The Grim Reaper and the miserable cat

An unrestrained scream, no doubt from a woman, ingrained itself in the unperturbed night air.



The scream makes some think they are dreaming while others, roused from their slumber sit up in bed thinking it was the end of the World- the second coming. People say that he will come like a thief, remember?


Who? Where? Why?

Hurried footsteps.

Fear. Anger. Wet dreams. Uncertainty. Adrenaline.

Shit, he curses, I’m getting real sloppy at this thing!


More footsteps. More women screaming. The men are probably getting their spears and blunt daggers and overrated, ostentatious male bravado.

Yuko wapi? Where is he?”

The screaming woman points to the path meandering through a dumpsite littered with used diapers, shame and chicken bones chewed with so much gusto that even the crows think they are  pieces of wood.


“Where were you when I called you? Mlikuwa wapi?”

More silence.

Yuko wapi? Where is he?”

Curtains behind which supposed middle class opulence hides are parted slightly.

Someone peeps behind the curtain hoping to see the thief in full sprint, household stuff strapped to his back, racing against death and foul human breathe roused right in the middle of digesting last night’s bean stew.

But there isn’t much action; only shadows, a full moon and a tall woman screaming this way and that way, pointing to the dumpsite as if the thief magically turned into garbage.

Then it happened.

A dark figure sprints like a Deer from a thicket.

The chant resumes in full gear.

Huyooo! Huyooo!”

Mwiziii! Thief! Shika yeye! Catch him!”

But the chap is as slippery as a politician three months after elections. He runs one way only to be accosted by a crowd smelling of anger. He runs the other way, the screaming woman accosts him followed by a dozen sweaty, half dressed men wielding crude weapons baying for his blood.

Mwiziii! Thief !huyooo Shika yeye! Catch him!”

Oh God, I don’t want to die! I have a wife and kids and a miserable cat with half a tail.

Dirt in his mouth and nostrils and ears.

Doom! A dull thud on his head. The Earth spins

Doom! Another thud and a bone snaps in his arm.

Doom! Doom! Doom!

Ribs, left leg, jaw, ankle.

He tastes blood and dust. The Grim reaper is perched on a tree above him picking his teeth with a steel skewer.

A kick on his head.

Wewe ni kichwa ngumu sana!” his Math teacher always called him a hard head; he died from head injuries- his teacher.


Death, death go away, come back another day! The Grim Reaper winks. Hey fella, you are effed up this time round,eh?

Wuuuuuuuiiiiiii!” another fresh scream interrupts the beating.

Ua yeye, kill him!” The chants continue.

“He is my son…….wuuuuuuuiiiiiii….wacheni kumpiga…stop it!” screams the woman in a red blouse and white head scarf.

Thirty minutes later, the crowd, initially thirsty for blood lurks beneath the shade of a huge tree. A vulture somewhere in the Masai Mara readies itself to embark on a long flight, making a binding promise to its drab queen that indeed before the close of scavenging that day a necklace made of human regrets would be hanging on her slender neck.

The woman in the red blouse stares at the bloodied man writhing in pain. She recalls a moment long ago when she delivered him to the world. She would have cried but she didn’t.

Five minutes after the thirty minutes, a black car- arid as a grave digger, pulls out of the scene.

Silence escorts it right up to the dumpsite.

Silence turns into sporadic murmurs then into incessant talking and narrations which continue until mid day.

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