Gipiir and Labongo #13

By Mugabe Victor 

“I heard a rumor. Is it true?” 

“Yes, saw it with my own eyes; that boy is insane. No spear, no armor, Gipiir bit the elephant like a wild lion. The poor thing stood no chance,”

“I heard it was as huge as a house,” someone chimed in

“No, it was much larger, more like a small mountain with five tusks and seven eyes,” another person countered.

“Hell no! They were eight eyes; saw it myself,” another voice added.

“How about the child?” someone asked 

“Child? There was more than one! He held five children in his arms as he strangled the beast with his bare arms!”

In the midst of the celebrations, the rumors and the warmth of the flames, a dark shadow loomed. Unbeknown to anyone in the village, their chief bit upon his lip in rage. Hidden by the familiar forest from their childhood, Labongo clenched onto his spear harder and harder as the rustling of the bushes got louder. 

“Labongo!” a familiar voice called out, announcing Gipiir’s arrival. The dust beneath his feet seemed sharper all of a sudden, “Labongo! You will never believe what I did,” Gipiir gleefully cried as he approached his brother, “It was like something ignited inside me, somehow the world came to a halt, allowing me to think clearly,”

“So, you even had the audacity to think?” Labongo muttered angrily.

“Brother?” Gipiir whispered before Labongo turned, finally locking in a glance. Tossing a spear at his brother’s side, Labongo glared at him; unflinching. “What is this?” Gipiir mumbled as a lump formed in his throat. The tremor in Labongo’s fist was easily visible even in the dark.

“A decision,” Labongo replied, “Clearly something you are unfamiliar with,”

“I do not understand,”

Raging forward like a mad bull, Labongo slapped Gipiir, sending him sprawling to the ground. His beads scattered like rain, rattling a song of fear. His hand trembled unfavorably as the tone in his voice unevenly shifted, “You test my honor, you test my patience, you test my reputation, my right to Pubungu; pick up the spear and kill me already if you must! But be warned, I will not go down without a fight!” Labongo declared fiercely.

“I do not understand!”

“The spear! You foolish boy!” Labongo yelled in frustration, “Father’s spear, my spear, that was meant to be passed from one generation to the next!”

“I do not understand,” Gipiir mumbled

“Clearly you wouldn’t! I have spoilt you! Shielded you from the hardships that would have turned you into a real man! Taking my spear is an act of treason; using it as you did disregards any respect you have for  me or my authority,”

“But that is not true,” Gipiir whispered through his tears

“And who is to believe that? Your words say one thing and yet your actions say another; so tonight, make your stance. Kill me now, take my life, my village and my wife, be the man you desperately want to become,”

Wailing under his suffocated breath, Labongo watched him with disdain. “Labongo please,” he cried before a right hook knocked the air out of his lungs. Muffled by the thunder in the sky, Gipiir turned sore as blows sunk into his chest over and over again. A trickle of rain fell splat onto the ground as Gipiir took in the sight of the distant spear, dust coating the edge of his wet lips. 

“If it was anyone else, you would be dead by now, but you are my brother so I will give you this one chance; go get the spear back from that beast, or do not return at all,” Labongo decreed as he marched away from the pitiful figure. 


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Written by The Muchwezi (3)

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