The Forbidden fruit_Omondi J. G. Ojwang

fiore_Africa Teller 2000.

 

How will I know?

If my lair is a carpetbagger’s den,

Burrowing in my own backyard.

As I’m gastronomically entinced

In the afar field

He enjoys soul entertainment

Right in my own enclave!

He birdies disturbing my lawns

And when his heart throbs

Warmth he gets from my bird

Then pirouettes in ecstasy.

How will I know?

If my purrs being parried,

While the cat belches in satiation?

Don’t I cuddle enough?

Or has my milk curdled?

Yet milkshAkuodhae, she cajoles

Water, she cries and begs.

Her tongue is the cat’s toothbrush

Making his smile whiter,

And his leer broader.

How will I know?

If my trust nurtured the hurt

Isn’t this betrayal?

Blood I bay for not, war I detest

Blackjack anger I possess

I must do the needful.

If a rotten fruit exists in the pack,

How else can the rot be nipped?

If you eat the forbidden fruit,

Are you still worthy of God’s glory.

When Oketch arrived at home, from Nairobi, his wife welcomed him

and paid him a rather kaleidoscopic attention, her eyes feasting on

every part of his body. He knew that he was going to have a good

time singing songs of darkness and all the sentimental songs he liked.

He left her preparing his usual delicacy of smoked fish and rice, and

sauntered towards the home of his friend Akuodha. Akuodha, had

been his classmate but ignominiously dropped out in class seven.

He had earned a distinction in repeating classes. He married almost

immediately after dropping out of school. Oketch chuckled at the

thought that Akuodha’s maladroit academic credentials had made him

persona non-grata in any country apart from his motherland. Even in

his motherland his existence was more of a liability than a blessing.

His battalion of children had distended stomachs, an outgrowth of the

misery they wallowed in. This meant that his third world country had

to continue knocking on the doors of the affluent West so as to sustain

the battalion. He suspected that Akuodha was slowly drifting towards

the jaws of death, thanks to a silly wife inheritance fiasco. It happened

thus, four years ago a certain secondary school teacher passed away

leaving behind a young petite wife. The circumstances surrounding his

demise were shrouded in traditional scandals. There was a celebrated

belief that he had not followed traditional rituals when erecting his

house, which led to his being struck down by “chiira”.

During his funeral, agile young men thronged the burial to gawk at the

comely widow. They scantily paid attention to the dead man’s father’s

eulogy. He told the mourners that from the doctor’s reports his son had

died of the dreaded disease, Aids. He added that he was not preventing

any man from inheriting his son’s wife but such an act would certainly

be perilous. Afew days after the funeral Akuodha and other five men

presented their credentials to the widow. None of them was

disappointed.

When Oketch heard of Akuodha’s complicity he felt very bitter about

  1. His efforts to pump sense into Akuodha’s mind were rebuffed by

the latter who claimed that he was merely exercising his right as a

true member of the society. He further castigated Oketch for putting

his education forward at the expense of the traditions so well laid out

and articulated by their forefathers. Oketch realised the futility of

injecting sense into so obdurate a mind and so intellectually inept a

brain. He kept mum on the subject.

Three years after the death of her husband, the withered widow

passed away. Such was Oketch’s fear of death and love of life that he

decided that this was going to be his last visit to Akuodha place. He

did not want to be associated with someone whom cyclones of death

surrounded his head lest death became contagious.

He got Akuodha weeding his garden of vegetables. Outside the mud

walled house his dirty kids were hollering in that endless rhythm of

childish plays. The surrounding spoke of gloom and decay.

“Hi”, he greeted him in vernacular knowing that Akuodha had a

mortal fear of anything remotely resembling English. A smile crossed

his face as he recollected how Akuodha used to feverishly struggle in

class to utter a complete sentence in English. Akuodha mistook the

smile to mean that Oketch was happy to see him.

“Hello”, Akuodha replied as a natural smile radiated his face.

“Long time no see you. How are you doing?” Oketch inquired of his

friend. He was just being polite. The main reason why he had visited

Akuodha was that the latter was a powerful source of information.

