My mouth ran dry as I continued taking long strides running throu-gh crowds of people. I could not see clearly where I was heading, but my internal vision had it all planned out.
“Ouch!” someone shouted as I bu-mped into them and I quic-kly turned to them and apologized
“Sorry mam” I said, without looking at the face of the one I ruined steps for, I raised my head and focused on my run. It was getting clear ahead of me, as I c@m£ out of the busy town area, panic held my heart as I imagined how expo-sed I will be. Probably there was someone ahead awaiting sight of me and I knew if that happened I will be gunned down without mercy. I knew the kind of terror which was ahead and behind me as I ran past a small shop that provided me with a big of cover and from there on, it would be a clear area. 500 meters away from the train tracks and the train wagons I planned to hide in.
“How do I get there?” I st©pped for a minute to think.
“He is there!” I heard a loud voice scream behind me
“I see him, come let’s get him!” the voice of another cop responded and I could feel the command in his voice and the anger too. I knew it was more personal for him than any other officer pursuing me. He wanted me dead and he was not going to hesitate an inch. Panic started building up in me and I exhaled twice to get rid of the adrenaline in my blood, it proved h@rd to do but I gave it no choice. In less than 2 seconds, I sprang up and started running across the clearing with all that I had left in me. My legs ba-rely t©uçhed the ground as I ran and I knew that was my best when it c@m£ to sports. I was a runner and James knew that very well, his men could run after me but he knew they all didn’t stand a chance.
“Fire!” I could hear another loud shout but I didn’t give my mind some time to process it so it c@m£ st©p me, so I run amidst the gun sh0ts firing from all directions. In less than a minute I was at the rail tracks and heading to the wagons and shut my ears from hearing anything else. I focused my eyes and legs on getting myself to safety and run around for a while as I tried to lose the police guys.
I st©pped P@nting, so h@rd my t-shi-t was w€t with sweat and it had mixed with the mud I was alre-ady covered in. I looked around and found a sp©t at the corner of one of the wagons and hide behind it, searching the area for any signs of the cops. I could see a pair of legs walking forward some 2meters away and I looked the way other way, it was clear.
“I know you James, you think am hiding in these.. Good boy, keep looking” I smiled in my head as I started walking slowly away ma-king sure I made no sound at all. Heading back to the busy town area, I joined the tarmac adjacent to the big supermarket and into some boutique at the end of some stationery shops.
“Excuse me, can I help you?” one of the sales persons asked with a shocked face, I was sure she was wondering whether I was w€t and muddy from playing in mad or I was just a man with mental problems.
“Yes plea-se” I composed myself and spoke my best accent to get her attention. I saw her face relax a bit I could swear she breathed in heavily.
“I need a change of clothes” I said without wasting any more time.
“What? “she asked still standing in one position am sure now she was thinking I was there to rib her.
“How much for those shoes, that pair of trou-sers and that shi-t?” I asked pointing at each item one by one.
“That will be 650 kwacha” she said with a tone of sarcasm and fear.
“Can I have them plea-se and show me the fitting room” I spoke politely pu-lling some money from my pockets and handing it to her. I knew it was more than she had requested but I had something else in mind so I didn’t worry as I walked to change the clothes she just handed me.
In the fitting room I stood there looking at my new image. I looked like those movies star with a pair of jeans and plain v n£¢ked tshi-t that gave away my h@rd earned figure. I wiped my face getting rid of the dry mud on my side and placed my hand in my hair , I had to get rid of it, it made me look older than I was.
“What is wrong with you? I don’t love you. yes, I crossed you, I needed to, cause you irritated me all the time Joe. I love him so go to hell if you wish to!” her loud voice echoed in my head I had to shut my ears. It was not the pain of the head that got to me, but the pain in my heart, she was the love of my life, I gave up myself for her. I could be far away, I could have found myself and become a better man but she just messed all my plans up and made a big fool out of me.
“I love you, plea-se hear me out. I have no one in my heart, no one in my life that I would give anything for, you are the one for me, plea-se don’t do this to me. I love you Alisha, you are my life” like an idiot I went down on my knees pleading and begging for the love that I had just lost.
“No, st©p ma-king things h@rder for yourself Joe, I don’t love you. I have told you the truth and it is better you back off and leave me alone now’ She responded with a cold stare that gave me shivers I felt myself being drawn to the ground I P@nted and cried like a child.
