Continued from #16
By Mugabe Victor
Katabani’s mind was a maze. “Red, black, the swing of a blade. Why does it seem so loud?” the voices echoed. CRACK. “What is that sound?” SNAP.
“There it goes again,”
“Wait, did I take the goat to the pastures this morning?”
A dull pull at the back of his head sent painful ripples through his head. “Nothing that Maama’s ointment cannot fix,” he thought to himself as the pain shifted its tag to the back of his eyes.
“Can ointment be applied inside one’s head?” he thought.
His throat felt rough, as though a huge lump of charcoal sat immovable on the inside.
A tender palm brushed across his face in that instant. Hope. A long lost friend to the little boy. His eye lids struggled to stretch in that moment as the words slipped out of his mouth, “Nessi?”
Slowly, his senses returned. The odd touch turned into a rough brush from a firm, hardened palm. His blurry vision collapsed, revealing a tall, broad shouldered figure. His eyes, though distant with thought, searched his body for any form of harm. “Who are you?” Katabani stammered. His eyes shone with a certain familiarity. “I am your Jajja Kayikuzi,” the figure muttered, “Thought it would be a little more obvious. Your grandfather sent me”
“Shwenkuru?” Katabani squeaked as he tried to get up. A sharp pain tore through his body, pinning him back to the ground. “Take your time boy, you are bleeding,” Kayikuzi warned. Katabani lay there stunned. The man’s voice seemed steady, thoughtful and calm at the same time.
“What shall I do now?”
“Aside from waiting for my brother?” Kayikuzi chuckled, inviting a scornful look from the little boy. “Well, someone does not have a sense of humor.”
“It is difficult when death gets into the picture. You are different from what I expected,”
“I have changed since I last saw your old man,” he said, “What does he tell you about us?”
“A lot,” Katabani croaked, “He tells me stories about everything,”
The wind finally began to move again, sending shivers through Katabani’s tender skin. A reminder of how fragile he had grown to become. “Jajja Kayikuzi, will you tell me a story?”
“Yes, if I am going to die here, I would like to know the meaning of the way of the man,”
“Yes, weren’t you there during the final task Ruhanga gave to Kintu’s sons,”
“Oh that! Unfortunately I was not. Keeping track of my brother is quite the tenuous job,”
Kayikuzi watched Katabani as his eyes fell. A fading hope crushed his heart. “I was not there,” he added, “But the maids told me that it went like this,”
Kayikuzi cleared his throat, suddenly staring at the boy, “Three boys and two tasks, Kano the first said,” He mumbled over and over again. “Are you okay?” Katabani croaked.
“Not really, now that I remember it, the story does not make much sense,” Kayikuzi added, “Kano the first, was he the one with a head so swollen he could not stand?”
“Yes,” Katabani replied, “at least that’s the way Shwenkuru put it,”
“Yes, the maids said the same thing, his legs were nimble, his face was a bubble, and all they could do was laugh and giggle,”
“Oh yes, he stammered and muttered and squibbled with words and when Gulu got closer, they say he peed in his pants,”
“Gulu hated his squibble, the boy was nimble, he clearly could not face a fate uncivil; and so he banished him to his seat; a fate of dismissal”
“Next, he called Kano the second, a boy with tone and charisma so fickle, he said all he got was a leather belt, and a hide, oh so fickle. “And what did he get?” Gulu asked with a smile, pointing at little Kano beside, “Oh he got a skull,” Kano the second replied, “An enormous skull with no girdle in sight,”
“And what did it get?” Gulu asked, pointing at Kano the first, “He carried potatoes, an axe, and a mouth,” Kano the second replied.
“Well now, Gulu mumured, he was quite in the pickle, the small one was decent but so small and feeble, how could he keep it in a world so hard and brutal?
To be continued next week on Wednesday