Akuodha always knew what went on in the village, even in people’s

bedrooms. He had, for instance, informed Oketch that there was an

old man who had recently married a young wife and was in the habit

of crying during the paroxysms of excitement.

Akuodha suggested that the two of them go in the house from where

they could comfortably tell tales. Oketch didn’t want to enter

Akuodha’s house whose interior was coated with soot and had a

funny smell. Politely he said, “Now, I’m not intending to stay since

am on my way to Awuondo’s place. Why don’t you just bring a stool

so that we discuss a few issues out here where the air is pure and the

atmosphere invigorating”.

“Sure, that’s a marvellous idea”, Akuodha concurred.

As Akuodha was going for the stools, Oketch looked at his dirty kids

and pitied them. He felt sorry that in the event of their father’s death

they were slated for a fatigued life. It was sad, he thought, that such

innocent children would be the worst hit victims of their father’s selfcentered

romantic dalliances. Forbidden fruit is surely very sweet but

it was a refuge of death, he told himself. Another exasperating deed

of Akuodha was that at one time his wife hit him with a broom. A

month later when Akuodha experienced ill health he rained blows on

her. He claimed that by hitting him with the broom the woman had

brought ill omen on him in the form of diseases.

As Akuodha handed over a stool to Oketch the latter looked at his

body keenly. There were no sign of rashes or any tell-tale sign for that

matter. Was he wrong on him? He wondered.

“So my friend, what is new in the village?” Oketch inquired.

Akuodha had bad news for Oketch. He had discovered that Oketch’s

wife was engaged in marital infidelity. Akuodha had at one time gone

to Oketch’s place at night ostensibly to inquire when Oketch was

bound to come back home from Nairobi. As he neared Oketch’s door

he heard muffled chuckles coming from the house. On closer

attention he realised that it was not Oketch’s voice. As he stole on the

two parties he discovered that they were actually engaged in

sentimental talks. The next night the same scenario took place and

Akuodha witnessed it. He later came to know the young man’s

identity. The young man was scarcely twenty years old, and a firm

Christian. It disgusted him that this very boy who acted like Jesus in

church and talked like Christ from the pulpit could be a Judas in one

of the industries most respected and hallowed by men, the marriage

industry. This plainly confirmed to him that the church had been

turned into a rendezvous for comparing religious cocktail to

sentimental finesse. The “holier than thou” drank religious wine and

partook of the aromatic romantic water of life.

He had carefully rehearsed on how he was going to pass the sad news

to Oketch’s. Gifted in oratorical skills and brow beating he expertly

told Oketch of a certain man working in a far town yet his darling

wife was busy committing adultery back at home.

“That is very serious. If it were me I’ll cut the woman and her lover

into pieces”, Oketch said. “If it were me I’ll just give the man the

woman so that they can be married”, Akuodha interjected.

“Nonsense. In fact, on a second thought I shall castrate the man and

then leave him to go on tasting the forbidden fruits”.

“That is a beastly act”, Akuodha said.

“Beastly? If it is horrible then trespassing into a forbidden garden is

even more horrid. An immoral act can only be repaid by an equally

beastly vengeance. Surely, how can somebody in his right senses

enter the hallowed courts of marriage to gratify his sexual lusts when

we have countless of beautiful young unmarried ladies around? That

is courting disaster. I dare say that such a person should even be

shackled and thrown into an inferno as a way of preparing him to face

the glowering fires of hell!”

Expertly Akuodha then proceeded to inform Oketch of how he came

to discover that the latter’s wife had a lover. He intentionally made

Oketch to grimace in pain by narrating to him how he heard the

woman cry in pleasure under the arms of the young man. The ill-fated

young man was called Agwambo, nephew of the village’s Seventh

Day Adventist church priest.

At first Oketch vehemently refuted Akuodha’s story. Akuodha,

despite his intellectual shortcomings, was no fool. He had an alibi.

One day he took Awuondo to go and view the act unholy scene,

knowing that the testimony of a second person would come in handy.

