Continued from; Secrets #30
By Mutebi Wilson
I was filled with a sense of dread that made my heart sink.The realisation of what I had done was weighing down on me.“Why on earth had I told Walumbe such a secret,adding fuel to the little fiery sparks of evil that inhabited his raucous mind?” I knew he was ready to pounce upon anyone if he was given a chance and for an evil-maniac like him, time would not tell; anytime was his time. I had made a grave mistake.
I limped forward, aided by a craggy stick I had found on the forest floor, a hand at my nose, trying to stop painting the ground with blood. In retrospect, my bleeding nose should have been the least of my concerns. A never ending war was about to begin and I had no clue that I would be involved in the thick of things again.
The state I was in attracted attention from all those I met on my way to my hut.I needed to get cleaned up and rest before meeting Father again. He had to know what I had done and I was more than ready to face the consequences of my actions.My skin crawled as I sensed eyes on me. Sharp glances here and there. Clearly, my reputation was still intact in spite of the beating I had suffered at the hands of Walumbe, and this made a small smirk form on my battered face.However,I could see their lips mumbling some unknown words, words which I hoped to read yet they stayed a secret known to only their sayers.
“The rainbow? Maybe they are talking about the rainbow.” My brows furrowed as a train of thoughts filled my mind. I shook my head to thwart them.The things they said were useless.Why should I, a son of Gulu, mind about what people were saying or what they thought? Reaching my hut was the most important thing right now.
In the distance, I could see a servant running towards me. This made me falter in my steps. I recognised him. One of the boys that worked in the palace farm. In fact he had been among the two servants that had struggled with Kintu’s animals. I chuckled to myself remembering how he had slipped on cow dung as he tried to get one of the calves out of the kraal.
What was he doing here? I asked myself. He should have been attending to his duties instead of running towards me like he was at the moment. The closer he got, the clearer his features became. The young man was panting, beads of sweat had formed on his brow and a vein protruded on his forehead. He was soft, not used to such tasks. I resolved.
He came to a stop before me, bending with his hands on his knees, and elbows bent.
“What is it?,” I asked, my voice cold and stern.
He immediately straightened, having remembered his place and hunging his head in shame. What was it this time? I wondered. I was sure it had something to do with Walumbe. He was in his worst form ever; a god bitten by the fangs of hatred, violence and a relentless desire for revenge. At first, it was only Kintu that was his target but with what I had said, I was sure, I was the new addition to his blacklist.
He raised his head a little and peeked at me.
“Nambi forgot to go with her chicken,” he rasped out still trying to catch his breath.
My blood ran cold.The times were indeed going to get harder. The two had managed to sneak away without any hinderance from Walumbe. But now, they were possibly on their way back to get their remaining property. My only hope was that Nambi would find a way to send a message to me. I could beat Walumbe even if he had bested me this one time and deliver the chicken. This was the only way, as no one was allowed to touch her property without permission. This meant that even if I could, my hands were tied until I heard from her.Such was the gravity of the situation. I had to deter Walumbe from causing any more harm to anyone and the anger I would face from my dear sister, was a meagre price to pay for the lifetime of happiness she would have ahead.
“Let’s go,” I told the servant, “And take them to their owners.”
Very soon we were on our way to the Lubiri, heading to the farm. I would have preferred if he had ran back to his duties but the truth is, with Nambi gone and Walumbe an enemy, the shadow of loneliness had been following me everywhere. The stares I got seemed to make everything worse and it was so bad that I did not even mind the company of a lowly servant.
During the journey, the gazes and muttering did not stop. It was then that I noticed it was the blood that attracted the most attention. A large part of my white bark-cloth was stained but it was not something that I worried about. I was immortal and could not die simply because I had lost a few droplets of blood. There was only one thing that could make the immortals mortal and probably also kill them; Gulu’s spear, and no wound of mine was from this benevolent weapon.
In a way, it was humiliating. I had never bled this much from a fight, especially one with Walumbe.How dare he do this to me? I was going to take a page from his own book and teach him a thing or two about revenge.
At the Lubiri, the situation was not any different. Judging by the looks on the servants’ faces, I was sure Father was going to know the state of my face in no time at all. Well, I was not limping that much anymore and I took pride in that fact.
My ears picked up a rumbling sound and I turned my gaze towards the horizon, where I saw dark clouds approaching. When did clouds start falling from the sky?, I thought, bemused.Chaos filled the palace grounds as the servants abandoned their tasks and scurried away, like red ants faced with the brightness of the sun.The young servant boy looked up at me with a panic-stricken face and I commanded him to go. He had done enough and servants would not be privy to matters of the gods. At least not out in the open, because getting the story meant risking life for some of them. The palace rumour mill on most days was the only form of entertainment. I thought gravely.
I eventually found myself standing all alone within the path of the clouds. I stood as tall as I could with my muscles complaining and my body still sore, but no son of Gulu had ever been a coward and fear had always been a foe.
Who was challenging me for a fight? I wondered.
