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The blogs are for stories and other educative posts meant for all age groups.Most of the stories are based on African life style and the character names and locations are all imaginary and they do not represent anyone or elsewhere particularly.

In stories there are no images which might be explicit in an anyway because they are meant for all age groups.Only the story image is the header.Moreover the platform will engage on educative scenarios be it in parenting,love and relationship,comic and other informative stories.

DILIGENT TAMIKA

CHAPTER I
Happiness knows no boundaries, neither hate nor anger, mischief, infidelity, deceit, to name but a few would overcome its foundation that was laid by a determined couple. It is easier to nurture children with a good foundation of love and happiness and so it was with Tamika and her husband Dandy.
Situated in the dry savannah grasslands, mountains sparsely distributed around Kaonga village. In dry seasons the sun heats and dries swamps and ponds where people, livestock, and wild animals drink. So hot that people avoid sandy paths and use hard ground which even burns more on the soles of rubber sandals. There were always grumbles about weather changes, some loath rain, especially the lazy, and some loath the sun which hindered day-to-day activities.
“Are you going to manage moving from tree to tree like a monkey?”, asked Musa capping his hand on his bald head.
Poko kept seeking shelter under every tree on the way, the sun was overhead and one could roast plantains on the hot ground. He stood under a big tree with heavy branches hanging like a tired giant waiting for Musa who was still hobbling with his walking stick. To the left of his shoulder, a green mamba stealthily and dangerously crawled towards him while he was flapping away bugging insects with his handkerchief while provoking the reptile at the same time.
As if Musa knew the few seconds he would be late his friend could be struck to death by a venomous snake, he was quick to check up the tree at the moment the snake had its mouth open to striking Poko’s shoulder but Musa was quick to notice and hit it with his walking stick squarely on the head. Poko was dumbfounded and scared, he hadn’t enough marrow in his bones to jump let alone move a finger, he just watched the dead snake just by his legs twitching its last.
Back to the couple, a home so quiet only the humming little child playing toys and cooing of doves in the nearby trees disturbed the quietness. The boy, Taku, handsome, with a straight jawbone which gave him a free smile when he opened his little mouth to the amusement of his mother. He often spent time home playing alone though sometimes with Prigo, Poko’s son who used to play with him on different occasions. Poko had long loved Tamika but she had turned his proposals down several times insisting she was in love with Dandy but that wasn’t to go unpunished by the jealous and dubious Poko.

Poko, a tall man with a bald head so shiny that kids often teased him to bounce a ball on his head. Few gray hairs circled the back of the head from ear to ear and a long neck perched with a little head. He had unfortunate ears, so big and wide, one would think they prick in alarm but alas he was often scolded by his friends for not paying attention to details. His wife, Maria complained too for her husband blessing their child with big ears.

“I pity my son could marry a decent wife with such ears, he should’ve taken from my family”, she had lamented. Poko was quick to cut her short mocking her for the legs his son had resembled from his mother.

” If I were you I wouldn’t complain of ears, they will grow less when he ages, unlike those fat limbs my son took from you, no wonder he can’t kick a simple chick”, objected Poko.

Poko didn’t marry Maria out of love but she eloped when she got pregnant with him, it was love at first sight which ended in bedding in the comfort of leaves and security of the night when they met at a cultural celebration, his seed was so strong and she got pregnant before they could think of an affair. His heart was with Tamika but she was a hard nut to unscrew. The damage was done with Maria, a hefty lady with dimpled cheeks and wore a beautiful smile that got the bat-eared Poko biting his lips in awe of the beauty and he was the one who broke her maidenhead, he didn’t notice out of hurry.

CHAPTER II

Years poured out while Poko was insistent on bedding Tamika even though she had a husband and a son so as he. Tamika warned him of his proposals and threatened to report him to the village chief and that gave Poko an upper hand to despise Dandy for not being reliable for security.

” How funny it is, just hear yourself, you want to report a gallant man to the Chief instead of you’re weakling husband”, mocked Poko.

“Gallant my foot, what kind of a man beats his chest a gallant yet you follow other man’s wives, isn’t that cowardice?” objected Tamika, splitting wood with an ax.

Poko cocked his head sideways and peered through the bushes for eavesdroppers and drew closer to a perplexed Tamika, he swallowed hard and jerk forward as if he wanted to reach for her mouth for which Tamika blocked him with a sharp-edged ax. “I tell you, this year won’t end before I took you to warm my bed”, bragged Poko.

Tamika broke into a boisterous laugh and sat on a log, clapping her hands in disbelief. ” Poko do you think I can sulk to your proposal, what bed can I warm that Maria couldn’t warm to give you another big-eared babe, you can’t have a son, so weak, I guess you used juju on her and tossed your seed in her sleep”, replied Tamika angrily.

The big-eared man pulled his trousers to reveal the bundle bulging on his torn trousers, mocked and assured her that, virility was his second name, smiled and revealed his brown teeth, and warned Tamika that he would do everything in his power just to get to her.

” I won’t go down to my ancestors before you bless me with my big-eared son which will make Dandy suspicious and chase you to me”, bragged Poko.

Tamika had taken Poko’s joust as lightly as a maiden but she realized the man was getting under her dress if she could not put an end to his persistent proposals. She took her bundle of wood she had split and left without a word, hurriedly. Poko took it as a clear sign of reception, he stroked his goatee beard with impunity.

Poko had a bad reputation in dissolving marriages. The other time has was fined for fondling the breast of Ugele’s wife when she asked to be helped to lift firewood on her head.

Another week, he was beaten by Tazuwa for courting his daughter at the borehole and his wounds took a moon to heal and he bore a scar on his cheek.

Sometime during harvesting, he was caught bedding Ndoga’s wife in the bush but he bribed the boy with three full moons payment just to keep his mouth shut and the boy had joked ” I am being a shut-up money”.

He wasn’t done yet with his wits, he craved for Tamika but he was fighting a losing battle until he decided to become eviler than man up like every man. He sorts the assistance of a witch doctor to make Dandy disappear from Tamika’s life so that he could capitalize on her loneliness.

CHAPTER III

Dandy, an innocent man with a heart of a dove, industrious deep down his marrow, managed a flock of goats and a handful of fowls. He wasn’t a type to quarrel with people even though his wife had told him about Poko’s persistent proposals but he had taken the news lightly. He was fond of hunting, his son would accompany him and on different occasions, he had brought home his kill especially small animals, scrub hares, squirrels equally to the spear his father had welded.

Poko took advantage to enter the compound and people took no notice of the fishy business of Poko owing to his friendship with Dandy but the victimized lot knew better to bar off Poko in their compounds.

“Do you pray to know when my husband leaves for hunting or you squat on my doorstep to eavesdrop on our conversations?” asked Tamika holding her huge waist like an officer of the law.

” I told you already that you are mine, I’ve to keep vigil and offer tight security everyone wants your bone for chewing”, lied Poko trying to divert his intentions.

Tamika was quick to dismiss him, “Only a fool can fall for your wits, ain’t cheap like Ndoga’s wife”, she replied in mockery.

The man wrinkled his face as if his scrotum were pinched by a zip, he wondered how many in the village had known the secret. He was taken aback. ” How did you know?”, he asked trying to appear calm.

“Tolo always plays with Taku and I asked him of the money which was stuffed in his pockets, too much for his age, who cares if the whole village knows at least they know the man you are”, said Tamika.

He left without a word.

The days followed he went to a witch doctor outside their village to seek assistance, the brown toothed man with old bones dangling on his head, beaming sweat all over his body in a pocket-sized hot hut bellowed incarnations but warned Poko no matter whatever he tried to do the woman would not even let him see or touch her treasure and it would cost him. The witch doctor didn’t tell him how despite his persistence.

It didn’t take long for Poko’s rituals to take the course, One day Dandy took his son and went into the bush to check their traps but did not return. A search party was sent every day for five full moons but to no avail. Poko was part of the search party, he just pretended to be hurt though he was happy with the development.

A year and a half while Tamika wept for her husband and son in silence, Poko hadn’t done with her, he was a nuisance, a thorn in the butt until one day Tamika conned him into her house, she told her to come by nightfall and plunge himself into her warmth which he dreamt off. It didn’t take long for the dusk to wear on, Poko lied to his wife to have to go and check some of his snares of which he hadn’t, and went to Tamika’s invitation.

Upon arriving, Tamika warmed water and bathe Poko’s legs prompting him to take down his half-cut trousers leaving his whole dangling on the sheets to his amusement, and confessed warmly ” All these years I wasn’t attended to like this by my wife, this is how they treat a husband”, he said smiling his brown teeth. A few minutes later Tamika excused herself to go and warm the meal in the kitchen, a small hut next to her bedroom hut leaving Poko rolling on the sheets stripped clean like a baby boy waiting to be dressed in new clothes.

Tamika ran to the nearby compound of Geledongo who was still outside with his four sons roasting plantains and screamed in a low voice to alarm them and they didn’t take time to turn up with knobkerries and pangas, wide-eyed like a cornered cat in the kitchen. He was dumbfounded to hear the bang of the door while his clothes were patched on the line with Tamika’s since she had no wardrobe.

Poko was dragged out naked, to add salt to the wound, they dragged him by his ears and they pained. In the morrow he was taken to court, fined, stripped of all the land and livestock, and given to Tamika, and banished from the village with his innocent wife and son.

***

BLESSING IN DISGUISE

CHAPTER  I
“ Naku, what if something which is within our reach or amongst us is what has brought joy to our friend,” riddled Jumbo.
“Jumbo, let me not pretend that I understand what you’ve just said, repeat yourself clearer,” answered Naku.
A gentleman sat on the other end of the bench interrupted the conversation, he knew Jumbo’s riddles too well, some were reasonable but the man poured out his mouth anyhow after good drinking. He was a friend and neighbor too, Sando, a tall man with a straight jawbone that revealed the toughness of the workload the gentlemen partook on their compounds and fields.
In this part of the countryside, rains have their gloomy and dire seasons so villagers utilize most of it when it pours immensely, clearing, plowing, and seeding inputs. Most of the hard work is done by men and women do little of planting seeds in the furrowed fields. Sando was one of the hard workers in the fields and he had a mysterious and deceiving belief which plunged villagers into bloodless confusion but with an advantage over lazy men like Naku and others.
At last, Sando broke the silence “ I know exactly what he means,” he said.
Jumbo leisurely looked at his two friends and quizzed, “ Are you two ganging up on me?” 
“Oh no Jumbo you got it wrong, what exactly do you mean?” inquired Sando, picking up his knobkerrie from the ground he had lain it.
Wide-eyed like a bushbaby, Jumbo pointed at Sando’s stuff and proclaimed, “That stuff is what I mean, why do you carry it every you go even in fields?” he asked.
Sando giggled a little and held the stuff close to his chest and ensured Jumbo with much enthusiasm. “I have strong sentiments over my belonging and this very stuff is part of my wealth,” he replied.
“Do you mean what you’ve got to do with this stuff?” asked Naku perplexed.
“I swear with the oracle of my ancestors, just own it and see what happens, ” dared Sando.
Not much convinced with everything, Jumbo was an inquisitive man, he seldom gave in to arguments.
The history of the stuff was just known by Sando, an inquisitive man, he had gone to ask for an herbal concoction from a witch doctor but he was given a stuff instead of the medicine he asked for. Upile, a one-eyed old man was renowned for his effective medicine, and villagers sort help from him.
It was on a chilly dawn morning in winter when everyone was still buckled in their blankets when Sando visited Upile, he wanted some medicine to put in his field for good harvests. He was a hard worker but thought it wasn’t enough his ancestors blessed him for his harvest in the fields.
Upile wasn’t convinced by Sando’s request, he knew him as a hardworking man but the extent of the request was absurd to say. Upile knew how to convince people to do what they were avoiding to do by other means which his clients won’t realize that nothing had been made for them but revisit the same thing they were avoiding.
So it was with Sando, he was given a knobkerrie to carry wherever he went. Some of the villagers didn’t think evil like Jumbo but sympathized with him thought he had somehow hurt himself, one was Jose, a bachelor who was liked and hated by villagers for different reasons, whether minor or  extensive.
Jose was always drunk, he carried a bottle of home-brewed wine, he resembled an old bus that need a little water when the engine drys. “Sando, what happened to you?” asked Jose trying to open his eyes like an old bull buffalo.
“Jose won’t you look at things as they are and leave them be?” inquired Sando.
Dangling like a twig, the perennial drinker beat dust on his trousers which were folded like a toddler, and turned to Sando, “Men with stuff are meant for mischief, am just saying,” said Jose.
The words stung Sando like the noise of thunder, he turned to Jose, wrinkled his face, and warned him with his stuff.
“Let this be the last time I hear you say such silly things” warned Sando.
CHAPTER II
Jumbo was unfazed by the blushes of Sando, he vowed to steal the stuff and get the blessings which Sando got from the stuff. Lies that are told by a determined person sometimes tend to appear as truth, just a little coincidental revelation is enough to make people believe.
One time in the dying hours of the day, as the sun was slowly hiding behind the village hills, Skara, a village hunter, and a loner had gone to check the snares he set near Sando’s fields. While he was wandering around the field, he heard mumbles of a person as if he was incarnating. It was getting dark so he decided to ignore the person and continue his search but the incarnations  turned to curses.
Sando was cursing the small antelopes  that ate his crops but how he sat got Skara into believing something different, he had stuck his stuff on the sweet potato mound, the long brown and round head knobkerrie with two spiraling snakes curved neatly with blackheads. In an actual sense, he had been poking the mound of possible bumper harvest but he saw leaves nibbed out and he sat down and cursed the animals.
Skara mistook Sando’s gesture as if he was talking to his stuff stuck in a sweet potato mound which he harvested abundantly every year. Without hesitating, he left his snares unattended and ran home to share what he saw from Sando. Hasten by lies, Skara ran his lungs out, with the aid of a walking stick that has been balancing his aging bones and a limp he had on his left leg after he fell out of the ox-drawn cart. He survived by a whisker, it happened when he was sent on errands to collect crops at the fields but before he reached the fields, he rushed the oxen which galloped as if they had seen a predator, just when he was about to come to a bend on the road, a bushbuck leap across and the oxen were startled and ran into the bush knocking the cart against trees and threw Skara against trees thereby fracturing his leg agonizingly.
Jumbo and Naku had returned from an evening meeting at the Chief’s compound when Skara hurriedly knocked at Jumbo’s gate with his walking stick. It was peach dark when he entered the compound, wide-eyed like a lemur.
Jumbo was quick to intercept the raging bull, holding him with his arms, panting and coughing as if he would vomit his tongue out.
“What have you seen that took your breath in this manner?” asked Jumbo handing him a cup of water.
“Sando! Sando! Sando!,” he mumbled the name three times as if it was a warning.
“ Take a breath Skara and tell us what happened,” said Naku holding his knees surprised.
Skara narrated everything he had seen in the fields, clapping his hands and opening his eyes to convince the listeners. The gentlemen were not surprised by what they heard from Skara, they always thought otherwise about their friend.
“Naku have you heard what I told you last time at Simone’s compound,” said Jumbo.
“It is good that we have a witness, we will ask him tomorrow, a man shouldn’t have gobblings, we thrive with what we have not to cheat the gods of our lands with concoctions,” added Naku.
The gentlemen forbade Skara and told him not to tell anyone about what he saw. A loner he was, it was either someone would entice him into telling him or out of loneliness, he would like to drag an ear to chat with but he never told anyone.
CHAPTER III
Rumors travel faster than the truth, especially when everyone wants to get a bite out of it. It didn’t take long for Sando to eavesdrop on the rumors from villagers before Naku and Jumbo had asked him. Jumbo’s wife was responsible for the spread of rumors, she was in the kitchen when Skara poured out the lies.
Sando woke up the next day to confront Naku and Jumbo, they were fixing Naku’s kraal which had fallen. The huffing and puffing of Sando caught the attention of the two, they didn’t think much about the rumors as they were convinced no one knew and they were wrong.
“Goodness Jumbo, what did I hear from your wife’s mouth?” asked Sando fuming.
“As you can see Sando, am busy here, and I don’t know where you found my wife this morning,” replied Jumbo leisurely.
“By the way, what were you doing in your fields at night and that stuff of yours?” inquired Jumbo.
Sando was enraged to hear the identical accusations from Jumbo, “I find it hard to believe you are the one spreading these fake rumors,” said Sando holding his head in disbelief.
The gentlemen argued for a while and later reconciled with a condition which Sando presented to them. He was to give the stuff to Naku and Jumbo respectively during farming seasons and see whether the stuff had some significance. Before he gave the stuff, he consulted with Upile about any consequences of which the medicine men assured him of safety since he had caught wind of the mystery about the stuff he gave to Sando.
To make a stern warning, Sando scared his friends by the instructions which the stuff needed. They had to work morning to sunset in their fields and they had to observe one day of rest, failure to follow the instructions, the crops would wither  and the ground won’t produce much for the next couple of years.
“What???? That’s too much to ask,” quaked  Naku.
“Since that’s what you want Naku, I am willingly giving you this stuff to produce as much as you can for your family,” replied Sando smiling.
Jumbo bite his lip but didn’t object, his challenge was his wife, “Naku you’ll start as you know my wife is pregnant, I will take it the next farming season,” said Jumbo. 
So it was the agreement amongst them, Naku was the first to take the stuff  and he yielded a bumper harvest and so as Jumbo after his pregnant wife was ready to start farm duties. Years poured by while the trio harvested without any problems and they concealed the agreement to other villagers who cheered and asked for tips on how they managed to harvest extensively but they were told to work long hours in the fields what exactly Upile wanted from, Sando.
One afternoon when Sando and his two friends were seated under a tree shade on his compound, Upile came by to talk to the gentlemen who still considered the stuff a sacred joy bringer but the old man had come to untie their superstitious minds. He narrated everything about the harmless nature of the stuff that it had no powers whatsoever.
“Do you mean, we worked ourselves out of illusion?” asked Sando.
“Most definitely my son, I couldn’t give you anything to harm you, I know you are a hard worker and you lacked a little push,” replied Upile giggling.
The gentlemen were surprised and grateful for what Upile did to them, it was worth it. Sando later returned the stuff and thanked Upile so as his friends.

GEZI THE SCAVENGER

CHAPTER I

“ Hey Simeon, over here”, said Mpongo, casting stones at a python coiling a monkey.

“What is it Mpongo?” asked, Simeon peeping through the tree branches on the edge of the muddy pond he had been diving for stray fish after a previous down pour.

“I don’t think you’ll need those fish again, I’ve found meat enough to take home”, replied Mpongo ,hauling stones at a rock python which was still struggling to break the scratching and kicking monkey.

“I didn’t know that you eat python meat,” said Simeon, helping his friend skin a muscled reptile. As if he hadn’t heard his friend’s statement, he bit his lower lip and shook his head in disbelief, “Simeon, men eats everything unless or until it burns your skin that’s when you will discover its negative effects on you, apart from that, just gobble it my friend,” replied Mpongo wiping sweat with the back of this hand.

It wasn’t long when the gentlemen finished skinning the python and carefully cut the meat from the bones and burnt the skeletal carcass and turned their attention to the monkey, laid broken boned. It was easy removing the bones which were already sticking from the tender meat after a tight squeeze by a muscled reptile.

“Well this is when you choose which meat satisfies your taste”, said Mpongo, cleaning python and monkey blood stained halfway his arms, “You know too well Mpongo, my wife won’t allow our merchandise into her pots though I really need a bite of a python steak, it looks appetizing”, replied Simeon grinding his teeth and weighing options of how he was going to cook his share.

Unlike Simeon’s wife, Loretta, Mpongo’s wife was used to cook anything her husband brought home but she cooked in separate utensils. Mpongo didn’t fail to bring anything from his hunting errands, crawling, leaping or swimming creatures, he brought home. The kids couldn’t bear smelling a bullfrog or python gravy in their plates but they never grumbled of their father’s choice of appetite, he wasn’t to be veered off his taste. On the other hand, Simeon was slowly but surely falling for Mpongo’s philosophy of “eat as long as it doesn’t cause you a running tummy or blisters” , but his wife didn’t entertain it. She was vocal against cooking bush meat in her pots and the worst was ,she didn’t eat the haunting meat as she called it.

“What nutrients do you get from bush meat?” asked Loretta.

“My wife just know cooking and spare me nutritional inquiries, my forefathers just ate, they didn’t bother to know what advantages the meat had on them, the fact is they survived”, replied Mpongo, forking out a chunk of python meat on his brown molars.

“I am just thankful none of my children took from you, I might find my girls have lost limbs to your appetite”, quizzed Loretta.

Mpongo just looked at her lazily like a tired buffalo bull after a satisfying wallow in the mud. He wasn’t a wife bully but had a distaste of being undermined which he reacted by an ignorant look at whoever mocked him.

“I appreciate your efforts in cooking what you don’t eat and let’s keep it that way”, said Mpongo , after a long stare at his wife. It wasn’t intentional of Loretta to bully or tease her husband of his bush meat appetite, they often joked and laughed over the issue.

Loretta had cleared a small portion of garden where she cultivated various kind of vegetables which her husband watered and weeded out grass as a good faith for his wife who cooked and sometimes skinned monitor lizards and split tortoise shells whenever her husband was busy. Their two kids Amanda and Amon were tasked to burn or bury the bones, afraid their dogs might eat the monitor lizard bones which are deadly to dogs. As for snake skins, Mpongo, taught Amon how to tan and make them useful for sundry other usage.

CHAPTER II

A mile from the village , a lodge situated near a perennial flowering river and deep in savanna long grass shaded with extensive branches of tall trees. Nests of different species of birds hanged on branches, chirping and chattering day and night to the satisfaction of bird lovers at the lodge. Small antelopes sheltered under the lodge chalets raised on platforms built from local tree logs. The lodge, was owned by a French world war veteran, Francois, he was friendly to the locals and he employed the literate lot who could help him run his investment. Individuals like Simeon and Mpongo were well known to Francois as snake catchers so he could use them but he didn’t want snakes to end up in the gentlemen’s bellies instead he gave them money to use and kept the snakes in cages for guests.

Mpongo and his compatriot, Simeon often worked party time when Francois needed a pair of hands after elephants or buffalo trespassed, felling fence logs and any other standing objects. The gentlemen would lick their tongues just by smelling the gravy air from the kitchen but none were they given, it was paid for by clients. They ate with workshop workers, their kinsmen. Python sightings were frequent at the lodge as they preyed on cats, monkeys and scrub hares huddled in burrows under the chalets. Just a single word from Francois to the gentlemen, would sweep away any python in the vicinity but he needed the reptiles so he would emphasize sternly to them and his workers. “Simi and Mpo”, as he affectionately cut their names, “I don’t want anyone killing these snakes, you can snatch the prey from its mouth but spare for snakes for guest”, warned Francois.

“ Sir, if we don’t kill some of these snakes, they might bite one of your guests”, said Simeon.

“What would you have me do Simeon? they’re the reason guests come here”, asked a bored Francois.

“At least let us hunt some and leave, maybe two for your guest”, injected Mpongo kicking the ground expecting a ridicule from Francois and so it did.

“Gentlemen, can’t you go a day without meat in your bellies and besides, how would you know they’re two left? No”, refused Francois instantly. That stung the pair in the gut like a cold dagger, they had thought being at the lodge would increase their chance of eating bush meat and snakes, especially pythons but it wasn’t to be.

In the days which followed, Francois became inspective of his belongs, he would check for possible shortages of machines at his workshop least Mpo and Simi would pounce them out of anger to be denied hunting. The pair weren’t such characters but it was meat they craved for rather than material things which none of them had knowledge on usage and handling as well. Sneaking at night to set snares for small antelopes which sought shelter around Francois’s lodge wasn’t a good idea, the French had two hounds he let loose at night and the dogs were trained sniffers, he used them much in the morning to patrol his vicinity before he caged them.

“Calm down Jane, why do you eat as if you’re possessed? Do you want me to marry you to one of Mpongo’s son,” snapped Jonah at his daughter.

“Never will my daughter marry a son of either of those carnivorous fathers, I am still young to lose a daughter,” interrupted Jane’s mother fuming as if her husband had already drawn the conclusion to the marriage.

“Hold your horses Petty, Mpongo’s son is decent and has a smiling head on his shoulders, carnivorous is his father not him as if you once found him gorging reptiles,” shrugged Jonah.

“I don’t care whether he has a smiling head or dancing finger, all I care is my daughter’s reasonable groom and home too, besides where would he get the money to pay the bride price? From snake sell? Find something to amuse me with,” contested Petty, throwing out her arms in boredom,

One time a boy chased a duiker and had no idea he was deep in Francois’s enclosure and dangerously closer to dog kennel, the duiker was tired from leaping and scratching on thorn bushes, darting sideways trying to lose the chaser but the boy was so determined, the persistence of the boy would leave one wondering whether he was a son of a hunter or maybe he knew when the animal was in its dire state of panic. The boy was Saulo, son to a renowned hunter and snake killer, Mpongo, he had a vertical challenged height of a young man with strong limbs, he wore no sandal but bare feet which helped him negotiate easily in the thick bushes. Armed with an axe and short stabbing spear, the boy, eager to bite some decent meat rather than biltong of his father’s reptiles, cornered the duiker on the river edge but the animal was quick to leap and duck from a whizzing axe which hit a tree and broke in half.

  1. Just when Francois was returning from walking his hounds around his enclosure, the duiker leapt and fell a garbage bin near the dog kennel and huddled behind a shrub, Saulo threw his spear which landed squarely on the hind leg and it barked in a sharp voice and the hounds needed no approval from Francois rather stormed the shrub behind the kennel. Saulo was trying to cut the throat of a duiker , kicking him with its sharp hoofs. The hounds had a choice of whether to finish off the bleeding duiker or tear down the intruder, it was Saulo, the hounds chose to discipline, they tore his pants, scratched and bit his limbs until Francois came to his rescue, he held the dogs by their neck belts, backing viciously at the boy huddled near a dead duiker, possibly got a last bite by one of the dogs to end its misery.

Francois had no idea whose son was until he asked from the workshop workers that’s when he recalled, he gave him antibiotics to prevent dog bite effects. Saulo went home with his deservedly but painfully acquired kill, his limbs heavy with bandages to stop the bleeding. Upon arrival at home, sobbing to his wounds and leisurely but painfully dangling the duiker, his mother was surprised whether her son was joyfully crying to his first kill or the animal had given him a run for his money, it was when she realized his bleeding limbs. The lady of the house stitched her face in anguish like someone who had been given kilograms instead of tonnes she had ordered.

“What happened to you Saulo?” asked Loretta snapping out a piece of cloth hanging from her son’s tattered shorts.

“The dogs attacked me at Francois’s lodge,” replied Saulo dropping his kill on the ground.

“How daring Francois must be? He sets dogs on my son and buy his silence with useless pills and a skinny legged miserable animal?” fumed Loretta, looking at Saulo with fire burning eyes.

“No mum, he didn’t set the dogs at me , I was behind the dog kennel when the dogs heard a duiker screaming,” interrupted Saulo sponging his wounds with warm water.

“I don’t care to what transpired, he’s going to pay for your skin repercussions and these pills are not even written anti rabbis,” quaked Loretta and stormed in her kitchen to bring more water for therapy.

Mpongo wasn’t home when his son came sobbing after being mauled by the hounds, he was at a drinking spree with his friend Simeon. As if its a norm with drunkards, they tend to find themselves delving in musical melodies some driven by the reminiscences of victory legacies while others with tender hearts tore into misery songs of loss and sorry. So it was with Mpongo, a hunter, snake catcher and a village wrestling champion always found himself singing noisy ballads of his composition backed by his friend Simeon, adding his beer choked voice to elongate the discord music to the amusement of their fellow folks who laugh to strengthen the bond or possibly an addition of beer calabash from the melodious pair. A whisper by a fellow folk about the tragedy which befell his son struck his ear like a gong remainder to skip the difficult part of the song and ,he abruptly quietened.

CHAPTER III

Village folks have a tendency of sneaking at their folk’s home for a beer sip or meat bite. So it was with Gezi, who frequented Mpongo’s meals , he kept vigil at his friend’s meals as if he didn’t own a roof with a wife and kids. That day, Mpongo vetoed against the meal joint venture.

“Gezi, you seem to be in pairing with my hunger squabbles in my stomach,” said Mpongo , pulling a bowl of water under his chair.

“What do you mean Mpongo?” inquired Gezi, placing his sharp edged axe carefully on the ground.

“You’ve become a constant fixture to my every meal,” queried Mpongo ,belching a little.

“Oh come off it Mpongo, I came to check on your son, how is he?” asked Gezi though he couldn’t resist bending his nose to the smell of gravy soup.

“I know you Gezi, you’re a man of endless wits, what a coincidence,” said Mpongo.

“Frankly, your wife knows too well to prepare meals especially the one you’re eating,” teased Gezi with intent to please his friend for a possible invitation.

“Ah ah if I were you, I will be careful with the next word from your mouth, what exactly are you here for? my son? my food or my wife?” asked Mpongo, holding a forked bone in his hand, surely one would guess to a foot of a bullfrog, he ate anything leaping or crawling.

“I guess my welcome is overdue, let me before I spill more beans,” said Gezi, picking his axe from the ground and left. Mpongo had stuck his roots deep not to be swayed by Gezi’s tricks just to join in his meal, he enjoyed his bullfrog picked from the swamps.

later that same day, Simeon had heard of Gezi’s homage to Mpongo.

“Gezi, I heard Mpongo has drawn a conditional line over your homages, how is that so?” asked Simeon.

“Simi, has it become a bone to chew? Am I not your friend?” asked, Gezi surprised.

“I am not accusing you but when a friend tables a bone, we surely have to chew amongst ourselves,” added Simeon. Gezi had no choice but to excuse himself for punctually scavenging in Mpongo’s meals yet he couldn’t even a single day ask to join them in hunting errands. It was an embarrassing moment for Gezi and Simeon found it ludicrous for a family man.

“Gezi, you’re a worst specimen of manhood,” giggled Mpongo who had been quietly attentive to the two gentlemen arguing.

The gentlemen sat under a tree trying to persuade their friend Gezi,to man up and challenge his wife even through they didn’t consider the fact whether she would entertain the kills her husband would bring home.

“At least try her, she is your wife rather than ganging our meals,” giggled Simeon.

“Eh come to think of it Simeon, how did he win her if he can’t convince her to let him go hunting?” asked Mpongo, chewing a gum like a dozing bull.

“Mpongo do not undermine my manly prowess, that is a different proposition than asking her to cook me a python, do you want me to risk a divorce so soon?” asked Gezi smiling gleefully like a cream goat.

“Wow, am sensing a turnaround, tomorrow we’re going on a hunt, are you coming or you need a documented approval from your wife?” asked Mpongo and they all laughed.

Gezi was a lazy and unconcerned person who benefited from sheer luck from his errands. Befriending Simeon and Mpongo could’ve benefited him with different skills to fend for his family but he decided to poach food for himself than for his family. Not only his friends were fed up with him, neighbors too stopped him by their gates or diverted him to other homes.

“What kind of a man who does that really?” one village woman asked her fellow women at the village borehole. A chubby woman sitting on an empty tin leaning her huge body on the logs was quick to add on , “I thank our ancestors for marrying me to a good husband, Gezi would’ve turned my body into a dangling stick,” quizzed the chubby, boisterous in her laugh as if to mock other skinny ladies at the borehole.

The gentlemen set out in the dawn of the new day, armed with concoctions of anti venom, knives, spears and four dogs two for Mpongo and Simeon’s. Gezi didn’t own any dog, it would’ve wrecked people’s kitchens for food and threw him into trouble with fellow folks. No matter how lazy a man he was, at least he owned an okapi knife and a spear probably inherited from family or maybe bought from a blacksmith. Gezi, nervous like a school dropout attending his first interview, sweating his nose like a cold stricken dog. He carefully trailed behind his jungle champions in tracks dotted with buffalo dung, dead carcasses and half eaten heads of prey animals. Above in the trees, velvet monkeys leapt tree to tree, hissing and growling of crawling reptiles nearly got Gezi breaching his pants.

Not long before the sun cast silhouettes, Gezi stopped to take a piss just next to a shrub. Hornets buzzed angrily on their nest to the approach of Gezi who had already let out his whole to piss, they stung his bare male appendage that he screamed as if he had been half swallowed by a big snake. He ran few yards towards Simeon and Mpongo who reacted quickly and checked on their friend who was clutching his itching appendage. Simeon applied anti venom to ease the pain but something more scarier for Gezi was just inches under a rock he sat on, a puff adder. The venomous reptile hissed loudly to the disturbance. Mpongo’s alert instincts saved Gezi after an adder crawled under his legs and poised to strike but he was quick to pull it by its tail, his arms were long, bony and dark skinned with rough palms that the snake mistaken them for a stick just to pounce on a twig next to his head.

To compound more misery to Gezi’s itchy body, he slid on stony ground and fell on thorny finger leaves of a sisal plant which pieced his bums. Gezi’s fragile personality and the early attacks were enough to throw away the towel and return home to beg.

“Gezi, we’re halfway into the jungle, we can’t let you go back its too dangerous and you’ve experience it already,” said Simeon painting a mockery smile on his face.

“Don’t cry foul Gezi, that’s a perfect initiation to jungle rules, just live with it, better this way than get a scold from Udele’s wife for a bowl of soup,” added Mpongo.

“This hunting has turned you two into idealistic poachers, it goes deep into your bones, you ain’t compassionate to your friend’s pleas,” contested Gezi leaning like a dizzy baboon, twitching his face in pain.

CHAPTER IV

Despite Gezi’s shortcomings, he was tall with broad shoulders and tough arms, when he walks a few yards away, one would think he wore a football kit only a helmet amiss to suit his huge torso. He wore a brave face and a small goatee beard which he combed with impunity after scavenging his fellow’s kitchens. He had qualities befitting men of valor but in him lacked the proper marrow in his bones to match his outlook. Violence wasn’t in his shelf, he possessed a witty smile he brandished on women to win them off the scolds before they grumble to his presence though he wasn’t a bedroom scavenger but food. Gezi’s wife, Zaza, serene in virtue and obedient like a sheep in slaughter house..

The trio reached their final destination in the jungle, it was a moment to remember for Gezi, tall trees with branches hanging dangerously low, the serene of the thick and scary jungle disturbed with chirping of birds, scratching of leaves on the ground. To add more salt to the wound, Gezi walked straight to a small bush to pluck a fruit but a duiker leapt from the bush bumping and knocking him to ground in its plight. He crawled under a small bush trying to bury himself with leaves just to feel his legs being pull off, he screamed his lungs out only to hear laughs from his friends.

“Goodness sake Gezi, stand up let’s go,” quaked Simeon laughing boisterously.

“What happened?” asked Gezi surprised, it was as if the duiker had knocked his brains out.

“Well Gezi, you were knocked by the animal you’re hunting, pity you didn’t kill it,” replied Mpongo covering his wound on the forehead where a duiker had hoofed him.

It was in the dawn of the new morning when Mpongo woke up from the cave they had spent the night to answer the call of nature. The fire they had prepared to warm and scare animals had died out at night. Simeon and Gezi were still cuddled together in comfort of the brown dusty sheets, from few yards one would mistake the sleeping gentlemen for a pile of leaves. While Mpongo was reliving himself behind a small bush, a continuous scratching like sound like a heavy thing was being pulled on the ground prompted him to stand up before he could finished reliving himself. A python had caught wind of blood of a hare they had caught and skinned in the evening. He didn’t wait to be eaten alive with his excrement smearing his body, a python swallows everything, he woke his friends in a hurry and in a flash the gentlemen were armed as if they had slept expecting that very moment.

Gezi was petrified and scared at the same time, shaking his hands as if he had dipped them in ice water. Mpongo threw his spear and thrust the python on its neck then the serpent coiled itself snapping small branches and Gezi almost ran away but where could he had ran to? Was he going to return to bed in the sheets where it was easier for the reptile to swallow him whole with his dirty sheets? While he was pondering on what to do, a hand grabbed his wrist, Simeon quaked at him to use his axe on the python.

“What are you waiting for goodness sake Gezi? Cut him up,” echoed Simeon in Gezi’s ears which were half-deaf in fear.

“What? What?” asked Gezi perplexed.

“Stop asking questions, give me your axe you lazy bulk,” quaked Mpongo loudly to open his deaf ears. Gezi fought his fear and joined in stabbing and cutting the lengthy and deadly reptile, he cut the head ceaselessly, he finally put his huge muscles to work and that got his pair friends to step back and left him to land a final blow.

“ I must admit, I never gave it a thought behind that cowardice lies a beastly aggression,” said Simeon folding his arms in disbelief.

“There is a time when a man has to bold up just like you said earlier,” replied Gezi with a smile of satisfaction.

“I guess, he was silently praying to the gods of his ancestors,” added Mpongo who had already started skinning the python. Gezi looked up and coughed a little, biting his lower lip weighing a decision which wasn’t in his favor. He reminded his friends about his father’s religion.

“C’mon guys don’t act as if you don’t know my religious allegiance,” said Gezi smiling. Mpongo looked at Gezi like a teacher waiting for a response from a dull student, dangling his knife by the finger.

“Well indulge us comrade”, he said.

“Don’t you remember he was a devout catholic priest in our village, where do you think I got the strength from?” asked Gezi.

Simeon was quick to answer but he got it all wrong, illiterate as he was, no wonder he chose hunting as his talent. “Oh, I remember, he used to read my sisters verses from Malekayi to Joromiya if I recall vividly,” said Simeon.

“Simi, no matter how illiterate I am but your answer is wrong , I don’t think that book has names like Joromiya, it must be Jeremeya, something like that,” replied Mpongo in unison illiteracy. It was Gezi’s turn to laugh at his illiterate friends arguing wrongly to each other. After a hilarious chat , the gentlemen cut and shared the snake and went home.

Just when Mpongo and his friends neared their village, they met Udele and his family heaving baskets full of field produce, they exchanged formal greetings but Udele didn’t bother to ask what kill was it that looked so heavy in the sack bags. Upon reaching home, Udele spread the news of the hunters with their bounty kill. Some villagers, hastened by the news rushed to meet their beloved folks while some slowed by age or cripple just went to the home of one of the hunters to witness the kill they had heard. Gezi’s wife was dumbfounded by what she heard from the throng of people rushing towards the welcoming route.

She stammered more than what she’d heard, “Zaza, stop stammering just prepare a big pot of soup your husband has a bounty on his back,” said one woman.

“I .. I .. I … what did you say? Is it ok?” stammered Zaza shedding tears of joy to whatever her husband was bringing home. Zaza, was a sheep in human clothes, no matter how humiliating insults her husband got from fellow village folks, she never retaliated badly. A workaholic woman who spent most her time tending to her two kids and the garden at home which fed them all year.

It was a great feast to village folks who ate python meat and first-timers too.

THE TRIO

CHAPTER I

A village without magicians, fools or sorcerers and sorceress alike normally lacked history to be passed unto newborn folks whom, when they grow up engage in their activities which would be passed unto the next generations. A quarrel or a brawl tends to unite different opinions into a united group after sorting out the cause of a fight.

Ugelezimba, a remote village situated in the valley between two mountains, Ugele and Zimba, these two mountains were named after they had swallowed prominent village warriors who had gone to check their snares but never returned. The previous name of the village was unknown to the newborns since the old folks who first settled on that particular savanna drylands never had time to tell the reasons for choosing such place. A river running with fresh spring water bubbling between two rocks like the biblical history of Moses’s spring water with which neither the newborns nor old folks knew the Word of God which other folks who stayed proximity to town were preached to by missionaries, only their tree gods and shrines were the only saviors passed from generation to generation, supplied the village with abundant water for their personal use and livestock as well.
Back to the history of the unknown circumstances with which the village warriors disappeared in twin opposite mountains to the amazement of the villagers. Ugele and Zimba, just like any other village men do, were hunters, very close and even their families were bonded together as if they shared the same grandfather. They could go hunting, fishing, and drinking together, never were they separated until that fateful day which swallowed them separately. Just along the flowing river, boiling points could be found where villagers bathe during cold winter, they never wondered or questioned the blessings of their water gods about mystery as long as they were not harmed.
The mountains were clouded with wings of different species of birds, belly crawling reptiles of any kind, leaping and galloping of different types of animals, and mysteries of dancing fruit and berries shrubs, howling and hissing invisible creatures which froze the marrow in the bone of able-bodied men. Nevertheless, men in villages are judged by the impossible mission they partake in to fend or defend their families in times of need. Every year in winter, birds of different species flew from the twin mountains to gather around the harvested crops, villagers killed them in large numbers, they roasted, smoked, it was only left to eat their blood warm as the birds flocked every day in great numbers each day for a full moon.
It was on the third day after the village had finished their cultural thanksgiving after harvesting when everyone in the village had little to no work to be done in the fields, Ugele and Zimba went to check the snares they had set two days previously, they thought to separate ways least they could find other animals had scavenged their kills. It’s always a custom for every hunter to tell friends and families where their next hunting would be conducted in case of mishaps, they would know where to look for, so it was with Ugele and Zimba.
The sun had set behind the hills and dusk combed through the village, everyone had completed whatever work they partook in. Not long after the absence of the two gentlemen had been felt by their family and closest friends, it was unusual for the pair to stay late in the jungle. A search party was mobilized and they split along to search on either mountain. Hooting of the owls, howling jackals, and laughing of hyenas were symbols of a watering night but were the hyena laughs or jackal’s howls a sign of satisfaction possibly from eating the missing duo? Questions rang in the warriors’ minds but no one dared to spit out at least they would cause panic amongst them.
Day in and night out, the search parties exchanged members but to no avail, not even a drop of blood or torn pants or a foot stomp in the boot, nothing, funeral processions were carried out in accordance to the manner of death and so it was the name of the village was named in remembrance of the two warriors.
CHAPTER II
Despite the introductory misery of the village, there was amusement too from the remaining bunch of folks, cowards, food mongers, and beer mongers, and a lot more. A famous trio of  Mazhuba known by the nickname “Whip”, Mulenga “Belching Prince” shortened to BP, and lastly Johnny “Giant Toe” shortened to GT. These gentlemen hadn’t married yet, reasons known to them though they had a very keen interest in women.
Mazhuba, the Whip, the lad had a nimble body just like a whip itself, tall with limbs and arms which lacked the extra muscle of a man. He had a flat chest as if he had been severally slapped by plank, clothes of any size hanged on him miserably and to make it worse, he wore donated clothes by fellow folks. Despite the skinny body, he was tough, thanks to the marrow in the bones which had nothing to do with the physical outlook. Mazhuba was a chain smoker too, his favorite was locally grown tobacco, he could puff several cigars in a single sitting and had a terrible hoarse cough like an old bus clawing itself up the hill road.
In any gathering where drunkards have taken their fair share, there is always the one who strays from the humble dozing lot to cause havoc. It is only when one gets drunk that you begin to fully understand his nature and so it was with Mulenga the Belching Prince, BP in short, for those with heavy tongues. As some belief, one who belches during the meal often is assumed to have filled his tank to the brim but for Mulenga was different, it was as if the intestines opened a little more for some food or drinkables. 
One time while Mulenga and his friends were at a marital party, drinking and dancing to the melodies of the local flute band, he was a good dancer, undulating his body, bending his head like a sad kid, his dancing moves were rhythmical to the sounds of flutes and drums. One moment he staggered as if he wanted to fall but balanced on the chair then stuck his bums as a pinched caterpillar and onlookers burst in laughter, he erected his torso and belched loudly that caused discord amongst drummers. “Wow that was the loudest I’ve ever heard,” one drummer had commented.
As for Johnny, the worse of his friends, he wore no shoes, not as a reason of not owning or being careless or any other reason a person can’t wear shoes but he had two big toes that couldn’t fit in any shoes, his chosen footwear were sandals. Village girls found amusement in teasing or taunting Johnny’s toes.
“Tamara, what kind of a human being leaves such holes in the ground as if he has hoof?” asked Malita giggling.
“C’mon Malita, you know too well whose footprints are those in this village,” replied Tamara tying a knot on her bundle of firewood.
Malita laughed boisterously as if she had won a bet, dropping tears of joy and then mocked… “How would his children’s toes be like if he has such long?”  asked a boisterous girl.
“Well I hope you won’t marry one of his sons then,” replied Tamara.
Blessed by their distinguished nature, they became famously known around neighboring villages under characteristics. They argued but were friendly, landed bachelor help to another, drank and smoked together, and at some point falling in trouble by one’s wrong footing. They lived separately and all had nicely built huts and a separate kitchen, it was as if they knew since their childhood that bachelorhood would be their binding catalyst. Quiet homes, not a feather of a hen or goat droppings or a meow of a cat to catch a marauding mouse, let alone a dog for security reasons otherwise they didn’t own anything worth a steal. 
CHAPTER III
A discord chorus of drunkards flooded the woods north of Binga’s farm and the song was well known by every villager, normally sung at victory parties by conquering clans after tribal wrestling tournaments. The undisputed trio was no mistake as the words were clumsily making it difficult to know which was the chorus, soprano but bass was the leading keynote. Binga couldn’t help chasing them from his farm but broke in laughter, they meant no harm to anyone just a drunk lot.
“Good morning gentlemen?” greeted Binga.
“Morning Reverend, we’re deeply sorry in trespassing on holy ground,” confessed Johnny, pulling his dangling friends to kneel.
“No offense my friends, you can pass in harmony,” replied Binga. He was once an altar boy at their local missionary church in the village. The trio was almost the same age as Binga but they had a thing in the jungle to chase, simply, they never attended any catechism meant for children though they managed to learn from seeing you the priest practice during large gatherings which needed the blessings.
“Thank you and God bless you,” replied Johnny gesturing the sign of benediction in a reverse manner, it didn’t matter to him as long he had sketched the holy trinity.
The gentlemen dragged themselves across the furrowed fields, falling and picking each other in a unison manner until they reached yonder the fence. Songs poured out of the gentlemen as they headed to their separate homes.
“ Oh I am so happy GT didn’t destroy Binga’s fields, thanks to your consistent pulling Mulenga,” said Mazhuba holding his waist like a football coach surprised with the penalty against his team.
“Careful there my friend, don’t mock me in this manner,” replied Johnny distastefully.
“Come off you GT, what’s so special about your toes, only miseries you hold inside you, just wishing to wear my shoes,” injected Mulenga, the Belching Prince.
They argued amongst them and laughed then later headed to the homes.
Summer had swept across the village, all trees were green and dense, the jungle scary to venture alone. The fields had come under the plow, brown soils beaming with morning dew like a carpet of chocolate ice cream. Villagers woke up early in the morning to weed and fence their fields, cordoning from livestock and wild alike.
The trio, Whip, BP, and GT had their small fields which they asked villagers to plow for them but in payment whether money or to work in their fields to settle the debt. In the afternoon, everyone tooled down to rest but for the trio, it was time to seek for beer sprees and women alike.
Few moons back, Binga’s son had married a lady from a nearby tribe and he had organized a come together to party for the groom and bride families. It was a memorable day for the villagers as they partied and drank to their satisfaction, the trio wasn’t to be excluded even without an invitation, they were the first gatherers of information.
“Hello Mazhuba, I thought you were too busy to attend the party,” said one village girl teasingly.
“Oh that sounds like my sweetheart,” replied Mazhuba jerking himself on the chair.
“Alas! I bet it took her two full moons to fully convince her,” objected Giant Toe.
Mazhuba laughed a little and began rolling his cigarette, he looked at GT and leisurely replied .. “Look GT, no matter how slim I am or Whippie you call me, ladies are interested in what I provide than my looks,” concluded Mazhuba.
Mulenga had been pouring gulp fulls of home-brewed beer, ignorant to his arguing friends but was forcibly drawn into the mix with his mates. 
“Don’t act as if you ain’t in the mix BP, well I wouldn’t doubt your silence,” mocked Giant Toe.
A man with a maimed hand had healed thanks to the village doctors, he was a liberation fighter but later lost his esteem after his family was murdered during the struggle. A drunkard was the trio but had a decent home to lay his head. He was a constant fixture to drinking sprees and so the trio was no surprise debatable figures found.
“Whip is the only handsome buddy amongst you guys but wouldn’t contest with me though,” said the man with a half arm.
“ Thank goodness, I got someone who has keen eyes of beauty,” said Johnny and he poured wine in a horn-like cup, raised his hand in the air, “ Let’s toast to the eyes and brains of  “Halfie” a friend in need,” concluded Johnny.
Halfie was the nickname of the man with a half arm, he didn’t bother or got angry about the mockery as long as it kept him close to people. It was all fun amongst the gentlemen and they never got in trouble of thievery or any other incriminating activities.
Stories of old and new alike were shared amongst them, laughed at jokes, and argued as well. Ugelezimba never had another catastrophic event after the disappeared warriors, everyone lived in harmony.
The End ……. 

