We never lost to time
All along it was fast ahead of us;
Losing that It had gained to us,
Gaining what it would soon lose to us
So it never heals
It delays pain and let our sorrows be blinded
What if his demise meant happiness? If not to the locals who had on several occasions turned to him for help, then perhaps it meant to the government. The tree’s branches needed to be cut. It mattered not whether good or bad. Sometimes good is bad.
The Interior Minister was the third in the wave of heated political killings. First, it was the leader of the opposition and then the Attorney General. These only supplemented the numerous citizens killed, raped, maimed, and tortured at the bloody hands of the police forces.
It was the second month of the post-election violence which seemed to be gaining momentum day after day. It was indeed such a tempting moment, dozens of people had already been killed in the ongoing tribal clashes due to political enmity. The village was tensed and sombre. Both the local and foreign newspapers had abnormally thrived in reigning situations. Many had tried speaking up against the matter, both local and international diplomats but then no one had bothered to give them an ear. Burutu and Maro tribes had no chills for each other. Their long political enmity had led to all this. Accusations and counter-accusations; one after another against each other triggered the matter so fast
“Come in, the meeting is almost kicking off”, said Lichanir touching my shoulders from behind. She was such a lovely lady, always jovial. Lichanir was the senior secretary of the organization. She was older than me but despite all that, she was always humbled and jovial, always wanting to share a word with other people.
“How do you see it Kaparol, the war has intensified of late and lots of property have been damaged” began Lichanir as we walked towards the boardroom
“It has intensified of course, but that’s not my worry. I fear for the lives of the innocent inhabitants in the warring regions…the children… the helpless women… the sick”
“So what should we do? ”interrupted Lichanir.
“We got to act now,” I said in a weak voice as we made our way into the already set boardroom.
Lichanir walked to her place and I too joined my colleagues who had gathered in groups of three or four discussing the matter at hand. We discussed a handful of issues and came up with several strategies to try to solve the ongoing dispute between majorly the two senior tribes. It was also reached that several rescue missions would be sent.
I had been standing there for quite some time now knocking on the door but then no answer was forthcoming. I was almost giving in when I heard a voice come from within. The sound seemed to be of somebody being strangled as it rose and fell gradually. “she might be in trouble,” I thought to myself. I pushed the door harder this time round bothering not to knock anymore. “Stop it!” shouted the voice, this time the person behind the voice gave it more life. No, it was a different person altogether. I stayed quietly leaning on the door waiting for the next instruction. Just then, I heard somebody struggle to untie the chains which bound the drossy doors.
“Who are you?”
“Who sent you? After killing my family you now come to take away my life too. How merciless are you?”
She cried out, changed her mind, closed the door behind her, and strode deeper into the house cursing bitterly.
I didn’t know what to do yet. This was my second day in Mada village trying to salvage the poor souls left behind helpless due to the post-election violence. I had been sent to this house and particularly directed to rescue this man; Kamaruru, whose family had been butchered in cold blood. “Something must be wrong, I thought,” I had expected a man and then here I was, before a woman cursing.
An idea came to me to knock the door once more, perhaps the person behind these wood doors would realize how serious I was, leave alone the desire burning in me to help, open the door for me and willingly let me in. I knocked and knocked but nobody was willing to open. I gave in the struggle and just when I had made a step away, I realized somebody peeping through the halfway opened doors asking me to come back in a low voice. Thank God I had not gone far away hence could get her words. I came and faced her into the eyes and let her speak but she didn’t. Her identity was concealed and I could not see her face.“Come in,” she said, opening the door to full width after some time. “Thank you”, I replied as I made my way into the house.
The room was partially lit. I walked behind the woman; corpulent indeed, who did so with the help of a walking stick. Perhaps, she is old, I thought .” Stop!” said the woman abruptly. “Sit there,” she added, pointing at an old chair on the farthest point of the room and I thanklessly sat. . My eyes had eventually adapted to the environment and I could see things clearly. The woman was not as old as I had thought. She was of middle age, but older than me. I was just 28 years old.
I had left Gabero University four years ago, having pursued a degree in Disaster Management and here I was already working for the United Nations in the Department of Rapid Response as a senior rescue officer.
The village was tense and the mood sombre. I had been sent to rescue a man by the name of Kamaruru and here I was, doing what my heart desired, let alone being loyal to my boss. It was such a hard task but through determination, I had hoped to save at least a soul.
The room had a purulent odor. From my sitting position, I could decry two bodies lying on the floor a few meters away from me, half-covered, with their limbs out of the sheet’s range. At the corner was a huge canvas covering a heap of something with flies oozing on it. My heartbeat was faster as fear began to overcome me. I looked up and realized that the woman had been struggling to lock the door using several chains. Behind her back hang a sword. Our eyes met and out of guilt or fear, I looked down.
“Speak out, did you not bother me to open the door?”
