a river where they were all slaughtered by an angry mob at night. This was a different gang from the one described in “a” above.

c. When I was growing up, petty criminals killed people by the hundreds. Someone would walk into a shop, grab a few hundred shillings then shoot them. There was an instance where a watchman was tied to a tree in a mango plantation near Kangema Polytechnic and left for dead. Some of the scenes in this “Wages of Sin” story might seem farfetched, especially the violent bits, but they are all inspired by things that actually happened.

d. There was an increase in Mungiki related crimes in the area in the mid and late 2000s. The then MP, Hon. John Michuki, declared some sort of an emergency (back when he was the “if you rattle the snake” guy) and a whole bunch of Mungiki suspects were found at a river and shot dead. It is such incidents and more, that inspired the creation of “Wages of Sin” which I had originally written as a movie script but was told a hundred times that it would be a very expensive movie to make and not many people would be interested in watching it anyway, meaning it probably wouldn’t be worth the investment. The script says that it is “loosely based on actual events.” Now you know what I mean by that.)

8 COMMENTS

  1. I totally relate to those days. You have captured it well without giving us a closure. So NJambi lives to tell the story and to enjoy the trauma of losing all those Ninjas. At least Mbugati didn’t die for nothing.

    The sentiments about making the movie I can’t comment on. Not until I get to know what it takes totally to produce a movie

    • The Granny’s corner a lot has to be put in place.The more the locations and actors(characters),the more money will be put in place.
      You also have to involve the audience. The script has a lot of murder and blood shed but hey Charles, who says we can’t do it??We can, count Me in big brother.

  2. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!That was AWESOME!!!Meaning that if it was a movie MANY people would want to watch it. Try your luck again. You might find someone who is willing to invest in it and make it a movie.

  3. Charles due to public demand, naona tukitengeneza a movie on it.

    Anyway..This was amazing…. Inspired by a story that happened many years ago and it came out with lessons.
    “Iwe funzo kwa wengine walio na tabia Kama hizi”.

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