Celebrating East African Writing!

Ten Miles to Kopsiror by Alex Mutua

Wycliffe Komol Kirui  Matakwei looked at the list of the next targets of their raid and coughed. Kopsiro Police Station, Korngotony Church of Saints and Molo District Hospital. He looked at his watch again then thought of the treachery of his son, Serut.

Irked by the thought he walked into the camp drained of emotion and the waiting war boys saluted.

‘We need men…’

‘Yes sir…’

‘Freedom soldiers…’

‘Yes sir…

Matakwei alias The General took out a packet of Rooster cigarettes, majestically removed one and placed it between his hard boiled fingers and went on giving the speech.

‘Everybody aware of the next target…

‘Yes sir…


He took out the red lighter and slowly like a prince of war lighted the filter less cigarette. The lighter from his hand fell on the ground, and humble twelve year old Sang marched forward and as a discipline soldier took it and handed it to the master.

‘Good boy…are you a man?

‘Yes sir…


‘Yes sir…

‘Let see…

Matakwei handed his AK-47 gun to young Sang and called for the target to be set. Sang looked at the 10kg weapon and admired it like a magic toy, he had seen the master use and with the little training he had gotten and being at the age of adventure, Sang would pull the trigger and make a near perfect shot to flying ravens of Elgon.

‘Ready son…

Sang woke from his fantasy only to see a woman staked on a tree blind folded and a little fear ran through his twelve years old veins. The gun shook in his feeble hand but due the masters brutal punishment to coward he gazed at the target like a statue of Monalisa.

‘Yes …master…am ready’ the words trailed from his oval tiny mouth,

‘Enemy…now son show me your importance to the Sabaot army….’

Why? I walk away  from Uhuru park angry, not so much at the threat to my self and to this nation but at discovering that in the innermost heart of this land, stripped of pomp and pious façade lay a hideous corruption, wicked conspiracy and darkness that only the light of God can brighten, and mass graves.

Anyway, I’m happy that the political excitement is no more, that Kenyans don’t make haste decisions anymore and are asking a tiny small question that leaves me believing we have reached a political maturity. Haven’t we lived together for four good decades tolerating each other? We dared God. And if a man is to judge this nation, like Ocampo it would be nice to get wine, several packets of cigars, and beer because some story are sad, some Kenyan went too far.

Imagine, in Kiambaa it was was quiet but that night thirty five souls went to church to hide a place they felt no man could dare touch them and an 8 year old boy marveled at the wisdom of his father.

‘Father what is that?’

‘Jesus son of … our saviour.’ The same little boy sees smoke.

‘Smoke… father.’

‘Hate…’ it dawned on him that he, his wife and son were going to burn in God’s presence

‘Lord ….oh my God.’ the smoke choked them, slowly they succumbed, he held his young family and begins to die…

Thirty five people dies in God’s eye, angels weeping in bitterness, a wrathful agony. Its been two years, I would not dare lie, but I’m not yet in terms with the loss. My small brother wants fish fried by Nyar-ugenya but she is gone from Kariobangi. I miss a chunk of fried fish done by a simple down to earth woman from Ugenya.

The mistake that bled Kenya in national disgrace is the tribal monster that left some scar that cannot heal. These places and joints keeps on closing, some of us suffer behind closed doors, and I realize there is a language that Kenyans speak with our hands, our culture and our heritage. On a range of close to zero we were lied to into a mess that stinks, behind the beauty, the darkness, the nights, and condors.

In my deepest depression filing away the memories, my face drained of color, crushing my emotional fortress. I’m bitter, God, I’m bitter, struggling hard with the enormity of this strange sin and feeling … and forgiveness.

We need to forgive ourselves, and then reforms. Anyway…

12 year old Sang squatted and aimed at the blind folded target then hard he pressed the trigger but nothing happened. Little Sang felt uncomfortable with the position so he laid on the ground to gather his strength and prove to the master. He thought of platoons, a Vietnam movie he had fallen in love at 10 and had seen in over ten times at their local movie house. He pressed the trigger, this time like the movie star he had seen, smoothly. Bang! The weapon vomited it’s content out of it’s belly violently and Little Sang was thrown rolling in the green grass his ear wheezing.

Sang missed the target by one hundred and fifty inches and the bullet hit a Mvule tree, shattering the tree bark haplessly. Sang lay on the grass for five minutes, unconscious, until Matakwei placed his cold sword on his tender back. The blast which forcibly cut through the Elgon forest and was heard two thousand mile in Hague was the beginning of initiation to manhood..

‘Missed…son but that was a good shot…

Matakwei walked toward the blind folded target angry, not to this little boy, but to his son. He took out his two sharp edged Njora and slashed the right hand of the helpless victim, took it then lifted it high.

‘We will burn down the weeds… and all the traitors…

‘Yes sir…’ the whole parade echoed

He cut out the green blind fold of the wailing woman and ordered her to run.

‘Run ….run woman!’ this was the beginning.

‘Madam Mariberi…!’ Sang could not believe … the victim was his Class 7 teacher.

He watched her ran, one, two, three then pomb! She did not make it half the field with her hand bleeding profusely, she fell, and her soul began the tedious stairs unwillingly toward heaven where God was sited in agony waiting to receive it. Little Sang rose from the ground but something…a strong vehement force hit him and he crumbled back to the ground, fifty miles per second dying too. The jungle would define men from boys…and the mass grave is opening its mouth wide.

© Alex Mutua 2010

This story is a continuation of Lo Debar previously published here.

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.


2 comments on “Ten Miles to Kopsiror by Alex Mutua

  1. roundsquare
    March 16, 2010

    kumbe you had saved the best for last, huh? parabolic imagery, like that sound heard 2000+ miles in hague. the soul is reluctant to leave

    italics again, defragmentation. give me a clue, what it’s all about, these ‘cuts’ scenes. i can only think they are muses..

    8 at best.


  2. Festus Joseph
    March 17, 2010

    This is more than a fiction, its about the happenings in our great African continent. Kudos Alex, good one!! Forgiveness and love is the way to go.

    I give u 8.5 for the story. Check your grammar to get it all.


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