A NEST OF HORNETS



CHAPTER I

“Look at him, he opens his arms like a juvenile cockerel, there is nothing you can do, my friend,” fumed  Pencilnose.
 

“Calm down gentlemen, what do you behave like women, least women behaves at times,” interrupted the Village Chief, he grabbed a cup of water and gulped down thirstily and turned to the flaming brothers.
“Why do you have to eat your friend’s foot yet you’re the sons of the same soil?” inquired the Chief.
“I think it was a mistake for my ancestors to stay closer to this family, how could you be so vile to your neighbors, don’t you have conscience?” asked  Duckfoot, refusing to giving to his counterpart.
The argument went on and on without reaching a satisfactory conclusion in which the village Chief did his best to calm the gentlemen but later he lost his composure and dismissed the gentlemen with an irony response.
“Gentlemen, this isn’t my first chairing of such matters  and of course it won’t be my last but now you’re driving my head hither and tither , Go to your homes and resolve your problems or I will be forced to lock you with chickens until you come to your senses,” concluded the Village Chief.
Upon hearing measure of  punishment , the gentlemen debated no more but left to their respectable homes though tantrums and shouting against each other were overheard after they left the comfort zone of the Chief.
The Village Chief was renowned for his unforgiving nature and it dated  years back when he was the puppet of the imperial colonialists and that earned him a ridicule among villagers but they had no one to turn to when the colonial administration had put foot on their throats. His punishment measures, mostly was to cage the perpetrators with chickens in the fowl run and fowl buds would torture the person to submission until next morning.
It was like living in the Nile river, everyone was ready to pounce on the other even on lesser issues, curses were thrown here and there, fights broke out anytime of the day so as apologies. The Chief’s security warriors had stopped midway to take offenders to the court but unilaterally can brawlers and the Chief never questioned his staff for disobeying the law. A village so small but hate superseded.
The village situated on the savanna plains, fertile and abundantly breaming with every of fruit of the jungle, on the rocks too, tree tubers bubbled out, it was as if the mountains were a heap of manure, thick with indigenous trees which laid a carpet of leaves fallen in winter. Burrowing animals found comfort in the leaves and food alike. Fishing was the backbone of survival in this part of savanna drylands , a river cut through the village offering abundance of fish and water for wild animals which drank on the opposite side of the river away from people. 
Villagers  were not much interested in hunting but a few. Fishing brought them money and brawls alike.
So vile were the people on this savanna segment, everyone wanted to be above the other. It was easier to own or earn anything they want as long as the person was either vocal or agile in anyway possible to subjugate another. Women were no exclusion in such matters , in fact they were the bringer of either joy or hate amongst their husbands.
  A slim and vocal lady with tall limbs and arms like a bamboo branch was feared in the village for her mouth was so strong than a punch to the face. Her body, a dangling figure. Dadiwe, the Devil Finger as everyone nicknamed  her in the village, due to her dubious accusations and belligerency.
One morning while Dadiwe Devil Finger was returning from fetching firewood in the bush, she often went alone, women despised her conduct to fellow women. Ducking and dazzling through thick and hanging branches of trees like a drunkard , Dadiwe Devil Finger couldn’t not ask for anyone’s help except her daughter to accompany her. The soil was dump after night drizzles and thorns had dug deep in muddy ground only sharp points waited for  wrong footers to step on agonizingly.
Summer trees often infested with wasps of different kinds and snakes too but it was wasps which could not fly away from disturbance but stand ground. Dadiwe  Devil Finger ducked a branch with a nest pulling a lone branch thereby poking the wasps nest, the stinging insects flooded the firewood zipping past her face but two found the target, they stung her nose which was more visible than eyes hidden under a cloth.
The devil in her couldn’t protect her from the wasps stings  as she rolled herself on the muddy ground, while she was still pondering on how to collect her fire wood, Pencilnose Mbura appeared from the other side of the bush after he heard curses and sobs.
He made his presence felt to Devil Finger who had covered her face oblivious of Pencilnose Mbura’s  interruptions. 
“Hello, can I help you?” asked Pencilnose Mbura looking up in the tree for a snake or other animal which might have scared the lady.
“ Leave me alone, can’t you find your way? Who said am asking for your assistance?” quaked Dadiwe Devil Finger with questions to Pencilnose Mbura , she didn’t uncover her face, her nose had bulged in short space of time.
Pencilnose couldn’t not further ask more questions,he’d known the voice, as he prepared to quietly move on, he stuck his head too in the lions den, his wool hat caught the thorn branch and wasps were upon him like Dadiwe Devil Finger but it was more for Pencilnose Mbura as he was visible than his compatriot’s face was hidden under a cloth. He was stung on his bald head and the nose too, a coincidence which became  catastrophic.
CHAPTER II
The bald headed and pencil shaped nosed man just like his name ran in circles like a mad man , slapping his head shooing raging wasps. Dadiwe Devil Finger couldn’t laugh as her nose had swollen like a mouse doll, she sat under a tree nursing her sting when Pencilnose accidentally fell on her and she was twice mad.
Dadiwe Devil Finger’s arms appeared weak but the lady had marrow to stand against anyone who disturbed her peace and so it was with Pencilnose Mbura , she pummeled him before kicking his mouth dropping two of his front teeth leaving him nursing broken teeth and stings. She dared him and it didn’t go well with the battered Pencilnose Mbura . “ How dare you want to rape me in the bush? You want to take advantage of my pains?” quaked the lady with a swollen long nose.
“ You must be out of your senses, I guess the stings shifted your brains to your nose, how can you insinuate such nonsense instead of sympathizing with me?” opposed Pencilnose Mbura spitting blood from his mouth.
Dadiwe Devil Finger looked at him as if she could swallow him whole, “ How possibly did you know where I was was?” she quizzed. She held her waist belligerently, she was known to start fights she lost on several occasions.
Surprised by the accusations, Pencilnose Mbura  looked at the slender lady with sickening eyes, spat blood and held his two teeth and gestures to Dadiwe Devil Finger, “ I wasn’t fully convinced with the nickname they gave you Dadiwe, you are really a devil incarnate, Must I not go around the bush because you were fetching firewood too? Such a devil indeed,” cursed Pencilnose Mbura.
“Curse me all you can, you’ll find out soon, one of us will leave this village,” bragged Dadiwe Devil Finger.
Pencilnose Mbura thought best to shut his mouth and nurse his stung bald head. A stout old man with a shining bald head which left small tuft of hairs flanking his clean bald, hairy arms and strong, he had a relatively protruding forehead with a visibly angry vein that cut through wrinkles, a flat nose, twin holed like a granting boar, and they became bigger after a several stings from wasps. They  didn’t speak to each thereafter, Dadiwe Devil Finger bundled her firewood and left home while Pencilnose Mbura , picked his axe and went about the bush foraging for pickings.
It was in the afternoon when Dadiwe Devil Finger  reached home, the clouds had cleared up and the sun had  drained muddy water from small ponds, birds flocked the skies chirping. Duckfoot Bonzo, a drunkard and snorer, husband to Dadiwe Devil Finger, she always quarreled over his drinking habits which left him asleep half the day, he wasn’t a lazy man though beer crippled his muscles and he resembled an aged lion.
Duckfoot Bonzo was asleep when his wife came home, angry and in pain, everyone at home knew when not to poke a lioness on the back when its angry, her son was the first to notice her moody face , she seldom passed anyone without a scold , her son, Smiling Jangalasoni, her daughter Morning Princess and mostly her husband Duckfoot Bonzo. It was a surprise how Dadiwe Devil Finger was so vile and unaccommodating opposed to her husband and children who were disciplined  and friendly but she had no mercy in her locker.
Dadiwe Devil Finger slept next to her husband on their reed mat bed. Duckfoot Bonzo was chronically penniless due to his sleeping habits, he used less time to go to  the fields which had poor soil just a small  potion next to the river yielded good harvest but not for the year and the other potions were stoney ground where he ceaselessly planted drought resistant millet for a sizable yield. At last he woke up from snoring and found his wife sleeping motionless, one moment his heart had leapt into his mouth thinking his wife had died on bed and on the other hand he knew well not to poke the sleeping lioness resting, repercussions of waking  her on a bad day were unbearable.
After a while he peeped his wife to find out whether she was asleep but he was taken aback of what he saw, he leapt back as if he nearly caught the tail of a Gabon viper, he dropped a silver plate breaking it into pieces, the devil in his wife woke up in anguish of everything happened to her, pilled it on her husband violently something he wanted to avoid before waking her up.
CHAPTER III
Pencilnose Mbura came home late, fortunately he had caught a bush buck from one of his snares, his wife Bottleneck Suzi received the kill with much joy oblivious of her husband’s bubble-like stung bald head , moreover the day had gave away its light and the moonless night wore on to conceal Pencilnose Mbura’s  bruises.
Bottleneck Suzi just like her name nicely described her, she was a tall, long waist which hung wide curved hips and huge limbs like a wrestler, she always wore a smile but her stuffed like cheeks gave her a sour and sad face, a round head hung on an ostrich like neck  hence the nickname. She was inches taller than her husband whom she often looked squarely on his bald head when they argue and had threatened to head butt him one of the days.
It was at bedtime when they retired to sleep over their miseries. An orange glow from the lamp illuminated the room, village folks who couldn’t afford solar lights resorted to the diesel they bought from local shops which they put in little cans and a knotted string pieced  through a lid and dipped  in the diesel mixed with water to avoid blasting off. Nearly everyone owned it in case the day was cloudy for their solar lights.
Pencilnose Mbura  has prepared himself to bed when Faceless Bango knocked at the door, he was dead drunk, unable to lift his eyelids but surprisingly found himself at Pencilnose Mbura’s  compound. His shirt was drenched with opaque beer drenches and still held a bottle half filled. His visit carried news which caused a brawl to Pencilnose Mbura and his wife.
Pencilnose Mbura reluctantly opened the door, yawned and stretched his arms like a flapping duck. “Bango what brings you to my home in the middle of the night?” inquired Pencilnose Mbura 
Faceless Bango, belched and grunted like a pig , “Nozi , do you think the forest doesn’t have eyes and ears uh?” asked Faceless Bango.
“What are you talking about Bango?” inquired Pencilnose Mbura petrified.
Faceless Bango reluctantly turned his back to Pencilnose Mbura , he had sat on dump ground and replied boastfully, “ You dare ask me? I saw you with Duckfoot’s wife enjoying the fruits of togetherness.” concluded Faceless Bango.
That moment, Bottleneck Suzi woke up from her bed like a startled bush buck and went outside fuming in moonless night. Before her husband could explain, she held him by the collar, owing to her height , she flipped him on top of Faceless Bango and the gentlemen tumbled in the dump ground. Faceless Bango was angered but had little to no power to fight, the drunkard was well known for his insatiable thirst for blood, he fought anyone regardless of age but he often got battered hence his name Faceless, which he was seriously beaten by a stranger at a beer spree only his wrinkles moved, his capped mouth and bulged eyes shut to a tenth day.
Bottleneck Suzi held her waist waiting for her husband to stand up and he did, she hit him hard on his bald head with a broom, his wounds stung even more, the couple fought silently but their son Sullen Pengi, a boy of not more than ten ,heft just like his father, woke up from his hut and screamed to the amazement of neighbors who , in a short period of time were hands on the couple tearing each other’s clothes. The fight was cooled off , Duckfoot Bonzo and his wife who stayed a stone throw from Pencilnose Mbura home were absent from the mediators.
In the morning of the next day, Bottleneck Suzi went to pounce on Dadiwe Devil Finger while she was cleaning utensils, her face was still covered and none in the village had known her pains except Pencilnose, Mbura even her husband saw but didn’t dare to ask. Dadiwe Devil Finger turned after being punched painfully on her nose, she knocked the tall woman on the head with a cup forcing her to knees, pound to pound, Dadiwe Devil Finger was no match against the towering Bottleneck Suzi but what she lacked in size she improvised with something .
Villagers stormed Duckfoot Bonzo’s  compound to break  off the fighting women, Duckfoot Bonzo had gone to fetch a log for his felling fence but was turned back by the noise at his compound.
A voice from the gate quaked angrily, “ In what devil’s name are you all doing in my compound,” asked Duckfoot Bonzo.
“ Ask your wife, we just came to break off the party.” answered Wrinkled Tomba.
“ It seems she has some answers for Suzi.” added Knife Edge Nkife.
A woman echoed her suspicions from the crowd. “ The summer comes with a lots of here and there, maybe you’re not enough for the summer.” she guessed and the crowd laughed.
Duckfoot held his axe by the handle and pointed dangerously at Bottleneck Suzi,  “Why are you fighting with my wife? What did she do?” asked Duckfoot Bonzo.
Bottleneck sobbed profusely holding her head which was bleeding from several knocks by a broken mug cup and she broke the deadlock. “Faceless Bango found your wife in carnal service to my husband in the bush.” replied Bottleneck Suzi.
“Goodness Darikata,the goddess of our land!! I just said earlier.”  exclaimed the woman.
“What???” Mbura again!!” exclaimed Duckfoot Bonzo looking up in the sky as if the thunder he was promised had just echoed its first wave.
Pencilnose Mbura had just entered Duckfoot Bonzo’s compound to explain but it was too late, the hard faced Duckfoot Bonzo ran towards him with clinched fists and pummeled Pencilnose Mbura’s  bald head, it seemed  the baldness was the most vulnerable part of Pencilnose Mbura but he didn’t suckle to it, he fought back knowing that he was innocent. Neighbours intervened and it  became a chaos, the fighting gentlemen threw fists anyhow and punched whoever held them and that caused fresh wounds from old ones, soon everyone fought anyone, women were perplexed by the behavior of their husbands. The noise reached the village Chief who sent his warriors to break up the madness, by the time the fight was settled, there were sprained knees and ankles, fractured jaws, gape tooth and blood spewing from coughs.
Everyone who fought was made to pay fine by the village chief yet the matter of conflict was concocted by a drunkard who didn’t really perceive the real offense.
Bottleneck Suzi was warned against taking matters into her own hands yet the real truth laid between Pencilnose Mbura and  Dadiwe Devil Finger , the innocent bald headed man got stung by wasps which had earlier stung Dediwe Devil Finger but Faceless Bango hadn’t seen everything even when she kicked his teeth out, he just met them separately but from the same bush. He apologized but paid the fine for concocting lies.
*********

BONE OF CONTENTION



CHAPTER I

“Zulu, I have a request to make from you,” said, Susanna looking at Zulu like a cold stricken cat.

“What can I do for my sweetheart?” replied Zulu, smiling as if he had found the needle he lost a few years back.

“I warned you about calling me sweetheart, you had your time, now I am married and have children,” replied a bored Susanna.

“It’s alright though I think one of your children has to become my wife,” injected Zulu selecting herbs in a bowl.

Zulu a herbalist who had come from a distant village after his wife died in childbirth, their first son, since then he hadn’t married but had been seeing single mothers and married alike when they came to ask for assistance with his herbs. Valera Village welcomed him with opened arms since they had no one to look up to for their spiritual assistance. He was careful in his relationships with the ladies of the village that not even a single woman tried to discuss his love life at least they would draw attention from curiosity.

Susanna, a woman of undisputed beauty in the village, a chubby light-skinned with short huge arms, was a favorite of many men in Valera Village but Magnus beat them to her, he paid for her dowry while she was at school and when she completed her secondary studies, she went straight into Magnus’s loving and waiting arms.

The couple had a son and a daughter, Lizwe and Sizwe respectively. Lizwe, a strong and hardened boy molded by his father’s toughness. He was a marvel to watch when he worked, he looked like a juvenile horse on its first race, one villager complimented him enviously, “I wish this boy can give me his sixth lung, I could use it on my farm”.

Lizwe wasn’t much interested in girls like his fellow youths did. Maybe he didn’t have much time to chase them least his father would eat him alive. Not only that he wasn’t interested though he had a girl whom he found time to smile at after a long day from the garden, every man with a daughter wished her to be betrothed to an industrious and calm boy, Lizwe.

Sizwe, a level head, up to task girl who took her parents’ heeds without question, Magnus’s children were so industrious that he too doubted whether in his youth days was he so robust. Zulu had been keeping an eye on Sizwe but her mother couldn’t bear sharing a once was her lover with her daughter, though she would trick Zulu to get what she was craving for it later became tantamount to serious arguments.

Magnus, a short bald, and tough man, seldom worn a smile unless in the company of his family which gave him reason to smile. With two full-grown children, Magnus hadn’t time to add a third into his family as he told himself that no matter what bride price they would charge on his son it wouldn’t clear off the kraal which will be added by the dowry he would charge on his daughter. He was a good friend to Zulu and oblivious of his friend bedding his wife in secrecy, he concentrated to work and fend for his family and wasn’t a drinker so he had little to no chance of eavesdropping on village hearsay.

Every villager loved Magnus and his industrious children but there was something different about Susanna, she wasn’t given much attention like her husband. People often have bad blood over mysterious doings.

CHAPTER II

Susanna was a daughter of a well-known herbalist and she knew quite a few about herbal concoctions, maybe that’s the reason she fell in love with Zulu possibly for a favor in her future endeavors. She lost her father at a young age, he suffered a short but painful sickness that took him to the ground, her mother was complicit in his demise after a series of infidelity accusations in which he wasn’t involved.

Barnabas, Susanna’s father, a decent man, content with his peasant life, took care of his family despite his wife’s ceaseless tantrums, he wasn’t an avid follower of herbs even though he married one who would put him to ground later on. Defensively he was, in matters which concerned the welfare of his family, especially his only daughter, Susanna. His wife wanted to betroth Susanna to a town folk who normally came for medicinal assistance from her and so he could bring her goodies, foodies, and some extra cash with a keen intent to win her daughter but he didn’t know that everything was already in place only her husband was the obstacle who vehemently opposed the idea of town folks. His choice was Magnus, an industrious man.

“Why do you insist our daughter marry that dung boy?” quaked Sofia.

“Everyone in this village is dung boy or girl or woman or man, our daughter will marry someone we know and no one will oppose my decision,” said Barnabas in a harsh and assuring voice.

“Our daughter’s welfare is not something you can unilaterally pocket, I have obligations to veto an unfair decision,” replied Sofia with an equally harsh voice.

Barnabas wasn’t much interested in arguing with his wife, she often threatened him with a curse but he wasn’t easily intimidated.

“Do you think your useless concoctions will sway my head over this issue?” asked Barnabas boastfully.

“I am begging you to respect my field of expertise, one day you’ll succumb to your arrogance,” replied Sofia anguished.

She wasn’t finished with him yet when he was about to leave for the fields, she warned sternly, “I see what you’re doing with that wretched girl of Umbuzi village, one day I will stick you together for good,” said a serious-faced Sofia.

“Who said I am dating that girl, is it your useless gods lying to you in your dreams,” replied Barnabas arrogantly and that was the last words that came from his mouth after he suddenly got a sharp pain that disabled his whole until the time of his death.

Despite Barnabas’s death, the deed had been done, Susanna was pregnant to Magnus, they had been dating for a while even though her mother insisted on her town gentleman. The lovers grew up together in the village and were better informed of their backgrounds than the moneyed man her mother had chosen her, she didn’t even want to lend an ear to his proposals. Susanna’s maternal uncles were tasked to take care of the bridal dowry as her mother was so bitter that she refused to attend the ceremony until one day, they found her dead, dosed with the poison of her making.

CHAPTER III

Years poured by when Zulu and Susanna had been separated from their secret affair but there was a bone to chew between the two in the following years. It all started when they were in a relationship after the birth of her son, Susanna had asked Zulu for herbal concoctions to use at the market for quicker gains of which the village gigolo obliged owing to their relationship and Susanna had promised to bear him a bastard child if the medicine was successful, a decision which even a half-drunk grandmother wouldn’t dare think of but excitement clouded her judgment.

The couple happily lived their lives with a son, Magnus spent more of his time in the field to produce more for his wife who had struck gold as he affectionately put it yet it was his wife’s catastrophic excitement that gave them a smile for as long as the bargain was in play between her and Zulu.

“How is the market response my dear?” asked Magnus smiling his sun-beaten face.

“I’ve become the champion, no one can stand in my way, marketeers buy from me too,” replied Susanna boastfully.

Magnus wasn’t much interested in supervising his wife’s accounts as long as he supported her with all she wanted and in return, his wife bought him anything he deemed necessary, mostly it was garden tools that eased some hard labor.

Lizwe had grown into a wonderful young lad when Susanna gave birth to a girl, Sizwe. The couple was joyed by the birth of their daughter who would help her mother while Lizwe helped his father in the field too. Zulu wasn’t that happy but didn’t press his secret lover to the bargain binding them. She had promised him a son and that at least calmed him down.

It wasn’t long when Sizwe grew into a young decent girl and village boys both up heads and villains tried their luck on Magnus’s daughter but she hadn’t time to mingle about in the village due to the family she was born into was industrious, they had no time to waste.

Zulu became to think of altering the deal they had with Susanna, he didn’t want a bastard son anymore but to marry her daughter instead and that didn’t settle well between the two. She couldn’t bear marrying her daughter to Zulu just like her mother refused her marriage to Magnus though she didn’t brew any thoughts of ending her precious life as her mother did.

“Zulu, you must be out of your senses,” said Susanna surprised.

“I don’t think there is any problem in marrying your daughter, I thought having a bastard son with you is undermining your loving husband so Sizwe will do a good wife,” replied, Zulu painting a bent smile on his left cheek.

Susanna felt outdone by Zulu, she threatened to inform her husband but Zulu was quick to thwart and reminded her whose face would be ashamed if he went around telling everyone he bedded her. She objected vehemently insisting her husband would not believe a word he’d say and so Zulu promised to hurt her the most where she loved. “Leave me alone, why won’t you go and find an old woman  who suits you and leave my daughter alone?” Susanna once had asked and warned him too.


CHAPTER IV

One day, Sizwe was coming from the borehole with her friends when Zulu stopped her, the innocent girl obeyed without hesitation yet she didn’t know her mother and Zulu were at loggerheads over marrying her. He was smiling as if he had received good news, smiled uncontrollably until it caught the attention of Sizwe.

“Sir if you don’t mind, why have you stopped me that you don’t say?” asked Sizwe balancing a bucket on his head.

“Oh my sweetness, there is no need to be enraged, I am here for you,” said Zulu, he tried to touch her hand but the girl didn’t entertain him, she snapped her hand from his grip thereby missing her footing just to spill water and broke the base of the bucket.

Sizwe went home sobbing profusely like someone who had been missed by a lion’s claws. Luckily, Magnus and Lizwe have gone to the fields, Magnus wouldn’t have hesitated to confront Zulu. Susanna secretly went to confront Zulu who responded boastfully just to incur more wroth from Susanna.

“How dare you want to rape my daughter, are you not ashamed of how ugly and huge you look,” quaked Susanna angrily.

“ Oh my goodness, is this when you’re seeing my ugliness, I don’t doubt the person who said it takes a lame to lead a lame,” replied Zulu giggling.

“Is there anything amusing in what I said? Was it your daughter, would you be laughing your brown teeth?” raged Susanna.

Zulu wasn’t concerned about the insults raining on him, all he wanted was to get her into admitting his request.

“Bully all you can my dearest, just grant my wish to the agreement we put to paper,” said Zulu lowering his head to check the bolt on his wheelbarrow and suddenly lifted his head and wrinkled his face at Susanna, “ Maybe I am getting this all wrong, I think Sizwe is my daughter,” concluded Zulu looking at Susanna like a relentless attorney.

Zulu didn’t know he had pulled the snake by the tail, he was oblivious to Susanna’s anguish, and just so he had stirred the wrath in her.

“I’ve had enough of this nonsense, my husband has to hear this baseless claim,” said Susanna storming out of Zulu’s half-built kitchen.

Susanna sacrificed the secretive affair she had with Zulu, she couldn’t bear to hear someone claiming her daughter to be his. Magnus was enraged not by the affair she had with Zulu but the parentage of the daughter, he had gone twice to warn him to stay away from his wife and daughter otherwise he would risk being thrown out of the village and banished forever.

The mentioning of banishment from the village struck deep into Zulu’s bones, he had lived half his age in the village, he gave it a thought, if he had been banished, nowhere would he go, and with his reputation at stake, sorry was what left in his chamber. He apologized and promised to stay clear of Magnus’s family.




CATASTROPHIC GESTURE

“Father are we going for a game drive during the school holiday?” asked, Samantha paging through a lodge brochure.

“Definitely pumpkin, we will, isn’t that so Mary?” asked, Mathew from his wife.

“Yes we will, but Jonah must stop his tendency of sneaking out of the lodge, it’s dangerous out there”, said Mary pointing at Jonah with a fork.

“It won’t happen again mum”, assured Jonah bitting a chicken foot.

The family was fond of outdoor activities, especially during school holidays. There was a particular lodge they liked most, it was situated on the river bank and some of the chalets were closer to the bank but at a considerable distance. Guest would view the vast mashes on the other side of the river where antelopes grazed reeds and drank from the shallow water away from crocodiles.

Elephants, buffalos, and other wild animals thronged the river to quench thirsty in large numbers. Some of the elephants in the mix with wild were tamed for riding by tourists but broke out in search of females for mating though they were friendly to humans. In some instances, they broke into the lodge surrounding to eat fruits.

However, there were instances where other animals were drowned in conflict with each other or preys chased by predators that accidentally bump into tourists’ vehicles thereby causing panic which leads to harm.

One time a family of three had gone for a game drive with an experienced tour guider, while they were in the jungle viewing different species of birds cycling and perching on treetops near the river, the guider noticed a lioness sneaking away from countless herds of buffalos grazing on the other side of the river, its focus wasn’t on the Cape buffalos but something in the tall grass near a thick bush.

He took the binoculars and viewed the bush which the lioness was sneaking towards. A poacher had been playing with lioness cubs oblivious of the impending danger looming behind him. Alarming him was suicidal because he would try to run yet into the direction of the awaiting lioness.

They tried to wave their hands up, it was fruitless, he was rolling in the grass with the jovial and entertained cubs. The lioness, as if it sensed no danger at all stood few meters keeping an eye on the proceedings, an unlikely scenario by the wild animals to poachers, the only alarm the poachers paid attention much too are cracking sounds of radio messages, they knew the rangers were in the near so they run away.

While the man played with the cubs, the tour guider with his fear struck tourists holding their hands on their heads and some praying for the innocent soul of the poor poacher drowning in the jaws of danger. He turned his radio on and that very moment the poacher got up to look around, he saw the game vehicle with passengers waving at him to run in the other direction but he misinterpreted the message, he thought they were leading him into a trap but he had been trapped already.

Before he ran, he sneaked behind a bush where the lioness roared in his face, he turned and ran in the direction of the vehicle, maybe he thought to be arrested was even better than to be eaten alive by an angry predator. The lion chased him down and when it was about to jump on him, he slid under the vehicle and the lioness landed its paw on the guider’s thigh ripping his shorts and clawing him deeply, it quickly ran away after one tourist fired a shot in the air to scare it off. The poacher didn’t thank the crew who survived his life but bolted away in fear of being apprehended.

Mathew and his family went for a two-week lodging with his family, they drove in a hired Volkswagen sports car which was used on gravel roads mostly. They arrived at the lodge at sunset and they managed to find Thompson gazelles nipping on shoots near the lodge.

Their stay at the lodge had been fine and exhilarating in game drives, canoeing, and fishing tigerfish for competition with fellows tourists they found at the lodge. It was on the day they returned home when catastrophe befell them.

As they drove to the nearest airport where they hired the car, an elephant emerged from the bushes and stopped in the middle of the road, flapping its ears and leisurely walking towards the car. A towering figure stood near a car whose height wouldn’t reach the level of the elephant’s mouth, it sniffed with its trunk through the windows, it smelt fruits which they gave it in fear of being turned over.

Jonah and Samantha were seated at the back and Jonah was seated just by the window which the elephant was sticking its trunk to receive fruits from the scared boy. When the bananas had finished, Jonah closed the window and the elephant realized the window was closed, it started scratching itself on the lightweight car dangling and shifting as it rubbed its bulk body.

The elephant had marks on its ears and a collar around its neck. The family relaxed after they noticed the African giant meant no harm, it was a friendly gesture. Before Mathew could drive off, the elephant put its mouth on top of the car but the horns were long that it pierced through breaking the window and gored Jonah on his back with a sharp horn which was split possibly from fights, he screamed thereby scaring the elephant which turned around in plight but hit the car with its hind legs flipping it down the slope.

The car was damaged but no other injuries were sustained by other family members except Jonah who was taken to the hospital after they radioed the lodge for help. Jonah was healed weeks later after the accident.

ACT OF GOODWILL

Chapter I

“Hello, anyone home?” asked Jimmy knocking on the gate with a pebble.

“Just a moment Jimmy”, replied the man opening the door and handed Jimmy the garbage plastic.

” Thank you sir, tommorow just leave on the gate so that I won’t trouble waking you up”, said Jimmy tossing the garbage in his cart.

Jimmy earned a living by collecting garbage in the neighborhood. He didn’t have much qualifications to obtain a decent job. He loved his job and worked with passion to feed his lone belly. People mocked him but he had no intentions of retaliating because they were his source of income. The little they paid him was sustainable.

He lived in a two roomed self-contained flat which his parents bought him when they relocated. He chose to stay behind and fight his way to success without support from his parents. He was determined in his endeavors.

There were people who mocked or laughed at him but he didn’t sulk to their mockery. He was as cool as a sheep when he attended to his clients in the mornings . He wasn’t much of a begger when he collected the garbage plastics but asked politely even though some promised to pay him the next day or not at all, he didn’t trouble asking them.

His cart had a bell mounted on,he could be heard few blocks away clink clonking and the residents would come out and toss the garbage plastics or bins outside and some would yell at him for being too early.

“Shut up Jimmy ,we still sleeping”, yelled one resident on the window.

“It’s alright I can come later enjoy your sleep”, replied Jimmy and drove for the next houses.

“Morning Mr Thompson”, greeted Jimmy parking his cart on the roadside.

“Morning Jimmy, you’re earlier than usual today, didn’t you eat yesterday?” asked Thompson emptying the orange peels into the bin.

“I did sir,I always do”, replied Jimmy smiling trying not to give out to Thompson’s mocks.

“You look dry mouthed Jimmy, can I get you juice or you can just chew those orange peels”, said Thompson glaring at Jimmy with a fake smile.

“It’s not necessary sir,it’s just cold out here,I will get better when the sun rises higher” replied Jimmy.

He went door to door picking bins and plastics. On his lucky days he would pick some valuables which his clients dropped in the bins accidentally or purposeful, he would sell to make extra cash or keep in his house as souvenirs.

Chapter II

Jimmy always wished to find valuable items from the garbage bins as the people in the neighborhood he collected garbage resided retired world war veterans and other business people who dropped jewelry and rings possibly from divorcing couples or lost engagements jewelry.

One day in the morning while Jimmy was on duty picking garbage ,he came to a house where a couple yelled at each other and threw things against the wall and through the window. Cups, shoes, pencils, small boxes wized through the window and fell on the neatly cut lawn. Jimmy stopped to pick and select the ones which were disposable while the couple still tormenting each other in the house.

While he was picking the garbage plastic and the ones which were still flying above his head, a small black box hit him hard on his cheek that made him open his mouth,held his cheeks with his fingers and chewed to ease the pain. The box had a diamond necklace which seemed to Jimmy was meant for a bigger event but the atmosphere in the house had different reasons.

Jimmy knocked on the door to hand over the box to the owners but was met with tantrums.

“Who’s there?” asked the voice of a man after they all calmed down, maybe they thought it was a police officer.

“It’s me Jimmy,I have something for you”, said Jimmy smiling on the closed door.

“Hey man just get your garbage and leave us alone”, yelled the man inside tossing the money to Jimmy through the window and closed it.

“Well sir ,I am not interested in whatever you’re quarrelling with but I have something for you”, said Jimmy in a soft voice.

” I said go away, what else do you want , alright take everything outside and go, see you tomorrow”, replied the man in an angry voice and the shouting and yelling continued in the house.

The miserable Jimmy pushed his cart away but didn’t leave the box. He knew the couple would calm down and look for the box and Jimmy was the only person at the house when they threw things outside. On the other hand, he knew neighbours would come to check on the quarrelling couple rising chances of the expensive necklace to be stolen.

Jimmy went with the necklace home, he thought to sell it but the previous thoughts gave him a precise view of how much trouble he would fall into once the owners accused him. The following day, early in the morning before he started his garbage collection routine, he went straight to the quarrelling couple and found them in mixed moods , he didn’t want to incur more damage so he just told them why he visited so early.

“Yesterday it was hard to let you know what I meant”, said Jimmy looking at the couple which was all eyes on him.

“What do you mean Jimmy, have you increased the garbage bill?” asked the man.

“No sir ,it’s this”, said Jimmy handing the box and the wife jumped in jubilation as if she had won relief grant.

“Thanks Jimmy,you are such a good man, otherwise we were quarrelling over the misplacing of this box,I couldn’t find where I had put it”, replied the man smiling at his wife and they hugged.

Jimmy laughed a little and looked at the couple which was surprised by his actions.

“One of you threw this box through the window with some of the items and it hit me on my cheek”, said Jimmy showing them the bruise. They apologized and laughed with him and later gave him some extra cash for an act of goodwill.

Chapter III

Jimmy went on with his day to day job ,unfazed by difficulties which came about in his job he forged forward as long as it earned him a living. His cart bell became an alarm to school kids who thanked him in the morning for waking them up.

“Good morning Mr bell”,greeted one kid on the balcony.

” Morning buddy, how are you this morning?” asked Jimmy smiling.

“Thank you for waking me up early,I have an assignment today at school”, replied the kid.

“I guess that’s a lucky charm buddy,I will be waking you up everyday”, said Jimmy pushing his cart.

As if it wasn’t enough to Jimmy’s lucky charm,he pushed his cart around the hedge of an aged war veteran house ,he stopped to pick the garbage plastics. A lady came running across the road,she had forgotten something before she left for work and Jimmy was quick to greet.

“Good morning madam,did you forgot to leave the garbage outside?” asked Jimmy emptying the plastic into the cart.

“Not exactly Jimmy, actually that’s my garbage plastic you’re collecting, I had forgot the cup I lent from my colleague yesterday and your clonking bell sounded like a dropping cup then I remembered”, said the lady smiling.

“Oh really ,I will double the bells then ,it seems people need me around here”, said Jimmy laughing a little.

“Surely we do Jimmy, thanks see you later”, said the lady waving for a taxi cab.

Some who were annoyed by the bell, yelled inside their houses and on the balcony but Jimmy wasn’t bothered much ,he just smiled and moved on.

An aged war veteran where Jimmy had stopped to talk to a lady one day, waved him and gave him a paratrooper cap with its insignia still clean and polished probably it had special sentiments that warranted it’s safe keep and cleanliness and surely it did.

He narrated how close he was to his fallen army paratrooper,who was shot after he trapped his parachute in the trees, he landed in the jaws of war. So he kept the cap in remembrance of his friend and now that he was close to his days he thought to leave it with someone. Jimmy didn’t refuse the kind gesture from the old man.

Jimmy kept the cap and polished the insignia and washed it to keep the spirit of the fallen hero alive as he thought to himself. One afternoon when he took a closer look at the insignia ,he felt something roundish like a coin, he untucked the insignia and found a gold coin with special markings which signified some importance.

The next day he took the coin to the old man who gave him the cap maybe he’s friend had put it on purpose so that whoever was going to get the cap would find it but the old man didn’t take it seriously and told him to keep everything,he had nothing left to think of.

Jimmy took the coin to Billy’s Treasure shop for selling, if it was worthy something. He was a little scared when Billy held his both hands with a tight clamp,he thought the coin had landed him in trouble but Billy thanked him for the Golden Coin which was worthy millions in cash.

“Son this is great treasure you’ve,where did you find it?” asked Billy looking at the coin with the magnifying glass.

” I took it from my grandfather’s army cap,he died during the war”, lied Jimmy.

“I can give you 87 million in cash even though it’s worthy more than that, this is the fair price I can give you without commission otherwise you won’t get that much in open auction”, said Billy looking at Jimmy.

Jimmy didn’t seem bothered yet he inwardly celebrated the breakthrough in his miserable life. He acted casually like someone who had everything he needed in life.

“It’s alright Sir ,let’s close the deal and good luck to you on your auction”, said Jimmy shaking hands with Billy.

Jimmy ran as fast as he could to the old man who gave him the cap with a bag of cash . He couldn’t forget the men who blessed him. The old man called her daughter,the lady Jimmy talked to the previous days outside the gate to share the money with Jimmy but to his surprise, the lady got one million and thanked Jimmy for his kindheartedness. They took ten million from the money and sent it to the family of the old man’s friend who stayed in the next town.

Jimmy became a millionaire overnight and lived his life happier than before, his garbage cart was painted and parked under a shed.

*************

CANINE WATERS

Chapter I

“Mampara ain’t you going fishing today?” asked Mpudi mending his fishing net.

“I will go in the afternoon when the sun is overhead”, replied Mampara curving a paddling stick.

“That’s a good time of the day, the flat dogs and the water bulk will be dozing on the river edge too”, said Mpudi, referring to the crocodiles and a menacing hippo.

The river was rich with every type of fish and the villagers chose which fish was to their appetite on that particular day. Breams, tiger fish, mackerel, and a lot more. The villagers sold dried or fresh fish to traders who bought in bulk.

Not only did fish abundance would veer off the villagers’ appetite, but there was also an abundance of other animals like capybaras, Thompson gazelles which drank during the day when fishermen were dozing under the shades from the Savanna blazing winter sun. Warthogs too wallowed and were easy prey to crocodiles due to their poor sight and high body temperatures which hindered them to look out for possible adversaries before they cooled off.

In all the hither and thither in the river and river banks, loomed a very dangerous canine bulk which reacted wildly when provoked or defending its territory from other intruders, the hippopotamus. Hippos are territorial animals like squirrels, they fight to the death to defend their territory or fight to mate with females with competitive males in the herd.

The river, Chehamba, was named after the village stretched wide and deep, it had several small islands which provided green grass and reeds to the nocturnal hippos. Pods of hippos in their distinctive territories would be heard grunting and splashing water to fend off fishermen in canoes or fellow territorial hippos.

There was one bull that had scary battle scars and it was the biggest in the Chehamba river. It fought and killed other territorial males and accumulated two more herds of female hippos into one large herd and the herd caused much damage to the Chehamba village corn fields but more danger was with Mahavula, the big bull, named by villagers after how it scoops water with its mouth and splash like a bucket.

Villagers and their canoes suffered a great loss after Mahavula spilled and cut them in half whether during the day or night when they fish in his territory. Crocodiles which wandered among the hippos were not welcome by Mahavula, they would be cut in half with his big teeth, he was merciless.

Villagers presented their query to the Department of Wildlife and Game Reserves but efforts to put him down for good were fruitless because he hid among the long reeds in the islands and crossing the river to the islands was suicidal as he could confront the canoe.

Chapter II

“Do you mean this department doesn’t have any means to kill that hippo?” asked Mangende, rolling his cigarette.

“That bulk has taken enough of our brothers and sisters, we must do something”, said Mampara signaling Mangende to lit his cigarette.

“Am yearning for its tongue, the moment they shoot it down, no one will beat me to a tongue”, said Mujimba snapping his fingers with a click sound.

“For goodness sake Mujimba, you’re just there for food, I wish the spirit of the victims to Mahavula’s teeth screams in your belly”, objected Mangambela hitting his sandal on the ground.

The gentlemen went on arguing and reasoning with each other about how they could put an end to the cat and mouse chase with the grunting bull. Just when they wanted to depart, a voice came down the river screaming to the last breath, Mujimba’s son had been attacked by Mahavula but he survived with a nasty injury to his fingers.

Velani and his friends had gone to the river to catch evening sardines along the river where they clouded the banks nipping on hippo dungs and they were easily trapped in the nets where they scrambled to flee away from the bank. Mahavula often laid at the same bank probably he was the one the sardines had been following. The moment he heard noise from the villagers coming down to the river he submerges underwater and dives away sometimes he stayed, that’s the moment he normally attacks villagers.

Velani and his friends, oblivious of Mahavula’s presence, set their nets almost three meters from the river bank. Senje and Velani were casting the net while Kapika puddled slowly. After they had cast the net, they took another canoe which was free to use as the villagers shared their canoes if they weren’t fishing. Senje and Kapika were in the same canoe while Velani took another canoe and held the other end while his friends encircled the fish on the other end.

Mahavula had been underwater still not giving away his position as the sardines circled above him. Senje and Kapika were using their puddle sticks to scare off the sardines into the net so as Velani but he tried to stick the puddle deep and splash the water when he nudged the hippo on one of its wounds prompting it to attack. The hippo shot out of the water with a great splash of water and covered Velani, while he tried to cap the water with his arms he felt a sharp pain in his right hand between the middle fingers and was thrown to the bank of the river where he clawed to safety.

Senje and Kapika thought their friend had been swallowed by the bulk hippo before they thought to canoe out, it was upon their canoe and split it in half and the boys swam to the bank and took refugee under the tree roots sticking out making it impossible for the hippo to reach them.

While the tussle went on, crocodiles couldn’t miss the party as they came close to pounce on Kapika who was sticking his leg dangerously in the water but Senje was clever enough to pull his shirt and threw it in the water and the crocodile dived deep to with the shirt giving them time to claw up from the roots bruising their skinny bodies.

Velani sat down on a log staring at his bleeding hand dumbfounded. He couldn’t feel the pain until when his friends woke him from the unconscious and helped him tie the wound, that’s when he screamed like a baboon clamped by a foot snare. He was taken to the hospital for treatment and dressing of the wound.

Chapter III

Everyone in the village was angered and saddened by the attack on the boys by the hippo so Mpudi and his friends thought to take matters into their own hands and kill the hippo, they didn’t warn the village chief because they knew he wouldn’t sanction the move but stick with the Department of Wildlife to take a failed measure as they described it amongst themselves.

Mpudi and his friends Mujimba, Mangende, Mampara, and Mangambela decided to set a special day to attack the hippo and they had spears, the traditional fighting weapon. They welded ten more so that they could stick them all over the body and cause damage in its bulk body.

“Gentlemen, this is a dangerous mission we’re embarking on so if there is a private God you’ve, better start to ask for guidance and remember we should not say this to anyone”, said Mpudi looking at his friends like a general assuring his lieutenants to cling to their position and give their all for the fatherland to be defended.

“That’s a good idea, alerting our wives and kids will bring panic, and everyone will catch the wind”, added Mangambela.

“How are we going about it gentlemen?”, asked Mujimba looking at the ground where Mpudi had drawn a rough sketch of the river.

They planned and suggested all their possible advantage position to attack the hippo and they had to put someone to lure it to the position of attack and Mampara didn’t hesitate to put himself in the harm’s way and lure the hippo to the kill zone so that the village will be free even if it meant to cost his life.

The next day in the afternoon where everyone was dozing under the shades was the best way to carry out their mission in absence of the worried onlookers. They took their weapons which shone brightly after a thorough sharpen and Mpudi offered his big canoe which he used mostly to carry heavy loads for clients who crossed the river to other tribal lands.

They puddled along a small passage with reeds where the hippos mostly grazed. Mahavula wasn’t far from the island and saw the men puddling, the giant hippo grunted and groaned loudly that scared the birds of the treetops and headed for the slaughter before they carried out their plan to lure it.

The gentlemen were ready as they stood with their spears ready to thrust, only Mampara was the one seated steadying the canoe. The bulk hippo emerged under the canoe and nudged it with its head trying to flip it up but the men were well-balanced thanks to years of fishing experience. It opened its mouth to bit on the boat but Mpudi was quick to thrust in the mouth with much precision that it backed off and dived deep but it wasn’t finished with them as it poised for the second attack.

While the men were wondering the whereabouts of the hippo it emerged behind Mampara who was puddling in reverse and broke his puddle stick in two nearly throwing him off the canoe. They threw the spears at once in the mouth of the hippo forcing it to go on the island but it came with great speed to knock the canoe and flip it over but the gentlemen were well square to the ideas of the hippo.

“Mampara!!! Mampara!!! where is the piece of the puddle stick”, yelled Mpudi.

“This is too short, what do you want to do with it”, asked Mampara trembling.

“Just give it to me damn it Mampara, just give it here!!! yelled Mpudi snapping the stick which had a sharp end caused but the rough breaking by the hippo and stuck it into the mouth of the hippo which had come dangerously close to Mpudi’s limbs.

Blood flowed in the river from the hippo’s mouth though it was determined to flip the boat and cut them into pieces its relentless charges were well met by the spears from the determined men. They threw nearly half of the spears in the mouth of the hippo and it broke them when it dived down but the blades remained thrust deep in the mouth.

Crocodiles began to emerge from all directions and started to nipping their chance on the bleeding hippo ignoring the easy meat, the men standing on the dangling canoe. The fight went on and on until the hippo finally dived deep for few hours. The men puddled out and waited for the hippo to come out but it hadn’t.

When the sun had gone down, finally the bulk hippo emerged out of the water being pull on all sides, it was the crocodiles that inflicted the final blow to the dangerous water canine. From that day the Chehamba village lived happily and the men were thanked and pardoned by the Wildlife and Game Reserves department for not following the governing rules were warned to follow governed rules next time.

“Mujimba, there you’re, the tongue is out to go get it”, said Mangende jokingly.

“Oh no man, I can’t put up another fight with crocodiles, am done”, replied Mujimba chuckling.

“Don’t forget, no one will beat you to the tongue”, added Mpudi and they all laughed and went home triumphantly.

***************

DEADLY AMBITION

Chapter I

Petr was an ambitious man, always fond of discoveries and some of his endeavors earned him handsomely though some required sacrifices of which those close to him were found on the grievous end of harm. He was an archaeologist by profession and he traveled in remote parts of the world to find historical artifacts which he sold in museums at favorable prices.

Petr and his wife, Hannah, and their son Piotr lived in a lavished home thanks to Petr’s hard work. Piotr was in his second year studying bachelor in Arts and Music and he too liked to travel and learn more about different cultures and music in foreign countries. He would go with his father and they would separate in their distinctive studies during the day and meet at a hotel where they lodged.

Hannah, an account at a loan and grants firm, had little time to travel with his family except when she was on leave and Piotr on school holidays. Her husband was insistent for her to travel often with them but she wasn’t fond of traveling.

“Hannah you should come with us one day on a trip, it’s good out there”, said Petr spooning sugar in coffee.

“Yes ma’am, maybe you’ll find something worthy who knows”, jumped in Piotr.

“You got all this figured out uh, you just saying the same thing”, replied Hannah biting down her sandwich.

“Next week am going to the Amazon jungles, a friend found some profitable artifacts”, said Petr looking at his son and wife for approval.

“Dad, do you want to bring us an anaconda? asked Piotr looking at his mother like a hungry kitten.

“Uh the way I hate snakes, I have seen a lot out there but can’t get used, I look for profitable artifacts, not pets to keep”, replied Petr.

“Well be careful out there”, warned his wife.

Petr went to the Amazon jungle with fellow archaeologists to scout and dig artifacts from the land but some Portuguese-speaking natives stay in that part of the countryside for hundreds of years and their ancestral graves were still visible with heaped stones. They had to seek permission.

Petr and his three friends, Segev, Zelinsk, and Hector a linguist. They drove in circles avoiding swamps that would swallow their 4×4 off-road truck. All the tools and camping equipment were packed and the food ratio lasted the duration of their permit. Medical equipment and drugs were packed. The Amazon was infested with different kinds of crawling creatures, canine scavengers, and stinging insects which caused severe pain or death.

There were also two or three short guns to defend themselves from dangerous animals and some explosives they used to dynamite their way in tunnels that were buried long ago. That’s where hidden hierarchical golden, silver, or bronze objects were in tombs since the natives had no use of them only for their spears and axes.

Chapter II

Petr and his colleagues reached an abandoned ancient building and parked their vehicle leaving Zelinsk to guard their belongings. They followed a trail dotted with footprints both big and small. They opened their eyes and ears to the chirping, cricketing, and howling of the jungle creatures. Once or twice mongoose would spring across their path and monkeys of different kinds leaped from tree to tree barking and hissing.

Suddenly, there was a loud noise from birds and monkeys fleeing from possible danger and so it was, a group of men led by a tall strong, and scary looking face wearing skin regalia and had different painting markings on his body which symbolized his position among the serious-faced lot.

