Credits (JA01)

Editors (Part 1, Part 2): Anne Moraa, Tuelo Gabonewe, Kate Hampton.
Editors (Bonus section): Mehul Gohil, Tuelo Gabonewe.
Poetry Editor: Clifton Gachagua.
Kiswahili Editors: Ndinda Kioko, Clifton Gachagua.


Photography: Marziya Mohammedali.
Cover Art: “Mouth” by Ruth Bircham.
Cover Design: Kimberly Li.


Project concept by Keguro Macharia.


Published by:

Jalada Africa
P.O. Box 24683, Nairobi 00502, Kenya.
http://www.jalada.org
letters@jalada.org
@JaladaAfrica


Note: 2 texts that were originally published in this anthology have been withdrawn by the author.


Creative Commons Licence
“Sext Me poems and stories” by Jalada Africa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://wp.me/p4hSPK-4K.

“Sex on a Train Wagon” by Richard Oduor

KR-092

Natasha sat at the corner of the wagon fidgeting with her phone, shuffling through “Jesus Daily” Facebook updates and typing “Amen” in the comment sections, prodding God to salvage humanity from tears and rot. It was early afternoon. Dust and exhaust soot settled on the shrubs clothing the abandoned train wagons under Tam-Tam Railway Bridge. City noise slapped the wagons and fell down on the spiky grasses, but only silence sat with Natasha in the corner of one wagon. This was KR-092—huge enough for an orgy of fifty, rusty inside, but largely stable. Most wagons were ankle deep in the marsh. They lay on their sides sporting bumps and bends. KR-092 stood on its feet, away from the marsh, with not a chink on its sides. Natasha was impressed that the double-doors had not been cut off and sold as scrap metal. They gave the wagon a safe freedom. She could lock herself inside if she sensed danger. She will lock herself inside when he arrives. Today…again.

Tommy’s mind wandered. He knew the wagons were not very safe. Just last month street urchins had discovered an unsightly situation in one. The police had to be called to do the necessary and chase the tens of wild dogs circling the scene. Natasha did not know this. He did not tell her. This would be their last time here, he told himself as he crossed the street, descended the steps built on the embankment and took a detour to the thickets hiding unused wagons. Brisk strides. Sweat leathered his face. Tommy was a man oblivious to the concept of lateness, especially when he had an important assignment pending. The latch of one of the doors was fastened, but the other wasn’t. Natasha crawled and hid behind the locked door. She watched his shadow enter, then the tips of his shoes, then the whole of him. His eyes caught a brown leather Pouchee lying at the usual corner, but not Natasha. When she began tiptoeing towards him, he turned and met her with a big grin, pulled her into her arms and planted a kiss on her lips.

Hey Tash!

Been waiting.

Tommy kicked the door closed and latched it. Four beams of light remained shooting through the spaces between the hinges on the left door.

Not much I guess. My watch says 2:45.

I know. Just missed you.

She knew what he was going to do: yank off her panties, lift and pin her to the wall, undo his belt and shake his waist till his jeans were scrambled on the floor, then bulldoze into her. Rough and wild. She liked it sometimes. She did not like it sometimes. Addiction is a bad thing. When one is addicted, one uses the same formula to solve the same equation. She was a girl of many formulas. She did not want it that way today. She pushed him away gently, just when the tip of his middle finger had thrown up her dress and was edging for her waistline.

No Amazon feast today.

Why?

I want something unscripted Tommy. We’ve been through this a million times. I want to be surprised.

A million? Haha! Be the Prof. today, then. Introduce me to new concepts.

Tommy stooped to undo his laces, shake off his shoes, and kick off his trousers. He was 5’9”, well-built and toned. Tommy’s ribs were not visible enough to count. Natasha ran her fingers over the ripples of muscle on his stomach. She was just 5’5”. She pulled his head down and kissed him. Short. Playful.

I won’t play Prof. I want you to surprise me, not me to surprise myself.

Tommy turned 27 last year. His experience with legs and breasts started when he was just stepping into his teen years. By that time, Amina had been his family’s house-help for three years. He was in Class 8 and Amina could not have been more than five years older. He assigned her an age three years older, to assuage his ego. Tommy knew there was a huge valley of experience between them but it did not take long before he proved himself to Amina. He had seen a good number of legs and breasts since then but had largely avoided romantic attachment.

