Love Me, Fear Me
There’s a young man in a hoodie standing at a corner looking at Mama Maureen’s empty stall.
*She can’t be the only one.
He looks towards the other side and sees a series of empty and open stalls.
*Who is going to help all these people.
He looks at his watch which houses the animal rune.
*I could try but how much can one man do, no matter how powerful he is.
He turns around and starts to walk away.
*To stop or even attack an organized group I need to know when and where they are going to act.
*I think I have the power to stop their individual operations and beating them up feels amazing, but am I willing to put my life on the line for other people’s businesses?
There’s a young man in a hoodie lying on a desk in a half-empty classroom.
He is asleep.
Two ladies sit down and start speaking within earshot.
“I did it,” one of them says.
“Did what?” asks the other.
“Got back at the bastard who raped me.”
*At this point, it would be awkward if I got up and walked away.
He is awake.
“I was able to get in touch with someone in the gang.”
His eyebrows go up.
“You asked them to beat him up?” The other girl asks in the midst of a chuckle.
The lady inhales deeply, “I asked them to kill him.”
He is aghast.
“Are you serious?” asks the friend, her voice high and worried.
“Why, is there a problem with that?” the wronged girl says harshly.
“Kill him! You could have told them to rough him up a bit, maybe bring you a tooth as evidence or something,” the friend cries.
“You think that’s enough? Do you know how it feels to be used like that, to be uncomfortable in your own skin? When I went to the police, they told me that they needed evidence, as if I’m the one who is supposed to investigate. Rough him up a bit? Let him die so no other girl goes through what I did.”
“I’m not saying that what happened to you wasn’t horrible, but still, kill him?”
The lady remains silent.
“Are you sure they will go through with it?”
“The person who suggested it to me was also a rape victim and she told me that they don’t joke around with crimes that serious.”
His spirit runes involuntarily illuminate the desk he is lying on.
*The world is a terrible place.
He changes his position on the desk and sits up with his head bowed.
*But that doesn’t mean that you have to be.
He stands up, his spirit runes aren’t on anymore. The ladies get startled as he starts walking away.
*I can’t save the dead but I hope I can still save you.
“Do you think he heard us?” the friend asks.
*From those who want to use your pain to turn you into something you are not.
“Even if he did, what’s he going to do, judge me to death?”
The lady strolls down a street, her eyes surveying the cars parked on the side of the road and the graffiti on the walls as she would do on any other day. Why would it be different, she asks herself, why would it be different? As she takes a deep breath, she is grabbed by what feels like hands and is pushed against the wall. Something holds her hands behind her and covers her mouth before she can make a sound. Suddenly, the frame at the edge of her sight disappears, her nose, her brow, her eyelashes... She can see everything except herself.
‘What’s going on?!’ her mind asks the vast world populated only by itself.
She tries kicking around.
“That won’t work.”
‘Who’s that?’ she looks in the direction of the voice, she doesn’t see anything.
“I’m sorry to have to do this but I need you to tell me something,” the whisper comes from the transparent air.
Someone passes close by. She calls out to them with her eyes.
“He can’t see us.”
Her eyes widen in fear.
“Whisper the name of the man who raped you and where he lives, that’s all I want, okay?”
She takes several breaths and nods slowly.
Her mouth is released. She lets out a brief sharp shriek but her mouth is muffled before it matures into a full-fledged scream. The people around look in her direction but they don’t see anything.
“Please, I just need his name and where he lives. I promise I’ll let you go if you tell me, all right?”
Her mouth becomes clear again.
“James Musalia… Gumba estate,” she replies to the disembodied voice.
Nothing happens for a while. Her hands are still held behind her.
“I have given you what you wanted, you said you’d let me go,” she whispers into the air.
“Do you really want him dead?” the voice eventually asks.
“He… raped me,”
“I know, and I’m sorry, but… ”
“But what? It’s okay for him to do whatever he wants but I can’t? Am I supposed to just let it go? Am I supposed to just forgive him? If it means that I feel better then why shouldn’t he die? Why shouldn’t I just kill him?”
“You don’t know what you’re saying- ”
“I know exactly what I’m saying!”
