FOOTPRINTS - Episode 18

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Bitalo groggily got out of bed. He sat on the edge of his bed rubbing his eyes as he processed...

Bitalo groggily got out of bed. He sat on the edge of his bed rubbing his eyes as he processed the events of last night. That was a terrible dream, he thought. I need to get in touch with Najja. He stretched for his phone which was sitting on the table next to the bed. “Hello honey,” Najja’s voice rang through the line. “I am so pleased to hear from you Najja my love.” He went on to narrate his nightmare to her, stressing the need from them to wait until they were married. “You know I would never do a thing like that sweetheart,” Najja pointed out. “I fully understand the consequences. I care far too much for our people that I would not push my own selfish needs at their expense.” “I know you would not do that my love. I have an eerie feeling though that this whole situation is not over. I am not sure, but in my heart, there seems to be something else coming,” Bitalo said. His voice was laced with worry. “And when that comes, you and I will face it with might and resilience. It wouldn’t be the first nor will it be the last. Come rain or shine, we are stronger that whatever they are preparing to throw at us,” Najja replied. She sounded very enthusiastic and driven. “It feels very encouraging to hear that from you. What would I do without you?” “You’d be missing me…roaming the world, searching for me as I would be searching for you,” she answered with a ravishing smile on her face.

A few hours later, Najja dashed out of the building. She was headed to Bitalo’s hostel. Birungi was lurking behind a hedge of tall flowers. She looked at the picture in her hand and then at Najja. After a few scans, she was satisfied that Najja was the one she was after. She was wearing a pair of tight jean trousers and a long gown that concealed her weapon. On the far end of the road was a motor bike with the rider sitting on top waiting for her. Unaware of what lay outside, Najja walked along the road towards Bitalo’s hostel. Sanyu was suddenly moved by a worrying feeling. She could sense that something was terribly wrong. She stuck her neck out of the window and peered into the street downstairs. There was Najja walking up the street. Sanyu sighted the talk lady closing the gap between herself and Najja. Her right hand was concealed underneath her big gown. Up the street was a biker perched atop the bike and peering over his shoulders for Birungi’s direction.

“Najja!!!” Sanyu shouted. Najja looked up at her. “You finally woke up?” Najja teased her. “Run Najja!!! Run!!!” Shouted Sanyu. Bemused, Najja wondered why Sanyu wanted her to run. Sanyu pointed at Birungi. Najja looked back and saw Birungi dashing towards her. Her hand emerged from below the gown and a pistol glowed unnervingly in the morning sun as she raced fiercely towards Najja. Najja dashed to the left across the street, kicking off her shoes as she sought to save her life. Sanyu closed her eyes and raised her hands to the sun. Birungi ran like a gazelle after Najja. She raised the gun and took aim as she ran. One look over her shoulder, Najja saw Birungi aiming to fire at her. She fell to the ground as Birungi squeezed the trigger. Najja could hear the shattering of glass above her as windows came crashing to ground. She rolled across the face of ground at the corner of the building and ran like she had never run before. As if she had not been fast enough, Birungi was right behind her. Everything was happening very fast. People ran into surrounding buildings in fear. Birungi took another shot at Najja. This time, she went around a car, falling flat on the ground as the car took a real beating from the flying bullets.

Najja sped off to the next car, using it as a shield to run across the empty parking lot. Then she ran into the building opposite the lot. Birungi’s left hand dove into her pocket as she rummaged for bullets. She was fearless. She had been paid three million Shillings and the thought of another four million Shillings motivated her to finish the job. Her biker had rolled into the parking lot, staying close by to whisk her quickly away as soon as Najja was dead. People ran like ants scurrying away from a blazing fire. Some called the police. As Birungi loaded her gun and searched for Najja in the building from one office to another, Sanyu descended from the top of the building, carried by a gusty wind. She had never operated in her spiritual form at daylight. To keep from being seen by people who may know her, she stirred a mighty wind that raised a heavy spurt of dust. Buildings shook to their foundation as the massive ball of dust encapsulating Sanyu blew by.

Najja hid under a table in an office. There was no other person there. She had shut the door behind her. The window on the other side of the office was heavily barricaded by metal bars. She had no exit. Her heart pounded like an airplane taking to the skies. Then, the door flew open. Birungi poked her head in and peered around. She turned on the light to illuminate the small office. She stepped into the room and walked around the table. She squatted and looked under. There was Najja with her hands clasped in a prayer position. “You don’t have to do this!!!” She pleaded with Birungi. She took aim at her with her finger ready to squeeze the trigger one more time. She could see more millions rolling into her account. Like a raging storm, Sanyu forcefully entered the room with a mighty gust. The wind crashed windows and doors, sending Birungi flying to the wall. She squeezed the trigger as she fell backwards. Her aim had been dislodged by the wind. She narrowly missed Najja, who felt the bullet pass by her left ear. Her heart was beating even faster. Her hands shook and her legs quivered feverishly.

