What was racing down their minds as the irate mob surged forward? As they exhaustively tried to hold their labored breath as the tyres were lowered to their naked bodies, was this the way your neighbor can just end your life? As petrol was dosed on their bodies. What hit them, as the match stick was lit to end their lives during those last moments of their lives? As they felt their rib cages crushed under the heavyweight of stones and other crude weapons, didn’t they felt let down or denied a moment to explain themselves? Didn’t they felt betrayed by their childhood friends whom they attended the same primary schools or their in-laws whose eyes were sparkling with raw hatred? Slowly as they drifted and trudged to world unknown beckoning had they lived their full lives? as the salty taste of their blood and smell of petrol blurred their visions in total darkness engulfing the lives they had one regret that if given a chance they would have lived to be ambassadors of a free just society. Slowly they closed their eyes to eternity.
In the sleepy Village of Kapsaos, lying in the slopes of Mau forests there lived four great childhood friends; Tony, Ken, Juma, and Kamau, who attended same Primary school but proceeded to different secondary school, but as fate would have it they reunited in the same village after writing their high school exam. Each of them had his career dream, for Tony he dreamt of becoming a neurosurgeon, he had the great passion of alleviating his community the agony of medical fundraising, he always promised himself that his fellow villagers will be treated for free and with dignity, he envied Chugi the local doctor. Ken envied and imagined the life of a politician driving the latest SUVs surrounded by bodyguards. Kamau wanted to practice law as Juma wished to excel in his Islamic religious studies and become the most respected Chief Kadhi. When the National exams were announced each of them had straight A, ready to join a university and pursue a career of their choice.
As they waited to Join respective universities local or abroad their stay in the village proved elusive, their freedom and company extended beyond the boundaries of Kapsaos. As they met to discuss current local/ national affairs they were introduced to Marijuana. One puff was enough to welcome them to their new world of their own, a new world unknown to them, soon the teachings of their priest, the counsel of their parents, imam, and teachers disappeared out of their heads and the sweet advice of their peers took center stage. As former altar boys, Kamau and Ken sometimes would think of quitting their smoking and drinking habit but the grip was too strong. Though Tonny smoked he knew he was responsible for his mother as the only son since his father succumbed to prostate cancer a few years ago. Tom and Juma would crack jokes with their peers as they smoked the most revered weed at the snaking banks of river Kapsaos.
Soon after Tonny was hired as an untrained teacher at his former primary school, Juma too was hired as a religious teacher in the local mosque to oversee learning in the notable madrassa. Their strong bond grew stronger, they now had decent jobs in the village. Every evening they would join their friends. Their other two friends had partnered and started a local butchery at Kapsaos trading center which was doing well and the profits gave them much to enjoy and meet their needs with the help of their parents. They would occasionally meet at Ken’s house for a few puffs when their wages were due they would entertain their friends in a local pub for a few days before their wages were depleted and their friends would support them till the end of the month.
When the government introduced national youth fund to empower youth entrepreneurs, Ken and Kamau took the opportunity. This saw the two friend’s meat supply business grow tremendously, but the more money they made, the more their insatiable appetite for alcohol and hard drugs grew. They too sucked their two friends into their brisk business, Tonny made sure they never went out of stock of their supplies of alcohol and Marijuana, teaching was no longer lucrative. Juma too made sure Cocaine was at arm’s length and teaching Islamic religious studies was no longer Juma’s calling. Due to mismanagement of their finances and an increase in demand for meat supplies that they couldn’t sustain at the prisons department, they hired village youths who were fascinated with their instant wealth to spy, steal and slaughter villager’s animals and their job was only to supply.