“Quem é você e o que o trap aqui? (Who are you and what brings you here?) man asked.

Petr signaled Hector with the slow nod of the head to translate which he did and Petr replied,

“We come in peace and mean no harm”(Viemos em Paz,não temos intenção de Fazer mal) replied Hector in his native language.

” Vamos levá-lo a Nossa Rainha, mas se você tentar machucá-la nós,o comeremos Vivo” (We will take you to our Queen but if you try to harm her, we will eat you alive) translated Hector to his friends, looking at the bloody ax one warrior was carrying after they killed a bush pig they hung on a tree.

Petr and his colleagues were taken to the Queen, beautiful and young who was crowned after her father, the King passed on of the jungle sickness and old age. The palace, a big round hut built of big logs and small bandings knitted nicely and thatched with grass and reeds. On the door stood two muscled men holding their spears and clubs in a guard of their Queen. Only the eyes looked left and right like a chameleon.

On top of the hut twin skeletal heads of jaguars hanged on separately facing the route which Petr and his colleagues used. Inside the hut, the Queen sat on a chair raised on a stoop and small chairs for her advisors flanked the Queen’s chair. Behind the Queen’s chair, basketfuls of gold and diamond stones shone in the dim light. These were precious stones that decorated the floor of the palace and stoops which her subjects sat on.

The gentlemen were puzzled and jovial at the same time when they entered the palace hut, it was glowing with gold and diamond stones cleanly washed and stuck on the floor and stoops of mud. Petr smiled at the stone spear which was nicely cut and strapped with black and tight strings. The Queen noticed the puzzled men and interrupted their touring eyes.

“De nada,gostou do Lugar? (You are welcome, do you like the place) asked the Queen smiling at the men.

Hector translated to Petr and he replied,

“What a beautiful place you have here, I wish I can stay here forever” (Que lugar lindo você tem aqui, eu gostaria de poder ficar para sempre) translated Hector not too sure of what his friend was implying.

Night fell, everyone dined in fresh amazon meat though there wasn’t a wine to wash down the smoked meat. They shared stories while Hector was given a hard task to translate the conversation. The next day, Petr took pictures with the natives and the stones as well. They were given sizeable gold and diamonds as gifts of their homage.

Chapter III

Petr and his friends sold their gold and diamonds but they didn’t share the place of treasure, it remained shared amongst them. Petr had a different mind after they returned, he wanted to raid the palace and get as much gold as he could even if it costs his life.

Segev, Zelinsk, and Hector were all done in the first trip, they couldn’t risk their lives in the jungle, their life’s work hadn’t paid them as much as a visit to the Amazon Queen. They bought splashy houses and began their dream businesses. Petr was busy consulting freelance mercenaries to raid the Amazon Queen’s palace and get all the gold and diamonds he saw stashed in the big hut.

Petr managed to access an independent contractor with ex-military mercenaries who were readily available for a contract. Retired Major Browning signed a contract with Petr to share the spoils of the raid and if the government sniffed the operation his men would be deniable assets, only him was to answer to the government.

“Major Browning, that place is filled with gold and diamonds everywhere”, said Petr.

“Well just like I said, we are not responsible for any deaths and try not to sweep out the natives and bring back my men they’re expandable”, warned Major Browning.

Petr and Browning’s commandos led by Sergeant Witherspoon left at night to avoid traffic in the air and reach the Amazon in the early hours of the next day. Petr had found a map that guided them through the thick forest avoiding contact with apes that didn’t hesitate to leap or throw stones on a flying Black Hawk helicopter.

“Listen, gentleman, our objective is to smoke the natives but doesn’t kill them please, the palace is where all gold and diamonds are stored”, said Petr pointing at the map.

“I won’t hesitate to put a bullet in the head if they throw me a spear”, said Stoney, the bearded ex-marine.

“No man, just get the spear and run, since Petr said they’re made of gold”, interrupted Macaire, chewing a gum.

“Let’s hope it won’t come to that “, warned a concerned Petr.

The Black Hawk could be heard miles by the natives, it was a sound they never heard in centuries they stayed in the Amazon. Scouts were sent to spy but they were too late the mercenaries had boots on the ground already and they used a different route which Petr and his friends used. With the help of the map, they went round to attack at the rear of the Palace hut which was vulnerable courtesy of pictures Petr had taken.

The mercenaries who numbered five and Petr were all armed and empty sacks to collect gold and diamonds were given to each so that the load will be easily shared amongst them. They went deep in the jungle, scaring poor-sighted animals like bush pigs which didn’t differentiate between a shrub and a camouflaged cloth. Birds flew above some pooping on their camouflaged uniforms.

Stoney almost sprained his ankle after he slipped on a sloppy rock, he tumbled down the slope and hit himself against a tree where he managed to claw firmly with his gloves. His helmet and bulletproof vest helped him against pricking thorns, only his beard left hanging on the thorns.

The raid was to be done at night so the Black Hawk was positioned a little far on the hillside, they couldn’t risk going out and wait for the call but had to be in the vicinity ready to bail out the loaded gentlemen struggling among the trees and swamps. Everyone had a sleeping bag and they hung ropes bed on the trees instead of sleeping on the damp ground with crawling insects.

In the middle of the night, they took off and went about their mission in silence avoiding snapping branches that would give away their cover to the attentive ears of the Queen’s warriors.

Chapter IV

They drew closer to the Queen’s palace and where everyone gathered around the fire cutting pieces of meat on a big animal dangling appetizingly on the fire. Stoney was seen swallowing saliva from the smell coming from the natives’ braai, he had a huge appetite for food and his comrades knew him too well except Petr.

Whitherspoon gathered his men around with the help of Petr’s knowledge of the place, they had to use the sharp ax they had carried upon Petr’s explanation, the wall had to be cut instead of pushed like a mud hut. Ziggy and Macaire were given orders to create a diversion to the south side so that the rest would smoke the place and create confusion.

It was started when Macaire and Ziggy screamed like people who were attacked by lions. The Queen’s warriors didn’t hesitate to look who was absent, they beat about in the thicket with their spears shining in the darkness following the noise. They had lost some members to the jungle canines so they couldn’t back out until they rescued their member.

After nearly all men had gone towards the noise leaving the palace vulnerable to women and children, Whitherspoon and his men charged down tossing tear gas and choking almost everyone except the Queen who had been evacuated to another hut but saw the proceedings. She figured Petr while the men tore down the rear of the Palace hut but she couldn’t get out, the tear gas was cycling around.

“Bimbo Pega Aquele Homem que their aqui da última vez, Ladrão!!! Ladrão!!! (Bimbo that Man who came last time here, Thief!!! Thief!!) yelled the Queen to her warriors.

Ziggy and Macaire sneaked the Queen’s warriors and return to their comrades and the men filled their bags and took off but the warriors were back after they heard a faint scream of a woman at the palace. The Queen ordered the men to be apprehended. They chased the men but the ex-military had good training to skip from the incoming enemy except for Petr who was pushed each time he wanted to stop.

While they were being chased, Whitherspoon called the Black Hawk on comms to meet at the rendezvous point because the packages were heavy and they couldn’t run further on the slippery ground and tangling on the tree ropes while the warriors who knew the jungle cruised easily like bulldozers.

The Blackhawk managed to get to the rendezvous point where Whitherspoon and his men were shooting blank to disperse the relentless warriors whose light spears whizzed past them at great speed which they picked up the hill to the helicopter.

The raid was bloodless as per contract demands. The natives lost some of their treasure but a lot more was hidden in the hut which they took their Queen to safety. It was Petr’s last adventure and shared the gold and diamonds with Major Browning and his men. He brought home a golden trophy spear to his son Piotr which he hung in his room.

***********

REALITY CHECK

Chapter I

“You should send him away, I can’t do someone’s duty”, said Nalumino raising her voice to her husband.

“Is that how you bring up children by an iron hand? queried Siloka to his wife.

Siloka had a previous marriage with a lady who bore him a son, Mubiyana. His son was taken care of by his mother until he grew up into a nice young boy. Siloka hadn’t been married for the past ten years, he stayed with his son, sometimes Mubiyana’s cousins would visit him and stay for a couple of days helping him and his father with chores.

Siloka had dated a young lady whom he promised to marry after she completed her education. Some of the village girls didn’t take their education further as long as they found a suitor who took care of them and bore the kids. They considered bearing kids for the husband is vital for a longer relationship.

Nalumino knew about Siloka’s previous marriage but didn’t care much to ask him about what transpired for them to separate, she wanted marriage and maybe she could be the one Siloka had been waiting for after such a long time he stayed without a wife.

Siloka often took Nalumino to his home and meet his son whom they created a good bond, probably the mother care which Mubiyana lacked would be restored with Nalumino and that remained to be seen. They always joked after finishing their meals.

Mubiyana was fond of setting snares to small animals in the nearest bush every weekend and on holidays and Nalumino loved bush meat which would-be-son brought. Sometimes he used to send her when she didn’t visit during that week.

“Oh good boy, you like your aunt”, said Nalumino’s mother receiving a scrub hare from Mubiyana.

“She likes bush meat more than village chicken I guess”, replied the boy smiling holding his empty trap.

“Who taught you how to put snares? asked Nalumino’s mother curiously.

“My father did, we used to go together in the bush and he showed me how to know where exactly to set snares”, replied the boy dangling the snare.

“He must be a good father, pay attention to his wise words, you’re doing a good job, today I will cook, Nalu has gone to the grinding mill”, replied Nalumino’s mother smiling her wizened face, though traces of youth beauty hadn’t been varnished entirely.

She didn’t know that her daughter was in love with Siloka since they hadn’t made it official even though he stayed close to her home, he warned Nalumino not to inform her maybe she might not like him with the fact that he had a son and she hadn’t.

Chapter II

A few months later, Siloka married Nalumino and they stayed in harmony while enjoying Mubiyana’s bush meat though his father advised him to take precautions because the jungle crawled with dangerous creatures.

“My vegetable portion at the garden is attacked by worms and caterpillars”, said Siloka forking out meat stuck in his teeth.

“You should buy chemicals from Ngombela’s drug store”, replied his wife churning pap in a pot.

“Father, I saw Mudumbu spraying his vegetables with ash water maybe it works”, added Mubiyana.

“Really, what else did he add? asked Nalumino.

“I think I will go and see him later in the day”, concluded Siloka.

Siloka made his fortune through vegetable farming. He managed to buy a flock of goats and two cows which bore him five more cows. He was a busy man in his field and he seldom dank beer no matter how his friends tried to lure him but he stood by his objectives.

“Come on Siloka, a day off from the garden won’t dry your bank,” said Neku sipping the bottle of wine he had brought.

“I have an appointment with Mudumbu today, my vegetables were attacked by worms, not today friends”, replied Siloka fixing his vegetable spray container.

“Well I can’t go against your wishes though we’re enjoying a great deal of green relish, that’s why I want to become a vegetarian”, added Pamba.

“Come off your canine teeth, I guess in a day you be yearning to eat a baby running around the compound”, joked his friend.

“Oh, goodness sake!! exclaimed Pamba, “It’s little by little just a tortoise step, wait for it”, he said gesturing the movement of a tortoise.

“Alright gentleman, just like I said, otherwise if I won’t treat my immediate problem there might be a lot of hoo-ha in my family”, said Siloka cleaning the lid of the spray.

“What is hoo-ha? asked Neku curiously.

“It’s what happens when you don’t bring food at the table to your wife and kids”, answered Siloka looking at Neku.

Neku knew too well what Siloka was implying as he was mostly at loggerhead with his wife for not providing enough while he drank himself to death.

“You meant my situation Siloka, I understand too well”, said Neku pulling his friend to leave.

“Don’t pull me, lift me like a good friend”, objected Pamba holding tight to a stool as if he was stuck to it.

Chapter III

Nalumino bore Siloka a baby boy, Mukila, Nalumino loved her son more than she did Mubiyana. Some favors were simply channeled to the Mukila. It was a rough start to Mubiyana who had hoped to have a brother who would give him the joy to teach and interact with happily.

As the boy grew up, mischievous always is a trademark of kids. He would break some things in the house and the blame went to Mubiyana who was accused of not keeping an eye on his brother even if he wasn’t home he would be scolded anyway.

His father always spent half of the day at the garden and he would be told of the issue sometimes not, Mubiyana would pay the price in silence. He wasn’t a hateful boy, he always warned his brother to stay clear of breakables which hurts.

“Mukila, you shouldn’t touch Mama’s cups and plates, they break easily right”, emphasized Mubiyana.

“Sometimes I become too hungry to wait for Mama to give me food” replied the ignorant sibling.

“Well if I am around call for me to help you”, said Mubiyana looking at him like a worried Captain after seeing his crewmen shiver in the middle of a storm.

Frankly, Mukila did it on purpose and blame it on his elder brother and that brought hatred among them and Nalumino would curse herself for taking care of someone’s child insisting Mubiyana look for his mother.

“What has come over your head? Are you still the same Nalumino who loved and cared for Mubiyana or you’ve grown into some ignorant parent? quaked Siloka with questions.

“Mubiyana has grown up, he should look for his mother, I have my son now with my husband”, replied Nalumino ignorantly but surely.

“Is Mubiyana not my son for you to chase him away, you don’t make decisions here woman!!! exclaimed Siloka tossing a cup against the wall

Mubiyana was behind the house eavesdropping on his parent’s conversation after he had gone to check the kraal when he heard the cup broke against the wall. That moment he knew his world was in trouble and he had to do something to convince her or he had to leave to find his mother or just go and stay with his grandmother.

That same day Mubiyana looked at his brother while they slept and knew the prince of the home would be taken care of and defended by his mother in all mischievous things he did would be blamed on him.

One day Mukila ate the scorns his mother had baked for breakfast while Mubiyana had gone to check his snares. Nalumino had gone to the borehole to fetch a few meters from her home. He left the bowl of scorns ajar and went to play with his friend who stayed in the next compound.

Mubiyana returned home with his kill and placed it in the kitchen before he skinned it. That very moment, Nalumino was on her way home and she could see everyone coming in and out the separate huts as the route was on a hillside. She saw Mubiyana coming out of the kitchen but she didn’t think of anything else until she proved whether he had done something wrong.

The innocent Mubiyana took his kill and skinned it by the kraal logs when the voice of his stepmother quaked in the kitchen. He thought she burnt herself trying to remove the pot he found on the fire stand. He ran towards the kitchen just to meet her pointing him with a bowl of scorns raging.

“Give back my scorns, how dare you to eat before being saved? quaked Nalumino angrily.

“I don’t understand what you are implying because I am just from the bush now”, replied Mubiyana confused.

“Talking to you is a waste of my time, I will tell your father and we will fix this”, said the lady of the house bugging into the smokey kitchen.

At night they talked about Mubiyana’s issue but his father was defensive of his son after he had taken care of him since his childhood he stole anything until he met Nalumino. Mukila was the sole problem in the home and his father figured and warned him for lying against his brother.

Another reputation-threatening scenario was when Nalumino falsely accused Mubiyana of trying to force her to bed while his father had gone to town to look for garden tools. He was made to confess in public by the village chief, his father too couldn’t listen to his son’s side of the story but stroke him with several lashes and told him never to touch his wife again. Nalumino aimed to get rid of Mubiyana and she succeeded.

Chapter IV

Mubiyana later went to stay with his grandmother after futile efforts to convince her stepmother couldn’t materialize. His grandmother was happy to stay with her grandson but equally unhappy for his son to be bullied by his wife and not standing firm for his son.

Years passed while Mubiyana stayed with his grandmother and he never set foot at his father’s compound. Mukila had grown into a young man and was not in good connection with his brother since his mother had molded him into a liar and that he was the legitimate son to his father’s will.

Mubiyana remained humble to his brother who didn’t care to visit with his father. Brothers are always brought together on different occasions or something which needed their signature or some sort. Mukila fell sick one day at school and was rushed to the nearest clinic in the village.

Mubiyana was informed of his brother’s admission at the clinic but he didn’t care to go because he vowed not to meet Nalumino who treat him like a foster child. His grandmother emphasized brotherly love but he retaliated bluntly.

“Nene, Mukila stays with his parents who didn’t need me at the time, why should I go? queried Mubiyana munching pumpkins.

“My grandson, whatever his mother did to you remains her bad-hearted, do not be drawn into hate because of someone’s actions”, cautioned his grandmother.

“I am fine here with you Nene, I think my senses are well functioning to remember what she did to me”, said Mubiyana vehemently.

Mubiyana couldn’t be convinced and chose to stay rather than visiting his brother at the clinic. Mukila was diagnosed with anemia so they needed someone from the family to donate his blood. His mother’s blood didn’t match her son’s but his father was a match but they couldn’t because he had been treated for BP the past few months so they couldn’t risk killing one to save another.

It was left to convince Mubiyana to help save his brother but he was adamant insisting they treated him like a fowl. His blood was a match but couldn’t be convinced to be loved again. His father and his wife paid him a visit to try and convince him to help his brother.

“Mother if that’s appropriate for me to call you after what you did to me, at first I saw you as a good person who would fill my mother’s shoes yet you were buying time to have a son and cast me out”, said Mubiyana with a heavy heart.

“That’s not how you say it, my grandson, you’re all my grandson s help him, don’t have a grudge it’s not good”, begged his grandmother.

“I will do for the sake of grandmother not any of you, and don’t ever come to me for any help, this is my first and last”, said Mubiyana walking away from his parents.

“This is all your burden, how do you bring kids into this world with such stone hearts, it’s his choice after such humiliation you did to him”, said the old lady in a concerned voice.

Mubiyana donated blood to his brother and Mukila thought it was time for him to apologize but Mubiyana hadn’t come for a reunion, he just wished him recovery. He left the clinic for his grandmother’s village and never returned to his father’s home.

***************

NANCY

“Samantha, am stuck, I need some funds for my sister’s fees and I don’t know where to dig from”, asked Thandiwe looking worriedly.

“Oh she took a career demanding course just like mine”, joked Samantha.

“My friend Siliya left last week to commence his engineering course, he had been helping me a lot, now I have to scramble from my salary”, replied Thandiwe.

“Oh my poor friend, I heard there is a certain lady who helps needy people, more like a social worker, she is good-hearted”, said Samantha smiling assuredly.

Samantha, a middle-aged lady with a beautifully built body, always wore a smile on her average light-skinned face. Samantha a nurse by profession, probably her smile came from her compassion for people hence she took nursing as her career job.

Samantha, a good friend to Nancy, a social worker she referred her friend Thandiwe to seek help. Nancy, the pillar of Evertonville County. Her compassion to serve and help people started when she came across an orphaned boy in the street foraging for food.

Nancy always knocked off earlier at work on weekends and she didn’t bother to hike commuters as she could walk home, her home was few meters from her working place. One day she saw a young boy half-dressed, only a pair of shorts with sandals. His feet were hardened by the rough dusty roads he walked looking for food.

“Hey boy, why do you have to eat from the bin?” asked a concerned Nancy.

“Is it not clear that a boy who eats from the bin doesn’t have a home?” replied the boy ignorantly.

“Here, come along let’s get some food and clothes for you”, said Nancy pointing the boy to a free market.

Nancy bought him some shoes and clothes to change after he had washed up. The two went to a portion of fast food to eat. While they were eating a certain man looked at Nancy and the boy curiously because of how she was dressed and the boy, and out of the gutter type. He reached for his pockets and forked some cash and gave it to Nancy to help the boy.

“Hey buddy, who should I call you?” asked Nancy after they had finished eating.

“Evans is my name, I don’t know exactly where I come from”, replied the boy, gulping the last drink in the bottle.

“It’s alright, you’ve got a family now, I have a spare room, you can use it, is it okay with you?” asked Nancy smiling.

“It is, thank you but look how messy I am in your beautiful home?” asked the boy lowering his gaze in shame.

“Come off it Evans, cheer up, let’s go home now”, said Nancy holding the shirtless boy by his arm.

Nancy gave him the time he needed to bathe and clean himself and feel at home while she prepared dinner.

Nancy took Evans to her friend, Samantha to check him and give him all vaccination against possible infections he got from bin foraging. Samantha was happy for her friend and vowed to help her take care of the boy if he ever got sick.

“You know Samie, I saved quite well in my account, I want to start a social workgroup, what do you think?” asked Nancy.

“Perfect, what are you waiting for madam Opera” joked Samantha and they all laughed.

So it was, Nancy began filling for the adoption papers for Evans and registered her social work. NANCY’S SOCIAL SOCIETY

Nancy was lucky enough in her endeavors, she got donations from well-wishers and her friends too. Siliya bought her a building where she could store food she bought and donated by well-wishers. With the help of Evans, Nancy found it easy to find streets kids who wandered the town in search of food.

The kids without parents have registered their birth certificates by the day she found them since some were not educated to know when they were born, let alone their parents were nowhere to be found. They chose the names they wanted to be and the registrar commissioner couldn’t veto because he had seen reason in Nancy’s cause.

She asked from a local school where those who wanted education to go back to school and start lessons and those who didn’t want to further their education, she gave them a piece of land for gardening and the most important thing she did was when they sold the produce the money would be theirs to spend on and that gave them the enthusiasm to work even more and the number of boys and girls swelled each day.

Samantha resigned from the clinic she was employed and joined Nancy, and that prompted the ministry of health to donate medication and other equipment after they learned of the social cause and on top that, they built a clinic at Nancy’s place where Samantha treated the kids who fell sick from the social home.

Most importantly, Nancy wasn’t limited in her line of help, she went door to door giving out food to the elderly people and that gave her a good reputation in the neighborhood.

******

TROUBLED HOME

Chapter I

“Stop touching my phone Hazel, what exactly are you looking for?” asked Jimmy with a soft voice.

“You’re are full of surprises, your phone always buzzes with text messages” replied Hazel trying to unlock her husband’s secret code.

“Those are workgroup text messages, why do you give a fuss about it?” replied Jimmy chuckling.

“I will catch you one day and I will fry that girl you’re hiding”, said Hazel tossing the phone on the bed.

Jimmy, a mechanic by trade was a well-known person in the neighborhood and distant customers as well. His line of services included prominent and rich women who learned of his reputation in his work.

Jimmy was clever when it concerned securing his phone secret and Hazel tried all she could but her efforts were fruitless. Many times she asked her daughter to unlock the phone but she didn’t know the password.

“Priscilla, do you know your father’s password?” asked her mother.

“No mom but I think it’s my birth year because one day he was asking me while he typed on his phone”, replied the daughter.

“Oh okay that’s good”, said Hazel with a smile.

“Do you want to play games too mom?” asked the innocent girl.

“Yes my princess, your father has a lot of good games but I can’t download them”, said Hazel lying to her daughter.

Hazel was gleefully after she found out about her husband’s password though it was yet to be tasted. It didn’t end well the last time Hazel touched her husband’s phone and it sent her to her mother’s place for a while.

One day, Jimmy left the phone unlocked and Hazel was quick to notice, she took the phone and browsed images but most of the pictures were work-related, while she was still checking on images, a WhatsApp text popped with images but she didn’t bother to check the images, the picture on the profile of the unsaved number was the one which caught her attention.

The number had a picture of a beautiful light-skinned lady smiling her milk white teeth. She was more attractive than her and that got Hazel angry. She smashed the phone on the wall and the screen cracked but still could type. Jimmy heard the smash and ran into the kitchen to see what was transpiring and behold his phone was on the floor with a cracked screen.

Hazel was sobbing when Jimmy confronted her about his cracked phone but she stood up like a private soldier who had been caught napping after the drill.

“What happened to my phone Hazel?” asked Jimmy holding his phone as if it was a pet rodent.

” Tell me who’s that girl who sent you images on your WhatsApp?” asked Hazel holding her waist and knocking her foot on the floor repeatedly.

“What images are you talking about and besides who gave you permission to use my phone?” quaked Jimmy checking her WhatsApp messages.

It happened that one of Jimmy’s colleagues had lost a phone and a sim card so he bought a new sim card, he was supposed to send the engine images a certain client had requested before his phone was stolen. Instead of uploading his picture on WhatsApp profile, he used his wife’s picture so that’s why Hazel was enraged yet she didn’t bother to check the images.

“Oh sweet Jesus Hazel, these images are of engines sent to me by Petros my colleague”, said Jimmy handing the phone to Hazel.

“No that’s a lie, she’s is your girlfriend”, insisted Hazel.

Jimmy phoned Petros and confirmed the whole scenario.

Chapter II

“Hazel I can’t take this anymore, tomorrow a summoning your uncle here”, said Jimmy holding his head with both hands like a captain who lost his crew members in a ship sink.

“Why do you have to call my uncle, I am sorry I didn’t check the images before I smashed the phone”, said Hazel lowering her eyes in remorse.

Jimmy had his idea to fix his wife and she couldn’t replace the phone or repair it because the money had to come from him so she had no choice but bargain with what her husband would decide.

The following week her Uncle came to Hazel’s house but he wasn’t informed about his nature of visit by Jimmy. The afternoon he arrived, Jimmy was at work so they met in the evening when he knocked off. Hazel took her chance to ask whether he had told him about the broken phone.

“You’re welcome uncle, how is everyone at home?” asked Hazel serving her Uncle a glass of juice.

“They’re all in good spirits, they sent their regards. Where is Priscilla?” asked her Uncle.

“She is still at school but she will be home any moment from now”, replied Hazel in a friendly manner though she was wondering when would her Uncle bombard her before her husband comes home.

“Hazel, do you have any idea why your husband summoned me here?” asked her uncle curiously.

“I have no idea Uncle, you know how you men have your dealings which sometimes doesn’t need women interference s”, replied Hazel cautiously.

“Oh you’re right my daughter, I sometimes forget I hide some of my stuff from your aunt and pretend it’s finished”, said her Uncle and they both laughed and joked about their family members.

Later in the evening, Jimmy knocked off from work and found Hazel’s Uncle’s home watching TV with his granddaughter. They exchanged greetings and joked for a few minutes. Hazel wasn’t all in cheerful of herself but she was careful not to sell out to her uncle.

“Uncle, I have something bothering me, I want your help”, said Jimmy looking at the old patriarchy village man smiling his brown snuff teeth.

“Go on my son, your problems are mine too, don’t be scared”, replied the old man oblivious of his son-in-law’s intentions.

“I quarreled with my wife for a silly mistake she committed but I didn’t want to take action before I informed you”, said Jimmy, tapping a little on his knee.

“Quarrelled? Hazel, what have you done to anger your husband? I asked you why your husband called me here for but you objected not knowing yet you’re the cause of all this ehm? Go on my son”, said the old man sitting comfortably on the sofa.

Jimmy narrated the whole scenario and thought it was wise to go with his niece so that he calmed himself. After all, his work had stopped functioning properly because he had lost contact with his clients and the phone was completely shut off. He had thought of beating her but his friends were against the idea.

“So Uncle you’ll go home with Hazel until I find money to replace my phone or if she has any means to fund me and buy my phone I’ll appreciate but she’ll do it at your place, not in my house”, said Jimmy in a hushed voice.

“Pardon my son, she’s your wife, can’t you forgive her, we all make mistakes”, apologized for the old man in a low worried voice.

“Jimmy, you can’t send me away, why do you have to punish me in this manner?” objected Hazel sobbing.

“Shut up!!! exclaimed the old man, “You’re the finger to all this and now you’re becoming a burden, I have my family to take care of responsibly”, retaliated the old man angrily.

Jimmy meant what he told them and so Hazel went with her uncle but her daughter who was still at school was a grown-up girl who could cook and take care of herself, remained with her father.

Chapter III

While Hazel was in the village, Jimmy had found himself a sweetheart he was taking out, he wouldn’t risk bringing her home, her daughter had grown up to know everything. He told her about the quarrel they had but could be back anytime.

He had bought a new phone and there was a way he saved the names of the people who were close to him but there was a particular name Bro Mechanic, it was his newly found girlfriend. He taught her to use mechanical names whenever she wanted to talk to him urgently.

Their love bloomed through discreetly because he couldn’t risk people knowing about his relationship. Hazel had been badly battered by village life, she has sworn to revenge her husband in the most hurtful manner though he was unpredictable.

Priscilla had become weary of house chores, she often asked her father about the return of her mother, he would promise her the next week which never ended until a month clocked.

” Father, please bring back mom, I am tired of cleaning this big house alone”, queried the little girl.

“I heard your pumpkin, I will send her money tomorrow but warn her never to break Papa’s phone or she’ll stay forever in the village”, said Jimmy hugging his daughter.

“Thank you father”, said Priscilla wiping tears of joy.

Hazel later came to her house and she apologized and promised not to tamper with his phone again though she was planning revenge inwardly. They reconciled amicably though there were eyebrow lifting after a series of buzzing messages which flooded Jimmy’s phone.

Jimmy secretly messaged his girlfriend with mechanical names which he taught her and mostly didn’t lock his phone and Hazel could’ve freedom browsing on his phone but nothing suspicious she found only mechanical texts messages from Bro Mechanic and others.

In the contact list, there were names which she didn’t ask but took her time to confirm whether those were girlfriends. The list was suspicious and it read Sweetie pie. Princess.Super Woman. My love and she thought to call them and get to understand how they were saved such in his phone.

One afternoon on a weekend, Jimmy had invited his friends for braai and beer at his house. Hazel prepared everything for the gentlemen who enjoyed themselves under a green shade. He told his girlfriend to mute his line on her phone because his wife was home so he had to leave the phone with his wife.

Hazel took advantage to pounce on her husband’s phone and called all the numbers and to her surprise, all the numbers were of people she knew.

Super Woman was the contact number of her mother. My Love was her husband’s mother’s contact number. Princess was her daughter’s phone he had bought her while she was in the village. Sweet pi was her contact number.

Hazel was gutted and disappointed by her miserable life but there was one number she didn’t call, Bro Mechanic and she tried calling it and something almost went wrong. Jimmy’s girlfriend had forgotten to put his number on mute so when Hazel called the phone before she could answer, one of Jimmy’s friend’s phones rang simultaneously and she cut the line and it happened the person at the other end of Jimmy’s friend was paging to the call cuts. She tossed the phone on the bed and gave up.

Since that day, Hazel never dared to ask for her husband’s phone or ask him about contact names saved in his phone. She let it be.

****************

FOR A FRIEND

Chapter I

“Please stop hurting my daughter”, wrestled Indigo pushing her husband away from Solanke.

“Stop pushing me, I will tan your skin too”, replied a beer stinking Gregory.

“What in God’s name did we wrong you Gregory?” asked Indigo shielding Solanke who was crying behind her.

“Just get out of my house, I don’t need you here”, said Gregory belching a stench of air from his mouth.

Gregory was a good man when he wasn’t drunk and could take his family out for drinks and fun. He wasn’t a street fighter, maybe he was scared to be humiliated by young boys in the streets but chose to harass his wife and daughter whenever he was drunk.

He just beat his daughter for no reason including his wife. The next morning he could apologize for his recklessness and blame beer for all his actions but if he gets drunk the same minute, the yelling and screams could begin in the house.

Solanke had bruises all over her body that prompted the school principal to summon her father and caution about the traumatic nature his daughter was subjected to. Her school concentration deteriorated drastically.

“Sir, we summoned you here because of Solanke’s traumatic behaviors here at school”, said the Principal, a bald head and short man with a mediocre torso of an athlete. He wore glasses lowered on the nose ridge, one would wonder whether he had an eye problem or there were meant for intimidation.

“Am sorry, I don’t know what happens to me when I get drunk”, replied a less concerned Gregory.

“Possibly you should stop drinking beer for the safety of your daughter”, said the Principal shuffling his books.

“You don’t get to choose what I want in my life and my family’s”, replied Gregory angrily.

“There is no point to raise your voice, you’ve failed to safeguard your family instead you’re the enemy of your home, Is that the life you chose, hurting people?” quaked the Principal, pointing him with a pen.

Gregory had nothing to voice after such a fearful retaliation from the Principal. He left the school an ashamed man and school kids looked at him with anger and sorry eyes over the ill-treatment of his daughter, their colleague.

Indigo had tried her best to reason with her husband and threatened to leave him if he continued with his behavior but the man couldn’t heed even from the last conversation he had with the Principal and that same day he ranted and quaked at his wife for undermining and reporting him to the Principal.

Indigo’s friend advised her to inform her in-laws about the ill-treatment of their son upon th miserable lives. Indigo eloped to Gregory after she got pregnant while at school. Ursula, Indigo’s friend thought it was possible to terminate their marriage which was a year old but Indigo couldn’t, she loved her beastly husband.

“Indigo, why don’t you leave him, get a divorce”, said Ursula, soothing her friend.

“He’s a beast my friend that I know but I can’t leave him, who will marry me with someone’s child?” replied a depressed Indigo.

“My friend, not all men are the same, some are good-hearted, they will take care of you and your daughter”, insisted her friend.

“I would rather seek foster homes for my daughter maybe after we have another child he will change”, said Indigo preparing a meal for Solanke, who was few minutes from knocking off at school.

Chapter II

Life wasn’t too pleasant for Indigo, after she eloped to Gregory her mother passed away before she could present the bride price so it was her uncles who presided over her matrimonial dowry. There were not helpful to her cause after she told them about her husband’s behavior and the serious damage he caused their daughter.

” Uncle I am asking whether you can bring to reason my husband, just look at how traumatic my daughter is”, said Indigo looking at her aunt.

“What exactly does he do, I am not up to date about the issue”, said one of the uncles who stayed a few villages away from his brothers.

Indigo coughed a little to clear her voice and sighed, “My husband is a good man if he’s sober, the demon rises from him whenever he’s drunk, he just pummels Solanke or me for no reason”, said Indigo hugging her daughter.

“Do you say he just beats you from nowhere without any reason?” objected her distant uncle.

“Uncle, here is my daughter, ask her if there was any way I offended him or unless if he found Solanke with young boys from school, even though how could she have the liver to do that with a terrible father”, said Indigo sobbing.

“It’s true uncle, father just beat us for no reason, one day mother was helping me with my school work when he stormed in our room and splashed us with beer saying we’re finishing his food”, said Solanke looking at her mother who was still sobbing a little.

“No man can’t change, just be good to him when he’s sober and tell him not to harass you but we will find time to come over to your place and talk to him okay”, said her Uncle in a less worried voice.

Indigo found herself and her daughter crushed between two rocks which could’ve been her salvation but became the antagonist of her miserable young life. Had she not listened to wit-minded Gregory, she would be working and enjoying her lonely life, or a young and handsome man would’ve married her and live in a good environment like her friend Ursula, all sorts of thoughts ringed her mind without help.

One afternoon on a weekend when Gregory was off from work, he was a driver at a water drilling company after exchanging shifts with his colleagues. Indigo and Solanke knew their day was saved by the dry pockets of Gregory, when he had no money, he spent the whole day home chatting with his neighbors.

After they had finished their lunch and were seated in the house watching wrestling, something happened which surprised Indigo and Solanke. The wrestlers punched each other mercilessly and Gregory was seen blinking his eyes in reaction to how the heavily muscled men knocked the blood out of each other’s mouths, as if it wasn’t enough one wrestler reached for a chair and knocked his opponent conscious and that moment Gregory cursed and skipped the channel on the remote.

Solanke was visibly worried, thought his father was angry and might turn to them in the anguish of the wrestling cameo. She gathered herself and confronted her father which surprised her mother.

“Father why did you change the channel?” asked Solanke boldly.

“Oh my daughter didn’t you see how miserable that guy fell after such a horrible bash by a chair”, replied Gregory oblivious of his daughter’s intentions.

“How did you feel when he was conscious?” asked the girl point blankly.

“Haaaa it’s nasty, I think I will stop watching wrestling from today”, replied Gregory, munching popcorns.

“I thought it is your favorite, how do you feel after you do that to me and mother?” asked the girl boldly.

“Solanke!!!! Stop it “, exclaimed her mother, after she sensed an air of hate from her husband.

“Get out, you stupid girl, let me hear you asking that stupid question again, I will throw you out of the window “, replied a visibly angry Gregory.

Indigo took Solanke into her room in a hurry and that day she slept with her daughter, scared of sleeping with her husband. She thought he would beat her for influencing their daughter to question his authority.

Chapter III

Not everyone in the neighborhood liked the sober-minded helper Gregory but his drunken side is what prompted people to hate and miscommunication him. Some of Solanke’s friends especially boys, were planning of panel beat his senses back when they found him drunk but they were too young to overpower him so they planned to mock him so that he had a grudge with them.

Maliko, Andike, and Lameck were good friends and Solanke’s classmates. They used to soothe her whenever she came to school wearing her usual long face after an evening smack or scold from her father.

“Solanke, has your father complained of pains may be fought with someone in the streets?” asked Andike during break time at school.

“No, I haven’t heard him complaining of picking a fight maybe they are afraid of his grumpy behavior”, said Solanke chewing a gum Lameck gave her.

“What would you do if someone beats your father?” added Maliko

“Oh goodness, I will buy that person a car when I get employed seriously”, said the girl in a high voice, and that’s what the boys wanted to hear from the girl.

In any case, no one could hate his or her parents but in Solanke’s situation, she wished every evil for her father who had turned her life into turmoil. The three boys knew two streets bullies who were always on community service after committing silly crimes in the neighborhood. They decided to donate their ration money to lure the rascals to beat Solanke’s father but not handicap him.

It was on a weekend when Solanke’s father had taken a leave and decide to spend most of his time in a shebeen and left later in the night cursing and grunting possibly that’s how he got himself angry to bully his wife and daughter. The three boys stalked him and found a dead spot where he could be dealt with. The road passed a line of pine trees planted along the road and at night it was dark to notice someone ten meters away but Gregory passed the road since he had no enemies yet.

Andike, Maliko, and Lameck went to a nightclub where they found Toro and Flenki wandering around probably waiting to mug people’s wallets. The boys called them aside and told them about their plan and the money they kept for them. Fortunately, the two rascals knew Gregory but not exactly where he stayed, they had no interest in him.

“There is something we want you to tell him while you kick him into his senses”, said Maliko and the boys nodded in unison.

“What is it you little imps, your money is not enough”, replied Flenki brandishing a knife.

“Please don’t stab him just beat him thoroughly and tell him this”, said Maliko and the boys looked at each other and said together.

“We normally see what you do to our sister and her daughter this is a warning we’re still coming for you, get this as a last warning”

And so it was. Toro and Flenki pocketed their money and dealt with Gregory mercilessly, they kicked and pummeled him while saying the words which the boys had requested. They bruised and stripped his trousers and left him to run home with a pair of shorts. He apologized and promised never to beat his wife again.

Upon reaching home he woke his wife and daughter who were scared to death after seeing his bruises and thought his anger would be unleashed on them, they huddled each other in one corner. He reached for them and hugged and apologized for being mean to them and told them two guys did that to him because they normally see him ill-treating them.

The next day, Solanke told the boys about what happened and she was surprised after they burst into laughter and told her, they could do anything for a friend.

HARD CHOICE

Chapter I

“You got yourself a good job Gabrielle, I am so proud of you”, said her father, sipping a cup of coffee.

“She took from you ,just look how that uniform suits her as if she was born a pilot”, replied her mother.

“I utilized your efforts,I am mostly grateful to you”, replied Gabrielle smiling.

The couple led a simple and quiet life, not a single day they fought since they got married. Fernando was a serene person who liked to converse with his neighbours and friends alike. Most young men in the neighbourhood asked for advice from and he would gladly help them in anyway he could.

Few years back after the birth of his daughter,he was diagnosed with varicocele and so he couldn’t be fertile to breed. He had a wish to have five kids but the disease crushed his wishes. Gabrielle was the only child he would have in his entire life and that gave him more desires to work hard and look after his daughter who would take over his estate.

He owned a fleet of buses and was a landlord of a number of shops in Greenhill Town. He was one of the richest people in the town but that did not bother him to seek medical attention to cure his infertility,he chose to invest more in his business to fend for his family.

Isabella, was born to a local grocery owner who wanted the best for his daughter but Isabella had a mind of her own. She mostly got into quarrel with her mother over her boyfriend, Raul, the cab driver. She fell in love with him before she met Fernando.

One weekend, Raul took Isabella to a fast food restaurant where he usually ate lunch during working days. While they were still paging through a menu list, a Mercedes Benz car packed outside the restaurant and a handsome young man stepped outside dressed casually and that couldn’t miss Isabella’s attention.

Raul wasn’t aware of the young man’s presence which caught Isabella’s attention. The man sat behind Raul facing Isabella. She tried to look around to see whether he came with a lady but the man looked comfortable eating the food he ordered while punching on his cellular cellphone.

Isabella was blushing her eyes to the young men across and he noticed too but kept on eating while he observed what the lady was doing. Raul later became suspicious of Isabella and turned to see what caught his girlfriend’s attention and behold a richest man in town at a public restaurant. Raul knew him because he used to drive clients to his business meetings.

“Afternoon sir”, greeted Raul smiling.

“Hello,oh Raul,I didn’t recognize you, how are you doing”, replied Fernando looking at Isabella.

“Am alrighty sir, I thought to take my fiancee out”, said Raul introducing Isabella.

“It’s alright, afternoon ma’am”, greeted Fernando in a low but assured voice.

“I am okay sir and you too”, replied the sweet voiced Isabella.

By that time ,thoughts brewed in Isabella’s mind of how to win the less interested young handsome man. With her boyfriend’s friendship, she could find it easier to get in touch with him.

Later after Fernando had gone, Raul told Isabella how he came to meet him and what business he runs and it happened, her father rents one of his shops. She was in poll position to win a most prominent man in town and leave Raul to the gutters of the town.

Chapter II

Isabella wouldn’t leave Raul yet ,she wanted to use him to get to Fernando because she couldn’t use his father’s communication in fear of being scolded by her father who regarded him with high esteem.

Fernando wasn’t aware of Isabella’s affection though he suspected when they met at the restaurant but ignored her as one of the town night ladies.

“Father, is your landlord , Fernando?” asked Isabella.

“Yes ,why do you ask?” asked her father curiously.

“I didn’t know until ,I met him at the res…. I mean saw him at the Mall”, said Isabella stammering.

“You went out with that grumpy cab driver, is that why you’re stammering?” asked her father in an angry voice to intimidate her.

Her father knew when she was lying and there was little she could do to cover up her trails. She tried with all her efforts to get to Fernando but he was a busy men unless on business appointments. She couldn’t quit Raul yet because he was the ladder to Fernando as long as people hire him to his business meetings but one day she overstepped her bounds.

“Hey Raul, you didn’t tell me Fernando is my father’s landlord”, said Isabella in a low tone as if she was accusing.

“You didn’t ask me, did you?” snapped Raul ignorantly and turned his head and looked at her and shook his head.

“What is the meaning of that Raul?” asked the Isabella.

“I saw how you were looking at him that day at the restaurant”, replied Raul.

Since that day Raul was certain to cling to her like glue,he wouldn’t want to lose her to someone. The best way to fend off people like Fernando was to get her pregnant and that would raise his chances of marrying her and so it was,he got her pregnant.

Chapter III

Few years later Fernando got married to Isabella and lived together in harmony. They grew their daughter Gabrielle in good health and took care of her abundantly. Isabella was still being bothered by Raul over the legal parentage of the daughter.

“How many times did I tell you to leave me alone Raul?” quaked Isabella in a low voice.

“Damn it Isabella,I can’t let someone raise my child,you know too well”, replied Raul , looking around in case someone was eavesdropped in the restaurant.

“Please am begging you, don’t do this to me,okay let’s come to an understanding, I will give you a thousand bucks a month and promise not to tell this to my husband”, replied a depressed Isabella.

“Oh sweet Lord, I am being paid a shut up salary for my daughter, well I won’t object, deal it is but if you miss a month I will come knocking on your door and that we didn’t settle for it”, replied a jubilant Raul.

Raul wouldn’t object because his work wasn’t productive enough to the money he was promised by his ex girlfriend. Gabrielle was well bonded by Fernando as her father yet he wasn’t, only her mother knew.

Gabrielle had finished her college and enrolled in the department of civil aviation which she passed and piloted commercial flights and she helped her father with flights on his business schedules.

Gabrielle didn’t find much time to chat with her mother at home, she had busy schedules and on top of that she was staying in her own apartment she bought from her savings. Only when she was off duty that’s when she visited her mother who was always home.

“How is the Captain doing in the skies?”, joked her mother.

“Haha am not yet a captain mum”, giggled Gabrielle spooning sugar in her coffee.

“Do you enjoy flights with your father?” asked her mother nervously.

“Oh he’s a busy man, always on phone with his customers sometimes I tend to forget that am flying my father”, said Gabrielle sipping her coffee.

“It’s safe for your father knowing he’s been flown by someone he trust”, said her mother , wrapping dish towels on the table.

Her mother was careful not to spill the beans about her biological father as long as Raul kept his end of bargain. He sometimes sneaked to watch her leave for work on her apartment and has never dared to confront her though it was inevitable to drive her to work as he was the most prominent cab driver in the neighbourhood.

One time Gabrielle was summoned on emergency at work after her colleague who was supposed to be on duty fell ill, she stood by the road and fortunate enough ,Raul was on the same road passing by to check on her and lucky fell on him to finally meet Gabrielle. While on the way he was smiling gleefully like a creamy milked dairy cow.

“What’s amusing sir?” asked Gabrielle after she observed how he was looking at her on the driver’s mirror.

“Well I am happy to say, I haven’t driven a pilot to work,it’s my first time,I hope I will be assisting on your emergencies”, replied a happy father who sneaked to see his daughter in shadows.

“It’s alright just give me your contact details”, replied a reluctant Gabrielle and that moment ,the cab had reached the airfield. Raul was delighted to have spoken with his daughter.

Chapter IV

Years went by while Gabrielle used Raul on her emergency schedules and Raul kept his bargain to his benefit. He was close to his daughter while being paid by his ex girlfriend to keep the secret of their daughter and more importantly, Raul didn’t know about Fernando sickness.

With Isabella and Raul ,the secret was solid but there was a loophole in Raul,his friend ,Diego a fellow cab driver whom he told about the child before he and his girlfriend decided to settle the secret. It was inevitable that friends of Diego knew about the biological father of Gabrielle.

“Diego there is a delicate thing about my daughter like I told you but swear to me before I tell you”, said Raul leaning on the steering wheel.

“You’ve my word buddy”, replied Diego after he realized he once told his friend Felipe but not in detail.

“I drove my daughter to work one day in an emergency but didn’t tell her who I was and there after she got my cab contact,so I always drive her at work but Isabella doesn’t know because she warned me to stay clear of her”, said Raul and sighed.

“That’s good news now you can chat with her maybe even tell her who you’re”, said Diego smiling at his friend’s good news.

“No no no Diego, that’s why I was warning you not to utter a word about this,I shouldn’t have told you”, said Raul honking his cab with bolted fists.

From that day ,Raul knew his secret with Diego wasn’t safe so he would frequently warned him to protect their friendship. Fernando was a busy person to know about the secret which his wife kept unless someone confronted him.

Felipe was driving on a road which goes to Gabrielle’s apartment and he nearly hit a fluffy dog which crossed the road but was quick to marshal his brakes. A lady ran down the road to see whether her dog was hit. Felipe just sat in the car waiting for the owner to apologize.

” You should be careful next time ,is it your first time using this road sir?” asked Gabrielle.

“Don’t mock me lady, do you think if I wasn’t careful, I would’ve let that fluffy thing of yours live?” asked Felipe bored.

“Well beat it before we report your recklessness to cops”, said Gabrielle and just before Felipe left, a lady across the road called for Gabrielle to ask about the dog and that moment Felipe remembered her and hell loosed on him.

“I thought I was talking to a sensible person it’s you bastard,go and look for your father”, said Felipe and drove away hurriedly.

Gabrielle was stung by Felipe’s remarks and couldn’t believe what she heard. She kept in mind to ask her parents.

Chapter IV

Fernando had thrown an end of month workers party and Gabrielle had asked for an off day at work to attend her father’s party. While the party was underway ,she took her mother away from the crowd and asked about what Felipe had told her about being a bastard.

“Mum there is something I want you to tell me”, said Gabrielle in low voice.

“What is it , Is it has to do with your work or your father?” rained a series of questions.

“How could someone call me bastard and I should go and look for my father?” questioned Gabrielle looking at her mother in the eyes.

At that moment Isabella didn’t know whether to lie ,hide or faint but she kept her cool and blushed off the remarks as false and people weren’t happy when she married Fernando because they wanted her too and possibly it was out of anger towards her. Gabrielle was grown up enough to know whether her mother was lying or not she could see in her eyes but she didn’t press hard but left it for another day.

