African StoriesKenyan StoriesLife and General Fiction Stories

The Skeletons Alive Amidst Dead Flesh

Shock. Tears. Grief. Nine years under the blue skies of Mukuruini Kwa Njenga and that’s the synopsis of an example of God’s imperfect clay; the mould of us that lives at the gates of hell—somewhere too far from the Garden of Eden. Or maybe, just maybe our forefathers did commit serious crimes that put us under the sharp heel of God’s shoes.

Fierce lightning attacks the once calm skies, the clouds obeying to the call with audible rumbling rechoing each roar. Trees and tiny plants in turn swing in pendulum motion to the tunes of chaos. In milliseconds, just as I plant the last flower in the wet soil, thunderstorm shakes the earth in a quake, reminding me that I surely have no space under the sun.

Today I should take poison. Will anyone mourn me? Really! At least my father is the shanties drunkard and my mother is a nobody. Nobody for real; today marks three years since she found a home in the earth’s hollow ground. Six feet deep. She left when I was six. Father has never been himself ever since. Not when all six of us look at him as a sole bread winner.

Bread, wait. No that’s rather luxurious. We watch bread in adverts on the wide screens at the city. And six appears three times in my life. Could that be possible reason why my life is a sweet curse? Six is a bad number. And the time is six in the evening. The heavy raindrops hit my thick skin like new blades.

Slow at first, steady at the end, I recount the speeches in the New Testament, courtesy of my Sunday school years.

“So He takes the bread and lifting it…”
I take the well wrapped poison from my tattered coat.

“He breaks it. ‘This is my body, eat it’.”

I look at the skies one more time. “Lord, this is my poison, I’ll take it.”

I hate that I’m always cleaning up wounds. Actually my wounds healed but they left deep scars in my soul.

“And He lifts wine saying, ‘This is my blood, drink it’.”

My eyes are wet. I love to cry looking up so that I swallow tears. A simple way to show the world that there is some courage left in the skeletons of me.

“Lord, these are my tears, a symbol of my pain; I drink.”

I am tired of ignoring the knife that has been lodged deep in my chest. Worse still, life has twisted this knife till I can no longer bleed. I also don’t have any more tears to give. But it turns out that crying without tears is much more painful than with, and impossible to control.

I fall on my knees as I listen to my drunken father’s voice resounding in my mother’s graveyard.

“Hii dunia ni kupita tunapita.” We are passing through the world. His voice was heavy with sorrow as he wails.

I always hoped someday I would grow rich to make him a better man. That one day I will have the notes. But there is no loose change for the homeless, not today, not for the nine years that I have existed under the sun.

I’m thankful for the darkness at the cemetery that conceals the stupid ass grin on my face. Wait, this isn’t pure darkness. Someone is standing in front of me obscuring the scorching rays from the sun. This can’t be heaven. And if it is, then I am a pure curse because I guess I’m at the suburbs of heaven.

“I’m Love Foundation.” His voice is as calm, his look benovelant and reserved.

“See, you pierce my soul, I’m half agony, half hope. I know I’m not too late, that your priceless feelings are not gone. I offer myself to you this time with a heart even more of your own than when you broke it yesterday. Dare not say that you don’t deserve to live; I am here to bring you the sunglasses that shield you from seeing your bright future.”

With whatever basic, primal instincts that have survived within me, I focus everything on this man. My body doesn’t need any distractions like breathing or thinking.

Somehow I manage to smile. I am glad I didn’t die. I did end my contract with my heartbeat, but God rejected it. Or maybe I’m not a reject. There is still hope to survive.

Thanks to Love Foundation, my veins can pass current through my dead flesh; the electricity that brings my skeleton to life.

For the live skeletons amidst dead flesh.

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