Celebrating East African Writing!
The sun reverberates over her half-dead form. Shifting her weight, she feels the numb pain, multiplied over and over by the sheer number of bruised tissues. She makes a half-hearted attempt to identify the source of the spasmic vibrations rising through her twitching spine. As she opens her heavy eyes to the gigantic trees swaying overhead, the distant sound of tribal music and urgent drum beats infiltrate her being, totally sealing her confusion and terror. She hastens and gets up, holding onto the now tangible knot of pain in her stomach, as if to suppress the boiling cauldron within.
She shuffles through the trees. An eon passes by. The natives’ singing gets clearer and nearer as she approaches the barbed wire fence at the forest’s perimeter. Climbing over the fence, a sharp pain sears across her roughened, sagging breast – the spear’s blade, so shiny in the sun, sinks halfway through her breast as she releases a faint wail. She clutches onto her breast in terror and gazes, almost in slow-motion, at the crimson blood, quickly fusing with the drying soda that the brute rapists poured on the torn sun-dress to dilute their crime. She shifts her gaze to her erect nipple, blushing in embarrassment, slapping it without thinking – wincing with pain’s unbearable intensity.
Atop the fence she pauses, recollecting the many tales from the elderly village women – of the terrible things that happen to those who have wandered into the inner zones of the forest. A tear swells at the base of her left eye. Letting go of her burning breast, spurting blood out like a bold stream – she tightly clutches onto the piece of wood holding the vast lengths barbed wire together. She recalls the questions she always asked her ancient grandmother in jest.
“How come I always wander deeper into the forest every time I go to fetch firewood and nothing has ever happened to me?” She would pose.
“You never know when the natives’ spirits demand for a virgin from this end! Stop your silly questions lest you confuse your younger sisters!” Her grandmother would retort in anger.
Her mind drifts to Livonzi… what will he do upon the realization that she disobeyed him, and thus betrayed their infant love? Will he throw silent tantrums as usual, curse her, and then eventually move on and into Vilisi’s inviting arms? Oh, how glad that witch of a girl will be……….how so submissive and in love she will pretend to be………And what of her widowed mother? O how comprehensively she will mourn, crawling on her daughter’s fresh grave like she does on her late husband’s every dawn, moaning like one contracted to wake up the whole village. She will definitely follow daughter and father before the trees start shedding their leaves onto the village compound. Will she ever get to know that her daughter died a virgin, or will she imagine that the carefree attitude and the senseless passion of youth pushed the daughter to bestow her unripe body onto Livonzi?
O, how she will miss the other age-mates, her newly acquired initiates. Will they ever forgive her for leaving the makeshift camp to sample wild fruits? If her remains are not recovered, will they ever know what happened to their loud peer, or will they imagine that her adventurous spirit compelled her to elope? Will they scramble for Livonzi or will they just let the witch get him for a song? O fate! O gods! Whatever she did to sink into this…….this…….this fall!!
The raw blow stuns and disengages her unprepared jaw, and as she descends to the ground, catches sight of the brute native’s face – yes, the one who pinned her to the grass yesterday as his peers cleansed themselves, releasing their alien seeds into her burning womb with casual urgency. She hits the ground and for the first time in one night and one day, feels tired. She shudders as his strong arms wrap her defiled waist. Resigning to fate – letting go of her cursed womanhood, she passes out……or is it away?
©Pascal Masila Mailu
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