But he was addicted to Natasha, though he tried to hide this from himself. She was just 22 and boundaryless like him. That scared him. It made his experience and certificates of sexual expertise inadequate. With Natasha, he wanted to become young again, to restructure the problem, introduce new equations and try out new combinations. He wanted to take his time, be the beloved tutor, assist her to arrive at her answer before reaching his own.

Natasha knew Tommy was better than the midget asymmetrical boy with the cricket-voice that was her boyfriend. Tommy’s hands were invisible hands. They moved at the speed of light and warmed every part of her body that they touched. Every dart of his fingers from one geographical region of her body to the other was received with an applause of sighs. Each of these sighs pumped him up. He was a naturally large man, so the sighs that would have made a small man adequate made him enormous. If an ant was to land on his enormousness, and prick it just a little, it would blow up.

She spread the leso on the hard metal floor and pushed him to sit on it. She stood legs apart and watched his eyes wet with desire. Tommy pulled her lithe body closer, one hand toying with her bush. She spread her legs wider, like a woman preparing to lift a basket of cassava to her head, until the lips of her vagina rested on Tommy’s waiting lips. She closed her eyes.

Take your time. You know I like when our classes are long. And please be creative while at it.  

Tash, can you shut up?

Her legs began to fail her. They shook and trembled like springs. He lowered her gently onto his lap and she swallowed him whole like the Whale swallowed Jonas. He was always glad to live inside her.

Cargo trains are long and fat. They spit soot into the air, soot which settles on shrubs concealing abandoned train wagons. The train chugged and chugged, snaking noisily on Tam-Tam Railway Bridge. The train noise drowned Tommy’s sex noise, but his swears were insistent. Obscene and loud swears became obscenest and loudest swears. Tommy’s swears drowned Natasha’s whimpers and moans as he pumped into her. Unafraid. Fearless. Invited. They chugged and chugged, accelerating as the cargo train nearing the station above slowed. They chugged and chugged, inside KR-092.


Richard Oduor (@RichieMaccs) is a poet and writer and other things which put food on the table. He holds a degree in Biomedical Science and Technology, and currently works as a Research Consultant in Nairobi, Kenya. His work has been published in Saraba Magazine, San Antonio Review, among others and also regularly commentates on The Star (Kenya). He is struggling to publish his first poetry collection while working on a novel and short stories. He is part of Hisia Zangu and the Jalada Africa writers’ collective.

“Rose Water” by Kate Hampton

Rose Water

Soft on my face
Pretty flower:
A rose by its own name
Has never smelt oh so sweet Oh
Rose without thorns
With your sweet water
Prick me.


Kate Hampton (@katechampton) is an editor at Kwani Trust and Jalada, and a writer of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The East African, The Chimurenga Chronic, ESC 5, Kwani? 07, Kwani? 08, Bakwa 6 and Jalada.

“Sext Me” by Aleya

Sext me

S: Last night was incredible. I am still tingling all over. If it wasn’t for the damn askaris…

Saved by the askaris. Not a good idea to be caught fucking in the parking lot in Westlands. What kind of a girl does that! What kind of a girl does that the first time she sleeps with a guy… Oh, but this guy…

K: I know. I wanted more. I wanted you so bad. I want you now.

S: Next time we must avoid parking lots. Somebody might see us. Also cops are bastards.

K: Agreed. I got carried away… you have the softest lips. Down there as well

Oh my! I knew I should have waxed. Did he notice?

K: And your labia is so sexy

What the? He moves fast! What on earth even makes a labia sexy? Who even uses that word labia when sexting????

S: What do you mean?

K: Your labia has all these sexy folds

Is that what men find sexy? Folds? Ass, breasts I get…but folds! Heh. Kumbe labias can be sexy.

S: Next time, I don’t know if I will be able to control myself

K: I loved the way you sat on my fingers. You are a baaad girl

Daaaaaaaaaaaamn!  I did? I don’t even remember. What ELSE did I do in the throes of my sluttish abandon? Does he think I am too forward?

Fuck it. Let’s play.

S: You don’t know just how bad…

K: Show me

S: You will have to find out for yourself. Think of it as a treasure hunt. You will have to caress, finger, lick and suck your way to the prize at the end

K: When? Date. Tomorrow?