He now told Oketch to confirm with Awuondo the facts. Also

Akuodha was rarely engaged in cheap rumours and Oketch knew that

he was always meticulous on his research on certain sensitive

rumours. He wouldn’t tell him of such a grave issue without

ascertaining its authenticity.

Oketch stayed for well over one hour integrating the sad news.

He strode from Akuodha’s home on rubbery legs. He was in a

murderous rage. He reminisced on his first marriage. Akelo was his

second wife. His first marriage had ended after a most ignominious

bout of marital infidelity. He had married his first wife in those days

when he didn’t have a steady job. They had met when he had gone

back home to attend a funeral of a relative. The moment he saw her

he fell in love with her at first sight. The next day they travelled

together to Nairobi as man and wife.

Eight months down their marriage line his job contract expired and

Oketch found himself jobless. It was then that his wife, who had

become bewitched by a certain religious cult, started ignoring her

marital duties. She became a fanatical adherent of the cult at the

expense of her husband’s welfare. When at one time Oketch fell ill

she plainly refused to nurse him back to good health claiming that her

church duties superseded Oketch’s illness.

Though averse to violence, Oketch started beating her as a way of

dehorning her incipient tough headedness. But if he thought that

blows would settle matters then he was in for a rude shock. The

woman took refuge in a neighbour’s house. The next day Oketch

influenced her sacking from the firm where he had secured for her a

casual job. He was hoping that this would make her come back to him

begging. She didn’t.

The main reason why Oketch refused to relent on his almost dead

marriage was that she was expectant. He was elatedly looking

forward to being a father. One day he went to the neighbour’s house

to discipline her as usual. His muscular neighbour menacingly

warned him that since the lady was in that house then Oketch had no

claim on her. Also the woman categorically told him that he had no

claim on her since even the child she was carrying was not his.

Oketch’s humiliation was total. How on earth had he got involved in

such a fiasco in the first place? He realised that from the word go his

marriage had been a sham.

He reported the soiled affair to the Estate’s Chief. Armed with a

subpoena from the Chief he told his runaway wife to report to the

Chief the following day. To his exasperation and consternation she

tore the Chief’s letter into pieces. Like a fool, he picked up the torn

pieces of the letter and took them back to the Chief.

That a mere housewife had the audacity to tear his letter sent the

Chief into tantrum. He released his security detail to bring the idiot in

whatever way: walking, crawling or dragged. When she was brought

before the Chief he ordered that she should be in a cell for two days

as a way of removing her spikes. At the end of the second day the

woman talked. She was asked if she was willing to reconcile, with her

husband whereupon she requested to be given two days to make up

her mind. To this day Oketch has never seen her again. Attempts to

track her proved futile. Finally, Oketch realised that his marriage was

over. The woman he had loved picked from the village and brought to

Nairobi had jilted him.

Three months after the official termination of his marriage Oketch got

a tenured job with a prestigious firm in Industrial Area. His aunt who

resided in an area known as Otonglo situated in the neighbourhood of

Kisumu brought his present wife to him. He had married her under

Customary laws. They had a two-year-old kid from their marriage.

Her name was Joy and she was truly the joy of his life.

He felt spasms of call of nature in his stomach. Realising that he

couldn’t possibly manage to reach his house before the spasms

became torrential, he ducked into the nearest shrub, a few metres

from the path. As he was relieving himself he felt very bitter about

being cheated by his wife. Even as he stood up and tied his belt,

Oketch wondered if he could muster enough courage to beat his wife.

The fact that he used to beat his first wife didn’t mean that he could

do it now. Violence against women was not one of his strong points

but if provoked he could retaliate back without any compunction.

As he walked back to the path he failed to see the huge snake that had

lithely coiled along the path its head sticking out, ready for a deadly

pounce. He stepped on it and instinctively jumped up. The viper

pounced for the kill. Somehow, startled by something stepping on it,

it missed the frog by inches. Realising that it had escaped the jaws of

death by inches the frog jumped away at an incredible speed.

