I heard loud shrieking sounds and movement of vehicles. When I opened my eyes I noticed my face was covered in dust, I tried wiping off, the one’s on my eyelashes, using my palms and sat up to face reality. I had spent the night on the roundabout opposite the train station, it was late and I was in a strange city that I knew nothing about.
My stomach was rumbling out of hunger and I had hardly taken anything last night. I picked up my bag and decided to look for a nice cheap hotel to have my meal and rest. I walked around for hours getting in and out of hotels not finding one on my budget, I was almost giving up, but luckily I found one by the name SabaMoja restaurant and hotel. They charged ksh20, which I was comfortable paying, and the fact that I didn’t know when I would start earning made more sense.
I paid and was shown to my room, which had a bed, a communal toilet and bathroom a few feet away. It was not that posh but it would do for the moment anyway, beggars are not choosers. I freshened up and changed my dirty clothes into clean ones and went downstairs where they had a bar which also served food. I ate to my fill and I was back to my room. I had to take a proper rest, last night I had not slept well, the cold and noises didn’t let me.
I was up and it had gotten late, it was really hot and the ceiling fan didn’t help much, other than making shrieking noises. Having nothing to do I decided to wash my dirty clothes and, when I was going through my shirt’s pocket, I came across Lucy’s contact. I couldn’t help but smile, those were cherished memories; how she slept on my left side of the chest, how she raised her eyebrow, her smile, what about her laughter and her jokes. Oh My! I could not get her out of my mind. I must call her when I get to a payphone.
Unexpectedly there was a knock on the door. Who could it be? I was not expecting anyone. Who was disturbing my peace, especially when I was in sweet reveries? I rose up to answer the door and found one brown slender lady holding a burning cigarette on one hand, as she releases a puff of smoke, and the other holding a bottle of beer.
“Hello neighbour, my name is Mercy.” She put the cigarette between her lips and offered her hand.
“Hello Mercy, my name is Malvin.” I shook her hand.
“I heard there was a new neighbour and thought I should introduce myself.” She was very welcoming, “Are you new in town?”
“Thanks for the gesture, yes I am new in town. I am here for the holidays,” I didn’t want to reveal much, she was a stranger.
“Why don’t we go downstairs, I am sure you are bored.”
What was I to lose, this would be a good way to kill time and make new friends. “Why not, give me a minute,” I responded quickly and did not give a second thought about the clothes I was to wash.
We were downstairs at the bar, the place had more people than earlier on. Mercy was excited and kept introducing me to new people, she even bought me a beer. My whole life I had not taken any alcohol not even once but I did not want to hurt her feelings, so I accepted the Lager.
Halfway through the bottle, I felt like I was floating and all of a sudden, I started becoming friendly to everyone and more confident than before. Mercy went to the jukebox by the corner and selected a song, then she walked towards me and invited me for a dance. We danced off and laughed at each other, when we tried a style and it failed, it was really fun and I had no regrets. It was better than staying all alone in the boring room.
After hours of relaxation, we were back in my room, I tried to ask her a couple of times which room she stayed in, but she was drunk silly and I had no option but to bring her back to my room. It’s lucky I had only one beer because I am sure I would have been in a worse state than her. I made sure to tuck her in my bed and opted to sleep on the floor.
I woke up very early and left Mercy asleep, then bought some breakfast and a cold soda. when I opened the door she was awake but sitting on the bed. “Morning Malvin.”
“Morning Mercy did u sleep well?” I handed her the cold soda and joined her on the bed.
“Thank you for yesterday.” She was genuinely thankful.
“It’s nothing, I take care of my friends.” I didn’t see any big deal.
“You don’t understand,” she sighed then continued, “I am thankful you did not take advantage of me, not many men are like you.”
She started narrating her story to me, at some point, she even shed some tears and I almost cried myself. Her stepfather used to take advantage of her and when she reported the matter to her mum, she would whip her and tell her to stop making up stories. Some men are beasts, he even went ahead and impregnated her, then they said she lacked manners and she was sleeping around with every tom dick and harry. They threw her out and with all the hardship of street life, she had a miscarriage, thereafter it was downhill until a friend helped her. she later found work as a barmaid in this same hotel, yesterday was her day off. I then shared my story and she promised to get me a job from a friend.
It was quite an irony, She was chased away from her home and I was running away from mine. What is the world coming to? Strange things keep happening at different places and at different times. Was I right to run away from home? My poor mother, did she deserve all this? But I had gone in too deep, I was miles away and there was no redemption. It was me against all odds at the moment. That day I was in a shady mood, though Mercy had kept her promise and arranged an interview for me, which was scheduled the next day in the morning.
Early that day I groomed myself well, Mercy had shown me around the island and I was a bit confident with the topography. I entered the office and the interview kicked off, the boss found favour in me and I was employed on the spot. I was the new errand boy, all the documents that needed to be taken to or retrieved from a certain office, I was the right man for the job.
It was now three weeks since I started working for Mr.Robert Johnson, and he was really impressed with my work. He even offered to be my mentor and promised to find a better position within the company, if I keep up with the good work.
In that period I tried calling Lucy two times but to no avail, she was always out of the house but, I had not given up and swore to try and reach her some other time.
My friendship with Mercy had grown strong and she was more like a big sister to me. She was always overprotective and counselling me. I also observed that she was kind-hearted and motherly to friends she considered dear to her. She always dreamed big; she wanted to own her own salon parlour and a big house in the hearts of Nyali.
On this particular day, I was not in the mood to report to work but I had to go, Mr.Robert had so much faith in me and I never wanted to tarnish that image. When I reported to work the boss called me into his office and gave me instruction to deliver something urgently.
I hastily rushed off the office and decided to take a shortcut through Majengo area and that’s where I made my worst mistake. I was halfway through some alley when I spotted two guys ahead of me, they looked fishy, so I decided to take a 180 turn and go back from the direction I was coming from, but I was too late because they were three more in my new direction. I was now trapped in between.
“There is nowhere to run.” One of them shouted, “Today is your day of reckoning.”
A cold sensation passed through my spine. How was I going to get out of this? “We want everything you have or we will beat you to a pulp,” another one said fiercely.
This were bullies like Marktosh, who made me take karate lessons. There was no way I would let them take anything, I hated bullies with everything I have. The more I thought of bullies the more furious I got and I could not help but clench my fist, their numbers were twice double but my courage was double theirs’. When they got close I automatically attacked first, punching one to the ground, taking him by surprise and landing a round kick to the one standing behind me. I was the champ and for a moment I felt like Bruce Lee, they were falling left, right and centre.
I was really enjoying myself but before I could enjoy my victory, I felt a sharp pain at the back of my left shoulder and all of a sudden really warm. I turned and kicked the guy on the stomach, he had a bloody knife in his hand and I knew that I was stubbed nevertheless, I kept struggling but I started feeling dizzy then I dropped down and I could see them scurry through the alley and that’s when someone switched off the lights and all I saw was total darkness.