No Witnesses




I was born in 7th March, 1987. The day I was born, it rained hard, a storm that brought down trees and houses. I was born in my mothers and fathers house by a midwife. My father hated hospitals, he said that they reeked of weakness and infection. So my mother pushed without anaesthetic, cried and cursed until my head popped out. Outside, lighting struck followed by deafening thunder as if in protest to something. The midwife with really rough hands probably from harvesting tea in the fields, pulled my small body in the world.

My father worked in the armoury where he tended to the army’s weapons. I can remember him cleaning more guns in our living room than I saw him shower. He held himself on high regard constantly claiming that only a man of great responsibility could be accorded such an important task. Before I could stop pooping my pants, I knew how to hold and clean a gun.

On the evening of 27th January 1996 as I came from school, I found my father’s body splattered around the floor like a red carpet on Christmas. He had blown himself to kingdom come on his favourite seat in the living room while tending to his guns. Poor guy had taken his wife with him without even asking. Asking was not his style, he was a dictator, issuing commands and hitting mother on the head was more his style. Now, standing on the doorway, all I could see was brains and decapitated limbs of both him and mother.

I shed a few necessary tears for mother, collected the remaining guns and set foot on my way. Let the dead take care of themselves; the Bible says something like that, I think. His guns were now my guns. I remember vividly packing no clothes or food, the only thing I packed were the deadly guns father loved. To this day I do not know whether father blew himself up by accident or on purpose. Maybe it was mother who got tired of him and shut him up by blowing his brains, whatever happened, I was not staying to find out.










I loved blood. I made acquaintance with the butcher in the place I moved to. He supplied me with raw blood from the cattle they butchered and I would put in a cup in the secrecy of my wrecked house and sip it slowly like Asian tea. A cup in the morning and a cup in the evening, sometimes even more when the spoils from the slaughter house accommodated. I lied to the butcher man that I used to make mutura. Stupid dumbass believed me.



A usual day for me was working out and cleaning my guns which were often dirty from hunting hare in the Aberdare forest. I ate a lot of meat. My body was more meat than brains but so is everybody else’s’. My body was curved like a sculpture from the workouts with all kinds of vein patterns on my arms. Strength was mandatory, that was one thing I had picked from father. I was hairy, very hairy all over my body like a caveman. But I was a caveman of sorts, living on the edge of the forest and hunting deer and hare for meals.



At the age of seventeen, as I lay on the grass a scorpion climbed up my boot and chewed my left heel unceremoniously. I barely survived the poison but the living were not done with me so I survived day after day until the only thing left to tell the scorpion story was a limp. This limp stays with me to this day.




At nineteen I began working on contracts. A man and his wife were walking home when an armed guy in a hoodie approached them, pointed a gun and promised to put bullet holes in their stomachs if they did not hand over their phones, wallets and jewellery. On ordinary circumstances, I would have kept to the darkness and watched the free film before I went on my way. The two victims handed the thug everything they had and begged for their lives. Cowards deserve to die, so I hoped that the gun the hoodie guy held would get to be fired. Then it happened that the man threw himself in front of the lady and asked the hoodie guy to shoot him and let his wife go in peace. In my mind, I quickly resolved that this man was not a coward. He was brave he did not deserve a bullet after all. I snuck behind the bushes stealthily and silently like a serpent and struck the hoodie guy on his back, disarmed him effortlessly, cautiously and swiftly, just like hunting deer before I put bullets all over his body. The first bullet on his left foot, second on his right knee cap, third on his belly button, fourth on his left eye, sixth on the right lung before the last bullet put him to eternal sleep from the forehead. I would have shot his groins too but the bullets ran out.
The man and the wife rewarded me heavily even though I had not expected it with six thousand shillings and that became my first contract.








When I met Maria, I had just come from the Rift Valley. I had been there for three days, working. This assignment was special. It involved a very important man. My contact, the person who had handed me the assignment also sounded important but identity was not any of my concern. So on a misty Tuesday morning, as a helicopter sailed an important person to the plains of the Rift Valley for an occasion, I lay flat on a raised ground one eye shut to put all the juice on the other one that was looking on a tiny aiming hole of my father’s M21 Sniper Weapon machine. I shot three times; at the pilot, then the choppers propeller and finally just as the chopper begun to spin, I shot one passenger. The last shot was unnecessary. The chopper landed on a hill and blew up like the fourth of July. The job was not done until I walked to the crushed site and shot the remains gratuitously. No witnesses.

