Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Devil's Bonfire: Chapter 5

The meeting

Shortly afterwards he heard the hum of an oncoming motorbike, the rider rode up from the direction of Kyalika on a Yamaha motorcycle, Simon watched as the rider approached, stopped next to the Hilux and killed the engine. He was dressed in blue jeans a white shirt and black army boots.

The rider wore a jet black helmet and black riding gloves to match. He looked Simon over head to toe from behind the dark helmet, subsequently he dismounted and proceeded to remove his helmet.

The deep set eyes, bordered above by bushy white eyebrows were unmistakably his grandfathers. That pair of eyes had stared back at Simon countless times from family photographs. The slim lips that remained firmly shut beneath a sharp protruding nose gave the old man a hawkish appearance. So this was him, his grandfather the legendary Dr. Richard Katende who’d retired from public life years ago to spend his twilight years in remote Kyalika.

Simon rather undecidedly took a few steps forward with an outstretched hand.

“Good afternoon granddad. How are you?”

“Very well Simon, welcome to Kyalika.” The slim lips broke into a warm smile.

“This place is a long way out.” He observed while shaking the old man’s hand.

“This is home Simon, your home too any time you want to come live with your old grandpa.”

With that they both laughed together heartily until the old man’s laughter died down abruptly.

A wave of apprehension came over Simon until he followed the old man’s gaze to the shattered car window.

“Had an accident?” his grandpa queried.

Simon was silent for a while not quite sure where to begin. He was still reluctant about admitting to almost running over the girl even though he was now pretty certain it wasn’t his fault. But the savages had tried to kill him and he couldn’t report that to the authorities without disclosing his near fatal hit on the young girl.
He knew he needed to make sure the girl was found and saved so he had to come clean with the truth.

“Some people tried to kill me.” He said quietly.

The old man’s eyes narrowed as he looked inquiringly at Simon.

“What do you mean by ‘some people tried to kill you’?” his grand father asked rather incredulously.

They were savage, they carried spears………machetes... The words spewed forth rapidly, Simon was now talking frenziedly his earlier hesitation to speak having somehow dissipated. He recounted his story right from when he’d almost run over the girl to the point he’d driven away from the nightmare.

The old man listened with no interruption or exclamation, he kept his eyes on Simon and with his arms folded across his chest he listened to the entire story from start to finish.

After Simon’s narrative the old man turned and stared in the distance, he was obviously in deep thought and Simon dared not interrupt. After a few minutes his grandfather suddenly faced him and shot a question.

“This leader, what exactly did he look like.”

“He had some weird head gear with long feathers and…….

“Yes, I heard that” the old man said impatiently “anything else?”

“I……..I couldn’t notice much grandpa…I was scared shitless.”

His grandfather walked over to him and grabbed his shoulders.

“Think” the old mans fingers dug into his flesh painfully.”

“Granpa you’re hurting me.” Simon yelped.

“Sorry” the old man eased his grasp.” We’d better go to the police, they can help save the girl.

The old man glanced at his Rolex, the gold plated time piece sparkled in the afternoon sun, “I know you’re tired but the police chief’s gonna want to hear your story.”

“Nice watch grandpa.” Simon quipped.

“Parting gift from a friend at Oxford”

“Thought you went to Havard?”

“Yes, when I was your age, there’s a lot you don’t know about me grandson, hope we get some time to catch up.”

He mounted and kick started the bike, the old man fastened his helmet securely and after beckoning to Simon to follow him, sped off towards the village.

Once again Carsozy cannot apologise enough for the delay in posting the fifth installment.

Devil's Bonfire resumes Monday 2nd February 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Devil's Bonfire: Chapter 4

Kiss of death

In the years to come he would look back at this moment and wonder whether that fall saved his life.

As he hit the ground Simon heard a swoosh sound above his head, in the next split second a spear hit the tarmac in front of him and skidded across the road.

Simon stared right ahead at his hilux, he estimated thirty lay feet between him and the car, ‘I’ll never make it’ he thought resignedly.

“Son of a bitch” the leader growled.

Simon had been sure they were right onto him but the voice had come from far off, he stole a glance behind him and realized much to his relief that the savages hadn’t even moved at all, they had relied on the spear thrower who fortunately for him had missed.

The bunch had turned really angry and were brandishing their weapons in the air.

“Get him.” The leader’s order needed no repeating.

The rest of the bunch surged forward and in a second were racing towards Simon.