The next morning Isabella went to town to confront Raul about what she heard from her daughter but Raul was quick to deny because he had no knowledge about it though he suspected Diego a loose canon who fired recklessly. They quarreled for a short time while Raul insisting it worked to his advantage and he would win the custody of the daughter through DNA test but Isabella wasn’t ready to lose her marriage with silly mistakes so he threatened to get him arrested for accepting bribe money.

Gabrielle was curious about her mother’s actions since the day she confronted about the bastard issue. One afternoon she made an appointment with her father and Fernando loved his daughter that he couldn’t miss anything his daughter had asked for. When they finished their snacks ,she told him about the encounter with the man who told her about being a bastard child. Fernando was struck dumb and fell unconscious from the restaurant chair. He was rushed to a nearest hospital where they put him on oxygen.

After a week on oxygen ,Fernando finally got up from unconsciousness, he could speak and eat well. His wife and daughter had been on his bed side for the past week and Isabella was nervous, she knew her world had turned around from her. He confronted her when they were free from other patients but she denied insisting Gabrielle was his daughter but that did not stop Fernando to seek DNA test and surprisingly enough Gabrielle wasn’t his daughter.

“Doctor how is this possible that she is not my daughter?” asked Fernando sobbing.

“Am sorry sir but our test shows your problem made you infertile from young age it was when you grew up that you discovered” , said the doctor apologizing to Fernando.

“Mother all these years you knew that he is not my father and you kept it yourself, who is my father then?” quaked Isabella.

“Am sorry my daughter but I was protecting you and I couldn’t tell Fernando because he needed an heir to his estate though your father is a cab driver who normally drive you to work”, said Isabella sobbing.

Fernando was all ears to his wife and Gabrielle arguing and he thought to end the conversation in the hospital before they went home.

“Gabrielle, since you were my daughter from the day you were born , I cared for you and invested in you and you did a great job, I wrote a will which allocated all the shops on rent in your ownership so you can have them and start your new life with your father, I am not mad at you and of course cannot stop a child to reunite with his biological father, it’s your choice”, ended Fernando.

Gabrielle was sobbed uncontrollable holding Fernando’s arm and stopped sobbing ,looked at him and said , “All my life I have known and seen you raise and care for me, what I am now it’s because of your love, I am going nowhere, you are my father but mother must go to her husband, she caused you this grief”, replied Gabrielle resting her head on Fernando’s lap.

Fernando was discharged from the hospital, he summoned Raul to come and settle the issue of his daughter with him. It was agreed Raul would go and visit his daughter anytime he wants and help her in anyway he could but Isabella would remain Fernando’s wife , he could not claim her.

———————————.

LEGION OF LIBERATORS

Chapter I

A long time ago, Kings clashed in fierce battles for dominion and it was the civilians and warriors who paid a heavy price to make sure the crown was defended.

Treachery was the most weapon used by the hierarchical rulers to subjugated others. King’s spies who sniffed matters of other kingdoms were rewarded handsomely by forms of gold, silver, or villas of their choosing but the armies which fought the wars remained unrewarded.

After years of turmoil and tenancy, the wars ended but there was a major problem that arose after the bloody episodes. The veteran army commanders hadn’t been rewarded with either land or silver pieces for their service and that brewed another serious bloody bath.

Moreover, as the war ended, new Kings were presiding over their Kingdoms and knew less of the war veterans and their reign was in imminent danger from the patriots who fought gallantly for their Kings to live a better life, with riches and harmony but it wasn’t fulfilled to their needs.

Seven battle-hardened warriors from the 10th Kings legion who had escaped the wars without injuries grouped and discussed the biased decisions of awarding spies and other Lords of the treasures of the kingdom while the fighters were left unrewarded. The meeting was held at a brothel where the King’s spies couldn’t put foot.

“Gentleman, I had a long thinking over the last few years”, said Bazuka, the retired army commander, with scars of battles still visible on his face, he continued, “What reward did we get from fighting for our land?” he asked, and kept quiet waiting for answers from his comrades.

“You have a point there, as, for me, a shield and sword is the only trophy I got from the fierce wars”, replied Gango, brandishing his sword in dim night.

“I have an idea and I don’t know whether you will like it or not”, said Bazuka, staring around his comrades who were eager to hear the plan.

“Go on, we’re are all with you, if it’s beneficiary, count me in”, said Grampu and the others nodded in unison style.

A moment of silence fell for a short while among the gentlemen except for the noise from the grumbling drinkers dancing to sounds of flutes and tambourines. No one in the brothel recognized the battle-hardened veterans as they disguised themselves with clothes of lower-class citizens.

Bazuka coughed a little and continued, “We will go and raid all the slaves’ plantations, free the people and get gold and silver we will find from the masters”, he said.

“Before you go further about the plan, can someone suggest the name of our group”, jumped in Gradi?

“We will use our former legion name 10th King’s legion“, said Gango with a low tone.

“Let’s find another name different from our past, we want to show the people that we fought for them and we can liberate them in any circumstances.

Legions of liberators”, replied Grampu with enthusiasm

The group nodded altogether to Grampu’s suggestion and so it was. The veterans warned against revealing their secrets and they chose to wear black battle armor and covered their heads from recognition.

Chapter II

The privileged Lords recruited more slaves with the wealth they amassed from the services. Some of them became polygamous, married young girls from the slave singles mothers taking advantage of their inferiority to defend themselves. They had made a reputation for themselves as long as they paid taxes to the jurisdictional King.

Fighting pits had been built where they bought strong men and mold them into gladiators and that brought them enough revenue to purchase more slaves to work in their gold mines.

However, there were series of gold smuggling by slaves to exchange for food rations from the free citizens but it wasn’t enough to last for days due to the extensive work which demanded more ration. Some of the slaves were either killed or robbed of their gold without payment.

“Please give me some little food I promise to give you enough gold pieces tomorrow”, begged a slave from a rich citizen.

“Off with you, ain’t giving you today, where did you take the grains that I gave you yesterday?” asked a bald merchant.

“My wife will die please just a little”, bagged a frail-looking man but the bald didn’t pay attention to his pleas.

Grampu had been sent to the market square to see how slaves were treated and gather all information about the guarding duties of the Royal Guards at the market. He witnessed the frail man being denied payment with the hard-earned gold pieces he smuggled to exchange for grains. As if it wasn’t enough, he passed by two blocks where women were selling jewelry, and what he saw prompted him back to his colleagues to quicken the day of their mission.

While he was seated on an abandoned cart camouflaging himself and drinking wine from a horn, two merchants and a royal guard were counting silver pieces in exchange for two young sisters who were selling jewelry, he sneaked closer to eavesdrop on their conversation. He disguised himself as if he was drunk and staggered towards the trading men and fell a meter away and the royal guard kicked him on his ribs cursing but he just groaned like a sick pig.

The merchants were arguing with the royal guard of too much charge on the girls.

“This is too much for those little girls”, said the one with a horned mustache dressed in an Arabic gown.

“Twenty silver pieces for two girls is not enough, I want hundred silver pieces if you cannot I will throw you in dungeons”, said the guard pointing them with a shiny sword.

“Alright then we will pay a hundred for those two but when we come next day, find us twenty of them, they make good concubines for our masters in the north”, said the other merchant with a scar on his forehead, possibly got injured in the same unscrupulous trades.

Grampu stayed put on the damp ground while the gentlemen finished their trade and got the girls and left to the northern lands. To the north of Vakkers kingdom were rich gold mines and that’s where Bazuka and his comrades fought battles and won but they got no reward from their services. Every warrior who fought dreamt of owning fertile lands to the north but it didn’t materialize as some died during the battle and the King got all the concession rights and gave the Lords and Advisors to mine and pay taxes of gold each year. The north was heavily guarded and it needed an army to penetrate the fortress.

That was a heavy blow to Bazuka and his handful of comrades so they decided to go to weaker mines and free them and join them into one army. They had to free mostly gladiators who were well trained and experienced. And so it was put in place, the west was the first to be attacked and freed.

Chapter III

Bazuka and his comrades went north to attack and free slaves, they would have started by their kingdom, Vakkers but they didn’t want to alarm anyone least their endeavors would fail. The best way to get full information about the security of the fortress was to mingle with the crowd in the brothels.

They wore their armor clothes underneath long robes which they had stolen from merchants they attacked their way to the north and took the merchandise to pretend as if they were traders. They arrived late in the evening when all the slaves and whip bearers had knocked off to quench their miseries in wine.

They sat separately to avoid suspicion and pretended to be tired, some begged for wine promising to pay tomorrow at the mine and it worked perfectly, the mine slaves uttered every detail about the stronghold and the weakest point at the mine. Surely the weakest point of the mine was the river that ran along with the mine and the whip bearers didn’t mind manning it because they knew the slaves were too weak to swim across to the other side.

Bazuka and his comrades slept at the brothel but woke up earlier to go and scout the escape route by the river. Gango and Grampu swam across the river to further check the terrain and it was satisfying, there were many routes to follow and disappear from the whip bearers who guarded the mines with a handful of cavalrymen.

They decided to infiltrate among slaves so that they could pick strong men and inform them of an imminent escape. The only challenge they had was the gladiators who met with the rest of the slaves during lunchtime and if they missed the chance to convince them, they would stay longer in the mines and that outcome wasn’t planned.

The men worked with the rest of the slaves and managed to convince a few able-bodied young men who eagerly dreamt of that opportunity and finally it fell on their heels. During lunchtime, guards would house themselves in an incomplete building keeping an eye for the runners but not what the slaves were discussing.

Bazuka and one young man sat with the hardened and angry-faced gladiators and introduced himself with their former regiment name, luckily some few from the gladiators remembered them and that made the task easy.

Lunchtime was the best time to escape since every slave would have eaten but gladiators wouldn’t want to escape before they kill the whip bearers as they promised them in the training pits. They made a plan to act as if they were fighting and that would attract the guards who fancied watching slaves fighting each other. Grampu didn’t wait to decide who would fight as they were running out of time.

He hit Gango on the head with a can of soup and the two wrestled, the guards came running to watch the fight. They ordered the fight to stop and ordered everyone to make a circle to accommodate the two fighters and the guards stood inside, better for the fighters, oblivious of the manslaughter imminently pending on their lives. One guard looked at Bazuka curiously but one of the gladiators thought if he was discovered the plan would fail so he struck the guard on the horse with a shovel and all hell broke loose and all the guards were killed and slaves were freed.

The masters were spared to send word to other mines to free slaves or suffer the same fate. They confiscated every treasure in gold, silver, and other jewelry they could put their hands on. Horses and carts were taken to carry the loot. Phase one of the mission was completed without much difficulty.

Chapter IV

The army grew more and more as they attacked slaves mines and adding more strong men to the legion. The gold and silver they confiscated were shared amongst themselves and the corn and grains they recovered were given to the freed slaves to start their life anew because some of them were traded from kingdom to kingdom and by so they lost their homes and family members.

Some of the legions had an idea of conquering the slaves’ mines and make them into a new kingdom since they boasted a vast number of strong gladiators and veteran warriors but the problem was who would lead them and that leader won’t later turn against them and make them slaves too. The notion to make a new Kingdom was ruled off and so the conquering went further to all corners of the earth prompting Kings who had lost revenue through the rampage to decide to ally and drive the legions who had looted a lot of gold and silver.

The legion got wind of the motion to be attacked by the four kingdoms from the grateful people who were freed from slavery. They recruited more young men. Waiting to be attacked would have cost the legion a lot of casualties so they decided to attack first and break them into a panic. It was a bloody bath to mine masters who refused to capitulate to the needs of the legion but the free folks were unharmed and asked to join and end the slavery.

After a long struggle with the legion which had dominated the Kingdoms and some weaker Kings had abdicated their thrones in fear of death but the legions had no interest in Thrones, they were against slavery and ill-treatment to fellow citizens. Later the Kings yielded to abolish slavery and promised to look into the needs of citizens. Bazuka and his close comrades settled to the north but some chose to return to their homes and find their families.

*********

JOJO

Chapter I

“Jojo, you can’t just be bullying people around, one day it will land you in trouble”, warned his mother.

“They should learn to defend themselves”, injected his father, rolling a cigarette.

“It’s all your fault”, replied Jojo’s mother.

“Well, I don’t have to tell you how humiliated I was after you belittled me with your friends that time”, added Jojo’s father.

“That was then, do you still have a grudge over that incident?” asked his wife.

“That’s the reason why I want to train my son against such people, one day he will redeem my name”, added Mangubo.

Mangubo, grew up a weakling and everyone could bully him during his boyhood. Girls picked him easily, he had a slim body to challenge so he would hide from being bullied.

One time, while he was with friends at the river plunging in the river pool, a group of girls went down the river to a bathe where he and his friends were having a great sunny day in the pool. As the girls neared the river, Mangubo wasn’t aware as he plunged completely naked in the pool, as boys do in remote villages.

“Hey there, you’ve had your chance, now get out we have ours too”, inquired the eldest girl, Lulu.

“Give us a minute, Mangubo is still in the pool”, replied Bandera, shoving his limbs into his pair of tattered shorts.

“Oh come off it, I thought you meant someone special, we ain’t scared of Mangubo the weakling”, replied Lulu and the girls ran down the river.

Mangubo was still in the water when the girls stormed the river. The girls stood where Mangubo had put his clothes so it was difficult for him to swim out. He asked Nzembe to hand him his clothes when Lulu interfered.

“How are you going to wear your clothes in the water?” asked Lulu laughing boisterously.

“Please hand me my clothes”, said Mangubo cubbing his male appendage from public humiliation.

“Come out, we’re more interested in seeing whether your weakness is stretched far more to your ankles”, said Lulu, and the girls laughed.

“Lulu, what’s the meaning of this?” asked Nzembe, bored by the actions of Lulu.

“I mean it, I want to see whether he can man up against a lady”, responded Lulu belligerently.

Mangubo had nothing to be scared of, he had all surprises to show Lulu and her friends. The girls gaped at Mangubo’s manly size than what they expected. Nzembe was quick to shame them out but to Mangubo it humiliated him.

“Is that all you wanted Lulu?” inquired Nzembe, folding his shirt.

“Now let’s see what you have, it’s always a tit for tat”, injected Vuka, who had been quiet, maybe he waited for that particular moment.

“We will report you to elders that you were watching us bathing”, replied another girl.

“You just stormed on us with purpose, why can’t we report you too”, replied Vuka.

The boys argued for a long while the girls insisted they should leave but Vuka was so vehement insisting they should equal what the girls did to them.

“I will scream louder and tell the elders, you were forcing on us”, said Mangarita, the youngest of girls.

“Come on beautiful, after what you have done to me, I am with Vuka’s idea”, said Mangubo after a lengthy silence.

“Mangarita, he just called you beautiful, how is that so?” asked Lulu and the girls stared at her and broke into a lengthy laugh.

“Maybe she liked what she saw, who wouldn’t want such a blessing in future”, joked Nzembe looking at Mangarita.

Mangarita was later married to Mangubo and had a son Jojo, who would vindicate his father’s name.

Chapter II

Mangubo was always insistent on his son to be tough and not bullied by people anyhow like he was during his boyhood time. One day he paid a visit to a local herbalist to ask for herbs to make his son strong and feared by people and that way, he would protect his father.

“Ouch!! the deep father, by the way, what is this for?” asked Jojo wrinkling his face to the pain of the powdered herbs digging sharply into his skin.

“Don’t worry my son, you’ll thank me later”, said his father cutting his arms with a sharp razor.

“This is like hunting a black dog in the middle of the night”, quizzed Jojo.

“Only what you find in the morning will judge how good your hunting skills are”, replied his father ignorantly.

One afternoon Mangubo was on a village drinking spree when Vidigo, a close friend mocked him about the incident he hated the most, the one he was bullied by Lulu who happened to be his wife. He did deliberately shame himself for his friends.

“Vidigo, you must be ashamed of yourself, is it because you are married to a bully?” asked Nzembe, looking at him as an angry bulldog.

“I thought we are just joking by our past”, said Vidigo handing the calabash to Vuka, who showed no interest in the story.

“Vidigo you are such a useless billy goat you know that’, said Mangubo folding his long-sleeved shirt gesturing a fist to Vidigo.

‘Oh no Mangubo there is no point in fighting, I guess he didn’t mean it’, said Pengu.

‘Let them fight maybe they shared women before, it has been a while since I watched a fight’, said Ngombela laughing.

Mangubo didn’t wait to be held back, he jumped the circle of calabashes placed in the middle and fell on Vidigo with clenched fists falling him down from his stool. He pummeled him hard on his nose until he bled. The gentlemen rolled each other on the muddy ground after previous rains had left pools of muddy at Chindere’s shebeen. Nzembe and other men tried to pull them off each other’s grasp but Mangubo was determined to stamp his signature that he wasn’t a weakling anymore.

‘Come on Mangubo let him go, it’s enough of this fight’, said Nzembe struggling to pull his friend off.

‘Nooo leave me, let me deal with him!!! exclaimed Mangubo sobbing with blood-painted teeth.

Vidigo groaned like a pig covering his face from the fists raining rapidly. The fight went on while the determined men clawed and pummeled each other and the peacemakers alike. It didn’t matter to them where the fist landed as long as they had hit on someone and that later caused a commotion and everyone became to fight resulting in injuries to the weaker ones.

Chapter III

Jojo was raged by the looks of his father after he came home bruised and lost front teeth. He vowed to deal with everyone responsible for his father’s loss of teeth. Mangarita warned his son not to go too far with bullying people because of his father’s carelessness.

‘Father how could you be bullied to the extent of losing your front teeth?” asked Jojo chuckling as if he was mocking him.

‘Stop laughing and defend your father, what will your friend look at you at the market square’, replied his father choosing words to pronounce due to his upper lip which was swollen.

That got Jojo angry after realizing how villagers mocked someone who had a family member bullied. The Mweke villagers were proud people and could not take defeat lightly and that Jojo knew too well. He promised to find Vidigo and those who were responsible for his father’s humiliation. While Mangubo received water therapy from his wife, Nzembe came to check on him after he brought him home the previous night and they were all drunk so they could not see each other’s injuries. Nzembe sustained a small bite on his arm by Vidigo’s canine teeth.

‘Oh good Lord Mangubo, I thought you were dominating the fight, how could you not block your face?’ said Nzembe looking worriedly at his friend.

‘Spare us the drama, who could block his face?’ asked Mangarita wringing a warm towel.

‘Shut up and attend to me, if only you were there, you would’ve seen how I pinned him down ‘, gestured Mangubo trying to bite his lower lip but it pained.

‘We have to go and see Vidigo, he can’t behave in such a manner, said Nzembe snapping his knuckles.

‘There is no need, I have my vindicator, he will deal with my enemies’, said Mangubo checking his lip in the mirror.

‘Stop riddling me, what do you mean?’ asked Nzembe curiously.

‘He just wants to get my son in trouble’, replied Mangarita in the kitchen.

Jojo had long gone to the market square where he wanted to know more about the people who beat his father and fortunate enough, stories of previous fights were spread fast among villagers. Five people were responsible for his father’s injuries.

Sinzala, a short talkative man was the first to be dealt a blow by Jojo, he always spent his days at the river fishing if he hadn’t gone drinking at the village. Jojo went down the river and fortunate enough he found Sinzala fishing, he was limping on his left leg maybe they had meant to break his short legs in the brawl. Jojo didn’t ask any questions but landed blows onto Sinzala warning him to stay away from his father. The short man wasn’t to be bullied while he watched liked a boy and tried to fight back but Jojo was too strong for him, he tossed him in the river and left to swim out and continued on his hunt.

Pengu was the next victim, He was a quiet old man but was violent when provoked and always used a catapult against his enemies, Mangubo was lucky he hadn’t carried the catapult the day they fought. Jojo respected his age and promised himself not to beat him but warned him to stay away from his father but the man catapulted him when he has left the compound. Jojo returned and slapped the old man falling him from a stool he sat on and blood spewed from his mouth, Tamuka, the old man’s son charged Jojo to rescue his father but met a fierce blow which sent him flying to the hedges and fell consciously to be awakened by his father a few minutes later after Jojo had left.

Chapter IV

Jojo went about on his rampage and the village had caught wind of Jojo’s payback to those who wronged his father and prayed their God not to have participated in the fight because the young man was violent. His third victim was Ngombela, a village drunkard and his turn was rough because he tended to insult people whenever he was drunk. Jojo went down the riverside where someone had seen him preparing a mokoro boat to go fishing, Jojo ran down to find him before he left, and luckily, he found him arguing with boys over a rowing stick.

‘Hey leave the boys be, if you are a man enough, come on let’s make it quick, said Jojo confronting him.

‘Boy you came at a good time, I heard your vendetta over your father’s assailants’, said Ngombela swinging the rowing stick to Jojo.

Jojo hit him hard on his cheek forcing him against the wooden boat. Ngombela could not hold his footing well and fell in the water and came out with a stone and threw at Jojo and missed but hit a bucket of fish for the boys he had been arguing with. The boys were about to join the fight but Jojo stopped them, Ngombela became weak to retaliate and so Jojo told him to apologize to the boys but he refused.

‘Never in my life will I apologize to these rascals’, said Ngombela arrogantly though bleeding in his nose.

‘We told you, this monitor lizard can’t yield let us deal with him, said the older from the boys.

‘I swear to castrate you for calling me a monitor lizard’, said Ngombela trying to struggle free from Jojo’s grip.

The boys threw themselves at Ngombela and Jojo had nothing he could do and left them to fry him the way they pleased.

He wanted to deal with Vidigo alone but he was fortunate to find him with the other victim, Taro, when they saw Jojo heading the way they stood ground and approached trying to intimidate him but he was determined to fight anyone. The fight broke out and the two gentlemen were tried their best to pin him to the ground but each time they tried to come close he was sure to hit hard on their necks and left them staggering that none of them could touch him. He knew that falling would cost him either his teeth like his father or get himself beaten mercilessly.

The fight went on for a long time while Jojo got the better of the two men. The villagers got the wind of the fight and went running to watch the fight but Jojo told them not to interfere in the fight so there was nothing they could do but watch. Nzembe and Jojo’s father were called to break out the fight between his son and the two men. Upon reaching, Mangubo and Nzembe joined the fight and beat the two gentlemen until they yielded and apologized to Mangubo and the fight ended. Vidigo and his partners in crime were told to fund Mangubo’s artificial teeth and his son Jojo was cautioned for taking matters into his own hands by the village Chief.

LAST LAUGH

Part One

Onset

“How could his Royal King live in closed cottages while the army guards outside?” asked Sofia curiously.

“You’re lucky to be born after the plague has gone thousand years”, replied her mother in a low voice.

“What plague papa that nobody has ever spoken of?” inquired Sofia insistently.

“There was once a deadly airborne disease which failed the prominent King’s doctors to find cure, people died in numbers that’s when they decided to build a closed palace to limit the number of people around the King”, said Dobo, Sofia’s father plucking nuts in a bowl.

“Papa, you’re are a well-known herbalist,how couldn’t you find the cure?” asked Sofia.

“I was still a young man before I met your mother and the present King was still a baby,that was why they had to cordon the palace to protect the prince ,born a month before the plague,and he was lucky to escape the disease”, replied her father.

Dobo was a well-known herbalist in the kingdom,he was taught by his father after the plague which claimed a lot of lives. He had no choice since he was the only son born among six girls of which four were claimed by the disease. He later loved his work because it helped a lot of people in the kingdom yet he wasn’t fit to treat the hierarchy apart from his servants only by approval.

Sofia had a good heart just like her father,she liked helping people especially old aged women to fetch water and do some choirs for them,her father approved it. She developed a keen interest to learn her father’s work and help people.

Dobo and his wife were grouped among the poor and such people were not allowed to enter the palace or rather they had nothing of importance to be in the palace. Sofia grew up in good health and had known all the herbs her father taught her and the use too.

One time,a distant man had lost taste in his tongue,all the food he ate was tasteless but kept on eating for survival. He tried different medicines and herbs in his kingdom but none helped,so he was told of Dobo’s herbs which healed a lot of people.

“I’ve heard satisfactory news about your work,I hope to be helped too”, said the man drinking a cup of water, possibly the only tasty liquid in his mouth.

” I try my level best to my customers,and it depends how severe the problem is”, replied Dobo, mixing some herbs in bowels.

” I lost my taste almost a month and have tried local herbalist to find me cure,none could help me”, said the man staring at the shelves full of roots in bowels and liquid herbs in different colors stored in bottles.

“That is not a problem,I will let my daughter attend to you,she knows the cure”, replied Dobo smiling as if he had heard good news.

“Can’t you do that to me please,she might forget something”, inquired the man with a worried face.

“Just have faith,she will do it for you”, said Dobo, standing up from his mat.

Sofia ran to her uncle’s place who reared bees in large containers perched in trees. She got two bees bottled them up and returned home. She stung him with two bees and told him to wait for few minutes while she prepared some herbs to drink. After a while she removed the bee sting and gave the man herbs to chew and drink to ease the pain.

The man stayed for three days in Dobo’s home to observe the healing as prescribed by Sofia.The two days after he was attended nothing really changed, he was just eating food so as to survive the next day and hoped everything would be well. The dawn of the third day,while he was sleeping,he felt a little bitterness in his mouth ,he moved his jaws sideways and felt something stuck in his teeth. He forked it out with his finger,and that moment he knew his taste had been restored, the man jumped from the bed in celebration.

“Morning to you all”, greeted the man smiling his big brown teeth.

“Is everything okay,you woke up a different man than yesterday night?” asked Dobo washing his face knowing perfectly that his taste had been restored.

“Your daughter waked magic to my taste,I have the taste back”, said the man smiling uncontrollable.

“It’s so good to hear,you kept your hope high”, replied Dobo.

“I can’t be more grateful than the great gift your daughter has,in the next market day,I will pay her two nanny goats and seven fowls to rear for her efforts”, said the man dusting his back preparing to go after a successful treatment.

Later ,Sofia got her payment in full with an add-on,a billy goat to breed with the nanny goats.

Part Two

Dislike

Dobo and his daughter were successful in their endeavors but were not everyone’s jewel even though they cured their sickness.Sofia’s friend, Hilda ,her mother was a palace servant and so they could share jewelry and other materials which her mother had collected from the palace store house. Hilda’s mother liked her too.

The King had a daughter, princess Thelma, an egoistic girl who bragged of the palace riches. Living in a good and healthy environment boasted her egoistic superiority among middle class and lower class people like Hilda and Sofia respectively.

Most importantly, the King had personal doctors who attended to his pains. Every medicine was vetted and verified by the King’s supervisor and whether it was used successfully in healing. Complications of medicine were deemed an act of treason, trying to poison the hierarchy so the people in charge of the King’s health took strict precautionary measures before applied.

One day the princess visited Hilda’s mother at her compound with her maidens. She knew Hilda personally because her mum used to summon her at the palace for some errands in the kitchen where she worked. Thelma didn’t like Sofia not because she’s wasn’t beautiful but the code of dressing was of a poor girl though her prowess were even better than the dress she was wearing.

“Hilda,who is she, can’t she go out,I came to visit you alone?” said the Princess , looking at Sofia blinking her long eye lashes from her head to toe.

“She is a good friend of mine, daughter of Dobo”, replied Hilda squeezing her hands together in respect of the princess.

“I came for you Hilda, can’t I spend a little time with you and sing songs together?” inquired the princess insistently.

“It’s okay Hilda ,I will come and visit you next time”, said Sofia , leaving the room.

That same day the princess visited Hilda she caught a fever, the King was furious at the maidens who accompanied her outside the palace. They nearly got relieved off their duties but the Queen pleaded for them because they couldn’t disobey their princess’s request.

The doctors were called to attend to the princess who burnt with high fever, they gave her water therapy and other medicine to ease the pain but she wasn’t getting any better. Hilda’s mother suggested they call Sofia’s father but the princess declined blaming Sofia to have contracted her the fever.

“How could you possibly say that Thelma?” inquired the King.

” I found her at Hilda’s place she looked sick so we had to send her away, you should not allow her family here father I don’t want to see her anymore”, said Thelma sobbing.

Hilda and her mother were later summoned by the King to be assessed by the doctors and asked whether any of them previously had fever before the princess visited or whether Sofia had symptoms of fever but they didn’t realize, nothing proved the three of them were sick.

The princess had gone to town square the previous day where she had gone for shopping and that’s when she caught the fever but the symptoms hadn’t shown until the day she visited Hilda that’s when she got sick. The doctor hadn’t checked her after she returned from town.

Palace guards were sent to warn Dobo and his daughter not to go closer to the palace or visit any palace servant and failure to comply he would be punished or banished from the Kingdom. It was hard for Dobo because the palace servants respected and regarded his medicine most powerful than the palace doctor’s medication so he had to treat them privately.

Sofia was a fruit gatherer and she used some of the fruits to heal her patients, it became hard to be separated from her childhood friend Hilda because of the Princess’s wishes. She sent her regards and fruits to those trustworthy to give Hilda without being seen by anyone

Part Three

The Tragedy

One morning Dobo went out to look for his medicine in the bush, he went further into the jungle and he had seen a lot of herbs he needed. The goodness of Dobo,was he always carried a lot of plastics ,a small journal book for his medicine and whenever he found the medicine,he would put it in a separate plastic with a note of prescription so that her daughter would know how to use if he wasn’t around to treat people.

While in the jungle ,he went round a thicket bush where he had seen some trees with leaves he used to cure flu and fever. After he plucked and documented the prescription, to the left of the thicket was a lioness with two day old cubs, had seen him wondering closer to the den. The big cat didn’t wait for him to move away peacefully since he had his back at the den,it pounced on him and broke his neck and dragged him away from the den afraid of inviting scavengers near the den.

After Dobo’s absence the King sent people to look for him in the bush,maybe he had lost his way or trapped by the poachers snares. They couldn’t find his body only his medicine bag with torn pieces of clothes so they took home to his family to bury the remains. Sofia was heart broken to lose a father who cared and taught her beneficiary lessons of life. She remained strong and promised to honour her father by advancing the herbal business he left her.

Few months later unknown flu struck the Kingdom and the ones who suffered most were the people outside the palace. The flu didn’t claim deaths but people had burning fever and coughing severely and some coughed as if they wanted to pull out the trachea.

The King sent his doctors to attend to people, doctors treated patients and some of the doctors took samples of blood to find cure to the flu. The number of patients grew each day, the medicine seemed to have little effect and mostly worrying was the amount of allergies caused by the pills, people were used to Dobo’s herbal medicines. The houses were disinfected with sprays and the doctors who were attending to the people would not enter the palace in fear of contracting the hierarchy so they camped outside.

Sofia gathered all the herbs which her father had left and arranged them as according to the use. She disinfected her compound and the huts ,every shelter on the compound with leaves smoked in a tin. The flu was airborne so it was necessary to use smoke to dilute the air. The doctor’s disinfection were less effective because people went back to their huts coughing and sneezing again.

People began to quit the pills and syringe they were given by the doctors and opted to use indegenious medicine and so they went for Sofia’s smoking disinfection. She engulfed them in a blanket placed a tin with smoke for few minutes until they sweat out. After that she would go to their compounds and smoke all the huts and everywhere. People got healed.

A word was sent to the King’s council to try and use the young girl’s method and disinfect the people’s homes but the King wasn’t pleased and thought it won’t be long lasting than the cure of medicine. The debate went on for several hours and he later agreed though not to be used in the Palace.

The industrious girl with the help of her mother and other people who had been healed disinfected the compounds and every hut. The doctors too underwent the procedure so that they wouldn’t infect the King and his servants in the palace.

Part Four

Temptation

“Father what do you leave that girl to embarrass you in your Kingdom?” asked the princess at dinner table.

“What do you mean Thelma?” asked her mother ,the Queen.

“You approved her use of herbs on your people instead of certified drugs”, said the Princess forking down her meal.

” That’s not the case Princess, there is a time when you’ve to put people ahead of personal pride”, said the King leaning on his chair and continued, ” Did that girl had fever last time you got sick?” asked the King staring at her.

“Why can’t she father , a person who always stays in a dirty surrounding, it doesn’t matter if she hadn’t,I just don’t like her”, replied the ignorant princess.

“So it was a matter of hate not because she’s a herbalist, learn to respect your subjects, she saved a kingdom from dying”, intercepted the Queen.

The King sat quietly as his Queen and Princess continued with the conversation. He later learnt that her daughter didn’t like Dobo’s daughter, a man who helped nearly every person in the Kingdom. He later told his guard to let Sofia visit her friend Hilda and her mother and apologized for the misunderstanding.

Sofia was thrilled to have been let to visit her friend after a long time caused by doctored accusation by the princess. Princess Thelma later heard about Sofia’s visit to Hilda’s place, she was furious at her father’s pardon and plotted to punish her.

Hilda’s mother had trusted friends among the princess’s maidens so they told her every plan the pompous princess was planning against the innocent Sofia. Every plan she tried failed until one day she sneaked from the palace and went to Sofia’s place, she lied to have asked her father to allow her to come and apologise for the last incident.

Sofia innocently consented to show her around the compound and finally in her room where she kept medicine. There wasn’t anything scary in the room as the shelves were cleanly painted with black and white chalk , medicine neatly packed in plastics with prescription notes which her father had wrote. They sat inside while Sofia explained some advantages of the medicine to different diseases,the Princess had something evil brewing in her mind.

While they were inside chatting, voices of people were coming closer to the room possibly for assistance from Sofia. The princess screamed and dropped herself down scratching herself with a some used medicine on the corner. People around went running towards the hut thinking Sofia had been attacked but found the Princess soiled in black chalk. The guards were summoned and took Sofia in custody.

The princess didn’t calculate her matrix correctly because she didn’t tell anyone or her friends about her plot so that they could back her up. The guards too were surprised of how she found herself way out. Sofia was brought before the palace court to plead for her innocence.

Sofia narrated her story about how the princess went to their home and asked for forgiveness about the incident at Hilda’s place which the King had known and pardoned her. The moment she heard the voices of people outside,she screamed and she never touched her while she rolled down and the witness too approved the way they found the princess rolling while Sofia watched.

“It’s not true father ,she beat me up before these two came in, she wanted revenge over the accusation”, sobbed the bandaged princess.

“Shut up!!!! I will lock you for contempt of court”, exclaimed the King.

The guards and maidens were summoned to answer for having conspired with the princess but they were all surprised of how she got out because they thought she was still sleeping,she had a tendency of closing herself up for longer hours indoors so they thought it was one of those days until they heard she had been wounded at Sofia’s place.

The King had known the dislikes of her daughter over the innocent girl,she was compensated with expensive gifts by the King and apologized for his daughter’s treacherous doings. The princess was banned from leaving the palace and her maidens were stripped from four to one and sent to other cottages.

Part Five

Last laugh

More years passed while Sofia was still treating people with her medicine. She lost her mother who was old and later got married and had a son with one of the palace guards. The princess was younger than Sofia and hadn’t married yet.

The King had aged too but was able to walk round the palace stretching his legs and back with the help of his doctors. He had been treated for high blood pressure by his doctors so they emphasized him to always stay calm and not engage much in exhausting scenes.

The King’s advisors were debating over hiring Sofia to use her medicine to ease the pain of the King but they were afraid of the grown up Princess who distasted Sofia’s existence and she was always present whenever her father got treatment. It wasn’t easy to talk to the King about the issue.

One day, the King had a misunderstanding with his Queen,he fell and was conscious for almost half a day , everyone was scared and worried about the King’s health, only his daughter who promised to banish Sofia once she ruled but it wasn’t be like that because she was to be married away from the Kingdom. That was a breather for Sofia.

The doctors managed to regain the King from consciousness. He spent the whole day on bed receiving his medication and food. The King’s advisors later pleaded with the Queen to ask her King to seek Sofia’s medical attention and so she promised to ask him whether she can treat him. The King approved it though his daughter had been against the idea.

Sofia was informed about the Palace requisition and asked for half of the day to look for medicine. She went to a nearest village were they had bamboo trees and asked for bamboo roots and leaves to prepare medicine for the King.

Upon her return ,she met the Princess in the kitchen waiting patiently to warn her about possibly poisoning her father. Sofia brushed off her remarks and asked Hilda’s mother to help her prepare the medicine. The King was attended to by Sofia in full view of the doctors, advisors and the Queen praying inwardly and of course the angry distasteful princess was on the bedside watching.

It didn’t take more days for the King to feel his body better ,he thanked Sofia and told her to prepare more medicine for him. Sofia diligently attended to the King and his legs which were swollen,she rubbed with mixture of herbs she had been denied long time to give the King.

The King was able to walk with easy and stand that he couldn’t do the past days. Sofia was granted a legitimate certificate of her medicine by the seal of the King and legalized her medicine to be used by all palace servants. The King built her a storage room for her medicine to be kept safe. At last she had a laugh.

*************

EMANCIPATION

Part One

“I don’t understand you, how can I live with such people?” burst Laura, throwing her arms like an eaglet posed for a first flight.

“Hey, uh listen, we are your parents and we love you but what you’re asking for is too risky, we will get over it right”, cautioned Brian, Laura’s father.

“You’re going nowhere!! exclaimed Elizabeth, Laura’s mother.

“I am going to find a lawyer and no one can stop me, am 18 now”, said Laura rudely.

Brian was a businessman, very good in accounting, and had a big influence on young entrepreneurs who were venturing into the various businesses of their interest. A diligent man was always helpful when his services were called upon but he was very clever in thwarting individuals who posed a threat to his business.

His business prowess was prone to be intervened by drug cartels and other money laundering and so he kept a clean slate of his accounts and paid his taxes in due time. Surprisingly enough he had no time to hire a treasurer but doubled as CEO and treasurer hence his businesses thrived.

On the other hand, his wife, Elizabeth grew up in a philanthropic family, her father and mother held several charity organizations hence they met with prominent business people and politicians alike. Elizabeth was more intrigued in politics than charitable causes though they were essential to her successive endeavors she was to embark on.

Moreover, a good friend of her father was running for the office of the Mayor in their town, so her father proposed a position to be the Mayor’s secretary if he won the elections which were to be held sometime later that year.

Luckily for Elizabeth, the Mayor won the elections and she was appointed the secretary, responsible for holding meetings and other important schedules for the Mayor. That’s when she met her now-husband, Brian at a victory party organized by the Mayor.

The couple had a daughter Laura, a pompous girl who drowned herself in her parent’s riches. She got bullied at school by fellow students for her rude remarks and mocking their poor parents though she was remorseful if she overdid her cruelty.

“Hey girl move your cheap self from my chair”, said Laura, signaling a newcomer in her class.

“I am sorry, I didn’t know it was your seat besides don’t call me cheap”, retaliated the girl looking squarely at her eyes.

“Whatever or whoever you’re, don’t ever seat on my chair”, stubbornly replied Laura.

“Calm down Miss Beauty, she’s a newcomer, treat her well”, said Jeremiah and the whole class laughed.

“Shut up Jerry, I have my mouth to apologize”, she said looking at the newcomer. Later she apologized to the new girl.

Part Two

Pinewood town was well known for all sorts of mischievous and mob gangsters ravaging residents’ properties especially those who were new to town and of course people like Brian and Elizabeth. The couple had all their savings in banks and businesses they invested in, they couldn’t risk being mugged by the perennial gangsters though the weakness was on their insubordinate daughter.

Laura’s father always picked her up from school in their black Mercedes Benz car and he was punctual unless when he was busy he would leave a text to his daughter to call him once she knocked off though sometimes she defied her father by driving with her friends home.

“Laura, your father was waiting for you, who drove you home?” asked her mother while unpacking her groceries.

“Susan’s mum drove me here”, replied Laura chuffing down cornflakes.

“What have we done to you, that you don’t even pick phone calls?” asked her father, tossing keys on the shelf.

” I want out of this house, I am old enough to take care of myself”, replied Laura arrogantly.

“Is that why you act as if we’re troubling you yet you’re the one giving us hard time here”, replied her father.

“Look at Susan, her mum pays for her rent and some stuff and pick her up from school to her place, how can it be impossible with me?” asked Laura shouting.

“Look at your daughter Brian, she wants to be wild like Susan”, said Elizabeth shading tears.

One time, Laura escaped by a whisker from being kidnapped by the gangsters and use her for ransom hadn’t been for the garbage collectors who had used the same road which had a bend where the rascals mugged people.

“Help!!!! Help!!!! , yelled Laura struggling to run with a school bag swinging sideways slowing her down.

“Stop girl!!!! Hey, stop!!! yelled three gangster boys welding bat sticks they use to beat people with.

Just when Laura was getting exhausted and the boys breathing heavily on her heels, she slipped on a banana peel and fell next to a garbage bin, and fainted. A garbage collector on the other side of the road saw Laura hit herself against a bin and that very moment one of the gangsters was trying to lift her and he intervened and rescued her.

She was taken to the nearest hospital where her parents were summoned and told about the sad development. Her father wasn’t aware that she had left school alone while he had been waiting for her to call and pick her up from school. Insubordination always is the trademark of adolescence.

Part Three

The family lived happily though their daughter had been a thorn every time, Laura fell in love with one of the gangster boys, Marcos, he lied to her that he was employed at a supermarket yet his cousin worked at the supermarket. He occasionally helped him offload goods from the deliveries and it was his cousin who vouched for him to be a good fellow just to earn him some cash and that’s where he met Laura.

Elizabeth continued to acquaint with businessmen and business minded politicians convinced them in her political language to invest with her husband in his Housing and Marketing Agencies. It was in these meetings where she met a middle-aged man, a philanthropist too in absence of her husband.

At first, Elizabeth was nervous to cheat on her husband but as time went on while Brian was oblivious of her affair, she introduced him to her husband, and luckily Aaron had good connections and helped him win some contracts for his Agency. Brian was a busy man, always on the schedule that he at times left for other contractual proposals out of town for few weeks.

During her off days, Elizabeth used to go for outings with Aaron at some hotels to spend time while her husband was at work. Laura and her boyfriend frequented the same hotel on weekends, mother and daughter risked meeting in the same hotel with their lovers.

One day, Brian had asked Elizabeth to get hold of Aaron whether he could help him with other business contracts, it was easy for her to convince him to find some contracts for her husband since they shared strong emotional sentiments. It did cross Brian’s mind whether his wife might be in a relationship due to her publicity in the office of the Mayor though it was.

On the other hand, their daughter was clouded in love with a gangster undercover to lure her to mention her father’s safe deposit of the money and he was so creative to elude his girlfriend to know his real character. After they split, he would go and meet his gangsters to plan on how she could spill the beans on her father’s treasure but she had little knowledge only a few cash they kept in the house.

“Hey babe, your father has money, why can’t he let you rent your apartment”, said Marcos trying to nib a secret from his girlfriend.

“Imagine Marc, can’t they see I need to take care of myself”, replied Laura puffing a cigar they had bought from a tuckshop.

“You know what, I will do everything for you, keep you safe from these Oompa lumpa boys in the streets just fight your way out”, said Marcos insisting.

“You got my back on this babe uh?” asked Laura looking at Marcos and they kissed.

Marcos and his gang had connived to lure the girl to emancipate so that they could kidnap her and ask for ransom and leave the streets for good once they hit the jackpot. Laura wasn’t aware of the plot her boyfriend was playing her into though she wasn’t at liberty to fully share her father’s fortunes, she protected him but it seemed she was losing it to Marcos because she had drowned in with love the innocent-faced rascal.

Laura pressured her parents to emancipate her after some sweet words of safety from her boyfriend but she never mentioned him afraid to lose her chance of winning her battle. Her parents hadn’t known about Marcos because he never dared to show his face maybe her father might recognize him from the streets where they once robbed him.

Part Four

Laura later won emancipation rights after she turned 21 but her parents with the help of the lawyer asked to be visiting their daughter anytime in a week and she too could visit her parents and report any disturbances that might endanger her. She moved into a self-contained two-bedroom flat with a sizeable lounge and kitchen.

Marcos kept visiting her in absence of her parents and spent nights as promised that she would be saved from the looming gangsters, his friends in particular. Indeed the rascals kept a distance having known that part of their objective was falling in place as arranged. They too kept away other rival rascals from capitalizing on their much-awaited prize.

Most importantly, Brian was a man of high intelligence owing to the large scale of businesses he had, he had someone keeping an eye on his daughter, the neighbor who stayed opposite Laura’s flat. An aged lady who was fond of seating on the verandah knitting her jerseys, actually she chose the house for him after he narrated how handful his daughter was at times.

Laura was aware of the lady and she hated how she always poked her eyes in her flat and often put the blinds closed but some fresh air were needed to this part of the countryside with some harsh weather conditions hence the old lady fancied to breath cool air outside not because she was only assigned to keep an eye on her, she had stayed the better of her years on the same house.

Marcos sneaked through the back door but the heat on the house meant the blinds were opened and the old lady would see the number of people inside and so she kept wondering who the young man might be and unfortunately for Marcos, the old lady knew all the gangsters around the streets who mugged people as she once was robbed of her groceries by Marcos’s gang.

One day the old lady crossed over to Laura’s flat when she was inside and pretended to be asking for Petunia flowers from her old friend next to Laura’s flat. Marcos came as usual at the back door but he met eyes with the old lady who knew her perfectly well. Marcos didn’t tell Laura about the encounter, he left to warn his friends about a plan which would collapse if Brian found out from the lady about his affair with his daughter.

The old lady didn’t take chances, she phoned and warned Brian about a foul play by one of the gang leaders who was dating his daughter for almost the two months Laura had stayed in that flat. Laura’s father phoned her about Marcos but she denied having known him. He insisted that by a week if she couldn’t stay free from her boyfriend, he would be forced to terminate the emancipation as agreed by the lawyer that if they felt their daughter was in danger.

Unfortunately, Laura phoned Marcos about their affair and asked whether his cousin had told his father that moment she unknowingly dug herself a long ditch by warning her boyfriend about the termination of emancipation. It was time Marcos and his gang saw fit to strike at their bargain.

Part Five

Brian and Elizabeth were worried about the decision of letting their daughter outwit them to be emancipated so that she had freedom with her boyfriend, a street boy. They phoned her at night to tell her that the following morning they would come and find another way out of the situation she had been but the girl was adamant and promised to fight her rights.

The same night Marcos and his gang kidnapped Laura, and they left a note on the table about the conditions of the price to release his daughter.

I know you found this note, I have your daughter and you’ve heard sad stories about messing about us. if you want your daughter alive do not warn the police just bring a sum of $10 000 to an abandoned factory building a kilometer from the town and come alone.

Laura’s parents were struck dumb after they found the letter the next morning. He warned the old lady not to tell the police, he would do everything the rascals had ransomed him. Elizabeth sobbed uncontrollably and she couldn’t go to work in a devastated and more importantly, if the Mayor had known about the kidnap it would’ve reduced the chances of getting her daughter back alive so she sent a sick note to the Mayor and luckily he sent her regards of good health.

Brian secretly went to the CIA and narrated the kidnap by the gangsters which had already warrants of arrest in place after ways to catch them were futile after their raiding was slowed down possibly after Marcos had found a way forward to earn cash through Laura. The money was bugged with a tracer that would help the CIA to follow the rascals to their hideout and nab them.

Brian drove his Mercedes Benz with CIA car in front from a considerable distance dressed in casuals driving an off-road truck which wasn’t to give any suspicions to the kidnappers. After a kilometer drive, an abandoned factory was in sight and so the CIA truck bypassed it and parked at the filling station ahead as it was the only road Marcos and his gang would use to flee.

The exchange was made amicably and Laura wasn’t harmed in any way. Marcos warned Laura if she mentioned his name to the cops he would shoot her since he had the money. The gang didn’t waste time and drove off the road which led to the filling station where four CIA agents had been waiting to apprehend them.

The four gang men stopped at the filling station to buy fuel. Marcos went inside the shop to pay for the fuel but he was pinned down by the CIA agent who was waiting in the shop and the rest of the gang attempted to flee but were too late as the CIA surrounded the truck. The most wanted gang was arrested and the money was returned to Brian and his family.

Laura apologized to her parents for the trouble she had subjected them to. The emancipation was later canceled by the lawyer and she returned to stay with her family.

******************************

SAVED BY A FOWL

Part One

A dark cloud set on the horizon prompting the villagers to seek shelter ,some pondering whether there will be a heavy down pour that would blow off their roundaval huts but none of those that they thought happened yet a much serious catastrophe was looming.

Gombazimu, a village well known for its inclination to cultural beliefs and norms,they always appeased their ancestors before they prepare their fields to farm. Chief Chimuti,an avid follower of the rituals, he couldn’t miss anything from what the ancestors had requested. He always presented to the full.

