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Black Fantasy Mystery

When I was brought into the world, novice and all, it was assigned to me a family of five turned six when chogo (lastborn) was born five years later after I. Life was big when I was small: our small kibanda (hut) near the never not smelly river seemed a mansion.


The large population from non-stop procreation in the area allowed me to have as many alter egos; not being aware of what they called such places – rookeries, even worse, jhuggi.


All houses, though we rambled on and on about living in the big city, were made of matope (mud). The only exception was the church, which was made of corrugated mabati. That was enough to make the pastor toot his own horn and throw around pieces of sardonic humor every now and then.


Which one would you prefer, a house of mud or one of iron sheets and God’s presence?


The pews in the center column of that ‘extravagant’ house of God were the first to always get filled; especially during the summer. The ones near the ‘walls’ were never rather seldom got filled.


None was ready to sacrifice themselves for the other and be burnt by the blazing mabati during the sermon, which often taught about loving others more than we.


Nobody prayed for rain, not even the pigs. However, the clouds can’t hold in pee forever, they also need to ease themselves. During my entire childhood, I have had three of “This is my worst day” days and on all of them, it was raining.


When it rained, the lavatories would be washed, the drainage system, if any, would overflow, the nobody washes me market would be sparkling, and all that would be pushed into the river by the rain.


If you can remember, we live on the river – in the river – just centimeters away from the river. With all this chaos, my parents could still afford to entertain guests.


On every New Year’s Eve, my grandmama from my dad’s side would visit. It’s not like my dad was an only child or something; she had her own schemes.


Apparently, my dad and mum’s mutwaano (marriage) was not a fruitful one according to grandmama. We are four girls and no boy- child. If you know anything about archaic cultures which are still alive and kicking somewhere in the world, you would remember that boys were what we call children, the fruit of the wombs.


Girls, well women, were considered as wealth…


{a for apple, boy is child, girl is a joke and women are wealth} …


But this is not about that. At least, she brought us sukari ngutu (jaggery) which she claimed had a lot of health benefits listing them as: improving digestion, building immunity, cleansing the body, weight loss (as she looked at me furtively and I in likewise manner) – FYI I was a very chubby toddler; and maybe help someone conceive a male child? The amounts she would make my mum eat; I pitied her.


New Year’s Eve is always fun, sorely filled with glee; that's if it didn’t rain. We enjoyed mouthwatering delicacies prepared by chef mum. Afterwards we would entertain ourselves with our 2-years to live TV, and just before the countdown, we would pray for the future which is beyond each one’s ken.


My sisters and I would then join the entire neighborhood in counting, “3, 2, 1… yea… yea… Happy New Year.”


I would then dash outside our abode to see the sky on the other side aglow. Just next to our neighborhood, there was another neighborhood. They were different from us though all are human.


Later on, my mum would accompany my grandmama to where she would go to bye-byes. She would always spend the night in our next-door neighbor’s house.


Mama Awuori and her had formed a good relationship over the years. I once heard her frivolously saying to Mama Awuori, who was a single mum of one daughter and two sons, that she would like it very much if dad would take her as a second wife – “you seem to have good genes.”


I always thought it weird that apart from grandmama, all the other guest we had always squeezed and fitted in our kibanda for the night.


When I asked the couple concerning their guest, my mum said,


“It’s a bad omen for her to sleep in her sons house.”


Why exactly? She didn’t know?


“It’s tradition! It has been a custom from time immemorial.”


Since grandmama was the one with the most tradition, I took it upon me to ask her when she came the next year.


As we were feasting during this story-filled New Year’s Eve, I placed my color-matching plastic plate, which contained a huge piece of fleshy fried fish on one side; some kales (greens are good for ya) and a gigantic slice of ugali – just in case a fish bone would decide to stick in my throat, on the ground next to where I was sitting as I prepared myself to speak.


“Grandmama, why don’t you sleep in our house every time you visit us?” I asked gingerly.


 “I-s i-t bec-aus-e Mama Awuori has good genes?”


Her eyes dilated, her lips fell and she almost chocked on her food.


“It’s tradition… didn’t I already explain this to you?” Mum said.


“No!” back at her


“Our house is too small for her and she doesn’t like mum”, my sister born just 5-years before me conspiratorially whispered in my right ear, generously smearing fishy oil on me.


“Long ago when I was slightly older than you, the teachers of the law of the community taught us this. They did not give us any reasons for it. We were just expected to follow or face the music from the gods. No one cracks jokes with the gods.” Dad finished as he shuddered.


“But the gods are dead and know we believe in God alone; we are taught that in Sabbath school. Why do we still follow this immemorial customs?”


……….. (Silence) ………. (Silence)…….


“Nyara, chiko it (My child, get ready to listen)”, she said, bobbing her hand every now and then to ease her itchy scalp.


She went on to confirm that what my parents had said was correct; it was tradition. She explained that before God, was the gods, who ruled the land with an iron fist. The gods imposed heavy taxes and created a lot of rules.


“We are lucky God has only 10,” she paused, strenuous swallowing the pool of saliva that had collected in her mouth.


She explained that, to enable a married couple enjoy their marriage – especially at night, and procreate without any disturbance, they had to sleep in a different house from their parents.


If both the couple and the parents rejected this rule: the gods would not bless the marriage and the parent(s) might die, depending on the moods of the gods that day.


“The gods, as your father said, are not people; no one could crack a joke with them, not even the priests they appointed forcefully. We are glad God overthrew them.


 But the fear they instilled is still present.”

June 16, 2021 22:07

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7 comments

Melody Frost
02:56 Jun 25, 2021

I like this plot. I would like to share my feedback based on your story. First, typo error, "Girls, well women, were considered as wealth…" - "Girls, well women, were considered as wealthy…". Second, "FYI I was a very chubby toddler; and maybe help someone conceive" - "FYI I was a very chubby toddler; maybe help someone conceive " or "FYI I was a very chubby toddler, and maybe help someone conceive". Either use a ';' or', and'. Third, "fish bone" - "fishbone", there is no space. Next, "Why do we still follow this immemorial customs?” is "Why...

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Poweful Music
05:39 Jun 25, 2021

Hey Melody, Wow, I really needed another eye to check my work. However, in the first typo you pointed out, I meant to say that women were taken to be wealth and not human beings; whereas men were considered human beings. Thanks so much for your feedback. Cheers.

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Melody Frost
06:36 Jun 25, 2021

Your welcome. Looking forward to your future stories

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Poweful Music
13:16 Jun 25, 2021

Thanks again.

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Melody Frost
13:31 Jun 25, 2021

Your welcome

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Unknown User
21:26 Jun 23, 2021

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Poweful Music
06:06 Jun 24, 2021

Hey Sienna, Thanks for your feedback.

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