Annoyed that a fiendish intruder had tainted its superlative record as

the greatest and most successful hunter of prey the viper turned its

wrath on the enemy. It was while it was in mid air its fangs barred for

a mortal strike that Oketch struck it with the stick he was carrying.

Such was Oketch’s anger that he repeatedly pummelled it with all his

strength. By the time he was through with it the snake was properly

minced. His anger was also considerably sapped.

Oketch was grateful that he had carried the stick. Years of staying at

home during his primary and secondary schooling days had taught

him that it was imperative to always carry a weapon. Weapons always

came in handy at a most unexpected time. Like now, perhaps the

snake would have bitten him if he hadn’t carried the stick. Only at

one time did he fail to use the weapon he had.

It happened at around midnight when Oketch had escorted his

treasure back home from disco. During his secondary schooling days

Oketch discovered that being in a plush secondary school, famed for

waltzing its name in the country’s national exams, gave him an

enviable position among his peers back in the village. He always got

the best village catch.

That fateful midnight, after Oketch had escorted his girlfriend back to

her home, he met a leopard lying along the path he was heading

towards. The animal glared at him with pathological hatred. Fire

seemed to burn in its piercing eyes. Oketch went limp with fear. His

whole system became paralysed. The machete he had cluttered

harmlessly on the ground. He didn’t know it but Oketch urinated on

his shorts. He staggered back from where he had come from, his heart

pounding past the beat frequency. Once safely away from the leopard

he followed an alternative route, running all the way like a night

runner, back to his home. On reaching his humble abode Oketch knelt

down and thanked God. That melodramatic midnight encounter also

marked the end of his night sojourns and disco revelling.

He reached the threshold of his house. Bracing himself up for a

possible showdown he opened the door of the house. Akelo was not

there. He looked around the place but there was no sign of her nor

was Joy there. Oketch felt exhausted and so he sat on the bed, his

favourite whip next to him. He intended to jump on Akelo with the

whip the moment her shadow appeared on the doorway. It wasn’t

long before sleep got hold of him and he slept the sleep of the

emotionally exhausted.

Akelo came back and got him somnolently snoring. Akelo’s marital

infidelity had come as a rude shock to her also. She liked the young

man that had now become her lover. Right from the start she just

wanted to have fellowship with him and no more. However, the

casual jokes they cracked as part of their friendly intercourse had

catapulted them into passionate lovers. Their love affair bloomed.

Twice she had resolved to put an end to the affair knowing that it

could hotchpotch up her marriage but she couldn’t muster the energy

to do so. Every time her resolution melted as she yielded to

Agwambo’s juicy lips.

It wasn’t that Oketch was a poor lover. Nay, on the contrary he was

famed from his romantic adventures. But he treated Akelo differently.

Right from the very moment he had met her he treated her with

utmost tenderness. Unfortunately he carried this tenderness right to

his very centre of marriage, the bed. Due this, rarely were both

satisfied in bed affairs but they treated the subject in awe and never

brought it on the table. This proved to be the very Achilles heel of

their marriage.

When Oketch woke up he felt his stomach twitching spasmodically.

The celerity with which he moved out stunned Akelo, who was busy

preparing lunch. She watched his receding figure as he rushed to the

pit latrine, which was, sited a few metres away from their house.

When he came back she prepared a broth of bitter herbs and gave him

to take. He then rested his distressed stomach on the soft leather sofa

seat. It seemed as if the heavy sleep he had had did calm his racked

nerves. He dismissed his earlier plans of disciplining Akelo by the

whip. And it was when another sinister plan came to his mind.

So diabolical was it that the devil could have congratulated him for

such a handiwork.

That Oketch was angry was not subject to scepticism. His anger,

however, turned from his wife to the lecher. He zeroed in on the

church. He had lost his first wife due to her church activities. Critical

analysis of the story line had left him in no doubt that most of the

breakaway churches were hinged on personal glorification and quest

for affluence. The church had also been turned into a tryst for

“sisters” and “brothers”. Satanism in church had inevitably led to all

sorts of unholy sins being committed under the aegis of the church.

