(Continued from Agent 306 III)
Fred wishes he could get his family on the road immediately so that he can get done with the sacrifice business, but he knows he cannot. He does not have a valid reason to make them leave the house before noon. The hours are going agonizingly slowly, so he decides to go to the farm. The boys immediately volunteer to go with him. In terms of temperament, the boys are very different. Liam is reserved, more like his father. Ever since he was a toddler, he rarely displayed extreme emotions. He does cry, like every other child, and he does get excited when playing; but he rarely overdoes any of the emotions. Liam never throws angry tantrums, and you will never find him squealing and jumping up and down with delight. At five years, he is more mature than some ten year olds. He does talk in familiar spaces, but when he is amongst strangers he retreats into himself. But he is a confident boy, with a quiet sense of determination. At first Jackline was concerned that the boy was not enjoying his childhood, but the owner of the school they attend, an elderly woman called Mrs. Mwebia, assured them that he was okay. After twenty six years of running a nursery school, all kinds of children have passed through Mrs. Mwebia’s hands, including those with introverted personalities like Liam.
Kyle is more outgoing. He is more playful and more emotional. He gets excited at the tiniest of things, and his tears are similarly just a minor frustration away. Kyle is the one who was the full blown terrible two. Whenever he was denied something he would scream, roll in the ground and generally cause a scene. The drama did not last long though, because Fred always treated him with a firm hand. The tantrums are gone, but he is still a very emotional boy.
Out in the farm, before they start pulling out the weeds, Fred takes his first born into his arms and hugs him tight. Liam allows him to and then pulls away after a minute, with a quizzical look on his face. The boy is surprised because he doesn’t know his father as an emotional being. Jackline is all cuddly and emotional, but not Fred. If they were alone, the hug would have been followed by an awkward silence, and then the two of them would have gone on weeding without a word. But they are not alone. Immediately Fred puts Liam down, Kyle is jumping up and down demanding his own hug. Fred lifts him and hugs him; unlike his brother, Kyle wraps his hands around his father and hugs him tightly, while purring like a satisfied cat.
Fred loves all his children, including his last born Ivanna. Besides being the culmination of his love to Jackline, the children have brought a lot of cheer to their lives. The thought that he is going to kill one of them in a couple of hours fills him with anxiety and deep sorrow. As he and the boys start weeding, his mind is racing, trying to figure out a way out of the mess he is in. Isn’t there a way he can save his son?
Liam was conceived in poverty, at the time when Fred and Jackline worked for the Mwanzias. Fred remembered how smitten he was when he first laid his eyes on Jackline. Her beauty nearly paralyzed him. By the time she was hired by the Mwanzia’s he had already worked for them for two years. In the days that followed, he got to interact with her, and he realised that she was not only beautiful, but respectful, well-mannered and God-fearing. He fell madly in love.
The first time he kissed her was out in the farm. He had been flirting with her for weeks, and while she was playing hard to get, she had not told him off as many Christian girls would have. That day she brought his food as usual, placed it down and started chatting with him, again as usual. Out of impulse, Fred pulled her close to himself and kissed her on the mouth. He expected her to pull away and slap him, but she didn’t. Instead, she wrapped her hands around his neck and kissed him back hungrily.
Things got a bit heated, and they probably would have made love out in the banana plantation, except that the session was interrupted by footsteps. It was Mr. Mwanzia who had come home early from work and decided to check on the farm. He most likely did not see them because they were deep in the banana plantation, but he probably heard the clicking of their mouths and figured out what had been happening. He did not comment though, he just greeted them casually and started asking Fred how the crops were doing. Jackline excused herself and left hurriedly, with an embarrassed look on her face.
That evening Fred invited her to his house via a text message, but she did not reply. He imagined that his invitation had been turned down, so he went to sleep as usual. It was around 1 AM when he heard a soft knock on the door. He was already asleep, so he was disoriented at first. He did not respond. But a minute later the knock came again.
“Who is it?” he demanded.
“It is me,” the soft reply came. He knew the voice, so his sleep vanished and he rushed to open the door.
After that first night Jackline used to sneak into the wooden shack that the Mwanzias had given him almost every night. She told him that she usually left the main house by the backdoor, which was in the kitchen, and walked in the darkness into the farm, where Fred’s house was. Fred’s house was not in the main compound, but rather in the farm near the cowshed and the chicken coop. Jackline always knocked once. That was enough to get Fred jumping from the bed to open the door. Their love making was always hurried. After the act was done, they would lay in bed talking, their bodies touching. At first Jackline complained about the smell of cow dung that used to seep into Fred’s house from the cowshed, but after a while she got used to it.
