Yvonne W. Wabai.
Tis the season. Thanksgiving is largely considered an American tradition, and while I am Kenyan, I think having a holiday to give thanks is not such a bad idea. I do give thanks every day, well most of the days, and having a day to cool off and give thanks for the far that we've come is highly appreciated. So here I am, celebrated Thanksgiving, belated thanksgiving. Happy belated thanksgiving to all you who are reading this!
I interrupt my regular feed to give thanks. I give thanks for my family, my friends, my life, and for the earth and its sustenance. I give thanks for RANDOMLY CREATIVE , the start was rough but boy have we made it through! We're going to conquer. I give thanks for the far that SOULED OUT has come. It's only been 2 months but we've made so much progress already! I'm grateful for my viewers, my readers, my partners in this journey, God bless you all. I'm also grateful that sitting in the White House is a pardon turkey that was preceded by other pardon turkeys which gave an animator somewhere the genius idea to create the movie Free Birds which brings a lot of joy to my soul.
Most importantly, I hope that we all have something to be thankful about. Life is an uphill climb, we've got to make do with what we have and make peace with it.
Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for supporting me! Love you all.
Yvonne W. Wabai.
I was in my office talking to Pierre, my therapist, paid for by the state. I was trying to convince him that I was not, had never been and would never be, suicidal. He couldn’t believe me.
“So you’re saying you attacked yourself, tried to kill yourself, but you are not suicidal?”
“Yes, Pierre, I believe I’ve said that what, ten times now?”
“Joshua, buddy, your guys are out here, the Presidential Press Service, everyone is clamouring for a statement and you have to make one some time soon, and this can’t be it. This will have you committed, you know? So unless you want to end up in Mathare, think of something else.”
I motioned to my one of the guards. He emptied the room. Only Pierre and I remained.
“She attacked you, didn’t she?” Said Pierre.
“Long story. She’s gone Delta now.”
“I thought she was just Monarch! How did she get Delta programmed? Is there a glitch in the system?”
“No, something to do with Vietta. She must’ve been there that night. As far as I can tell, that’s when she got split personalities. I’m telling you, she’s got like four.”
“So one of them is Monarch-programmed and another one is Delta-programmed and the others are?”
“I don’t know, but I think one was a baby.”
“Vietta all over again, huh?”
“So what do we do now?”
“Don’t worry, I have a plan. Just make a statement for me, I’ll do all else.”
“My man,” said Pierre as he left.
I did have a plan, I always had a plan. Liya leaving was just a small bump in the road. Nothing is unfixable, no one’s irreplaceable. It’ll be like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. As above, as below.
Need to go to the mall. Mum won’t allow it. I’ll just tell her I’m going to the library, but I’ll have to do my chores first, and homework. Urgh! I really really need to go for that movie screening, but I promised mum I won’t because I’ve been spending all my allowance at the mall. What to do, what to do?
I went downstairs. Mum was just leaving. “Morning mum!” I greeted her cheerfully. “Where are you off to?”
“Oh morning sweetheart. I didn’t want to wake you, it’s your day to sleep in. I’m off to work.”
“I thought today was your day off?”
“I thought so too dear. There’s an emergency at the State Manor. I have to go,” she said as she kissed me on the cheek, “do your chores and your homework and if you have to go somewhere let me know, okay?”
“Okay, mum, love you too!” I watched her get into her car. “I’m eighteen now mum!” I shouted after her.
“You’re still living under my roof!” She shouted back.
I watched her drive off. An emergency at the State Manor, what could it be? My phone buzzed. It was a text from Charlotte. “Be here soon, everyone is here already, TTYLXOXO,” it said. I went back upstairs and got dressed then zoomed out to the mall. Ah, the mall! Here at last! Kanini called me. She wanted to know where I was. What’s the hurry with everyone today? “Come to the roof,” she said.
“Okay, I’ll be right there, I gotta pee first.”
“TMI, Taliah, TMI.”
“What’s happening at the roof anyways? I thought we were going to see a movie?”
“I’m not supposed to tell you this, but we’re throwing you a surprise party!” she said. I squealed with excitement. “Just don’t tell Charlotte I said anything, she’ll kill me.”
