*TUSSLES IN THE DARK 03*
On Christmas Eve, sunlight cascades sharply through the tattered roof, revealing dark soot that hung above. Its in the morning. Hymns are being hurled left, right and center. Hymns of a silent night. Rumors had it that a virgin gave birth to a savior. For our sins to purge. As it was a “oh happy day” like expected. People wined, dined, food and booze were in plenty. Times like this nothing could go wrong, but it’s during such times that bad things tend to happen.
Aroma of baked flour, roasted beef, and chicken pie, pilau; danced its way through the open cracks of the door to hit their noses with an aura of appetite. Sending chills down their stomach, making worms to bubble with joy. The children, who have been sleeping, suddenly woke to the unfamiliar scent in their single roomed house. The eldest was the first to wake. She yawned. Stared blankly at her siblings, then smiled. Today was going to be different. She rubbed off her eyelids and called out,
Inside the room everything remained untouched as she had left them before she went to sleep. The yester night’s plates remained unwashed. It was 9am. The aroma that punctuated the air was from the neighbors’. She stared dry at the door, it was unmoved. Looked over the bed, the mess had not been cleared up; the make ups, the bras, stilettos, panties, perfumes and clothes all spread over the bed. Mom did not sleep in her bed. Mom never made it home. She was uncertain of it. She tried to remember if she had woken up to open the door for her mom like she always did. But nothing came to mind. She sat down. Asked her siblings who barely had any answer. Then again she called out, “mom.” Maybe mom went to get some shopping for the special occasion. But this too was odd. Usually mom sleeps till 12noon, due to the late and tiring working hours at night.
Outside, the women were talking in loud whispers. Their voices were filled with some sort of pride. They laughed, giggled and shook fives.
*WOMAN 1*: (CLUTCHING ON TO HER WAIST) I see our friend has not woken up, must’ve had a rough night at work eeh?
*WOMAN 2*: all those men doing rounds on her, what do you expect, (LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY) cut her some slack please
*WOMAN 1*: you mean our husband ?
*WOMAN 2*: after what we did to her yester night, mh-hm! She wouldn’t dare sleep with our husbands.
*WOMAN 1*: I have to admit, after what we did, I felt spiritually uplifted, heehehe like I found a Jesus”
*WOMAN 2*: hahaha you don’t say, I meant to broke her tooth but it’s the heels I broke, I feel ashamed
*WOMAN 3*: (SLOWLY SHE RISES, FROM WHERE SHE’S BEEN SITTING ON) you two hold on, did anyone notice that it was my blow that took her down?
*WOMAN 2*: hahahah, you fought like Mohammed Ali’s daughter, girl I tell you this thing of boxing is genetically inborn. You should consider boxing.
*WOMAN 1*: you stupid woman, what do you know about genetics? You dropped out of school in form 2, when you got pregnant with the cobbler’s child.
*WOMAN 2*: (FEELING OFFENSIVE) you fool, don’t get personal with me now, it’s a common knowledge you lost your virginity in class 6 and got pregnant twice, aborted once and gave birth once ! mscheeeew!!!
*WOMAN 3*: (TRYING TO COOL THEM OFF) relax idiots, anyway, I didn’t know that harlot wore a weave, a Brazilian weave, otherwise she looked like a cancer patient. I almost pulled it off. I feel sorry for the men who spend time inside her.
*WOMAN 1 & WOMAN 2*: (IN CONTEMPT) did you just say a Brazilian weave?
*WOMAN 2*: Girl, the least she can afford is a Chinese weave! Only God knows the misery beneath those cheap make ups (BOTH WOMEN BURST INTO LAUGHTER)
*WOMAN 3*: anyway, why don’t we go and tell her that we don’t want to see her around here, she should pack and leave before 1st January
“Yeah, great Idea.”
(Together they leave.)
She is around 6 years of age with a round polite pumpkin face. She is not chubby. She is not thin. Her hair is not neatly plaited; it’s curly and entangled. Her lips are dry like a surface that has undergone dehydration. She has small fingers, but already she has gathered the art of responsibility bestowed in every girl when mom’s away. She had just finished spreading the beddings out on the sun when she started washing utensils. The two siblings rests on the floor playing with toys. They hum a song they were taught in school. “Two little birds, early in the morning, one named Peter, one named Paul..” possibly to pass time for mom to get back.
A knock is made on the door. Though they assume and continue with what they were doing earlier. Because usually they don’t get knocks on the door, they rarely have visitors. Mom usually don’t knock, she does when it’s early at dawn and she’s back from her tussles.
This time it got louder than the first one. She curiously responds, “karibu!”
With wet hands covered in foam, the girl opens the door to three women whose faces fumes, the only thing not visible is the smoke. On realizing that it’s the kid and not their foe, they give in to a slyly forced smile.
“Hey kid, where is mummy?” one of the women asks.
“She’s not Around.” she replies innocently.
“Where has she gone to? Are you lying to us?” the 2nd woman asks as vigor culminates in her tone. Scaring the little girl. Her siblings who were humming inside the house suddenly stopped and came at the door, kneeling their shoulders on the foot of their sister.
“Listen here small kid, we want your mother, not you. I’m sure she’s in there Sleeping.”
“Harlot! I know you can hear us. Come out you widow! Your kids will not save you!”
The women starts to call out names. The girl starts to cry silently, tears streaming from her eyes, her siblings bursts into cries. The symphony of hymns that existed before faded away. To be replaced by tantrums between the women and the kids. Yet the kids do not understand anything.
“Let us pass! Let us get your mother out!” the 3rd women commands the girl. But the girl doesn’t move. She remains still.
The women try to get through forcefully but their efforts are stopped by a screeching vehicle that halts into the compound. A land cruiser makes a stop near the house. Four men; three dressed in blue uniforms, looking young. And one dressed in a white cotton T-shirt tucked in a black khaki jeans, alights from the vehicle. The kids stops to cry. Calm is once again restored.
One of the women whispers, “These are the police. We need to go”
“No, let’s not look suspicious” the other cuts in.
The four gentlemen makes it through and the guy with no uniform introduces himself as Inspector Makali and his companions. He bends down and touches the chin of the kids, assures them not to cry. He reaches to his pockets, pulls out a ten shilling sweet and gives them.
“Do not cry. You are safe with Me.” He assures.
Inspector Makali, rises up to the three women. Signals one of his companions. He removes a picture of a woman and shows it to the three women.
“Does any one of you know this woman?”
They stare at the picture in disbelief not knowing what to say. How could this be? They search each other in the iris with shock. They feel like running, but they seem stuck. They seem so powerless even the Inspector would have noticed.
“STOP WASTING MY TIME does anyone of you know this woman!!!?” Inspector Makali asks again, growing impatient.
“That’s my mom Sir.” Respectfully she answers the kind man. “are you our dad ? ”
*STAY TUNED FOR TUSSLES IN THE DARK 4*
What do you Think will happen next ???*