Celebrating East African Writing!
Emmy, she was six and half foot tall. Her skin, soft and fair, such that one would think it was chocolate in a texture of cotton. Her long, silky and shining black hair reflected the bright, large eyes. Her soft, tender lips, that any man would lust to kiss, bulged like two smokies walking simultaneously on a face plastered by God. Her long legs and mango like breast were exaggerated by her hardly 20 centimeters waist. She was a moving shadow of unbeatable beauty. She looked at the lethal tokerem revolver; drained of emotion and feeling placed it on her sky soft cheek and pulled the trigger.
The dusk of November 1989 came with a blessing. As the sun dawdled in an old man pace to finish the routine of a day and cross a cloudless summer sky a small angelic cry pierced through the door of a remote local dispensary in Chache village. Mutua rose to his feet and applauded in whisper, ‘I’m a man.’ Then he walked toward the counter. He was carrying a bundle of clothes and a small flowered bag filled with baby’s clothes. At the age of twenty four he was declared a father.
‘You are father to a bouncing baby girl.’
‘We are sorry the caesarean affected your wife’s womb.’
‘That might be the only child.’
He broke down and wept for the love, the despair and the deep rooted sorrow that gripped him. He wanted more children.
From that day on, he placed his daughter under strict surveillance.
In 1940 there were three transgressions any African woman would do, at least four punishable sins. One, make a decision. Two, question the fathers. Three, be a woman. And four, give birth to girls only. This was such a grevious sin that would sentence a woman to divorce or return to her people.
The decision to take Emmy to university was not received well by the members of the clan and Mutua was called to explain in detail why on earth he was sending their daughter to Nairobi to school and exposing her to civilization.
Sadly, I live in a society that feels threatened by a civilized ‘woman’, where marriage is seen as the one ultimate thing a woman should strive to achieve. In this society women follow a predictable pattern stair of life. Traditions against women are rife; from Female Genital Mutilation, wife battering , sexual assault, professional discrimination, office mistreatment, domestic violence…
Brimming with a fierce vengeance, nothing could stop the old man, not even torrents that were pounding on the earth mercilessly. He took his stuff, placed it on the back seat of his aged Audi and sped toward Nairobi Women’s Hospital. His mind drifted back two decades ago, and a lonely single tear strolled lazily down the wrinkled old face. He had lost many things, but the loss of his wife was a blow that left an open scar in an old man heart. His love was now entirely focused on his one and only daughter. He had vowed to give his daughter all the education and that he did. He could not believe that his daughter attempted to take her beautiful life.
He knew Emmy as one of the strongest soul, a character she had inherited from her mother Rebecca. That emotional part of her was concealed beneath her elegance and serious round face. He had not seen her cry for a long time. He wondered who had broken his daughter to the point of her attempted suicide. He wished death to that son of Satan!
24th August 2009 was the precise day Emmy reported to start her internship at VBS (Voice Broadcasters Station). Vibrant, proud and radiant, a smile emanating from a blameless face. There was this desire to live, to win and to conquer that ignited a fire inside her. That day she first reported and found the Managing Editor at his desk he applauded her for the good spirit. She was briefed and deployed to the Bureau Office in Kibera. She was to work with Otieno a.k.a Otti, her camera man and she hated him at first sight.
Civilization has brought with it gender accidents and on a war zone trying to fight for equity and equality, a section of beautiful women have found themselves victims of unworthy harassment or brand discrimination at work place or decision making.
Otieno a.k.a Otti the vulture, was an ugly coal black stout man filled with garish pride, a creation blunder of some sort. He was slow, filthy mouthed and respecter of no woman. He had a tiny head, big slanting eyes, red lips and a mountainous bulging chest due to the many years of going to the gym. His small legs protruded out of a deformed body and from far he looked like a walking stature of a charcoal sack. The only reason they kept him at VBS was due to the reason that he was a good camera man. That made him more arrogant and overly proud.
‘Gosh, am I gonna work with this freak.’ she thought aloud.
‘Who are you calling freak? Ugly moron!’
He looked at her with spite, that was enough insult to the pride of Otti the vulture. No woman had ever insulted him and gone scot free, none! Something was in Otti’s mind, and from then on he stalked her through the station, waiting for the right moment to teach this daughter of man a lesson.