She tries to take a deep breath but tears well up in her eyes as she exhales. She notices that her eyelids are heavy but the tears don’t cloud her sight. She blinks but the brief flash of darkness isn’t there either. She screws her eyes shut as tightly as possible but everything is still there, bright and glaring. The people keep droning around, going about their business as if she’s not there, as if she doesn’t even exist. She looks down at her body but all she sees is the dirty cracked pavement.
“Where’s my body?”
She places her head onto the wall behind her bringing the clear blue sky to the centre of the view of her all-seeing eyes. Her tears brim over.
“Am I dead?”
Of course she was being punished, what was she expecting? Justice is a luxury only afforded by a specific demographic; male, rich, influential, what was she? Just an ant shaking her fist at god. She can feel the tears tickle a path down her cheeks, but the sky, the grand blue sky, a sky that should shake and wobble at the mere sight of her tears stands firmer than she had ever seen it. She can see every bulb in the clouds, she can spot every bird, she can trace every ray beaming from the sun through the screen of tears whose weight only she can feel, whose weight only she can feel.
What’s worse, it felt familiar, these weren’t the first tears whose drowned sorrow would fall unaddressed, but this was like her worst fears made real, a living nightmare in which not even the light bothered noticing that she was there. Is this death? Is this hell?
*I shouldn’t have done this. She's been through enough.
“I’m sorry for scaring you and… I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed someone to save you. I’ll get back at him for you, I promise.”
Her hands are released. The sky wobbles. The frame of her sight returns. She looks down at her hands and at her body. Her breath quickens. She turns her eyes to the people around her and one of them, looking up from his phone, makes a disgusted face at the lines of liquid running down her face. She raptures. Blinding tears of relief pour from her eyes but they slowly turn bitter. Her legs give way and she collapses and continues crying on the ground.
A van pulls up near the gate of a tenant block, one of many in the neighbourhood. Several men clad in black alight and enter through the gate. They exit the gate several minutes later with a tied-up man who is squirming trying to get away.
One of the men carrying the tied up man gets stabbed by a green glowing translucent thing in the shoulder. It penetrates his flesh without puncturing it. He drops the man and screams out in pain, his arm dangling limply at his side. The others look down the road in the direction where the quill came from and they see a young man in a hoodie. But as he walks closer they see the patterns on his face and they realise that he is something else. He shoots another quill and gets another in the leg. One of them draws a gun and starts shooting at him. He puts his arm in front of its face and the bullets bounce off of a flashing invisible shield.
“Is that it? Is that the demon?” one of the bewildered kidnappers asks his comrades.
Matthew starts moving forward with the shield in front of him but another kidnapper starts shooting and then another forcing him to stop advancing. They see this as their chance and throw the abducted man in.
“Come on, let’s go!”
The three men who were shooting enter through the back and the van starts pulling out. Matthew runs to go after them. One of the men produces a grenade, arms it and tosses it out of the vehicle.
“Let’s see it survive this.”
Matthew sees the grenade and instinctively crosses his arms. The shield spreads out and encompasses his whole body.
He crashes into a wall.
He blinks his eyes open and shakes his head trying to clear the fog. He tries to get up.
His ears are ringing, his whole body hurts, his vision is blurry.
His will is strong.
*They want a demon, they’ll get a demon.
“Who knew demons could die?”
The van is filled with the shouts and cheers of a premature victory, but while the naïve ones laugh, the others grit their teeth trying to stem the pain of the green glowing things sticking out of their flesh.
*The speed of a cheetah.
They hear a thud on the roof.
*The leaping of a frog.
Matthew crawls on the roof of the van.
*The clinging of a lizard.
He appears at the windscreen of the van, upside down.
*And the claws of a tiger.
His hand crashes through the windscreen of the van and grabs the drivers face forcing him to hit the brakes.
The van screeches to a halt. Matthew is thrown off the van and lands on the road, his fingers gouging out the tarmac to keep himself from tumbling.
*My whole life people have been afraid of me and I hated it.
The kidnappers exit the van, disoriented.
*But now that fear shall become my ally.
Matthew produces two long quills from his hands and holds them like spears.
*If love for their fellow man won’t stop them.
The kidnappers look at the being before them in petrified astonishment.
*Then the fear of a Demon’s wrath will subdue them.