When he got to his feet the savages behind him let off loud yells and he could hear them approaching heavily across the tarmac.

He sped off again towards the truck and this time he was more confident of escaping his would be murderers given his head start.

He reached the truck and yanked open the door, when he glanced over his shoulder the savages were barely twenty feet away and closing in fast.

Simon jumped into the truck, slammed the door shut and wound up the window. When he turned the key in the ignition, the engine sputtered, coughed and died.

“You gotta be kiddin’ me” he shouted out loud.

He turned the key again and was wild with despair when the engine once again coughed a few times and fell silent.

He ran his hands through his hair desperately and looked in the rearview mirror, the first of the savages had reached the tail of the pick up and had a machete raised in readiness to strike.

Simon said a silent prayer and reached for the ignition once more.

A machete smashed through the car window spraying him with glass fragments, when he looked through the shattered window, the savage was raising his machete for a second blow.

Behind him the pigs were squelaing wildly, their squeals were defeaning, they were obviously frightened by the sudden violent goings on around them.

Simon turned the key and the engine came to life with a roar, he engaged the first gear and pressed on the gas pedal, the truck sprang forward and as Simon raced off he heard the clang of metal to metal as the machete bounced of the truck body.

He raced off at break neck speed towards Kyalika, a glance in the rear view mirror showed him five very angry savages gesticulating wildly in the middle of the road weapons in hand. He brushed glass fragments from his hair and shirt, re-engaged gears and stepped on the gas.


The huge Warid billboard loomed ahead and a sense of relief rushed over him, he had finally reached the village.

Simon was both angry and frightened. Angry at himself for having lost concentration while driving and he was now frightened of being alone in this remote zone, he couldn’t wait to meet with his grand father.

His run in with the savages had left him exhausted and famished, he longed for a cold shower and some food. He parked beneath the billboard, whipped out his mobile phone, and rapidly typed a text message to his grand father. He moved round to the back of the truck to check on his cargo. Both pigs looked alive and well, he leaned against the tail of the truck, and felt around the pockets of his jean trousers for a packet of Dunhill, Simon lit a cigarette and pulled on it long and hard, he exhaled deeply and as the smoke poured out from his mouth and nose he realized his hands were trembling, Simon quickly took two more drags on the cigarette and stamped it out beneath the heel of his Timbaland boots.
Carsozy most sincerely apologises for the delay in posting this installment.
Chapter 5 Release date: 28th Jan 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Devil's Bonfire: Chapter 3

Savage encounter

Simon stood rooted in the middle of the road not quite sure whether to go on after her or to step into his hilux and drive off, he was both confused and amazed at the way in which she had seemingly risen from the dead and melted away ‘she was injured for crissakes. He looked at the spot in the forest that had swallowed her and the very thought of going into the thicket after her made his blood run cold, he was terrified of snakes and he was sure there were plenty of them where she had gone.

“Don’t let her get away you bloody bastards, bring her back now”

The voice seemed to be coming from behind him, he turned quickly to face the direction from which the words had come, no one as far as he could see, but he was pretty sure there was someone else beyond the thick bushes.

“Hey!” he called out.

And then he heard them. It wasn’t just one voice. Voices, they were loud and moving closer.

“We’ll get the little bitch, hurry up you fools.”

As the voices became louder the foliage in the distance shook and swayed.

“She’s not far off, move faster you.” Another voice.

The approaching voices were quickly becoming louder and they sounded angry.

“She has nowhere to go.” Different voice.

Simon was now petrified, it all came together now, he understood why she was so frightening, why she was running, she was trying to escape from someone, them, but why? And he was dead certain her pursuers were about to emerge from the forest any second.

They were very close now, he could hear the undergrowth give way as the men moved nearer and the trees swayed from the motion. Simon was frantic he looked back at the spot where the girl had disappeared into the forest across the road, she could be anywhere by now, no sense going after her, he faced the voices again and at that moment a man emerged from the bush.

His torso was bare and his skin was sweaty, save for a loin bark cloth that covered his groin he had no apparel, his chest heaved as he breathed heavily.

Simon looked straight into his eyes, they were bloodshot and murderous.

Unblinking the man stared back at Simon, for a few seconds the two sized up each other and it was in those few seconds that Simon noticed the machete hanging loosely from the man’s right hand.

Simon’s heart raced making his head throb in the sweltering heat, the machete glinted in the sun causing Simon to swallow hard.