Back at Kapsaos village, Dr. Chugi a retired civil servant formerly working with the Ministry of health operated the only medical facility. As a doctor, he nurtured many to admire the profession among them Tonny. Around midnight he had the worst nightmare and he woke up profusely sweating. He avoided waking up his wife, but one thing he was sure, he heard footsteps near his bedroom. He though with “Markos” his royal friend and the night cop, no one would dare get into his compound. In the past, the dog had wrestled many goons, while those who managed to escape, did so with fatal injuries. He slowly drifted back to dreamland. The Doctor jogged every morning at 5.00 am in the company of his wife, too a retired nurse and their best friend, but in the morning of this particular day ‘Markos’ was conspicuously absent. Together they walked the whole compound calling for him little did they know” Markos” was poisoned and lay dead near the main gate. A closer look at the sheep pen, the door was wide open, his wife screamed once and fell on the ground before he could administer first aid to her his neighbors had thronged his compound.
In applause, the verdict was reached after a hurried convened meeting that the perpetrators of the heinous act once apprehended would be burnt alive to serve as a deterrent to future acts of crime. It was agreed that the four suspects who have been supplying meat to the government, their hideouts be uncovered. An oath was administered to the young men who would scout the whole village in search of the thugs. It was agreed that whoever would leak the highly confidential information or go against the oath be treated as a village outcast. Dr. Chugi did not agree with the villagers at the meeting. His sheep could not be used as an avenue of settling deeply etched vendettas. it was his sheep’s and human blood would not be shed to settle scores. That evening the villagers met outside an old dilapidated nursery school with four old tyres and a gallon of petrol. The young men sent had located the exact place Tonny and his friend had slaughtered the poor animals. As they feasted the cloud of death hangs loosely on their heads.
In the dead of the night, Tonny’s mother was trying to find her way in the overgrown village paths which were rarely used, she had located the exact hideout of his son. It was an old colonial house which in the past housed the colonial guards. Through the years the house was in a good shape but the villagers associated it with evil spirits that were rumored to be seen with blazing fire on their backs. It was a perfect hideout for many gangs as they smoked their “respected weed”, as no one dared come closer. At a distance, flickering lights were visible as were footsteps were louder, she had to be fast before she suffered the same fate as his boys. She stealthily approached the door to one of the rooms, it was fastened but she knew this was the exact place his son hid. The smell of the roasted meat made her realize she had not taken her supper. Gently she touched the knob and called Tonny! in a frail shrieking voice. At a distance, the noise was getting louder, as the irate mob edged closer. Juma had just injected himself with a sizeable amount of cocaine and Tonny was chewing khat but they both heard the familiar voice. “they are closer Tonny and they want to burn you alive! just come out! It’s me your loving mother” she said as her voice drowned in the higher-pitched voice outside. The irate mob was baying for their blood. Both Juma and Tonny dashed outside. As she gripped both their hands in a firm grip and led them to the nearest maize plantation, they had no time for questions nor resistance.
The commotion resembled a horror movie at distant they saw their friends dragged out, they were undressed amid blows and kicks, the mob seemed to receive instructions on how to put tyres on their bodies bellowing commands and threats by everyone. They knelt pleading for mercy but the more it irritated their leader who increased the pace of blows and kicks. Timo was the celebrity of the moment, he took the gallon and poured petrol on the defenseless boys. The tyres had been lowered to their chests blocking their arms, what was left was their frightened voice as Kamau and Ken called their mothers and Timo to spare them.
Tonny’s mum was crying silently she was too pleading with Timo the mob leader to spare them. Some were frisking their clothes and the house to get the cash ahead of the rest. Timo was a great friend of Dr. Chugi, he brought him up when his parents passed away, he took him to school and catered for his needs until when he married and left for greener pastures in the city. He had returned to the village a few months ago. He was the one who planned and poisoned Markos that night opened the sheep pen and escorted the sheep where he handed them to Tonny and his group now here he was the one leading the villagers to lynch his friends. In a few seconds, Ken and Kamau were in flames as the mob scattered in different directions, Timo was left there standing. He was sure the two Tonny and Juma had escaped and the mob made no effort to look for them. The night was filled quietness and by broken creams of their childhood friend. Timo broke down crying!