VBS is a large Media House situated in the outskirts of east Nairobi with over 500 employees who reported daily, some for duty , some to pass time and do their things and some too catch up with dead lines so when Otti slipped into the offices on the evening of 29th November no one noticed. On register he was off duty and Emmy driven by an innocent desire, had decided to extend her time and research on a matter she was interested and thought would make a story. As she walked toward block F, Otti saw her and followed her.
Diplomacy is a language of thugs, a politic of deceit and creamed corruption of lie hidden in sweetness of words. I like guns, the only remedy to diplomatic blunders of all times. In a world like I would propose, women especially beautiful women would be granted the right to guns…but before you judge me ….wait!
Emmy closed the door only to see Otti smiling behind the creaky door.
‘Did you miss me bitch?’
‘Otti, what do you want?’
The clenched teeth said a dangerous story. Red fiery eyes declared that this man’s intention was mired by the darkest of wickedness. For the first time she felt intimidated by a hopeless situation. He hit her, knocking her unconscious, then he tore her clothes off and raped her.
Five hours later when she woke from the death sleep, she yelled and attracted a crowd of fifty night workers of VBS in a critical mess of bad time. As she walked away ashamed and angry, she felt haunted by a killing quilt mixed with an horrible degrading feeling of worthlessness. She wanted to shut her self down like a robot but death came closer and whispered.
‘You are dirty Emmy, commit suicide.’ Two weeks later she was still not dead.
On Friday, 15th December, a case was filed in Makadara courts but Otti had pulled some strings and mobilized a family of witnesses who proved that he was in Kitale the hour of the incident.
Law will never consider an affirmative narration of the whole truth unless proved to the judge to no doubt. Emmy had taken a shower on the night of despair destroying strong evidence. She was only armed with word of truth. The judge could get a grip of this case because he was another man guided by written words of law. In his conclusion ,the evidence was too circumstancial for him to judge and convict Otieno. He was set free.
With loss, a first grader in a cruel world, Emmy slipped quietly underground with a terrible feeling, a feeling that haunts violated mortals and lingers on like a wrong smell that belittles. Only God , who has keys to the deeper shelves of a woman heart would champion the healing of a tigeress… a shot staved tigerress. To her assets she added a Mexican Tokerem revolver. Guilt was killing her so she tried the Mexican fire baptizer on herself on the night of her twentieth birthday.
When Mutua walked inside Nairobi hospital he was trembling not from the low freezing temperature outside but from a fiery rage. He broke at his daughter bedside and wept. Emmy looked at her father, the old frail man, and remembered the tender loving day, the sun looked golden and the moon always paraded between the chorated patterns of galaxies emitted hope.
Her father would hold her and speak lovingly.
‘Emmy you are all I’ve got.’
A strong anger boiled and she sat up to talk to her father. Her father looked into her eyes and in tears he shook her violently.
‘Dotty this is not your bullet…’’ he used her childhood nick name.
She looked at the old man and felt some sense in those words.
‘Get well quickly.’ She felt the anger.
Emmy boarded Matatu via route 34 toward Eastlands and when she showed up at VBS, it was unbelievable. The editor in chief was taken aback.
It was a hot afternoon and every body was still talking in whispers. The meeting turned to a welcome party. Emmy remained composed trying to figure out range and the perfect gift. She was watching every body and looking out for Otti. She saw him squeeze himself behind the Magazine Chief. The party was over as Emmy walked toward Otti the vulture. He saw her and smiled.
‘Miss me Otti?’
‘Whhaat?’ he closed his eyes laughing, when he opened them he was looking at the nozzle of the Tokerem. He froze.
‘Do you know how to use that?’
Bang! She shot him between the legs. Every body else fell to the floor frightened by the blast.
Bang! She shot him on the shoulder
Bang! Another bullet flew toward his left leg.
‘That for my father, and my life.’
The hall was dead quiet. Emmy threw the gun to the floor and walked out undisturbed, toward Central Police Station. Her soul was appeased and her dignity restored by one percent.
© Alex Mutua 2010
If you would like this piece to be the Story of the Week, please vote below on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak, and 10 being excellent. The numbers will be tallied on Friday and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.