Gravestones: Bosaso I

Previously on Gravestones…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Mercy over Wrath….. My mercy prevails over my wrath. 

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Ela! The first and main thing in my life then. My eyes wet from the tears that rolled down at every thought of her. Then the flashing memories of the last conversation between the stranger and I, Ela’s screams, and the loud blast. I couldn’t fathom what transpired after the loud blast. Was she still alive? A father’s connection to the daughter isn’t easily broken. I had a choice to make. Mercy over Wrath!

“Stranger on the phone: I was not looking to impress you by the way. How about I tell you what I want in a way that will make you see how serious we are. (a scream and cry rent the air followed by a loud bang then silence)

Me: Elaaaaaaaaaa!!! (Silence) 

There was no movement. My heartbeat increased even as tears filled my eyes. What could have happened? What unfolded before my very on ears. What if they shot Ela. So many thoughts. So many feelings. Beyond broken. I wanted to teleport and find the Ela. Then deal a great deal of harm to anyone who harmed her.”

The worst thing about silence is it speaks so loud. There is a tendency to hear your own things and make conclusions over people and situations just because they are silent. If I could figure out the situation, I would be at peace. I was walking on water; floating high as long as my focus was on Him. I started sinking the moment I looked at my own ship. Saw how deep the crack was, and how fast the waters of worry filled it. “If anything happens to Ela….” I thought to myself. The little tattoo on my left arm with the words Ela seemed to vibrate in unison. There was my faint hope. I knew I would find my Ela safely and sound.

Nazra was silent too. Probably lost in her world. Or wondering why we were married, and on the way to our honeymoon before the unfortunate news about her step-daughter being kidnapped. Still waters run deep. For the last 4 years Nasra and I have grown to love each other. There are two things that you shouldn’t allow her to handle. The first one is GUNS. The second is SILENCE. While the first one has pretty obvious repercussions, the second one has implications that are far reaching and far fetched. Nasra’s silence was lethal. The conditions in which she grew under, together with what she had been through in the hands of Aweys had made her mentally tough. It was almost impossible to read her when she was silent.

Her words, ‘My Love, I believe Ela is still alive. They always do that to scare you. When you  have been broken beyond words, it is easy to manipulate you. But stay focused. They will soon find out who they are and where they are. I have a couple of friends around you know.’ rang through my mind once again. What did she know that I didn’t know? What was the reason behind her words? Was it genuine comfort? Or was it a sadistic sarcastic comment? Or was I overthinking? Was the woman in my life behind Ela’s misfortune “My thinking was loud; her silence even louder. Nasra began to hum a tune we were both familiar with. Don’t Worry, about a thing, coz every little thing gonna be alright. 

 My thoughts shifted me into a zone of nothing but emptiness. I think I slept off. Or rather cried myself to sleep as the layover time before the next flight was insane. How would I enjoy myself at the honeymoon while Ela was somewhere either dead or alive because of some mean, ransom happy revolutionists? I couldn’t find any piece of peace because even the straw I clutched onto was brittle to hang on to the weight of my thoughts. A buzz on the phone screeched everything to a standstill. 

Me:  (Frantically) Hello!

Voice on the Phone: (Clearing throat in a rasping sound) Hello! How is your honeymoon? Wait! You still haven’t flown out. Long lay-over! Must be sad!!

Me: Let’s not get cocky over here. State your business or prepare to get winged!

VoP: Son, you watch too many movies! Who lied to you that the movies will help you? You should be pleading with me.

Me: And of what importance is pleading with you? I have had more torrid news. I don’t think there is more bad news I can’t handle.

VoP: Err!! It sucks to be you. And probably it will suck even more when I share exactly the bad news I have. You probably are thinking Ela is dead. I wish I would, but I can’t say that. She is so much alive. But there is a problem.

Me: What problem? I really hope Ela is safe because if she isn’t……

VoP: What are you going to do about it? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. Ever heard of a City called Bosaso? 

Me: Bosaso? 

VoP: Yes, Bosaso.

Me: Heard of it during the war in Somalia. I never got to see the place. 

VoP: Now, you not only get to see it, but also experience it. You have 72 hours to find me. I hold the key to finding Ela. And also know. You have to trust me. And watch your back. The person you love the most may just drive a dagger through your back. Safe flight and see you in 3 days. 

The line on the other side went dead. It was clear that I needed to find my way to Bosaso. If I was to see my Ela once again, I needed to find my way to Bosaso. I stretched my hand to alert Nazra, before the speakers at the waiting lounge sounded. “Passengers departing for Male kindly proceed to Gate 3A.” Nasra stood up ready to move towards the gates. 

“I am sorry, I cannot proceed with you on this journey.” I said to Nasra. “Why?” She retorted back. “Because of Ela? You want to cancel that which we paid for with our money to find Ela?” “What do you want me to do? Go out on honeymoon and make merry, celebrating together yet Ela is out there? ” She is our daughter for heaven-sake…. I said. Nasra gave me a look that brought back memories. Memories of Awey’s head being blown off! “Our daughter? Our daughter? Are you out of your mind? Yours and who? Are you trying to blackmail me into your heroic conquest?” Nasra angrily responded as she grabbed her bag and exited towards the boarding gate. 

To be continued………………………………………………………………………………………………….


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GRAVESTONES: GHOSTS FROM THE PAST

Previously on Gravestones: 

 We checked into the international departures section at JKIA as we waited to board the EK 722 to Dubai from where we could connect to Maldives. While we held hands, looking up to the sky, I saw Emily smiling down at me. She was happy I found rest and happiness in the journey of revenge. Our thoughts and lovey-dovey moments only interrupted by a call to my phone. Hello, Am I speaking to Anjeyo Erick? Yes, I answered. First of all, congratulations on your wedding. Am sure you don’t know who it is. There will be no need to know me. I have something precious that belongs to you. There was some struggle before a lady on the other end spoke.. Daddy, don’t let them take me away… Ela…. That was Ela… A gunshot. It was precise. It was was loud and deafening. Now you know we are not here to play. When you get to Dubai, you will get another call. Safe trip till then. Cha! Cha! Cha!!………..

 Who could it be? What did they want or should I say need from us this time? I know we had been on the run for sometime before settling down with Nasra Al-Abeid. Who had followed or was following us all through to find my daughter to kidnap them? Nasra gave me an assuring smile. She always had this peaceful demeanor even when the scenes were about to turn ugly. “My love, don’t worry, about a thing, coz every little thing, gonna be alright.” She began to hum that beautiful tune that took me way back to when we first met. Somewhere in Somalia. At Awey’s Maw. “Remember that day my love? We were just prisoners of war. Who knew then that we would be flying to our honeymoon?” Her smile contoured into a look I was all too familiar with. “But someone had to ruin our happiness; Do you know what that means my love? It means we have to go into the past and awaken the ghosts that won’t rest. There is no way I am letting Melanie down. I will hunt the son-of-a-gun down and take him down. That’s a promise I make to you. No matter what.” 

