HOME IS A CASTLE OF STORIES

DEATH RACE

There are memories time can heal. Then there are memories not even time can blunt. They which work like cancer. They stand out like a hijab clad woman in a clique of mini skirt adorning birds. Reminders which can never fade away,no matter how hard you try suppressing them. They rise back up, like angry sea waves, thundering in the halls of your brain. They haunt you. They test you,make you question your faith in humanity. Make you ask questions lacking answers. Is there God really? Where was he when all this occurred? Was he watching silently. Smiling and laughing with angels,patting Jesus on the back. Telling Jesus, "Damn! Let that boy learn a lesson." Or God was seething with fury. Silently blessing this boy, that one day he may rise from the ashes.
This is how he remembers it. With a stark clarity which is second to none.
He was scared shitless. Like a gazelle in the sights of a cheetah. He tried to think, but all wasn't adding up. As if all systems had closed shop. It seemed like the world had been swallowed up by this one colossus of a tsunami. And everything thing was in this leviathan patchy mess. He turned,  behind him, the savages were gaining ground. Their spears gleaming brilliantly in the midday sun.
"It's funny." He says. "The way those spears shone. They were pulchritude you know. It's hard to believe that they were tools of death."
The savages were now about 50 meters away. Reprieve was over, it was showtime! So he took flight once more. Ran, ran like it was a final marathon before retirement. Ran like at the finish line a  gorgeous,virgin bride would be waiting. Ran like a corrupt individual trying to evade the DCI's investigators. He ran like his life depended on it. And heck! His life depended on it. Trees flew past him, birds fluttered away in surprise. Maybe thinking.."Who the hell is this running this fast?"
This was a race he had to win. Loosing wasn't an option.
"You see, loosing is okay. Not everyone is a winner, those are the goddamned rules of competing. Only this wasn't a competition. It was one hell of a race. A death race. Where losers are speared to hell. I wasn't ready die."
I ask him.
"What about right now? Are you ready to die? "
He looks at me, studies my febrile face hard. Then a smile of satisfaction suffuses through his wrinkled face.
"Boy, yes. Yes, at the moment I'm ready to die. I might not go to heaven, guitars may not be played at my funeral but it will be a happy death. I'm finally everything I've ever wanted to be. I've scaled the heights of education. I've tamed those savages who used to hunt me. I love them now, I help them. So if death calls, I'll gladly answer. Osoch, are you ready to die? "
There questions which scare you out of your nerves. This was one of them. Heck.. No!  I don't wanna die. I still want to play FIFA, I still want to eat apples, I still want to watch beautiful women walk by.
And thus he pumped a new bust of air into his lungs. Flexed his agile, sickly legs, and continued running. Stopping wasn't an option. Falling wasn't a choice either. One slip up and a spear would come at him like a missile. Tearing apart his torso, exploding everything. The sad past, the torturous present and the equally bleak future. All his dreams would come to a halt if he stopped. So he ran.
"I had  jiggers on my feet. And a few wounds here and there."
He says this statement with such  simplicity and finality which startles me to the core, literary shakes up my insides. It's like you say. "Kevin ni mzii kwa FIFA or Dumbala has a load of hair kwa kichwa."
See, how easy ,how innocent, how flawless that sounds. It's the same freaky way he says. "I had jiggers and a few wounds here and there."
To be honest, it scared the living daylights out of me. I almost halted my breathing. Like who is this guy I'm talking to ? He might be those people who kill you in cold blood. Then slowly chop your body to pieces and feed their pet eagles. I even started sweating, but we were in the hall of a restaurant so all was well.
Like lightning, a spear came flying through the air. Ground zero was his, back. That was the target, they really wanted him dead, gone, extinguished from the face of earth.
"It's weird what a man can do to another man. You know what's funny? What still gives me sleepless nights. They were my brothers. Those savages. My fucking half brothers. Different dicks might have sired us but we shared the same womb. (He laughs, I laugh too.)And what's bond is stronger than that of a mother?  What? A mothers bond is everything. It's sunrise. It's sunset. It's the beginning. It's the end. The Alpha and Omega. But it didn't matter much to them. I was an intruder in their world. An outsider who had to go." 
With a hunter's precision. He launched the spear through the air. And boy! That spear was more than a spear. It streaked through the humid air, leaving molecules trembling in it's wake. Zeroing in on the target, our running boy.
"It missed my back by a whisker. But managed to slice a bit of my leg."
He shows me the scar. Years have passed, but the scar defies to be obscured. It remains there, regal, proud, a testament of what he's gone through.
His, is a tale of macabre sadness. Her mother was inherited. See, her first husband, not his father, died. After passing away, the village team mafisi were hot on his mother's heels. Each of them wanted a taste of her. In this furore, she ended up being inherited by some guy. Who now fathered him. Who again died before he was born. To him, death was this unforgiving spectre which eternally haunted his lineage.
So here he is. Fatherless, borne to an inherited mother. His half brothers never liked him. That's why they always chased him like an animal. Little did they know in years to come he would be their messiah.
"They used to say. There's no way outside blood will get a share of our land."
Trying saying that in Ekegusii, and you'll understand what I mean.
All his life, one blessing he's ever had. That's his mother.
