April 22, 2019

Horizon: A Stolen Boyhood 17

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By Mwangi Macharia

The walk home was fun. Mr Mukandi held my hand. He kept encouraging me. Once in a while he gave me a short story and derived a moral lesson from it. At least for once in my life I felt what having a father felt like. I wanted Mama to say yes to him.

The lights were off. Something was amiss. I felt it. The aura of doom hung in the air. Mr. Mukandi went silent. “Is mama home?” he asked.

“I left her here”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. Very sure. She was in her room praying”

“Well, probably she went to search for something to cook for supper.”

“Probably” I replied faintly. My heart raced, my head throbbed. Goosebumps invaded my entire body. I held tightly to Mr. Mukandi’s hand. He looked at me. “I will wait for your mother.” This thought gave me some courage. I proceeded to open the gate. It was not locked. Well this was not new since any time mama went out of the house when I was out she would leave the gate unlocked then hide the key under the door mat.

As routine would inform me, I went straight for the door mat to search for the keys but they were not there. Fear kicked in. Where is Mama? What has happened to her? Is she okay? I could not figure this out. Mr Mukandi stood silently.

“What is happening?” he asked

I couldn’t respond, I was too busy feeling the floor for the key with no success. Mr. Mukandi moved towards the door and held the door. “Probably she is asleep.” He turned the knob and opened the door. I removed my shoes and entered the house searching for the light switch. Before I could reach the switch I stepped on something wet and slippery. I ignored it and turned on the switch.

Immediately I turned to look at what I was stepping on. I could not process it! I rent out a scream. A man lay on the floor. His blood had formed a trail from where his body was to the door. Mama was sitting on the floor with her back leaning on the sofa set. Her face was wet with tears. Mucus and tears collected around her mouth while some of the mixture dropped to the ground. Her fore-head was sweaty, her hair was unkempt. I had never seen Mama like this. Her clothes told a story of disgust. They were torn. On her chest she bore the marks of a ferocious attack. She was bleeding.

In her hands she held a knife dripping with blood. Her body was shaking yet she was silent. Mr. Mukandi entered the house in response to my scream. He froze in the doorway. He looked at the scene with his mouth agape. Immediately his eyes landed on Mama he snapped back to reality. He took slight hops to avoid stepping on the blood. He crossed to where Mama was seated.

“Ola!” he called out to Mama. This was the name that he loved calling her. He said it meant something beautiful.

Mama did not respond. “Ola! Ola!” He called out again. But Mama did not move. She seemed to be in a trance. Mr. Mukandi stretched his hand and touched her.

“Ola” he whispered. Mama immediately swung the knife at him, aiming for his throat.
What was becoming of my life?

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