What? Is that the end of the sexting? I was just getting started. Tomorrow. No! I have to wax and get a pedicure done. Also, am I ready to have sex with him? Propriety dictates we sext for at least 2 more weeks before meeting again! Shit. What do I say? If I say yes, he will know I am gagging for it, and maybe I am too easy. I should make him wait. But I AM gagging. Besides, who are we kidding. I am easy!

S: Next week…

K: Wear a dress. With nothing on underneath

Ati nothing on underneath. What is that? Some line from a 90s Hollywood B movie. Men, they don’t get we have bits that need holding in. THAT is what underwear is for! But whatever…if that floats his boat.

S: Deal! I keep getting flashbacks. You hard against me.

K: I loved the way you were grinding. You are just so damn sexy

He finds me sexy! Damn sexy! Nobody says “damn” unless they really mean it. Come on now. Channel Inner Sex Goddess. Turn him on.

S: I can’t wait for that moment. When you enter me. When I feel you slipping into me.

K: I want to tease you. Rub the head of my cock against your pussy. Slide it back and forth. Until you are gagging and begging for more

Oooooh…I really love when a man does that. Hmmmmmm. This could work. Ok. We are doing this. He said it.The C word and P words. We have officially crossed that line.

S: I reaaaaaaaaally like that! I want to grab your ass as you thrust into me. Nice and slow

K: You like it slow?

S: Sometimes. Sometimes I like it hard and fast. There are times when you just need to be fucked, you know

K: Like yesterday…

S: Yes. When it is sweaty and furious, and your toes curl, and your back arches, and…and…and... What do you like?

Please oh please let it not involve pissing. Of any sort!

K: Tying you up so I can explore every inch of your body with my tongue

Phew!!! That, I can dig. I think. Unless…oh shit, unless he turns out to be some serial killer, and I will be helpless all tied up. Mental note: must make back up plan to tell friend where I will be in case I need rescuing…except by the time she gets there, I will probably be some tiny article in the newspaper…Stupid Gullible Woman Gets Heart Broken (And Limbs Chopped Off) In Lurid Sex Game With Serial Killer.

K: What is your fantasy?

Will he think I am a freak if I tell him the truth? Gulp. Maybe it is too soon.

S: Fucking you somewhere we could get caught…

K: Damn! I wish I was there now. I want you on top, so I can suck on your nipples

Ohhhhhh yes!

S: I want to ride you, feel every ridge of your hard dick. Feel your naked skin against mine

I wonder if this is turning him on. For heaven’s sake shut up! Heaven. Is that blasphemous? Focus!

K: And you feel my balls slapping against your clit

Huh? Is that even anatomically possible in that position? Unless he has balls with supersonic pendulum powers. Or my clit moves up to my ass. Ignore.

S: My wet pussy sucking you in, as you thrust inside me, slow and deep.

K: I want to slip a finger in your ass.

Ok. That’s it. I lost my erection. What the fuck!? Now I can NEVER have sex with him. I don’t want to have to protect my ass the whole time. Why are some men so obsessed with that? Should I tell him? Honey. My holes are one way traffic only! Tell him! Or forever keep clenched.

S: I am not such a fan of that…

Shit. He’s gone all quiet. Quick, text something to make it less awkward. Got it. Blowjob. Men love blowjobs.

S: But I would love to taste you…to swirl my tongue and suck you deep in my mouth

K: Hmmm…. as I fuck you with my fingers, making you wetter

Really, what’s up with this dude? He keeps getting the positions mixed up! I am now sucking you. Focus. Either he has freakishly long arms, doesn’t understand how human anatomy works, or is just not paying attention. Keep up man!

S: You make me so wet. I am touching myself…Rubbing my clit with my fingertip, slowly in circles.

I hope he is taking notes. I hate when men jab, prod and poke like they’re pushing a bloody elevator button.

K: I am so hard

Ok. I am officially turned on. Is that all it takes? Knowing he is hard? Hard for me.

K: I want to lick you. Eat you. I have never tasted a Muhindi before

What the? Is that what this is…? Am I the token eroticised Muhindi chick he wants to try? Does he think brown chicks have vaginas that taste of curry or something? That we fuck different? But then again…who knows…maybe we do. What if I am not as good in bed as black chicks? Mental note: must enquire further.

