(Continued from Agent 306 II)
“You are lying to me,” Fred says, avoiding the question. “If I sacrifice Liam to the Grand Master, you will come back for more.”
“The Grand Master never goes against his word.”
“I have a friend called Boniface. He is actually the one who introduced me to the fraternity. His daughter died about four years ago. And his wife died last year. I know you and your Grand Master claimed both lives, and that is how I know that you are lying to me.”
Agent 306 laughs softly.
“Your friend refused to sacrifice his daughter, just like you are refusing to sacrifice Liam. He insisted that he wanted to leave, so the Grand Master took the girl by force. That would explain why she died in a school fire. The Grand Master prefers that you do it yourself, as a show of gratitude. After the death of his wife, Boniface begged his agent to tell the Grand Master to spare his wife, saying he was willing to stay in the fraternity. The Grand Master told him that he would spare her for only two years, and after that he (Boniface) would have to sacrifice her as a show of gratitude, because he had failed to do so the first time. And that is how she died last year. He sacrificed her. That doesn’t have to happen to Jackline. You give up Liam, and you and the rest of your family will be fine forever.”
“So will you do it?”
“Good. Now come here, make me feel good.”
“No, please not here. Have some respect for my matrimonial bed.”
“Let’s go to my room then.”
Fred wakes up late. He does not remember leaving Mary’s bedroom, but he wakes up in his own matrimonial bed. He has a slight headache which he knows will get worse in the next few hours, because he has been pushed to a corner and he doesn’t see a way out. On the one hand, he doesn’t want to sacrifice his son. On the other, he knows that Agent 306 and her masters are serious. If he doesn’t let go of Liam, he will lose both Liam and Jackline.
He gets out of bed and goes straight to the shower. He puts on a short and a T-shirt. He doesn’t work on Saturdays. He spends Saturday mornings lazing around the house with Jackline and the children. If there are things to be fixed around the house, he fixes them on Saturday mornings.
In the afternoon, sometimes he might stay at home and watch football or a movie with the family. Jackline has become an ardent football fan, and the boys are catching on. When they are not watching football or movies, they might decide to go out on a picnic or to weddings if they have been invited. Other times they go down to the farm to check on their crops. Their home stands on a one acre piece of land. The house and the compound occupy a quarter of an acre, while the rest is a farm which has various crops.
Both Fred and Jackline grew up on peasant farms, and Fred worked as a shamba boy before he became wealthy. Both of them love the soil. When they were purchasing a piece of land on which to construct their home, they settled on a one acre a piece of land because that would be large enough for them to farm. They don’t do a lot of the actual tilling anymore because they spend the bulk of their time at their respective work places and because they can now afford to hire people to work for them. But they have a plot of vegetables that they tend to personally, with the help of their sons. Every other weekend they take the boys down to the farm to tend to the vegetables because they want them to fall in love with farming.
After showering and dressing, Fred goes to the dining area to take his breakfast. It is around 9 am. He finds Jackline in the sitting room watching cartoons with the children. Fred crosses over to the dining table and sits. Everyone has taken breakfast, except him. Mary has cleared the utensils that the others used, but breakfast is still on the table. Fred takes a clean cup and fills it with tea, and then adds two tea spoonfuls of sugar. There is bread on the table, but he ignores it and instead takes two pieces of sweet potatoes.
“We don’t have arrow roots?” he asks his wife.
“We did have them, but your boys ate them all and ignored the sweet potatoes and the bread. They are turning out like you.”
Fred smiles. In his parents’ house, his father used to be served first, and then the others were left share out whatever remained of the food. Because food was scarce, his father is the only one who used to eat to his fill; Fred and his siblings would share out the rest and more often than not their mother would stay hungry. Jackline told him that that was the order in their home too. When he and Jackline moved in together, he told her that he wanted the reverse to be true for their home. He would always eat last, after she and the children had their fill. At that time it was just the two of them, and while they were not rich, they had plenty to eat thanks to the Mwanzias. After that fortune came unto them, and food has never been a problem in their house. But Fred still insists that his wife and the children eat first.
“If they are ignoring sweet potatoes then they are not like me. I do eat sweet potatoes.”
“I said they are turning, as in they are in the process. Arrow roots are the first step. Sweet potatoes are next.”
“There are a couple of cooked arrow roots in the fridge, Baba Kyle,” Mary says, entering the sitting room from the kitchen. “I can warm and peel them for you.”
“That will be very kind of you.”
“Can I fry a couple of eggs for you too? I don’t think the kids spared the boiled eggs either.”
“I will appreciate that too. Thank you Mary.”
