Into the darkness
By Mulumba Ivan Matthias, Uganda:
He dragged his feet, praying that they wouldn’t fail him. It was ten minutes past four in the morning, by his watch, and yet he was still out. He studied his clothes, a long sleeved blue shirt and a pair of jeans. They were wrinkled with traces of dirt.
What a day! He thought. He had perused through countless dusty files and drafted reports till late in the night, all on an empty stomach. And yet he had not been paid for his efforts. He had pointed his need for remuneration to his employers but they had told him not to worry. He would get his money the following afternoon.
It was already Friday, the last day of an active week. He had planned the whole day in his head. At 8:00am he would go for lectures. He would return to his hall of residence at 10:00am and sleep through the afternoon. In the evening, he would go clubbing with his friends. He usually went for night prayers at Watoto Church. But this time, he hoped God would understand.
He halted abruptly and turned round. He was certain that he had heard something move, or someone. He looked around but all he saw were trees and buildings. Apart from the wind bristling through the leaves, everything else was asleep. It must have been my mind playing with me, he thought and continued walking sluggishly, to his hall of residence.
He walked past the university basketball court, the swimming pool, and Nkrumah hall. His hall, Nsibirwa, was in sight now. He quickened his pace.
He saw a shadow near the entrance and smiled. He was not the only one returning late. He wondered who the person was. Did he know him? Had he overworked like he had? May be he was waiting for someone, he concluded and continued ahead. The person started walking in his direction, hurriedly.
'Hi Roger,' the person said when he reached him.
'Hi,' Roger replied calmly while studying the person before him. He had a cigarette in his hand. He was wearing a big leather jacket, a pair of blue jeans and brown boots. They looked new expensive.
'Are you returning from a night club?' the fellow asked him.
'No. I’m returning from work.’
'Work!' The fellow looked at Roger in disbelief. 'It seems you love your job more than your bed.'
'I guess so.'
'Or we could say that may be it was just a hectic assignment.’
'It was. Lots and lots of reports I had to type. By the way I don't think I have seen you before. Have we met?'
'We haven't,' the stranger replied. Roger’s checks fell.
'Then… then how did you know my name?'
'A friend of mine gave me this to give to you,' the stranger said, handing Roger an envelope. 'I have been waiting for you for almost six hours.'
'Why didn't you call?'
'I don’t have your number.' Roger turned the envelope. There was nothing written on it, but it was heavy.
'What’s inside?’ he asked, his eyes still glued to the envelope.
'I don’t know,’ the fellow replied. ‘I was instructed not to open it. Why don’t you find out?’ Before Roger could open it, the fellow reached into the pocket of his jacket and got out a knife. He lunged forward and gripped Roger's mouth firmly, then stabbed him several times in the stomach. Roger was caught by surprise. His attacker continued stabbing him, as though he was possessed.
Roger tried to kick but in vain. He managed to dig his teeth into his attacker's hand but it did not help. The fellow punched him in the face then stabbed him again before cutting his throat. Roger became weaker and weaker, and when he could fight no more, he was left to fall to the ground. His attacker looked around to be certain that no one had seen him, picked up the envelope, and then disappeared into the darkness. The mission was accomplished.