This is fucking absurd! I can’t believe that even crossed my mind. As if it is a competition! But seriously…maybe culturally there is something they do to please men in a way I have never learned…or been taught. Maybe he expects me to whip out the Kamasutra!  Second mental note: must buy Kamasutra.

Come on! You are being even more ridiculous than he is. Stop focussing on having to perform for him. Make him work for you. Be woman!

S: Hmmm. So I will be popping your brown girl cherry?

K: Be gentle. Initiate me into the pleasures.

S: Oh I will be gentle…at first. Then it may get rough, and hard and fast…

K: Have you ever been with a black man?

Ohhhh…now I get it! What an idiot. He gets off on this, turned on by the taboo of deflowering desi. He probably has visions of dropping his trousers, proudly thrusting like a peacock, and me gasping in shock/desire/lust/fear when I see his big black…Huh! And here YOU thought he actually liked you.

Hmm….maybe I should mess with him a bit.

S: A black man…no. But black women…hmmmmmm


Aleya is a Kenyan writer and past producer of the Storymoja Hay Festival. She has written for Awaaz, Sahan Journal, and blogs at http://www.chanyado.wordpress.com which is a little haven for her self-indulgent literary musings.

She is also a performer, having moaned her way through the 2013 “Vagina Monologues”, and most recently as part of the cast of Sitawa Namwali’s acclaimed dramatized poetry show “Silence is a Woman.”

She is a voracious reader, with an ongoing love affair with yoga.

“Diaphoresis” by Victoria

Diaphoresis

Sweat—slicked, slipping in rivulets, reducing the friction between covered flesh—facilitated the avid, unexpected removal of clothing. 

Like a church chorus or a Mexican wave, a singular act had a causal effect. The reality of this mimicry, aside from fervid relief, was the jostling of humans, flesh gently crashing into each other. Arms in faces, elbows in crotches as humans sought freedom from humidity with indignant but unrelenting urgency. It was simultaneously erotic and invasive, the brief clash of glance on glance, the slender curve of him on her. 

For Sansa, whose body was being gently assaulted by a sequence of non-consensual collisions, the irony failed to elude her. After a night of promise crumpled like a fallen soufflé, that she would be so sensually stirred on her post-coital commute brought amusement along with surprise. Such tension preceded the event that Sansa found herself masturbating with a violent ferocity, fingering her fevered excitement.


Sweat—her poised form was not visibly marred by it. She sat poker straight in her seat, out of jostling’s reach, watching with distaste as moist unkempt sacks of flesh with curling clothes and horny faces bumbled about, twisting eagerly out of overcoats like plump middle-aged couples struggling to dance. 

He struggled to dance, he had once warned her, and clearly sex was a kind of dance for him for he struggled with that as well. He had been trying to make her smile that night as she stood, ignored and embarrassed, a housewife at a corporate party thrown by her husband. His own wife had been sensitive, if eager, diligently making promises with her eyes and fingertips as she too sought to make Desdemona smile. Last night his wife, as she lowered herself inexpertly onto Desdemona’s waiting body, was enthusiastic enough but not especially proficient. Desdemona had lain prone, more than a little insulted, as the continued fumbles of man and wife inevitably formed a rhythm of their own.

The next morning, her lip was still sore from being earnestly tugged in all directions. Her collarbone, though thoroughly doused of the splayed fingers and viscid tongues by a cashmere scarf and Chanel No. 5, still felt tingles of burgeoning rage. Despite being more sexually confident than either of them, she felt underpinnings of shame.

“Liberation” had been the uplifting promise of her assertive single friends as they marched her through the torrential downpour of her divorce. The banality of packing up one’s belongings, the inexplicable surprise at the reality of homelessness: a necessary sacrifice in order to ensure that what followed would in fact follow. Just as one had to pass through death to reach the afterlife and the glories that the Christian one promised, so one had to be kicked out of one’s comfortable mansion by one’s husband, lose one’s boudoir, finances and the precious dogs, all so that the invaluable fruits of agency would be made manifest. 

This, a threesome with her ex-husband’s colleague and his wife, was meant to be a symbol of reckoning. “Sexual exploration by means of simultaneous partners built on the bedrock of vengeance.” She had whispered the notion to excite herself and quench her anxiety. She had not had sex with anybody else besides her husband for fifteen years. Incidentally, her husband, whilst manipulative and patronising in other areas, had been a thoroughly satisfying partner. This had always been his way of luring her back, the sex and the purse strings. As her only lover, he was thus the benchmark by which she measured all future sexual encounters and because he was her husband, a man whose plethora of faults commanded, at this late stage, little besides melancholy, she had expected each following sexual experience would satisfy her as he had, at the very least.