The church in a nutshell had become the springboard of amassing

wealth and conquering women, married women. Otherwise why was

it that the “brothers” were very enthusiastic about aligning themselves

with the comely “sisters”?

Oketch had nothing but contempt for the village breakaway sects. For

one, the group of people who were at the helm of leadership in such

churches was of questionable character and did not have the

mandatory academic backing and theological knowledge to

progressively administer the affairs of their churches. Two, lack of

academic credentials meant that the church leaders were devoid of

being in touch with the modern trends.

It was reliably claimed that some of the church elders famed for their

powers to exorcise evil spirits were mere masquerades. During their

evil spirit binding crusades the soothsayers often caught certain

objects from the air where upon they claimed that they had finally

vanquished the deadly spirits. At one time, however, it was

discovered that the so-called human bones were in actual sense bones

of dead monkeys. The soothsayers often walked with these bones and

threw them on the roof of the house as they prayed. To achieve this

comical effect they exhorted those who had gone to pray to close

their eyes so that the powers of the spirit could move freely.

Terrified and scared about the supernatural forces the vulnerable lot

quickly acquiesced. It is said that so scared were some of these people

of the forces of darkness epitomised in the falling human bones that

they collapsed and fainted. The church elders quickly attributed their

fainting to the colossal force of the spirit. As a payoff to these

episodes of spiritual delusion their eminence spread and those who

thronged their domicile grew. As he reminisced on these issues sleep

got hold of him once again. It was then that he dreamt of an

unfortunate incident that took place in the village years back.

The star-crossed incident dealt a satanic blow to two of the

soothsayers with a satanic savagery. It also shook their religious base

and sent most of their flock scampering to other churches. The

basement of the satanic cruelty was not so far from Oketch’s home.

The old man of that ill-fated home had at one time invited a magician

to assist him win a land case that pitted him against his neighbour.

The magician planted a mixture of herbs, hides, the head of a chicken,

variegated bones, and the head of a baboon. The old man was happy

that he would win the land case. However, things took a dramatic

about-turn when first the old man’s favourite grandson passed away

and almost in suit his son, who was the boy’s father, boycotted life.

The savagery of the magic concoction reached its pinnacle when the

old man himself kicked the bucket. In a span of one week the home

had three funerals! The black magic had murderously boomeranged

on the old man. Alarmed by the turn of events, and knowing that they

might be next in line on death’s scaffold, the family of the old man

invited the magician to remove his magic from where he had planted

  1. He removed it and threw it into the nearby river.

Incidentally, the charm was just starting to gain notoriety as a

merchant of death. Its most famous victim was a young man known as

Adele. It happened that one afternoon as Adele was crossing the river

to go and visit a friend on the other side he saw floating on the river a

baboon’s head. Upon seeing the substance he felt headache in his head

and walked back to his home in a trance, like a zombie. By the time he

reached the doorway of his house the pain had become severe with no

sign of abating. That evening he passed away. His death was a sad loss

for the village and a grave moment for his family. Adele had endeared

himself to the village’s heart due to his politeness, honesty and

amicability. He was still a secondary school student in one of the

village’s secondary schools. Everyone who heard the sad news of the

demise of Adele took it in total shock and disbelief. Death had robbed

them of a true rose on its road to full blossom. Had Adele been alive

definitely he was slated for greatness and glory.

Adele was not the only victim of the black magic. Any one who

crossed its path along the river was mercilessly hewed by it. It was a

moving merchant of death. Death it traded and death it sold.

By the time the lethal magic reached a crescendo it had claimed eight

victims. No local magician dared touch it for fear of its repercussions.

The magician who made it lived several hundreds of kilometres away

and did not even make an attempt to disembowel it when he heard of

its deathly impact. He merely said that its puissance was ebbing away

and the villagers needed not live in fear of it. For a long time no one

dared to cross the river of death for fear of deathly repercussions from

the concoction. Death floated in the river and the river was

nicknamed the “forbidden river of death”.