I was paid twenty thousand shillings. I met Maria on my usual visits to the butcher. She was barely dressed. All she had were pieces of cheap fabric covering her private areas seductively, I assumed it was fashion. She stood by the butchery calmly as if waiting for someone. I had never spoken to a girl so I was specifically surprised she talked to me first. It was a quick hello followed by a question I did not have a response to. She asked me whether I had seen anything I liked. It was a weird question but one that demanded a response. I threw my eyes to her hair, artificial but so beautiful, her body, the way it graciously made a figure eight and the waist, the tiny waist held me captive that I only murmured a yes.

Maria must have been a very free person because while I expected her to turn away and move on like I did not exist, she simply asked me another question. She wanted to know whether I had money and food because as she put it, she was starving. I explained to her patiently that I had had good luck that morning and caught a gazelle that was lying waiting to be roasted at my place and yes, I did have money. With that, Maria held my arm and we walked talking about everything until we got to my house.

This had been the first time I had company at my place so while I stayed nervous, she eased the mood by constantly holding my arm. I liked the way she held my arm and looked into my eyes. Instead of roasting the meat, we boiled it as per Maria’s suggestion. She served the meat on a plate and we ate while she went on and on about different things in her life. This strange creature amused me but I let it.

When the meal was over, Maria said that she would teach me something new and I gladly accepted. She took her clothes off until she was completely naked. The lamp shone on her nakedness like the sunset of the Tsavo. The she cautiously got my clothes off too while looking deep into my eyes like she was looking for approval. I let her have her way. A few minutes later, I had proudly had my first sexual encounter.

I did not have much use for money so the morning Maria left, I handed her ten thousand shillings and told her to use it since we were friends now. She accepted gladly and did that naked thing for me another time before she hurriedly left. We made plans to see each other later in the evening where she promised she would teach me something else.




The same day, I got another contact from a woman who wanted her husband gone forever. As usual I was not concerned about the reasons why she wanted her husband dead so I asked for details like where he would be, an image of him and all that shit. I was determined to finish this assignment fast and join Maria later in the day. When I got to the location directed by the wife who wanted her husband gone, it was a function. The husband was launching his new flats that he had built with his wife and now they were ready for tenants. It was an easy job, I let the function terminate before I met the husband in the restrooms, told him that his wife had decided to let him join the dead and put two bullets, one on his head and the other to his heart to make sure he would never wake up and left him face down in the toilet bowl like he was hugging it and left. Let the dead take care of themselves; the Bible says something like that, I think. I was paid four thousand for this job.

I was late for the agreed meeting time with Maria, so when I got to the butchery, I was not surprised that she was not there. I asked around but nobody around seemed to know her. I decided to head home and see if she was home. It was dark when I got home and unluckily she was not there either. I blamed myself for getting late and fell asleep immediately. I had a very nice dream about Maria and her naked body which made me so happy.

The next day went on slow, too slow. When it was evening, I left the house to look for Maria. I was determined to apologize for the previous day. I wanted her back more than anything. I got to the small town centre just in time to see Maria vanish to a turn with another accomplice. I ran as fast as I could to get to her but eventually I decided to just follow them like I did with gazelle, deer and hare before pouncing on them unawares during hunting.

They walked to a house, which by the fact that it was Maria who opened the door, I assumed it was her house. It was tiny and spoke a tale of limited resources but still better than mine yet I felt sorry for her. I would have liked to give her everything good this life had to offer. They walked in with the man and I waited for about twenty minutes. When they did not come out, I decided to walk in myself and explain everything. Explain the reason I had been late for the hook up the previous day. I had it planned out in my head, everything I would tell her, yet cautiously leave the part about me killing people for a living.

When I go to the door, I could hear Maria’s voice, she was screaming all kinds of words beginning with her maker followed by all kinds of curse words. She kept screaming and I thought she was in trouble so I stormed into the house to the biggest disappointment of my twenty one years.

There she was doing out thing with another guy, both entirely naked and worse was that she seemed to be enjoying it more. They stopped the moment I stormed in. I could feel my anger rising like mercury in a thermometer. I could not comprehend why she was doing our thing with other people. Maria started to say something but stopped the moment I held the man’s neck with both hands and lifted him up like he was a cup of coffee.

