It isn’t exactly darkness. It is a shade between night and green as the dull silvery light of the moon tries to rise above the shrubbery. It is that color when the witches come out.
I hear the door creak. I hear my mother padding about softly. I know she goes out every night. I have watched her from the crack in my window. I see how she steps behind the big tree on the way to the latrine and strips naked, hiding her clothes in the branches. She then steps out, having changed skin. Her breasts sag slightly towards the folds of fat that are starting to accumulate around her waist.
I have followed her out of the compound as she jogs down the street at two in the night. I feel like I should be ashamed and embarrassed for following behind my mother in her nudity, but something holds the indignity back. She runs so easily, so effortlessly, full of delight that lacks when I see her during the day.
I have seen her meet the others in the field by the primary school; watched them all. Men and women in their nudity sitting together unabashed. I wish to hear them talk, but I can’t. I’m afraid I will be caught if I go too near.
Today, I follow. I have left my clothes behind. It feels so free. The night chill has made my tiny nipples erect. My breasts, which Kiki my friend says are like guavas since they have refused to fill out like other girls at school, feel hard. There is a thrill coursing through my body as I run gently behind my mother, taking care not to be heard.
Suddenly, someone grabs me from behind and clamps a hand on my mouth. It’s near the primary school.
“Do not struggle,” a man’s hoarse whisper scrapes my ears.
Hysteria possesses me. I stand rooted as my assailant pulls me closer. I can’t feel any clothes on the body. I remember that I’m also naked.
“Be calm.” He repeats again as I try to wiggle away. He releases his hold a bit. Something that feels like a banana stalk is stuffed into my mouth, a gunny sack is placed over my head. I am carried between two people. One holding my shoulders and the other my legs. I am dying little deaths out of fear inside.
An eternity later, we stop. The sack is drawn. All around I’m surrounded by bodies. Naked bodies, pressing from every side I turn to. They have smeared white clay all over their bodies and they are unidentifiable.
“What should we do to her?” a woman asks.
“Let her be baptized,” another woman interdicts.
“But she is too young,” says the first woman.
“The potential has shown in her early. Let it be done.”
The men close in, grabbing me. For the first time, I behold their phalluses. Engorged and pulsing. Pointed at me like rifles in a public execution. Three of them hold me. I can feel their hardness pressing onto me. I’m not sure if I’m terrified or exited. I cannot explain the emotions coursing through my body.
The first woman steps out. She is holding a calabash, which she puts to my lips.
“Drink child!” She raises the calabash to my lips. What I drink tastes sour, and bitter, and cold.
It chokes me, burning a path down my throat. I feel it’s warmth in my stomach. I gasp for air, as it is withdrawn, tears forming at the corners of my eyes.
A heady feeling takes over. Now I know what I am feeling. My body reacts on its own volition. I can feel the hardness of the men who are holding me.
I stop struggling.
The first woman says, “Now we have a new member,” and moves closer to me. I look again and see my mother.
The second woman says, “we are growing in number.” It’s Kiki’s mother.
The faces are coming into focus. My English teacher, the carpenter, the catechist, that waitress by the corner shop and some faceless people I bump into daily.
“Now, let’s run!” my mother shouts.
Naked bodies fan out in every direction. I follow mother. Kiki’s mother runs with us. It is pure ecstasy. I look at mother, her buttocks trembling with every step, her breasts slapping against her chest. Kiki’s mother is slim and lithe; she runs like a cat.
Down the street we go, speeding as lights come on in the houses we have passed after throwing dirt on the roof or banging on the doors.
The owners witness nothing but darkness.
We are already gone.
Post image by martinak15 via Flickr
About the Author:
My name is Brian Moseti and I’m a 23 year old journalist working for The Daily Nation from Kisii town in Kenya. I love telling stories, all I want to do is tell stories and hope they have an impact. In a time when most Africans are facing an identity crisis, coupled with the changes of modernity, conflict with culture and such, I see a lot of stories, everyone has a story, in every event there is a story, in every whisper or gesture. I want to write about these things. I did a degree course in Journalism and Mass Communication, but the whole idea of creative writing fascinates me. So sometimes I’m torn between journalism and creative writing. My favorite author is unarguably Terry Pratchett, and I love nothing more than to get lost in his Discworld adventures. I hope that someday I will be considered in the same league with such a writer.