Jackline also used to fret because of her faith-as a born again believer, she didn’t want to have sex before marriage. But she used to come anyway. Fred doesn’t consider himself saved, although he was brought up in a Christian household. He has never had any regrets about sleeping with Jackline. He has always been convinced about his love for her. But now he is wondering whether God is punishing him for leading His daughter astray. Liam was a child born of sin. But he is an innocent kid. Would God be so cruel as to kill him to punish the sin of his parents?
But Fred reminds himself that other than leading God’s daughter into sin, he is also the one who made a pact with the devil. He is the one who joined the fraternity on the promise of wealth. He agreed to cheat on his wife for a “better life”. True, he did not know he would be sleeping with a spirit-woman, but he was willing to cheat on Jackline all the same. Boniface did inform him that he would be expected to sleep with his agent during his initiation, and he agreed to it. Fred does not pretend he was a virgin when he met Jackline. He had his first girlfriend when he was in form two, and slept with her during the December holidays of that year. She was actually older than he was; she had just completed form four. But Fred has always had a large body, and his confidence around women is always supreme. She must have been attracted to him because of that. He has slept with many other women over the years. But ever since he slept with Jackline that first night, he has never slept with any other woman; except Agent 306.
He knows he cannot blame God for his current woes. He cut a deal with Satan, and he is suffering the consequences. He glances at his watch. It is 11.30 am. It is almost time for him to offer his son a sacrifice.
“That is enough for today, boys. Let us go so that we are not late for lunch.”
He leads the boys back to the house. Mary leads the boys to the bathroom, while Fred goes to take his shower in the master bedroom. Jackline is reading a novel. Fred dresses in a black trouser and a red shirt. He tells himself that if he is going to offer a sacrifice of blood, he might just as well wear the color of blood. His heart is pounding as he emerges from the bedroom.
“Are you ready?” he asks his wife. She is dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.
“Yes, it’s just lunch, nothing fancy, isn’t?”
“Then I will just go as I am. I am even surprised that you have dressed up. For a moment I thought we are going to a wedding. But even in weddings I am the one who forces you to wear anything that is not jeans.”
It is true. Fred wears suits Monday to Thursday, but it is usually a tall order to get him to dress up officially on Fridays and through the weekends. Jackline asked him once why he even bothers to wear suits to the office, yet he is the boss, and he replied that he always wants to get the respect he never got during his period of joblessness. He used to go to church in jeans, t-shirts and sandals, but after Jackline protested, he agreed to be wearing khakis, ankara shirts and loafers. But today he has dressed up officially, minus the jacket and tie, on his own volition.
The family walks out of the house towards the carport. Jackline and the kids stop at the driveway to allow Fred bring the car around.
“Are you okay babe?” Jackline asks as her husband walks to the side of the house, where their two cars are parked in the dual carport. “I could drive if you are still feeling exhausted.”
“No, I am fine babe,” Fred responds, trying to sound cheerful. When they are going out as a family, he is the one who always drives whether they are using his car or Jackline’s; she only drives when he is unwell or too tired or sleepy.
Minutes later, the red Nissan X-trail joins the highway. Jackline is seated at the front, with Ivanna on her lap, and the boys are at the back.
“You didn’t invite Mary to lunch?” Fred asks, trying to sound casual. The bridge is only about five minutes away. The question is a legitimate one, at least to Jackline’s ears. They always treat their house helps like members of the family, so Mary should have joined them for lunch.
“She begged out. She told me that she wants to dash to the salon.”
They turn a corner and get to the slope that leads to the bridge.
“Oh my God…the brakes,” Fred suddenly exclaims, even though his foot is not on the brake pedal. He presses the accelerator all the way down and noses the car towards the outside edge of the bridge.
(This is the last free subchapter of this story. To find out what became of Fred and his family, kindly follow the instructions below to purchase your copy of the novella.)
Image by Sergei Tokmakov from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/angel-fallen-model-silhouette-4834921/
To purchase any of the books in our e-bookstore (including the latest one, Agent 306), 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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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 email@example.com or send a WhatsApp message to 0105571156 if you have a query or feedback.
The next story begins on Tuesday. See you all then.