As Mary retreats to the kitchen, it occurs to Fred that she called him ‘Baba Kyle’. Of course Kyle is his son too, so Baba Kyle is still correct. But everyone calls him ‘Baba Liam’. Jackline introduced to him to her yesterday as ‘Baba Liam’. By calling him ‘Baba Kyle’ is she in a subtle way reminding him that Liam belongs to the Grand Master? That thought makes his appetite disappear. The tea suddenly tastes like molten lead and the sweet potatoes like dry ash.
“Are you okay?” Jackline asks. Fred realises that she is watching him closely. “You have not been yourself since yesterday. You have been acting…I don’t…strange. You were even sleep-talking last night.”
Fred’s heart skips a beat. But he smiles and tries to sound cheerful.
“I was? What did I say?”
“I couldn’t make out what you were saying. You were just mumbling things incoherently. I think I fell asleep at some point and when I woke up you were sleeping soundly and silently.”
“I think I am just tired. I will need some time to shake off the jetlag.”
Jackline looks at him in a way that tells him that she is not convinced, and then she looks away without a word. Mary brings him the eggs and the arrow roots. She refills his cup of tea and retreats to the kitchen, where she is cleaning utensils. After eating the eggs, Fred finds himself getting more positive about the idea of sacrificing Liam. The way he sees it, it is a way of saving Jackline, who can then bear him another son. He subconsciously doesn’t agree with the thought, but he consciously convinces himself that he has no alternative.
“What do you say we head out for a picnic this afternoon?” he asks.
Jackline looks at him quizzically.
“What?” he asks defensively.
“Today Chelsea is playing Liverpool. You are a Liverpool fan, and Liverpool is chasing the title. Since when would you miss a match like that? Besides, the boys are pumped up for the game.”
Fred sighs. For his plan to work, he has to think of something quickly. Fred knows that his wife wants to watch the match even more than the boys, but she is hiding behind the boys because while he can ask her to sacrifice the game, she knows that he cannot do the same with the kids. They will not understand. Jackline is a Manchester City fan, and with Manchester City dueling for the title with Liverpool, she definitely wants to watch the match and cheer on Chelsea. She started watching football only three or four years ago, but she is now even more addicted than he is.
But this is about saving her life, even though she does not know it.
To save Jackline, he has to get the family on the road somehow, and then drive the car off the bridge. Agent 306 and the Grand Master will take Liam, and the rest of the family will be spared. He knows that the death of his son will haunt him forever, but the death of his son and his wife will haunt him even more.
“What time is the game?”
“Why do we take lunch out today and then come back to watch the game? I just want to go out and have some fresh air. I think I have been in the Egyptian desert for too long.”
Jackline opens her mouth to protest, but then changes her mind.
“Okay sweetheart, we can leave at 12 and go to have lunch at Mordecai’s Garden Restaurant. You know how beautiful the grounds are, and how delicious their food is. We can eat and have fresh air there, and the kids can play a bit at the swings. If we start coming back at 3.45 we will be here in time for the game.”
“Thank you sweetheart,” Fred tells his wife with a smile. Mordecai’s will work because to get there they will pass by the bridge where he will crash the car. But when he sees Agent 306 grinning from the kitchen and his own smile fades quickly. He will do what she wants, but that doesn’t mean he likes it.
In less than three hours, he is going to kill his son, the first arrow in his quiver.
Image by Leroy Skalstad from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/people-peoples-homeless-male-b-w-844214/
To purchase any of the books in our e-bookstore (including the latest one, Unwanted), you can follow either one of two main ways:
- MPESA Automated Digital Payment Method. Log in to the bookstore- register if you are new-(https://www.maroncha.com/book-store ). Select the book. Add to cart, check out then pay by inserting your number on the space provided then clicking ‘confirm’. You will be able to download instantly from the bookstore. A copy will also be automatically sent to your email.
- Pay Via Till Number. Log in to the bookstore- register if you are new-(https://www.maroncha.com/book-store ). Select the book. Add to cart, check out then pay via the Buy Goods Till Number provided. Once you get the message from MPESA, insert the MPESA code on the space provided then click ‘Validate Code’. You will be able to download instantly from the bookstore. A copy will also be automatically sent to your email.
If you are completely unable to use the above two methods, you can still purchase your copy manually. The only disadvantage of this method is that you will have to wait for a few hours before you get your copy. But eventually it will come.
- Pay Kshs. 100 to Buy Goods Till Number 297264 and send an email to email@example.com (or DM Sanctuary Side on Facebook) stating your MPESA name. Use the name of the book as the subject of your email. If you send a DM to Sanctuary Side on Facebook, kindly also include your email address. I will send your copy once I verify your payment.
- Pay Kshs. 100 to Buy Goods Till Number 297264 and send an SMS/WhatsApp message to 0105571156 stating your MPESA name and the name of the book you wish to purchase. I will send your copy once I verify your payment.
Remember you can always DM Sanctuary Side on Facebook, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a WhatsApp message to 0105571156 if you have a query or feedback.
See you all on Friday.