Her Once in A Lifetime Experience

Submitted into Contest #97 in response to: Start your story with a character looking out of a window in the middle of the night.... view prompt


Creative Nonfiction Crime Christian

      The trees sway harmoniously; almost in oneness with the nightly breeze. The psithurism of the trees in the breeze was one to be embraced. The sky was richly black, decorated generously with bright white polka dots. The moon was full and it shone mightily as if trying to fight away the darkness of the night. At bird’s eye view she could see him and his partner. He was dressed in his everyday nickel gray uniform, that now looked like a rainbow and always seemed too tight on him. You could tell that it spent most of its time at the tailors than on his body.

           His companion on fours, we nicknamed Sniffy. Who didn’t fear Sniffy… not one… Sniffy never overlooked anything; he was smarter, faster and better at everything. The disjunction between him and his kin was as clear as daylight. That’s why he loved working with him. Sniffy was his unswerving support and partner. They patrolled the perimeters religiously every 30 minutes.

           Lifting her eyes to the sky again, the stars had magically rearranged themselves forming a word – “T-O-M-O-RR-O-W” she shuddered. It was going to be a big day. The sun would surely rise tomorrow. But what if it didn’t? What if the brass monkey weather persisted and blocked the sun? Would she be able to come back here again? Here, in this environment of shambles, where she had strived with all her heart and soul to accept and live in it; but the best she could ever achieve was to lead a pretty mundane existence.

           Trying to be optimistic she said, “It shall rise”. Then followed a deafening silence in her head. The voice did not speak again. She was in a trance; glued to the window with her eyes not blinking even once. Her right hand slowly moved up and down her left, as if to reveal her skin to absorb a mixture of natural light and the light from the human made HEP light posts. Her life baffled her. Success – ha! I haven’t had that in a long while. That doubt started attacking her again from every possible angle. She was in a quandary. The questions she was asking she could not answer.

           Eventually, after fighting a good fight, her heavy eye lids gave in. She adjusted her body well on the metallic bed, making sure she wasn’t a nuisance to her bunky (who was dead asleep below her), and she dived into slumber land, though ambivalent.

           “Merci … Luci, let’s go!” “Sir! ... Sir!”, they both responded, almost at the same time. “Pack up!” said Sir. It was morning already and the sun was up; its rays penetrating the small cell window thus illuminating their room. Stretching her hands in opposite directions, she yawned widely releasing the foul morning breath in the air. Her bunky, Luci, was all ready but she had despondency spread thickly on her face – she almost didn’t recognize her. Deep down, I knew why she was like this. We had been to court countless number of times, but each time, nothing good came from the trip.

           Luci was a jovial person. She was always happy and grinning. She had her own quirks that I didn’t agree with but I loved her. She was my best friend from the time she first talked to me when I was new. She was always a positive vibe which is emblematic of why she had a large following in here. Even the bullies liked her. She had a bland smile on her face as she beckoned, “Harakisha kabla wachange mind!” After some small preparations, Tiiii! The cell door was opened. We were handcuffed together and directed to the old cellular means of transport that was to take us to court.

           As we walked past other cells, they wished us success: “Mungu awaonekanie!” “Muende home” “Aki God akue na nyinyi” Both were silent. All the other inmates who were also going to court that day were brought in; and with a bang on its rusted metal bodyworks, we were moving. I watched keenly as the gate was being opened, lips down tongue out – my head automatically moved down slowly, then up, as if to follow the motion in which the gate was being opened. Finally, there was an opening sufficient for the bus to pass through.

           The last thing I remember of the outside world was that gate that welcomed me in. For some time, I was embarrassed to look outside. I didn’t want anyone that I knew or who knew me— if there was any, to see me in this uniform. For a moment there, I missed my rags; in them I was invisible to the outside world. Having gotten a seat at the codrivers position, the windscreen served as my television. Roads were made of a blackish-grey substance and not cement. People were clad in different colored clothes making the surrounding even more colorful.

           Deep in thought I resorted to counting the moving trees. I was at the a thousandth tree when I noticed that this tree, was not like the others. It was stony and huge with a name at the top, “MILIMANI LAW COURT”. I rubbed my blurry eyes with my fingers to have a better view, in the process alerting Luci, whose hands were tied on the other end of the cuff, that we had arrived.

           Inmates from houses that was not ours, were also there. We made lines like patients in a public hospital waiting to visit their loved ones who had been admitted, with strict-looking security officers watching out for any suspicious behavior.

           “Merci… Merci? Kwani you don’t have a surname?” I lifted my head to look at the abnormally tall officer and steadily shook my head. He uncuffed me and clumsily dragged me to where the judge was.

           The court proceedings started a short while later and ended. Apparently, the prosecution had withdrawn the case; and just like that I was free to go. There was a weird expression on my face – I wanted to be happy but I also wanted to cry. All those years cage innocently…

           In another room, my clothes were brought. Dirty and tattered as I came with them. Putting them on, they were sagging and my trouser falling. I tied a not for the blouse and walked holding my trousers.

           Walking out of the building, I couldn’t help but remember the day they pinned the blame on me. …I was walking through my normal path, pulling a heavy sack filled with plastic bottles that I had spent the whole day collecting. “Leo nitapata at least ka mia”, I said to myself. I was going to exchange them for money, that I would used to buy a meal and a carton box – the other carton box that I was sleeping on had been rained on the previous night and was badly damaged.

           There was a gun shot, but that wasn’t unusual, so I continued walking. Someone ran past me, moving in the opposite direction. His right hand was bleeding profusely– that’s not my business, and as he past me he smeared some on my left hand. I tried to wipe it with my right, but only smeared it the more.

           “LALA CHINI!” I was confused. Defending myself was pointless. Before I knew it, I was facing illegal drugs charges and was taken to the remand prison. It happened so fast. My first court appearance was a hectic one. I didn’t have a lawyer, and the state could not afford to give me one. I was all alone. The prosecution was merciless, and I was innocent. I tried fruitlessly to defend myself, but my Kikuyu accent made me an object of derision… That day I cried publicly and any hopes I had of ever getting out were reduced by 75%, not that anyone cared…

           Anyway, the Lord God who I had received and accepted while in there, had miraculously given me another chance to life: ‘For nothing will be impossible with God’. I chose to forget that wicked day; even if I were to get revenge, on whom will it be on?

June 10, 2021 10:31

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