He chocked. Maria begged. I was not listening to either of them. He spoke, he said something about Maria being a prostitute but I did not care. He had to die. He writhed like a worm until his legs relaxed. Maria screamed her lungs out. I threw the lifeless body away and headed for her neck too. When I caught her I felt something inside me, I hesitated. It was something I had never felt, not even when I watched my mother’s body lifeless on our living room. It was a weird emotion.

She tried to reach for something from the table, a kettle which she threw to my face missed and it landed on the floor splashing hot water to my left foot. The scorpion bite hated anything hot. It was painful too painful, I let her go and limped out of the house and ran.

I had never left any witnesses. She was the first one. I had to go, I had to leave the Central region to another region. I did not even bother to go pick my father’s guns. From now I did not need them, using my hands to finish my work had felt more gratifying. I ran into the forest to an uncharted region where Maria would not lead the police.









My clients still reach me. If someone wants you dead then you will die by my hands. I will not use a gun. Guns are too quick. I will use my hands and watch life escape your body like a treated plague and then leave you dead. Let the dead take care of themselves; the Bible says something like that, I think. I will get paid as low as four thousand for your life. One day I will get Maria. I know now that she is a hooker but she is still mine. I will let her body do things to my body and then I will kill her slowly and respectfully. No witnesses.









Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri


A Guy with a Girl



I am a guy without a girl, lying awake in the dead of the night thinking about a girl. Deeply rooted in the proverbial uncontrollable love screaming a girl’s name to no one in particular yet hoping to be heard. Sleep is a long lost visitor, coming in unannounced amidst a pillow wet with tears. For that reason, I am the guy always on the phone or on a computer forcing distraction upon a troubled mind so that it can accommodate peace. I am the guy with a hint of happiness as a distant memory, cursing time in between breaths for moving too fast.




I am the guy jogging every morning on the sidewalk. Talking long walks deep in the countryside in the evening with white earphones dangling loosely from my ears, speaking but barely being heard. The guy taking a shower after a jog and letting tears flow smoothly with the warm water from the shower. Taking really long showers and losing myself in the meditative walls of the bathroom.




The guy holding a large novel at noon in the living room with a glass of whisky placed on the coffee table begging to be sipped but constantly being ignored. A guy that knows the value of control when it comes to alcohol because it always starts as a means to terminate the melancholy in the living room and ends up in a rehabilitation centre’s reception somewhere in Limuru. A guy that is not curious to find out what lays on the bottom of the bottle yet still opens the bottle anyway.




I am the guy who used to have a girl. Then, nothing could go wrong. A guy who once held fate by the throat, but now is held down to the filth by fate’s fury.




A guy, busy making plans in the middle of diary pages and notebooks only for it to turn to shit just moments before implementation. A guy who is weary of praying for the same thing from January to June and now wondering whether the omnipresent heaven tenant took a long vacation to the Bahamas. Tied to my mind with voices screaming from every medulla of the mind but ineffable torturous silence and unrest on the outside. The silence preceding a catastrophe.




I am the guy whose girl means the entire world to him, busy scribbling romantic notes in the middle of the night and then deleting them because they will never be read. And now staring long and deep into the framed art on the walls reliving each photo painfully like the plucking of a broken molar tooth.




The guy alone in a big house secretly afraid of a monster under the bed, a monster I call time. Twenty turns to twenty-one and then to twenty-two and everything moves but I have nothing to show as progress. A guy aware of important dates in July, surreptitiously aware of what they mean and their implications on the flow of life.




An old lion chasing young love across the savannah grasslands of the Mara. A prey faster than time, swift as the wind and seductive as forbidden fruit. A predator aware of the sweetness and thrill of the hunt but forced by prevailing circumstances to settle for unfulfilling scavenge life.




A monkey gracefully gliding from branch to branch in the dense Aberdare forest in the middle of the rainy season. But now lost a limb and living in caves hiding my face away from the cold June weather.




The guy who found a girl to be bliss, the definition of love, the true purpose of life and the only ingredient to happiness. The guy cooking in the kitchen, food made with love but only gets enjoyed by solitude, desolation and a tasteless tongue. Then waking up in the morning to dirty dishes and hot coffee, another day to exist and feel shitty in the evening when there is still nothing to show for twenty-four hours.




I am better with the girl than without. But in a callous world full of individuality and commitment to independence nobody seems to get this. Maybe the white man took too much freedom from us, such that to this day we feel enmeshed and buckled up in chains and handcuffs when we feel that we indeed need dependence.