She looked at me like I was the worst piece of $h!t and walked away leaving me hopeless. I never used to believe the saying love hurts I always thought it was a saying for losers who had nothing to do in their lives. Now it got to me, love was the most precious thing you can find in someone at the same time, it was the worst nightmare. I was left lying down like a dog and my mind could not process anything more. After what seemed like forever I stood up, told myself I was a man and started heading out of her house.
“Hey are you done?” the sales lady`s voice called out pu-lling me back to the moment I wiped my face and gr@bb£d my dirty clothes and walked out with a smile that am sure knocked the woman off her feet as she smiled back at me with admiration. Well, they say you can cover the dollar in mud but it still remains valuable, I could feel myself gaining points from that stranger and I held her hand with pride.
“Now can you plea-se me get me a nice cap to match my outfit and a small phone if you don’t mind” I smiled looking at a gl@ss table with Phones un-der it.
“Of course, I was wondering why you gave me a lot of money” she responded with a chuckled and went on to get what I asked. In a couple of minutes I had all I wanted and I walked out of the shop a different person. I could see a mobile provider shop ahead of me so I headed there and got two sim cards, got it registered within 5 minutes and walked out ma-king the first call that I had to.
“Hello” a worried voice of my mother responded from the other side
“Mom” I talked back relived she was still there and alive
“Joe, where are you my son. I heard what happened, what is going on Joe, the police where here and asking questions about you” she responded I could hear her cry
“Am okay mom, plea-se be safe, how is dad?” I asked out of curiosity not that I care about that bastard who had no regard for me.
“He is very upset with you, you know him, but this time he has the right to Joe you went too far my son” Mom cried
“Where the hell are you? You deranged son! I raised you better! How dare you!” my father screamed in the mouth piece I could picture his angry face as he spoke I could bet he was walking about in anger
“If I didn’t know better dad, I could have thought you are mad at me for what have done, but no, I know you very well father, you are always mad” I said as a matter of fact
“You son of a bi..” he st©pped himself from cursing am sure my mother`s stare of her shaking the head made him st©p
“Where are you?” my father tried to sound calm I was sure it was killing him
“No one will know for now, not even you dad. Am okay, take care of mom” I said before he could bur-st out in anger. I re-moved the sim and threw it away. Knowing my father, he would probably run to the police and tell them I called, I replaced the sim with a second one and kept walking normally across the streets keeping an eye to sp©t any signs of police officers following me. There was no one and everyone around me went on their business.
I got to a taxi rank and a guy raised a hand at me showing me his taxi.
“plea-se can we start moving” I said the moment I got in and he asked where I was going
“I don’t know yet, I have to think” I told him looking at his face in the mirror as he eyed me.
“That will cost you” he smiled and I nodded my head.
“just give me the bill at the end” I smiled @ssuring him and he increased speed going away from the town Centre.
“Turn left and keeping going, take any next turn and go as far as you can Until I tell you to st©p” I ordered and he did as I said. My head was still feeling h0t from the afternoon`s activities and I could not think clearly.
“You are a failure, a common thief! I never loved you! I love him.. Joe, you son of a goat! How dare you! Can you use your head once! Come on you stupid boy, pu-ll up that tree, you cannot cut a tree like you are cutting a piece of meat! you are nothing but a piece of $h!t! Nothing!” are the loud voices I could hear in my heard, from my now ex fiancé, my father and my best friend. I tried to shut my eyes for all these voices to go away but they kept coming and coming and ma-king my mind h0tter I could feel myself drowning in my own head.
“Shut up!” I screamed and the taxi driver lost control the vehicle swayed out of the way almost hitting the wall fence and the tires screeching loudly before coming to a complete halt.
There was silence for a minute, am sure the driver was trying to find his s-en-ses. I was completely awake and not really shocked at what just happened. I opened the car and walked out, first to check if anything was damaged. I noticed a small dent near the headlights, nothing a small panel beating can fail.
“Am sorry” I walked to the driver who was now getting out of the car and looking at me like I was some kind of demon out to get him
“What is wrong with you? You just yell out of the blues, you could have gotten us both killed, do you have any idea how far was I running? I was at 120 you moron and you could have gotten us killed” he screamed his anger out and I allowed him just for minute. The next time he wanted to open his mouth and shout at me. I help my hand up and shushed him.
