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Sons of the gods #13

Continued from Sons of the gods 12

By Mugabe Victor

The world seemed frozen. Katabani sat there, struck immobile by the story. A moment of silence somehow reminded the boy to blink. His eyes felt as though they were being scrapped by wet sand. Shwenkuru blankly stared in the distance as the cold night time breeze brushed over them. 

“Shwenkuru?” Katabani spoke up, dragging him back to reality. A gentle smile stretched across his face as his eyes welled with tears. “Did I ever tell you about the old man who swallowed a goat?”

“No” Katabani hesitantly replied

“Well, Nessi liked that one,” he mumbled, “he swallowed the goat to catch a tick”

“Why did he swallow a tick?”

“No one knows, but he later swallowed a dog to catch the goat,”

A smile crept across Katabani’s face. It didn’t make sense but the hint of normal felt good. “And how did he catch the dog?”

A wide smile stretched across Shwenkuru’s face as a muffled laugh escaped his throat.

“He swallowed a cow,” he bellowed

“Shwenkuru?!”

“Oh don’t get me wrong, he died right after swallowing the cow,”

Katabani snickered in an attempt to hold back the laughter “Was it because of the horns?”

“Yes it was,” the old man calmly replied

“And where is this story leading to Shwenkuru?”

“Remember the old man when you get to the end of the story of Kano,” Shwenkuru replied as he watched the boy turn the specs of burnt wood.

Suddenly, war cries erupted from a distance, pulling on both Shwenkuru and Katabani’s attention. Sharp ululations followed by the heart felt bellows of angry men. A dark silhouette ferociously cut through the night, approaching them. A shiver run down Katabani’s spine as the cries got louder. Flashes of red flames engulfed his vision for a second before he could break away. 

“We are going to get back our cattle Mzeei,” a rough voice erupted from the darkness as Katabani’s father marched into the light. 

“Good,” Shwenkuru croaked as he pulled himself up. “How many men do you have?”

“Enough Mzeei,” the heavily shadowed figure replied as he followed suit, “They have been spotted  near the pits, we’ll be able to catch up this very night,”

“Good,” Shwenkuru mumbled in reply as the two left Katabani to himself. 

An attack, a chance to redeem himself in everyone’s eyes, a chance at revenge for Nessi. Blood rushed through him like a storm, the heat of rage slowly brought his pale skin back to life. In a burst of speed he was off. Tearing through the shrubs and bushes as he formed his own shortcut. Cuts and bruises made no difference as every single branch cursed his skin.  The world spun with every step, a motion that made him stumble the moment he burst through the wall of nature.

There it was, the main granary. A tall and round mud plated structure raised above ground with broad poles and covered with long dry grass. The distant cries of the warriors were fading, he needed to work fast. 

He burst through the door and went straight for the corner basket. Ravaging through its contents, he spotted it. Like a needle in an odd pile of hay, Shwenkuru’s old staff lay inside the maize seeds.

“What are you doing?” a sharp quizzical voice erupted from behind him. His heart shifted to his throat in that instant. He crashed into the basket, causing its contents to spill. 

It was the girl from the well. Again. Did she have some kind of god whispering in her ear about his location? Her eyes twinkled with curiosity as she closed in. Her cheeks swollen, grains trailing out of her mouth. “If you were hungry, you didn’t have to spill the whole basket of grains,” she mumbled as she took another handful to her face.

“I’m not…hungry,” Katabani stammered as he watched her. 

“Then what are you doing with all that grain?”

He hesitated in all his movements. His eyes fixed upon the dropping grain from her mouth, his hands trembled in her presence and his brain froze. Not a word escaped his lips.

“Wait, are you going to join the fight again?”

“Yes…no…but…yes,”

“Ruhanga, why did you make this one so stupid?” she cried as she turned her eyes to the ceiling.

He could feel his throat bulge with rage in that instance. His hand wrapped around the hidden staff. It was not anger he felt towards her, not shame or fear. 

Despite acknowledging all these emotions, he knew they were all directed towards himself.

“I’m not stupid,” he growled as he pushed himself off the ground, “I’m taking my responsibility,”

“Oh yes, I forgot,” she chuckled as she shoved more maize into her mouth, “Your responsibility to be killed, I tend to forget that one, well then, what are you waiting for?”

She moved out of his way, letting the moonlight dance across the room. 

“It is the way of man, you would not understand,” he mumbled as he started across the room. Her logic was baffling in all ways. The doorway felt further than it was before. A long padded corridor that made him feel like throwing up. Why did he feel like this all of a sudden? “Responsibility, my foot, madness, all of you are mad, Nessi and you!” the girl grumbled through her teeth.

“What do you have against me?” Katabani retorted, turning back in her direction

“Against you? No. Against your way of life? Yes”

Katabani’s face twisted as he watched her force down another handful of maize. “You sit around all day, avoid all chores, and then run head first into a battle you can barely win, get yourself killed then blame responsibility?”

“It is my responsibility to protect,” he interrupted

“No it isn’t” she exploded, “It is your responsibility to stay alive,”

A gust of wind blew across the floor as her words pried into his mind. A cold shiver raced across his spine as the thought of death’s darkness finally sunk in. 

“Don’t go,” she whispered 

“It’s the way,” he mumbled,as his palm wrapped tighter around the staff and he turned back to face the night

“I am the son of the Stone crusher, the grandson to the challenger of death, I am the great grandson to the gods above the rainbow, I can’t stand cows, but love their milk. I love to listen to Shwenkuru’s stories and I want to live by them… I … I … I am courageous” he finally whispered as he pushed himself forward. 

That night, the air smelt of lightning and rain. The trees abandoned their race for the skies and the shrubs parted way for a while. 

“I am brave,” Katabani whispered to himself, “I am courageous,”

To be continued next week on Wednesday

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Written by The Muchwezi

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    Thank you for all the love and support. This chapter was Edited by Aber Elizabeth and Mugabe Victor

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