Writing down and reading a lot of words each day, yet feeling drained of words. Words are not oxygen, you cannot live off them. You cannot fill your lungs with words and breathe out bad words leaving the good ones to sustain life in the body.




The scientist in a cruel lab, performing ninety-seven trails and receiving ninety-seven failed test outcomes. A scientist slowly becoming a monster with each trial because it gets to you brain, it feasts on your sanity with a big spoon and serves your heart as dessert.




A man, sinking into depression, first with a single toe, then a foot and now gasping for air with the whole eternity finding its way to the bottom of the sea.




The prisoner serving time in solitary, marking dates on the walls with a rock waiting for the day they will allow the sun to touch my lips again and entrust her with my presence. The sun to place a warm hug on my shoulders, never to leave him alone again in damnation and anguish of darkness. The prisoner who tried to do everything right in the beginning yet stays condemned with zero chances for redemption.




Devastated, angry and desperate.




I am the author of who scribbled this sad short memoir in January, yet flinches with familiar acrimony in June because the plot still the same old. A mad man persistently doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. The guy with a girl but without her altogether.





Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri.

Little Ciku. Part Two.


Eventually, little Ciku and her friend arrived to the destination of the survivors. The number had reduced significantly but the cold had multiplied in hundreds. The destination was a police station where they were received by the men and women in blue handing each of them a blanket. They were then led to a shed where they were to spend the night. Ciku and her new friend combined their blankets and cuddled into the night hunting for sleep, perhaps morning would make more sense. Her friend fell asleep first but Ciku’s mind was with mother, where was she? Was she looking for her? That scream she had heard at Huruma Junction, was it mother? Had the men with spears and arrows caught mother and father? At this point Ciku sobbed uncontrolled not because of mother but because she had lost a mother and became one in a single night. She wondered what the future had for them.

The shed got silent eventually and beyond the shed wall Ciku could hear hushed deep voices of men mostly discussing what had happened. She heard that no one had survived beyond the fire, that they had been slaughtered mercilessly by the strange men in arrows. How Ciku hoped it was a dream but her ice cold feet kept assuring her that it was not a dream. She heard the reason for the attack was the election outcome and quickly she connected the dots to the loud stereo at Huruma Junction, it was the election results. Her mind was too young to comprehend who was fighting who but at least eavesdropping put her thoughts into perspective. Ciku was tired and soon after she was on the teeter edge of a sharpened razor, somewhere in between deep relaxation and unconsciousness.


She was not sure what had woken her up, but it was still dark when she woke up. She had been dreaming of the men in cow skin holding long spears and arrows who had been chanting something in a language she could not understand around a bon fire, big as the one in Huruma Junction. When she woke up, her mind was in a temporary state of amnesia and one by one she recollected her thoughts to where she was, what had happened and why it smelled like cow dung where she had fallen asleep. She remembered her companion and ran her hands in the blankets trying to feel her with no avail. She was all alone beneath two blankets. Her pillow had been a black polythene paper with it sukumawiki and tomatoes, the one mother had sent her to fetch at Huruma Junction. She was surprised she had held on to the package for this long. She wondered where her stranger friend had gone and it was then that she realised that she did not even know her name.

Slowly and steadily she lifted herself painfully through the joint aches from running and lying on the floor to an upright position. She veered her eyes through the darkness to establish the doorway until she saw a burst of light through a half open door and came to the resolution of the possibility of that being the way out. Occasionally bumping into sleeping people she made it to the door and took a deep breath, perhaps hoping for a burst of fresh air but what she smelled was the reek of burning. She adjusted her eyes and indeed there was fire in a structure around fifty meters from where she was standing. A horrendous inferno accompanied by screams and the smell of roast human flesh.

She did not even realise when she let out a shrill scream and again and then again. People woke up fast and it was then that they realised that the burning structure was a church where the group from Huruma had split into two when the shed had run full. The church had been set on fire with hundreds of displaced people sleeping inside. People tried to put out the fire with buckets of water and soil all in vain, people choked and fell unconscious, other succumbed to the burns and fell into their painful death.

Ciku stared in disbelief. When she could no longer stand she sat. She stared at death right into the eye as death swept over like a swarm of locust on a cold season. She did not move, she did not even speak until the morning light appeared from the skies. Medical aid came and took the injured to hospital and the rest to the morgue. Death had had a feast under the cover of darkness leaving behind wailing women and children whose lives would probably never be the same.