“Enough man.. You don’t have to nagg about it like woman, let it go” I shrugged looking about. It was getting dark and I could not see exactly where I was. I just realized I was taken so much by the noise in my head I didn’t even know how far we had driven of where we were. I could see some lights some 1 km ahead, it seemed the fence we almost hit had some buildings up ahead. I turned about and noticed the circle made on the tarmac. The car must have turned around before st©pping and the scent of burnt tires c@m£ to my nose ma-king me realize why the driver was so fired up.
“Give me my money will you?” he asked calmly
“Oh, yeah I will, how much?” I asked
“K600” he sighed taking down his anger.
“Well, this journey still goes on, but yeah, I will give you this first then we can…” I could not finish talking and he snapped the money from my hands, got into his car and started the ignition. In a bit he drove away leaving me in awe.
“What the f**” I cursed angrily kicking the small stones on the ground. The bastard just left me in the middle of the road and it was getting dark.
“Well, another vehicle will come” I comforted myself and started taking small steps following the lights ahead and the wall fence. Well, I was wrong to think I will hick another vehicle. I looked at the watch on my hand lighting the small t©uçh from the phone and I noticed it was 20 minutes paste 19 pm.
I walked on until I c@m£ in front of a wi-de black gate. It was shining with lights around the front and some coming in from the building inside. My first instinct was to knock and seek for either refuge or ask about where I was and if there was a way to get a vehicle around the area. I got a stone and started hitting the gate, first slowly and sparingly, then I increased the hits hoping someone could hear me from inside.
“Hey! St©p!” male voice called out from inside I threw down the stone satisfied I got what I wanted.
“I need help!” I spoke seeing the person on the other side just opened the small peeping p@rt and was looking up trying to see me
“Who are you?” the man asked
“My name is Joe, am lost and I was hoping in could find my way back “
“Where are you going and how did you find yourself here?” he asked again without opening the gate for me
“Can I come in?” I asked feeling desperate
“No, there are a lot of thieves roaming about and I cannot trust you. Very few people come around this area especially this time. I don’t trust you, it’s nothing personal, but sorry, you will have to walk to the main road and find your way back” the man responded and I could hear footsteps stepping away
“Come on, if I was a thief you probably could have been dead, I could have entered alre-ady. I wouldn’t even knock, am all alone here, plea-se help me” I begged moving closer to the gate.
“plea-se, help me” I spoke loudly and the retreating steps sounded like they had st©pped. I was so sure there was a lot of debate in the head of the man standing on the other side. After a minute the man opened the small entrance for me and I was surprised to see him dressed in priestly clothing.
“Come in” he said looking at me and around the area to be sure I was alone.
“I didn’t know you were a priest I thought. i..um..” I st©pped not knowing if it was a good idea to find myself with men like him. The shame and guilty of who I was gave me the feeling I could not mix with him.
“Of course, what do you think that sign means?” He asked pointing at the bill board outside. I had to turn back and look at it. It was the first time I was seeing it. It indicated,
“Monastery of the holy Cross, St Andrews….” And went on giving other details that I could not finish re-ading
“D–n!” I heard myself think loudly in my head
“So you said you are lost?” The priest asked
“Yes. How can I get to the main road?” I asked quic-kly wanting to get out
“Well, its almost 20 hours and you are likely not able to get a vehicle in time. Besides you will have to walk about 5 Km to the road, that will take you another hour or so, vehicle are rare here. But,..” he looked at me and my dusty shoes
“How did you find yourself here?” he asked.
“Why are you here? “he asked again without waiting for me to find the answer to the first question.
“I..I” I stammered, realizing even myself was not sure how I got there and why. I looked at him and something in me moved. I don’t know if I was moved by the go-wn on the man, I just spoke the very first thought that c@m£ to my mind that I had dared thought or nor spoke to anyone since it happened.
“I killed someone father.. I killed someone and now i… I can`t, she.. He.. I killed cause i…” I kept swallowing my words not sure what to say of where to start from, tears forming in my eyes. Instead of being scared of me or showing any signs of shock. The man held my hand and moved me away from the gate. He locked it and looked de-ep into my eyes
“I can see you are not a killer, you seem like a good man, so why don’t we sit inside and you will tell me everything, tell me what happened my son” he spoke gently and with care I could feel it in his hand holding and leading me to the building ahead.
I was following him without hesitation, like something was just pushing me ahead.
“What am I doing? This man can call the cops on me, why can’t I just leave” I asked myself as he opened wi-de the front door for me to get in.
Encircled episode 1