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“You have to leave the hospital now,” Byarugaba declared. Tonight is the 100th year anniversary...

“You have to leave the hospital now,” Byarugaba declared. Tonight is the 100th year anniversary of the killing of King Kamoga. Okwayi is a descendant of King Kamoga and he is bent on reclaiming this land for another evil reign. You must leave now. No matter what happens, you must protect Najja. She is a precious gem whose presence will restore the throne of the great and kind King Damba. Protect her with your life. No matter what happens, don’t look back. Drive away from here and hide wherever you can,” he said hastily. “But where do we go? Bernadette asked. “Anywhere but this town. Leave now!” “Maybe we should head to Kampala,” Bagamba suggested. “I think so too. It is safer in the city than in its fringes,” Bitalo suggested. “As for you, you are coming with me,” Byarugaba said, pointing at Bitalo. “But I have to protect Najja,” he protested. “Her father will protect her. You are my son, and a direct descendant of King Damba. Earlier this night, your biological mother, the sixth wife of Okwayi was murdered by Okwayi himself. You have to march with the ancient warriors to defeat him. The throne is yours my son. You must fight for it first!”

Bitalo looked bemused and sad. He watched as the weak Najja and her father and grandmother entered Bagamba’s car. “I will be back my love,” he said to her. “I am better off dead without you, Bitalo. I go away believing that nothing will happen to you.  If you have to fight to defeat the evil one, then fight like a warrior. I am praying for you. You must return to me sweetheart. Please don’t let anything happen to him,” she added staring at Byarugaba. “He will be fine. He is fighting with ancient warriors with the gods on their side,” Byarugaba declared. Hurriedly, Bagamba sped off into the darkness. Najja lowered her head as tears rained down her face like a storm. She had been fighting back the tears so as not to frighten Bitalo. She was very afraid. “He will be alright my child,” Bernadette said rubbing her neck in consolation. Bagamba focused on the road, speeding as fast as he could.

“You? My father?” Bitalo asked Byarugaba. “Yes my child. It is a long story. I will tell you the full story as soon as this war is over. A man does not play cards while his house is on fire. Let us go to war. Take; this is the sword with which King Damba captured the land. It is yours now. Fight in a manner that will make our ancestors proud.” He handed Bitalo a sword as they walked through darkness towards the forest on the edge of town. 

Out of the blues, a mighty force broke through the windshield of Bagamba’s car. Shards of broken glass tore through his face and body. The car skidded off the road, but Bagamba managed to get it under control and then pulled up in a farm. Bernadette and Najja shouted out of fear. As soon as Bagamba stopped, the unseen force began to pull Najja away. Bernadette held onto her, shouting her voice hoarse. “You evil one, leave my grandchild alone.” Bagamba turned and jumped to the back seat. He held tightly unto Najja. They could not see the force, but they could feel it’s might. A powerful blow landed on the side of Bagamba’s face, “Baam!!!” He fell backwards still holding onto Najja. “You have to kill me first before taking my daughter away!!!” Bagamba shouted. Then, the unseen force appeared. It had the head of a man, hands like crocodile and legs like a lion. Black gooey liquid drooled out of its mouth. It howled and growled as it pulled on Najja. Blood began to drip down her hands as the evil spirit pulled at her. Bagamba managed to raise his leg and kick the spirit in the face. It fell backwards, and Najja kicked it in the eye.

Blood began to drip down its face. Before it could recover, Najja swung the door open and dashed out. Bagamba dragged Bernadette out of the car. They ran into the farm and zigzagged their way through the brushes. “I am tired,” Bernadette said. Bagamba looked at his old mother with pity in his eyes. They stopped under a tree with their eyes shooting in all directions. “It is going to be alright,” Bagamba said, holding his mother and Najja to himself. Najja was sobbing profusely. “This is all my fault, “Bernadette said. “Stop that mama,” Bagamba retorted. “Yes it is.” “How is it your fault?” Bernadette looked at her son and granddaughter for a moment. Then, she lowered her face and began to recount the circumstances surrounding Bagamba’s birth…

Forty Eight Years earlier
“Bernadette! How many years has it been since we married and you can’t give me a male child? Soon, I will send you packing,” said her husband, Kasumba Sebowa. He was seated in the living room as he munched on his dinner. Bernadette went into their tiny bedroom and cried. By morning, after Kasumba had left for work, Bernadette decided to do something about her inability to give her husband a son. She already had two daughters, and for the past five years, she had tried in vain to conceive again. I have to end this drought. I must speak to someone, she thought to herself. She went to see a medicine man. The medicine man, Muhumuza listened carefully as she poured out her heart. “My husband will soon send me back to my parents. Please, find a solution to my dilemma. I need a child and a male one for that matter.” Muhumuza went into the inner chamber of his shrine and returned with a wrap of powder. “The problem is not with you. The problem is with your husband. He does not have seeds for male children. You must sleep with another man to conceive a male child,” Muhumuza declared. “But how can I do that? I am a married woman.” “I don’t decide the solutions to problems that are brought to me. I tell people what the gods tell me.”