When it was morning, the self-appointed instructors of the group Ciku had spent the night with explained the insecurity that lay beyond the police gate. Even them, that were supposed to shed light and show the way to young ones like Ciku, could simply not hide the melancholy. They shed tears as the names of the dead were read out by the police officers that had not taken off already. They wailed when it was established that aid from Nakuru was not coming because the roads had been blocked by trees, stones and burning tires. Each one of them stared blankly into the other not knowing where to go or what to do, worse, what to eat.

Meanwhile, outside, the birds welcomed the new day with coordinated rhythms, the sun brought out its smile unaware of the crimes her brother had done in the cover of the dark. Little Ciku still planted by the doorway to their new place of residence felt the morning light fall on her face and she turned away from it, her feet had been cold the entire night but not even the sun could bring a sensation of warmth to her heart. She had even forgot mother and was too busy replaying the horror of the night in her mind such that she did not notice a truck full of people stop at the gate and people come in through the police gate entrance. She was too engrossed in her despondency that when mother came and stood in front of her blocking the sun from her face she did not look up.



Submitted to the Commonwealth Short Story Prize Competition 2016.

Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri

Edited by Essy Wanene

Written by Dennis Peters and Inspired by real events.

Little Ciku. Part One.


A dark cloud gathers on the sky above chasing the blue away with one swift move. The wind blows and darkness descends slowly like a bride does on the aisle. The birds culminate their day’s rhythmic music and all over sudden it is as silent as tomb. At a distant, an owl hoots repeatedly, either in defiance to the bird law or in anticipation for the unknown.

A matatu stands on the estate’s shopping centre with its doors ajar. The matatu’s stereo is loud and the crowd gathering seems interested in the sound from the stereo. It is unusual, especially for little Ciku. This junction is on ordinary circumstances a beehive of activities particularly in Huruma estate, Eldoret at this time. Perhaps it is football, Ciku shrugs and walks away to run mother’s errands at the shops.

A little later, the crowd listening to the stereo dissolves into the darkness. Perhaps the football match is over or maybe it is the darkness that has sent them away but still things do not seem right. Little Ciku can be seen hurrying home with a black polythene dangling from her little hands. It does not take long before Ciku confirms her suspicion. Her little eyes above the chubby cheeks dart to the skies following a cloud of black smoke ahead. She becomes startled. She follows the cloud to the base and there it is, a big fire lights on the middle of the road obstructing her way back home. Ciku looks back and notices that within the blink of an eye, this familiar junction had become a desert with a few people running up and down in hushed footsteps; the apocalypse upon them.

Ciku becomes terrified. For the very first time in her short lifetime she had never felt so distant from home. She turns left, she turns right and just about when she turns ahead past the black smoke, darker than hell’s soot, past the raging inferno, is when she sees it. A group of young adults dressed scantily in cow skin holding spears on one hand, a bow on their other hand and a bag of arrows on their backs. They run towards Ciku, then at once, they stop, they lie flat on the ground and smear their faces with the white dust from the ground. Then they rise and start advancing towards Ciku again. By this time Ciku can hardly comprehend the circumstances surrounding her, all that she knows is that tonight might be a night she will spend away from mother.

The thought of mother triggers adrenaline in the little girl. She is determined to get home and deliver the package in black wrapping to mother. She hesitates then tries to dodge the blaze and rush home but the flame on the middle of the road appals her. Then she hears the screams breaking the evening’s silence, shrill screams as if someone is in pain. It does not take long, another strident scream runs the air, this time it sounds familiar and it sounds like mother. Ciku is now standing on the middle of the road muddled, her six years of age trying to comprehend the current conundrum. Looking back she realises people are running. Running away from the fire, their homes and the circus of the dirt smeared men with spears. Will she run with them or will she wait for the fire to subside so that she can go home? Little Ciku breaks into tears.

In her six years, Ciku had only learned to speak, to write a few alphabet and numbers and to calculate. Mother had taught her to do small laundry like handkerchiefs and her panties. She was bright, so mother had gone ahead to teach her to make green tea and pancakes. Father had taught her to make Ugali and ride a bicycle. But both had failed to prepare her for a predicament such as this, a day she would not get home.

