The Mysterious Ghost
The smoke blankets the loft of the shed. But only when you are at the roadside facing the graveyard, you envisage the navel of the shed.
She covers her navel with damp attires. Dust is blown onto it by the winnowing wind of devils and the spirits of the ghosts caress these damp clothes.
You can have your choice of a material which you will find definitely a few strides to the closest market called Libya.
The shed is roofed with portions of plastic mats, papyrus, some cut off pieces of iron sheets used to build tall buildings close by and damp clothes which will leave you unawares. You interrogate. Does it drip on them or not?
You will think raindrops fall on them. For sure, it is a wonder for you won’t bring out in reality whether the rags are dressed on the virgin sheets or cover the void. Should you find out one, you will have been pleased.
There seems to be a specialty in this shed for a smoke always comes out of fire. Fire burning the house, fire cooking food or fire boiling water; all to say about that fire.
It is a relatively square shed. From where you are standing, you will not find the entrance. Round it and bend a little there. This is Regina, the granny and her grand-son that you have found in the shed. Their smoke never dies till they have embarked on their journey to look for what to eat in the evening. They have chosen to live in this graveyard for its secrecy. It will not be demarcated. When they bring a bulldozer to bulldoze the un-demarcated land for a space to curb insecurity, this land is ignored.
What will a graveyard be demarcated for? The cost of the land in the city is higher than their living standards. But she at least can be too welcoming when you stoop to see what deal of a smoke it is every morning. She sits behind her kettle. Her grandson sits opposite her.
He says, “Grandmother. I wish you will not leave me like my mother did to me.”
“I will not leave you, my son.”
She does not bother even to call him her grandson.
She knows that he needs a feeling of the love taken away from him. The love he should have embraced from his mother. Their water boils. She puts in tea leaves to warm themselves with it before they go out when it has drizzled on them or the contrary.
Regina was left with this boy after her daughter Sanya was involved in a fatal accident. They bought a perfume and sprayed it all over her body. A body lotion that she loved was smeared all over her body. Her hair was plaited like she loved. She was dressed up in her best clothes like she would rise again. That was how they said she would feel that she was loved dearly before she died.
The murderer was held in custody. The murderer was released after his bailout. Regina goes to her daughter’s grocery daily. Her grandson meets her only in the evening.
He begs every person who seems to pass near him. Sometimes, he may make ten pounds. If unlucky he meets the devil. He returns empty handed.
Regina is old. She tries to buy vegetables from the closest market and sells them. It is not profitable. Her vegetables she has planted have dried. She replants and pests and weeds have choked them.
Jazzy has become her only hope. After their daily tea, he goes to the market. He has had a friend who cooks in a Hotel. She sees him, feels considerate and gives him food. When she has some pounds, she asks him to help her wash plates. She gives him money. He takes food home for his granny.
“Where did you get this food from grandson?” asks Regina.
“From a friend.”
He is given remnants of food in this Hotel instead of its throwing in the bin.
“What friend grandson?”
“A woman who works in an eatery in Munuki.”
“She is empathetic.”
“Yes, but pledge grandmother. Will you not leave me?”
“I won’t leave you.”
“Grandmother, I will be wealthy one day.”
“Amen, grandson. You are a child. You will be well-heeled.”
It rains violently sometimes. She holds him like a chicken and her brood. Dirty water drops onto them. They push to the corner which has the iron sheet roof. It becomes a safe night to them.
“Grandmother. Are you safe?” he asks
“Yes, we are,” she responds.
He sleeps quietly. While he goes to his Liberty Hotel where he has had a deal with Monique, the chef, he is bothered.
A blind girl is dressed in a school uniform. She looks as if she doesn’t see to him. She holds a stick she hits anyhow ahead. If it hits anything, she finds a better passage where there is nothing solid touched unless the earth.
While the stick slides, she knows it is a gulley or a slope, any structure along the street. He observes.
She follows along the stick for real. He goes to her and is silent. He squats in front to see her if really watching him. She hits him in the head.
He stands and runs forward. Squats again and peeps but hit again in the head. She changes the direction like before while he runs forward.
She has detected something obstructing on her way.
He follows her all along. She proceeds. He touches her on her back. She turns, checks with the stick and proceeds. He grabs the stick and runs away. She stands still as he laughs.
“I will beat you up. Bring my walking stick.”
He sidles and squats as before. She is just quiet. He rises and looks at her straight in the eye and points his index finger at her eye directly as if to poke it. She is not moved. He laughs there. She tries to grab her arm but fails.
