Short Stories, Tale Africa

Redemption (Part 8)

Prison Redemption
By Fungai Chigumbura, Zimbabwe:

Is it possible for a man to believe in the devil when he knows God is a creation of man? I wouldn't have thought so…not until I saw that abomination that Baaba birthed. Shrivelled and ugly as all sin, it looked like the physical manifestation of everything I'd gone through these past 9 months.

That creature was Baaba punishing me for never loving her. She'd known I wanted no children; that I didn't even believe in something as rudimentary as love. And yet she'd insisted on keeping it, guilting and shaming me into compliance. I'd fallen in line with what she wanted eventually, even though I knew it meant my life would essentially be over.

My dad's drinking had convinced me of two things: fathers should rarely be fathers, and no child should ever be born where they were not absolutely wanted and treasured. Somehow, despite these convictions being deep-seated and unyielding, I'd allowed myself to become careless. The sex had made me a fool, and I forgot what it was to be deathly afraid of the unintended consequences of sleeping with someone I didn't really care for. Baaba was nothing but a warm body to me, but even those are still fertile, and my seed took inside her like a demon's infection. And the devil touched whatever was in her womb, and made this abhorrence out of it.

I did not make the decision to kill them both lightly, of course. Even after everything, I bore no real malice towards Baaba. I wanted her out of my life, sure, and that child with her, but even so–killing was never something I ever thought I'd even consider. When I did finally make the decision, heavy as it was, I immediately knew I could not be the one to do it. And that's where Kaz came in.

Kaz was son to my father's most consistent drinking partner. We'd grown up together weathering our parents' dysfunction and our own stolen innocence. Beyond just alcohol, his father was a fiend and a deviant, and I had my suspicions about why Kaz often didn't make it to school. Our bond came from our shared miseries, and we were as inseparable as our fathers and their drink. The break came when we were in our teens, and we both needed outlets to cope with the mess around us. I took to school work, burying myself in books and studies, willing time to move faster so I could get a job and be away from my parents. Kaz fell into the same trap his father did. Whereas I needed a distraction, Kaz needed to forget…and he soon found himself washing down his memories in bottle after bottle, and needle after needle. We'd mostly gone our separate ways after high school, but years later, I got a call from a police station, and I had to drive over and bail him out. This happened often enough that he more or less became a part of my life again. He made promises to change each time, and even more assurances that he'd repay me someday. Now was his chance.

Kaz barely flinched when I told him what I needed of him. I was almost unsure he'd heard me, until he asked when and where I needed the job done. Putting aside my reservations about why he seemed so nonchalant about murder, I gave him the details, and we set the plan in motion.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the door was the overwhelming stench of alcohol. Kaz had been drinking, and the blow he'd struck hadn't done its job. Worse still, he'd left it too late, and it would seem suspicious to an investigating officer that any sensible criminal would attempt his robbery and murder so close to a house.  Baaba was still alive and the baby was on the ground wailing. I bundled it up and gave it to Kaz, along with my car keys. A part of me hoped that his ride to dispose of it would end in a fiery wreck somewhere, sparing me the need to tie up any potential loose ends. That was a story for another time, though. Right now, I needed to finish Baaba off. I would have done so too, had my neighbour not come out of his home in that instant, forcing me to feign concern and call the police. I would have to do this at the hospital.

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