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SEATED on four acres of lush green grass was a huge brick house that he called home. The red tiles baking in the sun a testimony of its magnificence. The huge mahogany doors with exotic carvings on them radiating exquisiteness.The interior decor did not disappoint; the tasteful colors the walls were bathed in gave the house a vibrant finish.

In the midst of this humongous pile of wealth, he was still a very poor man. He woke up to the feel of poverty gnawing at him every single morning. His long miserable days dragging by slowly. Baffled by one question—how could anybody want to be like him? But of course they knew nothing of what it felt like to walk in his shoes. The ever burning itch, the weariness of his soul. How he dreaded every coming dawn and embraced every fall of dusk with a silent prayer. What many deemed a blessing was a full fledged curse he had to live with. So there he sat in solitude, yearning and hoping for an end to his misery.

The ever piercing voices did not let him have his peace. Maybe he did not deserve that anymore. The ever cynical voice had taken charge of his heart and left it in a rotten stinking mess. Positivity had been sucked dry. The optimist in him a being no more. Now it was taking a toll on his soul, tearing at the very fibre of his existence.

If there was to be a bane to his endless miseries he would be at the very core. He had his greedy ambitions and an inflated ego to blame for his current predicament. Somebody had once told him that ferocious flame of glutton that he always kept rekindled deep down would be his unmaking. As time and tide would have it, this prophesy of doom he had thought so little of would come to pass, but not in the way he thought. How could having so much mean so little? Well, that was a lesson the cosmos was off to teach him. He, like many other men, who had set foot on this quest started with the purest of intents at heart. Somewhere along the road he had strayed, blinded by his ambitions, an inflated ego, and an overwhelming feel of self importance.

As he sat on the thickset mahogany chair reminiscing, he could feel tears sting his eyes. The phantoms of his sleepless nights came alive as he was engulfed in thoughts. He could see their faces, masks of horror. Their horrid screams in his ears. The sight of toddlers tugging at the lifeless bodies of their decapitated parents, their cries of languish a testimony of the bloody massacre perpetrated by the savage hounds. The survivors had not escape without losing a limb or two. It was by sheer luck that they had been snatched from the jaws of death and they had their scars to show for it.

Till now he could not come to terms with the horrors the hounds had rained on those he had sworn to protect. So this was what it felt like to become a merchant of death? To be the one instigating and dispersing misery and exuding despair to a people once peaceful. He had preached anarchy relentlessly in pursuit of his own petty gain. Created a rift, severed the most sacred of ties. Turning brother against brother, father against daughter. Leaving none but all in a murderous rage having manipulated the animosity in them. He corrupted their souls and turned men into savages with his toxic words corroding at the core of their humanity. He had reached deep down and brought their inner demons to the surface. Moulded them dwelling on their insecurities and deepest fears, he crafted them to do his ill binding. He forged an army of hell hounds ready to serve as his reapers.

Not even he knew of the monsters he had created until he read of their purge in the morning paper and in the several days to come. How his hounds had reigned with terror in the darkness of the night, leaving nothing but a trail of death and blood in their wake.

So here he sat, haunted by both the living and the dead. This shadow of darkness forever cast at his feet. How could he live with that? He looked around him one last time and shut his eyes and took a swig at the foul liquid. Contrary to his expectations, it was neither bitter nor sour. As he emptied it into his bowels he could taste redemption; for once, he felt serenity in a really long time. As the sands of time trickled, he could hear the thud of every single grain. Everything grew blurry. From the distance, he heard a bottle crush and break on the concrete before he gave in to the overwhelming darkness, became lost in nothingness. In this, he did find his peace, what he so craved for.

 

 

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Post image by Anthony P Buce via Flickr.

About the Author:

portrait-evansMugendi Evans is a young Kenyan writer currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in literature at the University of Nairobi. He loves hanging out with friends, travelling, photography, and spending evenings reading and writing stories of his own. He hates noisy and crowded places.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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