It was at this moment that two of the fabled soothsayers decided to

seize the opportunity with a view to expanding their fame. By

rendering the black magic harmless they realised that they could

emblazon their names on the village skies. That feat would bring for

them more flock and with it the chance to make a personal fortune.

The thirst for money quickly placated their fear of the likely

aftermath of the exorcism rupture. Word quickly spread out that the

men of God had been commissioned by the Holy Spirit to free the

village from the yoke of the virulent magic.

On the material day, the two devil-daring heretics descended on the

river to finally give a spiritual burial to the evil spirit. How it came up

the river nobody knows but as if in answer to their call the baboon’s

head suddenly appeared from nowhere. One of the two brothers, as if

seized by a spirit, lifted the black magic off water and “robbed it of its

evil powers in the name of Jesus Christ”. He then threw it at the far

end of the river from where land terrain enabled its expeditious

plunge into the lower parts of the river. It was the last the village saw

of it but not before its final sting was unleashed.

The “brother” who had hurled the concoction down the river came

from the exorcism fiasco singing abracadabra. As he passed the

crowd who jubilantly congratulated him someone commented that he

appeared very pale. He however didn’t acknowledge their greetings

and continued with his murmurs. His fellow soothsayer escorted him

all the way to his house, a distance of about two kilometres from the

river. On reaching his house he fainted and lapsed into a coma.

He never recovered from the trance – death dealt him a permanent

blackout on the wee hours of the following day. That same day the

other brother who had suddenly developed acerbic headache passed

away too. The two became the ninth and tenth victim of the black

magic and fortunately, for the village, the last.

Oketch might have been a victim had he been at home during that

time of the wave of the black magic. He was fond of crossing the

river to visit some of his old village friends who stayed across the

river. When he came back home and heard of the cloud of death left

by the black magic he immediately severed links with anything across

the river. It took him almost two years before he crossed the river

again, even then with a lot of reservation.

Reflecting on the forbidden river saga, he realised that all those who

have used the name of God for self-amplification have the inevitable

plagues of God’s punishment on tissue and skeletons hanging on their

necks. He recalled how the biblical Moses told the Israelites that he

was going to get them water from the rock instead of giving God the

credit thereby incurring God’s wrath. No wonder the Bible says many

times that “shine your light so that people may see and glorify God”.

“Thank You God for the gift of life”, he said.

Oketch was actually calculating on how to avenge the defilement of

his sanctified marriage. The calm way with which he calculated how

to play God could have left one bewildered on where satanic cruelty

stopped and God’s grace took over.

He awoke from his slumber. The pain in his stomach had subsided.

He sat on the settee. Joy was still deep asleep and he dared not wake

her up lest he drew the anger of her non-stop cajoles that at times

benumbed him.

“Honey, what are you cooking today?” he asked Akelo.

“Your usual favourite”, Akelo delightfully replied. She was taken

aback by his question. She had thought that he was still asleep.

“I’m sure it will be as delicious as you. You do have a natural flair for

cooking. I’m confident that even if caught off guard you can pulp the

chief chef of Hilton hotel when it comes to cooking”.

Akelo gave him a brilliant smile that lit her face. She had a set of

exquisite white teeth. They enchanted Oketch.

“Has the pain in your stomach subsided?” she inquired.

“Yes, it seems to be relenting a bit”

“What did you eat that precipitated it?”.

“Your food” he retorted mockingly.

“No, not my food. How comes it has never happened before?”, she

remonstrated strongly. “There’s always a first time”, he replied

casually.

Akelo was tempted to throw something at him. Since she had never

done it before and didn’t know how he will react she didn’t do it. She

was fiercely proud of her expertise in cooking and didn’t like to be

slighted about it. They ate the lunch together intermittently feeding

one another. Despite three years of marriage they were still very

much in love with one another.

After lunch Oketch visited his other six trusted friends and

lieutenants. He told them of the monster that was threatening to

mangle his marriage. They hatched out a plan on how to totally

annihilate and asphyxiate the monster. If it worked out it would

revamp his marriage.