“I won’t, I promise. I can act surprised. Gotta go!” I said as I hanged up and wheezed to the washroom. Something didn’t feel right, but I was so pressed, I ignored the feeling of doom in my gut and went right on ahead into a stall. I heard something scratch against the door of one of the stall right next to the one I was in. It felt like someone was there, waiting, watching. I felt my feet slip on something wet. I looked down and let out a blood curdling scream. There was blood on the floor. Blood coming from the stall right next to mine. Fear ran down my spine. What is going on? Am I gonna die? Oh God not today! Be quiet Taliah, be quiet! I tried to stay as still as possible. Someone banged on the door to my stall. I held my breath as I squatted on the toilet bowl and tried texting mum that I was in danger. My phone rang. It was Kanini. Shit! Bang. Bang. BANG! The door flew open.
I was driving towards home, i.e. the State Manor. I knew dad would be there. I also knew that it was only a few minutes more till the visitors came streaming in. I had to hurry. I had to accomplish my mission. A mission to reclaim my dignity, to get back my life, the life I never had. At that moment, my name wasn’t Liya Summers. I was Terravenger, the escape from terror and the avenger.
So he thinks he can just mess me up, huh? Okay, two can play this game. Come on, let’s see how he does. He thinks I do not know all his dirty little games now, does he? We’ll see. He’s going down. Enough is enough!
I flew past the gate and straight into his office. I was an overexcited electron headed for the anode, nothing could stop me. He was speechless. Obviously he could see that things had changed. I wasn’t that scared little girl anymore. I was Terravenger.
“Honey, what’s wrong?” He started.
“Oh don’t you dare honey me, you evil prick!”
I cocked a gun. “Move.”
“Tell me Liya, what happened? We can work this out.”
“Work it out? Is that what you told her? You killed her! And you were going to kill me too! You think I don’t know?”
He still stood there. I could tell what he was thinking, he was thinking that I could never fire a gun. I didn’t waver. “MOVE GODDAMMIT!”
“I’m flattered you think so highly of your father.”
He started moving towards the edge of the office. Then, all of a sudden, he turned on me. His breath was hot on my ears. He grabbed me by the throat. I could feel life start to escape me. I drove the gun into his belly with a force I never knew I possessed. He wavered, he flustered. He let me go and clutched his belly. I hit him with the mutt of the gun. His flesh gave way. Blood spluttered from his forehead.
“Would you look at that, red blood, who knew?” I said as I savored the moment of my victory.
“Too soon, sweetheart,” he said.
I didn’t see him coming. I was hurtled into space. The wall didn’t seem to agree with my being sent there. I had a nasty feeling that my spine was no more. I tried to not pass out. Not now, please, I need to get out of here alive. I looked up.
Behold! A length of a beast stood before me. I considered its height. It was tall, very tall. It looked every inch like a reptile, complete with scales and a tail. It was terrifying. There was along scar across its face. I screamed.
“What, daddy isn’t that handsome anymore?” It said.
There was an evil glimmer in its red eyes. I knew I was done for. Even Terravenger couldn’t fight that one. My vision blurred. I wasn’t Terravenger anymore. I was Binky, a tiny little girl trapped by an evil master. I moved to a corner, dragging myself there, with my thumb in my mouth.
I was Binky; innocent, alone. Alone with the monster. A monster with a roughed up, ragged face; scaly, with a scar running down its middle, long limbs that stretched to the heavens, a chest as broad as the dimensions of the earth.
“POP GOES THE WEASEL,” it said.
I was running. Running to my room, to run away from the harsh reality I had just seen. My mother, beautiful and talented, had quarreled with my father. She wanted to leave, and carry me with her. My father, as obstinate as a mule, refused. “Oh shut up, Vietta! You don’t call the shots, I do!” he said. “No, I won’t let you do this to Pendo! She doesn’t deserve any of this,” she said. “Liya, her name is Liya,” he answered. She was unrelenting. He struck her. She fell to the floor. “I’ll tell everything,” she said. He loaded a gun. She tried to get up and run. Too late. He fired. Once. Twice. Thrice. She fell hard to the floor. “Go to hell!” he said, and fired once more. And again. And again. And again. By the time he was done with her, she was full of holes. Blood had spattered to the wall behind her.
“No! NO! YOU WONT KILL ME LIKE YOU KILLED HER!” I stood up angrily. Binky was gone. I advanced. It striked. I ducked. I hurled a chair towards it. It ducked. I pulled myself together. For mum! I aimed. I didn’t miss. It landed on the floor. Wounded. A fatal kick. It turned back to its human form. Terravenger was gone.
I was busy watching TV when Taliah came stomping down the stairs. I shook my head. Teenagers. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. She called out loud for me. I answered.
“Mum I’m hungry!”
“Okay, there’s cake on the counter. Did you finish your homework?”
