The first thing you know is that you don't know how to run until you know how to run.
"Do you plead guilty?" The Judge asks, his glasses perches on the bottom of his nose.
"Do you -"
Although the ceiling fan whizzes faithfully, the room is still hot. It is still still hot.
You are held behind a dock not just by chains washing your hands and feet but by betrayal spoken in silence. Your hands, those large elements of bloody lust, gasp for the air of freedom, at least.
Anxiety is carefully sketched on the brown faces of the court.
The eyes in the room shining brighter than your future peep into your past.
Your anger started the day you met Mama sitting on the verandah; her wrapper had come undone, finger prints, five of them, kissed her cheeks, disheveled hair, and eyes blood red from crying. And Papa walked around like four walls with the paintings of Mama's curse words hanging on them.
Whenever they quarrelled, there was a cold war; minutes grew into hours, hours into days, days into weeks...
You know the air in your compound smells of their daily quarrells, yet you do nothing, can do nothing but run away. Away from it. It's now normal that if you see Papa saying I love you to Mama, you wonder if something is wrong, if it's a dream.
You keep on dreaming but the pain from the cuffs whisper reality into your eyes.
"Do you plead guilty?"
The atmosphere is now condensed like the hot thick pap Mama does for you and Ike every Saturday morning.
In nanoseconds, you could be kissing Mother Earth goodbye just from one statement of one man. One! One!
You look around, wanting to say the truth. Say it anyway!
But then you keep quiet.
That fateful day you were greeted by distant sounds of fighting. You know it's Mama and Papa again!
"Not again," you mumble and walk into the sitting room sluggishly.
Your sight beheld a liquid on the burgundy carpet. No, it was not water, it was blood, that sacred stream of life's mystery, Mama's blood!
"Daddy, stop, please, stop," your younger brother, Ike, screams, kept on screaming. He tugs at you to do something because the overflowing blood scares him. But you do nothing, can do nothing but run away. Away from it.
The punches come in quick successions. Mama's body lay half-dead, half-consYou'vehalf-consYou'vehalf-consYou'vehalf-consYou've
The punches come in quick successions. Mama's body lay half-dead, half-consYou'vehalf-consYou've on the floor decorated with blood.
on the floor decorated with blood. on the floor decorated with blood.
The blood melts into thin air, into your eyes, forming a dark cloud, maybe an envelope on the canopy of your eyelids.
You can no longer take it.
So, you grab Papa by the neckcollar of his shirt but he pushes you away. Once, twice, thrice.
Your anger gets the better part of you when you forget the scissors in your hand in his neck.
Blood gushing out, Papa dies within minutes. The same minutes with which everything falls apart.
Papa is dead. Dead!
You know you should run. But you also know that you don't know how to run until you know how to run. Instead your feet glues to the roof of the earth and your tongue embraces silence.
Your mother's eyes, though dull with darkness, will you to run away. Still, you don't run, you don't want to run. You don't want to run but still run. Still, run!
Don't run again. The police are waiting out of your house.
"Who called them?" you kept asking.
You pose, one knee up, one knee down, before a congregation of rifles about to blow your dream off. An eye closed, you remember minutes of memories that you never can forget. Memories such as your younger brother calling the police against you, in fear. Memories such as the night you mixed rat poison in Mama's drinking water instead of Papa's.
You tiptoe through life into the bars of death. You are now your own fate. Can you run away from it?
by Joy Okwori, published 1 month ago
I was once imprisoned by words whose aura is darkness. I was held down in this prison by unfriendly forces, so I sat on a stool of uncertainty as I held the moon.
I crawled through the night with gritted teeth, like one with no hope. And I couldn't dance because shackles held my feet.
Yesterday was once, today doesn't make it twice. I breakout, I don't belong to prison; the Judge said so. I smelt like rotten tomatoes, frail from tireless torture.
The Judge beckoned with open arms, and I ran with the speed of light. My accusers didn't know what crime to nail me with. The Judge knew what currency to bail me with; the blood.
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by eli-smooth, published 2 months, 4 weeks ago
The ride down the empty hill felt like a deluge. Five people cramped into an old Peugeot 504. The car jolted its way down the rough terrain and with each sharp turn, their eyes narrowed with despair.
