By Victor Mwangi
He wishes he could run faster. He wants his legs to run faster. He has to run faster. His left hand swings weakly at his side. He is losing too much blood. He feels delirious. He wants to collapse in a heap and give up but he can’t. He will not. He has to get there. He has to. If this is his last day on earth, he wants to spend it alongside her. No, he tells himself, she has to be there. He trips on a bush that he hadn’t noticed before but he doesn’t fall down. He cannot fall down. He knows that if he does he will never wake up and he will never see her again. God would be unfair if he let that happen.
He tries to block everything that happened from his head. They’re all dead. But he soon will be as well. He knows it; he can feel it with every step he takes. His body is slowly but surely giving up. He doesn’t want to think about them. He will probably be with them very soon, asking each other what happened, and he will not be able to tell them what happened, but at least he will be able to tell them he is sorry he couldn’t protect them; couldn’t stop their hearts from stopping. They will understand; he isn’t God after all. They will be sad but they will understand.
Instead, what he wants to think about right now is her face. That face she makes when he gets drunk and tells everyone that she is his queen. It usually ends up with him and Moya fighting. You see, Moya is promised to marry Mwitu. That is her name. Moya never takes it lightly, nor does his father, who so happens to be the village elder. Usually, he loses. He isn’t blessed with very strong arms. And he has a way of convincing Moya that he is sorry; except it always happens when he gets drunk. He is in love with her; and Moya knows it. He knows it bothers Moya, but what can he do? And it doesn’t help when Moya tells him he deserves her more (after making him buy him more alcohol, of course). And to make it worse, somehow she always has a way of finding out when he fights with Moya. Then she scolds him and tells him that she isn’t his, right before she touches his face and tells him to stop picking fights he cant win. He thinks she secretly likes him.
The clan elders don’t approve either. But they don’t stop him. He killed a lion when he was eleven years of age. They all know he is by far their greatest prospect of all his peers. That doesn’t mean they never punish him. Last week he spent the day tied to a tree but they had to cut him lose with a warning when it got evident the Hawa were going to attack and raid them. Most of them know he will be an elder someday. But he cant help it. She isn’t the most beautiful girl in the village; her hips are not even that magnificent and her hair is even shorter than his. But he doesn’t care. He is in love with her. She has the most wonderful soul and her smile… God, her smile. And her kindness. Maybe in another life they could be together. Today for instance, she tried to beg him not to go for the hunt. He knew he didn’t have to go, but he knew his friends needed him even if they didn’t tell him so expressly.
He tries to focus on where he’s going but it is hard to forget people who were by your side barely ten minutes ago. The attack happened so unexpectedly. They expected one lion; but they were two. The second one, a lioness, jumped out from nowhere. They never had a chance, really. Seven severed necks later, they were all alone; he and Moya,who was bleeding profusely from his thigh. The lion must have cut through an artery. He tries to get Moya to safety but the lioness just keeps coming. And he has already spent his spear killing one lion. It is hopeless.
But Moya suddenly stops and tells him he needs him to survive, for the sake of both the community and Mwitu. He gives him the dagger that will prove to be the difference. Moya uses himself as bait; the lioness just can’t resist the blood. And when it jumps at them, it bites off a sizeable chunk of his left arm, but not before he drives the dagger deep into the creature’s heart. The lioness collapses in a heap on him.
“The tree’” Moya whimpers, before he draws his last breath.
He struggles to get the beast off him. At that instant, all he can think of is Mwitu. But he has no time to be sad. He wants to get to her, to be with her even if just for a few seconds. He knows exactly what tree Moya was talking about before he died. She had jokingly mentioned it when he said he would be joining the hunt. So he runs. The blood dripping from his arm doesn’t even bother him at the moment. He has to get to the Mugumo tree.
He is about to give up when he sees the tree in a distance, shortly before he sees her walking round the tree. He gathers one last, huge amount of energy and runs faster to her. He gets to her just as she turns to face him. He doesn’t say a word at first; he draws his arms towards her and hugs her tightly before he says, “Mwitu, I am in love with you. Marry me Mwitu!”
Victor Mwangi is a blogger at