As the cumbersome bag of an young earnest girl swayed dangerously close to her face, she found herself brought back to the staid numbness of her train seat. The dank dull walls proved no visual respite from the slithery discomfort that watching glutinous bodies struggle to slither from their clothing brought. Irate, she almost grabbed the girl by her dirty writhing bag but the thought of joining this provincial Dionysian exercise filled her with an inhibiting horror. Still, the girl turned to look. A frosty glare of resignation met a gleaming flush of excited youth as Desdemona and Sansa found themselves face to face. There was a pause where both expressions wavered, then the train jerked. A moment later, a barrel chested man tumbled into Sansa, knocking her, feculent bag first, into Desdemona’s lap.


Sweat—she gently wiped it from her cheekbones and slipped the handkerchief up her sleeve. Wincing slightly, she returned her clammy palm to her face as if to confirm her instincts. Last night’s bruises were beginning to rise; a slight swelling had dawned on her skin. By now she knew that he would hit her when she refused, yet something within compelled her to continue making her stand. She first left him, on a brittle sunless morning, as he lay half on the couch where he had drunkenly crumpled to sleep. Alicia had only begun limping as she reached the front door. Pinned, as she had been, beneath the velvet menace of his legs, she dared not use her feet. Instead, stinging her knees as she went, she crawled across the desiccant carpet until she knew she was out. Clutching the scant remnants of the purse he had emptied and thrown at her the night before, she left without risking a search for her shoes.

She watched a slight girl’s hefty bag crumple heavily onto an austere woman’s skirt, recalling with a shudder that her husband, drunk and unconscious still wearing her neon skirt, was the last thing she saw before she left. Alicia had not been at the threshold when she looked back; she had simply closed her eyes as she continued to crawl.

Now, her eyes were alert. She watched, hoping only for a distraction as the rhythmic jerks of the train commanded the corpus of bodies to become better acquainted. Through the translucency of sweat-soaked clothing, she followed the continuing interaction between the girl with the inordinately large bag and the seated woman with the pinched expression. By this point, the woman’s expression had relaxed into transitory surprise. She couldn’t hear what was undoubtedly a fumbling apology from the girl, to whom the woman swiftly directed her former hauteur. Alicia, watching with increasing awkwardness, pitied the young girl as the rapid movements of her hands nervously underlined her apology and the woman continually demurred, her face a frozen mask, attempting neutrality.

Unexpectedly, the woman caught sight of Alicia. Her expression thawed and Alicia, stunned at the surprise crumbling of this fourth wall, missed what transpired between the woman and the girl but, suddenly, the girl was staring at her too. For a moment, before the train gave an abrupt thrust, they shared a glance of hesitation. Then, yielding themselves up to the relentless pressure of the train, all three averted their eyes, resigned.


Victoria (@meditationxvii) is a recovering cynic, concupiscent absurdist, closet Romantic. She lives by Tertullian’s phrase, “memento mori,” and seeks equipoise in Nietzschean affirmation. Amor Fati.

“Honeymoon Suite / Dreaming” by Nkatha Obungu

Honeymoon Suite / Dreaming

Honeymoon Suite

I am an errant fire truck; scarlet engine; slipping brake pads,
rearing to slam into the trenches of your tightly-reined desire,
but my fervor frightens your Anglican fancies of subdued rapture
and you retreat into a mask of passivity; startled exodus,
Smothered shock at the flight of purse-lipped virgin from idealized halo,
You’re staring down the demons of Nephthys
as you try to remember if you mis-invoked her when you nibbled on my neck;
But even then, my skin was already coming apart; quicksand
trapping your teeth to sink into a red sea that you
did not know how to part;
Could not know how to part;
and so now
we lie side by side in pools of unchastised silence,
Sending dangerous vibrations to the ceiling.


Dreaming

In the shadowed hours after I have licked soap bubbles
trapped in the netted hairiness of your torso,
I dream that Janus has slipped into your mouth
and tilted your smile into a downward curve
of displeased dissent.
Sharp fangs sprout from misplaced dentata
Juxtaposed on androgynous replications
of the messy wetness that smears
the plum-stained beds of emotion we writhe in.