 The plane began to taxi on the runway for take-off. I hadn’t said a word to Nasra or anyone. My mind was a mini-warfield somewhere around Afmadow in Somalia. She looked at my face that had no emotions then, and gave me a light peck before turning to look at the night sky as the plane took off. In 5 hours, we would be in Dubai. And probably, when we get there, the worst could have happened. “Would you help us again”, I said as I looked up to the heavens. “Keep Ela safe.” I added. I walked right into a trance even as the plane entered autopilot with my mind going on a similar trajectory. I watched blindly as Nasra and most of the other passengers slept soundly. A hostess or two checked on me and asked me if I needed anything. I took a glass of wine or two. The AVOD system didn’t have anything I would have desired to watch, so I grabbed a book whose words appeared unreadable. I just stared at the sky beyond the fuselage. Finally sleep came…. before being interrupted by the Captain’s hoarse voice, first in Arabic and then English, French, Spanish and Portuguese in that order. We needed to get our seats back to the upright position as we had began the descend into Dubai. I obliged, waking up my sleepy wife to do the same.

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Dubai International Airport DXB.

 Ever felt lost in a sea of people? That was me. I had flown before. To other destinations but Dubai. I couldn’t find a reason why I hadn’t flown into DXB before. For Nasra however, she had done so before. She also understood Arabic. She could pick the announcements made amidst the busyness of the business in the busiest airport in the world. As we found our way to our waiting bay for the connection flight, we met a couple of Nasra’s cousins who were flying out to Australia and were headed to a different gate. The bee-hive of activities made me appreciate my profession as a soldier or in this case, a former soldier. We settled down and got to key in the password to the wifi as we waited for the flight connection to Maldives. We were meant to go for honeymoon, lie on the sand and watch the sun during the day and the moon by night. Now all that honey taken out by the fact that Ela was in the hands of unknown, ransom seeking cold blooded men. My thoughts were rudely interrupted by the buzzing of the phone, this time from a strange number.

Me: Hello.

Stranger on the Phone: (speaking with a heavy arabic accent) Sorry to interrupt your honey-moon plans. I know you had big plans for it. Really big plans.. (Sarcastic laugh). Unfortunately, we may need you to re-organise your plans as what I am about to tell you will be chilling.

Me: May I at least know your name?

Stranger on the Phone: Ah! My name? That is not very important. The name that is very important here is Ela. She is such an adorable lady….

Me: I swear if you do anything to her….

Stranger on the Phone: And what exactly are you going to do about it?

Me: For the sake of humanity, let’s cut the chase. You are holding Ela against her will. What exactly do you want? How much? Where and by when?

Stranger on the phone: (Sarcastically) Now we are talking. You are a smart guy. Top guy! Valedictorian of his class of cadets. You are a top guy! Now what do we want in exchange of Ela? Money? No! Money can never be enough. What do I want? Mmmmh!! What do I want? You got me there. I don’t even know what I want. I must be a disgrace to the Harakat group. Such a low moment as a man who thrives in taking ransom.

Me: If that was what you call sacracism, its a pretty poor job. Didn’t impress me on bit. Try harder next time.

Stranger on the phone: I was not looking to impress you by the way. How about I tell you what I want in a way that will make you see how serious we are. (a scream and cry rent the air followed by a loud bang then silence)

MeElaaaaaaaaaa!!! (Silence) 

There was no movement. My heartbeat increased even as tears filled my eyes. What could have happened? What unfolded before my very on ears. What if they shot Ela. So many thoughts. So many feelings. Beyond broken. I wanted to teleport and find the Ela. Then deal a great deal of harm to anyone who harmed her.

Two Hours Later………………………………………………………………………………………..

 The silence on the end of the line was too loud. I frantically tried to call back the number but all my efforts proved futile. I could only hope. I could only hope. Then a sigh of hope. This time in a voice. A voice of the one I love. Nasra. For a moment it would seem that I was navigating through the myriad of emotions alone. She was right there beside me. She had this calm-in-the-middle-of-a-storm kind of face even while my emotions gravitated from one level to another. I fought tears. I fought my fears even as the ugly emotions rend through my atmosphere. She knew it when I was at my end. She knew it when I had gotten to my limit. That’s when she spoke. ‘My Love, I believe Ela is still alive. They always do that to scare you. When you  have been broken beyond words, it is easy to manipulate you. But stay focused. They will soon find out who they are and where they are. I have a couple of friends around you know.’ 

 “I have a couple of friends around you know,” That was a disturbing statement. What did Nasra know that I didn’t? Why has she been uncomfortably calm while I went through anguish? Or was it a statement she said to comfort me? Did she mean those words? Was I a target of some terror cell that Nasra knew about and I didn’t? Did I just take a jump from the fire into the neck of the fire razed wood? Ela! My silent whisper to the open heavens, in the searing heat that Dubai had. Keep Ela Safe! I said fighting tears, rage and torment all at one go.

Mercy over Wrath….. My mercy prevails over my wrath. 

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———————————————To Be Continued——————————————————————

 

PS: Hello friends and followers. It’s been a great five months of rest, and getting the concepts I have for this series into actual writing. Its taken long. We had hoped to have a change in a few things (they will happen in due course) but for now we shall continue the mysterious pieces of thoughts from the Wisp’s mind. We hope that Gravestones will turn into something beyond writing as a blog post soon. For now we pick up the story from where we left off. You may want to start here first https://nanashianjeyo.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/gravestones-to-the-successors/ so that you can understand the story so far. I hope you guys will enjoy the second season of Gravestones. Thank you for the support. As usual, read, like, share and comment on the story. 

 

The Inception: Scores to Settle

PREVIOUSLY ON THE INCEPTION.

 Father Rosetti was startled on seeing the man who stood before him. His hands shook even as he handed out the elements of the Holy Communion to the mysterious man. The fear escalated too quickly that the dish bearing the elements fell on the floor forcing the altar-boys and the other priests to scamper to the altar in an attempt to salvage the shame. “Remember me?” the man asked. “Why are you acting as if you have seen a ghost?” He prodded further. “After the mass, I will be at that spot. Don’t you dare play games.” The man moved his coat to the side and an American Colt Revolver resting in state in its holster filled the view of Father Rosetti. The fight had began; but the simmering pot of war was threatening to boil over.

 

Emilio
Photo Credits: https://such-a-flirt.deviantart.com/

PLAZA DE PIACENZA, VERONA ITALIA (12 YEARS AGO)

Two fine young men arrived at the Plaza De Piacenza in Verona, Italy on that cold chilly Thursday afternoon. The sea was rough in its gentleness. The grandeur of the majestic rock falls formed as the angry waves crashed their emotions on to the seemingly resistant walls. The walls only held much. With time they let go of their strongest side allowing the waves to carve a way into the inside that was hard, cold and somewhat unbothered. It was on the cliff that remained standing that the 16th Century Italian explorers put out this marvel that would later become the Plaza De Piacenza. The place maintained its 16th Century look, only with a touch of modernity that made it more appealing to the younger generation. It was its pristine but chaotic scenery that attracted the two young men from the South.

