Sometimes you wake up feeling exhausted. Your limbs ache, you’re feverish with indistinct memories of a nightmare.
If you examine your skin carefully enough, what you thought were mosquito bites turn out to be light puncture wounds. The truth dawns on you.
The thing that flitted past your kitchen veranda last night was not a shadow. When you thought you heard your dog growl and then whine in fear, you heard right. The single tree outside your window, whose leaves were rustling in the wind, well that was not the wind. Something was in the room with you last night.
I’d known her all my life and I knew that she couldn’t write to save her own life. Not if someone held a gun to her head. Mind you, it wasn’t for lack of words. Nelly simply had too much nervous energy to let two words fuse into a phrase. She even talked with a stutter. Continue reading
Otto is dead. Four of his hairy legs fell off. I figure he was male, because he was constantly marking his territory. I first spotted him one month ago, on my bedroom floor, behind the couch by the window. He was so large I thought he was a rat. I sprinted out of the room in alarm. He disappeared for the next two days.
Needless to say, I was quite nervous. Until I saw him peeking out from under the dressing table. A spider, not a rat. Small comfort, but definitely better than a rat.
He was sensitive to sudden movements – a trait that helped him escape missiles and insecticide sprays. He always came back. He was everywhere – on the wall above the television, under the kitchen sink, on the book shelf.
Today I found him under the storage container. He’s been missing for a week. A peaceful week. I think I murdered him. I swept up the legs and threw them away. I couldn’t find the body.
As I was making myself a sandwich a few minutes ago, something crawled out of the fruit basket. A smaller version of Otto. Otto Junior is now hiding behind the fridge.
Nakhumicha rounds the bend and races towards the hut, her Christmas present in hot pursuit. I watch her agility in amazement. It probably serves her mean spirit right. After all, hadn’t I expressly instructed her to slaughter that goat and share the meat out to her children and their wives? God only knows those children could do with some meat on their bones.
Nakhumicha would have none of it. No, that goat is too nice, look at how shiny his coat is. I’ll keep him until January. Anna needs school fees. Maria needs a new pair of sandals…
Can one he-goat fulfill everyone’s wishes? Can he make the whole family rich overnight?
Miser, that’s what Nakhumicha is. That black shiny he-goat was destined for the market alright, but not for Anna or Maria. Nakhumicha has had her eye on this Black Mamba bicycle for months. That’s where the money was going.
There she goes, careening round the hut one more time. The children are gathering in alarm. Thomas, my brother-in-law runs in front of the agitated goat. I turn away before the resounding ‘thwack’ and corresponding yelp. Idiots. We’d better have goat stew tonight.
There goes the woman who killed my uncle. The black widow. Today is his funeral and she’s in a white dress; I think it’s her wedding gown. The whole yard is covered in thick, red mud. For the last three days, the mourners have been coming and going, churning up the ground like they were ox ploughs. The small funeral procession is making its way from the gate through this mess towards me.
Now the church service is over, they’ll be wanting tea. They’ll expect me to serve it to them I suppose. The black widow is not looking so smug now, is she? From my vantage point at the window, I can see how the pouring rain is cleaning off the gel that had held her hair together. It’s stuck all over her face. The hat that stood proud now slumps on the sides of her head. With every step she takes, her high heels, which she must have thought so elegant this morning, keep sinking into the soft mush. The hem of her dress looks like it’s soaked in blood. Clearly, gravity is winning. The smug smile is gone, but in her eyes, that fire is still burning.