By Aine Susan
Father wasn’t doing anything about it… tasks? THAT WASN’T ENOUGH.
There in the pit, Walumbe was conscious of everything; from the trembling of Nambi’s limbs to Kayikuzi’s stiffness as he eavesdropped at a safe distance, watching the stupid human’s vain excitement, and Gulu’s sturdiness: pure evidence of his reluctance to directly disapprove his beloved daughter.
Walumbe’s heart throbbed with anxiety; he had tried to escape from heaven before, but the further he got from Nambi, the worse his fortune got. Everything he got into contact with was erased without question. She was his balance_ the ray of hope in this dark tunnel that had become his eternity; He couldn’t let her go.
She didn’t even know how precious she was to him; all she saw in him was darkness and pain. At least Kayikuzi dared to spend time with him; even with the sole purpose of keeping him in check at all costs.
He listened carefully; waited like a prowling predator; till Gulu was left alone; so he could jump out of his hiding place_ it didn’t matter if the old man saw; Father knew all their perturbing habits, and the Walumbe’s secret pits and tunnels were no exception.
“You can’t let her go,” he breathed, with clenched fists.
“Calm down, fool,” Gulu bellowed, “the man is oblivious of concepts as obvious as status and class. He can’t handle a goddess. Unlike you, I can think; it’s a win-win; he’ll fail at the first task, look like the pathetic goose he is, and I’ll have my daughter back; more so by her own will. Get out…. I need to come up with something good!”
“Stupid old man,” Walumbe muttered as he marched out. He didn’t care if Nambi married a goat_ so long as she stayed close by. Heaven was her home, yet these spurts of pleasure from meeting another male besides her father and brothers was crowding her judgement. That idiot Kayikuzi wouldn’t do anything about it either. His holier-than- thou character always led him to the conclusion, “If you’re happy, I’m happy,” especially where sweet Nambi was involved.
“I won’t let you interfere,” Kayikuzi’s dull and evenly toned voice broke through the raging thoughts as Walumbe rushed toward Nambi and the man.
“You stay out of this!” Walumbe barked. This time he was ready to talk to her… to tell her that nothing else mattered and that she was the only good thing he had in his life. He was okay with her look changing from spite to pity, and with begging her on his knees or accepting whichever condition she gave.
The scuffle between the brothers drew Nambi away from her new-found jewel.
“Walumbe, stop it! Don’t you get it? I need this. I need to get away from the madness in this prison, from my overbearing Father and especially from you!” she spat. “Now stop embarrassing me and leave me alone!”
Walumbe felt an unbearable chill run down his spine. He’d dreamt of this day so many times; the first face-to- face interaction with his princess; no middleman to corrupt either of their attitudes. This is not how his imaginations ended. It was supposed to end with a warm embrace with a few tears of relief. She was his last chance at being treated with an ounce of empathy. There was a pebble in his throat as he realized_ she hated him. She couldn’t even condone him, like Kayikuzi did.
He couldn’t let them see the tears he had hidden for so long. Push had turned to shove… and there was no other option_ no man meant no excuse for Nambi to leave heaven.
“This isn’t over; Walumbe growled as he turned his back to march off; another custom the family had grown used to.