 One of these young men was an affluent business merchant. This is the kind of human that had never tasted poverty in his life. He was born into an already prospering monopoly. He was stinking rich. Currency had a fragrance that shone bright and smelled nice. His name; Felipe Alberto Caciani. The brightest star among the stars from Sicily. Felipe was still humble. Never would you see him pass up an opportunity to help out a person in need. He was gifted in discernment. He knew those who were opportunistic and lazy. He also knew those who were genuinely in need and these he would teach how to fish so that they wouldn’t have to ask for fish again. Felipe was the crush of so many Sicilian ladies. It was not uncommon for ladies to look for an opportunity to say hello with dotted pink faces because Felipe was a hunk.

 The other person who checked into the Plaza De Piacenza was also a fine young man. He spotted what was uncommon for his peers; a bald head, with a symmetrically trimmed and arranged beard. He left an aroma of the original Paco Rabbane’s Invictus even as he walked into the restaurant. His name was Rosetti. Full names, Danielle Rosetti Giuseppe. He had a very clear agenda that day. Take something that was worth it. Rosetti had grown up in the back streets of Citadella. He was trained in the art of street fights. He had probably killed more people than he could remember. He was wanted in three Italian Cities; Citadella, Sicily and Torino, all for crimes that left so many people in pain, anguish and loss. The classic story of The Weeping Widows of Citadella was told in remembrance of the many husbands that lost their lives owing to an attack at sea with Rosetti as the mastermind. He was here because of something. No one except him knew what he wanted.

 He conveniently took his seat across Felipe. He ordered a drink. A double tot of The Italian Malt Whiskey. He took a sip and his face contoured even as the drink began its journey towards his stomach. He kept staring at Felipe’s date as if he had intentions to try and topple the “government” of the day. He was his target. Felipe was the bait. The unidentified lady would be collateral damage. There was more that met the eye. When a man has nothing to lose he will gain whatever scraps that would remain.

 Unaware to Rosetti was that Felipe may have been a hunk, but he was a dangerous man. The fact that he was with a date didn’t mean he took his security light. Spread evenly around the restaurant were several armed mafia that were attached to his fast growing business empire. Rosetti will soon find out that he doesn’t know who he was dealing with. He took his final long sip of his drinking with the face contouring akin to someone who had taken a tot of bile from an aged buffalo.

 “May I have a word with you, Felipe?” said a visibly intoxicated Rosetti. “I won’t take ‘hic’ much of your time Sir.” “I know you are a busy man and a (looks at the unidentified lady) ladies man. I won’t take much of your time, I promise.” Felipe looked perturbed but kept unreasonable calm even as he read the sinister motives that were spewing out of Rosetti’s intoxicated stupor. “I don’t think you want to talk to me in that state. I have been here on a date and I realised how infatuated or perplexed you were with me. State your business or prepare to get winged.” The calm before the storm had been disrupted. A loud bang and pandemonium followed. The sirens from the Italian Police vehicles and ambulances….

THE PRESENT: THE POST; CITADELLA

‘Do you remember what you took from me, Father Rosetti… or should I say Don Giuseppe?’ asked Don Felipe. Rosetti was shell shocked. The images of that occurrence 12 years ago lingered fresh in his mind. The bullet intended for the young Felipe instead cut short Virginia’s life. Felipe had vowed to find the man who had been incarcerated by the police and escaped from the Bari Maximos Prison into Citadella where he has been enjoying a double life as a mafia head and the head priest. Don Giuseppe for the first time cowered as the hunter had been hunted down and become part of the prey.  “You took my love from me, and everyday I kept praying for the day I would find you. I thank the gods, I have found you. Before anything, Why? What were you after?” Rosetti remained tight-lipped. He hadn’t uttered a word since the benediction at the church. For once Rosetti had found his match. This wasn’t going to end well.

 “I… I….,” stuttered Rosetti. Speak like a man. “Speak like the man who shot my Virginia.” taunted Felipe. That day you were really confident under the influence. See your life now. You started something. I get to finish. I get to end the game that you thought you were the only one better at. You disgust me you pathetic-excuse-of-a-double life-living coward.” Not even Felipe’s handlers had ever seen seething red with anger. If Felipe wasn’t stopped, his anger would tip over and cause untold anguish. Kneel! He uttered to Rosetti. 

 

Don Felipe


BREAKING NEWS!!!!! FATHER ROSETTI IS DEAD.

 Boom!! A loud band rent through the air. A lifeless body fell on the ground. A song of jubilation began to fill the air even as the news began to travel through Citadella. To kill a snake, you go for its head. The head had been taken out. To date, nobody knows who did it. Felipe’s handlers say it wasn’t his gun that killed Rosetti. Some say it was Graciella who wanted to avenge for the assassination attempt. Others say it was Don Emilio who wanted to correct the wrongs of the man he called Father. Whoever did it, we shall never know. All we know is that Scores were settled.

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The Inception: The Mystery Man from Sicily

PREVIOUSLY ON THE INCEPTION!!!!

Emilio stepped out to make a call, “Hello…… Don Felipe…. We have a small problem…. Yes… About Don Giuseppe and El-toro….. Shot my wife three days ago….. She survived….. Yes… That would be in order… Just six men…… To kill the snake, cut off the head…. Yessss… I really appreciate…… “

The other unwritten rule in the Mafia world was ‘Attieniti alla tua corsia’ (Stick to Your Lane). This simply meant that Dons kept off each other’s affairs. Where intervention was needed, it was in the form of long negotiations that involved some “friendly-fire” with each Don sacrificing a ‘weaker’ member of their empire. That was unwritten. No one really went against that rule. For Senor Emilio to request the services of Don Felipe, to challenge Don Giuseppe was a tall order. This was an unprecedented act of war that Senor Emilio had declared in Cittadella. There were two challenges. One, Senor Emilio didn’t have the “numbers” on his side. El-Toro was a war machinery. They had foot soldiers everywhere in Cittadella and any act against them will be silenced even before the moribund, shell-shocked and lethargic City Police would get wind of the incident. This was so evident in the way the police department to abduction cases. It was almost the assumption that the ones abducted especially by El-Toro Mafia never see the light of the next day. The rot in the police was so pronounced especially owing to the fact that they offered a reward to anyone who would help recover dead bodies of those abducted from whatever hell hole in Cittadella.

