Celebrating East African Writing!
“It is with profound sorrow that I have to announce the death of the Honourable Robert Ouko, minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation and Member of Parliament for Kisumu town.
On learning of the report of his disappearance on Wednesday, the government mounted an intensive search for Dr. Ouko using all means at its disposal. Dr. Ouko’s partly burnt body was discovered today six kilometres away from his Koru home in circumstances which at the suggest foul play.
Further investigations are being conducted into the death of the Hon. Dr.Ouko but I would like to assure the public that anyone who may be associated with this horrible event will most certainly be apprehended and brought to justice.”
Tasha was only a teenager when she heard the speech by the then president of Kenyabeing aired on Voice of Kenya-February 13th 1990. She knew the man they spoke of; she had seen him once in a while on TV. An unexplainable excitement filled her. Instead of the grief that filled her country, warmth grew inside her-a light lit up within the inner her. At that moment, she knew what she wanted to be. She wanted to tell the story a new. She wanted to be a journalist…
…22 years down the line…
The loud silence of the night chocked away by the collision of man and machine. The pitch darkness, darker than coal, was pierced by the blinding illumination of the star-bright headlights. Light so bright Tasha couldn’t see the last of her life, so she shut her eyes and hoped that she would find peace on the other side.
Cough! Cough! Cough! Adam hadn’t had a cough for a while now so the pain in his throat was unbearable. Fire was burning within his chest, his tummy turned in terrifying twists, his head felt like ice; cold and hard! His heart raced. Something was definitely not right! He was choking from within and the pain from it paralyzed him from his head to his feet. In an attempt to block out whatever was causing it-he lifted his hands to his nose.
Blood! Thick deep-red warm blood. Even in the pitch darkness his failing eyesight could tell. These were his last moments on earth! He could feel it in his gut and he knew what he had to do. He had to send the email. His trembling fingers could barely type in the recipient’s name but he knew he had to. God knows he was losing his life for that report. He coughed his last just as the email confirmed its delivery to the recipient.
Mr. Politician slept like a baby, arms around his wife, body wrapped in cotton sheets and with a conscience so clear one could see right through it. Maybe it comes like a natural thing. What with all the power and money-playing God like it was any other game.
He had to give the order-the young man and his lady counterpart were getting too close. Collateral damage-that was what he called it. If they exposed him, he would lose everything. His money, his family, his name but most of all; his ambition to be the country’s next president would be gone!
* * *
Adam had met Tasha for coffee three years ago after he noticed that she had showed interest in a certain story he had blogged about.
She was an ambitious girl, big dreams and a big mouth to go with it. She was a beauty, carrying a body to die for, eyes that would melt any hard
-hearted man; she was the perfect wife. And yet, she didn’t want the so-called-perfect-life. Hers was a different path.
Few people knew Adam’s day-time career as a detective. To most, he was known as The Labeler, an anonymous blogger, who was among the few Kenyans who openly spoke against the country’s government. Tasha was one of the lucky few.
Together, they had a master plan.
Over the years, Tasha had followed up on the mystery behind the Dr.Ouko murder. She started out slow but it grew into her. It became an addiction-all she thought of, all she dreamt about, her daily bread and her thirst quencher. Behind the assassination of sought, lay ten theories by Troon-the head of the Scotland Yard team that was called upon by the president to investigate into the matter. Thing is, Tasha saw the loop-hole in Troon’s final report. It was hidden in plain sight ,anyone could see-given the right clues and directions.
Tasha called onto Adam to help her get the original report from the C.I.D archives.
* * *
Everything went according to plan but a week to their ‘big expose’ something went wrong. On Monday morning, she saw a man in a black car staring into her house. The man drove off immediately he saw her looking at him. She let the whole issue slip. Anyone could be staring into her house. He was probably looking for a house. Tuesday-she received a phone call. A man with a deep voice told her not to go on with her story on the mystery murder. She let that one slip too. Nothing was coming in between her and her ultimate story. Nothing!
* * *
For moments on end Tasha remained pressed to her window, half expecting to see the man in the black suit tearing down into her driveway. She saw nothing. Her wheezing breath had misted the window and the fine trickle of condensed breathe and sweat had formed a minute puddle at her feet. She cupped her ear listening for any hint of approaching cars but she heard nothing. All was silent. All except the persistent ticking of her desk clock. Tick…Tock…Tick…Tock.
She stirred out of her stupor. The clock! Time was running out! Adam hadn’t sent the report yet. She crossed the room in three massive strides and without looking back jumped out into the street.
The fog was impenetrable…its thick veil almost daring her to make a move. She started forward cautiously but broke into a jog when she heard some rustling that seemed to originate from behind the dustbins a few metres to her left. Not minding where she was going she slipped as she stepped into a gutter. She cried out as her feet gave way and landed on the cobbled ground with an almighty crush. Cursing fluently under her breathe she got back to her feet and listened. Nothing. She ran towards her car.
That’s when she saw it. Speeding from nowhere, the black Audi sped towards her-its bright headlights blinding her in the dark night. There was no time to think. She ran! With a million and one thoughts in her mind, she ran. Huffing and Puffing. Panting like nothing she knew, Tasha ran.
Screech! Bang! The loud silence of the night was chocked away by the collision of man and machine…
Adam had been uneasy for a few months now. He was getting paranoid-or so he thought. He was marked and he knew he would pay dearly for the risk he was about to take. At some point he even had second thoughts. He wondered if Tasha also felt the same.
But what was life if he couldn’t reveal the ultimate lie? Unravel to the blinded eyes the truth behind the theories and the men behind the crime?
He decided to go on.
Adam’s clothes were drenched in sweat. Heavy on his body, he felt like he couldn’t even carry his own weight. As he uploaded the report onto his laptop he had a feeling that it would be his last story alive. He sank into the chair next to him and started contemplating on his last day on earth. He smiled when he remembered the young man who had offered to buy him a cup of coffee earlier that morning. Although the young man looked suspicious, he still accepted the drink. Now he regretted it because he felt an annoying irritation in his stomach.
Cough!Cough!Cough!Adam hadn’t had a cough for a while now but the pain in his throat was unbearable…
Early the next morning, the police force had a lot on their hands. One of their own had died of apparent food poisoning in his office. A young lady was involved in a hit-and-run and she didn’t make it alive.
Mr. Politician had a meeting with his party. He was nominated to be their presidential candidate in the coming elections. He promised to deliver by bringing to justice all who had committed crimes in the current government starting with the assassinators of his role model-Dr. Robert Ouko.
© Ruth Lucinde