This is an important phase of my life as a writer. We all know every writer’s dream is o one day get published( In this case I mean books and short stories). For many years, I have contemplated writing a book or a short story but something usually pushed me back, some voice telling me that I wasn’t good enough. Many are times when I started working on a short story then deleted the whole page I had written because I felt it wasn’t a piece that matched the works of other ‘accomplished’ writers.
It took the encouragement of one heaven sent writer to get me started. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy your read.
THE THUG (PART 1)
He was running out of breath. He stumbled over a thicket and fell to the ground with a thud, but quickly picked up his terrified soul and kept going. Looking over his shoulder, he saw that the monster was closing in on him, gritting its sharp, glittering teeth. The dreadful creature stood at 9 feet, with a muscular body and deep-set, glowing eyes that would scare the shit out of a toddler. The sinister look on its face and the thunderous growls it made was enough to make Kari keep running for his life.
He couldn’t run for long anyway, he was a human being not a machine. It reached a point where he was out of breath, panting and with his heart throbbing so hard as if it wanted to burst right through his chest cavity.
He collapsed to the ground and resigned himself to fate. He could feel the earth shake as the malicious creature stomped towards where he lay and stood looming over him and smiling triumphantly, albeit with an evil look in its eyes. Kari, terrified, screamed with fear.
He sat up on his bed, which was just a mattress placed on the hard, concrete floor. His whole body was drenched in sweat and for a moment he was terrified. He then brushed the thoughts off his mind when he finally realized that it was one of those silly dreams that only kids have. How could he, a man aged 28, be having such nightmares?
He checked the digital watch on the plastic chair beside his bed only to find that it was 4 a.m. He fell back on his thinning mattress and forced himself into deep slumber. It wasn’t for long though. The clinging of metal indicating that the water-vendor was in business woke him up. It was 8.00a.m.
He stood, stretched, yawned and punched into the air just to get rid of the weariness of the night. He then opened the small window to let in rays of sunlight which blinded him for some seconds. The rays highlighted everything in the room. It was at such times that he got to examine the place he paid to stay every month.
The old iron-roofing was filled with rust and had these small holes which let in jets of sunlight into the room. The rough concrete floor badly needed plastering, the only problem being that the caretaker was more interested in collecting rent than making the place livable.
A rack in the corner of the room had a few utensils. The stove stood next to the utensils and seemed to invite him to cook something. He hated cooking. His eyes wandered about the room and finally fell on his mattress.
He remembered, with anger, that he had been forced to sell his bed in order to pay last month’s rent. The caretaker was fed up. This time, he had threatened to kick him out, emphasizing that there were hundreds of tenants who would have jumped at the opportunity of staying in that ‘comfortable room’. Kari was left with no option but to sell one of his most prized possessions.
He leisurely walked to the door and got outside, making sure to lock for Mareno was the home of thieves. They were known to sweep houses clean. The intense heat from the sun seemed to remind Kari that life on that godforsaken slum was a struggle. Everyone kept busy. The shirtless water vendor pulled his cart with zeal, sweat dripping from virtually every part of his body. Kari looked in his direction and wondered why the poor creature had the audacity to exhaust his body everyday like that. He had sworn to himself that he would never be a water vendor.
The shopkeepers, women on their grocery shades, key-cutters, bodaboda guys, manual labourers at a construction site, hawkers peddling their goods ; people did all sorts of things to put food on their tables. Kari was lost in his thoughts. He felt different. He could not fathom what had been happening to him for the past one month. He thought that the world had conspired to torture him and then finally squeeze the life out of him.
“Hey Kari!’’ His train of thought was interrupted. It was Mama Brian. Kari put on a fake smile and proceeded to greet the woman. Mama Brian sold tea, coffee, buns, ngumus, fried potatoes; all sorts of edibles. She always had something anytime of the day. The dexterity with which she was making chapattis was enough to convince any passer-by that she was an expert in her business.
Kari sat on one of the short benches as Mama Brian poured him tea from a steel kettle which had been made partially black by constant contact with charcoal on the jiko. She was a longtime friend of Kari’s mother, who lived in the neighboring slum of Furushani. It was this relationship that enabled carry to fill his stomach even during the days when his pockets were empty.
The only thing she had come to dislike about Mama Brian was how she usually treated him like his own son. Every time they met, she’d ask him about what he was up to. It seemed that she was always updated on everything that was happening in his life. As he ravenously tore at the chapattis and sipped the hot tea, Mama Brian continued lecturing him about life, putting emphasis on the need to make an honest living. Kari feigned attention with the occasional nods and the ‘eeeh’, ‘mmmh’ that came out of his busy mouth.
She would have gone on for hours had new customers not interrupted her lengthy speech. Kari got the chance he was yearning for. He muttered his appreciation and slipped away into the streets, into the chaos in mind. The next mission was to find his best friend Jeko. It was already 9.30 am so he had to hurry if he had any hopes of finding his buddy.
That’s it! The first part of the short story THE THUG. I hope you enjoyed reading. I will publish second part of the story in a few days. I will be delighted if you shared it with you friends.