Wherefore; Wherefore?

She holds the phone longer than he should. Even when the other end is completely dead, she doesn’t remember to put it back on the table.

There is something about Alshabab and Boko Haram and Americans and Zionists. They use the gun and slit throats. At least that is what BBC says and what it doesn’t. They make merry with the shedding of blood on streets, in malls, in learning institutions, on buses, in public places for recreation. They invade celebrations with their way of celebration; people perish. Only an idiot will then disagree that this is inhuman; must be stopped.
The people who perish when terror strikes, what do they feel like? You are hiding in a corner you know will be discovered soon. Then you hear the footsteps. They are soft on the tiled floor, but still footsteps altogether. They approach. It is a corridor and the corner you are hiding in is in room number three. You hear the steps stop, followed by a loud thud of a door being rammed open. Silence. Then you hear gun shots mixed with human shrieks. The human cries die first, then the gun rests. The footsteps come back to the corridor, and the same thing happens to room two. Then they move closer and stop at the door of room three; your room. Your girlfriend tries to dig into your clothes to hide. You are sweating all over. You’ve lost hope with hope. You even know it isn’t a nightmare this.
Your prayers are over, but you repeat them just in case God was busy the other time. You see the knob turn, then the door refuses to open. What you already know happens. Two shots, one hitting the vertical rail if your bed. Then a kick, and the door is all open. You are already on your knees by the time the door starts opening. She is behind you, holding tight to you by the stomach. All the three men are hooded. You can’t see their faces. Their guns are still smoking and their eyes don’t seem to have any mercy in them. You plead. By now your pants are wet and your t-shirt, which you bought only last week, could corrode from the acid in your tears.
In the five seconds they seem to give you, you think of your life. It began budding just the other day. You’ve toiled your entire life. You’ve never seen your father. Your mother died when you were six. Your grandfather who took care of you died when you were only eight. You have since then lived with your father’s brother, who has struggled to make both ends meet for his family of three wives, twenty six children, and still counting. You particularly remember how food was a great problem, not to mention school fees. Almost three thirds of your high school days were spent at building sites, struggling with mixers or carrying the ballast up the stairs whenever the power company slept on the job. You still made it for a degree in Sociology through a government scholarship. Your biggest dream has been to go back and help your uncle who has been your only father and mother. Just next year you should be entering your final year. And now this.
The three men look at each other. They nod. They raise their smoking guns and point them at you. The fingers go to the triggers. Then the deafening sound. Then darkness.
* * * * * * *
You are a lady. Most people think you are beautiful. But that’s not the whole story. There is this man from Senegal who has successfully sought your fourth finger and you love him. Salihu is tender. He is a gentleman. He speaks and behaves a man.
You met Sal more than a year ago when your father took you to a birthday party of the daughter to the Zambian High Commissioner. At first you did not know that he was the second seniormost man at the Senegalese embassy. You simply loved his manners and how he struggled to blend English, French, Swahili and that thing they call Berber. That evening you went home sure of one thing – that you were ready to fall in love again. And in love you fell before Arsenal scored a goal.
So you are at City Mall checking if they have the correct attires for the best man and flower girls. You should have gone to a fashion friend who is designing your gown but Liz said she saw better ready-mades. Naughty Liz. Lizard even. And that is the reason she has escorted you here.
Then you hear a loud blast. At first you think it is your chest; but your chest is still intact. People begin to run in all directions. Even those who do not know the exit points just keep running and wailing.
Gun shots follow. You are just about to reach the open area with counters when Liz pulls you back. This is followed by people running in your direction from the counters. Some are wailing. Some have clothes beginning to soak in red. A man almost makes it – but he doesn’t. As he negotiates the corner to take the row with juice, a bang blasts behind him. He falls down and stops writhing.
You decide to run and take the stairs to the first floor. It must be a robbery and soon the bad guys will be gone. Liz follows. The rest follow. But you don’t reach the stairs. Bang. Bang. You turn to see a wounded Liz, stretching her hand to you. For you. On the far end is a hooded man. In his hands is a smoking gun that points your way. You add ten to nine and get flight. As you run, the ghost of Liz follows you. Then when you reach the stairs, two more hooded men are there. Their guns point at you. Twang! Twang!

It is Monday evening. The kids are playing with Daddy. Mom is typing her postgrad project. She can’t wait to join them. Despite the few challenges, she believes hers is the best family between Venus and Mars. The house-help has gone to the shop with Nuru. Nuru is Daddy’s last born sister.
Then the exterior door opens. Nobody pays attention or shows any eagerness to see the kind of stuff Nuru and Edi are bringing. In fact it takes like twenty seconds for the clue to fall. It is the youngest kid playing who notices the hooded men standing midway into the room and tells Daddy “there is movie in house”. When the man discovers what is happening, it is already too late. The shots don’t bang. He just sprawls onto the floor as the good men sneak themselves back out and into oblivion.
The police arrive an hour later. The widow and orphans are beyond themselves. However, nothing has been stolen.

The helicopters fly higher than normal. The external lights are off. This is a moonless night. It is raining also. The one they used to call cats and dogs. In the first craft, two firing men sit on either side of the craft. The captain is in the centre, immediately behind the cockpit. With him are four more men reading a map and noting meticulously the bearings and topography. One of the men is a young man of about twenty and this is his first, and last, mission.
Down on the ground, people count this as February 6th, year of The Leopard Eating Her Children.
Then from nowhere the sky turns blinding bright. Thunder thunders up as yells and shrieks flood the air. The water penetrating the cracks into the houses doesn’t know it has turned red.
But it will know tomorrow. Tomorrow when the tired sun will yawn from the east. February 7th is a day many dead bodies will lie on the ground.
* * * *
To, or not to, is beyond the question.
The nurse collects the flesh and stashes it in a polythene bag. It could be nauseating to another person, but not Nurse Ket. Together with the doctor, under whose instructions she is working, they’ve been in this business since Kane killed Abel.
Fatuma rests in the bed, tired. She thought she needed a lot of anaesthesia for this. But again, Ket is Ket, and a ten-year work experience fondles her name.
The mass will never breath in or out. Never will it complain or cry for a breast
And Ket wraps the flesh in polythene after polythene. Like meat. Then closes the door behind her. Fatuma is a virgin again.
* * * *
She holds the phone longer than he should. Even when the other end is completely dead, she doesn’t remember to put it back on the table.

Author: papawere

Just a man with a metallic horse and an umbrella.