His gaze was still transfixed onto the machete when four others poured from the forest and grouped around the first man, they were just as scantily dressed and each held a weapon of some sort. Simon could make out a spear and an axe but he couldn’t really notice much more in the blinding sun as the sweat filled his eyes making him blink uncontrollably, he wiped the sweat from his eyes with a shaky hand and stared back at the savage bunch.

“Where is she?” the words were more of a threat. And they came from the savage who assumed authority and was clearly the leader, Simon noticed he wore a headset made of long plumes.

“You’re going to tell me where she is.” clearly the savage was used to giving orders.

This time he raised his spear aiming it directly at Simon.

Simon turned and sprinted towards the truck, he was running as fast as his legs could carry him, he needed to get to his truck and drive away from this nightmare.

The distance back to the hilux seemed endless and he wasn’t sure he would make it, he was almost certain the savage bunch would circle him and cut off his route of escape.

As fate would have it he tripped on a rock and stumbled, Simon lost balance and went crashing to the ground.

Chapter 4 release date: 24 Jan 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Devil's Bonfire: Chapter 2

Recalled to life

When he turned around what he saw confirmed his worst fears and caused the bile to come rushing into his mouth, he swallowed hard to get rid of the sour taste that had filled his mouth and leaned against the truck to support his legs that had suddenly turned wobbly.

Sprawled out on the tarmac about 50 feet away was a young girl. She lay on her back unmoving.

Simon took one step towards the lifeless form and stumbled when his weak legs almost buckled under him, he took a deep breath and walked shakily to where the girl lay.

“Hey you okay?” he called out to the motionless girl, ‘Stupid me’, he thought to himself ‘of course she’s not okay she’s freakin’ dead.’

Her face was covered in mud but even then Simon could tell that she was quite young, she couldn’t have been more than sixteen, her skirt had pulled up almost to her waist and even in his state of fright Simon couldn’t help but notice her smooth brown thighs, as if guilty of where his eyes were focused he looked away.

He knelt next to the body and closed his eyes “What have I done?” he whispered to himself, he had enough problems to worry about without having to add to that the blood of an innocent girl on his hands, this transgression was enough to cause his dad to ground him till he was thirty, the humiliation his dad had caused him in the past would pale in comparison to the grief he would have to go through every day should his father learn of this.

In that moment Simon made his decision, he would drive away and never tell anyone of the incident ever, it would be his secret, his closet skeleton, his ghost to haunt him for the rest of his life, As he stood up to head back to the truck he heard a whimper, quickly he knelt back down and prodded the girl on her shoulder, could his mind be playing tricks or was it the girl for sure. ‘she could still be alive’ he said to himself, ‘please let her be alive’ he prayed.

As he shook the lifeless girl she moaned, opened her eyes and looked straight at him with a glazed expression.

“You’re alive, oh! Thank god, Oh! My god you’re still alive.” Simon could hardly contain his relief, he held the girl’s hand tightly as if to keep her from slipping back to the dead.

He had to get help, she was definitely in need of urgent medical attention and he wasn’t even sure where the nearest hospital could be found.

He would get help from Kyalika, his grandfather would know what to do he, decided to carry her into the truck and take her to the village, as he bent down to lodge his arms under her legs and arms she let out a blood curdling scream, shocked and horrified Simon drew back quickly, he’d hardly touched her, ‘was she in serious pain?’ he had to get help fast. When he looked at her face, her mouth was wide open and her eyes were terror stricken she reached out a dirty hand and the words she spoke were barely audible.

They’re………..they………….help me…….they’re…..
Simon leaned forward and held her hand “I’m going to get help we need to get to my car and go to Kyalika.” he assured her.
“No,.. Kyalika ………not…… going back …”

Suddenly with the strength that Simon previously would have doubted she had, the girl wrenched her hand free and stood up in a movement that to Simon looked like a spirit rising from the ground.

“What are you doing? You’re hurt, you can’t walk.” He exclaimed.

She brushed past him before he could stop her. She looked around in horror as if expecting something to attack her any minute. “She’s dead…..I ….we…hide...” The mumbling was incoherent.

“Listen to me, we need to take you to a hospital” he offered.

But she was gone. He watched in astonishment as she raced off into the bushes and disappeared into the dense undergrowth.

Chapter 3 release date: 22 Jan 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Devil's Bonfire

Chapter 1

Errand boy

Simon had been driving for about an hour since his stop at the last trading center, according to the map he was about 4 kilometers away from Kyalika, he kept a constant look out for the Warid billboard which he was told lay just outside the village, his instructions were to park anywhere near the billboard, text his grand father and wait.