“I know you were watching the awards, Taliah. So whose was the big win?”
“Liya. Did you know she turned 18 today, like me? It’s like we’re twins or something!”
I almost chocked on my lemonade. I spat it out. “What did you say?”
“Keep up mum! Liya, 18?”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought I heard.”
“We could be twins you know.”
“That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. I would’ve known if I were pregnant with twins!”
“I know mum, just kidding,” she said as she kissed me, “love you, goodnight.”
I watched her scurry off to her room. A million things ran through my mind. It was almost time for me to tell her, but I didn’t want to. I knew it bothered her that she had no other family other than me, but I had no choice. I couldn’t possibly tell her the truth, how would she handle it? She would hate me and I couldn’t live with that. She was my daughter and I loved her. I LOVE HER. Nothing in this whole wide world was going to change that. I wasn’t going to spoil what we had.
She thinks I can’t notice she’s hiding something. I looked at her again. Unnerving beauty, the best Project Monarch yet. Somehow she was on to us. She was planning to escape. She had something up her sleeve, I could feel it. She had asked to plan her own Lady in Red* party which, for someone who isn’t keen on parties, was very suspicious. Josh and I had let her do it, but we’d covered every possible escape route. There was no way she was ever going to leave.
As a precaution, I had accompanied her to the awards ceremony as her plus one. The ceremony was now over and people were leaving the hall at their pleasure. I turned and looked at her. She was lost in her thoughts. “Gee, Liya, would you smile at least, you’ve just won 9 awards; you’re supposed to be happy,” I said.
“I am happy, see,” she put on a convincing smile. “I’m just thinking of something.”
“I know you’re supposed to be my boyfriend but you can cool it, you already got the girl.”
“I’m genuinely interested. I wouldn’t want people to think I’m not treating you right, you know, listening to you and all.”
“Ok then. I was just thinking about thin layer chromatography and its contribution to genetic engineering. Tell me, would you please, Jake, what do you think about thin layer chromatography?”
“Wipe that smirk off your face because I know what that is…okay, fine, I don’t, but I know other things,”
“Would the two of you quit yapping?” It was Emerald. She was standing right behind us. “Jake, fro-yo tomorrow? Liya…enjoy your trophies.” She turned to go before adding, “Call me.” I watched her leave the hall.
“So much for treating me right, you know ‘listening to me and all’. Can we leave now? Can’t be late for my own party, am I right or am I right?”
I helped her carry some of her trophies. We made our way to the hallway then to the red carpet. Paparazzi were everywhere. We both smiled and waved and answered all the questions the best way we know how – duck if a simple ‘no comment’ won’t suffice. Jodie came up to us. “Well, well well! Here’s the happy couple! You both look happy!” She said.
“We should be, I just won 9 awards, including Best Dressed! You’re such good karma Jodie, you said I’d win it,” said Liya.
“Well I did, didn’t I? I…”
Liya cut in before Jodie could go on. “Jodie, thanks so much,” she said as she gave Jodie a hug, “but we have to go now, duty calls. Gotta go have my party now…you should come! OK see you!” She pulled away from Jodie and got into the limo that had coincidentally just pulled up. “Sweetheart, could you please get my dress,” she said to me. I got her dress as the paparazzi swarmed to get a photo of the ‘lovely couple’. I smiled and waved then got into the limo and off we went.
“Nice work with Jodie back there,” I said as I patted her back.
“What can I say, you taught me well. For females, duck by complimenting, for males, duck by answering a question with a random question.”
The chauffeur drove us to the designated change-over spot where we switched cars to throw paparazzi off our tails. He then drove off alone into the night, leading the trail of cameras away from us. We waited for ten minutes before driving off in the opposite direction. We drove in silence for twenty minutes before any of us spoke.
“Jake, I need to pee.”
“Stop the car, I need to pee.”
“Now? Can’t you hold it?”
“No, I can’t.”
“Are you lying? You’re lying!”
“Do I have to be lying? OK fine, maybe I am, but that’s because I don’t want to tell you about my lady business, you know, of the bloody kind,” she turned to look at me, “so unless you want to hear about that, stop the car, I need to pee. There’s a motel over there.”
I stopped the car at the motel and asked for the bathroom. Liya zoomed off to go ‘pee’. I followed her at a safe distance. She was up to something, I knew it. I checked my watch as I looked for a vantage point. She wouldn’t leave that bathroom without me noticing. A minute later I saw something move out the back. I ran towards it. It was her. I got a hold of her hand and led her back to the car. “Don’t you ever try that with me,” I said as I growled menacingly. “And just so you know, I know your lady business isn’t due until for another two weeks, so don’t think for a moment you were fooling anyone. We’re onto you.”