Two, the leader of the El-Toro Mafia, Don Giuseppe was more feared than respected. He is a man that literally decided who lived and who died. He wasn’t blood-thirsty! He was more interested in how many subjects were loyal to him regardless of how that loyalty came. Whether blood was spilled or not, that was the least of concerns to Don Giuseppe. He wanted to be feared. That gave him the liberty to have a double life as both priest and mafia head. Those who raised their voices to protest ended up filling the Cittadella cemetery with corpses. Dirges dominated the songs at the square. There was a family that always lost someone at Cittadella to the dark hounds of the Cittadella Mafia; El Toro. There was a son whose life was decided by either being a priest of being a member of the Mafia. There many peasant farmers that ended with losses and groanings from the anguish the mafia had caused. The hope for redemption had come in the name of one who defied all the odds to come back and fight for their rights. His name; Senor Emilio.

Senor Emilio, or the proverbial prodigal son needed to make a huge statement. He was after the head of his own ‘father’ and there was nothing that would stop him from getting this done. He awaited the six gladiators that would arrive later on that evening to execute the plan. The mafia needed to know there is a new Don in town. The son of Cittadella had stopped being a boy, and in his place he was a man. A man that was ready to redeem a fearful people. Don Felipe’s elite guard landed at the port at dusk and strutted away to El-Ideo Resort where Senor Emilio was waiting for them. After the greetings they took a walk to Emilio’s home where they had the chance to meet with Graciella who was more than glad to prepare homemade pizza for them. At the midnight hour, the plan to execute Operation Snake Head Off earnestly began. One of the six gladiators passed a sealed envelope to Senor Emilio.

The inscriptions on the face of the envelope would definitely scare anyone. Boldly written “Confidenziale” and sealed overleaf with the seal of Don Felipe, Emilio’s heart must have missed a beat. The message was brief and to the point. It read.

Senor Emilio,

Don’t go for Don Giuseppe tonight. I arrive in the morning and I want to personally take the head of the snake out. Your work is to capture him. There are few questions I have for him. He took something that belonged to me and my soul can’t find rest until this is accomplished. Grace and Peace,

Don Felipe

Don Felipe


“Why would the Don be interested in a man that has caused an entire city sleepless nights? Why would he not want me to pursue my original mission of getting the snake’s head off?” Emilio wondered even as he put my head to rest beside his beloved wife Graciella. It was a lonely cold night as his head was deep in that why thought. The silence that covered the room was too loud that Graciella’s heartbeat and gentle breath even as she slept could be heard from across the room. Emilio stretched my hand in a futile attempt to try and find solace in her arms but she shrugged him off. Clearly it was going to be a long cold night. He got off the bed and took the note from Don Felipe and headed to the balcony even as he glanced to the twinkling sky of Citadella. The night was long. His ability to find sleep was even more elusive.

Emilio briefly left the balcony to his study. Graciella could sense what was about to happen. She waited until Emilio had settled then took her gown and followed Emilio to the study. “Baby, alcohol will never give you what you were looking for.” said Graciella even as she looked at Emilio from the door. Emilio put down the whisky cask and looked at his wife, tears filled in his eyes. “I don’t know what I would do if you hadn’t survived. I am so afraid of losing you,” said an extremely broken voice. “The One who brought us together, is the only person who can take me away from you. Put down that drink. It’s one o’clock in the morning and I hate it that you are awake.” Graciella retorted. She then proceeded to sing Ave Maria, a song she knew would get to the core of Emilio.

Emilio poured his heart out to Graciella. She never seemed to be cowed by the fact that Emilio spoke of his deepest fears about their marriage and the gun incident with Don Giuseppe. He fell into a deep sleep as soon as his heart was empty on Graciella’s lap. Sometimes, all he needed was that person to listen to his deepest thoughts. Graciella looked at her peaceful-yet-in-chaos husband sleep. He remembered her Nona’s words. Your husband is your firstborn son. You need to know how to handle him at his lowest moments.” She chuckled at her sleeping hunk. The man who was re-born a few weeks back. From a fence sitter to an “Uncommon Gentleman.”


Good Morning.

Good Morning Citadella… Senors and Senoritas, this is Rai Radio Breakfast with me Senor Perotti on 87.6 Fm, broadcasting live from the Don Pazzini Square, Citadella. It’s a great chilly morning around the country save for a few areas that are already celebrating summer. Our great residents of Citadella have to wait a little longer to celebrate summer because it is quite overcast with highs of 13 and lows of 7. We expecting lots of traffic to and from the port as the town welcomes merchants from Sicily. Let’s get into the music and first off the playlist is Bruno Mars’ That’s What I like. We shall be back with more stories including sports and business news after the music break!”

That was the proper wake up call for the still sleepy Emilio who received his good morning kiss from the wife and his two children who were ready for school. Graciella saw them off as Emilio looked on from the balcony. There was quite some activity on the pathway as school children bid farewell to their parents, the fishmongers in a haste to the port, a few police on the cowardly patrols and a swarm of people headed to the Santa Bernadette Chapel for the morning mass. It was baffling that the man that was to conduct mass was the same man who raised terror by the night. The man who was responsible for the high number of widows in Citadella was about to issue the benediction for the day after the morning mass. Among the attendees was a man who had a score to settle. He quietly sat among the pews. He watched even as the faithfuls went to receive the Holy Communion. Just as the last person was about to receive the elements, he stood up and made his way towards Father Rosetti.

Father Rosetti was startled on seeing the man who stood before him. His hands shook even as he handed out the elements of the Holy Communion to the mysterious man. The fear escalated too quickly that the dish bearing the elements fell on the floor forcing the altar-boys and the other priests to scamper to the altar in an attempt to salvage the shame. “Remember me?” the man asked. “Why are you acting as if you have seen a ghost?” He prodded further. “After the mass, I will be at that spot. Don’t you dare play games.” The man moved his coat to the side and an American Colt Revolver resting in state in its holster filled the view of Father Rosetti. The fight had began; but the simmering pot of war was threatening to boil over.


PULVERISING GOLGOTI: Uno

If anything Moshe needed on that day, it was an assurance that justice will be served. There had been very many undertones about the ruling that was to be delivered by the Chief Justice and President of Golgoti’s Supreme Court, Dr. Nyungula wa Simba. The case had dragged on till the coup-d’etat that caused electoral and judicial reforms and agitated for the change in the constitution of the land. While these reforms were everything that the little known state in the middle of the continent of Zakunda, they came at a bloody cost. Lives were lost; children left orphaned, and worse the cases of looting of businesses. The worst though was the rampant abuse of women sexually. This is unfortunately the category that Moshe found herself on that day. This is her story.

“Men!!!!!” she said even as she wiped her tears. She was only sixteen then. She was at home for the weekend when the coup happened. The most heart wrenching period of her life was about to unfold in before her very own eyes. While Golgoti was a really tiny country, it was deeply divided along tribal lines. The Mendi were the majority, with the Lubini and Tsentse as the minority. The deposed leader was from the minority Tsentse. He had brought the country to its knees owing to wanton corruption and excessive looting of the public coffers. His name was Alhaji Nakai Mumoli. This despot suspended the constitution and had plans to make the presidency his family affair. That did not go down well with the rest of the country. The Mendi Lubini united decided to come together in what we could consider as an “Alliance of Convenience” owing to the fact that they never liked the ruling elite.

