Gipiir and Labongo #8: Stab the Heart and the Beast will Fall

By Ashley and Kamusiime Mugisha

She looked up at him, her eyes were wide open, her lips slightly apart, a small drop of blood had dried on the corner of her mouth. As he held her still hand, he quickly withdrew it. It was cold. Could it have been the night chill? No, it could not. Nessi did not blink, and not even the wind from the  storm that was threatening to attack was shaking a limb of her body. Her eyes resembled an open tunnel with nothing but darkness at the end of it. The only thing that seemed alive about her was her hair, waving with the ferocious wind. 

“Nessi, Nessi,” he kept mouthing, but not even a word could form out of his mouth. He wanted to scream it out, shout her name until it echoed through the mountains and maybe then, would she call her response. 

“NESSI..” Katabani awoke with a start, like he had been slapped back to reality. He looked around him cautiously, holding his glistening spear. Hearing a small noise in the thicket closest to him, he quickly shifted his stance, pointing his spear directly at the thicket. Whoever or whatever was behind that bundle of grass was about to face his frustration. Launching the weapon, the next thing he heard was the screech of a squirrel. 

Giving a chant of self praise, he straightened his body and walked over to his kill. There she lay, blood oozing like the Nile, eyes teary and half closed. This is how his enemy was meant to be, laying before his feet.

“When is coward arriving?” he growled as the noisy thickets announced the arrival of a potential foe. From a distance, his eyes locked upon his foe.

And there he was, all black. That is how the monsters were dressed. The color of their armor was meant to strike fear into their adversaries, to let them know that the darkness would be the last thing they saw on the battlefield.

They came at the devil’s hour. They believed that at that time, the veil between life and death was at its thinnest. So when they struck you with their swords, you were instantly lifeless. And the evil spirits that were roaming the earth free from the other side would snatch your soul. Leaving you no chance to return as an ancestor.

They never spoke. Never before a battle. Fraternizing, they believed, was for the weak. They understood that if they started to talk, their words would eventually stray and turn to fear, making them weak. And so they worked tirelessly to occupy their hands and thoughts. Action, they believed, would produce an appetite for more action. So they sharpened their spears and polished their shields with just a single thought on their minds. To decimate their enemies.

They knew that appearances were everything. So they grew their hair long, and their beards even longer. For the mean looked meaner, and the ugly looked even uglier. Before their wars were physical, they were mental.

At their helm were men who never believed the policies of persuasion provided lasting peace, but rather provided opportunities for their enemies to rebuild and form new alliances. 

To them, warfare was not a ritual activity guided by a strict moral code that limited the scale of physical destruction against their enemy. 

To them, ruthlessness was the code they lived by.

He had been a firsthand witness to the atrocities that the warriors had committed. He wore scars that served as daily reminders of the night that his family’s lives were robbed. Men, women, children. A simple conflict between tribes that could have been resolved through rational dialogue did not need to end in senseless bloodshed. But that was the only language that they understood. 

So he did not hesitate to follow them. He knew his revenge would come but he needed to be smart and patient with his decisions. So he started to bide his time. Katabani knew that with perfect placement and precision, the dominoes would start to fall. 

“Stab the heart and the beast will fall.”

It would only be a day before they arrived at their village. 



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Written by The Muchwezi

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Lt. Gen. Mugira has no moral authority to counsel Ugandans

Gipiir and Labongo #9