My name is a waterfall on your lips;
Even when you roar in pain,
Especially when you roar in pain.
As your bones snap one by one
Under the illumination of a sturgeon lunar
your eyes turn yellow with lunatic need.
I’m the paws you scratch against cellared stone,
Hunting down warm-blooded, rust-scented necks
that taste of self-immolation.
Tearing past linked chain into tender flesh.
The gurgling strangulation of bubbling anima;
Final leaps off infernal cliffs
rouse me to screaming streams of consciousness.

You beg me not to unrescue you,
And just now I realize
Our respective hells are sentries clutching onto twisted hilts of clashed spears,
The only respite; sleepless embrace.


Nkatha Obungu (@nkay9) is a lawyer and writer. She recently contributed to the “When Women Speak” Brainstorm Kenya e-book and blogs at Etchings on the Mirror.

“Prey” by Zak Waweru

Prey

The matron shifts in her chair to gaze at the stream of students leaving the dining hall. It has been seven years since she joined the school and the girls look up to her as a mother figure. Her cowl is the most recognizable outfit in the institution. The plain grey attire exhibits simplicity and is respected as a symbol of readiness to work. A silver rosary tucked in the hood speaks to her presence as the authority on spiritual matters. That, and her earnest, bright face, mark her as the most liked personality at Saint Benedict Girls School. In the absence of a priest she oversees the spiritual needs of the whole community. Although the school does admit students from other religions and Christian denominations, its Catholic policies are absolute.

The school is a centre of academic excellence. It is revered for its strict enclosure. The gentle silence surrounding it provides a suitable environment for both spiritual and academic exercise. Here, study is uninterrupted.

The school is located in what the students say is the middle of nowhere. It is in the heartland of the rising savannah which stretches past the horizon. It is accessible from the nearest town, forty kilometers away, by a dusty road which snakes across the plains. To the north it is bordered by a forest and to the west by hilly escarpments.

To the south, the Tsavo River carves its way, dragging spectral legends with it. Further upstream a wooden bridge is the only reminder that human encroachment had made it this far. Now decaying from the effects of weather, the bridge served its purpose when the slave caravans bound for Zanzibar made their way across the plains.

A story is told that when a caravan made it this far, the captives realized that they were never again going to be free men and resolved to die in their own land rather than suffer in captivity. The long file of chained men stalled and refused to move even when they were threatened with shooting after no amount of whipping budged them. They huddled together and dared their captors to kill them. The captors opened fire. The remaining captives dragged the corpses over the bridge and plunged into the river with them. The captors fired at them, the murky waters fast turning crimson. The gurgling of the river and mournful wailing of the captives drowned out the gunshots. Crocodiles made their way downstream.

It is often said that the souls of these young men never left the land. Their ghostly forms are said to be seen roaming the vast plains as they seek out their captors. People who are stranded in these parts say that they have heard disembodied voices or laughter or mumbling or footsteps.

The matron is well aware of the legend and such tales are of interest to her. As a young girl, she lived with her family in a house built on an old graveyard. At five years of age, she grew accustomed to sighting ethereal wanderings of women and children, images that remained with her until the day she turned eighteen and was sent to convent. She was yet to encounter the ghosts of Tsavo.

 

The bell rings to signal the end of the day’s activities and the students prepare to leave for the dormitories. Some congregate in one of the halls for a religious proceeding. The matron sits at her desk and listens to confessions and requests without so much as a twitch. After they pour out their hearts, she shifts in her chair and offers wise counsel, that all will be fulfilled, sorted out, pardoned, forgiven; His will come to pass.

Her cases are diverse:

Teacher: Please pray for me, my child is sick and my husband is leaving me.

Teacher: My students are rebellious; guess they are doing drugs.

Student: My parents hate me that’s why they brought me to this Godforsaken place.

Teacher: My colleague is going to get the promotion I think I was overlooked.

Student: I get bullied too much; the senior girls want to possess me.

Student: I see apparitions, ghosts lurking in the dark ready to pounce on me.

She fulfills her obligation, selflessly sacrificing her own soul, interceding on behalf of those who carry too much for themselves to bear. At times, she wishes she could self-flagellate and atone for the sinful ways of man that brought pain and misery. She reassures the confessors that all had been set free at Calvary, that all one has to do is reach out and touch the hallowed robes, and the bleeding from their hearts would cease, they would come down from the tree of Addiction, the Master would dine in their lives, and they would be set free from all that haunted them.