Stunned, Bernadette stared at him.  “Take,” he said handing her the wrap of powder. “Put a small amount in your water when you shower.  Then, when your husband is not home, find a man and lure him to bed. In a few weeks, you shall conceive.” Bernadette took the powder still shaken with fear. For weeks, she did not do what Muhumuza had told her. Then one night, Kasumba lashed out at her. She had failed to serve him dinner on time. He entered the kitchen where Bernadette was dishing his dinner and slapped her repeatedly across the face. Then, he kicked her and left her sprawled on the floor. “You can’t give me a male child, and you can’t serve me dinner on time. What are you good for?” He said sarcastically. He went drinking afterwards. The next morning, Bernadette took a handful of the powder and poured it into her bathing water. Afterwards, she went to visit a single young man who had just moved to the area. Like a magnet attracting metal, the young man soon pounced on her. Within seconds, he was in bed with him. She shed some tears out of guilt as he left the man’s house. Soon, the man came asking for more, but Bernadette could not bring herself to be with him again. A few weeks later, she found out that she was pregnant. Months later, Bagamba was born. As soon as Kasumba saw that it was a boy, he began to treat her well again. 

“You never told me this story mama,” Bagamba said. “Well, now you know.” “How does that make what is happening to us now your fault?” “Some years ago, I consulted with Okwayi when you and Gonza could not have a child. He read my palm. He saw something in the future…something about me; about our family. I saw the look on his face even though he would not tell me what he had seen. He lied to me. He saw that our family is somehow tied to the great Queen Namono. That was why he poisoned your father at a drinking session, and later killed your brother, Kakuru. He thought your father was perhaps a descendant of Queen Namono, the one whose descendant is meant to marry a descendant of King Damba. Local legend has it that one hundred years after the great battle between the Dambas and the Kamogas, a descendant of Queen Namono would marry a descendant of King Damba to finally end the last surviving remnants of the evil King Kamoga in our land. Okwayi could see that you look different, that was the reason he did not kill you when he wiped your brother and father. He also knows that we adopted your younger brother, Mulogo whom he spared. He would have killed you if you looked like your father…my husband Kasumba. Your real father is a descendant of Queen Namono, Bagamba!!! Your daughter Najja is the descendant of Queen Namono destined to marry Bitalo, a descendant of King Damba. This is the 100th year since that battle. I brought this upon our family…upon you two by following Muhumuza’s instruction to have a male child.” 

Bernadette lowered her head as she sobbed. “It was destined to happen, mama. This is not your fault. After all, you gave birth to me…I got to have a wonderful mother like you. Maybe I would never have made it to earth without that act- your act.” Bagamba attempted to console her. “That is true mama. It was meant to happen. We have to find a way out of this,” Najja said. “No, you two can go. I am old now. I have done my part in this world. I have one more ace up my sleeve. I will stay here and wait for them. You should run. When they come, I will hold them up until you are safely out of the area,” Bernadette offered. “There is no way I am leaving here without you, mama,” Bagamba insisted. “I will stay here and die with you mama,” Najja insisted. She chuckled and said, “These spirits are powerful. You saw how that one fought us in the car. Go now my children.” “No, we are not going without you!” “I can smell you daughter of Namono!!!” A husky voice shouted through the woods. “Go Bagamba and Najja!” Bernadette said. “Come with us mama,” Najja replied pulling her. She rose to her feet, and rummaged through a small pouch she had around her waist. “This is it. This is the reminder of the powder that Muhumuza gave me. He too was a descendant of Queen Namono. If what happened was destined to be, then this powder will do its work now!” 

Bernadette poured some of the powder over her hair and rubbed it on her face. Then, they heard the rustling of leaves as the evil spirit approached. It pounded the ground with immense force. “Daughter of Namono come to me!” It shouted. “Here I am!!!” Bernadette replied. “Run, you two. Najja must be safe otherwise; the Kamogas will take over the land. That is why they are chasing after us. Run my children,” she gestured at Bagamba and Najja, but they would not leave. “We are willing to die here with you mama,” Bagamba insisted. The spirit appeared and Bernadette walked towards it. “Stop mama!!” Najja called to her, stretching to hold her back. All of a sudden, the bruised spirit ran speedily towards Bernadette, ignoring Najja. The powder had cast a spell on the bloodied spirit. Blindly, it lifted Bernadette into the air, swiveled around and vanished like a whiff in the wind. “Mama!!!” Bagamba and Najja shouted, reaching for her, but she was nowhere to be found.
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Written by:
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