By Kenneth Jura
After Ole Lempa was quickly taken to the dispensary, Henry’s mum and other medical staff waited to attend to him. Meanwhile at the scene the amount of blood on the red soil depicted the degree of his injuries. A crowd had gathered near his humble aboard, they talked in hushed tones as if he had died while others supported their heads with the palms.
Shortly thereafter Emale’s elder brother Keagan emerged from their house shouting while pointing at Henry, as if confused Henry pointed at himself then pointed at the crowd over the fence. Keagan shouted “You good for nothing boy, today you will know who I am” he heaved as he surged towards Henry.
His hoarse voice had caught the attention of the crowd and Sandra’s sister had already used the small opening on the fence.
“I knew Henry had to be involved in this” Keagan held his brother and Henry by their collars.
“Who between the two of you is involved in this?” he asked.
Henry shook his head not knowing that Keagan knew about their mischief too well. He slapped Henry leaving marks on his bony face as though they were rumble bumps.
At the hospital, Henry’s mum together with other hospital staff made sure that Ole Lempa was stable and bleading stopped. He was put under anesthesia then stitched. Four stitches ran from nose’s base to his lip and his sinuses fixed.
Later that evening as Henry’s family sat on the dinner table taking supper; rice, kales and beef. Henry’s father sat next to Tess, Tracy sat opposite Henry’s mum and Henry sat at the head of the table.
“Ole Lempa was badly hurt from an explosion, what happened Henry?”’ the mother quickly asked looking at Henry’s eyes
“I don’t know” Henry responded brusquely
“Don’t talk to me in that tone” the mother countered
A knock deflated the rather ballooning quarrel between Henry and the mother.
“Come in” Henry’s father said as he went for the door.
“Welcome” he extended his arm leading the visitors to the living room.
Sandra’s aunt, Emale’s mum, Mrs Kisaka, Emale and the estate chairman Mr. Mwangi came in.
“Mama Henry, your son will one day kill us” Mrs Kisaka said at a kimbo.
“Wait, let him (pointing at Emale) tell you what he confessed to us earlier”
“If you dare lie then you will know why I am a police woman” Emale’s mum fumed.
“I…I..I was sent…” Emale stuttered before he was rudely stopped by the mother.
“I did not give birth to a stammerer?” Emale’s mum asked twitching the son’s nose
“Ok, mama Emale kindly sit so that the boy can be free to tell us what happened” the chairman spoke with a dignified tone.
Henry stood from his chair, cleared the table and started doing dishes before he was abruptly called by his father.
“Come here Henry”
“What did you do to Ole Lempa?”
Henry looked at Emale as though looking for cues on what to say from where he left, Emale on the other hand avoided eye contact with him.
“Speak up kijana” Mwalimu shot from his seat.
Before he uttered any word Tessy had already brought his father’s belt. On seeing the belt Henry mumbled words which nobody in the living room could hear. In his mumbles an aura of pride, courage and fulfillment made him smile but not visible enough to the father and visitors to know but quite noticeable to the mother.
“Tell us exactly what you did, not that we don’t know?” the mother urged Henry.
“Mum, Ole Lempa beat me more than enough times because my ball went on their side. He even pricked my ball twice. You remember you told me that I should not allow people to beat me”. Henry said pleadingly.
“What kind of nonsense is this? Mama Henry” His father rejoined as he sank his head in his palms.
“I am sorry, I did not intend to hurt Ole Lempa that much” Henry begged for mercy.
“What do you mean that much? How far did you intend to hurt him?” the tyrannical mama Emale quizzed.
Henry looked less studious, more frail than usual with tears lingering from his eyes.
“Your naughtiness has made Ole Lempa to be admitted, we no longer have a watchman, Ekira, Ole Lempa’s daughter will not see her father today till when he will be discharged”
“Will you pay for his medical bills?” Mr Mwangi asked rhetorically.
They then decided that each parent who had come will each cane Emale and Henry. Henry got two of the best strokes as Emale got one.
On each stroke that whistled through the air and landed on Henry’s minute behind led to him an inaudible scream.
After the beating Henry stood and apologized profusely especially to their chairman who was more at pain than anyone in the room.
Several minutes thereafter they left for their homes as Henry left for his room to sleep sniveling.
Tracy loved his brother so much that she found herself crying more than Henry.
“They beat me but Ole Lempa will never mess with me”. Henry said feeling content.