The wind stopped instantly and Sanyu emerged. She knocked the gun off Birungi’s arm and smashed her against the wall again. She tried to put up a fight, but one single blow to the side of her face by Sanyu immobilized her. She lay numb on the floor as though she was dead except for her heart that rose and fell to indicate that she was still alive. “Come, let’s go,” Sanyu said to Najja. She could not move. Fear had left her transfixed. She gazed at Sanyu unable to think or move. “It is okay my friend,” Sanyu assured her. She lifted Birungi in her arms, looked up again and another wind slowly began to blow. “Come on Najja. We have to get out of here before the police arrive. You don’t want to be questioned. How do you explain all these to them?” She urged Najja. Finally, she crept out of her hiding place and stepped closer to Sanyu. She could not utter a word. The wind swirled mightily, carrying them out of the room and the University. Soon, they were in a deserted area.

Sanyu dropped Birungi on bare ground. She opened her eyes and asked, “Where am I?” “You are about to die,” Sanyu answered. Birungi tried to run, but Sanyu pinned her back to ground with immeasurable force. The resulting pain zipped through her body like scorpion poison. She grimaced as the pain swept through her. “If you try to run again, I will kill you!” Sanyu warned her. She nodded her head. “Who sent you to kill her?” Sanyu asked. Still dazed, Najja looked on without uttering a word. “No one. I just wanted to kill her,” Birungi lied. Sanyu raised her right hand to the sky and lowered it over Birungi’s face. A radiant force emanated from her hand and burned Birungi’s face as though she was standing next to the sun. She yelled out in deep pain. “Now tell me who sent you or I will kill you,” Sanyu warned her. “Onzia. It was Onzia,” Birungi announced. Sanyu and Najja looked at each other. “I will take you to the place where you will be safe,” Sanyu said to Najja. I have to pay Onzia a visit in prison. When I am through with her,” she will be dead!!!” She threatened. “What about Bitalo. I need to know that he is okay,” Najja finally spoke. “He should be fine Najja. They are after you not her. Onzia thinks it is your fault, and if anyone from Okwayi’s lineage were to strike back, they will come after you. You are the jewel…the gem that keeps Bitalo going. He is a Damba. It will take a lot for them to harm him directly, but if they hack you down, he is finished. I must protect you. Not to worry, I will stop by to check in on him,” Sanyu explained. “Bring him to me. Bring him wherever you want me to stay. In fact, I am tired of running. I want to return to school,” Najja protested.

“Who is it?” Bernadette asked in response to a knock on the gate. She ran outside opened the gate. Lucy stood at the entrance. “My daughter, how can I help you?” Bernadette asked. “Can I come in?” Lucy asked. “Yes my child. Who are you?” “I am Lucy. A friend of Najja’s at school,” Lucy lied. “I see. Did she give you a message for me?” “No, she gave me a message for her father.” “Well, Bagamba is not at home. He went to the city today. He is busy with business these days.” ‘In that case, I will give you the message.” “Go ahead my child. What does our beautiful Najja want?” “I was not after Bagamba, actually. I was after you. I needed to make sure he was no home. People know me as Lucy, but I am Kiho, a true daughter of Okwayi…descendant of Kamoga!!!” Fear crept into Bernadete’s voice. “What…what do you want with me? I am an old woman!” “I was born on a foggy drizzly morning with fire in my mouth and poison in my heart. Today, I will kill you with my poison. Actually, the true target is Najja. She loves you too much. She would literally die of unbearable pain when she hears of your death…more so; when she learns that you were killed by a Kamoga. When her heart becomes weary and her body sick, she will likely die, thereby exposing Bitalo, the defender of the Dambas to attack. You see, old woman, you are important after all.” Bernadette tried to run into the house, but Lucy grabbed her quickly and sank her fingers in her skin. Her poison pierced her skin like that of a rattlesnake. Her body quickly went limp as her eyes stared blankly at nothing. She dropped to ground like a log of wound as she gave up the ghost. With a smile on her face, Lucy walked casually out of the compound.    STORY CONTINUES...

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FOOTPRINTS - Episode 18 An African Literary Blog
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