“Who’s we? Do you mean daddy dearest, to whom you answer like a faithful dog, barking bark at its owner every time the owner does so much as cough?”
I slapped her. The car swerved. I composed myself and regained control of the car. She rubbed her cheek. I swerved the car. Her side hit a sign post. She didn’t budge because she was strapped in. I swerved again. This time her side bumped against a car. Then I pressed the electroshock button. Her seat rocked. She screamed. Only for a few seconds. Her eyes turned bloodshot red. This is new. I had never seen that happen before. Some strength seemed to come over her. She forced the wheel out of my hands. MERDE! She unbuckled her seat belt. There was no telling what she was going to do. There was a murderous look in her eyes. I felt a shiver down my spine. She opened my door and kicked me out of the car. I fell onto the road. Bad landing. I watched as she drove off into the night.
Today is the day. The day of all days. The day that the sun will rise and shine brighter than it ever has. The day that I will climb a step higher up the ladder. The day it all comes to be. The day I trained Liya for. This is the D-day.
I was still in my office, busy building castles in the air. Life was easy, everything was going according to plan. Liya had just hit 18 and in our world, that meant a lot. I was a shoe-in for a second term as president…life was wonderful. I looked back to how it all started.
It had all started way back when I was a teensy tiny little lad. My father was the then president. He always wanted me to grow in to his shows. I was more than willing to do so. I admired him, my father. In my eyes, he could do no wrong. He was rich. He was diplomatic. He gave benefits to charities. His smile made everyone feel right at home, he was a true man of the people. With that smile he would capture all in his ambiance and keep their eyes and ears on him, their brains wired directly into his. He got two terms in office both in succession. The only way to know a man’s character is to give him power, he said. Unfortunately, all he was wasn’t enough to some people. He was assassinated. Murdered deep in the night. The pathologist’s report said that he died of natural causes, but mother and I knew that he had been killed. In his last days he had gotten a bad case of paranoia, putting up additional security detail, lasers, bars and invisible glass panels…so much changed in that short period of time. He knew they were coming for him. He knew they would get him. He knew it was inevitable. His last wish was for us to be safe.
In accordance to father’s wishes, after his death, mother took me to the church. I would be safe there, we would be safe there. Like the good boy I was, I sat there, listened to what the church minister had to say and read the Bible. That was my daily routine for a whole year. It wasn’t much but it was enough, at least for mother. We were safe, no one could ever guess to look for us there. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for me. I wasn’t about to sit pretty as father’s murderers walked free. No way. Besides, the Bible was much like an improved version of a fairy tale and the church goers were a bunch of self-righteous people who were sinner Monday-Saturday then pew-fillers on Sunday. To hell with this, I said. I packed my bags and left.
I had a plan. I knew exactly what I was doing. Set a thief to catch a thief. I knew the assassins would come for me immediately they got wind of my whereabouts and so I wafted it to them like the smell of fresh bacon wafting from the kitchen. I was the bait. I was the plan. I was the trap. It all began and ended with me.
They came for me and they got me. They fell right into my plan. When they realized what I had done, they laid down their arms and embraced me as one of their own. “We’ll make a very good team son,” their leader said. And so it went. I became one of their own. They took me to their schools. They took me to their universities. I worked in their firms. Within no time I was very highly placed. I even got married to a lovely wife. Her name was Vietta.
Vietta Amani. She was another chapter in my life. She was all I’d ever wanted my significant other to be. She was also a sweet piece of arm candy to boot. We were perfect together. She was the Marvin to my Gaye. Together, we made our own perfect little family. It was that perfect little family that sent the polls sky-rocketing when I ran for presidency. Well, that and the fact that I was very highly connected. Things were going well for me. And today, even better.
All I could think of was how I was going to get all my homework done in time for me to watch the award show tonight. Everybody who is somebody in the entertainment industry was going to be there. It was something like what the Nobel is to intellectuals. I scribbled the last few sentences of my essay. I held up my paper. Generally, the outlook of it was…well, the fine print of a spider walking through and through. I knew I wouldn’t get anything above a D. Still, I threw it into my school folder. I turned on my TV, grabbed a packet of popcorn before settling myself on my bed. Having a TV in your room is the best thing ever!