Pombonoka,a village drunkard,who left a trail of mistakes wherever he set foot though some were not that grievous but still he had to pay fine or in anyway the aggrieved person felt like.

One time Pombonoka, drank too many bottles of home brewed wine,he was dangling like a reed on the fast flowing river. He went home staggering and balancing on any object or tree which stood firm to his weight. The unfortunate part was when he reached Mudenge’s garden which was fenced with dried reeds to cordon fowls pecking his vegetables plants.

Pombonoka missed his step on a furlough, tripped himself and fell on the garden fence squashing tomatoes and snapping the vegetables branches. It was a catastrophe. He slept on the wet ground the whole night, his clothes soiled with mud.

“Papa!! Papa!!, yelled Tambo, signalling his father to the garden.

“What is it Tambo?”inquired Mudenge, wide eyed as if he was gasping for the last air.

“It’s Pombonoka,he has destroyed the garden fence”, said Tambo pointing at Pombonoka snoring noisily.

“Oh good Lord!!!, exclaimed, Mudenge kicking Pombonoka on his back, “Wake up you beast,look what you’ve done to my garden”, said Mudenge pulling him by the legs.

Pombonoka would just grunt like a pig, unable to open his heavy eyes to the shinning morning.Mudenge pulled him up the ridges of sweet potatoes and poured him a bucketful of water to clear him off his sleepy face. Pombonoka gasped to the cold water and mumbled a series of incomplete words.

“What do you have to say?”asked Mudenge, after Pombonoka gained senses.

“Did I do this? When was that? Am really sorry,I think someone pushed me”, said Pombonoka asking , apologising and accusing at the same time.

He was sent to the Chief and was ordered to repair Mudenge’s garden and help him plant and water his garden for two full moons. Mudenge was a good man but short tempered when provoked. He still bought Pombonoka beer and cigarettes while he worked with him in the garden.

“My husband why do you have to buy him beer ,do you still want to lose more?”inquired Mudenge’s wife.

“It’s just a little for motivation, soon I will relieve him off my garden”, said Mudenge sniffing snuff.

“I think you should put thorn shrubs around the garden”, insisted his wife.

“Oh goodness Barbra,we are not under attack,it was just a sad moment”, replied Mudenge lowering his gaze to a bottle of wine he left yesterday night.

“Better be the last time”, said Barbra in a low tone.

Pombonoka finished his community service at Mudenge’s garden but he was a reckless man, mistakes followed him or rather he followed mistakes. The villagers would pardoned him on lesser mistakes.

Villagers in Gombazimu villagers were united in every objective they felt was vital for their development and other cultural ceremonies. They assisted each other in times of trouble and that helped the Chief to lead his people with much easy though people like Pombonoka often strayed.

Part Two

To the West of Gombazimu lies Donga village presided by a vibrant though old aged Chief Mbazo,a baldheaded short man with ears plucked out as if they were swollen and often amused his sad subjects on court processions.

Chief Mbazo, had two sons ,the older was aged enough to succeed him and the younger one was more interested in hunting and herding cattle with other village boys.Mpanika, the Chief’s son was to cause commotion between two villages.

His father ,the Chief used to warn him against wondering in the nearby bushes hunting for rabbits and other small antelopes , that one day he would land himself into dangers looming in the jungle.

“Mpanika ,you should reduce your adventures in the bush right way”, said ,the Chief swinging a handkerchief shooing flies away.

“Yes father,though you enjoy the bush meat I bring you”, said Mpanika ,tying the loose strings on his bow.

“Even though I enjoy your meat but you’ve to be responsible and stay out of trouble,at least not every day my son”, emphasized his father.

Mpanika would heed to wise counsel of his father for quite some time but he still broke out secretly and go out to hunt and when he brought a kill,he would make sure not to let his father catch wind of his kill. He trusted his uncle Mbuziya who gave his wife to cook for him.

The elder brother was a tough and steady young man who was fond of his father’s affairs,he was always present at council meetings and courts proceedings , learning all the ways to lead people. He had a weakness in women and that his father,the Chief would warn him to be decisive in dealing with women affairs.

“My son Zenge ,you impress me much than your hunter brother”, he gulped two mouthfuls of water and continued, ” But we should talk about your weakness in women”, he said and looked at him with raised eyebrows, wrinkling the forehead and the baldhead glittering in moonlight.

“That’s true, we don’t want to be lead by Solomon,who knows,you might take our wives too”, said one of his uncle’s and they all laughed.

“I won’t uncle,I will try to be responsible”, said Zenge smiling in the moonlight.

“Otherwise , you’re handsome and lucky you don’t have any signs of baldness on your head, that’s your secret eh”, said the Chief chuckling a laugh.

The Chief was a humourous person but very tough in dealing with matters which concerned the village.

Part Three

The perennial troubler had committed a grievous calamity and no one sympathized with him because it affected the whole village and so a sacrifice was needed to appease the spirit of the ancestors and cleanse the abominable offence.

Pombonoka had accidentally gone to the village shrine drunk and while he was still wondering what the curved objects and horns he had stumbled upon might be ,he destroyed all the shrine gods and broke every water bowl . His actions were of a violent person maybe by the time he had been possessed by the spirit of the shrine while he was peeing. He slept at the shrine the whole night.

The next morning villagers were alarmed by the jingling of the shrine priest’s bells on his stuff, shouting and mumbling incarnations and that meant no good news to the villagers because they knew everytime the shrine priests go round the village incarnating, they will be an abominable act committed within the village.

“Gombazimu!!! Gombazimu!!! You’ve done the abominable act hence your ancestors wants appeasement”, said the fading voice of the priest going round announcing.

“What happened? Is the Chief at fault? What exactly are we missing here?, The villagers were scared to death but hadn’t known the cause of the abominable doing. No one seemed to have a slightest idea of the dreadful scenario.

A gentleman came running like he had seen a ghost, he was forging through green thick bushes following a small trail used by goats and other animals panting as he hearded for the nearest compound. He had been cutting firewood few meters from the shrine ,when he saw Pombonoka struggling to stand up from the devastated shrine and so he ran to the village to warn them.

He burged into Ntolo’s home where a handful of women were seated holding their cheeks and Ntolo and other village men bow their heads down like vultures wondering what would be the sacrifice request. They were startled by the running man and women squeezed themselves in Ntolo’s kitchen while some men ran behind the huts but Ntolo held ground, maybe in defense of his home or he hadn’t marrow enough in his bones to left to lift him up.

“What is it Jembi?”asked Ntolo surprised.

“Pombo…. ,He destroyed …… Pombonoka”, panted the young man trying to explain.

“Cool down and tell us, Bring him a cup of water”, said Ntolo waving his wife who had huddled in the kitchen with other women.

He was given water and calmed down then he narrated what he had seen at the shrine. Everyone at Ntolo’s compound held their heads in disbelief and some wondered how strange it was that he wasn’t struck dead by a deadly thunder of the shrine.

“Everyone let’s go to the Chief’s palace and warn him of the imminent dangers”, said Ntolo heading out of his compound.

All the villagers gathered at the Chief’s Palace and the shrine priests ordered them to bring a young man not from the village to appease the ancestors and cleanse Pombonoka who had become violent and crazy, so he had been chained at the Chief’s Palace and fed from there. Village warriors were sent to kidnap a young man and present him for sacrifice.

Part Four

Mpanika had gone in the bush to look for the snares he had set last evening,he sneaked away from his father’s guards and no one saw him leaving. It was to become mixed day to bear for Mpanika and his family . Luckily ,he found two of his three snares had trapped scrub hares,he took out the kill and set again for the next day.

While he was on his way home,he met four serious faced men wearing warrior regalias different to his village’s and had their faces painted black to conceal their physical features that might distinguish them if they had been spotted. The men didn’t waste time,they hauled the boy with his kills and gagged his mouth to prevent him from screaming.

The day was done and everyone was wondering where Mpanika had gone,the whole village panicked but his father knew he had gone in the bush and might have lost his way so village warriors were sent to look for him but not even a trace of the boy’s sandal prints were found. Word was sent to neighbouring villages including Gombazimu the culprit but they vowed to continue with their sacrifice and so they promised to send word if they had seen him.

Several days passed ,Mpanika was nowhere to be seen and the Chief was dejected, having warned his son about his hunting errands. After some few months passed, the Chief called off the search and asked his ancestors to take care of the boy if he was alive and take care of his bones if he was dead in the jungle.

Mabhonzo, a village hawker who always traded merchandise with fowls from villagers ,was a good friend of Mpanika,he was saddened by the disturbing news apart from that he had brought him a pair of trousers he had promised him after he was given bush meat for his family by the boy. Mabhonzo hawked his business too to neighbouring villages and by so he vowed to help the Chief to find his son even though he had given up the search.

Part Five

Gombazimu villagers received the sacrifice and the Chief was worried whether the boy would be killed after his hierarchy friend had sent word of his missing son,the very boy they were preparing for the sacrifice. The boy was made secret to the elders and the warriors who kidnapped him. It was not to be mentioned to any villagers risking the identity of the boy.

The Chief of Gombazimu was relieved when the priest told him the boy wasn’t to be killed but his blood would be used and he had to be kept at the shrine for two full moons before being released. All this was done with the boy’s eyes covered so that he wouldn’t see the faces of the people who were sacrificing him.

Mpanika’s blood cut from his ankle was used to appease the shrine ancestors and Pombonoka immediately got his normal being back and was surprised how he got himself chained up and dirty like a toddler. The Chief narrated his abominable ordeal which had all the villagers held their heads in fear of the ancestral retaliation.

Since that day , Pombonoka sworn to stop drinking wine and promised to be sober the rest of his life but some friends laughed at him and betted over his huge appetite for beer. He wasn’t told about the nature of the sacrifice as the plot was for fewer people possibly as emphasized by the Chief.

Mpanika was kept at the shrine shackle hut which was a no go area for anyone in the village except passerbys from other villages unknowingly. He had became frail and hadn’t taken a bath since the day he was kidnapped. Only his wound was attended to by the shrine priest but they never spoke a word as the boy sobbed uncontrollable for some days.

“You should eat my boy,it will be over soon and you’ll return to your family”, the priest would say serving him with a bowl of pap and bush meat he liked.

The boy gauged his food which was brought to him,he wouldn’t scream out in fear of the priest who spent almost every night and day guarding and looking squarely at him with his curved ancestors brandishing spears in their still pose.

Part Six

Mpanika’s father would weep for his lost son and lambasted his older son for not keeping an eye on his young brother. He felt something was going to be okay because his soul wasn’t much troubled but he couldn’t possibly know exactly what to do.

Mabhonzo had came from his orders in town and he wouldn’t miss the Chief’s palace to check on him and his family. His wives always bought nice jewelry from him and clothes too.

“Chief, by now not even a word of Mpanika’s whereabouts?” asked Mabhonzo.

The Chief would shake his head , drop tears from his brown eyes. Sometimes he just threw his hands in air in gesture of nothing.

“Today I will be going to Gombazimu village, I will ask my friends from there maybe there might have heard something by now”, said Mabhonzo, leaving the palace.

Mabhonzo left for Gombazimu village with his merchandise hawking along other settlements he passed by. Not far from Gombazimu village where Mpanika was held ,he sold a pair of shoes to a lady who gave him two live fowls tied together by a string and he left for his intended journey.

The shrine priest had left Mpanika alone in the shackle hut he had been subjected to and went to attend a court procession at the Chief’s Palace. The boy was awake but couldn’t plan to escape because his legs had grown numb and swollen from sitting and laying on a mat for several days.

While Mabhonzo neared the village,the fowl cut loose and flee in the bush in the direction of the Shrine, he chased it for few minutes and finally caught it on a small thicket few meters from the Shrine but he didn’t look closer. When he was about to leave he heard a faint voice calling,he looked back and saw a hand waving from a shackle hut. He went closer and stumbled closer to the shrine ,he almost ran but the voice was worrisome.

He went closer to check the shackle and behold his little friend Mpanika, looking frail and dirty,he didn’t waste time to check who might be guarding him,so he freed him and put him on the shoulders and ran as fast as he could towards where he left his merchandise and took him home to his weeping parents.

Mpanika was welcomed home by everyone at the village and a party was thrown for his resurrection to those who had deemed him dead. Mabhonzo was given a land to farm ,built him a small shop to sell is merchandise and a three cows for the bravery he did to rescue the Chief’s son.

The Chief summoned the Gombazimu Chief and his council members and the shrine priest to answer the betrayal of friendship and trying to murder his son in their endeavor to appease their silly mistakes. Some Chiefs from the neighbouring villages were summoned to witness the abominable betrayal by their fellow Chief.

The village of Gombazimu was stripped of all the benefits which were given to villagers by the District Fund Agencies, the warriors who conspired to kidnap were banished from their village and the shrine priest was never to be used by other villagers. The Chief and his council members were fined thirty herd of cattle and cash for the boy’s medical bills. Mpanika forgave them for their atrocities but he promised to deal with them decisively with his father’s warriors if such crime was committed again.

************

TRANSFORMED

” I am going to deal with the person who steals my fowl eggs, I swear with my ancestors”, sworn Gamu bitting his finger and pointing to the sky.

“What happened Gamu?” asked, Dando.

“Someone is stealing my turkey and guinea fowl eggs”, replied Gamu, dangling an exe in dejection.

“You must have a plan to cordon those nests maybe put some thorn bushes around”, reasoned Dando.

“I don’t want to scare my fowls, I might risk them abandoning the nests”, objected Gamu.

Gamu had a confusion of guinea fowls and rafter of turkeys numbering more than 50, fenced and fed every two hours of the day. To feed his fowls every year, he harvested sorghum and sunflower in abundance.

Gamu built a reputation as a reliable supplier of eggs at local guest lodges and market places and hence his business was profitable. His wife and two sons were the only helpers he relied on, he was afraid to employ outsiders afraid to run down his supplies of eggs and of course, there was one, Keke, a village drunkard, and a thief.

Keke, a loner who survived his day-to-day life making errands to villagers who needed some work done, could pay either cash or food, it depended on the agreement they had with him. He would spend all the cash he had worked for on beer rather than buy food. Willing villagers would plow him a portion of his farm but he would manage to harvest a little due to his laziness but worked hard on people’s farms because they paid. He tended to steal if he didn’t find errands to work on.

Gamu didn’t dare to employ Keke, afraid of being run down by Keke’s thievery. He always warned him not to go near his fowls. He lost some eggs and couldn’t think of dogs because the fence of thorns was renewed every month, he would pile fresh-cut thorns, and dogs or cats couldn’t find their way in but humans could by the door.

“Keke, when I ask you not to come close to my fowls I mean it?” warned, Gamu.

Solly my bosh, I just want a small pish work and I can work velly harder” replied Keke in broken English, he couldn’t pronounce correctly the words because of the gapetooth.

“Spare me those Latin whatever language it is, I just don’t want you near my fowls”, insisted Gamu handing his son a shovel.

Olati my bosh, I am askin for food yesterday I didn’t eat too much drinking at ze’ botolo store,” asked, Keke blinking his eyes like a darted lion.

“Go to the kitchen and ask from my wife and don’t touch anything before you’re given”, warned Gamu.

The two would argue for a few minutes while Keke insisted on asking for errands. When he got angry at Gamu’s denials, he would sneak at night and steal eggs but he was stupid enough not to conceal his trails, he would bury eggshells a few meters from his hut and the dogs would dig them out though crows would be quick enough to pounce the shells and fly away before anyone recognized.

One time, Keke had stolen almost half the nest and hid it in thorn bushes, he was afraid if Gamu found out the shortage he would storm his hut in search of the eggs, which he did the next morning when he found out about the missing eggs.

“Where are you Keke, get out of that rubble hut”, quaked Gamu fuming.

Keke was inside his hut when he heard Gamu’s voice and pretended to be drunk and came out shirtless, wearing a dirt short tied with a piece of cloth.

“Oh my bosh,evliting is no good uh” inquired Keke, knowing too well Gamu’s intrusion.

Gamu didn’t wait to be entertained by Keke’s broken English, he just stormed the hut and let every plate and clothes fly in all directions looking for his eggs but he couldn’t find them and confronted the stunned Keke.

“Don’t play games with me, my wife gives you food and you steal again from me”, quaked Gamu looking straight into Keke’s eyes.

” I didn’t steal anysing, I was drinking and slipi ze’ whole day” replied Keke yawning like a baboon.

“Just wait, I will find out and you won’t like what I am going to do to you”, said Gamu leaving hastily.

” He doeshn’t want to give me jobs and sink I don’t want to eat eggs,ohoo am cooking zem in ze’ afternoon” mumbled Keke after Gamu had left.

Meanwhile, in the thick bushes where Keke had hidden his eggs, a cobra found itself in a bountiful sack and swallowed quite a number, The crows too couldn’t miss out on the bounty, they too were pouncing on the snake and peeking, breaking and picking some while the cobra swang it’s fangs on the determined birds. It was a commotion.

Keke went by to pick his sack but found a pool of egg yolk and broken shells. He dispersed the birds and picked the sack folded and buried the eggshells and yoke. He clung to the sack on the handle of an ax and hauled it on his shoulder but a hissing sound from the sack caught his attention.

He stopped and check inside without sticking his hand, a snake hissed and leaped from the sack prompting Keke to toss the sack down. The snake tried to defend itself by swinging fangs at Keke but he was a little far from the snake. Raged by the loss of eggs, he tossed on the stony ground, he struck the snake by a swing of an ax and decapitated its head. He lost all his eggs and buried them in shallow hard ground.

Gamu kept his fowls fed but was worried of a ceaseless egg thief, his instincts on Keke were right but he hadn’t caught him ready-handed or found any eggs or shells on his compound. He promised to catch him one of the days.

A few weeks passed, Gamu kept on fencing the coop, one day he came to the bush where Keke had buried the eggs, he stepped on the shallow hole, he dug it, and behold eggs shells exactly of the sizes of turkeys and guinea fowls eggs. A few meters a dead stenchy cobra and a sack with eggs shells hanged on a small shrub though there were no visible footprints, they were swept by whirlwinds. He thought to deal with the thief head-on and visited the na’nga which stayed nearby to help him deal with the thief.

“How would you want me to do to this person?” asked the na’nga.

“Just do whatever you want for a short period but don’t kill him, I want him to learn a lesson”, replied Gamu.

At that moment Keke was drinking beer at a local shebeen with his friends, oblivious of the calamity that might befall his miserable life.

” You know Gamu sheplises me, he always comes to throw my thingsh in my house shaying I stole hish eggs,” said Keke in his broken English.

“Keke we know you better, why can’t he think of you who steal his eggs?” asked one drunkard and they all laughed.

On the other hand, Gamu and the na’nga were preparing a catastrophe for Keke who was enjoying his beer and possibly planning to go and raid the egg nests at night. The bartender brought a calabash to the joyful gentlemen, while Keke was waiting for his calabash, he suddenly turned into a baboon, the drunkards leaped from their stools, spilling their beer in surprise.

The villagers were stunned by Keke’s sudden transformation into a baboon except for Gamu who had orchestrated the transformation. Keke, as a baboon walked to his hut, and that left people dumbfounded, that a person, bewitched into an animal would still have the brains to know his home.

The villagers pleaded with Gamu, to loosen Keke, they had reasonable grounds to think it was his handwork after a series of complaints about people who stole his eggs. Later, Gamu forgave Keke and he turned back to his normal human being and apologized for stealing people’s belongings.

“Next time unlock his English accent, it’s terrible”,said one in the group and they all laughed.

******************************

SELF-DESTRUCTIVE

“Bring me a cup of tea please, make it quick” yelled Gogo Mazambane to her granddaughter.

“I will be there shortly Gogo”, replied a soft voiced Tsitsi.

“I told Joram, to take care of his marriage,now I am nursing a grandchild”,grumbled the old lady.

“Are you calling?” inquired the girl squatting to hand her granny tea.

“Never mind, my granddaughter,we the aged ones have a tendency of mumbling to ourselves”, replied the old lady.

Gogo Mazambane wasn’t happy about the introduction of Tsitsi,her granddaughter. She was a stingy, bad tempered and surprisingly she extended it to her only granddaughter. Tsitsi was brought after her father,Joram divorced with his wife ,Helena.

Joram won the custody of his daughter after his wife was deemed irresponsible. He caught her multiple times with different men. They always fought and that could’ve have ruined Tsitsi’s upbringing so Joram decided to file for divorce.

Gogo Mazambane had tried her level of tyranny but it seemed Helena was much worse than her mother-in-law and couldn’t heed counseling.She cared little for her daughter.

“Tell me you two,is this the way you’re bringing up my granddaughter”,asked the old lady staring at them like a hungry cat.

“Ma,you daughter-in-law doesn’t respect me nor this marriage”, replied Joram in an empty voice.

“I don’t know how this is all my problem,Joram travels alot,who knows how many girls he has along the way”,replied the arrogant wife.

“Oh yeah ,is that the revenge? Ma , this isn’t going to work, I am done talking”, exclaimed Joram.

“I miss my youthful days, I was going whip you all in shape, resolve your marriage,I don’t want to be summoned for petty issues”, said the old lady cuddling a kitten on her lap.

Joram couldn’t miss a month without visiting her mother in the village and he could send groceries which could last for a month or so and some would get expired due to the old lady’s meagre appetite. She could sell some to her neighbours or exchange for anything she wanted at the time.

The introduction of her granddaughter ,meant she wouldn’t enjoy her food the way she used to. The old lady could stuff some groceries in a secluded place so that Tsitsi couldn’t find,she had to ask and that got her series of tantrums.

“You children of nowadays ,you think of eating, won’t you spend a day without chewing?”quaked the old lady.

“Gogo ,my father brought us more food to eat but why do you have to stingy me?”queried Tsitsi, matching her feet hard on the ground in discomfort.

“Ah ah shut up!! what food, don’t you know this food is meant for one person,infact you should follow your mum wherever she is”, exclaimed the old lady throwing her arms in different directions.

“Now listen carefully to my instructions and never raise a finger over anything because that will point you to your mother’s place”, said the old lady looking at her like a displeased general over the command message and continued.

She cleared her choked voice, “Do not pick a piece of meat before I do,that’s the foremost rule and I am not going to repeat that”, said the old lady gesturing the next finger and continued.

“Do not yell at me when am scolding you”, she said pointing a finger at her

“I have to eat a lot more than you, because this food is brought by my son, so don’t fight me over it”, continued the lady,

“When I am not around, do not drink tea, you’ll finish my sugar”, concluded the old lady. Tea was her best ,she could drink anytime of the day hence she warned her granddaughter over finishing her sugar.

Gogo Mazambane was vile at times when her mood wasn’t good. Her neighbors knew too well not to let their kids play next to her yard and they felt shame for her granddaughter to be living with such a tyranny of a woman.

One time ,the old lady had gone to the market place to purchase some food for lunch, she had mopped clean and polished the verandah with red polish. The sparkling floor didn’t took time to be soiled by Toni’s puppies, who stayed adjacent Gogo Mazambane’s house. The playful puppies dragged torn rags on the floor and left muddy spoors on the floor.

When the old lady returned from the market,she took the rags and threw them in Toni’s yard cursing as if she had seen a ghost. When she started cursing ,no one dared to inturrept her or else the tantrums would triple.

It was for worse for Tsitsi,in village norms,when you eat with elders , you’re told when to wash your hands,eat or collect dishes and so it was with Tsitsi,her grandmother would keep on eating while she waits to be told to join and that angered her the most ,sometimes she could just walk away and spend the day without food in her stomach.

Tsitsi decided to rebel over her grandmother’s rules and regulations which were placed for her.She was prepared to go wherever she could if she decided to punish her. Gogo Mazambane had a plan to eliminate her for good and those rules were just put to limit her freedom.

Everyday morning Gogo Mazambane would give her daughter portioned sugar ,tea leaves and milk to prepare tea but on that particular day ,she prepared the tea and that got Tsitsi surprised. Tsitsi had been doing her chores outside while her grandmother prepared her tea for the first time she came to her home.

Tsitsi , knew something was wrong and she could felt in her gut but didn’t trouble herself much to think of anything negative.Gogo finished preparing tea and summoned her granddaughter to drink while she took a bath, something she hadn’t done the past years they stayed together.

Two cups were served and Tsisti’s was filled already and that too was strange to her.The cups were identical, Tsisti’s tea had become a little cooler because of the poison her grandmother had put and steered to dissolve.

She told her to drink while she went for a bath, infact she wanted to find her dead drugged by the poison. While she was bathing, Tsitsi pulled her grandmother’s cup which was warm and replaced with hers but she didn’t think of any foul play from her grandmother,she just wanted warm tea.

Few minutes later,Gogo came back from bathing and was surprised to see the girl sitting on a chair , healthy and awake as always. She thought maybe it was a slow poison. Gogo Mazambane sat on her chair and looked at her granddaughter with eyes filled with rage.

“Have you finished already?” asked her grandmother sipping twice her tea which was cold and she didn’t bother to warm it because she didn’t mean to drink tea that day.

“Yes,it was better than the one I always prepare,you should teach me”, replied the innocent girl , looking away expecting a scold but it wasn’t necessary to incur the wrath from her grandmother.

“Wow,I thought you would say Gogo don’t know how to prepare tea”, said the smiling old lady in fewer emphatic words possible, sipping her tea which was half and before she could ask her another question,she felt a sharp pain in her stomach.

She spat the tea and asked her granddaughter angrily, “What did you do to the tea Tsitsi?” asked the old lady holding her stomach with her both hands wrinkling her face and twisting her upper lip like a goat.

“Gogo, I just swapped the cups ,my tea was cold,I thought you would put it back on fire to warm”,replied the girl oblivious of the situation.

“Oh no you killed me Tsitsi,I had put poison for you to die,I didn’t want you in my home”,confessed the old lady screaming.

Tsitsi ran outside and screamed to catch attention of neighbours. The people gathered around and some were trying to drink her water while some looking for transport to ferry her to hospital but she told them not to worry about hospital. She confessed of hating her granddaughter and planned to poison her but she swapped the cups without knowledge.

Gogo Mazambane later died and Tsitsi felt sorry and guilty for not being aware of her grandmother’s actions,had she known ,she would’ve spilled the tea to serve herself and her granny.

******************************

TAXI DRIVER

Betty came out with good grades at the local day school, she needed to further her studies at the secondary school in town but her parents didn’t have enough money to pay for her fees. Fortunately her uncle offered to assist and stay her at his house.

Betty was bright and punctual all the time. The school  was a walkable distance from home and situated to the east side of the taxi rank and the drivers ferried school pupils who afforded to pay fares but it was different to Betty, she had to walk because her uncle hadn’t much to cover for such costs.

She would chat with her aunt about the school and friends she made at school. She was a quiet lady but had lot of jokes if she was in company of receptive group of friends.

“How is the school atmosphere treating you?” asked her Aunt.

“Not so bad, I found a couple of friends and they’re good to me, they help a lot”, replied Betty

“That’s good if you found helping friends but be careful where they take you in town”,warned her Aunt.

“I will be vigil and thanks Aunt”, said Betty sipping a cup of tea.

Taxi drivers had a tendency of bedding school girls when they fail to pay for their fares, sometimes it was intentional. Mostly they get caught by the parents and reported to law and a number of them paid a fines or incarcerated for such acts.

Betty passed by the taxi rank, Andrea,a taxi driver always paid attention to her when she goes to school. One day when she was from school with her friends , Andrea offered free lift. Betty’s friends stayed almost three blocks from her and their houses were before her uncle’s.

After her friends had dropped at their places, Andrea was left with  Betty to talk to, he used the other way round avoiding to reach her uncle’s house. Bismarck, Betty’s uncle had a relatively bad temper so a lot of the boys in the neighbourhood knew perfectly well not to provoke him. His anger never lasted , anytime he met the person who provoked him , it’s either they fight or he has to run to avoid serious injuries.

One time , Bismarck was hoeing behind his house when two boys from the next house threw a stone and broke a window of his lounge. He went straight to the father of the boys raging with a hoe on his shoulder. His intentions was to beat the boys but their father wouldn’t let him and a serious fight broke up. The following days after the fight , they couldn’t talk to each other until his neighbour relocated to another place.

That was the life Andrea gambled about, risking get caught with Bismarck’s niece. There wasn’t much they talked about and Andrea volunteered to be taking Betty to school without charge but the girl wanted to voice over the courtesy but he was more convincing.

“Why would you be taking me to school without a charge?”asked Betty holding her satchel on her lap.

“Just treat it as a gesture of goodwill from me”,said Andrea leaning on the front seat.

“Really? To what end is this Goodwill going to be rendered?” inquired Betty still holding her bag on her lap.

“Well let’s save some interviews for the other day”,said Andrea dodging the question.

Later Betty dated Andrea but she was strict with her outings,afraid to be caught by her Uncle if he found out about the affair. Andrea didn’t tell his friends about the affair least he risked some of his friends would go public about the news and that would eventually reach Bismarck’s attention in no time.

Betty’s aunt had her instincts about her niece being in an affair but she didn’t bother to ask her about it. Betty had grown into a beautiful lady with bold limbs which suited her short skirts and ankle sized socks. She was a chubby with a descent bosom of a well nourished girl. No man couldn’t look aside when she passed by but Andrea had made sure that a few lay their eyes on her by driving her to and from school by all means necessary to avoid meeting her uncle .

“Betty be careful with those men at the taxi rank, they’re of no good”, warned her Aunt.

“I wouldn’t let anyone close to me Aunt”, replied Betty with an innocent voice but her aunt wasn’t convinced.

“I have observed you lately, your behavior has changed and your dressing code too”,insisted her Aunt.

“Its nothing really Aunt, just precautionary school rules of being clean and smart” ,replied Betty not selling out her found love.

“If so , it’s good then but just know if your uncle finds out , we’re all dead meat”,assured her Aunt.

Their relationship went for several months until Betty wrote her final exams, Betty became to have neuseating feeling and vomiting just after she finished her final examinations but she was very careful to avoid her aunt seeing her. She was pregnant. Her aunt found out nevertheless.

“Your niece is pregnant”,said Betty’s aunt looking aside expecting a reprimand.

“What do you mean Betty is pregnant?”asked Bismarck looking squarely at her wife while warming by the brazier.

Betty was asked about the affair and she told her uncle everything including the name of the taxi driver. Bismarck knew Andrea too well , at times he used to hire him when he had plumbing projects out of the town.

“Andrea will feel my hand, why does he choose to undermine me in such a manner”,said Bismarck infuriated.

“I think the best is to call Andrea and hear his side of story,beating him won’t solve anything”, reasoned his wife.

Andrea was summoned and they talked about the pregnancy but he didn’t object in fear of being an enemy of Bismarck for the rest of his life and he wouldn’t be free in town after crossing paths with Bismarck.

A year later , Betty delivered her baby boy while she was at her aunt’s house and the most reliving part as when she scooped with high marks on her final year examinations, Andrea was told to take full responsibility of furthering her studies once her child had grown up. That was the lobola agreement which he was charged. Andrea and Betty married later that year.

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LOVE DESPERATION

“Father I will marry Princess Shela ,she can’t refuse the Prince of Mongo”, said Prince Mpongo boastful.

“My son your problem is pride,do you think you can win the heart of a lady with such words”,assured his father the King.

“No women refuse the charming Prince Mpongo,I will see to it that at the next new season ceremony she will be by my side”,said the Prince shaking his shoulders like a vulture after a big feast on elephant carcass.

“Well who am I to stand in someone’s way, I will pay all the dues if you bring her home”, added the King , laughing a little.

Princess Shela, has had suitors competing to marry her but King Harold had been turning them down because she was still young to be married. Now that she had grown into an elegant beautiful lady, the suitors resumed their courtship but she hadn’t made her mind to choose the princes on her tail.

Prince Mpongo’s father , a good friend and ally to King Harold had been paying homage to each other after victories against the northern rebel Kingdoms. The Prince had been courting the princess but she refused her insisting he was like a brother owing to the friendship their hierarchy had.

The two Kings had known the air of courtship around their heirs and had thought it was best to tighten their allies. It wasn’t long when the heirs would strength or disagree in their endeavors and Prince Mpongo was so adamant the princess would accept his proposal.

A cloud of misery befell the two Kingdom one afternoon , The two Kings had gone to pay last respect to an old ally King who passed on of old age. They used a single chariot on their way home when a lion attacked the horses. The horses leapt in the bushes and knocking the chariot over spilling the two Kings on the thorn bushes and rocky surface incurring serious injuries,no one survived, they died before medical attention was rendered.

More years passed after the tragedy, Prince Mpongo made known his affection to Princess Shela but she had found love with one of Prince Mpongo’s personal guard and she intended to use him against the arrogant Prince. He sat down with his generals to discuss his intention of attacking Princess Shela’s Kingdom annexing the Kingdom to Mongo and marrying the Princess by virtue of defeat.

“If I may interrupt your Lord, attacking our long time ally will jeopardize our defenses and the Princess’s allies will come to her aid and that will leave us separated”, said one General.

“Maybe we should send messengers to negotiate on your behalf”, added another.

“No more messengers,I have made up my mind,we can’t be defeated by a woman”, quaked the arrogant Prince.

“Perhaps we should send Mlalo to negotiate with her on your behalf, she understands him well”, said the general.

“Alright I heed your point but if she refuses I have no choice but attack her, get the reserve army ready in case”, said the Prince and dismissed everyone from the council chambers.

Prince Mpongo was an arrogant young man, the army generals were not pleased with his reign. Mlalo , a young vibrant and ambitious Prince’s personal guard was loved by the generals and so they convinced him to persuade the Prince against decisions which endangered the realm.

Mlalo sent his private messengers to warn the Princess about the plans Prince Mpongo had been placing and the Princess would send messengers to Mongo Kingdom to seek the attention of Mlalo to give them the feedback of the Prince’s needs yet she was planning to overthrow The Prince through Mlalo.

Tensions brewed more and more between the two Kingdoms. Prince Mpongo sent his first wave of attack but they were driven back by gallant warriors of Humba Kingdom. It was a bloody bath episode of warfare, clashing of shields and short stabbing spears which cause greater casualties on both sides.

The Mongo generals pleaded with the Prince to stop the attacks but the young ambitious man was so desperate to land a blow to the Princess who refused her marriage. Princess Shela sent messengers to her allies to help drive the Mongo warriors back and possibly conquering.

While the war was intense, Princess Sheila slipped her messengers to Mlalo who had organized the other reserve to guard the palace in case the warriors were driven back into the capital. The Princess instructed him to stab the Prince and he will promise to spare the Mongo people if the Prince was dead. Mlalo slipped off the guard and met the Princess.

“Do you know what you’re asking is treason?” said Mlalo trembling his hands.

“Listen my love”,said the Princess holding his cheeks with both hands, “I promise, once we defeat the Prince I will marry you and we will unite these Kingdoms and rule together”,assured the Princess.

“I have to organize my trusted friends and you better not reject my asylum if the mission happens to fail”,insisted Mlalo.

Mlalo shared the plan to the Army General who was critical of the Prince’s decisions. The general was pleased to have found a lasting solution to put an end to the madness of Prince Mpongo. The general requested from Mlalo to keep his position when the army dissolved and Mlalo had no choice but to bargain with the request.

The war became more fierce with warriors breaking Mongo Kingdom defenses, Mlalo took a handful of his guard warriors and the General to the Palace to take the Prince and his sister to safety. They drove the chariots east of the Kingdom where the Princess had promised to meet them.

Prince Mpongo was surprised and overjoyed at the same time to meet the Princess, he thought the vehement beauty had conceded her defeat yet it was his day to fall. Without waiting to be introduced, the Prince leapt from the chariot and confronted the Princess.

“The fearless beauty seeks my attention now”,said the Prince boastful.

“If I needed solace I wouldn’t look at you, I am here to tell you to lay down your weapons, your warriors are fighting a void cause”,replied the calm Princess.

“I can’t stand this nonsense , Mlalo bring her home”,said the Prince turning and heading for his chariot.

The general signalled Mlalo to stab by his eyes, he held the knife on his back trembling his left hand but managed to keep it tight on the shield. The Princess signalled with her head to Mlalo but the sister to Mpongo saw Mlalo welding his knife but it was too late to warn his brother.

Mlalo stabbed the Prince several times in the rib side avoiding the heavy armor which protected the stomach. The Princess left for Mongo Kingdom with his guards blowing horns of victory. The battle by the river had claimed severe casualties on both sides.

The Mongo Kingdom was annexed into Humba and became a one Kingdom led by Princess Shela and Mlalo who were later married. The General kept his position as promised by Mlalo and the Princess.

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A SACRED TREE

Everyone in the village was provided for by the big tree, whether be fruits of any kind and medicine to heal troubling wounds and many other needs.

The big tree was situated at the center of the forest next to Nkola village, but there was something mysterious about the existence of the tree, it never lost leaves during dry winter seasons, always evergreen and bearing fruits of any kind.

The Chief warned the people never to lay axe to the tree and it was to be treated sacred and was a gift by the gods of the land. A rumour went about , a boy was swallowed by the tree long time ago and at times they could hear the faint voice of the boy calling in the serenity of the night.

Different kinds of birds found shelter and nested but crawling animals and reptiles were exception. Eagles and other birds which preyed on each other birds all found nest in the same tree but couldn’t attack or pouncing on each other’s eggs and hatchlings. The tree had power of unity.

People from Nkola village asked anytime of the year the fruits of any kind and the tree would provide in the following morning. It was a surprise that one tree had to bear fruits of other types and tasted the same as of the original tree. No fruits got rotten or pecked by the birds which nested in the tree.

Long time stories from the village were said young men who went hunting would seek it’s assistance and blessing in their hunting errands and they would come home with bountiful of kills and were supposed to leave a kill on the base of the tree for thankgiving.

Oracle priest were consulted about the existence of the tree but it was beyond their reach as they could go and seek assistance in matters they couldn’t handle. Everyone could seek shade during dry season when all the trees lost leaves.

“What a blessing the gods of our land had to leave for us”, said one elder thanking the tree.

“Eh-ee do you remember Kazembe of Kongo village?” asked another.

“Yes I do , that elder whose son got married to a wife who couldn’t bless him with a child, I think we should send for him to seek help from our tree”, replied the other.

“You’ve a point there, unlike our own priest who can’t help our own”,added another .

The tree was responded by placing herbs and leaves needed for the particular disease or wound the people had asked for. It always produced everything overnight without people’s presence but the curiosity of kids wouldn’t be ignored.

One time , two village brothers were curious to see who puts the herbs and everything they ask from the tree , so when it was night when everyone had gone to sleep. It was a full moon night when the boys hid themselves close to the tree to see what the ladies who came in the afternoon to ask blessings from their infertility were to be given.

While the boys hid themselves, a cold air passed by followed by the rackling of leaves but it was quiet and still. Several figures appeared to be shipping what seemed to be herbs and leaves . The leaves were smoked by the figures which were not entirely visible whether they were males of females but looked like dwarfs.

The smoked choked the boys and the moment they coughed,the cold air huddled them together and in a moment they were thrown on the village square. They woke up and ran home in the moon light.

The next morning the boys had painful blisters all over their bodies. Asked of how they got the blisters, no word came from their mouths they could just gesture the direction of the tree. The elders went to seek help from the tree and ask forgiveness from the tree but no help came and that got the village shocked.

The Chief summoned the Oracle priest to consult about the calamity which had befallen the boys but the answer which came from the tree was so scary. It was the first time people spied on the sacred tree so the secrets were not to be revealed. The boys remained mute.

“How could you have done such an abominable thing?” their father quaked in anger.

“Go easy on your boys,it’s every child’s curiosity to disobey the laws”, replied the other elder consoling.

“It’s good it has happened to them than befalling the whole village, how was I going to apologise to everyone”,said the father of the boys shedding tears.

The next morning the Oracle priest brought damning news which brought the knees of every villagers down. The boys were to be offered as sacrifice to the tree for the abominable act to undermine the powers of the gods of the land. The boys hadn’t said a word in two full moon nor their wounds heal. The parents of the boys were left devastated by the acts of their children and had to be left childless in their old age.

When it was peach dark the priest came with village warriors clad in leaves and bit some twigs on their mouth and took the boys to the tree where the priest presented the sacrifice. They were not killed but left there to be dealt by the tree. The whole village was struck dumb by the size of punishment in disobedience to the sacred tree rules.

The next morning the priest brought the clothes of the boys but had no blood covered to show death. Several moons passed everyone had forgotten about the boys who were sacrificed at the tree only memories. The tree had something which no one knew about, forgiveness.

One afternoon while villagers were busy with their chores the boys appeared by the direction of the tree and everyone got surprised and some hid themselves in their huts popping throw window holes but the boys meant no harm. The memory of what transpired during the night they were struck by the wounds had gone, they couldn’t remember anything only their names.

The next day the Oracle priest was sent to consult about the development and he brought them the rules which were to be followed by everyone in the village ,failure to abide ,the village would be struck by wounds which won’t heal until the tree feels to forgive. No children and women were allowed near the tree and the only people who were allowed to seek help on behalf of the people was the Chief and the Oracle priest. And so it was for the next generation.

********”

HOUSE ON FIRE

“Finias is going to kill you over his wife”, warned Mpule ,sitting on a stool holding his chin like a sick King.

“Hold your mouth Mpule , I thought you’re a good friend that’s why I told you the secret”, replied Bandera running his eyes round the compound for eavesdroppers.

Bandera was a good friend of Finias,a close neighbour and friend. Finias had a daughter almost the same age as Bandera’s but her wife passed on after struggling with breast cancer for a long period of time.

Finias couldn’t bear staying alone , he married a young lady from a neighbouring village, she was much older than his daughter and they bonded well , Ntokozo treated Marita well and Finias’s home was peaceful.

Ntokozo being knew to the village had to fend off young men who tried to corner her mind while she was out on errands. Finias always warned his friends to stay away from his wife and mind their own homes.

“My friends,I will snap someone’s neck if I catch him with my wife”, warned Finias while they were at the borehole fixing the fence.

“Well the man means his word though it wouldn’t be wise to sneak into your friend’s compound to flirt while your cows are waiting home”,added Mpule looking at Bandera.

“Watch it there Mpule, you wouldn’t refer our wives as cows”, objected Bandera.

“Especially Handisha, how could you give hard time breeding all those kids, she has lost her youthful body nursing kids”, added another from the group.

“Well I paid for my services, I have to breed as much as I want”, replied Handisha giggling.

Bandera had it in mind to court his friend’s wife even though he was threatened to be castrated if caught. Ntokozo was beautiful with light skin and she used to pimp her skin with ointments her husband brought from town. Finias had an uncle who owned a large shop which sold a variety of goods and Finias was often summoned at times to assist in stock taking and other task needed so he would stay for a month or more.

Bandera took advantage to reach out to Finias’s wife when he was out. Marita spent much of the time at school. Finias would use another way which passed behind his fields avoiding his wife’s watchful eyes at the main gate. She didn’t suspect anything about her husband , he was a well behaved man but the beauty of Finias’s wife was never to be ignored.

“Hello,is anyone home”, greeted Bandera flinging his walking stuff on his shoulders.

“Come in,the gate is wide open”, replied Ntokozo coming out of the kitchen holding a bucket of flying ants she was sorting out.

“Oh what a bounty of relish you’ve there”, said Bandera smiling.

“These are my favorite, my husband bought them last time he went to town”, replied Ntokozo blowing air to disperse feathers in the bucket.

“You shouldn’t be eating such , your beauty must be treated with bush meat without diseases uh”, said Bandera pulling the stool closer to Ntokozo.

“Ouch!! what has my natural appearance has to do with food?” replied Ntokozo surprised by the expression of Bandera’s words.

“One day I will bring you bush meat, you’ll never look at those ants twice I bet you”, said Bandera standing to go after he heard voices approaching Finias’s home.

Bandera was an experienced hunter compared to Finias who was more to books than village errands. He retired in the office of the District Administrator and become a Chief’s spokesperson. Bandera didn’t well at school during his youthful days, he grew up hunting with his late father. His hunting skills were so good that he was always chosen to kill a buffalo during ceremonial festivities.

Bandera persisted in courting his friend’s wife and Marita wasn’t all aware because she spent most of her time at school and when Bandera came to pay a visit he acted as a normal visitor. All this was done in Finias’s absence but Bandera’s friend Mpule who stayed adjacent Finias’s home couldn’t miss anything.

Bandera’s persistence worked perfectly after Ntokozo agreed to his ceaseless courting but she had to do without Marita’s notice. The innocent girl did not suspect anything because he used to help her split fire wood and she asked him to come often help them split wood. The girl didn’t know that’s all he wanted.

Bandera’s wife cautioned her husband about the ceaseless homage he paid Finias’s wife while he was out but hardly visits when he was around, he had answers to all suspicions.

“I have seen you lately that you seldom visit Finias when he is home but frequent visits when he’s not around, I hope I am not going to fight sooner that I thought”, warned Bandera’s wife.

“How could you brew such thoughts, I normally passby just to say hello once or twice”, replied Bandera with a tone of guilty.

“Splitting wood is a hello too? I do split on my own while you sit under your shade there, why don’t you say hello to me too by splitting that wood you brought yesterday night?” asked his wife with an angry voice.

“I am sorry though I didn’t say I won’t split it”, apologized Bandera.

Mpule warned his friend about their friend’s wife but Bandera insisted he had nothing to do with Ntokozo,he was just helping his daughter split firewood . Mpule wasn’t satisfied and found a plan to sneak and eavesdrop Bandera when he goes to visit Ntokozo.

More days passed while Bandera flirted with Ntokozo until one day Marita nearly found them in the kitchen while she went to collect a bucket to fetch water at the borehole. The two were in arms but the moment they heard the girl humming a song they pretended to be patching grass on the roof of the kitchen. Bandera was forced to remove a small bunch of grass just to pretend he was fixing.

While all this happened, Mpule was just by the fence opposite Finias’s kitchen but couldn’t be seen easily because of the trees and shrubs which were covered his hideout. Mpule couldn’t wait before it goes worse , he went to Kazungula’s home who had a phone and asked to make a call to one of his friends in town yet it was Finias.

“Hello Fini!!” as he affectionately called him” The house is on fire, your treasured asset has been compromised”,said Mpule hanging the phone. He did all that whispering but Kazungula was in the next room and heard all and asked Mpule about the issue , he had no choice by to tell him and assured him to keep it to himself until everything had been solved.

Finias came raged by the news he got from Mpule and confronted Bandera who refused the allegations and branded them false. Finias told him everything in detail which always transpired while he was out in town and for one to be told of all he had been doing there was no room to object because everything was precisely true but Bandera held his ground.

Bandera was furious over his friend Mpule for poking into other people’s business.

“Oh yeah is that people’s business ripping apart your friend’s home”, objected Mpule.

“Leave me alone,if you’re man enough why didn’t you see what I saw”, insisted Bandera.

“You’re boasting over that, one day he will castrate you, I can’t be a friend to a person who has no respect over his friend’s property”, said Mpule angrily and left .

Finias returned to town the following week but before he went out , he engaged his friends Mpule and Kazungula to keep an eye for him and inform him the moment everything goes wrong. Bandera behaved for a couple of weeks and all seemed to have calmed down, he resumed his outing. Ntokozo wasn’t confronted about the issue but she suspected fowl, her husband didn’t want to hint her about what he found while he was out. It was a gentleman’s meeting held in secret.

The moment Bandera thought Finias was satisfied by his refusal of the allegations was when he stayed three more months than he always did. The schools were closed and Marita had gone to visit her grandmother in the nearby village , so it was easy for Bandera to sneak in the afternoon but Mpule and Kazungula had been following the proceeding until one dreadful day.

The clouds had hanged dangerously low and heavy rains were building for the summer. Everyone in the village ran about for shelter scared of the sound of the lighting splitting the sky with sparks.Bandera picked his axe and told his wife he had to run and bring the wood he left by the edge of the river , it might be washed away instead he went to Finias’s home. Mpule and Kazungula saw him entering the compound and then the rains fell heavily for a long time continuously.

Mpule with the help of Kazungula’s phone ,they phoned Finias to booked a taxi and prompt home,the rat had been trapped. Without hesitation Finias drove home in an hour because the town wasn’t far and the village was close to the main tarmac road. Upon arrival Finias parked the taxi driver few meters from his compound and the people inside couldn’t hear because of the heavy rains knocking hard on steel sheets.

Finias sat outside of his house until the rains stopped. He went round his house and waved Mpule, Kazungula and told them to pick Bandera’s wife to come and witness the infidelity of his wife and Bandera’s. After they all came, Finias summoned the taxi driver to come closer his house, Ntokozo heard the car while they were inside, she told Bandera to go but it was too late , Bandera was quick to come out of the house but stumbled against a wall of eager faced men with his shoes held tight in his hand and the stuff to his left.