Walking around the institution at night is calming. All is still for mankind. Pieces of off-key sounds: the chirping cricket, the rustle in the bushes, the cuckoo’s call deep in the trees; the roaring waterfall, a consonant cutting through the entire void.

The matron walks to the end of the dormitory, and pauses, taking short breaths just outside the door which is inches open. The moonlight pours through the windows, bathing the occupants of the last cubicle. She reaches out with her hand and pushes the door a little wider, then moves to the area where light from the window doesn’t reach. She thinks about the sleepers as wind gusts outside, a window opens, and more light streams in. They lie snoring. There are two double-decker beds set against the walls, with a French window separating them at the wall opposite the door. The students’ metal boxes are stacked against the wall below the window.

The moon casts its path beyond the zenith; hours past midnight. Her body is calm and sensitive to her surroundings. The movement of air is heavy, misty, and it leaves her palms moist. Her eyes remained fixed with premonition.

Outside, the air swirls and bustles at the crevices. An intake of air is a snarl and, on an upper deck, night air rasps through the nose. A darkness descends in the room, holds the watcher, and stills or quickens the movements of the resting. An occupant tied up in sleep jerks and kicks in the sheets. A body turns, another sighs, and yet another is motionless. Somebody talks in her sleep. Somebody snorts. Somebody remains still.

The matron blinks and, now accustomed to the darkness, looks beyond the window to the moon now concealed behind clouds: a glow suspended in the vicinity where a ghostly heaviness lurks. Farther off, a bird circles where the moon is clearing the cloud.

The bushes outside rustle and a dog barks. The waterfall intensifies. The matron wants to move but is compelled to stay still. A jackal howls as it scurries through the field of maize. Deep in the trees a wild dog growls as it hunts, on a trail, alert for unfamiliar scents.

A body moans and is propelled out of inertia; other bodies struggle in their sleep. The matron’s eyes are wide open, her mind bound by a spell of surging shadows creeping in the humid air. Her body motionless, her limbs stiffen. Her blood chills and her fingers grow numb as shadows congregate and transfix the sleeping bodies. The bodies kick, their hands break free, and strike at the barely visible. The beds creak as their occupants tussle with shadows, and are uncovered as sheets float off. The shadows bind them fast.

The matron struggles with all her might to break free of the spell and succeeds in doing so as the beds rock dangerously. She is jolted back to consciousness, exhales, and her breath is visible. She struggles and her hand finds its way inside her hood. She retrieves her rosary and clutches at the crucifix with both of her hands. She tries to open her mouth; she summons great courage to keep herself from stammering,

Holy Mary Mother of God.

Almost convulsing, the matron braves the phenomena before her. Forces of darkness compelled by evil and floating in wild air bind humans and make wicked assaults upon them. Believed to syphon life from humans to keep themselves alive, the spirits prey on the living, paralyzing and seducing. The ordeal does not take long but the matron has to fight it even if with a recital.

Exorcisms te, omnis immundus spiritus
omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio
infernalis adversarii, omnis legio,
omnis congregatio et secta diabolica.

The occupants, now exposed in their night gowns, shake their heads vigorously and wriggle their limbs, tightening their legs to defy the force which wants them apart. But only for a moment. The shadows pin them against the beds, cajoling them, tormenting their semi-consciousness, and then forcing their way in.

Ergo draco maledicte
et omnis legio diabolica
adjuramus te.

The sleepers fight the parting of their legs, the gap between them widening, until they suddenly become rigid. The gowns tear as bodies are caressed roughly. Their breasts form firm molds. The shadows suck at their necks, digging with dark fangs. The sleepers sigh and gasp for breath as the rocking gathers, descending lower in the body.

Cessa decipere humanas creaturas,
eisque aeternae Perditionis venenum propinare.

The struggle on the beds stops. The victims lie unmoving, breathing deeply, their hearts beating in shaken unison. The matron leaves, shuddering terribly, dragging her feet, her body soaked in sweat.


Zak Waweru (@thewriter_x) is a twenty six year old student of life from Nairobi. He prefers to write thoughts and mould together sense and story. He writes to keep his mind whole.