Shouting men and screaming women urge everyone to leave Huruma estate as it is not safe anymore. The fire is not only a border between Ciku and mother but also death and escape. The terror on Ciku’s face can hardly be concealed as she sinks into the running multitude, most of them who she knew from Huruma Junction. She hopes that one of them would recognise her and at least tell her what to do. In death, everyone for himself and God for us all. It seemed like Ciku would have to survive the night alone until she could find mother or father.

In the rush to God knows where, Ciku finds a kid, much younger than her, startled and terrified in the commotion. She pulls the kid to her side with one hand and pulls her to where she was headed, perhaps thinking to herself that if the world was dark and unruly, little effort towards the light would sprout hope to the distressed and frightened souls. Now Ciku has someone by her side, not a protector or anyone she knows in particular but a terrified stranger looking up to her. Foot after foot away from the unsafe Huruma, her home that had changed with the tick of a second, where she was born and had lived her entire life now lay in shambles and total annihilation, with the stench of raw blood and death.

When walking in darkness for long, reality begins to fade and all you can hear is your breathing. When walking in darkness, scared and alone, reality hides somewhere at the back seat of your conscious and appears so distant. In a situation as such, survival kicks in and you make plans in your head, how you will survive until morning. Ciku might have had a good heart but her physical body was tired from running and helping her new stranger friend who had began falling behind. They had been walking for an hour.


End Part One.

Submitted to the Commonwealth Short Story Prize Competition 2016.

Feature Image: Mukiri Gitiri

Edited by Essy Wanene

Written by Dennis Peters and Inspired by real events.

Moments 2016


A girl completes a KCPE exam, gets a good grade and proceeds to High School, secures a good college through a decent score. She finds herself on the front bench of a lecture in School of Business, Jomo Kenyatta University. She completes her course successfully.


She leaves school, ready for the world full of unemployment, cold-hearted bosses and a paycheck consisting of a figure barely able to pay for decent housing. She moves from Juja to Nairobi, ready to advance her business career by any means possible.


The first job is late and disappointing, always is. She works as a secretary for a law firm in the city. The pay hardly holds her life together as it is and after six months, she quits. Her salary had remained fairly constant despite the promise of a gradual pay rise after the third month. Mostly, though, she quits because of the persistent sexual advances of the boss.


Again she deeps her feet into the large pool of unemployment, this time with six months’ experience. By the grace of a distant uncle, the girl manages to lie the corporate world and land a position as an assistant manager in a government office. The pay surprisingly rises to triple the number of times at the previous law firm.


Now she can afford good make-up, holidays in coast and almost expensive dresses. Her social media profile represents success at a young age to the very detail. The expensive coffee brunch at Java and apartments in Karen can hardly be referred to as anything else but glory.


She now has time for boys. She engages in half-baked relationships with a few young men which are often a disaster. Men, like it has been said more than a hundred times, are dogs. She tries a few women too, which also fails terribly, as if to say, women too are bitches.


She gives up on her social life and focuses her energy on her career. It takes a short time for her to be promoted to department manager of the same firm. She barely talks about it but her new four wheel drive CRV openly tells the tale to anyone who is interested enough to listen. She buys a piece of land just about the same time that the thirties catch up with her.


The thirties are barely any better, pressure from the family begins to amount on her social life. They notice the expensive gifts during Christmas and the new cars but what they want is a man. A man to procreate, and fulfill God’s commands accordingly.


He is late. He shows up at Moca Loca Cafe in Nakuru as she is having brunch coffee with her friends after consuming litres upon liters of Italian Wine at Club 64 the previous night. She barely notices him from her mild headache and dehydration but he notices her. He is a fairly handsome tall, dark and handsome guy, with a good car, big soft hands, and a good haircut. The only problem is that he has sunglasses inside a cafe, but since she has been waiting for 35 years, that she can fix. His name is Peters Denis. Denis with single ‘N’ and a Peters that comes before a Dennis.


She grows to adore him and rely on him. Nobody even notices the fact her salary is double his when she is promoted to County Business Manager. She however fails terribly trying to make him stop his sunglasses behaviour and in despair, she concludes her attempts. Suddenly, the holidays have more bliss and the house is a bit warmer.


Her Denis is more in love with his books and his writing but it never bothers her. She actually joins him in reading his 2016 African favorites like BlackAss by Igoni Barret and Born a Crime, stories from a South African childhood, by Trevor Noah.


Eventually, the gods smile upon their union and hand them twins, two beautiful girls. Lee and Dee.


A girl is no longer a girl but a mother and a wife. Problems start immediately after this realization dawns on her.