“It was a calm Saturday. No school for me and my siblings. We were pounding yam with my mother outside before our father screamed from the house. We all rushed into the house to find out the cause of the hub-bub. There we saw BREAKING NEWS!! ALHAJI HAS BEEN OVERTHROWN in a coup and the stand in generals from the Mendi led faction of the army had taken control of the country.” Moishe paused. She stepped out of the room to pick a call. I sat there wondering if I should proceed with the interview…. Oops.. I hadn’t introduced myself. My name is Graca Elnatas. I work for Channel 11 News and Moshe’s story had featured in the news even as the entire country waited for the ruling. Moshe invited us to her world and we weren’t sure how to respond. She wanted to put her story out there.

While I waited for her to return, I stood up and fixed a cup of coffee which I hurriedly sipped. I fixed a second cup and remained at the coffee maker to ask if she needed any. She returned and took her seat. She looked disturbed more than before. I was ready to call off the interview as I respected her emotions and having witnessed first hand the trauma that sexual abuse victims go through, her life was more important than my stories for broadcast. She remained glued to her phone before taking a deep breath. She wanted to go on with her interview. I asked if she wanted coffee. Black Coffee, two spoonfuls of sugar. I fixed her cup and brought it to her. There was an awkward long silence because I realized how much this was a deep and painful moment for her. She had carried this for so long.

Moshe continued from where she left. “The coup was an initial blessing. We were all in full jubilation because a despot had been deposed. Our joy was however short-lived because within three days Golgoti was a war zone. My father is from a different country. My mother is a half tribe Mendi & Mandinka. That makes me be of a different identity. We received leaflets warning us of our continued stay in Golgoti. My father managed to get a truck that was to ferry us from our home into neighbouring Juffure. From Juffure we would know what next. Unfortunately as our truck maneuvered the terrain it was overrun by the rebels from the deposed regime. I was taken captive. Taken captive by the men who caused the country to go down that broken road.” Moshe paused once more. I could sense how tough this was. She had narrated the parts that seemed to have light from her story. “You don’t have to continue speaking if this is too hard for you, Moshe.” I thought to myself. There was another awkward silence… This time one with really tearful moments.

I was supposed to be the strong one. Humanity took over. I embraced Moshe even as she sobbed and cried. Her voice showed the pain she had been through. After a long embrace, Moshe asked me to sit down. She wanted to speak about her darkest moments. I made two more cups of coffee and handed one to her. She let out a deep sigh before resuming her story. “Graca, there are really awesome men out there. However there are real animals that are on the prowl. The men who abducted me, took me to a rebel camp where I was thrown into an abandoned room under lock and key. The only time that I saw the door open was when I had to go to take a bath or use the toilet. The door briefly flew open when the rebels remembered to feed me. I wasn’t the only woman in the camp. There were scores of other women whom I later came to understand had grown insensitive to abuse. They had gotten used to what I was to face. One of the afternoons, the former Minister for Justice happened to see me under guard as I was going to the bathroom. He literally ogled at me in a very inappropriate way. Then when I curled up in my holding cell, he together with scores of other government officials forced their way into the cell and began the abuse. I was still a minor, but it didn’t matter to them. I was there to be used to their satisfaction. 

Moshe poured her tears accompanied by her words. “How else was I to react? That evening became the first of many that I would be abused by the men at the camp. To them I was nothing but a play toy. To them I was an object of their using. No one really cared about me. Several nights, and even days. I grew numb. I forgot what it was to feel like a human being.” “What made them stop?” I asked. “When another young girl who was slightly older than me was brought in. That didn’t stop immediately. On some nights both of us were abused. On others one of us was thrown out for the other to be abused. Outside, the guards also preyed on us. There was no place that we would be safe. No man was different to us. Due to the torment that we had gone through, I knew the day my freedom came when the Golgota Navy broke into the camp and rescued us. The aftermath is the most painful to deal with. 


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>To be continued<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

NB: This story is purely fictional. All resemblances of names, persons and even experiences are purely coincidental. Secondly, The Wisp writes from a deeply broken heart over how society has accepted the Rape culture especially when it happens to someone else. There is a tendency to blame the victim for their tribulations. Worse the system is made in a way that justice is rare when served. Three, sympathisers of those who condone the Rape Culture are on the high. As men, we realise that we have the opportunity to speak out about Rape. Taking advantage of someone is rape. Unless consented, No means No. Sex is not a matter of life and death that you have to force yourselves on someone. Stop the Rape Culture. Speak Out. 

The Wisp. 

#EndRapeCulture #StopRapeCulture.

 

The Inception: Emilio’s Awakening

The gunshot rent through the quiet, rainy evening in Cittadella. There was a loud piercing scream that got to the inner ears of Emilio. He was sure of two things; one, the direction from where the scream came from and two, the owner of the voice. The direction was La Graciella Pizzeria. The owner of the voice; Graciella. At once he stopped playing checkers with his buddies Pervotti and Berlusconi. That was his last day of being a sissy and the first of him becoming a man. He was on the verge of another victory when all this happened. He knew right away that he needed to take a stand.

Emilio
Photo Credits: https://such-a-flirt.deviantart.com/


By walking away from the convent, Emilio knew his journey had just began. He never went back to the house because the wrath of his father Don Giuseppe would be erupting, akin to Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There was an unwritten rule at the Giuseppe’s household. Either you become a priest and die after being shot by the mafia, or you become a mafia and die after being shot by both the mafia members, rival mafia groups or the moribund police of Cittadella. He chose to head further south to a coastal city of Sicily. There he was sure to lead a quiet life pursuing his interests in being a merchant just like his dead parents were. He was also hopeful that someday he would meet her.

Life settled to be one giant mess for Emilio. He had to brave through the first few weeks being a homeless person in Sicily. He went from pier to pier asking for work even if it meant cleaning the merchant ships that docked onto the majestic pre-industrial port of Sicily. He was lucky to be paid when he did such errands. What appealed to him more was the fact that he was working and earning a honest living albeit meagre. One of the ship owners by the name Don Felipe took a liking in Emilio and his diligence and honesty. Even when the other merchants mistreated him he was calm and never complained. When Emilio came to ask for work to clean one of the ships that had docked, Don Felipe obliged and quietly watched Emilio clean from the distance.

Don Felipe was filled with compassion whenever he saw Emilio clean. He never asked for more than the 30 pesos that was the standard charge for cleaning merchant ships. Emilio would clean and pass by the Don to alert him that He had finished cleaning. The Don tried without success to find more information about Emilio who seemed distant and disinterested in any conversation that wasn’t work related. One day, Don Felipe dispatched Mauro, his trusted right hand man to follow Emilio from a distance to find out where he stayed and who he hanged out with. Mauro returned with a distressing report for the Don whose heart was moved beyond words.