“Hoooo hold your horses !! where are you coming from?” inquired Finias signalling like a traffic officer.

” I had forgot my axe so I… I was. … ” Bandera stammered looking at his wife who held a stick in her hand.

“Finias can you give me the opportunity to be the first to land my anger on him?”begged Bandera’s wife andulating her chest in anger.

“Wait a moment , you’ll have him to your mercy” ,replied Mpule spitting his clenched fists.

“I told you that I will find out and you refused”,said Finias pummeling him and Bandera’s wife joined in kicking her husband.

Bandera was beaten by everyone present at the compound, exchanging themselves to strike his backside with whips, he was told to apologise to his wife and Finias. Ntokozo was in the house sobbing waiting for her turn to be disciplined by her husband.

He was sent to the Chief’s court ,charged and paid fine for marriage interference and he was told not to go near Finias’s home again. Ntokozo nearly got sent out of the marriage by her husband but village elder women pleaded for her and promised to settle her down with custom laws.

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ILLEGITIMATE PRINCE

King Bubba had two sons and three daughters with Queen Zima. The King loved his children equally but he had a different affection to one of his sons, Drogo,his physique and behavior in nature was way different to his siblings, nevertheless the King was impressed by his commitment and obedience.

He would ask his wife about the resemblance of Drogo to one of his palace guard and she would blush the questions by praising his agility and ability to breed strong and different offprings yet inwardly she knew he wasn’t his.

“The way Drogo resembles Kananga surprises me”, The King would joke with his wife.

“My King!! My World!! The Unifier!! Nothing is impossible with you”, replied the slender bodied Queen.

“You know his work ethics is so different to his brother, I am impressed though”,replied the King looking at the picture frame hanged on the hall.

Long ago when King Bubba married Queen Zima, they had stayed for sometime without kids and that prompted his advisers and family members to seek help for the King. Prominent priests were summoned to give help and consult about his virility.

Consultations were made and the priests agreed to take the King to processional mountains to inquire from the ancestral gods. He left with a few warriors and his advisers but he left his chief security guard Kananga, to protect the Queen and help her in other inquiries needed.

Queen Zima, beaming with youthful beauty, she was the second born princess to King Jadda of the Jadala Kingdom.She was bethrothed by Bubba after they had met in cultural ceremony held every year by close Kingdoms to celebrate new seasons.

Kananga was very close to his King and Queen ,they could ask for his opinions on some matters so it was easy for him to enter private cottages without any suspicions and that would lead to a mistake which enlightened the Kingdom from it’s miseries but would’ve it’s consequences in future.

Kananga and the Queen had a secret affair while the King was out to seek productivity. No one suspected the two having an affair considering how Kananga’s ugliness wouldn’t match the King’s handsome features and so people wouldn’t bother Kananga to court beautiful Queen. His muscles were the only weapon he used to lured young ladies and the Queen alike to a mutual understanding.

While the King was still away , Kananga enjoyed the privileges of being a close and trusted security personnel and he passed with a merit when the Queen fell pregnant. That meant death if the King decided to stay for long time and that would mean the pregnancy would eventually be unhidden. The Queen told Kananga about her pregnancy and he felt like burying himself to the ground before anyone noticed the crime he had committed.

“Kananga, you’re about to be a father”, said the Queen smiling.

“What do you mean?”asked Kananga in surprise whether his wife had told her that she is pregnant since they were close after he was appointed the King’s guard.

” I mean this” ,said the Queen pointing her tummy, smiling obliviously to the grave mistake they had committed.

“No one must hear this and you’ve to abort before the King and his seers snif it” ,replied Kananga panting and beaming in perspiration of fear.

Kananga was in state of shock but held his esteem high, he trusted the discretion of the Queen but if anything leaked he assured the Queen that he would hang himself than facing public humiliation.

“Don’t worry I will take care, do not panick , stay focused, we will raise our child in this Kingdom and maybe the King won’t be able to breed,this is enough to cement my stay here” ,assured the Queen.

Luckily, the King and his subjects returned home before everything got worse in Kananga’s life. The King wasn’t suspicious of his trusted guard though precautionary questions were asked around discreetly from other subjects but the two were more careful in their acts and left no trace only but one which meant death if caught, pregnancy.

Drogo was born after the King had returned from the ancestral blessings. The whole Kingdom was overjoyed and he held a celebration for the born of his son after a long drought spell of infertility. In following years he bore his legitimate son and three daughters and the throne had occupiers at last.

More years passed, the children grew into handsome strong young men and beautiful maidens. Kananga had already retired from his position as a guard and became one of the King’s council members. He would ask time to time from the Queen about their son who supposed to be the King’s first son.

One time , Kananga had a quarrel with his wife and they nearly fought but was calmed down by Ntimba, his neighbour. The commotion reached the King’s attention and so he and his wife were summoned to the King’s palace for counseling. It happened that the Queen was on the defensive side of Kananga with a good reason.

“Kananga , you served me well during your time as the chief guard without fault”,coughed the King and continued in a low worried voice, ” You should be leading by example not this you’re doing”,concluded the King.

” I apologise your Grace, it was a matter of misunderstanding”, apologized Kananga.

“What really transpired Kananga?” inquired the King.

“It was something simple your Grace, I was scolding her for not washing my council regalia to wear at the council meeting next moon” ,replied Kananga sheepily.

“What kind of a woman who can’t prepare her husband’s belongings until she is pointed at?” injected the Queen with a harsh voice.

“Wait Zima, it hasn’t come to your honourable yet, you’ve women meetings where you supposed to be ironing these issues”,calmed the King.

Ezima, was infuriated by the Queen’s words and she promised herself to find out about her cause of defense to her husband. The King’s sons were being groomed into warriors by their regiment commanders. Yakhule, Kananga’s son was also in the process and he was a month younger than Drogo but they all fell in the same age regiment. The boys resembled each other in body though had different qualities.

Drogo was more tougher and stronger and he excelled in training while Yakhule was an average boy maybe Kananga’s youthful virility was more concentrated on the first son Drogo since Kananga married later than the King and flirted with the King’s wife before his wife conceived.

The regiment commanders often called them the twins due to their resemblance. The King didn’t put much into consideration but his instincts were correct about his first son’s resemblance to Kananga. It was remaind to be seen.

Ezima paid a secret visit to the Oracle priest and asked about her husband’s previous relationships and possibly if he had sons from other women from within the Kingdom. She wasn’t surprised after being told Kananga was the father of Drogon. The Queen often paid them visit to ask about their health and held some meetings with Kananga and covering it that she was suspecting her husband , the King of having an affair with palace maidens yet she was blinding her of their affair.

Ezima kept the news to herself and observed the Queen’s reactions to Kananga and on any other errands given to Kananga on behalf of the King. The time to annoint the heir to the throne of the Kingdom had been placed. The boys had gone already to the initiation process and so they were due to come in the following week for their finally anointing.

“Do you think , Drogo is more to the King than his younger brother Dracula?” asked Ezima while peeling potatoes.

“What do you mean?” jumped Kananga surprised by the accuracy of his wife’s question.

“I don’t see Drogo act more like the King than how his brother does,he resembles our son as if they’re twins”, chuckled Ezima trying to force her husband to spill the beans but he wasn’t ready to spill too.

“I see the point you’re driving in, does resemblance have to do with anything?”replied Kananga not giving in to suspicions by his wife.

The annointing day came too early for Ezima who wanted to ask more about the Queen’s affair with her husband but she later left it to the priest to vindicate her during the initiation process. The King’s subjects were all present and other Kingdom emissaries invited to witness the annointing process.

Drummers and masqueraders were clad in similar traditional regalia. Flute blowers and tambourine clappers filled the air with different tunes sparking a joyous mood among the gathered lot. Wrestlers were called upon to give their taste of sport. It was all good and drums of opaque brewed beer were filled to the brim, Drunkards dipped the calabash like kingfisher birds diving for fish in a shallow pond. The noise came to a stand still after the King raised his stuff to greet his subjects and honoured guest present at the ceremony.

“Good people of Bema Kingdom and invited guest , let this ceremony binds us in good health,happiness and infinity friendship. You’re all gathered here to witness the annointing of the my heir to the throne of Bema Kingdom, may the gods of our land bless you all”,concluded the King and sat on his throne.

The process included the Kingdom warriors in same age regiment with heir in a long queue skipping the fire which the Oracle priest had put to choose the rightful heir by the gods of the land. The priest screamed in a sharp voice when Drogo , the supposed heir skipped the fire but when Dracula passed the flame of the fire rose high in blue flames responding to the chosen heir by the gods of the land.

“By the powers of the Oracle of our gods vested upon me I present you the Heir to the Throne of Bema Kingdom, Dracula”,said the Priest incarnating in native language handing the Shield and Spear to the young man who was puzzled by the change of proceeding.

The priest stood up after all the boys were lined up to be given their Shields and Spears which symbolized the allegiance to the King and Kingdom. There was a special Shield and Spear which was given to the heir to the throne before the actual King died. The Shield and Spear was handed over to Dracula but that sparked confusion among the people and the King too. They all thought it was Drogo the elder son but the gods saw otherwise.

“What is the meaning of this?” quaked the King looking at his wife and the priest in quick glimpse like a poker player weighing the possible winning shot.

The Queen froze in her chair like a guinea fowl surrounded by hungry monitor lizards while Kananga had seen the series of concealed secret affairs unfolding in a glimpse of an eye. He just froze not even participating in the murmuring with his other council members about change of events. Ezima was quick to look at the Queen and her husband who were all frozen in unison statues, finally she confirmed the affair.

“I gave the proper proceedings as instructed by the gods of this land,Drogo doesn’t flow with your blood in his veins, confide with your wife”,said the priest and left incarnating in native language.

The jovial ceremony came to an abrupt shame and the people and invited dignatories left in surprise after what had transpired at the annointing coronation.

Kananga was later summoned to the King’s palace and charged with marriage interference and treason to undermining the King’s ability to breed. He was barnished from the Kingdom but his wife left behind to stay with her son and her daughter.

The Queen was stripped off all the privileges and chased from the palace to stay with common people in the same Kingdom.The King later remarried and had sons and daughters with the second wife. Drogo was drafted in the army as the commander of the army because of his humility and obedience to the King. Dracula was sorry for his brother and he consoled and supported his brother during his hard time.

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NEGLECTED DAUGHTER

“Papa why do you subject me to this treatment as if I am not your daughter?” asked Sela holding her cheeks in tears.

“As along as you are my daughter I will scold and mould you to what I want you to be”, replied Ndoongo moulding a lump of pap in his palm gesturing how he would treat his daughters.

“Silu yesterday came late from the borehole but you didn’t scold her”, objected Sela.

“Why didn’t you tell me, I will wait for her just keep your calm”, replied Ndoongo.

Silu and Sela were twin sisters born to Ndoongo and his wife Maaka. He was seriously circumspective of his daughters against being courted by the village boys. The sisters lived in harmony until they grew into adolescence when their father warned against having boyfriends at a tender age.

Silu was slim and much taller than her chubby sister, Sela who took resemblance from her mother while Silu took from her lanky father maybe that is the reason enough he chose to take sides with her often.

The girls were industrious workers and they could do boys duties, herding a sizeable herd of their father’s cattle since he had no son just girls. He could go cultivating with them and at times he split them to look after livestocks or do home chores.

It was in the division of task which open doors for the twin sisters to find their spouses but it wasn’t all well with their father who fought tooth and nail to thwart their moves but it was too late for girls in love. Twins might resemble in structure or facial expressions but choices differ to what they desire.

While Sela took care of her father’s livestocks, she met a young man who confessed to marrying her but she doubted the appearance of the young man. He wore clothes of medium quality with a descent torso of a man who had decades of repeated hard labour but didn’t give away his agile youthfulness. After a brief outline of his life and ambitions it changed her heart.

The young man, Peturo , was a carpenter by trade. He lived in the next village but had found difficulties marrying the ladies from his village, they were not interested in his type of work,it wasn’t that he couldn’t pay for the dowry but they chose to be married by town folks who drove cars and live in clean houses unlike cleaning carpentry dust off their feet for the rest of their lives with him. He kept his faith and hope to find a wife to marry one day.

Sela had trust in her sister to share her secret about the young man he found while tending to livestocks in the nearby grazing fields. Silu, the father’s favorite told him about her sister’s found love.

“Sela, your sister told me about the man who wants to marry you”,said her father, separating seedlings in a bucket to plant in the garden.

” Ah Papa , I didn’t tell her anything”, rejected Sela , looking at her sister with forced wrinkles on her soft face.

“My daughter, your father isn’t fighting you, just tell him so that he can sit down with that man and see the way forward”, interrupted her mother.

The words brought easiness in her soul though she was scared of her father, his silence wasn’t to be ignored.

“My silence doesn’t mean I am siding with your mother, I have an obligation to decline or accept anything which involves my family”, said Ndoongo,puffing the cigarette he had stuck on the corner of his mouth.

Days passed by while Sela and the young man met and discussed about their future and of course their challenges they would’ve have to overcome to be together. Finally, Peturo came with his clansmen to ask for a hand in Sela’s marriage.Ndoongo had to calm himself down and learn more about what the visiting delegation brought him that would satisfy him to hand over his daughter for marriage.

“I welcome you all to my home”, said Ndoongo knocking the stuff a little to the ground.

“We thank you for your humble reception, we are here on behalf of our son , Peturo, he found his missing rib in your home”,said the Kayumba the elder clansman.

“A rib in my home? It’s alright, show me the young man who came all the way to find his rib in my home”, said Ndoongo not hiding his displeasure to the men who looked a little like drunkards.

“Here he is”, pointed Kayumba and continued, “He is a carpenter by trade, we don’t think lobola will be a problem to pay, he as is own resources”,said Kayumba smilling.

“Sela , do you know this man?” asked Ndoongo looking at his daughter with eyes to scare her off.

“Yes Papa, I know him”, replied Sela hiding her face behind her mother’s back.

“Yes papa papa!! speak up so that I hear you clearly”, exclaimed Ndoongo then turned to his wife and asked for her opinion.

“Well , you’re her father and your daughter agreed to marry him, your word is more than mine”, opinioned Maaka.

“Just say yes!! Don’t lecture me about my responsibilities”, replied Ndoongo and he turned to his visitors and promised to settle the matter in coming days.

“Well I will sit down with my wife and my daughter to decide when you will come to marry your wife since she confessed to have known the person who sneaked behind my back and found a rib”, concluded Ndoongo giggling and the delegation left in high spirit.

Ndoongo felt let down by her daughter and his wife to consent to such a low looking men to marry his daughter. He wasn’t in support of his daughter’s marriage.

“Sela am not old yet for you to connive with your boyfriend to curve a coffin for me, I am still able”,said Ndoongo objecting to the marriage proposal.

“My husband, how can you possibly bless your daughter with such words”, injected his wife worriedly.

“Uh-huh Maaka spare me your honourable gestures,what will that feed you with or dress you?” echoed Ndoongo.

“I can tell by the look of the shoes,that man Sela will starve you to death”, said Silu who had been quiet over the whole proceeding.

“Shut up you twig , we will see what baboon you’ll bring to our father”, replied Sela infuriated.

“Silu, learn to respect sister , you must be siding with her in these times”, cautioned her mother in defense of Sela.

Sela was married later on but all were not rosy but she clang to her husband just hoping one day her husband would find a proper project to supply his carpentry finished products. She often came to her father to ask for some money but she always met tantrums though he helped at last.

Her sister Silu was married by a chauffeur who found her selling her father’s vegetables at the market square when he was driving his boss for a meeting. The man had a fleet of cars and a big house which had several rooms and one was reserved for Ndoongo who visited repeatedly but he never disclosed that he was just a driver and stayed in his boss’s house.He told his in-laws that he owned the house and Ndoongo never sat foot at Sela’s home only his wife who went to check her on separate occasions.

“Why papa do this to me,his daughter?” Sela always asked her mother for her father’s actions to disown her in such a manner just because her sister married a rich man.

It went by Ndoongo shunned his daughter but lucky befell Peturo who got a tender to supply tables and chairs to a newly built school. His wife told him about the contract their in-law had won and Ndoongo was quick to pay his first visit uninvited , it seemed he smelt where there was a lot of money.

“Now I choose where I want to dine , my daughters have made me into a man no one dared to look in this village”, Ndoongo would say when he came from paying homage to one of his daughters.

Silu’s happiness was short-lived after her husband hired people to kill his boss and convert all the assets to himself. He had been living in one of his boss’s house across two streets. He hadn’t told his wife about the ownership of the property. She didn’t have time to ask a lot of questions just splashed herself in unknown luxuries.

Max was arrested and charged with life in prisonment, and Silu was driven away from the house by the deceased’s family and had to go back and stay with her father in the village. On the other hand , Sela’s husband had made a fortune with the project and he came to visit often. He agreed with his wife and his in-laws to take Silu and his two kids to stay with them and find them work in town.

Ndoongo was ashamed and failed himself to love his daughters equally,he apologized to the ill-treatment and neglection he subjected his daughter after she got married by a man he thought had nothing to offer. He had love for money than the happiness of his daughters.

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.

LAND FIASCO

“Malinso ,I told you last time that the land you are mortgaging you will need it”, said Ndaba pointing the direction of what was Malinso’s land.

“Ndaba eat your liver I have a contingency plan over that land”, said Malinso wearing a smile on his face.

“Do you think Nzelu will just let you have a pep talk or fall prey to that contingency plan you have?” inquired Ndaba holding his knee by both hands.

“Nzelu won’t pay, he doesn’t have any money just wait for my plan”, emphasized Malinso gesturing his hand like a Chief addressing subjects.

Malinso had mortgaged land to Nzelu after he failed to pay for his outstanding lobola balance. His in-laws were on his heels everyday of his life even though he had two children and more so,he wedded but couldn’t pay the remaining lobola balance.

Nzelu wasn’t a man who just sat on his laurels but an industrious man capable of fending for his family despite ups and downs he normally get caught up. The land he was mortgaged ,had rich soils good for legumes which his wife harvested good yields every year.

Lilanji, Nzelu’s wife, a hard worker too but she knew her husband wouldn’t finish paying for the land and that could lead them to consequences with Malinso. She had a good hand in the fields , the crops she planted yielded good harvest which she sold at the market place.

“I don’t trust the deal you made with Malinso”, Lilanji reminded her husband who always turned a blind eye to the situation.

“You’re always worried, just keep calm, I will settle the balance soon”,replied Nzelu, trying to comfort his wife.

“Just look how it took you to pay the remaining bride price”,said Lilanji, lowering her head to show respect though she knew , she wasn’t supposed to bring the story.

“Look, I can retain you to your parents and collect my money and settle the land, is that what you want?” fumed Nzelu, tossing a cup of water against the wall.

“I apologise my husband, I am concerned as you’re about the situation, we have to come with a plan to raise money before Malinso come knocking at our door”, stressed Lilanji.

Nzelu just stood up from his chair and stormed out of the hut with an axe on his shoulder, grumbling to himself like a defeated bull bellowing in the bushes. He wasn’t a kind of man who beats his wife or child but he resorted to desert the place to calm himself down instead of fighting.

Malinso, a retired secretary of the DA during colonial era , had learned tactics on how to cheat people over their belongings. He had a bad reputation against his fellow villagers. They didn’t second his ideas in village council meetings afraid to be outwitted like he used to do during colonial era.

“You know this man wasn’t on our side during those painful years”, said one member from the gathering at the Chief’s compound.

“Maybe he has already planned on how to swindle us again”, replied the other.

The village Chief, always had to defend him, as they were accomplices to during the colonial era. The Chief had vast hectares of land and some tractors and other farming equipment he was given during his services as the overseer for the colonial settlers but the villagers had nothing left in their name only painful memories of land seizure.

Malinso was given some of the land which the settlers had seized from the villagers but they couldn’t retain them since he had a title deed over the land. The villagers weren’t happy about the development.

Years passed by while Nzelu and his wife , yielded good harvest and sold their produce at the market. Nzelu managed to purchase an ox drawn cart he used to ferry his produce to the market place though in watchful eye of Malinso, the route to the market passed few meters from his compound and it wouldn’t go unnoticed.

“Ndaba, have you seen Nzelu bought an ox drawn cart but he can’t settle my arrears”,said Malinso plucking a chunk of meat between his long protruding teeth.

“I don’t have any say on this matter, didn’t you say you have a contingency plan?” asked Ndaba forcing a cracked laughter.

“How didn’t I realize that land was so productive?” he quizzed himself knocking a bottle of snuff on his head.

“How could you have noticed while you didn’t plough it, you were paying homage to your comrade Chief and planning h and when to swindle people of their land again”, replied Ndaba.

“Come off it Ndaba, that was a long ago,let me focus on how I can reclaim my land back”, said Malinso leaning against the armchair.

Malinso was jealous of the produce Nzelu was harvesting, he thought he had given him a portion of unproductive land like he used to do long ago. Nzelu had cut down the trees and burnt them and prepared it for his crops. He fenced it with the trees he fell down such that no cattle could break in.

It was in the winter when all the crops where harvested, that Nzelu started to prepare the land for the next rains but he hadn’t paid a half or quarter of the remaining balance. Malinso waited for him to fully prepare the land so that he could reclaim it and the money if it came to such circumstances.

Nzelu continued with his field work as if he owed no one a dime and the worst part is he didn’t even ask for sometime from the leaser to look for the balance while he worked on the farm but kept working as if he had already settled it.

One afternoon when Nzelu , had came from the field,he found Malinso waiting, seated under the red ivory tree puffing a stab of tobacco. He knew perfectly well that the colonial puppet had came to claim his balance and judging by the way he dressed,he was ready to go to town after receiving his dues.

Dressed in an old colonial khaki suit with short arms and twin huge pockets bulged with cigarettes, a lighter and handkerchief to wipe sweat. He wore short pants and brown shoes and brown socks matching like a school kid. He covered his baldhead with a Vietnamese type of hat with traps hanging around his cheeks like a world war one soldier in trench warfare and a walking stuff polished and shinning.

“Good afternoon Malinso,this that you’re are dressed like a colonial headmaster,is everything ok?”inquired Nzelu knowing too well that he came for his money.

“I just thought to wear my old attire, it had been long”, replied Malinso with a face of an offended person.

Nzelu brought a calabash of beer he had left yesterday night to drink with his guest while they wait to chew up the story his guest had brought, Malinso had a tendency of throwing his mouth carelessly when he was drunk and so he thought it would help him fire all cylinders if need be at Nzelu. He broke the silence.

“Nzelu , I thought it has been a while since we talked about the issue at hand, you haven’t come to lighten me up on your progress”, said Malinso picking a calabash and gulping mouthfuls of beer.

“Well I was scheduled to come and see you tomorrow since you’ve I will just relate it to you”, replied Nzelu with a sour face of condemnation.

“So you mean you’re settling me at the moment, I guess today I might go to town”, said Malinso looking gleeful like a creamy milky goat.

“Not in that sense Malinso, I wanted to tell you that I will complete the balance after the next harvest, that’s when I’ll have the money”,replied Nzelu bitting his lower lip expecting a retaliation and so it came blazing.

Malinso stood up from the chair dropping his stuff and spilling the drenches of beer in the calabash. He held his waist gluing his eyes on Nzelu like a thief sizing the goods he risked stealing, he was fumed but couldn’t utter words only the ceaseless knock of his brown right shoe on the hard ground symbolized rage. At last he tore into Nzelu with a series of questions.

“Nzelu how many times have you harvested in that land? Do you mean you don’t keep any money from your previous sales? Where did you get the money to purchase the ox drawn cart ? Do you take me for a fool and how do you suppose I feed my family and ….. ,He was cut short by the presence of Nzelu’s wife coming from the kitchen.

“Afternoon Malinso?” she greeted him but he didn’t respond prompting her husband to scold her off .

“Lilanji, this is not good time for your greetings, just go wherever you want to,will you?” quaked Nzelu .

“I have made my mind Nzelu, am taking my land back, if there is something you planted forget I am consficating everything”,said Malinso,his eyes red like an angry dog.

“Malinso you can’t do this to me, I will pay your money in time give me few days”, begged Nzelu bending his head like a kid who had been left out from a tour trip.

“No no Nzelu , seven moons have passed without saying a word, the Chief must hear this”, said Malinso leaving grumbling alone and quickening his steps as if he had missed the first bus to town.

Malinso had trust in his old friend, the Chief so he sent a summon to Nzelu to help solve the land issue. There was a sizeable gathering at the court meeting but the majority knew the odds favoured Malinso and there was nothing Nzelu could do unless he had his own ways to twart the formidable duo.

” I understand Nzelu you owe Malinso a balance of the land settlement , how do you plead”, said the Chief combing his long beard with fingertips.

” I do owe him the balance but I told him that I will settle him soon”, replied Nzelu with a voice void of confidence.

“Chief , Nzelu here promised to pay me after the next harvest, that’s far, how many harvest had he harvested before to settle me in the next?” quaked Malinso with a question.

” Stop supervising his produce , he will give you when he has it”, said one voice which appeared to defend Nzelu.

“Since he has told you that he will pay , why won’t you wait to be cleared off your balance”, injected another.

“Elders are you here to help your colleagues or you just want to start a fight” ,calmed the Chief.

“Chief my friend here wants to claim the land which I had already planted my yams, I told him to wait until harvest of yams but ….., He was cut short by Malinso before he couldn’t finish.

“No that cannot be, I will refund him his money and claim my land back” ,said Malinso fuming.

The argument went on for several hours but was later concluded by Nzelu surrendering his ox drawn cart as collateral until he cleared his balance and Malinso was to stay away from the field until Nzelu finished harvesting.

Later on after Nzelu had harvested, they all went to the Chief to clear the balance in writing and witness were presented as signatories. The feud over the landed was settled amicably.

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OH MY MONEY!!

“Dori where is my money I left in my cigarette bowl?” asked Gora half drunk.

“Why do you always lose your money when you’re drunk?” inquired his wife with a harsh tone.

“Why would I lose it in my house where there are people,how is that so?” asked Gora retuning the question.

The couple had been on loggerheads for a long time because of the mysterious disappearance of the husband’s money each time he returned from drinking. The wife wasn’t a person who could use the money without her husband’s approval due to his strict expenditure rules.

Dori was personally convinced that her husband was giving money to street ladies at night in shebeens and accuse her of stealing it. One time a lady had come to collect money from Gora though it was for the fish he had brought the previous night but didn’t tell his wife that he bought it on credit and the lady was due to collect the money next morning.

“Hello is anyone home?” asked the lady entering the compound.

“The gate is opened,come in”, replied Tindo,Gora’s son

“Is your father home?” asked the lady.

Dori was in the kitchen when she overheard someone asking about her husband. She couldn’t wait to confront the lady, huffing from the kitchen,the chubby lady popped from the small kitchen adjacent the gate, she tied her rappers in case a brawl could build from the conversation but it was a different case.

“Who is asking for my husband?” asked Dori expecting a confront.

“Morning mum,I am the one who sold your husband the fish yesterday so he told me to collect the money today”, said the lady as if she was vindicating herself after seeing Doris’s preparedness.

Few minutes ,Gora appeared ,yawning like a big baboon after a good nap. He hesitatently looked at his wife who was brandishing a knive she had been using to scrap the fish. The air of reception from Dori was cool though the serenity of the conversation had Gora pondering maybe his wife had threatened the honest visitor.

“You came early,I was still sleeping”, apologized Gora fishing money from his pocket and handing the lady.

The lady left in peace but she didn’t fully understood the relationship between the couple in the manner they acted in her presence. Each and every home has its own issues which need no one to understand let alone the owners solve their queries on their own.

Gora, his wife and their son Tindo lived in roundaval huts which he had built neatly using strong indegenious trees. His bedroom was built with pan bricks and the roof was neatly thatched with long grass and that brought rats in the house. His son’s hut was built close to a cattle kraal and the huts where enclosed in log fenced yard cordoning from disturbing livestocks.

Like all village homes,rats and other bush rodents and lizard of different types are a menace in their way of foraging for food and shelter.The grass provided comfy shelter for rats which dug in the thatched roof or find holes in rafters to shelter and breed. The rodents normally forage on absence of people avoiding to be killed and that’s the perfect time they pick anything ,food crumbs, piece of clothes,fowl feathers to stash in holes.

Gora was wondering all the time when he was home ,his money didn’t miss or his son and wife to ask to use for their personal use ,only when he was drunk that is when he lost his money. At times he thought his friends might be pickpocketing him at drinking sprees.

“Hey Gunda, I have something troubling me everytime I am drunk”,said Gora pausing.

“Gora , you’re always the grumbling one,what tragedy do you have today?”asked Mafu, rolling a cigarette.

“I always lose money whenever I come from drinking,I don’t know whether I drop on my way home or someone normally pounce on me”, said Gora bending his head trying to figure the scenarios.

“From today onwards I will be following you,who knows I might hit a jackpot when you fall”, joked Sizinda, passing the calabash around.

The men joked and shared opinions on how his friend might be losing his money but it wasn’t connecting well because Gora always counted the money before he slept.His thought came to his son ,who was in lower grade ,like all children they ask for money to spend at school but he never asked for money to use at school. At last he thought he had struck the answer but it wasn’t concrete enough.

One day he came home from a council meeting with the village Chief so he passed by the shebeen where he drank always and after drinking a few calabashes with his clansmen he went home with some change he left. Upon reaching ,his wife confronted about the money he normally accuse them of stealing whether he had left some and so he did. He put the money in a cigarette bowl when he slept and surprisingly he found the money intact the next morning.

His wife was offended by the accusation because the money hadn’t disappeared,it was when they were arguing each other outside that the rats took advantage to climb down and ate the food crumbs he dropped last night and dragged a twenty dollar note from the cigarette bowl to stash in the hole.

Coincidentally,Tindo was sent to collect the plates in the bedroom,he saw the money but didn’t know the amount which was in the bowl and he prepared for school and left with his colleagues.Gora later checked his money and found a twenty dollar note missing from the bowl,he knew his son took it after he was sent to collect the plates.

“Good Lord, now I know who steal my money”, said Gora chuckling.

His wife looked at her husband not knowing the money was missing already though they woke up while it was intact but his husband had known the villain.

“Are we going to spend the whole day talking about your mysterious money?” queried Dori.

“Your son stole my money the moment you told him to collect the plates”, said Gora counting the remaining notes.

“Is this a joke or you just want to find excuse to beat your son ,Tindo wouldn’t take money without asking” ,said Dori preparing fire.

“Count this money, yesterday there was hundred dollars in twenty dollar notes but now it’s twenty dollar short,here”, said Gora handing the money to his wife.

“This can’t be,I will ask him when he returns from school”, replied Dori concerned,she knew Tindo wasn’t a boy who was fond of stealing.

The innocent boy came home in jovial mood after he came first in his mid term examination but his happy moments were cut short. Before he could hand his father the examination report,he was met by harsh tone he hasn’t heard from his father.

“Sit down here,you might have stolen someone’s exam papers,how would I know”, said his father snatching the paper.

“No father ,you know me well I wouldn’t steal anyone’s paper”, replied the boy oblivious of the incoming accusation.

“Give me the money you took in the morning before you left for school?” asked his father stretching his hand to the boy.

“I didn’t take any money,Mom which money is father saying I took?” resisted the boy with tears building in his eyes.

“Tindo,your father’s money is missing,when I told you to collect the plates , did you take the money?”asked his mother with a low tone.

“Let him answer for himself,just cook your food there”, said Gora with a harsh voice.

“I just took the plates…… , Before the boy could finish his explanation,his father flogged him on his head several times before he broke free. His wife was angry and ran towards his husband to free his son but was met by a hard blow on her nose and bled instantly. Dori picked herself up and grabbed her husband by the shirt ripping it into halves,a short fight of claps,kicks and shouting was later calmed off by the neighbours.

The family went into a total shutdown,no one talked to each other and it went as far as not eating that afternoon since no one could talk to each other least they start another fight. They later reconciled at night when everyone was hungry but the quietness of Mumba family was felt by the neighbours who feared the couple might fight in their room and there could be nothing to do if the door was locked from inside so they decided to go and chat with them for few minutes and emphasized on forgiveness.

Days passed and no one had knowledge of how the money was missing until one day when Gora had finished mending the kraal some of the logs were rotting out. He went inside his bedroom and tried to nap when rats fighting inside the thatch fell pieces of money on the bed ,Gora ignored the flying pieces and cursed his inability to buy asbestos to roof his hut.It was after the rats dropped a half torn twenty dollar note,he jumped from the bed and looked on the roof and saw a lot more from the rats burrow.

He summoned his son to dig deep in the hole,behold every dollar note he accused his wife and son of stealing was found stashed and torn into pieces by rats, his underwear and wife’s too were found soaked in urine and mud. Gora was ashamed by his behavior to falsely accuse his wife and son for the crime they didn’t do yet the villain roamed his hut day and night while he ignored.

The next day he bought five rat traps and placed them in his bedroom,his son’s and the kitchen .Every rat he caught no matter it was the first time to roam the compound was caught he ate them in revenge for his money he had lost.He ate the rats for almost a month ,since that day he never put the money in the cigarette bowl but gave his wife to secure it for him.

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BASTARD SONS

“Who is that entering Syanyoro’s compound?”asked Bwiizu capping his hand on his face for a better view.

“For goodness sake who has sharper eyes than you?” queried his wife knitting a doll for her grandchild.

“I thought there might be asking for the way to my compound, who knows, I might have found a groom for my daughter”, quizzed Bwiizu.

Bwiizu had a daughter, Nchimunya, slender in built and a hard-working girl. Bwiizu had thought maybe his toughness  with village boys who came to ask for his daughter’s hand had compounded to her losing interest from village folks.

Not far from Bwiizu’s compound in the same village lived a polygamist man, Mulyambeba, he paid all his dowries thanks to the white farmer whom he was working for , he had made him a supervisor , overseeing everything on the farm hence his wages were reasonably good.

Mulyambeba had a number of young girls and boys but his position at work which every folk in village regarded as supreme due to their illiteracy levels gave him an edge to bed young and middle aged ladies around the village and so he had daughters and sons outside marriage.

Mulyambeba had acquired a reasonable wealth from the white farmer due to his commitment and good workmanship with fellow villagers, no one grumbled about ill-treatment but all wished him good health. Bwiizu was part of the farm workers too and he wished for his daughter to be married to one of his supervisor’s sons and enjoy the dowry he could be paid.

One time Mulyambeba was sent by his employer to recruit more workers to work in the farm which had increased in size and productivity due to the oneness and specialisation of labour which made it easy for villagers to grasp quickly to their tasks in the  farm. He found a young lady whom he stayed with while carrying out his recruitment task. The lady conceived and bore him twin boys, Mulyambeba was overjoyed but warned her not to let her wives get wind of the affair but he took care of his sons just like his other children.

Few years passed the bastard sons of Mulyambeba, Choongo and Choolwe grew into handsome young men under the care of their mother, Mutinta, she was taken good care by her husband and the boys never lacked anything during their childhood. The sons were different from their father and had their own way of life but used their father’s name to their advantage. The support ended when they grew up to look for themselves and no one knew about how they survived after their mother was married away by a distant visitor after splitting with Mulyambeba.

Mulyambeba relocated to town  where he bought a large house for his family and stayed for the rest of his life.Owing to their father’s popularity, the boys earned a living and had girls flocking to them like flies but the boys meant no marriage. They arranged a lot of marriage appointments but couldn’t show up or arrange the bride prices just to  get permission to have their daughters.Villagers didn’t mind asking about their parents escort as they thought they could veto the high dowry prices placed upon their sons.

One afternoon the boys had gone to one home where they had seen a young beautiful girl. The reception was warm as they were known around as sons of the rich man in the village. It didn’t took long to know their reason of homage.

“Good day my sons, what brings such handsome young men to my compound?” asked the girl’s father.

“Afternoon sir, we know it’s not lawful as according to our cultural values to come in person to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage but we thought it’s good to engage ourselves”, said Choongo pulling his gown.

“It’s alright my son, nowadays people take matters into their hands as long as it benefits them”, replied the old man.

The girl was presented to them and arranged to formally come for their wife and pay the dowry. The boys had really nothing into their accounts but all they want was food to live for the next day and their trickery worked without the knowledge of any villagers.

More young men became friends with the brothers with an idea of winning  back into the lives of their separated beloved ones. Mingling with twins gave them a high esteemed egos but the brothers never invited them to their house which their father had furnished for his wife before  she was married. They managed to keep everything in place since it was the only leverage they had to entice more girls into their lives.

The old man waited for the boys to formally come for his daughter but days and months poured without any word or letter sent to remind about the marriage proposal. The boys tricked the old man into having the girl while her parents waited.

Bwiizu caught wind of Mulyambeba’s sons who were looking for a bride to marry, he was overjoyed to have known Mulyambeba himself and thought he had left his sons with a lot of wealth and he had to benefit through his sons. He had not heard about the old man who kept waiting for the same sons of Mulyambeba to marry his daughter but just tricked him into having his daughter for pleasure.

Bwiizu was a tough man who cared less for people with an attitude of laziness and so his daughter was well moulded into a good and behaved girl. He was the village Chief’s spokesperson and a good orator, could convince villagers into believing what his superior was implementing. He was the person to turn the twins lives into a laughable story.

Bwiizu sent messengers to Moomba village to the twins offering his daughter for  marriage.The messengers left and came after a full moon with the boys. They welcomed the boys in jovial mood in unison spirit. Bwiizu was overjoyed to the extent of slaughtering two billy goats and offering wine which he had kept for a special day, it seemed to him the very day he was patiently waiting for had arrived. His first wife wasn’t convinced whether the boys would meet up to hefty charges he normally place upon people who purchased goods from him.

” My husband are you sure these boys can marry our daughter without any complications?” asked the wife.

” This is the day I was waiting for my dearest, ain’t you happy for your daughter?” inquired Bwiizu, wearing a smile revealing a gape tooth.

All the procedures were taken and the dowry was pronounced and it raised everyone’s eyebrows  but Bwiizu had reasons and faith in his daughter, without hesitation,he told them how well taken care his daughter was and she hadn’t met any man in the village of which on that part the village folks agreed without a wink of doubt.

The twin brothers were told to present their emissaries who would come and escort the bride to her groom and that moment, the old man who had been tricked into marrying his daughter by the same boys had come to witness whether the boys would surely marry ,he rose from the crowd and broke the deadlock.

“Bwiizu my brother, don’t sell your daughter to these hyenas who are tricking every girl they come across yet they don’t have any penny in the drawer” ,said the old man leaning against a pole.

“Maambo how could you taint my guest in such a horrible manner?” angrily replied Bwiizu looking him with a wrinkled face.

“You can be angry at me but I am just warning you about the path I crossed because of your supposedly esteemed guest as you call them”, warned the old man.

“What do you mean?” asked Bwiizu.

“A person who warns you is your friend , maybe it’s time these boys vindicates themselves from this accusation”,said one family member and they all murmured in approval.

“They have finished all the wine you gave them,I thought in-laws eat a little,it might be true they are just here for food”, said another from the gathering.

“You can see their robs aren’t of quality, how could such a man honestly pay dowry yet he can’t dress himself nicely”, injected another from the crowd.

“Hold your horse family, this is my trouble, can’t you give me a moment to engage them”, said Bwiizu stretching his limbs on a lazy chair.

“Better kick out the devil in the corner before the whole house is cursed”, replied another.

The boys pleaded to be given few minutes and talk between themselves behind the house and that gave them the opportunity to sneak and run for their lives but one curious man stalked and saw them ducking in bushes slipping away.

” Hello everyone !!! yelled the man , ” Run quickily over here the boys are running away”,said the man cutting through the bushes.

The villagers chased down the twins and apprehended them, they were brought to Bwiizu’s compound to explain the reason of their plight. They were given corporal punishment for wasting elders time and coniving to defile young girls in the village.

They later confessed to lying and tricking everyone in the village and moreover they didn’t have the money to marry all they wanted was food to survive. Choongo and Choolwe were found guilty of the charges and sentenced to 18 years each in prison.

UNCLE PAUROSI !!

“Paurosi how are you going to tell his sons that you don’t own any bull or cow in that herd of cattle?” inquired Zenge, Paurosi’s friend.

“Let me worry about that Zenge, pass me that cup, will you?” said Paurosi belching a little.

“I am just a concerned friend trying my best to lend a reason”, replied Zenge worriedly.

Paurosi the young brother to Gwebu,was a caretaker of his brother’s property after he passed on after a long illness. Gwebu left a large herd of cattle which he bought from a colonial farmer who sold his farm to return back to his home. Several breeds of cows and bulls flooded the kraal.

Gwebu’s two sons were left under the care of Paurosi,a stingy and jealous man who had nothing to his name only a flock of sheep their father had left them. The man was so circumspective of anything which was under his care.

Paurosi knew perfectly well that Gwebu’s sons would claim their father’s belongings when they were of age. He filed everything in his name so that when his brother’s sons needed the fair share , he would personally share them as if he was the sole owner.

“My husband, don’t you think your brother’s sons knows too well that these cattle belonged to their father not you?” asked Paurosi’s wife.

“Nsimbi, you must be backing me up on this treasure,why are you always against my progress?” queried Paurosi fixing his tie.

“I thought it was wise if you sit them down and tell them about their father’s treasure, your supposedly progress”, insisted his wife.

“You have a good point but don’t forget I cared after them when they were young?” said Paurosi.

“You are still inclining to marry Siriviya, nothing else”, said Nsimbi  looking away expecting a scold.

“I am the man, I do what I choose and you too are part of my choice and don’t mention that ever again”, said Paurosi pointing her with his shoe.

His wife couldn’t argue more, she had a testimonial scar on her head after she was knocked by her husband for unilaterally consenting to settle her husband’s debt with his money he had kept for beer.

Tito and Jake, Gwebu’s sons had finished their Ordinary level academics so they needed funding to further their project courses they had applied for. It marked a turnaround for Paurosi’s grip on his brother’s wealth.

Tito, the older brother to Jake was more vehement in inquiring about their father’s wealth from their uncle while Jake was more a physical confronter than his elder brother. They promised to get everything their father owned and take care of their mother too whom Paurosi had long forgetten since she had relocated to her mother’s village.

Siriviya, Gwebu’s widow didn’t try to ask for a fair share of her husband’s belongings as Paurosi had wanted to take her as his second wife by cultural custom but Siriviya couldn’t bear being with a drunkard and a jealous man.

The family gathered together after Gwebu’s death to decide the fate of Siriviya and her sons as to whom would look after them until they reach age.

“My elders, we are gathered here to try and find solution to our daughter in law after a tragedy which befell her and us as well”, said Mbelengwa , the family kinsman.

He continued after a brief silence “We will give Gwebu’s walking stuff to her and she will present it to the man whom she wants to be her caretaker forever” ,said Mbelengwa handing the stuff to Siriviya.

A sizeable number of family members were present with their wives who came to witness whether their husbands would marry her into their homes. Paurosi and his brothers and other distant cousins prayed to remarry the chubby and light skinned Siriviya who hadn’t shown much aging even though she had fully grown up sons.

It wasn’t as they expected, Siriviya opted for her elder son, Tito whom she gave the stuff so that he could look after her. Siriviya did the act in order to win her lost husband’s wealth which Paurosi had penned down into his account. The gentlemen grumbled.

“Well everybody, she has chosen her caretaker, who are we to object her decision? Give her all the necessary attention she deserves”, ended Mbelengwa lowering himself to a chair.

“For goodness sake , how could she choose her son, how can one marry his mother?” asked one distant cousin who didn’t want to be left out.

“Mpungulu, can you possibly think that beautiful woman can choose such a stockfish like you?” injected another from the gathering.

“Who cares? Stockfish or monkey I am still a man,I can breed”, replied the man and the crowd broke in laughter.

Paurosi was enraged by Siriviya’s decision and so he promised himself to cling more to  his brother’s wealth but the family had different opinions to his.

“Since we know Gwebu left a lot of cattle and so it shall be given to his sons and then they will decide on how they will divide you as gratitude for your support during their hard times”,said Mbelengwa.

“That is an impossible requesition Mbelengwa”, interrupted Paurosi chewing a match stick.

“What is it that you don’t understand Paurosi?” inquired Mbelengwa with a sour face having known of Paurosi’s troubles from childhood.

“You should be asking me on how I should divide you the wealth not my brother’s sons”,objected Paurosi.

“There is nothing for you brother just work hard and have yours”, said one member and they all laughed.

Paurosi disputed the idea of being overruled yet he was the one who cared and managed his brother’s wealth but the law stood,the sons were legitimate owners of their father’s wealth. He bought the family a summon from the court to help him on the matter but verdict disadvantaged him too as the court granted Tito and Jake as the sole beneficiaries to their father’s wealth.

Paurosi didn’t drop his tools down , he vowed to fight tooth and nail to have at least half of the cattle as payment of caretaking. His friends were not supportive of his move but tried to reason with him and maybe the boys would give him a herd of cattle other than fighting and that he could end up losing everything.

“Zenge don’t you think this is unfair to my side, how could those kids share me cattle , I should be the one making decisions here!!, exclaimed Paurosi hitting the stuff on the ground .

“You knew perfectly well that your brother’s sons are the sole beneficiaries why didn’t you sit down with them and resolve amicably?” inquired Zenge from his fuming friend.

“Oh look at him,where were you when your brother was trying hard to raise money to buy those cattle, we were always there and saw how your brother sweated for those cattle”, interrupted Manzubo.

“Uncle, we are not here to strip you of all but we have something special to thank you for taking care of us but if you want to tussle with us you won’t get anything just like the court advised against your actions”, said Tito who had became bored of his uncle’s actions.

“Well said my son”,injected Manzubo, this shows how intelligent these boys have grown into, you should teach your uncle about family values”, ended Manzubo chuckling a laughter.

The matter was settled and Paurosi was given three oxen and five cows with their calves out of large herd and the rest Gwebu’s sons shared among family members . Paurosi could not stay humiliated in he village, he later bought a farm where he relocated and stayed far from his family members.

TRUE LIES

CHAPTER ONE

“Why do you always grumble when I am asking for your help Linda?” inquire Pambuka stretching his leg like an eagle ready for take off.

“Until you change your attitude and behavior that’s when I will decide to either pay to your attention or we will keep on fighting”,replied Linda wringing a wet towel.

“For goodness sake, I should’ve asked about your physical nature before I married you”,said Pambuka burying his head under his arms.

Linda was a well trained taekwondo champion with an athlete body she kept fit always even though she retired in her field of sport to marry her lover ,Pambuka. She held a black belt she won during zonal taekwondo tournaments which were held every year. She was ruthless but disciplined in her field of sport.

She was so tough that at one point , her trainer grouped her among young men in a contest which was held to select fighters for zonal tournament. She surprised the spectators who had booed against grouping a lady with muscled ambitious young men. She won all her matches in a flash.

Pambuka a lanky man who made his name by outwitting his friends for a dime for survival. He wasn’t a staunch supporter of any sport.In his youthful days friends tried all their best to nature him into soccer but he didn’t pay attention but spent most of the time in clubs and town centers milking all he could from passive travellers.

He had a bad temper but he lacked in strength. One time his lucky charm didn’t work perfectly, the travellers he sold fake bus tickets had their own medicine to give perennial town parasites like Pambuka. He was swindled of some fortune but he realized before the men could leave the vicinity.

“Hey you, don’t you think you owe me some cash?” said Pambuka holding the man by the collar.

“My friend it will be advisable for you to exercise caution on the journey you want to partake”, replied the man wrinkling his face and looking at him with red piecing eyes.

“You must be a handleful man …, before Pambuka could finish talking, a blow landed squarely on his mouth and he fell on the dust path. He picked himself up to fight the man but he wasn’t a match to a 5Foot 10inch man with strong arms revelling bold veins. The fight didn’t last long because Pambuka picked himself up a couple of times before he could throw his fist.

On another occasion,Pambuka had drank too much from the night pub and came home to wake his wife up from sleep. His approach was met by a suitable reception to such rude conduct. He went straight to the kitchen and ate all he could before being served and he spiced up the anguish from his wife by vomiting on the sheets in the bedroom.

His wife couldn’t wait to ask or pardon his husband but kicked him hard on his neck , throwing him against the table breaking its legs. Pambuka could just groan lowly like a tired bull trying to pull himself up to the challenge but his wife was determined to sober him up with kicks.

The next day Pambuka spent his whole day nursing the injuries indoors. His wife helped him with water therapy. After every fight,the couple could just soothe each other and act normal in the eyes of their neighbours.