“I will beat you.”
“How will you beat me?” he responds. “Do you see me really?”
“I say bring the stick, I am late for school.”
He comes to her and points the stick at her. “Hold it; I shall take you to school.”
“I am able, leave me alone now,” she says. “I know where I am going.”
“I shall take you.”
He goes on the lead while he takes her to school. He asks her to take him to that school. In the school of the blind, the blind are taught on Braille. She tells him that he is not fit for he has his sight. Here is the school.
He leaves her and returns to his usual business. It has been long and the link between this boy and Monique is detected by the management of the Hotel. She is sacked. The next day, Jazzy has not found her.
Jazzy goes about to the bank of the river. He sees two boys who hold sticks which are stringed. The string is in water. Meanwhile, the string has a small piece of wood floating. He observes. At the moment when the piece of wood dips in water and emerges, the boy pulls it out hurriedly. It has caught a fish.
This second time has something like bread put in the mouth and on the tooth of the hook. He throws it too in water. It has caught fish again. He pulls it up but it is so hard. He yells for help. Jazzy and the other fisher boy come for help.
They pull it. The heavy catch pulls them in water. They don’t hold the stick anymore. The men who bath come for help and bring them out. Jazzy goes home head on.
He explains this to his grandmother. He adds that Monique has been sacked.
His grandmother is not in mood when she hears this. The lady however has to come for him the following day at her previous work place. She takes him to her house. She has to interrogate him.
“Jazzy, where are your parents?”
“My mother died in an accident five months ago. I don’t know my father.”
“Whom do you live with?”
“I live with my grandmother.”
She is concerned. She feels the hardship this child undergoes by begging on the streets.
“Where do you live?”
“We live in the graveyard opposite Munuki. We have erected a shed there.”
She is touched.
“Will you take me there tomorrow?”
“I promise, I will.”
She takes him up to their living place and they diverge.
The place they live in is a talking point to their closest relatives. They dispute why they have to live there and fail to consult them that they will live in their houses. Each one of them is called a poor thing. Jazzy has been called like this severally. He can play with some of them. Children just play with everyone.
He is called a poor thing. His old grandmother is not called this in her presence but when people plan to go, Jazzy has been told severally.
“Is your grandmother at home?”
It follows, “Let me go and meet that poor thing.”
This is a usual permission from the other colleague who must either leave too ignorant or accompany the one who intends to visit these poor things.
They visit her. Some give her some money and leave. Others go to talk about their living standards.
“Jazzy. Welcome back,” she welcomes.
“You are lucky, I see the paper bag.”
“Monique took me to her house today. We have just diverged.”
“You would have told her to come on in.”
“She said she was in a hurry. She will come tomorrow, don’t worry about that grandmother.”
“I will love to appreciate everything she does.”
“She is very kind grandmother. She resembles mummy grandmother.”
“It is semblance. Your mother is dead. She will not return. I think you know death means someone is gone forever. We will not see her again.”
“I hope now in you, grandmother. Don’t leave me like my mother did.”
“I shall not leave you jazzy. Old age may take me when you will have grown, a man to look for your own ways of living.”
“I am determined. I shall overcome anything in my youth.”
“You are industrious. Birds of your feather achieve their goals.”
He removes the food he has in the paper bag. They eat and sleep for the night all through. Regina Hallucinates throughout the night. Jazzy is awoken and wakes her up. She says whenever he hears him speak; he has to sleep comfortably because everything is alright.
She fears threatening of his well being wherever he goes every morning too. Roads are not safe at all. A child like him too may be enticed into adoption using money and all the treasures.
Regina in the first place warned Jazzy when she heard about Monique’s association with him. Jazzy even though a child; introduced her as a good lady who understands the meaning of life. He introduced her grandmother to how caring Monique is.
His grandmother was convinced after all.
Jazzy goes to his usual work after tea. The thought provoking tea everyone sees its smoke and asks what it is. He walks begging. He has finally walked to tiredness. He has to sit under that shade and rests a bit. There is a balloon which is blown towards him. He rises to pick it yet it is blown away whenever he bows to pick it. He follows the balloon and finds himself where Monique resides. He has to meet Monique before homing.
She is prepared. She has no work still. Her job search has ended in an appointment for the next Monday. She is not worried because she knows she will earn it. She has been lucky to meet her school friend who studied with her. It is this friend of hers who has promised to find a job for her.
Monique was impregnated by the smartest boy in her class. She dragged in the middle positions in class where as this boy got the first position in class.