The next evening Oketch boarded the bus back to Nairobi. He looked

calm and at peace. Akelo didn’t suspect that behind the facade of

calmness there was anger, and vengeance.

Having ensured that Oketch had fizzled to Nairobi she felt an urgent

yearn for Agwambo. They often met in the market place where

people were many. It was safer than being seen two people alone

along forbidden paths. That is where she found him waiting for her.

He spoke first. “Is he gone?”, he inquired

“Very much gone like the wind”, she replied

“But the wind is unpredictable. It might change course”.

He teased her.

“Leave him to me. I know him better. Unless somebody were to die

tonight I don’t see him coming back for the next fortnight”, she said.

He was convinced. The rendezvous was set at 8.30 pm. He usually

visited her at 10.00 pm but that day she was dying for his electrifying

kisses that she had decided to have them early enough. He came even

earlier, at 8.00 pm. Luckily enough by that time Joy was asleep. That

Joy was a potential anathema to their engagement had made Akelo to

create a makeshift bed for her, just at the foot of her bed.

That the presence of Joy was potentially explosive at one time

manifested itself to Akelo when she and Oketch were playing in bed

as a prelude to the obvious. Oketch had accidentally slept on Akelo’s

and she winced in pain. Hearing her mum wincing in pain Joy

instinctively stood up and admonished her dad for hurting her mum.

Oketch and Akelo froze. They were taken aback by the fact that their

daughter was privy to their hitherto romantic prance. From that night

onwards Akelo always made for Joy a makeshift bed whenever

Oketch was around. She also took a similar precaution when

Agwambo visited her.

Agwambo gave the usual doctored knock. Akelo opened the door. No

sooner was he inside than he gathered her in his arms and kissed her

ravenously. He cupped and squeezed her breast and she winced in

pain. In retaliation she aimed a slap at his cheek but he was ready for

her. He deflected the slap and instead found her warm yielding lips

again. She hopelessly collapsed on his chest, as the kisses became

torrential.

“You should marry me”, he whispered.

“I’m already somebody’s”, she replied.

“That can be changed”, he said.

“You are too young for me”, she protested.

“But the best lover you ever had”.

She nodded in agreement.

They didn’t suspect that six incognito men were positioned around

the house analysing the unfolding scenario. They had seen Agwambo

coming, heard the knocks he gave, saw the door opened and

everything. One of the men, Oketch, now positioned was near the

wall of the house. He was hearing what the two lovers were saying.

Akuodha had warned him not to go near the walls of the house lest in

furry he killed his wife. But the temptation was too great for him.

He was now hearing the romantic words that the two sinners in the

house exchanged. Oketch was distressed that his wife could fool him

to this extent. It was only by an effort that he pre-empted himself

from storming his house with a view to annihilating the rascal.

Oketch had had no plans of travelling to Nairobi that evening. But

since his murder blueprint had to be foolproof he decided to pay for

full fare to Nairobi. He made the plan case tight by allowing Akelo to

pay the fare. In doing so she, inadvertently, became his alibi in case

things went awry. He alighted at the first bus stop and took another

vehicle back to the village. He then, using rarely used paths, went to a

friend’s house. The friend, Rateng, had no wife. It was here that the

others joined them. They boozed to murderous level. If one had seen

them after the boozing session their faces were murderous in every

sense of the word.

At seven thirty they arrayed themselves around Oketch’s house. One

major reason why they made for Oketch’s house early was to enable

them get accustomed to darkness. Agwambo arrived at 8.00pm and

Akuodha jubilantly exclaimed, “There goes the lecher”.

“I’ll kill him with my bare hands”, Oketch whispered back.

He pitter-pattered to the wall of the house as soon as Agwambo had

entered his house.

“I love you honey, you are everything I want in a woman. You are to

me all that a woman should be”, Agwambo told Akelo. Oketch

squeezed his hand against the wall in pain.

“Let’s go and urinate”, she told Agwambo. Hearing this Oketch

scuttled back to his initial hiding place where Akuodha joined him.