I doubted it was Musoke, the god of rain. Judging by the nature of the clouds as they got closer, I was right. It was not him. They were not just dark clouds; they were black, the colour of death.They reminded me of the empty starless night sky before a storm and that alone separated them from the nimbus ones that Musoke usually made at the peak of his powers.
I squinted my eyes to see through the clouds because it seemed there was a figure there,holding a sharp spear and a knife, slowly making its way towards me.He felt evil; in fact, his very presence reeked of it. I could hardly see his face as swirls of smog hovered all around it.
“Yes, my prince,” he bellowed, “I already know the mistake those two lunatics have made.”
Tears pricked at my eyelids as I realised that this…this embodiment of evil was my brother!
I could tell from the voice. What had I done? My knees felt weak, my skin clammy and if it were not for the stick and pride, I would probably have kissed the ground.
Guilt. That is what it was, guilt consumed me. I knew it was my word to Walumbe that had begun all this. It had been a secret and now it had found its way into his heart. It had ravaged his soul and destroyed his mind. He was already swallowed up by it.
The story was no longer as humorous as it had been at the beginning. This had created a plot twist. One of the three siblings was no longer a god, but a devil. All this courtesy of the self- proclaimed wise one, me. Too bad even my sister was now going down to the earth from the heavens. Finally, the prophecy of the son of abomination was becoming true. His manifestation marked the final division of Gulu’s children.
This is what I had been fighting against the entire time, this prophecy. By helping Nambi,I thought I had been doing the right thing. I thought I could prevent this from happening.But now it was too late, all my efforts had been in vain. I failed to save my siblings and I was ashamed. How would I face Father?
Walumbe finally stopped his advance and the dark clouds that surrounded him stopped moving as well. The swirls of smoke danced around his body and I could sense the hatred and rage emanating from whatever or whoever stood before me.
“It is you, Walumbe!” I said, “But why do all this, brother?”
He laughed as I let go of my nose and used the bottom of my barkcloth to clear the blood from my face. A surge of hope filled my chest.Walumbe loved Nambi and maybe I could use this against him. All was not lost, at least not yet.
“That savage is going to take our sister,” he growled, “I have to end this all at once. He will die eventually with time as he is no longer an immortal. But how about his children? Won’t they keep our sister from returning to heaven to play with us?”
I knew what he meant but it was not worth it. After all, Nambi could visit any moment she wished to.
“Is it not too harsh?” I asked.
“I know you are standing in my way!” he said, “But we shall see about that.”
He started to advance towards me,wielding Gulu’s spear. How he had gotten it I did not know but at that moment all that mattered was that I had to get it.We both may have wanted our sister back but I am no murderer.
I could feel the recoil in my leg growing. Shooting forward in an instant and tackling him in midair, pinning him to the ground to immediately take the chance to disarm him. As though summoning the strength of 10 gods, he threw me off his body. I was tossed in the air like a feather. He was stronger than ever before.
A gust of wind blew in my direction, as he darted forward towards me. Before I could even get off the ground, he kicked my thigh. I struggled to get up in pain, clutching it as he faced me with a wide smirk on his face.He was enjoying this.
It was then that I noticed how bony his face had become. His eyes seemed to have grown out of their sockets. His hair had fallen off and his arms had also lost their muscle as though they were those of a malnourished child that had spent months without an ounce of meat.
I only had one last chance; to use my godly ability and show him visions of what would happen if he embraced the curse of hatred.
He shot towards me again, trying to take advantage of my weakness but I could not succumb to my injuries anymore. I had to stop this. With that seething rage, Walumbe could kill anyone including me if I continued to stand in his way.
He thrust his spear forward, narrowly missing me. Dashing below his thrust and making a beeline for his back side, I finally had an upper hand. Quickly aiming a jab for his back, he landed on his knees, allowing me to get a clearer shot at his forehead. Finally, I began to channel my energy through my fingers into his mind. I could sense a burning sensation rising up from beneath my hands until it became so hot that I had to give up. Releasing my hold on him, I growled helplessly as Walumbe turned to look at me.
“You cannot stop me Kayikuzi,” he snarled.
He reached for the spear and attempted to hit me again. With a quick shift in stance, I clenched my fist and threw a punch at his jaw that made him lose his footing as he staggered. I rushed at him, interlocking my arms with his and begun to head butt him. This would make him weak and he would be forced to surrender.
Eventually, he stopped struggling and started howling with laughter. He had indeed run mad and there was no solution for it. I had to go and make sure Nambi and Kintu got their remaining items before fully leaving for earth. All this before Walumbe caught up to them. He could be suppressed by the gods, but Nambi could not beat him when he was this strong.
Pinning him to the ground by his chest with all my might, I called out to some of the brave servants that had decided the running of the rumour mill was more important than protecting their lives. There was reluctance in their steps as they came forward. Even I would be scared of getting close to Walumbe in his current state if I were the one in their shoes.
“Do not allow him to get up·” I commanded and rushed to the farm as fast as I could. Nambi would be happy and I would make sure of that.
To be continued next week on Wednesday