The couple had a single child, Mpho, the boy didn’t like staying with his parents because they always fought. He mostly spent his time at his uncle’s place during holidays.

The couple always quarrelled on simple matters and so Pambuka thought to visit his distant uncle in the village for a couple of months and maybe he could find something to do for his family in absence of his wife but he had to ask for permission otherwise he would’ve left the town bruised and battered.

CHAPTER TWO

Pambuka left after a week of nursing his injuries though they were not that visibly serious and that would’ve earn him a rebuke at his uncle’s village by virtue of his wife’s prowess in fights of which Jambo, Pambuka’s uncle and his fellow villagers had heard about Linda’s victories in the arena .

The journey was a little tough for Pambuka who was used to board taxis roaming around in town centers. He boarded a bus , judging by the looks on the body and wheels of the old cow had long travelled the vast kilometers along dust and muddy roads. Some of the windows were shattered and replaced by cellotape to protect passengers from rains of any flying things against the windows.

Inside the bus was a mess, with chairs which once had foam on them but were all ripped open exposing springs but the passengers covered with planks and some cloths to protect their clothes from being ripped by wires. One more thing, there was a stench smell of goat urine which came from the roof top of the bus. Luggage and livestock like goats and fowls were hauled on the roof carrier.

Pambuka wished he hadn’t worn his favourite suit, he had intentions to make himself presentable at his uncle’s compound like a renowned businessman since his uncle wasn’t much a traveller least he could’ve have known the life his nephew lived.

Luckily for Pambuka , he was given extra respect due to his smart dressing, he sat in front where at least the chair was still intact due to few number of passengers who occupied it.He sat comfortably with a plastic bag of wine which he had bought for his uncle to rinse his opaque beer from his mouth and a suitcase of clothes which he had to use during his stay in the village.

The old cow of a bus coughed and puffed on hilly roads and on bend it swerved as if it might overturn but the driver was well aware of his old bus and at some extent he would let go the steering wheel and grab the gear lever with both hands and forcefully place it in right number.

A bucket of water was close and one would think it was for thirsty passengers to drink along the way but it was for cooling the engine when it shows signs of dryness and the bus conductor was always awake to the sound of the bus and he would pour three or four cupfuls of water to get it going and the old mistress would nod by speeding up.

After a long drive on a plain road , Pambuka decided to break the silence and ask why don’t they change the bus to a better and less troubling transport. He wasn’t surprised by the answer he was given judging by the roads , no better vehicle was suited for the stony and dust road , it would wear out the tires in few miles.

“Sir , how long have you been in this company driving?” asked Pambuka sneezing to the dust which was whirling around the bus.

“Company? She isn’t company owned just a wellwisher who gave the village chief after he got what he wanted who knows what that could be and I am in my tenth year driving this old mistress”,replied the driver wiping his face with a khaki handkerchief which had stains of brown dust.

“So is this how you have been driving since then?” inquired Pambuka dropping his eyes on the foot gears and that’s when he realized how serious the driver risked his life for the past nine years,the clutch gear was replaced by an iron rod and a big stone to add more pressure. The rod which holds the steering wheel went through a hollow way down the engine, it wasn’t pleasant for Pambuka to keep checking for errors.

He was surprised by the jovial conversations of passengers oblivious of the dangers which they were in for the past nine years maybe they were not given the front seat only reserved for the conductor. His black tuxedo suit won him the ticket to see the dangers which lain in wait for the passengers.

Finally the bus negotiated a bend and behold the village of Zhochulu laid bare on the savanna grasslands, Pambuka had long wished to climb down the old cow given the circumstances of the physical fragility of the mode of transport. Tinde, the youngest son of Jambo, Pambuka’s uncle was waiting for him with a bicycle to further carry him along a one kilometer trail to home.

Having prayed in the bus to safely reach his uncle village , he still needed more prayers to pray for himself and the boy not to stumble against an elephant, the only seasonal intruders in the area. The bicycle was too a sham to a well dressed gentleman, Pambuka was afraid to get his suit tucked on the pedals or some wires on the carrier so he asked for the boy to change his clothes so that he could spare his suit from being torn by an old bicycle without brakes and worn out tires.

CHAPTER THREE

Pambuka was well received by his uncle’s family members and nearby neighbours in a friendly and jovial mood as if they had seen the champion climbing down the stairs of a Jumbo jet. He had timed his visit well after the villagers had finished harvesting their crops or maybe he wasn’t good enough in the fields since he had spent his entire life hustling in town for extra cents.

He was introduced to everyone who was present that night when he arrived at his uncle’s compound. After they had eaten and drank the drinkables , Pambuka was given the guest house but he was to sleep with Tinde though not on the same bed as Jambo had joked of sleeping on the same bed with his sons who smelt cow dung.

When the visitor from town was present in the village, even the dogs and fowls surprisingly had feeling too. The dogs kept looking at the visitor with keen eyes of difference in both looks and smell of perfume while the fowls tried their best to peck the light skinned toes since they were used to the villagers dark skinned and they had no tolerance to fowls lingering around at least this day they had a short lived freedom to peck wherever they could.

Pambuka was taken to the Village Chief to be introduced by his uncle who was the Chief’s advisor and this was the turnaround of Pambuka’s battered and bruised weak reputation inflicted by his wife to a champion of nowhere in few seconds he shook the Chief’s hand. He couldn’t debate the reception as the people cheered in loud voices including his uncle who was smiling his gape toothed mouth holding a bottle of whiskey he had brought him.

The Chief brought the alulation and merrymaking to a standstill by the stuff raised above the crowd. Silence swept the compound as if poachers had got wind of the rangers footsteps, then he continued with a steady voice praising the weak and the wit into the world of the strong.

“Good day my people”, said the Chief handing Jambo the finger printed glass cup possibly was used just for special occasions because of how dust it was on the bottom to pour whiskey to toast for Pambuka the champion of Palmgroove town,he continued.

“I always told you that my advisor here has a champion blood running through their veins, do you see how I prevail in winning contracts and debates at high tables it’s because of Jambo’s advise and today he brought one of his kind Pambuka, the man who trained his wife to knock every young men and women alike in the arena” ,ended the Chief lowering himself to the chair leaving the crowd bursting in alulation.

It was clear to Pambuka why he was regarded as the champion rather than the battered loser,he thought it was wise to thrive and build a name in oblivion of the crowd than to explain the nature of his physical being against his wife’s. It didn’t became a surprise when he was visited by a group of young men from the village asking for his help to train them to be good as his wife.

Pambuka had nothing in his sleeve to work out on how he would conduct fighting lessons for his determined guest who held him in high esteem. Lucky enough, Pambuka used to watch how his wife then girlfriend train and of course how she used to kick and punch him , he managed to combine them into several training strategies.

Months passed by while Pambuka trained the village folks and engaging them into tournament age groups and to his amazement the Zhochulu fighters whom he trained emerged victorious and that cemented his champion title he was ceremoniously crowned by the village Chief , “Palmgroove Champ” was his nickname given by the village folks. Pambuka was rewarded handsomely and more importantly, the defeated villagers asked for his time to train their young men too.

Back in town , his wife got wind of how his weak and witted husband became a champion in the village. Linda boarded the bus which was due to drop her precisely on the same day Pambuka had organized the Village zonal tournament. He had made plans already for his wife to be the Honoured Guest and title bearer of the sport.

Linda was surprised to hear the news of her husband being the trainer and an absolute conquerer with his trainees in every tournament they held. The tournament was held to honour Linda the champion in the sport they were partaking. She presented the medals to the teams which she worn and her own belt to the overall champion who won in all fields.

Linda and Pambuka were gifted with a piece of land to farm and quite a number of cattle , goats, sheep and fowls if they wished to stay in the village all approved by the seal of the village Chief. The couple lived a happy life with their two kids , Mpho and Khadzi who was later born in the village. They built training facilities for young men who were keen to follow Linda and Pambuka’s footsteps. One more thing which the whole village and other neighbouring village didn’t knew about was that Pambuka never trained Linda but he was always beaten and told to sleep quietly like a baby.

THE CHALLENGE.

One morning Zambo had gone to visit his friend who had fallen ill a few distance from his place while he returned home he was surprise by what he found on his compound.

A wooden chair with a skin strap neatly sewn on the seat way up the back and the arms of the chair were neatly strapped by skins to suit the seater. The legs were well balanced by the small tightened sticks so that it can not sway when one sat on it. The one who made the chair must have been an experienced carpenter.

Unlike Zambo’s stools which he curved himself from any tree he found and he did not mind much as long as people sat comfortably but he wished to know the owner of the mystery chair so that he taught him how to make a beautiful one too. Zambo was a local carpenter who curved curios and other household furniture best suit for their village life.

While he was still pondering in his mind about the chair, Tokwe , his son had just woke up when he saw his father standing next to a beautiful chair, he ran towards his father and dropped himself on the chair seat before his father could explain its mystery of being on his compound.

“Get up from that chair!! thundered Zambo pointing at his son with his walking stick.

“Am sorry papa, is it not the chair you promised to make for me?” asked the boy oblivious of the chair existence.

“Not this one my son” ,said Zambo, lowering his tone.

Cecilia, Zambo’s wife overheard her husband thundering to his son and came out rushing out to witness what was transpiring. At times Zambo used to discipline his son with lashes mercilessly when he misbehaved and so Cecilia had thought her boy misbehaved early in the morning. She was happy to see the chair on her compound and she was quick to compliment her husband on his carpentry work.

”Wow this is superb!! said Cecilia holding her waist in awe of the chair.

Her smile was cut short by the look on her husband’s face which symbolized displeasure to something mysterious. She drew closer to her husband who was staring blankly on the chair like a bull waiting for the next ball of grass from the stomach to chew again. Still in his state of lost, Cecilia grabbed him by the hand cutting him short from his lost world, Zambo opened his eyes wide like one who had been saved from drowning ,he told his wife and son to leave the chair alone and not to touch it until he confide with his friends maybe they were mocking him though none of them knew how to curve let alone a cooking stick.

The chair was left on the compound to the mercy of the savanna blazing sun. Passerby were in awe of the chair and thought it was put to dry up or else displayed for those who could manage to acquire it at good price yet there was a mystery surrounding its being on the supposedly display. Zambo and his wife and son thought it might bring them calamity to their village. Mysterious happenings were regarded as calamity bringers to the village so the chief and the local oracle would be summoned to investigate the scene before anyone could proceed to use or any other way they could. The chair was harmless.

The next day Zambo summoned his friends to help him figured out how the chair might have found itself on his compound without tracks of the one who might have placed it. Mateo and Sokwe came huffing as if they were told the beer at the drinking spree was nearing its last. The two were thrilled to see the chair at Zambo’s compound and they all thought it was the reason why their friend summoned them to admire his handwork but they were left surprised after they wrestled each other to seat first when the chair swayed leaving them to hit themselves hard on the hard ground. No one thought of any foul play because of the nature of their wrestle.

”Look at these jackals of mine tussling over a doomed chair”, said Zambo clutching his coat on a hanger.

”Are you the one who pulled the chair with your carpentry magic thing of yours?” inquired Mateo, spreading his limbs on the bare ground.

”What do you mean by my carpentry magic, what happened?” asked Zambo surprised.

”Come off it woodman, do you suspect us of any hocus pocus on your compound?” queried Sokwe bending his head like an eagle sizing the height of a dive.

Mateo and Sokwe jokingly told their friend about how the chair swayed on them while they were wrestling to seat on it and they thought it was a magic which he had set on them because of how beautiful the chair was made. Zambo narrated them how he came to find the chair while returning from Mhengo their other friend who had caught fever after he had drank too many opaque beer.

”Holy mother of Jesus!! exclaimed Mateo, kissing a crucifix he hung on his neck.

”Spare us those catholic hallelujahs, why didn’t that cross held the chair from moving while we struggle to seat?” injected Sokwe, wrinkling his face while examining the beauty of the chair.

Zambo was surprised that his son sat on the chair in the morning before his friends but it didn’t move like his friends claimed. He tried to seat but he was surprised the chair moved. Everyone in the village was asked to seat on the damned chair but it repeatedly moved apart from Zambo’s son who sat on it without any complications.

They decided to consult the local priest about the mysterious chair and the priest told them the chair was a challenge to Zambo but it held no harm to anyone or his son, it came from Umwala village, he had to figure out the challenge and work on it. Some villagers began to brew false hearsays about Zambo’s wife who came from the same village maybe wasn’t his but bringer of the chair.

It propelled Zambo to think of the biological parentage of the boy because he was born few months after his wife had stayed for at least few months attending to her sick mother ,his in-law in Umwala. The priest disapproved such thoughts after he had gone to consult about the boy’s biological father.

Two full moons passed while everyone in the village tried to figure the strange meaning of the chair at Zambo’s compound. Village kids went by to play trying their best to make it weary from moving but to no avail ,only Tokwe was the legit seater. Zambo commenced his carpentry work ,not disturbed by the chair on his compound. Mateo convinced his friend to make a chair exactly as the one on his compound maybe that was the challenge he was tasked.

Zambo and his two friends tried their best to make similar chairs but they couldn’t unlock the challenge until one day Tokwe, realized they were missing something from the chairs which they had made. They had forgotten to put small skin straps on the arms of the chairs. The chairs had flooded the compound and just the moment they realized the missing key to the puzzle , the mysterious chair was unlocked everyone sat on it without any movement.

Since that day, Zambo and his friends became determined carpenters and they made a lot of the chairs similar to the mysterious chair,the gentlemen were happy and the first chairs which were made were given to the villagers for their effort in helping them during their endeavor and the mysterious chair became the emblem and bringer of joy in the village.

HEIR TO THE THRONE

“My King ,the army to the east of Mpengi river under your son’s command, Mbago is driven back to the mashes, I am afraid we will suffer more losses”,said Indigo the King’s advisor panting.

“Eat your liver Indigo, you are a warrior”, replied the King reluctantly.

“Your Majesty, the Zombas has a large army allied by your worst enemy Umbali the King of Ndege whose powers are assisted by the witch doctor”, begged Indigo wide eyed.

“Alright red eyes see to it that my reserve is ready I will march myself with the remaining regiment”, said the King giving in to Indigo’s request.

King Zimbago was a gallant warrior during his youth age, he was toughened by the strictness of his father who had born several girls who couldn’t be deemed heirs to the throne let alone Zimbago who was born lastly. He underwent all military training at a tender age to toughen him for the future he had to embrace needed a brave heart and strict decision maker.

He was taken to a far place by his father where they sent heirs to the thrones to be cultured and do some ritual processions. He grew up a feared young man and had little fear in engaging into thick and thin of the matters which needed urgent disposal.

One time he was put to task to see whether he was ready to obey the orders or had mixed emotions to peculiar issues. A villager was caught stealing mealie cobs in a farm belonging to a widow , the wife o tge late King’s advisor and friend during their days in the army. Such crimes were deemed serious and the perpetrators were either driven out of the Kingdom or the accused chose to be killed in fear of further humiliation  or persecuted by other kingdoms.

On the judgement day, the accused pleaded to be put to rest by a spear and die like a warrior instead of wondering in far places. Zimbago was given the opportunity to embrace the task. Everyone in the kingdom gathered to witness the King’s son take a life and they thought since he had not fought any battle, it was going to be hard for him but he proved them wrong when the King gave the kill sign. The young man held his spear and leaned backwards and threw his spear with much power which pierced threw the heart of the man standing helplessly with a blindfold so that he could not see his fate bearer.

King Zimbago had married a single wife unlike his predecessor ,his father who had threw wives and bore girls  and Zimbago as the sole heir to the throne. His wife blessed him with three boys who grew up in good health and discipline. It was the last of the boys who caught the attention of his father.

Mbago the eldest was fond of ladies, just wished his father to die early so that he could ascend to the throne and marry as many wives as he can and didn’t care much of father’s affairs even though he was drafted in the King’s reserve army regiment, he didn’t care to veto orders he was given by his regiment commander. Despite all these , he was a good fighter and a spear marksman.

Kabudo the second son wasn’t much into women or a good fighter but he all perfected himself in food,he had enormous appetite that he refused to attend regiment training if he hadn’t eaten to satisfaction. He was always a nuisance to his mother who had to leave some portions for him to eat after the tiring training.

Luambo was the father’s favorite and always by his side asking a lot of questions which his elder brothers weren’t bothered to ask, they had their personal agendas to take care.He was a curious young man with an energetic body which he often put to training unlike his brothers who needed a little push to carry their duties.

Mambanje Kingdom had a long dispute with Umbali the King who used his mother, a sangoma to defeat other kingdoms over a piece of land between their kingdoms, each monarchy claimed to be in possession of the land, a matter which wasn’t solved since the imperial countries surrendered the country to the indigenous owners. It was the war which Zimbago had trained his sons to be ready and determine who would be the rightful heir not only by virtue of birth but by courage and bravery to lead people in future.

Umbali wasn’t interested in sending messengers to declare war on his counterpart but sent his strong regiment to attack Zimbago’s weakest at Mpengi river where his father had lost battles against other kingdoms. Luambo was stationed at the river with his father’s most trusted generals. The battle was so fierce and Umbali was lost a lot of brave men to Luambo’s clever battle tactics.

Umbago and Kabudo were stationed at the eastern side of the river on the plains .Umbali could not send his troops in fear of being over run by the fearless troops of Zimbago. Luambo summoned his two brothers to join him push back the Ndege warriors back to the capital. Umbali realized his armies were receiving heavy casualties ,he decide to flee and organize the remaining reserve and fight back but Luambo noticed him ,he ambushed him with a few of his father’s generals and a few battle hardened warriors.

Umbali stopped by the bend of the river oblivious of the ambush Luambo had laid in wait. He threw a sword which whizzed past one of his subject and struck Umbali squarely on his back and fell off his horse. Without hesitation he decapitated his head and took the horse and headed for the capital. Mbungazi ,Umbali’s mother the sangoma learnt of her son’s death decided to flee but she was too late as Luambo and his regiment blocked her exit and decapitated her and put the two heads of the defeated on the pikes. The capital was demolished and burnt to ground under the command of Luambo.

Mbago and Kabudo had sustained injuries so they could not go along with Luambo and his raiding regiment to the capital. Luambo returned home in jubilation of have defeated his father’s enemy. The generals were overly pleased by the bravery of Luambo and his composure in times of difficult.

King Zimbago was pleased by Luambo, unlike his brothers who had shown signs of weakeness and so couldn’t put his trust to them to lead the people of Mambanje. As his request the son who had defeated the enemy would be the outright heir to the throne by virtue of action in battle. Few years passed and the King passed on and Luambo the last son of King Zimbago became the ultimate ruler of Mambanje and the remains on Ndege kingdom. Mbago became the king’s advisor and Kabudo became the army commander.

.

DOOMED BRACELET

“Mangunde !! Mangunde !! where is he?” yelled Django fuming holding his stuff in readiness to strike.

“Is everything okay?” inquired Dumbe,Mangunde’s wife holding a clay pot of water.

“Are you up to this task?” asked Django sizing his muscles like wrestler.

“Django ,what is it that I have stolen from you to storm my home like a matador bull?” inquired Mangunde pointing his angry friend to a chair.

Django wasn’t interested in exchanging speech with his friend. Mangunde’s son, Mabele had knocked conscious Django’s son after a misunderstanding but the manner of the fight was so fierce and inhumane because of Mabele’s anger, he left the villagers wondering whether he was possessed.

Mabele had a bracelet he was given by his grandfather Kaduka, since he was the one to inherit his name customary to village norms. The bracelet had its consequences on the young boy but no one knew about the secret it had since his grandfather hadn’t nurtured him against the side effects least he would incur the wrath of its sacred spirit if he used it wrongly. He was too young to understand so he let him wore it

Kaduka a village fighter and a well-known hunter. He had friends from nearby clans whom he went with on hunting errands. It was on the errands where Kaduka and his friends were engaged in ritual processions to evade from rangers and wild animals in the jungle. The gentlemen would disappear the moment they sense danger.

The bracelets gave them extra edge of power they used to defeat their compatriots in wrestling fights. The juju could be controlled by not losing too much control but to focus in balancing the anger and frustration of fight.

One time Simeon had strayed from his friends when they were chased by a pack of wild dogs. In fear of being torn apart by the vicious wild pack, he climbed up a mukwa tree shaking and nearly lost grip off a branch when he slipped with his tire sandals but hit himself hard against the tree. He managed to claw up after a seething struggle.

While he was up the tree, he saw something that nearly cost his life, male leopards were fighting for territorial dominance and they were few yards from the tree he had sought refuge from the wild dogs. Knowing perfectly that the defeated leopard would definitely run to the tree he was hiding, he climbed down and ran towards the rendezvous point where he met with his friends after splitting up.

Mabele a decent boy wasn’t violent in nature but with the bracelet he was given ,he had turned to a violent and uncompassionate boy. Unfortunately, his grandfather had died before he was able to fully understand the safety and importance of the bracelet. The problem with the bracelet, if removed from the hand turned his eyes into a round black pupil causing him to sweat profusely and become violent that he could hit a hard object without a flinch of pain. He could hit anyone including his own parents.

Kimbo, Mabele’s best friend was curious of knowing the reason behind his friend’s loss of temper when the bracelet was disturbed. One afternoon when the boys had gone to forage for fruits in the nearby bush ,they reached an anthill where they rested and ate some which they had gathered. Mabele tired ,slept under a small shrub and snored shortly when Kimbo decided to remove the bracelet from his wrist.

Sliding off the bracelet would’ve had woken Mabele up,he cut it with a knife he had tucked under his belt. Moments from cutting the bracelet, Mabele twitched his legs like a dreaming dog ,then he woke up with eyes black like an angry cat and looked at Kimbo who stood agape and frozen to a standstill. He hit him hard with a clenched fist that fell him on thorn bushes, Kimbo could not wait to be assaulted more, he ran towards the stream still holding the bracelet.

While Mabele was still on Kimbo’s heels ,he ran towards the bend of a stream which had standstill water then plunged himself in without hesitation but he dived on a rock side of the stream thereby spraining his ankle. Mabele was further infuriated by the absence of his bracelet, he plucked branches and threw them in water trying to draw out Kimbo, the missing bracelet was still causing him too much pain and rage.

Kimbo could not hold his breath under the water, he slowly rose up and called to Mabele who had his hands bleeding from cuts. Kimbo could not risk exposing himself to further attack from his friend and his ankle had swollen. He decided to give up and call him by name but wasn’t sure whether Mabele could recognize his friend nor his name because of a monster he had turned into.

“Hey Mabele over here”, gasped, Kimbo in the water waving the bracelet to show his friend.

Mabele was furious as he looked at his bracelet, his face turned darker and groaned in anguish after having laid his eyes upon the bracelet, With a wink of an eye he plunged into the stream towards Kimbo who had huddled himself on the curve of the stream bed with his hand lifted atop the flowing water praying that his friend could snatch his bracelet and spare his life.

Mabele’s temper was lost the moment he plunged into the water, he looked like a person who had been lost in thoughts. Kimbo with half closed eyes wasn’t sure whether to come out of the water or stay until his friend’s anger subsided. A little while, a hand grabbed his arm drew him up,it Mabele was smiling as if nothing had transpired between them and Kimbo couldn’t resist a smile trying to figure into what his friend had in mind, whether he was smiling because he had managed to get closer to him so that he could finish him off or he had found cure to his anger.

After they had a long wordless stare in the water, afraid to apologize to each other and finally Mabele broke the deadlock and laughed loudly that Kimbo joined too. The boys sat on the edge of the stream while Mabele held the bracelet in his palm with a smiling face.

“I now know how to calm myself if the bracelet is removed from my hand”, said Mabele, handing the bracelet to Kimbo.

“No don’t do that please l don’t have enough energy left in me to run”,said, Kimbo holding his swollen ankle.

“Go on Kimbo ,after all it was your idea trying to know what happens to me”,said, Mabele throwing the bracelet on Kimbo’s lap.

The boys went home with an air of triumph after they managed to find solution to Mabele’s tormenting bracelet. They narrated the whole story about how he could evade hurting people by calming himself when he was angry.

“Mangunde could not consult his ancestors about the curse his father inflicted upon his son until he hurt his friend to figure it out”, interrupted Bokomo.

“Uh-huh l will just tell my wife to have bucketful of water in case it start again at least l know what to do”, injected Nyimbo.

Mabele was taken to a local overseer to appease his ancestors and break the curse and return the bracelet to his grandfather so that he could lead a free life from the sacred spirit of the bracelet.

JOHNNY MBEWA

“Hoyaaaaaa haaaaaaa !!! stretched Johnny on the verandah.

“Good morning Johnny?” greeted Pamela across the yard.

“Aww beautiful one, I thought you are still dreaming your future husband”, replied Johnny wringing a towel.

“You know too well, nothing else”, giggled Pamela .

“Trust me he’ll come from the east,how many times do you peruse a Bible?”asked Johnny.

“Bring it on Reverend Johnny, I am listening,have you been secretly going for pastoral lessons without my notice?”joked Pamela.

“Eh well you know ,uhmm”,he paused trying to arrange the foretell which his grandfather  told him about young man who was funded by a local priest to become a Catholic priest but he had other plans in his head that was against the priesthood doctrines,a girl.

“Right uh”,he continued, “you know, I nearly became  a priest but the nature of my blood line couldn’t allow such because am the last in a our lineage so  I had to make sure more Mbewa offersprings should flood our community”, said a serious faced Johnny trying to show his friend the importance of blood line.

Johnny lived a lone life far from his family members,he had come to Nsenga village after some mining investors had open a coal mine.The company didn’t take long to close due to a shallow belt of coal and so Johnny had found a place to rent and later bought it with the money he was given from the severance package.

He wasn’t a frequent church goer but he had taken a little from the missionary school he attended before he dropped out due to lack of funding.A social and ever smiling soul ,he liked kids.They liked him because of his never ending jokes and stories.

Sisters ,Pamela and Angel were Johnny’s neighbours,they enjoyed nagging him whenever he hadn’t gone to sundry errands.He was a good man but he wasn’t secretive on personal agendas though not violent,he knew how to deal with inquisitive people.

“Hello apostle ,what do we have for today?”inquired Pamela leaning on the hedge.

“Do you know what my surname stands for Pam?” asked Johnny ,as he affectionately shortened her name.

“Mbewa ,those are rats or mouse whichever they’re and which one are you?”asked Pamela eagerly expecting a to hear a mystery about to be unwrapped by the surname bearer.

“Haaaa!! exclaimed Johnny splitting splinters to start a fire,then he continued, ” I would say both since you can’t differentiate between the two ,and that will vindicate me from naming me as that ugly one”, quizzed Johnny.

“Angie ,come over don’t miss this out from the Professor”, said Pamela summoning her sister.

“What have we today,it seems you took time to come up with something to assault our professor with today”, said Angel panting.

“Uh uh hold your horses girl ,just pluck out your ears”, said Pamela dusting ash from her sister’s blouse.

“Oh good lord ,is this really happening to me?” chuckled Johnny forcing a laugh,then he continued,

“Angie what do you make of Mbewa surname?”asked Johnny trying to get a different answer but she too was blank.

The sisters sat comfortably on a bench trying to learn something from the old man.They enjoyed his company whenever he was around.They sat silently as if they had received news of a postponed TV drama.Angel holding her beautiful chin blinking slow in anticipation while Pamela obediently sat and crossed her legs playing her toes like a secretary who is waiting for a chance to pounce on a error in a meeting.

“There is an African ancient saying ,if your surname is of an animal or a bird, you don’t have to eat it since it’s your totem, I am Mbewa ,so I don’t have to eat those mouse or rats because they are my totem”, said Johnny chewing a biltong.

“Oh strange!! exclaimed Angel.

“Johnny, ain’t that a rat biltong you’re chewing?”asked Pamela and the sisters laughed boisterously.

“Frankly ,with how the relish situation gobbles me, I will surely eat it”,said Johnny reaching out from the side of the tree ,a string of rats skinned and smoked nicely,

“Oh no Johnny,no wonder ,there is are longer rats rampaging Nene’s groundnuts”,said Angela holding her ribs in pain of laughter.

“So all along,you had been lying to us about bush meat while it’s rats”, said Pamela breaking in laughter.

“Now you have a clear picture of what I normally tell you,since the rats are from the bush,they fit the category of bush meat too, I couldn’t help starving myself”,replied Johnny looking at the sisters shedding tears of laughter.

They all enjoyed the day spent with jokes and laughter.Johnny was always a man of surprise and he often brought the sisters some fruits from the nearby jungle.Kids loved his fairytale stories and so they could volunteer to fetch him water and sweep his surroundings just to earn a minute of a story.

“Alright kids, I will make my story brief ,today I don’t have enough time I want to go and sip some beer with my friends”,said Johnny clearing his throat.

After he finished his story the kids dispersed and it was time for the sisters to pounce on the old man but he was heading out for a drink but they insisted of buying him beer.He didn’t object since he wanted to quench thirsty.After some few sips the sisters came munching fruits he had brought them the previous day.

“Johnny we noticed this time we stayed here ,we haven’t seen your wife visiting any day how is that so?” inquired Pamela .

“I envy your boldness girls”, giggled Johnny.

“Well I have a son with a certain woman I fought and got beaten for, we loved each other very much until her parents decide to take her from me since I hadn’t finished paying my dowry”, he paused a little and continued,

“Oh Maimbolwa my dearest ,she was so good hearted just like you girls,nagging and always woke me up early,actually she was the one who found the news about the enrollment of  jobs at Bozeman’s Drilling Company.I hope you’re happy and safe over there” said Johnny looking up sadly.

“When did she pass on?” asked a sad faced Angel.

“She is alive and kicking a little in her old age just like me,probably got married to a good man ,I haven’t received bad blood from her against anyone,Alright ladies your beer has knocked my brains hard least I miss dreaming our good times with Maimbolwa.I beg to rest now”, said Johnny resting his back on the chair.

“Alright Apostle Johnny rest well” said the ladies and they left.

NENE MY HEROINE

“Hey wake up,just look how you’ve messed the sheets?” groaned Bigboy whipping his face with the back of his hand.

“Uh uh don’t disturb my peace please,why can’t you mind your own business?” echoed Marita belching the stinking beer breath she drank last night.

“Oh gosh just look at you,a mother who doesn’t know whether her kid is well fed or is in the house”,said Bigboy stretching up like a cheetah poised for attack.

“Oh there he goes again,is that child mine alone that you have to give me all the burden of taking care of her”,replied an arrogant Marita.

“That arrogance is the finger that will point you to your mother’s place”, said Bigboy throwing his shirt on the shoulder.

Bigboy was a well-known honey tapper,so experienced in his field.Honey tapping wasn’t only his area of expertise but hunting too though it was prohibited so he reduced on hunting then focused on honey.He was a beer drinker by thirsty and he seldom drank especially when he hadn’t enough in his pocket.

Bigboy married Marita who she found at one of the village celebrations.She had drank too much that she couldn’t resist the charming look of Bigboy.She wasn’t much a hard worker though she made her name in basket knitting which she sold at the market.The lady had a bad temper.

They were blessed with a baby girl , Natasha,a beautiful light skinned girl with dimpled cheeks.Natasha wasn’t given the love and care a child was supposed.The couple always fought and came late from their errands or drinking sprees.Nkozya their neighbour used to look for their kid whenever they went out.

“Stop wetting on the sheets ,do you think I will be washing every time”,quaked Marita slapping the kid.

“Are you this diabolic,why do you have to smack the child in such a manner?” fumed Bigboy soothing the kid.

“Go on with your child ,I will smack her if she does it again”, replied Marita arrogantly and added ,”Next time prepare to wash her sheets if she wets again.

Natasha wasn’t a happy kid even though she was in company of her friends,the sound of her mother brought misery to her life.Her father was not always home to bail her out from the bully mother.

One day , Natasha had woken up earlier than her mother ,she wanted water but the buckets were too high for her to reach so she used one empty bucket to step on to reach out,unfortunately the bucket flipped and she fell down tripping the shelve falling the mug cups to pieces.Hell broke loose.

Her mother didn’t scold her but reached for a belt and canned her strongly,Bigboy had just returned in the morning from a party and was sound sleep but the cry of a kid woke him up.He didn’t wait to ask because she had warned his wife against treating their child unfairly.The couple fought in the house breaking every breakable.Nkozya and her husband managed to cool them off and took Natasha with her for a while.

“Marita my friend,why don’t you take your kid to Nene if you’re busy with your merchandise?” suggested Nkozya but she was surprised by the response which came from her neighbour.

“Nkozya, I know you’re a good friend of my kid but meddling in my affairs is uncalled for”,replied Marita wringing a sponge.

“I meant no harm ,it was only friendly suggestion”, replied Nkozya worriedly.

Bigboy eavesdropped the ladies arguing outside ,so he went to Nkozya’s rescue , blaming his wife for a poor neighbourly gesture yet she nurses their child when they are not at home.

“Marita ,this lady is our neighbour, I don’t see any reason why you’ve to cut her so arrogantly”,said Bigboy sitting on a chair.

“I knew you weren’t sleeping,is she your second wife for you to come to her defense”,replied Marita sweeping close to Bigboy engulfing him in dust.

“I should’ve asked my friend where she found her or her sister , I wouldn’t be living in misery which the wife I have is subjecting me into and mind, you don’t sweep the destiny out of my legs”,echoed Bigboy lifting his legs avoiding his wife’s broom.

“Well even if you ignore the good suggestions from your friend, I will take Natasha to her grandmother,maybe she will find peace and eat well”,added Bigboy.

Marita ignored her husband’s pleas and kept on sweeping.She always challenged anyone who voiced about the well-being of her child though she didn’t give her motherly care.Natasha mostly spent her day playing with Nkozya’s daughter Mapenzi.

Nene Ludile,Marita’s mother had got the wind of the ill-treatment of her grandchild,so she paid a visit to know more about the reason behind her grandchild’s upbringing.Nene was a critical old lady especially on the welfare of kids.

“I want you to tell me the reason you are torturing my grandchild in this manner”, queried Nene fuming at the two failed parents.

“We are not torturing her in that sense mother but my wife here doesn’t put all her resources to our kid,she only focuses on herself and beer”, replied Bigboy.

“Mother ,this child isn’t mine alone,we are all responsible for caring and welfare of our child”,added Marita who knew too well her mother could hit her with anything she can grabbed.

“Listen to you too,not even one is sensible in your explanation,you know too well I stay alone but not even one came to check on me or just wondering what I am eating?” fumed Nene .

“What exactly have you done for this kid except canning and starving her?” inquired Nene looking at them like an interrogator.

Nene Ludile was a good baker.She was once a head chef at a local lodge during her youth days and she didn’t let her experience fade by her aging body.Villagers thronged her place in the morning to buy cup cakes for breakfast.She used a stove which her husband had built with pan bricks ,and it had shelves for different sizes of dough.Her electrical stove had stopped working.

Natasha was raised by Nene ,and she shone in beauty which she lacked from her mother.She had started lower grade education and Nene used her bakery money she earned to pay for her education and other things which the little girl needed.The two created an unbreakable friendship which made the little girl to forget about her parents.

“Nene, is mama coming here to take me back?”asked the little girl munching nuts.

“No one will take you from me,we are going to stay together forever” ,said Nene crossing her fingers gesturing a promise.

The two lived a good life and the girl grew up into a nice young lady ,she learnt how to bake with the assistance of her grandmother.She baked most of the time while her aging guardian prepared the dough.Natasha finished her academics with reasonable grades.

Marita and Bigboy came time to time to check on their child but she wasn’t willing to bond with them but she helped when her assistance was needed.Nene wasn’t all in good health so Natasha’s parents spent most of the time helping her and granny.That is the time they apologized to their young girl about the treatment against her.

“Our daughter ,we are ashamed about the misery we brought to you ,we weren’t the best you ever wished for ,now we can’t force you to come with us ,you have your decision to choose what you want in life but remember us as your parents even though we failed you.We are grateful to Mother,your Nene for the care and love she gave you which we didn’t have at the time but spent it on our failed parenthood”, confessed Bigboy biting his lower lip and on the other hand his wife Marita had nothing to say but sob in shame.

“It’s good now that you’ve realized your mistakes,now you can go home and make another child and be good parents,Natasha has to go find what she wants to achieve in life”, joked Nene smiling her wizened face.

THE RETURN OF PIWANI

“Who’s there?” inquired Amadamara dragging himself from the armchair and limping towards the unknown making noise in his unfinished thatched hut.

There wasn’t an answer from Amadamara’s inquisition but the plates kept on falling as if there was a person shuffling them.While the old man dragged himself,balancing on a walking stick,he threatened to knock down whoever was messing his utensils without his consent.

“Am I sleep walking or something real is happening in my home?” he questioned himself shaking his head trying to wake up from the supposed reverie.

Indeed ,there was a person shuffling utensils from his kitchen trying to find food but it was impossible for Amadamara to perceive him because he was invisible to bare eyes.Rumours had cycled the village about an invisible person scavenging their food and at some point joined them in their feast.

Mbeu villagers were firm believers of life after death for people who died mysteriously,they thought the aggrieved spirit couldn’t rest before it avenges the perpetrators of it’s demise and so everyone strongly suspected the dead son of Amadamara who went missing years back ,had come home to avenge his death.

Piwani, Amadamara’s only son had gone hunting with his friends but he didn’t return with others after a one week hunting errand.His friends were complicit in his death after a scuffle over the kill partitioning.They killed him and stashed his body in a mountain curve.

The boys concealed their act by lying to have been chased by an angry elephant and had separated ways for better chances of survival and so people undoubtedly believed their friend had met his fate with a violent african giant.

Amadamara wasn’t convinced much by the foretell by his son’s friends and held his ancestor’s belief that one day his son’s killers would be known in any circumstances given when the time was due.

The invisible man wasn’t violent to the rest of the villagers apart from the homes of Piwani’s friends.One afternoon when Ringo and Drago, Piwani’s friends had gone to the river to take a bath, prepared to go for a drinking spree by the village square.The boys had grown into abled bodied strong man but began to wonder in their grown up minds about the incident they did long time ago about their friend.

“Drago, are you thinking what I am thinking?” suggested Ringo bitting his lower lip and continued bending his head like a dog sizing up the tree whether to climb or bark for the squirrel to climb down.

“The invisible man is Pi…”, before he could finish his statement ,Drago cut him short , signalling him by the finger on his mouth to shut up.

“Ringo ,what are you so woman mouthed uh, can’t you just swallow what you know,we are in the jungle here,trees and birds are listening”, said Drago pipping under the thick bushes in case someone eavesdropped their conversation.

“Well we must do something before his spirit start haunting us in public”, stressed a concerned Ringo.

” We will do when time is right”, Drago was cut short by a startling foot steps which came closer to them and suddenly stopped.The two gentlemen couldn’t wait to save themselves from an unknown spirit which visited them at an untimely and precise moment.They ran home but couldn’t utter a word to anyone about their encounter at the river.

The village square as packed with clansmen drinking and joking and laughing their lungs out because they didn’t have a haunting history about anyone to torment them except the two gentlemen who had a lot in their minds about the scene at the river least it might follow them to the village square.

“Oh my little fellas ,let’s drink all we can ,and happy ourselves uh”, said Mbwando handing Drago the calabash of beer.

Drago didn’t hesitate to gulp himself mouthfuls of opaque beer.He had an intention of getting himself drunk so that he forgets the scene at the river.He handed it to his friend Ringo ,who too was smoking himself with Undele’s home grown tobacco,and had similar thoughts to his friend as they looked at each other in assurance not to spill beans of what transpired when they get drunk.

Later in the day when everyone was drunk and dozzing off their stools ,some throwing their heads over the armchairs with mouths agape like baboons drunk with amarula fruits.There was a sudden pause from those who were still much awake to see anything disturbing ,a calabash of beer drained of its contents but no beer was seen dripping from the invisible drinker.

“Undele what’s happening with the beer draining itself without any drops on the table?” inquired Butwilo trying to get hold of the calabash but to his surprise it shifted the position.

“Oh gods of Mbeu!! Dimba!! Katanga!! What have you brought us to our table?” jumped Butwilo chanting infinite names of their ancestors.

Suddenly,recognizable clothes appeared in the shade of the hut ,black round glasses, clad in a brown leather jacket without arms inside and a neat pair of trousers without limbs hanged itself looking straight at Ringo and Drago who were huddled together spewing beer from their mouths.

That same moment,Amadamara just entered the compound when he saw a group of men stun faced and puzzled some pouring beer from their calabash starring at the dangling clothes which gazed at them motionlessly.It didn’t took him much time for Amadamara recognize the clothes which belonged to his dead son which he buried in place of the body years back.

“Good Lord what have you to bring me miseries from long back?” mumbled the old man dropping hurtful tears.

Some of the men had started to clear off from drunkenness possibly of fear and it too came to their minds the clothes were familiar and they all started to shield themselves by the chairs, buckets and confessed to all the troubles they had caused him while he was still a boy, the village was disturbed by the noisy mumbles and cry choked voices from the once cheerful group of men to a mumbling group of confessors.

Amadamara pointed his stuff to the dangling clothes and ordered it to show the one who caused it’s death.The spirit of the dead flew straight to Ringo and Drago who had soaked themselves in urine and beer trembling in fear from the fate which had befallen them.Every villager witnessed the wickedness of the young boys for concealment of the abominable act they caused to their village as a whole.

Ringo and Drago were taken to the local priest of their ancestors for appeasement and cleansing of their diabolical act then after were banned from their village to seek places were they could live far from their fellow clansmen and luckily they hadn’t married,they would’ve smeared shame upon the families of the s brides and but shame was worse on their parents who lived to regret it the rest of their lives.

LANDLADY

“This is daring at its peak uh!!! yelled Amadilo beaming in her half worn head gear like a gladiator.

“Hello is anyone home?”she asked with a more sharper voice trying hard to wake up the sleeping tenants.

“Who’s yelling out there?” inquired half sleep Steven,he had taken quite a great deal of wine at a gig the previous night so he had thrown some wine bottles just next to his landlady’s house.

“Come out and pick your trash out here,don’t you know where the garbage bin is?” asked the lady outside.

Amadilo was a sneaky landlady who monitored the surrounding every morning for trespassers and unnecessary messing on the yard and she did that with a little salt in her inquiries which left tenants perplexed.

The house was built in the midst of flanking flats each with triple doors and capped with sizeable verandahs.It was roofed with iron sheets of colonial era though the inside was revamped and decorated nicely.She often sat on the verandah reading her book but her attention fixed on individuals who might wrongfully misplace anything.

The lady stayed a lone life after a separation with her husband because he couldn’t bear the harsh world of Amadilo.Her son and a daughter had both married and moved from their mother’s neighborhood to far places, they wouldn’t risk their kids tormented by their granny.

One time after a tedious day,she was doing her house chores she slept on the verandah and not while she was awakened by a tenant’s kid clink clonking an empty tin noisily.She didn’t have much time to shoosh but just tore into him with insults.

“Come on rascal won’t you give me a break,go and play at your mother’s house”, said Amadilo twisting her face.

“Oh Aunt , won’t you just tell him properly than raining misery at the innocent boy”, intercepted his mother cuddling him.

“I normally tell you people to whip your kids in shape than letting them make noise for me”, said the old lady leaning on the stoop knocking her old knees trying to get up.

“Well is it their fault for kids to misbehave,they are growing up leave them be”, replied Mandongo,the kid’s mother.

Mandongo was not a type to be under looked ,she voiced her concerns and vetoed any decisions she thought were biased and wasn’t much bothered by the lady’s tantrums, she had similar characteristics too.

Amadilo had a tendency of intimidation especially when she didn’t have some extra cash for her kitchen ration and she would poke her tenants for consuming good food while they couldn’t share with her.She enjoyed fish than any other relish.

Tony,one of the tenant’s son was sent by her mum to throw away the bream fish which had gone bad a few days ago,the boy was oblivious of the lady sweeping on the yard next to a garbage bin ,he tossed the fish and it fell next to Amadilo, lady was fumed not by the misplaced fish but how big the fish was to been thrown into the bin.

“Mary mother of Jesus Tony!! exclaimed Amadilo.

She left the broom and went with the fish to Tony’s mother shaking her head in disbelief but she wasn’t aware of the spoiled fish, her intentions was to fry her for not sharing instead of throwing it away.

“Mama Tony,why do you have to throw away such good food in the bin uh?” asked Amadilo checking gills,to see whether it’s spoiled but they were already soaked with sand.

“That fish is spoiled Mama, I didn’t realize when I bought it the previous day”, said Tony’s mother smiling.

“I will increase rent for you ,if you throw fish again next time,share with me”, joked the lady smiling.

“Oh good Lord ,mama should I succumb to that really?” asked Tony’s mother breaking into a boisterous laugh.

“Such a bulge of flesh,I would’ve enjoyed it,bless the rivers with these yummy fish”,said the lady talking to herself.

However, the lady wasn’t much an implementer of her threats but intimidated her tenants and they got used to her as time went by.On the other hand she had a good heart especially when tenants pay their dues in time,she could buy some nice food and snacks for their kids.

UNHEEDED

“Jeremy,what happened to the car?” asked Paul,his father peeling off Jeremy’s blanket.

“Oh jeez,I am still sleeping dad”,responded Jeremy squeezing the pillow against his head.

“Were you drinking last night……. , Paul paused after being interrupted by his wife’s exclamations outside.

Jeremy was an arrogant boy who didn’t respect his parent’s warnings.He had gone drinking the previous night after he stole the keys his father had denied him because of his reckless driving.The car had indicators smashed after he failed to negotiate at a parking lot and brushed against an electric poll.

His father was always at fault,criticized by neighbours for not discipling his son’s rudeness and recklessnes.One time when Jeremy was watering the flowers,he deliberately sprinkled water on Xavier’s art paintings he had left to dry up.

“Jeremy are you a demon incarnate?” fumed Xavier who was angry though younger than Jeremy.

Jeremy responded by spraying him more water and directed more to the paintings but they were dried up to rub off.Xavier couldn’t weigh himself being beaten by someone who deliberately provoked him.The boys wrestled each other , scratching and pummeling but it was Xavier who fought more resiliently because he had more reasonable ground to overcome his assailant.

The fight was split by a passerby who then informed their parents who were not aware of the fight outside.Jeremy’s father settled for  Xavier’s loss and apologized on his son’s behalf.

Paul,wasn’t a harsh man but Jeremy forced him to change the way he treated him and became more ruthless and intolerant to his actions.He challenged him to grow up, respect and behave in manner a young man was supposed. He at times behaved himself but didn’t took long to change to his reckless default and disturbed people’s privacy.

Jeremy and his brother always quarrelled, bossed over his sibling and often canned him while their parents were out.Petros resorted to stones whenever he was bullied by his senior and their mother cursed herself for not bearing a girl ,who couldn’t have been stressing her up.

Marceline , Jeremy’s mother had been confronted by fellow women to warn her son’s pestering of their girls but she was the least Jeremy could listen to.He had a girlfriend who stayed several blocks from their house, they all concealed their relationship from their parents.

Jeremy drove Petros to school every time before he left for his apprentice tuitions he was studying.It wasn’t every time that he drove him back home, he had  to see his girlfriend before picking up his brother,at times he found him along or home if the junior had used other fast means to get home.

One Sunday,Jeremy hadn’t gone to church with the family but had drove them to the congregation,he lied to have extra lessons at school yet he wanted to take his girlfriend for a picnic.It wasn’t all rosy for Jeremy though, the plan he had brought up nearly cost his life but left him with a career injury caused by defiance.

The church service took two hours and he was supposed to be punctual to pick them up but he was far in the jungle love picnicking with his girlfriend.After some several hours he realized he was left with few minutes to pick up his parents.

Jeremy hurried up with his girlfriend and drove in high speed trying to beat up the time but he used the busy road with traffic jam it slowed him so he decided to take a shorter way but the road was bumpy with potholes.

After a while  driving the two love birds were nearing their place of destination when Jeremy didn’t realized a road bend with trees stretched on the opposite side of the road,driving hurriedly in a loop road the car bumped and before he could hit the brakes and negotiate the bend,the car slid and went for the trees on the other side of the road.

The car hit hard on the tree and Naomi,his girlfriend hit on the dashboard and sustained a nose bleed thanks to the belt she had strapped but Jeremy had his belt unstrapped,his leg was stuck broken on the gears while his head hit on the side of the steering wheel and left him bleeding.

Naomi screamed for help to motorists and hawkers who came to their rescue and informed his parents who were wondering about their son’s late appointment.Paul was angry and disappointed by Jeremy’s actions and vowed not to let him drive the car again.Later Jeremy’s leg was amputated because it couldn’t heal in time.

