“Oh my Chikondi, my beautiful daughter,” sighed granny. I looked at her and realised she was really hurting. I’d never seen her so sad. I felt bad for her, but I had to know. So I requested her to go on.
“Please, Amama what happened to my mother? ”
“Your mother was murdered two days later by unknown people. Some people claimed it was some robbers who stabbed her to death when she was coming from the mall. But I never believed that story. The most unfortunate thing though is that she was with you at the time they murdered her. You witnessed the whole scene, you were in the back seat of your mom’s car the time she was attacked. However, being a baby you couldn’t say anthing. you were in shock the time people found you.
I remember I was called by the police the night of her death. They told me they found my number on your mom’s dialled list. It was so shocking I couldn’t believe it, just to confirm if I knew her, the police sent a clip of a video showing my daughter in a pool of blood, butchered like an animal. I’ve had that painful picture in my head and I always dream of her too.”
I looked at my granny now in tears. I was shocked by what I just heard. In fact the scene she was describing was exactly what I saw in my dreams.
“How could it be? Amama, I know that scene just like you described it.” I said now joining her in tears.
“I know my child,” responded granny
“I know… it took so many months for you to recover from that shock. I had to go through a lot for you to recover. You were a very active and talkative little girl before your mother was murdered, but after that experience you even stopped talking. I had for months to force you to eat by giving you apetito. Up to now you have a very bad apetite.” She said holding me so I stop crying.
“Mwazi you went through hard moments back then you were so innocent and fragile. I decided to come with you here in Chipata. I even changed your name not only because of the agony you went through but because of your mother’s muderer.” She wiped her tears moving slightly from her embrace, I asked
“But why is that amama?” I asked. “Well, someone tipped me that she belived it was not a robbery, your mom was mudered by that girl who was after your father. Your mother’s maid told me she received anonymous calls threatening to kill her if she went back to her husband, but your mother didn’t take the threats serious.”
“But Amama why didn’t you report her then?” I interrupted her gain.
“It was difficult mwanagu” she said. “There was no evidence and I feared the muderer would come for you, so I hid you here were no one even your father could find you.”
“So father is alive? ” I asked suprised.
“Yes,” granny smiled sadly. “He’s there in Lusaka. I hear he married that same woman after a year”
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“But granny why hasn’t he come for me then?”
Not that I was ungrateful with what granny did for me, but I just wondered if he was alive, wasn’t it right that my father would look for me after mom’s death.?
“Mwazi,” granny spoke up.
“Your father doesn’t know you are here, in fact, I doubt he knows you are alive. He was not in the country the time your mom died he was only called from UK were he had gone for his business. He came after we burried and I had taken you away before he landed back in the country. I feared if he knew you were here he would want to take you and then that woman God knows wat she could’ve done to you. So I kept quite to protect you my child. See, now she’s even married to your father and with her bad heart you could have suffered living with them or worse still get killed.
I sat there speechless. What I heard that morning was too much for me. I ran off to the house crying like a baby. I’d seen and heard of such bad people. For example, my uncle who was always drunk and making noise and even beating me when granny wasn’t around but to hear of someone to stab another to death? A woman for that matter was so shocking. I was only ten but felt bad for my mom and prayed for her. Somehow, i understood my night mares. I experienced that heartless woman murder mom.
I sat on granny’s bed and in my heart I vowed to find her one day and make her pay. I would work with my blood and sweat (water) to make sure I face her one day and make her pay for what she did.
I was almost dozing off in granny’s bed when I heard footsteps. It was my uncle Jonah.
“Hey child were is my food?” He shouted looking stoned with drugs, his eyes red.
“I think there are sweet potatoes in the kitchen,” I told him.
“And why can’t you give me the food yourself?” he nagged .
“Ok, I will get it.” I quickly stood up walking to the kitchen. I knew any hesitation will land me in trouble so I quickly ran off to get his food.
“So were is my mother?’ he yelled.
“She remained at the garden uncle,” I responded from the kitchen
“Iwe Mwazi why are you taking years to bring my food!” he yelled at me again. I ran to give him the plate and the look on his face scared me. I always feared him especially when he was in that state. He had no limits.
Later that afternoon I helped granny with the workers she hired to reap maize from the fields. Like always my lazy uncle just refused to help, his was eating, sleeping and trouble.
Some months later, after granny told me about my parents, she asked if I have been having the same night mares. I told her they came though occasionally.
“I guess it’s beause you now know the truth.” She pointed out.
That day granny received a call from katete district that her cousin was ill. So she left me with my drunkard uncle. She was to come back in 4 or 5 days she had told me before leaving.
“Make sure you wake up early for school,” she warned and asked me to check on the 3 workers removing maize from the fields.
I went bàck to house after seeing granny off. I found uncle seated outside. He looked quite, I guessed he was not drunk yet. I went inside and did my homework. It was a Sunday the following day I had to submit it for marking.
In the evening, I was preparing myself to go to bed when uncle Jonah came. He came to granny’s bedroom where I used to sleep. I quickly jumped into bed and pretended to be asleep. He stood there for some time I bet he was watching me. Just when I thought he was gone I felt his hands on me he was touching my dress. I screamed for him to let me go, but he pulled me towards him. I was so scared. He wanted to rape me. He threatened that if I screamed again he would kill me.
Just when he sat up to unzip his trousers, I gained courage hitting him hard with a wodden box which was besides the bed, granny kept her jerwery ànd other important small things there. He fall to the ground in pain and I then jumped off the bed and ran outside. I could hear him search for me as I hid behind the big drums where we put water. I heard him open the small kitchen door and banged it on his way out.
“I will catch you tonight,” he cursed going back to the house. I stayed in my hiding place trembling with fear. I even thought of running to the neighbouring farm but it was so dark I feared to walk the path to there alone. I heard rumors of Ghosts and hynas around that area and decided not to take a chance out there.
Later that night, I slowly tiptoed to the house and listened on the door. I heard uncle snoring from his room. He was asleep, I wanted to go in but realised he might come for me again. So that night I decided to sleep in the small kitchen. it was a cold night, thank God granny left her chitenge in the kitchen. I sat in the corner direct the door so I hear if anyone came in and there I fail asleep covering myself with a chitenge.
Early in the morning I woke up and prepared for school, uncle was still asleep I could hear him snore. I quickly put on my uniform grabbed my bag and went to school.
…to be continued
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