“How can this young man have the temerity to urinate with my wife

in a juxtaposed affectation?” Oketch asked in glossed anger.

Agwambo and Akelo went back to the house. Once inside Akelo gave

him the delicious meal that supposedly had been prepared for Oketch.

He scooped a few mouthfuls.

“You cook well” Agwambo complimented Akelo.

“I prepared the dish specially for you”, Akelo said.

“You know honey, you are a first class cook. I have no doubt in my

mind that you can make mince meat of the chief-chef of New York’s

Hilton Hotel when it comes to cooking competition”. Agwambo

praised her.

Oketch, who was hearing all these, felt his knees buckling. Had the

food not been prepared for him? Had he not complimented his wife

using the same words? Had he not fed his wife the other evening the

same way the young lecher was doing now? This was inexcusable

and expiration was the only solution. Meanwhile, inside the house the

environment became hot. Agwambo’s breath was hot and so was

Akelo’s. He now told Akelo, “Remember what I told you? Prayers

never fail. Let’s thank God for the gift of life and for the wonderful

meal”. They prayed in earnest. Outside an owl hooted and as if in

rejoinder some dogs howled. It was a ghostly night.

Akuodha whispered to Oketch excitedly “As I told you, they utter a

benediction prior to the sacrilegious act”.

Oketch was totally mad “What kind of salvation is this? Adultery

perpetrators asking God to bless their heinous acts?”

Agwambo in the meantime was showering Akelo with hot kisses like

a deluge. He tore off her clothes as she undressed him. Oketch who

had gone back to his vantage position beside the wall heard all these.

He grimaced in pain.

“I feel like eating you”, Agwambo whispered.

“Please take me”, she implored him. She was very hungry for him.

Ten minutes later Oketch heard her ecstatic cries. Momentous rage

and resentment engulfed him. He trembled in murderous vehemence.

“How can this woman cry for this young boy and yet she has never

done so for me?”, he rhetorically asked. So vexed was he that before

he knew it he had kicked the door with a ferocious force that tore it

off its hinges.

Nonplussing, as it is, the two lovers didn’t hear the door breaking as

Oketch landed in the house. He caught them very deep in the act with

Akelo’s legs airborne as she twisted, pranced, whimpered and

moaned in an ecstatic trance. Agwambo’s momentum matched

Akelo’s ravenous appetite. Oketch was so mad that he kicked the

playboy on his rib cage. The kick jerked Agwambo off Akelo and

threw him at the extreme end of the bed. His face was a mask of pain.

His ribcage became a mess. Akelo, on the realising that there was an

invasion to their private intimacy, made as if to scream but one of the

men cupped her mouth. Oketch then slapped her very hard. Three

men grabbed Agwambo whipping and kicking him as they did so. He

yelped and cried in pain. The hounded men were all black and very

nondescript.

Awuondo, in a falsetto voice, told her, “We are not thieves. We have

come to discipline this lecher”. He pointed at Agwambo who was

writhing in pain on the ground.

As he aimed a kick at Agwambo’s manhood Rateng’ told him “This is

the end of your sexual kleptocracy. You are a thoroughly immoral

person and unfit to live in this society.” He kicked him very hard.

Agwambo couldn’t scream since his torturers had expertly gagged.

His face was concocted in excruciating pain. He lapsed into a coma.

His body was awash with blood. They trussed him with ropes. They

then carried him out of the house into the chilling darkness. Akelo

was warned to keep her mouth shut or undergo a similar experience.

She bolted the door, threw herself on the bed and cried her heart out

for Agwambo.

Agwambo’s rigor mortised body was discovered the next day on the

riverbank. A monkey’s head was lying beside it. The experiences of

yesteryears had jolted the village into fear about heads of strange

animals. No one dared to touch the body. The police came and took

the body away. The post-mortem results revealed that he had died of

internal injuries. It was generally believed that he had come across a

gang of thieves during his night sojourn and they killed him. Villagers

cursed the cussed forbidden river.