Two Weeks Later.

Emilio showed up to clean the merchant ships at the pier but was surprised to find that Don Felipe was present despite none of his ships docked at the yard. He was almost turning to make his way to the other ships before Don Felipe signalled him to come over to him. Emilio wasn’t the talking type unless he really understood or trusted you. The conversation was mainly filled with Don Felipe asking the questions and Emilio responding, sometimes in monosyllabic answers that really annoyed the Don. Will you clean ships all your life?” a visibly annoyed Don Felipe asked. Emilio paused for a second before giving Don Felipe the most absurd answer. “If you only understood the troubles that I have gone through in life, you will want to leave me alone.” Emilio knew that he needed help. The only problem, is that the Cittadella lifestyle taught him from childhood that a man is supposed to solve his problems without the intervention of others. That however didn’t deter Don Felipe as he ended up convincing Emilio to open up further.

The end of the talks resulted in a firm and respectable handshake between the Don and Emilio. From that day he stopped cleaning ships; instead he had an empire that he was to manage. Better pay, better living conditions; Emilio’s star had just began to rise. That would be the first day of his life in the southern city of Sicily. He was a charismatic manager. The ship crew always loved the way he treated them and the young men who came to clean the ships. Don Felipe smiled at how much good fortune Emilio had brought his way. He had seen the industrious nature in the young lad and he was ready to spend whatever it took to have him in his empire. Don Felipe saw Emilio as a future Don and a merchant with his own fleet of ship. He was ready to invest in the young lad to ensure he had that chance of success.


Caught by a Flower….

There was no ship expected in the dockyard that weekend owing to the rough state of the Mediterranean sea. All vessels had docked at the nearest ports on the instruction of the Sicilian Maritime Authority. This was a blessing in disguise because it gave Emilio a chance to survey up market Sicily. As he walked into one of the stores he was met with a voice as beautiful as he could remember. His memories took him back to Cittadella. The Chapel of Santa Bernadette where he first heard that voice. The voice that lit up his life when he was meant to light up the candles in readiness for the evening mass. She was at the city square this time in Sicily. Singing the same song Ave Maria to a rousing reception and deafening ululation by all those who came to see her.

Emilio drew closer. He needed to be sure it was her. It was over four years since they last saw each other. She had grown more beautiful. Her voice had even become more renown thanks to the posters that had her images all over. She had a different stage name then; Rosalida. Her performances drew crowds. She had made her name on the open squares and the operas. This was to be her final performance in Sicily because she was about to commence a tour of Rome, Venezia, Milano and Turin before bringing the curtains down to the World Opera Festival in Madrid, Spain at the end of the year.

Their eyes met. It felt like those days at the temple where young Emilio would sit to listen to her speak about how sick her Nonna was. They had grown fond then. As the square cleared, Emilio softly said Graciella, and she could only muffle a smile before softly saying Padre. They embraced. It was a dream come true for both of them. She found her Padre. He found her Graciella. The love story blossomed even as she prepared to go on tour. They agreed to get married as soon as she was back from tour.


The Present……

Don Giuseppe had shot the wrong woman. Emilio felt the pain in her scream. He quickly left his friends, who were startled by his sudden and abrupt move. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him. He went round the corner akin to Yohan Blake sprinting his way into the 200 Meters sprint gold. He pushed anyone out of his way, jumping a couple of trenches and tables straight into the restaurant. He almost toppled over the Don whose pistol had caused the deadly sound. Graciella lay unconscious and needed medical attention as fast as possible. Their two children Chrisette & Benoni watched as their mother fought hard for her life. It would take a miracle for Graciella to survive. As the medics and police cleared the way to have Graciella evacuated to hospital, there was a deep anger that boiled in Emilio. He walked beside the stretcher carrying his unconscious wife to the ambulance. The faster she got to hospital, the faster her life could be saved. He let go. Taking Chrisette and Benoni with him, he took another car to hospital. Following the ambulance closely as it navigated the thin Cittadella streets, he kept assuring his already terrified children that mama would be okay.

Graciella was taken in for emergency surgery to remove the bullet lodged in her left chest cavity. The doctors said it was a miracle that she was alive. That was great news as within three days she was able to regain consciousness. Emilio was moved to tears on hearing her speak again. He tried to make her smile using his own version of Ave Maria in baritone but she wasn’t that impressed. “You have to do something about El-Toro and how they make our pizzeria front their meeting point.” said Graciella. Emilio responded, “I am sorry Mi Amor I didn’t take you serious the first time you mentioned this problem. I should have taken the initiative to ensure you are safe above everything. This ends today. They will no longer be a threat to you or any other person in Cittadella. The man had woken up. This was time for war.

Emilio stepped out to make a call, “Hello…… Don Felipe…. We have a small problem…. Yes… About Don Giuseppe and El-toro….. Shot my wife three days ago….. She survived….. Yes… That would be in order… Just six men…… To kill the snake, cut off the head…. Yessss… I really appreciate…… “


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>TO BE CONTINUED<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Gravestones: To The Successors

Previously on Gravestones………………………………….

I wheeled Nasra on the wheel-chair to the pier as it was getting cooler and more bearable to stay outside. I sat on the edge with her facing the same direction as I. We talked for what seemed like ages as she told me of her encounter with Elohim. I was really humbled to hear this experience as it affirmed my belief in Him. It was soon sunset and moments that bring tears are those that involve nature.

Me: I wanted to ask you about something.

Nasra: Go ahead. I am all ears.

Me: We have walked life together for the last 10 years. I am fortunate to have a woman like you by my side. That said, there comes a time a man faces his future and commands it into his present. God being my witness, how about we take this to another level? Will you be the one, The One has allowed me to know in that intimate, true and honest way?

Nasra: (Fighting tears) Anjeyo….. Yes I will…. (embrace) Yes I will. I have waited for this day for a really long time. Just like He said you will do.


Emily Chesang Sawe! April 2016.

The morning began in a frantic fashion. My friends and I began the journey to Kapsabet. It was our first official visit to the home that Emily was born into. It was a scary yet exciting journey that we were looking forward to. Emily’s father, Mr. Ezekiel Sawe was particularly eager to meet with me owing to the friendship that we had build over time that we courted with Emily. We had attended to him when he was hospitalised a few months back. Seeing Elohim take care of his health and healing him completely brought real joy in our hearts. Before setting off we took a moment to thank God for every single moment we had lived. We also asked Him to grant us the journey mercies even as we embarked on highway A104 to Nabkoi off the Eldoret-Nakuru highway. My band of brothers, Brian, Charles, Kago and Victor together with my best friend and crime partner Abdeel set off with the van, a Toyota Hiace 7L. Abdeel and I occupied the cock-pit with Brian and the rest enjoying the customized 7-seater van with reclining seats. It was really extra. We stopped at my favorite Shell petrol station at Mountain Mall to fill van with diesel. With No speed limiter, we anticipated that we shall be in Nabkoi by around noon.