I turned it on and flipped through channels till I got to the channel airing the award show. Liya Summers caught my eye. She was looking every inch like a million dollars, dazzling like a star in the orient. People often asked if we were related, I wish! I have never been within two feet of any celebrity, let alone Liya Summers. Why someone would think we resembled was beyond me. The only thing similar between Liya and I was our passion for the arts. I had recently taken part in a singing competition and won. Part of my winnings was a record deal, and a one –year contract with a big record company in the city. I hoped of bumping into Liya at one particular point in time, have a good time, and perhaps even do a collabo.
I watched as they announced the nominees for the Best Video category. Liya won hands down. She went up to the stage in a ruby mini dress matched up with ruby heels. The dress was of the kind that start too late and end too early, too brief to cover the point. On top of that, it was also sheer. Well, who understands high fashion anyway? My thoughts drifted off to the day when it will be me on that stage. Oh happy day! The award show ended while I was still in my own little world. Liya had scooped a total of 9 awards. Damn! And she was just 18.
She posed. The paparazzi swarmed around her like a horde of flies gathering around a meal. Camera flashes here, camera flashes there, camera flashes everywhere. She was wearing an expensive gown that made her look like an angel descended into earth. Only she’s not all that. That was when I rolled on over, in a very conspicuous manner…actually that would be an understatement.
I was in my very own personal limo, with my own chauffeur. I alighted, making sure it was my feet that came out first. I let the paparazzi take in the moment and capture all the photos they could of my sapphire studded six inch heels. Then I let the rest of me come out. I could hear people all round ooh-ing and aah-ing. The smile, give the smile. I let out the smile that I was famed for. The smile that had all the boys melting to the floor and all the girls wishing they were me. My dazzling smile reflected off my off-the-shoulder diamond studded gown that I had designed myself.
“Liya Summers! I see you spared no expense this evening!” It was Jodie Kania, one nosy pap. I smiled and walked over, trying very hard to not let the ingenuity of my smile at that moment show.
“You know what they say Jodie, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” I said.
“Talk of saving the best for last. Tell us, who are you wearing?”
“Myself, actually. I designed the gown and my stylist put together the rest.”
“I’m sure you’ll win Best Dressed tonight! Good luck tonight by the way, you have a melee of awards to win, all the best.”
“Thanks.” I said, and walked on straight ahead. I never liked long interviews, especially not with Jodie. The paparazzi have a way of turning one’s words against them, which almost always ends up in melodrama and in some cases, a law suit.
I ended up in an expensively furnished hall. My social self took over from my very introverted self and I went round exchanging pleasantries. I spotted Jake in a corner, doing what seemed like whispering a lot of sweet nothings into Emerald’s ear while she (Emerald) giggled like a ten year old. I gagged, composed myself then walked over.
“Jake, Emerald, you don’t have to be so forward you know; there are cameras everywhere.”
“Pardon me sweetie,” said Jake as he gave me a very passionate kiss.
Emerald coughed. “Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in,” she said.
I disengaged from Jake and gave Emerald a very forced hug.
“Very convincing.” She said.
“You can have him later,” I assured her as I held Jake’s hand and firmly led him away. See, Jake is my pretend boyfriend. My record label had put it in my contract, to heighten sales. Even though Jake was physically what most girls look for - think Beckham and his very blessed sperms - I wouldn’t date him even if he were the last guy on earth. Not even if my house were on fire and he were the last bucket of water on earth. I’d rather it burns down to the ground. Besides, what good would a single bucket of water do to on the occasion of a raging fire?
Jake and I took our seats in the hall. The hall was pretty much full a few moments later and soon it was time for the awards ceremony to start. Ntsindile Ngandla took to the stage. She was the show’s hostess for the night. “Ladies and gentlemen,” she started, “I welcome you all to this prestigious awards ceremony.” Claps here, whistles there…the hall went up in cheers. “Before we proceed with the awards, we would like to make one very special girl here today, she’s sitting in our midst, very happy. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in wishing a very, very, very happy birthday to Liya Summers!”
I was awoken from my stupor by cheers and chants of a birthday song with my name in it. Jake gave me a peck on my cheek. EW. I smiled politely till it all died down, all the while enduring pats on the back and shaking hands with those around. It was going to be one long night. I held my peace though, because I knew that it was all going to be over soon. I was going to leave this God-forsaken world behind soon. My life was hell and I had to escape, I had to escape from this abyss in which I was trapped.
Yvonne started writing at a young age, with successful publications in the children's section in newspapers, publications in a number of textbooks and a number of manuscripts. She is currently studying for a Bachelor's degree in Forensic Science.