.

PRIMITIVE CAPABILITIES

“No!!!this is insane,we have to confront the Chief”, said Ndagala wiping saliva from his mouth.

“How can he propose to evict us from our forefather’s lands”, intercepted Gago,the most vocal member of the council.

“I thought our Chief had the land at heart but he was defending to resell it again” ,exclaimed Gago wide eyed.

The villagers might have won the war of independence from the imperial powers but their miseries had not fully gone from their lives.It was a matter of self defence than relying by the presiding authorities which unilaterally consented to concessions with foreigners to occupy their lands.

Mbani, a remote village on the valley,stretching miles on a straight brown sand land under the jurisdiction of Chief Mbwando ,an aged man who was crowned to the throne at a younger age after the predecessor,his father was killed during the war.He was instrumental in negotiations over the village’s freedom but that changed when more investors came with enticing proposals during his course of reign.

The Chief had educated emissaries who negotiated and arranged business and communal agendas on his behalf.He managed to build himself a reasonable house compared to the early huts which his predecessors housed in.The villagers benefited differently to the concessions which the Chief had agreed upon with some investors to civilize the community but everything wasn’t all rosy.

Schools and health care facilities were built in Mbani village to the satisfaction of the residents but there was more to the charity they were rendered.The chief had agreed a concession with other mining company to evict people after the agreed stipulated time but the Chief had withheld the agreement from his subjects.

One time a truck with a handful of work personnel clad in their uniforms drove down the river side where villagers fished and farmed their gardens.The men took measurements,pegged and cordoned the area with fence and that didn’t go well with villagers who then requested a meeting with the Chief.

The Chief had agreed to sell the land down the river which the early settlers had mined and there was still abundant minerals in the vicinity.The paramountcy knew of the minerals when he took the throne.The concession meant all the villagers who lived close by would be evicted and pushed further deep in the valley where they grazed their livestocks and that wasn’t appreciated at all.

A council of elders were summoned to look into the matter which had arisen in their midst.The Chief was still vibrant and bore an arrogant statue which intimidated the weak but it wasn’t enough to stop the infuriated villagers.

“When a cow enter your kraal,you don’t have to bully or question it’s choice but know who does this cow belong to”, said the Chief in idioms addressing his subjects.

“Apparently,we can’t just sit and leave people enter our homes without proper authority”,intercepted Gago ramming his sandal on the ground.

“I thought we had done long ago with these people who dig our lands”,added Sikolo and a murmur of concerns roared among subjects.

The Chief calmed everyone down and spilt the news which everyone in the village wouldn’t dare grasp but they had to listen and debate over the issue.

“My people,the group of people you saw down the river side have come to mine the minerals which the early miners left and I thought it will benefit us with the civilization but they will need professional experience which means none of us qualifies due to our educational incapabilities”, said the Chief in a low tone.

“When was the concession agreed and who were present at the meeting with these people and those people should bear in mind that it is in our power to defend our property even though we are not educated”,fumed Gago placing his cap on the knee.

Before the Chief could answer Gago’s question,Sofia an elderly woman poured her questions citing the imbalance of decision making in the village.

“If I may interrupt,the Chief said we don’t have any experience to work in their mine,does that mean ,we owners of the land should step aside and leave foreigners to dig us out of our forefather’s lands?” enquired Sofia.

“Without those educational capabilities we will defend our land with our primitive capabilities and we will prevail”, said Asante vehemently.

“It won’t be in that manner,but there is another way we can help them and earn from them too”,said the Chief running short of answers to the determined audience.

Ndagala had vowed to stand by his birth rights on the piece of land which his father left him and he wouldn’t leave the place of origin undefended.

“My fellow villagers,our fathers fought the war of freedom for our land and we are the rightful owners and by so ,we don’t have to be intimidated in anyway or by bread to surrender our will so that someone from somewhere can benefit from our resources Never!!! stressed Ndagala.

The meeting went for several hours and the villagers vehemently refused to give up their rightful property to foreigners or any indigenous investors who would want to evict them.The Chief was blamed by the people for failure to preside and defend his dominion.

The cordoned area which the investors had marked and pegged was destroyed by angry villagers and they informed the Chief to observe their rights of ownership and engagement in matters which concerned their village.

A STROLL ACROSS AFRICA

Life under a scorched and brutally supervised environment led to division of opinions and hatred among ethnic tribes.

Deprival of human rights is one major blow to one’s ability to be heard in different aspects of life and not only that but it hinders the socio-economic growth.Civilians are the backbone of the country’s most treasured resources be it in sports , culture and diplomatic affairs they contribute to immensely.

In Africa,such privileges have been stripped off the majority’s lives and they have to battle for their next breath of air. Civilians vote in harmony and choose their leader who they have courage and confidence to lead them and also pay attention to their pleas in their respective area of concerns.

The problem comes when they are elected and when people voice their concerns over the promises which didn’t materialize, they’re treated as a dissidents trying to distabilize the country yet it’s their right to veto.

Africa has abundance of resources and intellectual inhabitants schooled in most competitive environment and holds much needed curriculums to table in a more democratic grievances in a manner which befits the governing constitution but that has been thwarted by the underachievers (leaders) which benefited from corrupt procedures way up the ladder.

Nepotism and tribalism have deprived competitive and legitimate organization contractual rights which benefits the country’s economy.Contracts are awarded in their circles of beneficiaries which are then manipulated and given inappropriate figures to the majority.

The continent has been hit hard by a number of deadly disease of which the continent doesn’t have much manpower or resources ,let alone medication to cure the global pandemic.Civilians are told of the donations but they are not put to use and further more civilians are not supposed to question the allocation least they risk getting themselves in trouble.

Equipments and remuneration are donated by world pharmaceutical agencies but the allocation is same as in other sectors of the ministries,only the bold and the ruling will benefit from the non organizational service rendered to the rest of the people.

Food security is a critical project which needs extra attention,civilians are fed by non-organizational agencies yet the continent is blessed with vast fertile lands that if projects are set for agricultural purposes can feed the inhabitants.

Incompetant ministerial administrators receive agricultural inputs from other well wishers and sectors but the allocation is contrary to the objectives of the projects.

Politically , civilians are the ones suffering from persecution,torture and other inhumane activities.The governments are democratically run on papers yet on physical nature on the ground,authoritarian is the prevailing rule of law.

A question is left unattended as to whether the continent’s security and food organization doesn’t perceive the suffering of its people.The rich mineral continent exports a lot and rewarded more in return but the countries are left with nothing to benefit from their resources.

Journalism has been tainted as the fierce opposition suspected of toppling the ruling governments.Their rights and obligations are no longer observed.Journalism is vital to the public lives in many ways, for instance issues concerning live coverage to those who are unable to be present at scenes of occurrence and they too help uncover the irregularities surrounding different sectors within their place of work.They are more like judiciary system but their existence is worth a risk.

More so the heavy handedness of the governments against civilians has caused the formation of insurgents factions which terrorise fellow citizens seeking attention to voice their pleas but to no avail will the governments allow the leadership of the insurgents to table their grievances which they themselves pose on them.

As long as the ignorant and power hungry leaders won’t put down their tools of oppression ,Africa won’t be a better than it was during the stone Age.

THE DOWRY

“Nomsa !! Nomsa!! are you not waking up today?” shouted her mother outside.

“I was just waking up mum I was a little dizzy”, replied Nomsa inside her hut.

“Are you in good health Nomsa?” insisted her mother.

“Am Ok,I slept late yesterday night”,said Nomsa grabbing a broom.

“Are you not feeling well?” inquired her mother feeling her temperature on the forehead by the back of her hand.

Nomsa a middle aged lady , beautiful with a slender body.She kept a simple serene village life.A punctual lady in every work detail she was summoned to by her parents.Beautiful like a morning flower,Nomsa caught the eye of not every men in her village but passers-by too.

Mandingo, her father was well aware of Nomsa’s attractiveness to young men in the village but vowed to rip fruitfully from his daughter’s dowry.A lot of his friends teased him though they wished to have a hand in her life too.

One afternoon,Mandingo and his friends had returned from a local camp fire meeting and passed by his home to quench thirsty after a long walk.Fortunate enough Nomsa hadn’t gone to visit her friends,she was home helping out her mother with chores.

“Wow , beautiful!! exclaimed Duze,when he saw Nomsa switching chairs in rooms.

“In what God’s name are you exclaiming about Duze?”asked Mandingo ,who hadn’t noticed his daughter’s presence.

Duze wasn’t a person who held his opinions back ,he would risk a fight if he found fit to voice out.He once fought with his friend after he had commented on the beauty of his wife.

“Ay Mandingo , don’t act as if you don’t know a bundle of beauty you’re hidding here”, intercepted Dave.

“Oh oh don’t dare my friends,that’s my investments”, said Mandingo forcing a laugh.

“I hope you won’t marry your daughter when these young men around find wives from far places” ,said Duze puffing a smoke.

“Unless I go blind ,that’s when she can cheat me to marry these ompa lumpa boys”,insisted Mandingo.

So it was , Mandingo was very strict of his daughter to go about the village roaming with no apparent reasons but to stay home and render help to her mother as supposed by cultural values.Few village men had tried their best to lure her but failed not because she turned them down but her father’s bride was unbearable.

A young man from another clan had sent emissaries to ask for her hand in marriage,they had high expectations because of the money the young man had made out of his cattle sales but it wasn’t much to satisfy Mandingo’s high regards of his daughter.

Mandingo would always welcome the visitors with cultural norms befitting the occasion but later his decision would change the tone of proceedings.

“I greet you all my elders,you are most welcome to my home, please feel free” ,he said stretching his limbs.

“We came on behalf of our son to seek his wish for the hand in marriage of your daughter”,said one elder and they all smiled in appreciation.

“Well my fellow clansmen,my daughter is available to you if only you will agree to the tag on her bride price”,said Mandingo raising his wrinkles in emphasis.

“We are well prepared for our son”,replied the kinsman.

Mandingo took a cup of water and gulped harder and placed it on the table in a steady manner and forked out a piece of paper he wrote the list of his daughter’s price.He wasn’t easily carried out with how a person appeared but was focused on his objective.

In the piece of paper,he demanded two cows and three goats but there was more to it than the normal price.The husband wasn’t to lay a hand on his daughter and if she was wrong on the matter,she had to be taken to her Aunt for counseling.She were not be starved of finances if she deemed necessary.The husband , every month to give him some finances for his upkeep and lastly she shouldn’t bear more than five kids.

The visiting entourage gaped and soured their faces to the demands of the bride price.The elder kinsman,tried to reason with him but he was firm and unmoved by his unilateral demands which he didn’t consider the opinion of his wife.

“Is that all meant for our visitors?” inquired his wife in a low tone holding her chin in solace with bridegrooms.

“No Susie ,it hasn’t come to your honourable yet,you have to back me up on this when your assistance is needed”,insisted Mandingo.

The visitors promised to pay the bride price and always be sure to take responsibility placed upon their shoulders.Mandingo finally found someone to take care of his daughter in good health and untroubled.The demands were meant to scare the bridegrooms to respect their wives and give them the attention they needed just he did with his wife.

BOUND BY BLOOD

The boys were energetic and tireless in their pursuit for family objectives.They couldn’t rest on their laurels.

Bazali Dimba a workaholic man who earned his sizeable belongings from hard work on his piece of land he was allocated by his father.He didn’t work from any factory because he convinced himself that anything he wanted was to come from the piece of land he owned.

Dimba had three boys and he taught them how to work hard and achieve family success in life and so the boys couldn’t argue much since they were still young to defy their parent’s heeds and it benefitted them later.

Ndimba the eldest,a lanky boy with an athletic body,kept a goaty beard and moustache and he used to intimidate his younger brothers to acknowledge his superiority.Pobwe and Pablo were identical twins.They were not much like their elder brother,had a vertical challenged height and had rickets legs.On their spare time they played football at one of the local amateur teams.

The farm was properly cordoned with thorn bushes and other tree branches from fowls and other animals tramping the crops.Maize and other crops were farmed for consumption but tomatoes , potatoes,carrots and a variety of vegetables were they specialized much for sale.The piece of land was prepared in segments and the boys didn’t hire any extra labour to help but they believed and managed in their brotherhood trust and strength.

The market wasn’t much far and their mother was given the task to sell and retail in bulk .Tomatoes and carrots were ferried in baskets fresh front the farm.Bazali Dimba owned an ox drawn cart which they used to ferry their produce in bulk for retail.

“At some point we have to hire a vehicle to carry these tomatoes to the market,they are so heavy” suggested Pobwe throwing a biltong on the brazier.

“There he goes,Pobwe had always wanted a truck,buy him Dad”,replied Pablo chuckling.

Ndimba wasn’t much off a talker but he contributed where he thought it was necessary.

“Pobwe ,we have to be the ones buying the truck, we can no longer ask from father for anything,he gave us the farm to work on it”, said Ndimba looking at the old man smiling to the wise words from the eldest son.

Dimba had instilled the spirit of togetherness and workmanship among his sons. Disagreements were dealt amicably and he often told them that arguments were meant to correct mistakes not to settle with fights.

Wild animals tempered the farm at night and at one point ,the carrots were nearly finished by scrub hares.They bought a mesh wire which they rounded the entire farm limiting losses from the nocturnal animals.The farm caught attention of other local farmers who were cultivating entirely for consumption.

Neighbours began asking for advice and assistance from Dimba of which he willingly rendered.He and his sons were friendly to their fellow villagers.

The boys worked tirelessly in their farm and they managed to purchase a truck which they used to ferry produce to the market.Moreover they got a tender from local guest lodge, contracted to supply fresh tomatoes ,carrots and vegetables which they planted extensively.

The family business made good sales and they managed to purchase a building where all their fresh produce were sold and the banner of the business was dedicated to the hard work and workmanship of Bazali’s sons.

A big red-painted banner stood at the top of the verandah and on the left side of the banner ,there was a painting of vegetables and fruits in a basket and on the other side bold black words wrote. BAZAKI AND SONS ENTERPRISE small words in brackets wrote bound by blood.

The family lived a happy and healthy life from their hard work and togetherness.

TURMOIL

A cock-a-doodle-doo of a roaster sounded the dawn but a squeak like growl from the hilltops sent a shiver down the spine of villagers,dogs and fowls alike.

The village of Tandangale presided upon by an experienced hunter, Chief Duku,who during his junior age fought successfully in clan wrestling games and was a bow and arrow marksman.Wild animals which terrorised the village were put to bed by a swift and executed traps by the intelligent Chief’s hunting knowledge.

The village was situated on the valley flanked by hillsides with tall trees and rocky mountains.Eagles and other birds nested by the hilltops and trees and in mountain barrows , carnivorous animals like jackals and hyenas shared the habitation .

It was on these hilltops and rocky mountain where an eagle with leopard like fangs terrorised the villagers and their livestocks was found.When the eagle squeaked in the morning ,dogs could be heard barking relentlessly in the same direction.

The eagle, black in colour and round black pupil piercing eyes with a vulture like beak.The jaws were hidden in the black thick feathers making it impossible to locate the fangs unless when it opens its beak.Its body, close to a size of a gobbler with feathered legs size of three middle fingers together.Black hooked sharp claws which made impossible to stand in rocks unless on the ground or trees where the claws would be free.

Goats were serial victims and clawed all over their bodies as a result of a failed attempt to lift due to their size and weight and were left with wide open claw cuts and some with intestines protruding on the skin.Goat kids were easier prey and so the number dwindled severely prompting villagers to seek plans to kill the eagle.

“My kraal is left without any offsprings because of this devil of the hills”, said Sauto cordoning the kraal with thorn branches.

“Seriously ,one day,it will snatch someone in sleep” added Ngunde.

Sauto stopped,alarmed and held his head as if he had received disturbing news and added, “Mbizho likes napping anywhere he feels like when he’s drunk,someone must warn him”,he said

“I almost forgot about Mbizho,he drinks as if he doesn’t have a tomorrow”,added Ngunde.

The fanged eagle had no choice of prey as it pounced on any crawling animals or walking humans.It had huge thirsty for blood due to its fangs.Few village women had been attacked and one suffered a terrible cut which took too long to heal.

The women were coming from a school meeting when one lady was swooped of her head wrapper by the eagle’s sharp claws.The ladies screamed for their lives throwing away their groceries they had bought.It made a perfect timed dive again on the ladies who were trying to shoo it off with branches but one had a little branch exposing her shoulders, it clawed her deeply but couldn’t lift her up.

After a long struggle with the ceaselessly hungry eagle with no success,the screams were overheard by herdman and he didn’t second guess ,he just ran towards the screams and found the ladies huddled under thorn bushes.The eagle had poised for another swoop but was missed by herdsman’s knobkerry and flew away.

The attack on women became the turnaround of the villagers to face their nemesis head-on and cure the disease.Plans were set at the Chief’s compound and he agreed to be part of the covet team to trap the eagle.Able bodied men armed themselves with all the weapon they had in their arsenals.The chief armed himself with a bow and several arrows he had readily sharpened.

It was on a cloudy afternoon,they had tied a goat to a tree on open ground to lure the eagle into a trap.Not less than an hour the men had ambushed themselves,a squeak and flaps of it’s wide wings in a dive position aimed at the goat drove numbness and weakness in the gentlemen’s legs as they stood leaning on the trees sweating.

The eagle dived oblivious of the trap and the moment it pounced on the goat struggling to lift it,the Chief struck it with simultaneous arrows on its chest and few seconds later ,an array of flying objects descended upon the eagle and the goat alike,the eagle slumped down and died because of the arrows which had struck too deep in the chest.On the other hand the goat received multiple stabs by axe,spears and other sharp objects aimed at the eagle.The eagle was later bent to ashes.

The village was quiet and safe from the eagle threats except perennial jackals and hyenas which occasionally invaded their livestocks at night.

TWIST OF FRIENDSHIP

Mbimbi and Ndoga were good friends since their childhood and the boys couldn’t leave each other’s sight.Their homes were close by to reach out for any assistance.

The boys were enrolled at the same school and luckily they were placed in same class according to their ages.The boys shared a very warm friendship of which other kids became envious of them.

Mbimbi had an accident sometime on a weekend with his chauffeur and he lost much blood from the wound he sustained but they all survived.He was taken to the hospital for blood transferbut his parents had attended a blood donation campaign few weeks back thereby it wasn’t enough so they needed someone with same blood group.Ndoga volunteered to help his friend and surprisingly they shared the same blood group and so Mbimbi was revived from comma.

Mbimbi’s father was a business man who owned a fleet of vehicles and a handful of shops.Mbimbi was always driven to school by his father’s chauffeur and he stopped by to pick his friend to school.The chauffeur was used to pick Ndoga even if Mbimbi wasn’t going to school,it became a routine.

Ndoga came from a mediocre family and his father was a well known carpenter.He made good furniture cabinets and Mbimbi’s father had bought some from him.The two families were brought together by their sons who had an unfathomable friendship.

One time Mbimbi had an altercation with Jambo at school and Ndoga wasn’t close, he had attended a summon by his principal.Jambo was insisting Mbimbi to unfriend Ndoga and join their group of wealthy kids.

“Mbimbi you surprise me much”, said Jambo.

“What do you mean Jambo?” inquired Mbimbi surprised.

“How can you be friends with that Ndoga boy who doesn’t have anything to show off”, said Jambo laughing with his friends.

“Join us ,sons of wealthy fathers ……” he was cut short by Mbimbi.

“What has Ndoga wronged you and besides who asked for your opinion on our friendship”, replied an annoyed Mbimbi and left.

“Think it over buddy”, echoed Jambo as he entered the classroom.

Jambo’s plan was to sideline Ndoga so that they could befriend him.He tried by all means to separate them but the boys were too close to be separated.Jambo was too a son of a business man and his father was a good friend of Mbimbi’s so he wanted to take advantage of his father’s friendship.

Mbimbi later told his friend about Jambo’s efforts to break their friendship and claimed he was the poorest at school.Ndoga wasn’t pleased with the Jambo’s downplay on his family’s status.

“Jambo, I heard you’re insistently on dissolving my friendship with Mbimbi,how is that so?”inquired a raged Ndoga holding his waist.

“I don’t talk to carpenters”, replied Jambo stubbornly.

Ndoga didn’t waste much time to talk to Jambo ,he held him by the collar of his uniform and threatened to punch him if he ever meddle in his family affairs.Mbimbi sided with Ndoga and warned him to stay away from them.It wasn’t long when Mbimbi turned against his friend.

One night the boys had gone to attend a gala festival at the Chief’s palace.Scores of girls from different clans converged at the Chief’s palace.Local brewed beer and other soft drinks were available for the majority.Drums and flutes were played accordingly and people enjoyed.

Jambo was present at the celebration and he had a surprise package for Mbimbi,a girl,Luisa.He had told her how wealthy Mbimbi was than Ndoga his friend but the Mbimbi was shy to propose ladies.Ndoga and Mbimbi were seated by the fire place when Jambo introduced Luisa to Mbimbi.

“Mbimbi I brought you a package, fresh from the box” ,said Jambo smiling in the dark.

“Are you at it again Jambo, What do you want this time?” inquired Mbimbi handing over a drink to Ndoga.

“She came looking for you and she wants to dance with you”,said Jambo leaving them together.

Mbimbi greeted the lady and introduced Ndoga to the lady.Ndoga unlike Mbimbi was full of jokes and knew how to keep a lady close.The three sat down and shared jokes enjoyably but Mbimbi wasn’t contributing much so the lady showed some signs of liking to Ndoga who was oblivious of his friend’s distrust.

“Guys give me a moment,I will be back in a while”,said Mbimbi leaving.

“Where are you going Mbimbi leaving me with your lady here?”asked Ndoga.

“Just few minutes Ndoga will you?” replied Mbimbi.

Ndoga and Luisa were left together and danced to the music while Mbimbi went to inform Jambo about how Ndoga snatched the lady from him.It worked for Jambo because he had long wanted the friends to turn against each other.

While Ndoga and Luisa were dancing,Mbimbi came to drag his friend from the lady and warned him not to take advantage of his inability to cheer a lady but Ndoga was quick to dismiss his friend’s remarks as jokes and continued to dance.Mbimbi was raged.

As the party progressed,Mbimbi decided to leave Ndoga and the lady and drove home.After a while Ndoga searched for his friend but he was informed he left with others and so Ndoga walked the night alone surprised of his friend’s sudden change of heart.

Mbimbi became friends with Jambo and he couldn’t pass at Ndoga’s place to pick him up for school as usual.Ndoga wasn’t much surprised of the development because he had known the status quo of his family was his weakness and he left to lament the good times they had together. Their parents learnt if the development and tried to unite them but the boys had made up their minds. It was over.

ANCESTRAL MESSENGER

Bomba a bull elephant which strayed from its mother after the elephants stampeded across the village running away from persistent poachers.

Elephants had troubled the poor villagers who resided close to a big river which divided the settlements and the game reserves.They lost a lot of livestocks to carnivorous wild animals during the winter when the river ran lower in volume.

Bomba was found roaming in the village and kids were played water spewing with the bull calf.Mandevu a local retired ranger was given the task to look after the calf elephant and report it’s activities and health to the authority at the nearby wildlife offices.

The calf grew in health and in harmony with people and livestock.Mandevu would drive the bull with his herd of cattle to the grazing fields.People flocked Mandevu’s home to have an opportunity to watch the elephant.He trained the elephant to carry people on its back.

One time the elephant wasn’t in the good mood to mingle with people and the noise from the playing kids evoked its wild anger and ran after everyone in its way including cattle and dogs.It broke anything which stood on its path and the villagers ran in different directions to hide from the raging bull.

“Mandevu how do you manage to cope with such anger?”asked Bwazu peeping at Bomba.

“You just have to stay out of sight if he’s not in the good mood”, replied Mandevu picking buckets which Bomba had fallen.

“For goodness sake ,get out ,if he finds you in that Udwala’s toilet,he will bury you alive”,joked Mbenjere.

“Well, don’t run to small shelters ,surely you’ll be daring him”, emphasised Mandevu.

“Can’t he recognize us please,when will this hither and tither finish?” asked Bwazu still shaking from the encounter.

The bull later calmed and everyone reconciled again.

Few yards from the village ran a railway line and Bomba hadn’t been to the railway line because they feared the bull might charge against the mighty steel locomotive.They used to graze him far from the rail road but he was alarmed by the noise when the locomotive passed by.

Mandevu was rescued from the lions by Bomba when he had gone to graze his cattle near the game reserve wire fence.A pride of lions had crossed the fence heading for the river when they saw cattle grazing with the elephant. Bomba grew up without the knowledge of lions since he wasn’t taken to the jungle to graze but roamed the nearby grazing lands.

A lioness leapt on a calf and before it could choke the poor calf it bellowed attracting the attention of other cattle.Bomba was quick to intervene and rescued the calf.Mandevu ran towards the elephant and found the calf with scratches from the fangs of the lioness.

The lioness diverted their attention to Mandevu who had became an easier prey,one lioness charged at Mandevu but he was quick to see the lioness and climbed a tree and yelled to attract Bomba who was busy shooing the determined cats and the bull was further raged seeing its owner trapped.It ran among the lionesses and trapped a juvenile male and stomped it with its legs and gored it to death.

From his heroics acts to save the calf and Mandevu,Bomba was regarded as the Ancestral Messenger.Villagers brought some grains and melons for Bomba in appreciation of the security it had shown to its owner and the calf which was recovering from the deep claw cuts of the lioness.

Everything was well with the elephant which had grown into a towering figure and Mandevu was becoming scared of spending more time with the elephant.It was time for the bull to mate but there wasn’t a cow to mate and it started to chase and goring bulls and oxen in anguish.

One morning the bull was all patched with mating sweat and it broke the kraal were Mandevu had rounded up.It was groaning slowly.Mandevu knew something was wrong with the bull so he quickly warned the villagers not to go close to the bull elephant.

“Hello everyone,today our Bomba isn’t in good mood please be advised don’t go near”,said Mandevu clonking a bell they use to send messages.

“What happened?” inquired Bwazu .

“Well Bwazu ,we didn’t find him a wife so he needs one”, replied Mandevu point blankly.

“Can’t you go out and mix him with other elephant cows in the jungle”, asked a female voice from the listeners.

“I said he’s unreachable woman,I don’t know when I will free my cattle from the kraal” ,replied a bored Mandevu.

Indeed the atmosphere had changed between Bomba and his owners.Later on the bull went out trumpeting and breaking branches headed for the railway line.Villagers were left in fear of the elephant would meet the locomotive while it was raging in anger and so it happened.

While the villagers were still lamenting,the sound of the train filled the valley and on the other hand Bomba was headed the same direction following a route which crossed the railway line on a bend.Villagers ran to witness the tragedy since they weren’t able to distract the angry bull.With the lack of exposure to the locomotive,Bomba saw the incoming train as an obstruction.

The bull flapped it’s ears and shook its head and trumpeting heavily and the train operator honked the horn thereby challenging the trumpeting angry bull .It charged at the train and there was a shrieking sound of brakes when the two met but the locomotive was in full throttle.

The elephant was hit hard on the head and stuck its horn on the wheels of the train but the heavy metallic locomotive was heavier to the bull.Blood spew from the elephant head and smeared on the wagons.

The locomotive could not stop because of the number of the wagons it was pulling.The operators had many encounters with such behaviours from the wild animals and they knew how to cope with such scenarios.

Villagers were left in shock and surprise by the courage of the elephant bull to charge on a full throttled and wagon loaded locomotive.They were sorry of the loss but couldn’t help leaving the meat to the wild carnivorous animals and so it was shared among the villagers.

MAMASITA’S RESTAURANT

“Hello MamaSita !!! echoed Kanyemba behind the restaurant before he entered the building.

“Ah ah Nyemba Nyemba this early,did you eat last night?”she asked handing Kanyemba cup of water.

“What can I give you this morning Nyemba?” asked MamaSita smiling.

“I drank one two many yesterday night,hangover has ruled it’s bit MamaSita”, replied Kanyemba opening his snuff bottle.

” I can do a cup of tea”,added Kanyemba.

MamaSita owned a restaurant which was well known by village and town folks.Situated by the roadside where every travellers stopped by for lunch.Her husband help her do some chores at the restaurant but the man was the most jealous specimen of manhood.

MamaSita had two girls with Muhambi,her husband,she took good care of herself and she always wore a jovially face to her customers but that wasn’t appreciated much by Muhambi who always kept a circumpective watch on his beautiful wife.

Muhambi, always vigilant to his wife’s business and those who came to try their lucky to lure the chubby and beautiful woman.One time Muhambi nearly fought his friend over some remarks to his wife.

“Muhambi are you the one cooking us the recipe today?” asked Matomola jokingly.

“Tomo,you people do you get cooked for by your wives to come here so early?”asked Muhambi wiping his face with his wool hat.

“If only we had beautiful wives ,we would stick home more than being here at the restaurant where one is found”, replied Matomola lowering himself on the chair.

“What is that supposed to mean Matomola?”asked Muhambi biting his lower lip.

“Haaaa you’ve turned dark already, I actually I didn’t mean your wife even though she is wonderful in this country side”, said Matomola lowering his voice.

“Is that what you came for here, one more word from your mouth I will stick this hot spoon in your mouth”,said Muhambi angrily.

Muhambi wasn’t tolerant of men who spoke about his wife and he blamed them for a lack of choice.On the other hand his wife brushed off the remarks as she was interested in marketing her business and she wouldn’t cheat on her husband who financed her restaurant from the money he saved from a factory he once worked for before being retrenched.

People thronged MamaSita’s restaurant, she cooked good food and the surrounding was well swept by the industrious Muhambi.Inside the building twin speakers played local jazz music and that was the way Muhambi could attract more clients to his wife’s restaurant.Flower pots of artificial flowers with different colors guarded the entrance of the door.

“MamaSita how do you manage to keep this place so clean and beautiful like you eh?” asked one client giggling.

“Man this lady is so perfect,as if you’re entering into that Sikolo Cathedral Church”, said another customer.

Muhambi was on the other side washing dishes when he heard the voices of the men commenting his wife,he peeped and coughed a little to let them know he was around listening to what they were saying.

“Welcome gentlemen”, said Muhambi handing them menu pamphlets.

“Thank you sir ,can you play me a song by that local flute and tambourine group”requested a customer.

“Which one specifically because I know a lot”,replied Muhambi placing tape into the disc jokey.

“I have forgotten ,I think it’s Herengere brothers something like that”, replied the customer guessing.

MamaSita was still serving potions of the guest’s food when Sibeso,Muhambi’s daughter entered with a bucket of tomatoes and placed them by the table next to the gentlemen waiting for their food.She caught the eye of the men who asked a series of too many questions oblivious that she was the restaurant owner’s daughter and so they evoked the serenity of Muhambi who over heard them while splitting wood outside.

“Jeez,where on earth do such angels found”, said one man .

The other replied with a remark which prompted MamaSita to intervene and save her daughter from the determined questioners.

“I think of divorcing my wife tomorrow,since I just married two weeks back and take this lady here”,said one stretching his hand to greet her.

“My customers please ,she is my daughter spare her all those courts”,said MamaSita chuckling at the guest.

” Oh oh sorry MamaSita though you have a very beautiful daughter ehm” exclaimed the man.

“She took from her,look at her lips,they are the same”,replied the other.

Muhambi finally came inside and told the men to look less at his wife and daughter.while he was warning the man,his wife and daughter were dancing to the sounds of Herengere music and surprisingly enough Muhambi put his axe on the floor and joined his wife who were mimicking and dancing to the song.At last he managed a smile.

The family restaurant did well all year because of their cleanliness and good clientele even though Muhambi threatened to throw some of his clients when they court his wife.Kanyemba brought his friend, Ngwadi one afternoon to eat from MamaSita’s restaurant.

Kanyemba and Ngwadi were intoxicated by the bourbon wine which they bought at a liquor store and decided to pass by MamaSita’s restaurant to eat braai.The restaurant always welcomed clients with good local music and so the pair couldn’t help ignoring the music and started dancing energetically.

“Nyemba have you taken a little more beers today, I haven’t seen you dancing like this before?” asked MamaSita enjoying the dance moves by Kanyemba and Ngwadi.

“Sita Sita !! wait for it ,you haven’t seen me twisting like a millipede uh”, said Kanyemba lifting his arms and dancing his bums in undulating manner.

“Heavens come down,is this Kanyemba?” exclaimed Muhambi throwing a towel on his shoulder and joining in the dancing.

“Encore!! Encore!! Sita!! Sita !! just a little more”, demanded Kanyemba.

The gentlemen danced and asked more of the music before they made an order of food.Ngwadi was well at his peak ,danced, squatting like a frog and undulating their bums circling the bottle of bourbon they had placed at the center.

MamaSita stood in awe of her husband who had forgotten to look for fire wood and danced his lungs out with his guest.The dance was later stopped by MamaSita who ordered them to eat before the food got finished.

“It has been long since I had danced this energetically, I think I lost some calories”,said Ngwadi dangling his head.

“MamaSita give him more sugar to swallow”, joked Kanyemba.

They all laughed and enjoyed their food but the day ended differently to the jovial mood they came beaming. Ngwadi was his first time to eat from MamaSita’s restaurant and Kanyemba didn’t warm him about courting the beautiful restaurant owner because her husband disliked courting remarks to his wife.

“Are you enjoying the food my esteemed guests?”asked MamaSita placing a jar of water.

“Hmm!! crrk wmmm!! hmmm crrrk !!! said Kanyemba cracking a bone in his mouth.

“Holy Mary Kanyemba!! won’t you finish what’s in your mouth and talk”, laughed MamaSita.

“The food won’t let me be,so sweet”,replied Kanyemba cracking a bone .

“Goodness Kanyemba!! have you turned into a hyena?” joked Ngwadi swallowing a chunk of meat like a choked hen.

Muhambi had returned from fetching firewood,he sat by the door but wasn’t visible to the gentlemen inside.Ngwadi became obsessed by the looks of MamaSita and decided to make his presence felt.

“The food was sweet like the owner,I really enjoyed it”,said Ngwadi wiping his mouth.

It was late for Kanyemba to warn his friend about the woman she was referring to as sweet was a dangerous path he had chosen.Muhambi stood up where he was and grabbed Ngwadi with his collar pulling him off the chair standing him squarely with his face but Ngwadi was shorter than Muhambi.

“How did you know the sweetness of my wife?”inquired Muhambi with red eyes .

“Is she your wife or you trying to impress her by dancing and splitting wood out there”,replied Ngwadi struggling himself from the determined grip of Muhambi.

“This little rascal dares me Kanyemba”, said Muhambi slapping Ngwadi and holding him tight so that he couldn’t struggle free.

The gentlemen exchanged blows and Kanyemba managed to cool them off.MamaSita was infuriated by the behaviour of her husband but she hadn’t defended herself rebuke Ngwadi just like any wife could’ve reacted to the remarks.

Kanyemba apologized on behalf of his friend who had a nose bleed from the heavy punch of Muhambi.MamaSita decided to employ someone in place of her husband because customers complained of her husband’s behaviour.

Despite Muhambi’s commotions with people,it didn’t stop clients to eat at MamaSita’s restaurant.

VENDETTA

The civil war commotion had taken its toll among citizens, child soldiers were recruited forcefully and no one had shown zeal to stop the unrest even government armies were tortured and killed in remote places.

The wailing and screaming of women and kids could be heard all over in the bushes during anytime of the day fleeing from tormenting rebels and government soldiers alike.The villagers were caught in between the forces.

Government soldiers were harassing villagers to give away the hidding places and couriers of the rebel fighters in the thick equatorial bushes but to no avail.Rebels had issued stern warnings of corporal punishment or death to villagers who sold them out.It became difficult for the innocent people.

Not all the recruited juvenile soldiers consented to the idea of fighting their own brothers, sisters and their parents, some were shot instantly for defiance.A few number of the juveniles fought with a mind of payback to what happened to their deceased parents and relatives.Gbenga was one of them.

Gbenga lived with his mother,two sisters and father who worked in a rebel forced diamond mine which was proximity to their village,a wide river rich in diamond which the government and the rebels fought for dominion.His father often told him of how unsafe it was in their village because of the diamonds in Gezani river.

One night when the rains had stopped drizzling,Gbenga was seated with his family in a hut, warming by the fire when a group of leaves camouflaged rebels stormed in the hut and dragged Gbenga away,his father tried to fight back but he was hit by a rifle butt and fainted on the spot.

They used the route which passed in thorn bushes and pricky thorns on the ground which stung Gbenga’s feet because he had worn sandals.After a considerable distance,loud chants and singing of small voices stung Gbenga’s ears with fear because he had heard brutal stories of how juveniles were treated to hate the government.

Gbenga had gone all the necessary training and was put into one group which raided the a secondary teacher’s home.It happened the teacher was Gbenga’s headmaster before the civil war broke out.The teacher was ushered out with his family to be killed for allowing government soldiers camping at the school.

“I want to show you how you deal with a puppet”,said their leader welding a machete.

“Please leave my family and take me wherever you want”,pleaded the headmaster.

“Shut up old man”,said the man slapping him.

The headmaster fell on Gbenga’s feet and looked up and he realized him.He was holding an M16 machine gun pointed down.Gbenga felt ashamed to betray his teacher,a good friend of his father’s.Gbenga went to the leader and dragged him aside.

“Sir commander, I want to plead for this man”,said Gbenga looking at the teacher’s daughter.

“What do you suggest soldier?” said the leader lowering his machete.

“The teacher is my father’s friend and he was the one who found him work at the mine”,pleaded Gbenga.

“Okay I hear you soldier,you can go back to others”,said the leader puffing a cigar which he looted from the headmaster’s cabinet.

The act of Gbenga to plead for people who supported the government was considered an act of defiance to the orders and it became a nightmare to Gbenga’s life that he had to live with it for the rest of his life.The commander secretly led a group to eliminate Gbenga’s family and conceal it from Gbenga so that he couldn’t know what happened to his family.

The next morning the rebels clashed with government soldiers near Gbenga’s home but he wasn’t deployed in the same group which fought soldiers but sent to another front so that he couldn’t be able to defend his family.Casualties from both sides counted with quite a number of civilians.Gbenga asked about his family to the group which went to fight the soldiers and he was told the soldiers had killed them all.He stood stone cold and wept inside resenting the idea of joining the rebels who couldn’t protect their families.

Gbenga later organised a group of about five members from their different groups so that they could help being ears and eyes of their families and they could meet during singing time to inform each other about their whereabouts and hearsay.Mponda was entrusted to infiltrate the commander’s trustees as he was the second in command of the other group.Danga,Mpuzu and Simbazo were to infiltrate other groups in silence.

It wasn’t long when Gbenga found out about how his family was wiped out because of the incident at the headmaster’s house.Mpuzu eavesdropped the news when some concerns juveniles were discussing about how unfair it was to massacre Gbenga’s family.He grieved his family in agony and resentment.He wasn’t afraid of confronting his commanders and it nearly led him to an early grave.

“Sir commander, I heard about the news about my family’s massacre by our own members”, said Gbenga shedding tears in dim light.

The commander’s face turned to stone after the juvenile’s boldness to question his authority.He wasn’t a friendly figure among his subjects ,he led them with an iron hand.He always puffed cigarettes which his soldiers looted from the civilians.

“I wasn’t informed about it,who told you before I could personal blow your brains out?”inquired the commander wrinkling his face.

“Not here sir but some of the villagers told me”, replied Gbenga defending his informers.

“Well as you heard the bloody bath we had against the soldiers, I think they were caught in the shooting,am sorry for your loss brother”, he said tapping his shoulder.

Gbenga had for the first time dared to questioned the weakness of his superiors and it appeared to him that they were scary to those who didn’t put up fight against them.He saw an opportunity to break the duck with the help of his trusted friends.Village raiding were carried out during the night when they went to look for food from the villagers and that was a chance he had to utilize.

The government soldiers had regained part of the country side and rescued a lot of people.They laid ambush of Zindoga’s boyscout and captured a dozen of them.The number deteriorated at the camp as some were deserting the camp and reuniting with their families.Gbenga and his friends combed a plan to sabotage their base and attack their masters.

It was on a drizzling night when all the comrades took shelter from the equatorial rains and the ground was wet and slippery.Gbenga and his compatriots managed to steal rifle guns and ammunition,handfuls of grenades to blow the ammunition bunker.Proper procedures for the operation were carried out in silence.

“Listen guys,our commander bunker is just close to the ammunitions so Mpuzu and Mponda will take that bunker with your grenades”,said Gbenga issuing instructions.

“Which way are we going to run to?” asked Simbazo trembling.

“Your home direction Simbazo and better be careful not to shoot my back with those trembling fingers”, replied Mponda.

“We don’t kill our fellow comrades but if they return fire you have no choice,fire back”, said a determined Gbenga.

“Zindoga’s has to die, I don’t care about him”,said Mpongosi who joined them later on.

“That’s the objective fellow comrades”,said Gbenga and they dispersed.

Mpuzu didn’t wait for the rains to stop he went round the commander’s truck and opened the fuel tanker and dipped a grenade and ran towards the bunker ,Gbenga had already readied himself to open fire with his m16 when Mpongosi and Mpuzu simultaneously threw grenades in the ammunition bunker and it exploded bullets which whisked past Gbenga and Tara who were crouching toward the commander’s bunker.

The camp was ablaze and everyone started shooting point blankly ,the commander and his elite had escaped the explosion but couldn’t miss Gbenga’s rounds of ammunition.Mpuzu called for everyone to ran for their lives because the commander was dead.The boys hearded for their different home directions tossing away weapons celebrating in the night.

Gbenga and his compatriots didn’t suffer loss,they remained behind to make sure everything was destroyed in the sabotage.The commander was still breathing and Gbenga took his turn to let him know it was his idea to burn down the camp.He knelt besides him.

“Tough boy,how di- did you-uu escape?” asked the commander fighting for his last breath.

“There was nothing to run for commander”, said Gbenga cocking his gun.

“I bombed the place and liberated my friends and you lied to me that government soldiers killed my family”, he said pointing the gun on his forehead.

“Wait!! I tol…..!! before he could finish , Gbenga blew his had open with his machine gun.

“That was for my family”,said Gbenga and he left him lain dead with his comrades.

CAUGHT IN BETWEEN

“Kitongo see how slender you have become,what’s eating you up?” asked Sibande,Kitongo’s friend and neighbour.

“It’s my wife,she doesn’t leave me to enjoy the day with my younger wife” ,replied Kitongo placing his walking stuff on the stoop.

“Oh there he goes again ,son of the soil”, intercepted Tiko laughing.

“Tiko I have freedom of choice and a titled man, I will manage them”,added Kitongo beating his chest.

“He always sneaks away in thick bushes like a Bambi when his first wife throws him tantrums”,joked Sibande.

Kitongo ,a self proclaimed handsome man in the village even in his old age, claimed being better looking than his fellow village folks.He a had short temper but he lacked in strength,he always lost his battles with fellow villagers in wrangles.His face spotted with scars of fist fights and one couldn’t differentiate between a scar and a dimple.

He married three wives in succession just like his grandfather who was a well-known hardworking polygamous man but Kitongo didn’t took much from his grandfather.He owned a sizeable land he and his wives farmed to fend for their kids.He seldom went to do the hard work at the farm, he always at loggerhead with his first wife who opposed his ideas of marrying many wives because she knew how lazy he was as a man.

Sintwe,his first wife had bore him three boys only, Noma his second bore him a boy and a girl and the favoured third wife Thoko, bore him two girls.He frequently lambasted his two wives for not being generous to give him girls so that they could return the cows he paid on them.

Kitongo had built a sizeable home with three bedrooms for his wives separately and the girls would sleep with their mothers but the boys were bundled in a separate boy’s cottars.He built his own which stood opposite his wives thatched roundaval huts such that he could monitor anyone who enters the huts secretly.

A hedge of nicely pruned grass was erected to cordon the livestocks and any unnecessary trespassing on the yard by fellow villagers and for family privacy too.

Sintwe befriended Noma because they all suffered the same fate of not giving their husband more girls though Sintwe was worse than her.Thoko always sang and cuddled her little girls in full view of the other women and the husband always joined in when his favourite song was sung.

“Noma,where is my little girl?”asked Kitongo wiping perspiration from his face.

“I don’t know,she was here few moments ago”, replied Noma walking towards Sintwe’s hut.

“Find her and tell her to bring me a cup of water”,said Kitongo capping his hat on the knee.

“Christ Lord!!!! exclaimed Sintwe.

“What is it?” asked Kitongo surprised.

“Are you really thirst or you just want to bring trouble to us?” querried Sintwe,she was bold in questioning her husband whenever she felt he had overstepped his command.

“What on earth are you suggesting Sintwe,by the way was I talking to you?” said Kitongo heading towards Sintwe.

The two had a history of engaging into a fist fight, Sintwe always undermined her husband’s strength though she always lost the fights but she never backed off when she felt offended.Noma had gone to look for her daughter.Sintwe stood her ground because she felt he favoured his third wife than everyone.

“Thoko is there with her kids,can’t they fetch water for you to demand Noma’s daughter to bring you water wherever she is playing?” confronted Sintwe.

“Look at you!!,are you not ashamed of giving me those cowboys?”asked Kitongo pointing at the boys who were playing far from them.

“We’re all responsible of your offsprings, I didn’t heed to my parents well……..” before she could finish her belligerent statement Kitongo cut in.

“If you poke your face again in matters which doesn’t concern you, I will tan your skin out”,said Kitongo leaving.

Thoko had been raged by Sintwe’s remarks but she didn’t interfere because she knew her turn was around the corner as the first lady backed the second,it seemed her chance were slim to be defended by her husband who always looked inferior to Sintwe’s objections.

Sibande had warned Kitongo of marrying more than one wife.He warned him was enough for the troubles.He too had a difficulty with his wife after he was mistakenly accused of courting someone’s wife at the village party.

“Do you still remember how my wife threatened to leave after that scandal eh?” asked Sibande curving the york of oxen.

“Oh oh my friend ,you were in deep trouble”,laughed Kitongo.

“Well I don’t pretend to know what you’re going through since you manage them accordingly like you promised us uh”said Sibande peeling a cucumber brought by Tiko.

“Don’t ask for an advice from me as you know better that woman beats me everytime am drunk”,added Tiko pulling a stool.

“Tiko you’re worse than me,how possibly can you get a whooping from a woman?”laughed Sibande.

The gentlemen laughed while they assisted Sibande with his york.Sibande and Tiko often advised their friend not to discriminate his wives and that caused division in the family and so the kids always fought because they were misguided to hate each by their mothers.

One afternoon when the village chief had summoned a meeting to all clansmen of the village ,a lengthy fight broke out at Kitongo’s compound.Thoko’s first daughter was playing with Noma’s youngest daughter by the mound just like kids do and Thoko’s daughter accidentally poked her sister with a stick and bruised her cheek and bled.

Thoko was in her hut doing her chores whilst Noma and Sintwe were sewing mats by the kraal logs when they heard the cries of a child and Noma was quick to notice her daughter’s voice and went running to check what might have happened to her.She found her bleeding while Thoko’s daughter was trying to console her but it was late to apologise.

Thoko wasn’t aware and hadn’t heard the cries outside because she was busy singing hymns when her daughter stomped the room crying,she was alarmed after her daughter bumped her rubbing her head signaling pain.

“Why are you crying? what happened?” thundered Thoko.

Her daughter didn’t explain what happened but just pointed the direction of Noma’s hut meaning she was the one responsible.She threw the broom on the wall and tied her gown tightly and went outside fuming.

“Is this what you do to my children when I am not around?”asked Thoko fuming.

“Hold your horses princess!!! Who are you to question me for disciplining a naughty kid?” quaked Noma.

Thoko didn’t waste much of her time asking, she jumped at Noma who was consoling her daughter and they all fell down breaking a stool.The ladies clawed and scratched each other fighting.Sintwe was quick to disengage them but the younger lady wasn’t finished with her mission and went round Sintwe trying to fight Noma but she made a mistake and missed her opponent and struck Sintwe on the face.

Sintwe had been waiting for such a moment to show Thoko who was the owner of the home,she grabbed her by the neck and swung her to the wall of Noma’s hut and bruised her forehead.Thoko was smashed with slaps by the determined women to discipline her to behave and respect the ones she found.The fight went on as the young lady resorted to sticks as allies poking her opponents.

The fight was overhead by Sibande’s wife who sent her son tho call Kitongo while she went to calm down the fight.Kitongo and other abled bodied young man came running home to calm off the fight which had wrecked the fence because the ladies were shoving at each other and picking anything they found on the ground. Children were scream