Our journey was uneventful for most of the part. We had already done shopping for what we were going to give Emily’s parents. We added a few farm fresh produce on the way and at around half past eleven, we were at the Nabkoi junction. I spoke to Emily’s elder brother Terer who sent me a google pin for directions. Their home was not far from the junction to the road to Nandi Hills from Lessos. At about noon we pulled up to the homestead, to be received in song and dance by the women who had prepared to receive us. Abdeel, who is from the Kalenjin community had advised us on how to respond to the welcoming message from the family. This was not a negotiation ceremony. It was basically my friends and I visiting the home to make known of my intentions with Emily.

Emily’s Dad received us with humility. He ushered us into the living room where he commended us for being there on time, and asked us to feel at home. The whole house was filled with joy and color evident in the reception that we received. Emily’s Dad and Uncles joined the party and we were served with a great deal of starters. From tea to groundnuts. The old me would have dived in with all the hunger. Thanks to Abdeel’s guidance, we all embarked on the feeding with decorum because we know that after the tea comes the main course. The main course needs space. Conversations around the cups of tea revolved around current affairs and a little of banter concerning the Kenyan Premier League. It was beautiful that all these conversations were all from free hearts. The best thing yet is that we also spoke about the Word of God and the journey that this Word has shaped us to be.

We soon moved onto the business of the day, having set the atmosphere through a time of prayer and fellowship. We left the living room to the more cooler verandah where Emily’s Dad and two of his brothers had seats arranged with Abdeel, Brian and myself sitting in the middle. “Why do you want to marry our daughter?” asked Emily’s Dad. I paused for a moment before I spoke. “I want to marry your daughter, because above everything, God has led us to each other for a purpose that is beyond us. For a second everyone looked perplexed with my answer. One of the uncles to Emily shot straight, “Why did you first talk about God?” I answered confidently that before we even existed, He was. Before we knew about us, He knew. Before we could even love ourselves and each other, He loved us first. Everything, our friendship, courtship and life in Holy Matrimony is all in Him; a perfect part of His will for Emily and I. “Do you love Emily?” asked the other uncle. “Yes, I love Emily.” For a few seconds there was another round of silence. Emily’s dad continued asking further questions about my walk, and my plans for Emily. He also engaged my friends Brian and Abdeel. After about an hour of fruitful and life changing conversations, he prayed with us before calling Emily to join us.

We didn’t talk on phone about our outfits for the day, but when Emily came to the room, accompanied by her mother and grandmother, there was total agreement that indeed this was God’s plan. She had the same African Print material as my shirt. Her grandmother spoke a blessing even as she saw that moment of oneness. Her dad asked Emily about me and everything that I had said about the journey that we had walked in life for the past two years. Emily answered her dad in humility and that oneness of purpose was evident. Emily’s mum was moved to tears. It was quite emotional first seeing the matching African print, and even the answers that Emily had given. The prayers were made. Blessings from heaven. Blessings from the parents that we were free to pursue life together. It was soon time to enjoy the meals that had been excellently prepared. We sat with Emily and enjoyed the meal together.

Soon, it was almost time to depart the home. We presented the gifts and fresh produce that we had prepared before leaving for Luanda. We exchanged our moments and set off for my hometown. We would spend the night there before leaving on Monday for the city as it was a public holiday. Brian, Charles, Victor and Kago had had the fun of the day learning Kalenjin. They had also enjoyed time listening to my father-in-law to be who was very generous with his words of wisdom. We had gotten Emily. Part of the reason for us going to Luanda was to inform my parents so that we could start planning for Emily’s visit which was to be in two weeks. The other reason was my friends had the opportunity to visit my home prior to the visit that Emily was to make within two weeks. It was an opportunity to also visit my parents and fellowship with them in the season that we were coming to.


Manda Bay: The Present.

gypsy_by_desert_winds-d7eitdw

The best news today was Nasra being given clearance by the head of the infirmary to proceed home. The beautiful challenge though was where was her home? General Hall was a very resourceful person. He had managed to use the United States Security Protocol to establish contact with Nasra’s biological parents who had not heard from her in over ten years. Her first skype call with her mother and father was everything that stirred all emotions. She literally cried when her mother exclaimed Mashallah when her daughter appeared on the call. She obviously couldn’t hide the fact that she had given up hope of seeing her daughter alive when she went to Somalia with her departed fiance. Nasra’s dad on the other hand was too shocked to even say a word. He could only nod in agreement when Nasra told them she survived. They wanted her to fly out to the UK as soon as she could. That was a dilemma for Nasra.

Her dilemma was for the fact that her parents were staunch Muslims and Nasra had just converted into a different faith. Second of all, she was in love; in love with a man she had survived 10 years running to the point of finding solace and safety in his own country. Third she was disconnected from the rest of the world for the best part of that ten years. Now her parents want her to fly to the UK. The state of her engagement to Anjeyo was in jeopardy. “What should I do now?” she asked herself. How am I to do all these at a go? The only remedy for the above is to pray. That was her solace. Speaking to Elohim was her only solace.

It was even more difficult for me to accept the fact that my journey to Luanda in the next few days would be heart wrenching. There was an unmarked grave somewhere in my village home containing ‘remains’ of me buried six feet under. My parents had received compensation from the defence forces as part of the procedure that the military has. That money would not bring a dead person back, but it would help a family at least pick up the pieces. General Hall arranged for counselling for both Nasra and I as it was not going to be a walk in the park for the society to accept us back. Our African societies feared death. Being declared dead and then showing up alive would send the entire village into a frenzy. It would be akin to seeing a walker from The Walking Dead or an Awakened Being from Claymore. Nonetheless these journeys were an important part of our lives and we had no option but to take them.


Ebusiralo Village! Luanda Sub-County, Vihiga County. 19th May 2027

The furore that the SA 330 (J) Puma helicopter caused on landing at Ebusiralo Primary School field remains a folklore that will be told to generations and generations to come. Some say, the last time a helicopter landed in my village, the then opposition supremo The Late Michael Kijana Wamalwa was on a vote hunting mission. Since then, no flying objects, both identified and unidentified have never been sighted in the village. Other people say in relation to that visit by Kijana Wamalwa, the risk of people attempting to hang on the chopper was real and hence most dignitaries opted to land in Kisumu or the nearby Mumboha Primary School and access my village using the road.