He was thirsty despite the two bottles of Rwenzori mineral water he had gulped in a space of 5 minutes, he cursed himself for having agreed to carry out this stupid errand, he had made plans to be with Brenda at Alleygators, now here he was in the blazing heat, 150 km out of Kampala with two pigs strapped to the back of his dad’s pick up truck.

The pigs belonged to his father and he had express instructions to deliver them to his grandfather unharmed, he had a good mind to set them free right there in the middle of nowhere but then the words came back to him - “Your granddad has a feast on Sunday he’s counting on you Simon” his fathers words played themselves over again in his head despite his most ardent attempts to banish them from his memory, according to his father all grandpa’s pigs were wiped out by a swine fever epidemic that had engulfed the entire Kyalika village, his home village.

Simon Katende had never been to his home village, which explained the map and he’d last seen his grandfather when he was eight. Now at 23 he hoped his first adult meeting with his grand father would be nothing like a confrontation with his father who was domineering and heavy handed, despite his latest attempts at independence Simon had failed to establish any degree of freedom from his overbearing father, John Katende ran a tight ship and he kept his son Simon on a tight leash. The old man had even instituted an 8:00 o’clock curfew the minute Simon had come back home after completing his bachelors at UMU.

He had his left arm on the wheel and had crooked his right arm to rest easily hanging half out the window, as the hills rolled past he leaned back and dreamt of Brenda’s soft brown skin rubbing next to his as he caressed her sweet supple lips with his own, he could almost smell her body lotion and shivered as he recalled the way it always made him want her so badly……………………..deep in his reverie he failed to see the slim figure that darted out from the shrubbery and raced right onto the tarmac straight into the path of his racing Hilux………..the scream brought Simon snapping out of his daydream and he braked furiously while swerving sharply to the left to avoid hitting it (what?), he heard a thud as the right side of his bumper hit something and he cringed as his entire body froze with the alarming possibility that he could have killed someone.

He fought to regain control of the vehicle as it veered left and right while heading dangerously into the bushes, as he swerved sharply back on to the road the engine died and he came to a sudden stop with a sharp jolt that made his teeth clap together painfully.

He was not sure what to do, he was shaken and frightened and he was doubly sure he had rammed into a person. He sat in his seat his hands tightly clutching the steering wheel and sweat profusely dripping down his face, he was too scared to look back for fear of what he might see. Something told him to turn the key in the ignition and speed off to his rendezvous but an unnerving paralysis seemed to have gripped his entire body.

Suddenly with a resolve that surprised even himself Simon reached out for the door handle, pulled the lever while pushing the door open, with one foot on the tarmac and using the door for support he pulled himself out of the truck. be continued.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Yello! Are you hiring?

It's good to know that our ambassadors in the Diaspora are not only representing the pearl in a noble and commendable manner they are also significantly contributing to the growth of our infant economy through investments that are as beneficial as they are colossal.

Skimming through the papers today one particular story caught my eye, it was an article on the contributions the 'Kyeyos' make to sectors such as housing , education and health, the remittances the Cheri's and Emi's of this world make amount to a staggering 1 billion dollars annually.

This money is distributed down the food chain to the rest of us labourers through wages for various jobs that range from porters on a construction site to janitors in clinics and of course there are other specialised services like consultancies that provide professional advice on investments and capital finance as well as real estate and property.

So if I were the minister of state for trade and investment I would advise Ugandans living abroad not to invest their hard earned money in MTN shares as some have promised to do should that greedy multi nantional ever decide it needs to fill its already bursting belly.

I advise that they follow the trend and provide the much needed jobs for ordinary Ugandans by investing in housing or education, this way my cousin Bamujje who earns a pittance from growing tobacco in Mubende just might make the trip to Kampala for a better paying job.

But i think I see their point. It's easy to buy stocks and sit back and relax knowing you can sell any second you sense a profit, I know i would do the same after all who needs the cumbersome tasks of buying land to put up Muzigos for tenants who are only going to become a constant headache and there is also the risk of getting ripped of by a brother or uncle, I mean who can u trust with money these days. Of the 1bn I mentioned above about a quarter of that could have been lost in shoddy deals, ghost projects and outright theft.

So i guess its okay to make the Charles Mbiires, Noel Meirs and van Veens richer after all there's something in it for you, isn't there?