"My mum was everything, my universe revolved around her. Whenever they tried to kill me. It's her who protected me. They feared her. She was a traditional herbalist. She used to tell me, "boy they will all die and leave you on earth. One time they will beg from you." And her prophecy came to pass. I'm a senior citizen now, most of my brothers are incapable. I'm supporting there families."
Tell me more about your mother?  I asked him.
She was one Amazon of a lady. Tough to the core. As a herbalist, healed people's ailments, the little money made was channelled into their education. His half brothers were never interested in school. All they did was binge local booze and bang village broads.
With herbalist money. That's how he found himself in Kisii school. Then known as the Government African School (GAS), doesn't that 'GAS' sound cool. Like somebody asks you, where do you school?  You appear disinterested, then you say. Oh!  My school, it's called 'GAS'.
Life wasn't easy. Home was in a sleepy village going by the name Motagara in west Mogirango. A place far from humanity, cut off from the rest of the world. While people on planet earth were in the 19th century, people in Motagara were in the 17th. One hell of a distance from GAS to home.  But you know what. Homeboy walked all the way. Heck! There was no mullah for a ride. And he just didn't walk, he walked carrying a wooden box laden with his essentials.
At form two, when life was beginning to pan out. When it seemed like finally there would be light at the end of the tunnel. His mom's coffers run out of money. And his world came tumbling down again. Left short of options he dropped out of school. So he parked his wooden box, bade his few friends goodbye and fluuk! Walked back home.
"It was the saddest day of my life, after my mom's passing. I was seeing my dreams drift away right before my eyes. But what could I do?
I stuck in there and grinded hard."
GAS had taught him a few things. Playing the guitar and a good handwriting. He said.
"My handwriting changed my life."
I felt like hugging him, I did not. You just don't go around hugging a senior citizen for the sake of it. But the hand writing bit got me a tad jealous. My father always takes  digs at my handwriting. He says it looks like Chinese for chrissake! But then who cares about your handwriting this days, when you can type away. But now ,this man's life, his destiny, lay on his handwriting. To be honest, I found it weird. Don't you??
He did millennial jobs here and there, managed to see himself through some showdy school. And blup! Was admitted to some teachers college. At this time, being a teacher was a highly esteemed affair. And colleges weren't taking weird characters to be teachers. Thus they were subjected to a test,to be written by a fountain pen.
He wrote the test.
"The most important test of my life." He says gurgling with life. It's funny, considering he's now a resplendent phd holder. People call him prof. Dear reader isn't it cool to be called prof. Like, let's imagine, "PROF OSOCH." Doesn't it sound cool. Anyway, when the results came out, he'd underperformed. Way below, but his handwriting saved the day. The principal called for him.
"Who is this who can write like this? He's too smart to be here. This is university material."
A few strings were pulled here and there, a few palms greased. And blup! That's how our hero found himself in KU on a gava scholarship to pursue what he'd really wanted all his life. From there onwards there was no stopping him.
" I became a sandstorm, decimating all obstacles in my path. I finally got my masters, then America came calling. The land of opportunities."
How has America treated you.
"Well, America, what can I say?  I won't lie to you kid. There's a bit of racism but you just ignore such. It has served me well I guess. I finally found home. I've never quite belonged here. See, it has given me everything I have. Every single thing."
And how do you associate with your half brothers. Those who used to chase you?
He took time before he answered. Tears came to his eyes, a tough smile. I wished to console him but how do you console a person three times your age? So I let him breakdown. People passing by stole glances at us in a weird way. Even some dumbass came to our table.
"Nini mbaya mzee?  Kijana amechomoka na mpesa?"
He was waved away. Do I look like much of a criminal really?? In any case I'm the altar boy kind. Bytha my mum wishes that I could be a priest. Do you think I can make it?? With all those nuns, who knows. Maybe I should really be a father. So that you people call me, "his holiness Osoch".
Its in moments like this that a man's soul opens up like a can of butterflies. He finally found his voice.
" Boy, I've never told anyone this. It beats me you know.( Women, don't trust guys who use phrases like "it beats me." They're bad news. Even if you're in a banking hall and the guy in front of you says, it beats me. Just bolt. Don't look back.)Maybe I should have taken the path of retribution."
You did not.
" I won't lie to you. There are nights I couldn't find sleep. I twisted in bed like an angry serpent. All I wanted was to hunt them down and make them pay. But then, all the vitriol slowly faded away. Maybe it's because I began reading the bible. I forgave them, against all odds."
Where are your half brothers now?
"They're all back home. I guess time just caught up with them. So I take care of their families. They're my blood too. I have all this money and what can I do if not spend it on the people I love."
And that's his story. A tale of raw pain and suffering.Rising from sewers to rolling with kings and royalty. But it's his humility which touched me. He gave me an audience. Me a good for nothing boy, who is a pestilence for sure. I swear I was touched. Are you touched??
Yours truly
The rainmaker.
©Osoch2018.
Sharing is sexy ☺☺.
Ps. This story is unfinished, don't you feel it?
Photo credits @Koech ke on gram. http://visualsbykoech.pixieset.comOne hell of a photographer. Check out some of his works on his portfolio.

https://www.instagram.com/_koech_ke/

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