Sud-Aviation-SA330-puma

The second time a chopper landed on Ebusiralo Primary School grounds, there was a heavy security contingent. Inside the SA 330 (J) Puma was a son of the village. Their son whose last communication with the village was through a whatsapp message to the father informing him about the victory over the insurgents on our first night in Somalia. The doors slid open and dressed in our military uniform, I stepped out. Like a detective on a thriller, I had my dark glasses on. These glasses hasd that macho look. Even the village’s evil eye couldn’t dare look because I would see them before they do their evil deed. There was a waiting Mercedes Benz E350 on standby to have me arrive home in style. The distance from the ground to the house was less than 1km. I told the head of security that I would walk home.

By this time, the village was slowly rasping into life. They had buried the guy who landed a few years back. He was alive. Alive and well. The few who dared came close and even extended a hand or two for a greeting before being thwarted by the security detail. We were soon at the gate and I gently pushed it in. Took that one deep confident breathe and began walking to what our house. It had stood the test of time. I saw one of my uncles who was out to have a smoke. The moment I took off my glasses was the last time he took a puff. Some say, that that was the last cigarette he took. My dad was behind the house listening to some Rhumba music. I didn’t want to startle him and so I sent the security guys to call him to the front. He was shocked, and couldn’t hold back tears when he saw me. I couldn’t hold my emotions and so I wailed and broke down as I embraced the man I last saw 10 years ago. He held me for the longest time. He had missed me. He had seen his dead son alive once more. I asked of my mother, sisters and daughter Melanie. He assured me that he would tell that to me as soon as we got into the house.

My mum had gone to the market and the phone-call from dad asking her to come home was the best thing to her. Seeing dad tell her that our son is alive almost broke my heart. Dad also informed me of Melanie’s scholarship. She was studying aeronautical engineering in Dublin, Ireland. My two sisters had all been married and had awesome families based on the pictures I saw on Dad’s tablet. My mother was also shocked to accept that I was alive. The village priest was quickly notified and he showed up with the tools to perform a ritual to have me accepted back to the village. That ritual involved flattening of the supposed grave that I was ‘buried’ in. I also informed them of Nasra, and the plans that I had with her as soon as she returns to Kenya from the UK.


Birmingham, (West Midlands) United Kingdom, February 2028

The winter chill was not the best to encounter for someone who had never experienced the cold weather in life. When Nasra and her parents said that today is a tad warm with temperatures at 4 degrees, they must have been out of their mind. To do weather forecasting was not the reason I had flown to the UK. Nasra’s dad who had never approved of our engagement had summoned me to meet him over the same. I was at peace, yet scared as I didn’t know what to anticipate. Had he had a change of heart? There was only one way to find this out. Accepting the invitation to The Cannon Hill Park. Nasra’s dad had invited both Nasra and I for tea.

Have you ever gone for a meeting where you had an idea of what to expect in terms of the hardline stance that had you back and forth for months? Me neither! This was a first. What would Nasra’s Dad say? He had issues with Nasra’s new found faith. It perplexed him that Nasra would not accompany them to the mosque on Friday. It further perplexed him when Nasra started to meet other young people at the cathedral for what she referred to as fellowship. What was he going to say to us?

We got to The Cannon Hill Park with our heartbeats in synchrony akin to a West African tom-tom drum in a Mandinka Cultural Festival. We asked Elohim for His will in this meeting. Nasra’s Father received us in one of the most surprising ways. He embraced Nasra, before ignoring my handshake and instead ushering me to a reassuring and comforting hug. Was this a sign? I asked myself even as he released me from the hug. He asked us to sit, before signalling a waitress to attend to our table. Mr. Abdul-Ghafur Salim Abeid was his name. A citizen of the United Kingdom. A resident of Beles Qoqani in Somalia. He took a sip of his tea with precision, savoring every ingredient in the tea. He gave that satisfied look as soon as he had downed the first cup. Why do want to Marry Nasra? I answered confidently, “I want to marry your daughter, because above everything, God has led us to each other for a purpose that is beyond us.”

Who is God to you? He asked again. This time it was Nasra who answered. Dad, Elohim is his name. He is the one who brought us out of the deathly hallows that we faced in Somalia. He is the one who has brought us alive back to you. He is the one who made this day possible. Mr. Abdul-Ghafur raised his left hand. Nasra went quiet. He looked me in the eye, before softly saying, Take care of Nasra. Take care of her even better than I did. You spent almost 10 years running in Somalia. You can only be happy if you two fulfil that purpose God gave you. You have my blessing son. Welcome to the Family Son. He stood up, walked to both Nasra and I and embraced us. That was it. That was it.


St. Francis ACK Karen, April 2028.

The convoy carrying the bridal team pulled up at the parking of the new sanctuary. The groomsmen made there way into the church greeted by cheers, jubilation and ululation. It was indeed a beautiful day. Even the sun knew how beautiful this day was that it did a self regulation on how much heat to radiate on that day. The vicar of St. Francis Rev. Dr. Izza Kalle made the announcement for the groom and the best man to join the rest of the groomsmen in-front of the church. As usual most people expected the kawaida walk-smile-and-wave-at the church move. That wasn’t me. Half way through the walk, the music hit and it was time to get that final dance as a bachelor. The team joined in as we finessed our moves into the formation for the bridal team to join us.

There she was. Leading her was her own sister Nazlin who brought the house down with her beautiful voice singing A moment like this by Leona Lewis. Electrifying considering how most of the congregants remained shocked, and had their jaws dropped as Nasra took her beautiful steps with precision and majesty. That moment, flanked by her mother and father she walked in smiling behind that veil. I couldn’t help but notice someone was cutting onions as all of a sudden my eyes were flooded. This was happening. This was finally happening.

Rev. Dr. Izza Kalle conducted the wedding ceremony in one of the most profound ways considering he walked with both Nasra and I in the run up to the wedding. He counselled us, prayed with us even when we felt like it was hard to carry on. He encouraged us to keep standing on our faith amidst the challenges that we faced. It was a joy when he pronounced us man and wife and we had the permission for that first kiss. Beautiful moments. Beautiful stories. Beautiful people. Everything in the end worked out for our good; for His Glory just like He said in His Word.

Once the festivities were done, we took our retreat away from the rest of the people and family to thank God for what he has done. Great things He did. Great things He will keep doing. We checked into the international departures section at JKIA as we waited to board the EK 721 to Dubai from where we could connect to Maldives. While we held hands, looking up to the sky, I saw Emily smiling down at me. She was happy I found rest and happiness in the journey of revenge. Our thoughts and lovey-dovey moments only interrupted by a call to my phone. Hello, Am I speaking to Anjeyo Erick? Yes, I answered. First of all, congratulations on your wedding. Am sure you don’t know who it is. There will be no need to know me. I have something precious that belongs to you. There was some struggle before a lady on the other end spoke.. Daddy, don’t let them take me away… Melanie…. That was Melanie… A gunshot. It was precise. It was was loud and deafening. Now you know we are not here to play. When you get to Dubai, you will get another call. Safe trip till then. Cha! Cha! Cha!!

The End.