It starts with the simple mandatory question of who should quit their job to take care of the kids. Arguments spring up like an active volcano and it is suddenly not a home but a house of politicians where everyone is out for blood. Holidays are no longer done by the family but in secret with secret young male and female illicit companions.


Divorce comes around the time the girls turn seven. Our girl suffers and so does his Denis, but mostly the twins suffer the anguish of separation.


This was not a happy story, by the way, my 2016 was shit, I don’t get why I should make yours any better. Happy 2017 though, Yes? We’re still friends, No?


Happy 2017 people. Dennis Peters over and out.


Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri




Dennis Peters


Beneath a Suit


He gets to the office a little after eleven o’clock on a usual day. Usual days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Monday and Friday are special days, do not even get me started on Saturdays and Sundays. He puts on a suit but what intrigues me is what he has beneath that suit.

First is a smell. A lethal stench that appalls anyone within a twenty feet radius. It is the whiff of fermentation, staleness, anger, hate, boredom and crises. It is the scent of something unwanted and displeasing. A repulsive scent that suggests laziness, bad relationships, failure and neglect. It is the highlight, rather, a drift of the middle age. The smell of last night’s mistakes, arguments, unfaithfulness, overspending, disorganization, chaos and wastage. It is obnoxious.

Then there is his piled up paperwork on his desk. A desk that is accustomed to underutilization. The seat behind the desk stares into space, waiting and anticipating for something that never happens. The computer placed on the desk has its network cable disconnected and the power cable switched off. It is supposed to be processing files, serving customers, fulfilling the company’s mission and vision, instead, it just sits, disconnected from the global village, alone and isolated, feeling odd amongst its peers. The support stuff often dust the desk occasionally but the paperwork is not their jurisdiction so it breaths in all kinds of brown dust.

The first thing he does in the office is to send the guard for the day’s newspaper which he sits in the office for an hour going through. He likes being up to date with current affairs, one would think it is for the noble reason of being informed but a closer look reveals that the paper gives him arguing points amongst his mates in the course of the day. They sit by the office kitchen talking about history of politics and politics of history. Discussing trends, presidents, testosterone and girls.

After lunch is usually the peak of his day. He loudly boasts of the number of beer bottles he poured down his gut during the lunch period. His workmates listen in silence, the scornful ones responding in murmured silences. Deep down they know that he needs help but all of them are either to restrained or solely apathetic. He then engages the office ladies in a heated discussion accompanied in uncanny flattery. He boasts. He loves doing that shit. He thinks of himself as a personality infused with charisma, little does he know how many enemies he creates in every gratification he declares upon himself.

By the time the office clock stops at four, it finds only an after-scent of a combination of his inexpensive deodorant, his ego and his fermented lunch snack in the office. He has managed to get an intern to do his work as well as recruit a peer for an evening politics discussion over two or three. One turns to two then to three and four. By seven o’clock, the peer workmate leaves for his family just about the same time he asks for a half-litre KC vodka to spike his beer.

Eventually, it is only him, a table full of empty bottles and a lot of stories with no one to listen. The clock hits ten and he staggers out to the streets. He heads home to a family he rarely sees or speaks to. He eyes are red as crimson, knees weak as a fig tree, stomach empty as a temple on Friday night and a gut full of toxic death. He gets home on motorbike, barely holding on to reality.

On Fridays, he leaves home directly to his favorite seat by the beer shelves. He never goes home on Friday evenings, On Saturday he comes home, hungry and moneyless reeking of whatever girl got paid to do a job that must never be spoken of in broad daylight.

On Sundays, he is nowhere to be seen while on Mondays he lies on his bed until midday nursing a three-day hangover, occasionally quarreling with his wife or his children who lost trust in him. The people that once looked up to him but now look down on him, waiting and wondering when he will choke on his drink and give them peace because they lost the patience for change. Change is a mere mirage, mainly an outcome of false hope or pretense that never lasts long. People never change. Situations change, relationships too but people hide their wickedness burying the reality behind their dark pupils, but deep deep down, the devil reigns playing catch ball with his horned allies.

Tuesday is the start of this story.

He is a friend, workmate, brother, uncle, dad, cousin, grandfather, follower or ghost follower. We all have someone that needs to slow down on his drink. We don’t want him to do therapy, therapy don’t work on no black man, neither do we want him to join a support group because that’s a Western thing, yet we don’t want to lose him because as much as we have fangs and serpent poison on our tongues, we are still humans before we are anything else. Our cynicism is proportional to the number of times we have been disappointed hoping and praying that he will get better.