The driver was Kelechi, a 22 year old medical student who had joined the fraternity about a month ago. His low hanging beard chiseled into his sharp jaw-line. The scar that was above his eye gave him a menacing look.
“How could this happen?” He wondered as he drove through the rickety slope. His eyes squinted a little as he swerved to avoid a goat that had moved into their path. The sudden swerve forced the engine to quake mildly and shut down.
They all moved out into the open space.
Silence lingered for a while.
“What do we do now?” Simi asked. Her dark skin glistening under the low light of orange setting sun. She was a psychology student. Brilliant but edgy; unwilling to succumb to the wild stereotypes that followed the other women in her life.
“We do nothing; we just bury the body where no one can find it” Sam whispered coldly.
Leah winced and paced the space around them, sobbing gently as she walked from side to side. She seemed the most distraught of the five. She wondered how different the day before had been and wondered if her life would ever be the same.
But it was the fifth person who seemed the most odd.
His tattoos were visible under the sleeveless shirt he had on. A nose piercing marked him out from the rest of them. He barely talked as the others encircled the empty bushes around. He just leaned on the car and peacefully disappeared into his thoughts.
“We were only supposed to scare him” Simi lamented. Her voice seemed to echo a distant regret.
“I keep asking what happened and no one wants to tell me. We were all on the same plan but as soon as I turn to take a leak, I return and find a fucking dead body on the floor. What happened while I was gone?” Kelechi asked. He seemed to be screaming at everyone else.
“Is it that important? Would you rather not have the truth be a little subdued from your conscience now?” Goni, the boy with the tattoos whispered back at Kelechi. His voice was cold, almost haunting.
“I don’t know. I didn’t sign up for this.” Kelechi confessed.
“Oh, so you think we all woke up and planned a murder and you were the only person out of the loop?” Simi asked angrily.
Kelechi looked away. His hands shaking under the weight of his deepest thoughts.
Sam chuckled slyly as he watched Leah’s wandering theatrics. He seemed calmer than he was a few minutes ago.
“The truth is right here. Whatever we say it is” Sam cuts in. The others looked at him. He nodded. They all nod back except for Goni.
“We still haven’t answered the most pertinent question though. Who poisoned the little old chap?” He asked calmly.
“Does it matter, we all know he was a dwindling, two faced monster” Leah said.
She had stopped pacing and sobbing. She seemed calmer and her big round eyes cut into her beautiful face. Sam looked at her in admiration
“We all knew that, but we also knew that the idea was to scare him and not to murder. So who amongst us had the most reasons to murder him?” Goni asked.
They all went quiet. The few seconds left between their breaths built up a reckless angst. Leah stared at each of their faces. She wondered who amongst them fits the murder type best..
Sam was a nerd.
It was odd that the frat boys loved him but underneath his queer humor and deep lingering eyes, there was no reason to suspect that he could be a killer. Leah thought. Simi was mostly indifferent; capable of the mundane but also the awe inspiring moments. Her calculative mind set her apart as the most logical of the group.
Kelechi was by matter of chance, the only one that was unavailable when they witnessed the death.
Goni was the one who seemed the most vulnerable to accusations. He had fought with the dead boy just a few minutes before the boy broke into a fit. He seemed more dangerous than anyone else and he also seemed to be nonchalant about the corpse that lay in the trunk of the car that had just stopped.
The five of them stood in an arc as the trunk was slowly being opened. The three boys straddle the body and move it towards the empty path that led one into the bushes. The rustling of the leaves just in front of them stopped them in their tracks.
A Park ranger had his gun pointed at them. The boys surrendered and raised their hands. The Ranger looked on in surprise.
“Who killed him?” He asked as he nudged the safety of the gun; turning it off.
The group stood, staring at him in silence.
“Who killed my partner?” The Ranger asked again.
This time his gun was pointed at a visibly distraught Simi.
She was overcome with fear.
She poisoned him because he raped her” Simi confessed.
The boys look back at Leah, stunned.
Leah’s face bore a look of resignation.
“Thanks so much for having my back; Lover” she said in disgust.
They boys all stood stunned. Processing both news that had crept into their ears.