An owl hooted thrice. “That’s a bad omen,” Barre whispered in my ear. I did not see him creep up on me and I was at the end of my rope with his shenanigans. Last night and the night before he had blown a loud horn. “They are coming, they are coming,” he had whispered in soprano. I had thought it was Beatrice only to turn around and see him breathing down my neck.
He removed his pipe from what seemed like thin air, lit it, and began puffing smoke in the air. “Opium,” he said while handing me the pipe. I nodded my head sideways. If I was on fire and this man wanted to piss on me, I would refuse. “I have seen you falling asleep a couple of times. This will keep you awake,” he added. “I’m okay!” I said firmly.
“You don’t want to be asleep when they come,” he continued. “You don’t want to wake up and find you are missing your legs like Motito. A man without legs can’t mount a camel and a man who can’t mount is no man at all,” he said and laughed eerily. “Let me check on Beatrice and Bobobo,” I said to avoid further conversation with Barre.
Bobobo snored loudly and parts of the hut vibrated as his chest moved up and down and his nostrils flared. “Where am I?” Beatrice spoke softly in her sleep. “They are coming, they are coming,” she added. I looked at her and felt a great sadness. Had the events in Muige forest broken her? Would I ever get the Beatrice I knew back—The hotheaded free spirit who wanted to be a video vixen in Nairobi? I wondered and just then there were gunshots outside the hut.
I peeked from the edge of the door. Barre was nowhere to be seen. The moon was a crescent in the sky which made visibility difficult. I thought I saw silhouettes of two or three men pass by. But there was no way of telling if it was Barre, Uncle Ayaan, or Hani. “Over here. I think they are asleep.” Someone whispered. I crouched down and pointed my gun towards the darkness ready to take out the legs of whoever came towards me.
A can of something hit the door and fell next to me, in a split second my world was filled with smoke. I started towards Bobobo and Beatrice while suppressing a cough in vain and it was after a while of walking that I realized I was heading in the wrong direction. This was confirmed by a big hand covering my mouth and what felt like the cold metal of the barrel of a gun pressing on my head.
“Now you pay for everything your uncle has done,” the voice barked and I said my usual prayer. I thanked God for allowing me to experience the love of my mother and father, the free spirit of Beatrice, the gentleness of Bobobo —And for giving me the strength to bring them this far before a gunshot reverberated across the compound.
Only I remained standing and my attacker laid low on the ground. “You can thank me by letting Beatrice share my hut,” Barre mocked a few yards from me while putting his gun back in its holster. “Help me with these bodies. We need to put them to the ground before the sun comes up,” he added while staring at the two men who lay on the ground in front of me.
I was rooted to the spot. I could see Barre’s mouth moving but the only thing I heard was a buzzing as if my ears were full of bees. “I did not expect any help from you, I will do it myself.” Barre’s mouth moved and he began dragging the bodies.
I went back to our hut to check on Bobobo and Beatrice. Bobobo still snored and Beatrice spoke in her sleep oblivious of what had happened. Had it really happened or was I dreaming? I slapped myself to confirm and my right cheek burned with pain. I had to remember to be nicer to Barre now that he had saved my life. The thought brought a bad taste to my mouth and I wiped it off with the back of my hand.