Every second saw everyone on toes. If not running from a teacher, you were running towards one. And the vicious circle held, just like that. But this day was different, on the top of the hill; a human perimeter was quickly forming. Shiny sharp blades reflected strongly. There were screams all over the place. I got chills, the full-blown cold feeling when something was about to come down crumbling.
People, places, animals and roads were burning. A vote had just gone sour. Watching TV in our small living room was scary. We could sit in silence, munching our dinners painfully as we watched businesses burn to nothingness. But I could sleep reassured that my parents had my back, now I was on a strange land, 15km from home.
The visible human perimeter was slowly integrating. I could hear war chanting from a distance. For a minute, I was frozen to the spot. I couldn’t make out the reality that was about to befall us. I mean we are only twelve-year-olds, who would want to butcher a twelve-year-old over a jilted vote?
By this time, everyone was running around me. Our headteacher had urged everyone to vacate the school premises and run home. The terror in that statement held a promise of impending danger. It didn’t help that the runny white porridge I had taken that morning had long disappeared from my system. I felt confused, stuck and weirdly weak.
But I knew I had to have my small legs on the move before the terror got real. I ran to the dormitory, grabbed my backpack, packed a couple of books and off I hit the road en route home. It was hard to run on a straight line without bumping into someone. The Milele estate workers were running with us. Most had bloodstains on their clothes. Looking at them, you could tell the horror their eyes had witnessed.
Amidst the drama, I could make out the bald figure of my neighbor. He was a kind man who could gift my friends and I sugarcane each time we dropped a hit on him when drunk. He had a visible cut on his hands, with his old age; he was thrice as slow with the added liability.
I could feel the danger looming closer with the way women were rushing to bundle their children into their small huts. My home was still considerably far. I had a sharp hill before me that could take me ages to climb with sizeable hustle before I finally cull to my mum’s warm embrace.
Come to think about it, I had an intimate talk with my parents where I expressed my sharp thoughts against having me enroll in that boarding school at the center of Chavakali Highlands. I mean what it could hurt to enroll me to a stellar boarding school in Mudete town just like my brother! ‘They will see I was right after this,’ I murmured silently as I battled with increasing my speed to catch up with my homies. For a minute, I wished I could be asleep in my small bedroom back at home with the tall bloodhound figures with shiny blades deep in hell. But no, they were somewhere in pursuit ready to do away with anyone who smells like Amatoke descendant over a mere position. When did positions become supreme to human lives?