He never does, God hates alcohol so he even ignores all words that end in ‘hol’, he spams such prayers and it is then that we have to be little gods ourselves and show that our humanity goes beyond faith and hope. The popular and Iconic writer, Bikozulu, once said, “What they need is simple acts of love from people they care about”. Shove an alcoholic on your bosom and show him love and the alcohol will find the exit on itself. Get him a gift this Christmas that is not a bottle of whiskey or a bible and you will have planted a yearning of sobriety in him.

We all start drinking because it is fun in high school or in college. Turns out it is fun. Eventually, when college is over, a girl walks out on us, a job becomes too hard to obtain, a scar becomes too tough to rub off and life shows us utter callousness and we think to ourselves, maybe we need to have fun like we once did. Maybe we need a little inebriation so that we can reach our fun nerves that make the world soft like toffee and the music fulfilling as paradise. We set on a course that becomes difficult to abandon.

Now we drink when boss man fires us, when girlfriend leaves, when laptop breaks down, when the day becomes slow, when the day was too fast, when we are hungry, when we are full, when we have a lot of work, when we do not have work or any day we find ourselves alive. The scary part is that we cannot stop. Soon we have no any real human connection, yet a lousy job we hate, a toxic relationship, a minuscule salary and a lot of stories with no one to listen.

We are 45 years old now, life is no longer ahead of us but behind us. That is when we get to the office a little after eleven o’clock on a usual day. Usual days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Monday and Friday are special days, do not even get me started on Saturdays and Sundays. We put on a suit but what intrigues me is what is going to be beneath that suit.


Feature Image by Mukiri Gitiri



Dennis Peters



Survival by Esther Wanene

Sometimes you take a long morning jog, longer than the arm of the law, to clear your head, but then you meet a boy called Kaniaru who has been in the streets for three nights since his mother woke up and just left. Vanished into thin air like our tax money.  Kaniaru asks you if you have seen his mother, in long blue dress and a PCEA women council head band and it crushes your heart like soft toffee. You end up terminating your morning jog with a heart heavier than the sins of hell.

Other times you buy a shoe, a classy Kardashian heel that you have been salivating over since forever and you put it on two days, now it has a sagging ass like a sinking ferry in your closet. You will never put it on ever again. Sometimes, you think to yourself that you have been eating shitty food for a week, so tonight you decide to go natural, boil some Nduma, make some Ethiopian brown rice and add a good old avocado. You put the Nduma to cook and because they take time you place your head on the couch. These are the times you fall asleep like a baby and you wake up to a smoking house and brown Ndumas like Satan roasting our politicians in eternal fire. These days you sleep hungry.

At times, you get into a relationship with a tall dark and handsome young man, who charming prince in the streets and a mind stopper in the sheets, then at the culmination of the relationship it is you seated on the same couch, with eyes, red as crimson sobbing of a love that happened but left too much a scar than you would like to speak of. 

Sometimes, most times, all times, shit does not work out. Ladies, Gentlemen, Esther Wanene.



He was nothing like the rest

There was a mystery about him that I longed to unravel

A man who’s face was stone

But deep down a fragile heart surrounded by walls he had chosen to build up.

He loved me, no, not with his heart but with an iron fist.

My masochist self would always want to run, but not leave.

The frustration, the fights…our polluted love seemed to oddly satisfy me

Maybe I stayed because I couldn’t entertain the thought of being alone.

He was a hurricane made of form and habit,

a narcissistic demon in whom I searched for the angel within until the last minute.

I proved my love for him time and time again while

He just stood there claiming love, offering nothing more than his clouded mind, a pocket full of lies and a heart unable to receive love.

I tried to breakdown the walls he built up, but he continued building them up.

With all my effort I seemed to have been feeding his ego day in day out

because he spent his days “reflecting” between a pair of thirsty thighs and claiming to be the ruler of the vaginal kingdoms of many

I stood in the sidewalks carrying all the hurt praying that he’d prove love, profess his fucking adoration.

My heart grew callous from all the maltreatment and months after my departure,

I lay on my bed tonight surrounded by a whirlwind of peace,

as I realize I didn’t need him to survive after all.

© Esther Wanene

Feature photo by Mukiri Gitiri