“ … He causes His sun to shine on the evil and good, & sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous,” he recited slowly but with impeccable eloquence in a voice that reverberated through the night cold. Yet again, he flipped through the small black untitled book he read from, then, settling on a new page he read on,“ … At that time, I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”

***

If there existed a state beyond silence it was this, the dark space, void of all emotions but one – fear. The abyss of misery was echoed by intermittent sounds of blood dripping off her face. She now had four flesh wounds, but not even the pain of these could compare to the infinite one occasioned by the parallel psychological callouses.

She was divinity’s child, her once flawless chocolate complexion now blemished by streaks of sweat weft across her face. She struggled in vain, her legs rend apart from within by shame yet firmly together detached from everything but the single rusted nail that held them in place. The first wound was on the left side of her torso, the other two on her right thigh and the last on her right arm. “It has been four days since you became my guest … four wounds, nine hundred and ninety six to go … how do you want the rest spread, one per day for nine hundred and ninety six days? Or would you much rather have a weekly schedule?” Said a lean built man of average height clad in black, standing right infront of her. His eyes were sharp with lids blackened from what seemed like countless sleepless nights. His face was pale; he had black lips to match his eyes. He had tied her upside down to what seemed like a life-size wooden cross, with nothing on but a light white chiffons dress now made skimpy through multiple tears from what seemed like whip lashes. Her tears were now one with her sweat and blood, flowing in reverse with the last point as her face, inches from the earthen floor where the cross was firmly anchored.

“Why are you doing this?” she begged, stammering in fright, “Please let me go! I’ll give you anything you want!”

“Ah? Really?” the man responded icily, “It’s simple, tell me why you did it and I will let you go.”

“D-Did, what?” she stuttered back trying to soak in the pain from the multiple cuts she had, “I have done nothing, what are you talking about?”

“Very well,” the man responded as he picked up a short blade, about a foot long, that had no handle. He then held it over a nearby furnace that was contained in a black cauldron; the only thing seemingly differentiating it from the surrounding darkness was the crimson fire that erupted ravenously from inside. He held the blade for a few minutes till it turned red hot, what was odd though was that he did not seem to get burnt given that the blade had no handle.

“What in the world are you?!” the woman asked in horror, “Where is this place?”

“You are home, where you belong” he responded coldly, making his way over to her. ”I’ll ask you one more time, why did you do it?” He said raising the red-hot tipped blade, pausing for her response.

“Wh-what, wait, what are you talking about?! I have done nothing! Please don’t hurt me anymore, p-please, I’ll give you anything, I’ll-I’ll give you money, yes … I have money, just let me go!” She pleaded frantically.

“Wrong answer,” he replied curtly, motioning the blade to the left part of her lower torso and piercing through slowly as she let out an excruciating shriek. He then pulled the blade out slowly and as he did so, blood and water gashed from her side prolifically splashing to the ground, immediately after, she fainted in shock.

***

Dust devils danced in the eerie scenery, with echoed caws of wandering crows as the only nuance of life. She opened her eyes gradually; everything was hazy, probably from being asleep too long, she thought. She had no recollection of anything before what she roughly calculated as twelve weeks in this abyss of madness. Her only solace in tracking time was by means of sunlight in and sunlight exits. Focus slowly returned to her eyes, as she squinted trying to capture what was before her but, before it completely returned, a fierce gush of water hit her face. She tried to cover her face with her hands to wipe off the water but couldn’t; her hands were immobilized and so was the rest of her body … she seemed to be in a box of sorts with only her head on the outside and free to move. It was a coffin.

“It has been 3 months,” the man from before echoed from the shadows, “Are you now ready to talk or should we go on and complete the count? We are now at six hundred and sixty six ‘to go’, how do you want it spread?”

He moved closer, a bucket in hand; apparently it was he who had splashed the water on her face earlier. She watched in fright as he walked slowly toward her and stood over her face, his own now upside down to her view. He took a dirty rag from his pocket, wrung it tight, and with these last words, “Sorry, please forgive me for this, but there’s no getting round it I guess,” he strangled her and everything went black as it did before.

***

Everything was dark, again. She couldn’t move, again. But she had now regained consciousness though she couldn’t feel any part of her body, not even her eyes which she now struggled to open, again, like before, her sight transitioned from pitch black to frosted. She couldn’t hear anything and it was as if she was wearing construction earmuffs, however, from afar she could hear a faint beeping sound. “What is this sound?” she thought to herself struggling to achieve more audio acuity. Finally, her vision cleared and she could see two people standing over her, a man in white and a woman in bluish attire that she couldn’t really make out. She lay on a bed in what seemed like a bedroom. Again, she tried to turn her head to check around but couldn’t, all she could see is several thin tubes that looked like spaghetti blurred in view near her face hang from above.

“Ah! Nice! She has regained consciousness,” said the man in a white coat.

“Mmm, sawa, naeza muuliza maswali?” Asked the woman in blue who was now clear to the woman’s sight as a police officer and the other man a doctor. She was in a hospital room.

“Eh na nyinyi polisi kweli hamkuangi na utu, ni ‘utumishi kwa wote’ ama ‘utu-missing’? Hauoni huyu msichana ameamka saa hii tu kutoka coma?” the doctor retorted.

“Haya haya tulia, nitasubiri hapa nje, niambie akiwa tayari kuhojiwa” the police officer said coolly.

“Sawa madam ofisa, she has been in a coma for ten minutes from the time she was brought to the emergency room. I thought she’s not going to wake up given that literally every bone in her body was shattered in her car crash. Even if she recovers, she will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life and be heavily dependent on meds. But do tell me, why are the police involved?”

“Hmm, I would say that I empathize with your patient but I empathize more with the little boy she hit and run from. Your patient here knocked down a child two kilometers from where she crashed but did not stop. Reports from witnesses say she sped off recklessly trying to escape the accident scene but in her haste got into one herself. Dunia ni duara kweli, au sio daktari? Siku njema,” said the policewoman as she opened the door and left.

THE END