The feeling was strange. Had I fell into the wrong hands? Of course no, my Google Maps never lied. I had traced the house carefully and I was confident I was right. Besides, this was the only house standing here, others having been razed down by the warring locals.
“For how long will you remain silent?”
“Speak out, I have got things to do,” she spoke leaning forward on her chair just beside me.
I turned the chair to face her and began, “…Errr… where is… is… Kamarur… Kamaruru? ”
“Kamaruru!!! ”she asked, surprised.
“Yes, Kama…Kam…ar” “The one who got his family killed by the Maro tribesmen,” I spoke, frightened.
“Hahahahaha!” Laughed the woman exposing her toothless jaws and went on, “So tell me, who sent you for that Kama… kamamama… Kama… ?”
She struggled to pronounce the name but she couldn’t.
“I came to rescue him. The reports we have claims he lives in fear after his family was murdered.”
The woman did not reply but arose from her sitting position and entered an inner room. I was confused, the laughter was provoking. Had she laughed at me or she was just trying to act funny? Why then did she fail to answer my question? Where had she now gone? To do what? What’s the purpose of her carrying the sword on her back?
I stood silently and walked towards the two covered bodies I had earlier noticed. As I uncovered the sheet laid on the bodies, I felt pain in my right shoulder and let go of everything at once. It was just too much. I looked up and realized the woman was in front of me, a gun at my lifeless self. She had just shot at me! and she was just too much daring to do it again.
“So you want to kill them too?” she asked extremely vexed and tears welling down her cheeks.
“Not really. Trust me, I am of goodwill” I defended myself but she could not be convinced further. I showed her my work card but it was of no purpose. She ignored it as she could not read it.
“Up…up…faster…faster!” she commanded still pointing the gun at me. “Hands up!” she shouted frightening me more and more.
As I raised my hands, my gun was exposed letting the woman act wilder at me.
“Drop your gun and stand still! Don’t move!” demanded the woman picking up my gun. She was behaving too scabrous to me. How would I convince her that I had come looking for ‘Kamaru? ’ and had no evil intentions as she thought? I was held hostage just at the wrong place and time. It would seem difficult convincing the woman that due to the nature of my job, I was given a gun for my safety purpose. The woman was just too mad and could not hear anything from me.
She tied me by the chair, blindfolded me, and opened the lights, perhaps electric. All the moment I had been in the house, nearly two hours, I only saw some dim lamps used for lighting the room. Now that she had held me, hostage, she let open the lights and moved back to the inner room where she had earlier moved into.
As she left the scene, she let out a peal of laughter and said, “This time round I caught the killer himself, they must know!” In a rather low voice, and disappeared. I sat and waited for what would come next to take the course. However, her words sank deep into my bones. I tried to figure out what she had meant by “they must know” but then I had no clue. I was bothered by what would be her next course of action. After all, I had no bad intentions, I wished she could get to understand that.
I could hear whisper voices from the inner room where the woman was. Just as I was struggling to get what she was saying I heard her open the door and walk towards me.
“What’s your name?” She asked me, my eyes still blindfolded.
“I am Jackson ” I replied to her trying to hide my tribal name. I didn’t want to do a mistake, yes, a mistake telling her my second name. I was a Brutu and Brutus were fighting Maros. Revealing her my second name would mean that I would make her sink to the damn thought that I was an assassin, which would have made the situation more complex.
“And who sent you here?” She went on interrogating.
“I work for the United Nations, Rapid Response Department,” I mumbled at her. “Shut up” “Do you think you can fool me?” she asked in a harsh voice.
“No, please trust me. I have no bad intentions”
“I came here to help and not to kill anybody”
I tried to defend myself but she was nowhere near me. She had moved back and switched the lights again.
For a moment, darkness ensued the room so was dead silence; No movements, no sounds. The silence that had reigned for a couple of seconds was broken by pat -a – pat footsteps across the room.
“Stand up!” Said a male’s voice untying me. I quietly stood eyes still blindfolded.
“I am Kamau,” said the man in a Mark ascent.
“Yes, I was sent to rescue you,” I said
“Go on, rescue me,” he replied, forcing a burst of loud laughter.
I stood there for a moment waiting for what the man could say next. I untied the piece of cloth from my eyes and staggered across the room to the wall. There was a strange breath that made me dizzy and dizzier with the gulp of every single breath. I reached the walls and searching out of darkness found the switch and without wasting any more time I lit the room.
I saw many bodies lying in different parts of the room, male and female alike, others lonely and others on heaps, others covered and others bare. Were my eyes lying to me or not? I became more tired and dizzy until I could no longer breathe. The substance had taken control and was choking me. I struggled to let in air but my efforts proved futile. My eyes itched and could no longer see. I fell and writhing in pain, struggled to breathe.
“Help, help, help” I cried but nobody bothered to salvage me. I strived to make a radio call with so many struggles.
“I am dying, he… eeeeel… eelp” ”H… eeell…p”