December

When darkness descends, the tarmac gets smoother and the wind blows harder. The music inside the vehicle gets louder and the mood flinches with imminent adrenaline. Your foot adds a little more pressure on the acceleration while you casually place one arm on the steering the other one holding your phone as if expecting an uncertain call. On your passenger’s seat, a newspaper sits calmly, new and unread. The newspaper is not the only thing feeling underutilized, the seat belts too, on their fall-back position stealthy dancing to the tune of your speed.

 

Outside, the headlights glare, hardly blinking, looking at a future that is full of ambiguity. A scent of sweat and speed fills the air around you accompanied by the distinct nasty feeling of uneasiness. The shining stars are either hiding tonight or just tired of the ingrates below them. More than anything, the darkness engulfs everything known to man. The only lights are in pairs of two of different automobiles rushing back and forth the highway.

 

Then it happens, a Toyota Vitz overtakes you. That wounds your pride which even at this speed weighs heavier than both you and your Subaru at an ordinary stationary position. You think of what this means to you. How your Subaru must feel humiliated. You have always been passionate about a lot of things, your beer for instance and your speed. In fact an open can sticks by your dashboard, half empty and the missing half was not libation. A quick calculation could reveal that this is not the first beer you have had today.

 

Now you are determined to redeem your beloved Subaru. A little more pressure on the acceleration. Plus the road is relatively empty at this time of night. You approach a sign written in bold that this Salgaa, A black spot. Where many have prey to the thirst monster of blood and pain. You have seen the same sign so many times, you are indifferent to the antics it begs.

 

You can see the white Toyota Vitz that bruised your ego a hundred meters from you. The road is clear and you step on it even harder and your car responds amenably. You overtake a truck carrying two Maersk containers on a climbing lane. Innocuously, you begin to speculate what the container is carrying. Could be salt. Perhaps we are exporting salt from Magadi to Kampala. We have a lot of salt in Kenya. Couldn’t be salt. Maybe it is coffee, which sounds crazy immediately it leaves your head, what would Ugandans do with coffee? Eat it as fruit? Because it is definitely not to process it. Or maybe Kirubi is tired of Rhinos on his personal park now he is taking two to Uganda as part of a pact with Museveni. You shake your head and laugh quietly to yourself. Rather, it could be child traffickers, taking kids bundled together interwoven with raw fear and desperate gasps to Saudi Arabia to be sold as slaves. That last one sets a shiver down your spine. Death and strife has always appalled you.

 

Fifty meters to the monstrously insolent Vitz. The wind blows even harder against your car, the side mirrors begin caving in as evidence that you are practically half on tarmac, half on air. This is the kind of speed that made the person that invented planes aware that metal could fling into the air and perch like birds or the angels. But you are unaware of this because in the car, it is a party. The music volume is seriously loud, it could awaken the hundreds who have died on this spot.

 

You are slowly approaching your adversary who also seems to have a romantic story with speed. That always sends him to nostalgia any time he drives slowly. If it was not for the pending financial constraints, he too would have bought a speed car, a Subaru, and then he would have a chance to race against you. Right now, he can only intimidate you and nothing else. You have the power and an intrepid car that gets on the road and everyone else squirms in frantic fear.

 

But then again on a plain the proficiency of a monkey to slither from tree to tree becomes impractical. You catch up with him and he has nothing to defend himself. A gazelle on the paws of a hungry cheetah can only present mere prayers to its maker. Last prayers are said, only, they are not said by the gazelle but by the cheetah.

 

A pothole presents itself to fast ahead, impossible for you to change course. You swerve right to escape the impending predicament and you successfully do only to miss a Maersk truck speeding at eighty towards you. Again you swerve left to escape the truck an again you successfully do only that this time, you do not escape untouched, the truck hits your rear hard. The car makes a three-sixty swerve still on its wheels and another and another and just when you think the impact is successfully over another truck speeding towards you from the opposite direction place its entire weight and speed on you and your Subaru and you get off your wheels and spin off the road over and over again until your sensitive Subaru looks like a collection of cheap scrap metal.

 

Everything is silent now. The Vitz has driven away already probably still in the race thinking that you are just kidding and would be back on your wheels in no time. Both trucks stop momentarily and then veer off out of sight to deliver the Maersk containers probably carrying perishables. Several concerned parties approaches your mess cautiously afraid of a possible explosion. As for you, this is the end of the ‘road’ for you. You will not be making it to Eldoret tonight because the gods decided your destination was heaven or hell. Either, they have a wide range of options. We now have a burial to plan, hearts to console, tears to shed and a crime scene to investigate. Even in death you still cause trouble.

 

Now the festive season fills our mouths with the foul taste of blood, metal and death. For the reason of your appetites of alcohol and speed. Yet we told you and wished you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We did so from December 1st because we thought it would give you a sense of wanting to stay alive but turns out that even our wishes were wasted on you, our love was wasted on you because you lay waste to everything close to you.

 

Still, the darkness descends even harder, the tarmac gets even smoother and the wind blows even harder. The music inside the vehicle gets louder and the mood flinches with imminent adrenaline. Please do not put us through this again.

 

Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri

 

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Dennis Peters

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