To the adolescent girls, a smart student in class is befriended. He may help you to succeed during exams or marry you. But I don’t think their smartness entails their capability to sustain their families.
The school administration suspended them. Dolly left her at that. He was not willing to take her home.
The case had reached his parents but however had not shown them the girl he had impregnated. Dolly had refused completely to take her where his family lived. He changed the school and studied elsewhere.
Monique went from one school to another looking for him. He was not found. By the time she had gone to his new school, she was not allowed to go to class. The teachers went from one class to another looking for Dolly. He had changed his name. He failed to show up and Monique was jaded and gave up.
Regina was saddened by this occurrence. She wished she had known the family of the boy to request a way to resolve her daughter’s fate.
Monique did not know her husband’s dwelling. It was already a pain for how Regina had tried to school her out of the hand to mouth life of her family. Regina struggled with her till she delivered. She was then knocked by a vehicle while crossing the road running from her business place which earned them living.
This friend of Monique had studied food catering. She said she would ask her boss to employ Monique. Jazzy meets her as they go to their shed at the graveyard.
“Hello mother,” she humbles herself.
“Welcome mon…my children,”
she doubts if really Monique. She has nearly called her by her real name. However, she looks exactly like her daughter like Jazzy had said. They enter. Regina rises at once advancing to her. She regains her control. She exits and goes to where her daughter was buried. The grave is not broken. She beholds the sun but she is not dreaming.
“My daughter is dead,” she says.
She walks back slowly. Her spirits are lowered. She is reminded of her dead daughter. She sits and her mouth is fastened by wonder.
She speaks, “What is your name my daughter?”
“I am Monique.”
“Monique? The one who helps us for our daily bread?”
“Not much mother. Just trying to put a smile on this young soul’s face. It is not enough to be called help.”
“You are so kind.”
“Thank you mother.”
She peeps and smiles. Jazzy sees this.
“Is anything funny Monique?”
“Not at all.”
“My daughter. I was moved on spotting you. You resemble my dead daughter who was Jazzy’s mother.”
“It is semblance mother. Why do you live here?”
“My daughter died. Three months later we were swept out of our house she left us in. The house we lived in was bulldozed.”
“I am so sorry for that mother. I think it is getting late. I want you to live with me in my house.”
“Thank you my daughter.”
Jazzy and his grandmother move to the house of Monique. Monique is employed on Monday. Life becomes at least smoother. Jazzy has to try schooling. Regina asks Monique and she explains.
“Mother, I have seen how hard you have been living. I have taken permission because I was killed unlawfully. I have to fulfill my cause before I return. I am your daughter who died. I am Jazzy’s mother.”
“Don’t cry Mother. I am alive now. But I shall return.”
Until when Jazzy has obtained a certificate in high school, his grandmother has not left him. She is of ages.
She has to leave him for a reason now. She is too weak to stand living.
Monique gives him all her best after Regina’s death. Jazzy attains a vocational training within the city.
She meets Monique in the evening for the night and goes to school in the morning.
Monique is at the counter serving customers. She is surrounded by ghosts urging her that her time is up. She pleads, I shall get you tomorrow. Customers wonder who is speaking with her.
They report to her fellow workers. Her boss is not in. She assures them that she is fine. Monique goes home this evening. She has taken all the money with her to be taken to the bank tomorrow. The ghosts are around her in the house urging her to leave. Her time is up. She speaks to them.
“I need a few months to lead my son to the completion of his vocational training.”
The ghosts are angry. She must get them by all means.
Jazzy asks, “Are you fine?”
“See my son. I am your mother Sanya. I was called Monique at school only. Your biological mother; who was knocked by the vehicle on her way home. I knew you were left with my old mother. I wanted to protect you. I had to come back because I was innocent while killed. Now my mates need me tonight.”
She opens her bag and removes 3 bundles of 2,500 SSP each.
“Go and rent a room far from here. My workmates don’t know you. They will be looking for me to no avail.”
He tries to touch her. She vanishes. She reappears. “Bye my son. I shall guard you in your daily work. You will live peacefully.”
Jazzy sleeps with a broken heart. He wakes up and goes to the bank, opens a bank account and deposits the money except 1,000 SSP for his daily bread.
He goes back to his school. He attends lessons and tries to return to that house again. She speaks directing him to try teaching in the nearby school; he recalls those words spoken by his mother.
He has to pass by this school to ask for a teaching post. After that, he has to try teaching voluntarily. He does as requested by the administration.
He rents a hut not far from this school. He teaches. It is now one month after his employment. He is a teacher and an electrician with a paid job.