Celebrating East African Writing!
Three evil spirits walk with me through this life. They co-exist, symbiotic without knowing it. When one disappears, the others follow. When one comes out of the woodwork, I hear the far-away swishing sound of dragon tails as the other two prepare to come swooping down. Evil, Evilmore and Evilmost. Fancy having these blighted creatures as my appointed companions. The gods must have been high on adulterated Kumi Kumi local brew the day they made that warped decision. Whereas their godly hangovers must have been over by sunrise, I was doomed to continue walking in the shadow of the monsters they had created.
Until that fateful day, the gods had been kind to me. They had created me in their own image (before their lips turned red, their eyes got creased and watery and their hands began to shake from ‘overindulgence syndrome)’. Due to that kindness, one would agree with me that I’m not your run-of the mill ‘could-have-been-beauty-queen-but-not-photogenic-enough’ kind of girl. No. I could have been beauty queen, period. Unfortunately, I am also overly blessed with modesty and shyness. I assume that this is what drove the drunken goons that live up yonder to wrongfully assume that I needed their help. The one person that would rather have been born a ‘chukuni’, a small ant quietly foraging beneath the feet of men! I can just imagine their conversation on that day, when my fate was decided.
“What we need now is some entertainment. A good movie,” the first one must have said.
“Yeah? I have a better idea, our very own reality TV show,” the second probably replied.
“Sounds great, “Demons and a Damsel,” the third one definitely responded, drunkenly nodding his swollen head.
“Mmmmh… Demons after a Damsel…” a short pause. Another drunken snort. A nod. And thus my fate was sealed.
Yes. The gods must have laughed for weeks after they sobered up and saw the freak show they had put together. Sometimes, I imagine them looking down on me with indulgent smiles, the way a father looks at a cheeky child. I hear them say to each other in amazement, “It is good.”
I was a star in a show created by beings for whom roaming the earth as ethereal beings is the closest they’d ever come to living this life. No wonder it never crossed their minds to throw in some defence mechanisms.
Scene one opened with me being delivered to the Evils. Needless to say, I was like a lamb to the slaughter, and by the time I realized that I was entangled in a web of machinations and deceit, I was in too deep. Their entry was smooth and flawless, almost unnoticeable. Looking back, I must say that the gods chose well. Three distinct characters, suitable for an experiment.
Evil was restless and callous. When I contemplated his countenance, I saw a plain face, too eager to smile, unable to pull it off. The worst kind of Evil that manifests itself as good. Yet his eyes occasionally lit up with a mean glint, and his lips sometimes turned downwards in a cruel grin that turned me into a shaking leaf. I saw him for who he really was. My entire being quailed as I recognized what the gods had bequeathed me. I felt my heart flood with bitterness. My cry of consternation got silenced in my throat. I flailed my arms helplessly, trying to ward off the cold tentacles of despair that threatened to overwhelm me. My entire soul sent out a silent lamentation to the gods. Take him away from me!
“One day I’ll surprise you”, said Evilmore as scene two began. Since Evilmore made his debut, that statement was his refrain. The most unfortunate thing was that he didn’t even realize that he was destined to keep saying it. You see, the godly imps had decided that he’d be the one to make me cry. A certain something crept up in my chest every time I spoke with him. So intense that my eyes would well up with unshed tears. It had often thundered, but never rained. How I wish I would have cried and pleased the gods. Then they would have taken him back to the burning mouth of hell.
Enter Evilmost. Shrouded in mystery, he was designed to capture my attention. This one could not be judged by the cover, unfortunately by the time I found that out, it was too late. I trapped the Evilmost. I drew him in, ever so gently and before he knew it, he was in my lair. As he lay before me, completely vulnerable, abandoning himself to me, I felt a reluctant affection creep into my heart and make my fingers tremble. This must be the feeling a dragon-tamer would get, having fought, conquered and broken his fiery pet. “You are mine”, I whispered in my heart as I held his eyes with mine. “Mine” I repeated. His eyes fluttered and glazed over, then cleared again. He understood.
As I continued to stare at my prize, I realized that I had been tricked. I didn’t want it. I had won it grudgingly, forced to enter into a contest that I had no interest in. Now, as he continued to gaze at me, submission in his eyes, my gaze wavered. There is something about being a captor. You’re inadvertently connected to your captive. You become a captive.
My Evils had many things in common. They didn’t like it when I took counsel from other people. They said I should be myself. “You’re destined to fly as high as a kite”, they told me. Who wants to soar like a kite? I would probably get motion sickness. No. I do not want to fly so close to the birds. I do not want to kiss the sun. I imagine watching everything at the bottom of God’s world and wishing I was part of it; watching the joy on people’s faces and wishing I could feel it too. No. I would rather be down here than fly with the eagles. I wished Evil could fly back to hell.
I’m a sucker for beautiful smiles. Maybe that’s why I got tired of Evil’s affected smile. Evilmore’s, on the other hand, was a smile made for natural beauty. Evilmost’s smile had nothing natural about it. A heavy-set face and narrow hard eyes do not make for the most beautiful face. It was a face made in hell. However, one smile transformed this face. Whenever it happened, it was like Christmas come early. The eyes crinkled into tiny slits, the cloudy frown smoothed out and the giant became a teddy bear. Affectation, radiance and surprise. Those were the smiles of my Evils.
With no defence mechanisms, I floundered in the face of such hulking influences. I may have fared better if the gods had delivered me into kindly hands. Instead, I found myself fighting a war against three unrelenting malevolent spirits, and I was losing. I clutched at straws, unwilling to let go and drown, only because that would have implied accepting defeat. I went underground for some time, where supported by a fellow being, I reflected upon the things I needed to do to gain my strength for the long fight ahead. My head ballooned with calculated reason. And a plan. “Neither Evil, Evilmore or Evilmost could teach me what Evil was”, I said to myself. If that is what those gods had intended they had another thing coming. With renewed courage, I embraced my dark side. I was no longer afraid. I bravely looked the Evils in the eye and said, “Come on if you dare.” I beseechingly looked the gods in the eye and said, “You must support me on this one. Clean up your mess.” It was time to draw the battle line and wage an all-out war.
I started by classifying my Evils: never-ending, almost-ended and must-begin-to-end. Then I attacked. Three Evils withdrew into the burning mouth of hell, from whence they tortured me for close to a fortnight. I would glimpse apparitions from the corner of my eye, furtive movements that were meant to announce a malevolent presence. Evil was stalking me day and night. Many a night, I was overwhelmed with tremors, knowing that one of the three Evils had been fighting me but too fuzzy with unspent sleep to know which it was. Had they combined forces against me? That is something they’d be capable of doing. “If you have courage enough, you show yourselves,” I finally yelled one evening. The sound of my angry voice jolted me. Was I losing my mind?
©Christine Bukania 2010
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