We got robbed

I was already drifting when Mom came back from church. She said something to my uncle - her brother - then I was out cold. The next thing I heard was a shout. It seemed so distant.


Still half asleep, I wore my gown and went into the passage.

Two silhouettes: Dreadlocks was tall, his head shaped like the Reaper's scythe. He lunged towards me before I could study his partner.

I jumped back inside, pushed all my weight against the door while screaming for my mother.

I must have put up a good fight, for Dreadlocks had to tear my door open to gain access. I don't recall whether it was him or his partner who struck me.

"Nyarara!" he ordered. I continued screaming. Another blow. Sirens in my ear. Whimpers.

By this time, my twists were tangled in a very rough fist. My assailant wanted to know where we kept the money. Online, you fool. "I don't know," I said.

The knife pushed against my fleshy tummy. That's one way of getting liposuction, I thought. Well, I wish that had been my thought. In reality, I wondered why my heart wasn't racing.

I scanned the room for the Mother of God; I have implored her countless times to pray for me at the hour of my death. She wasn't there. So, my time hasn't come.

Another blow. The room turned red, orange, white, blue.

"Hunza chigero!"

Oh God, not my hair, not my hair. They are stealing from us, must they disgrace me too?

Then it occurred to me, I had no pants! He only had to rip open my gown and I'd be half naked.

"The money is in there," I lied. He yanked me up, and I led them to my uncle's room. I came face to face with Dreadlocks again, but I still couldn't see his face. The light was off. He turned it on.

Another blow.

I fell to my knees. Where is my uncle? As soon as the question formed itself in my mind, my uncle appeared. He knelt down beside me, blood all over his face. I tried to get a good look.

Another blow.

The sirens again. Louder. More painful.

The next thing I heard was my sixteen-year-old cousin being led down the passage. She was crying. I hoped they hadn't roughed her up as well.

"Look for sekuru, he knows where the money is." Another lie. But I think it worked, for the thugs seemed to panic. They looked for this fictitious uncle to no avail.

More blows.

My uncle said something smart in my defense, earning himself some blows too. Stronger blows. I think that's when I noticed I was crying, but I can't be sure.

My hair was still in that fist. He pulled it and ordered his partner to pass him the scissors. I put my hands on my head. Instant regret - I can grow my hair back, I can't grow my hands back. I need to write things for the rest of my life.

Lucky for me, the partner seemed to feel some compassion. Or maybe it was just common sense kicking in - they didn't have much time.

He pushed me to the ground and started frisking me. "What are you hiding?" My gown flew open. I felt his hand on my breast, my belly, my thigh. Now they're gonna do it.

But they didn't. Instead, they tied us up, only leaving my cousin. They left. We waited.

One minute.

"Now?" I asked my uncle. Not yet, he replied.

Two minutes.

I felt a finger on my scalp, but I didn't move. I later found out it was my cousin, trying to get my attention.

When we were sure the coast was clear, she untied me, and when I was free, I untied my uncle.

We went to the dining room and saw a gaping hole where a glorious window once existed. Shattered glass everywhere.

Just then, we heard the gate open. A car rolled in. Some male voices.

We bolted.

I stepped on some glass as I fled. I jumped over the rail and fell. A thorny twig attached itself to my gown. I kept running.

My cousin fell in a hole. I pulled her out without breaking stride.

The backyard seemed bigger than it is. We finally made it to the fence, over the fence and into our neighbour's yard.

The noise we made should have woken them up, but it didn't. We kept trying, but no help came. The cottage lights were on, but when we knoc- no, banged on the doors and windows, we got no answer.

Giving up, I helped my cousin over the durawall into the next yard. I hoped they would open the door for her.

And now, I was alone. In the dark. Have you ever heard the terrifying sound of silence?

3 October 2023