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So Toti and Maina just sat there in his ancient and seemingly luxurious living room in a stale stalemate. The stalemate in itself had turned rotten for it had been merely almost fifteen hours since Toti had uttered those fateful words in revelation to who and/or what she was. And she did figure for a millisecond, that as soon as she told Maina, he’d let her go free as he’d have gotten what he wanted from her after all. And indeed, that was again foolish of her. For as soon as she uttered the words and turned to leave, he did his mind magic trick again. Got in her head, messed around with the furniture in there and left his mark within as though leaving a brand for any other psychic sociopath to recognize. But in real sense, he couldn’t just let her leave. Maina in all of the more than two hundred years he had been alive, had heard of witches, yes, shifters, apparently, even night-runners. But not once had he ever heard of something called a semé. And more so, because if he had known about them perhaps it would be because they crossed paths grimly, as usually he did with any of his other adversaries. But with Maina’s superb recollection of his past, he couldn’t recall but an instance where the word semé was involved. He knew about many magical faunae that existed within their realm; he knew their various kinds and differences. But ‘semé’ just didn’t seem to ring any bells. And so, through out that entire night as Toti tried to alleviate herself of his surveillance, he kept pushing through her mind and pestering her to divulge a little more information than just a word that meant beyond absolutely nothing to him. And at points she almost cracked, at instances in those morning hours, she could have broken down and professed her sins. But she didn’t. How could she?

When Toti first joined the order of the Tribe of Morio: Sentinels to the Supernatural, she thought it would be a rather somewhat informal conjecture. Nothing serious, nothing too official, it would be like a family, where everyone was there for each other. She thought of it as benign. Well, at least she was convinced it was that much. Until, they made her hold up a weird-looking book, swear by it and whatever authority it represented, and made her take an oath, which included her ingestion of some strange liquid that most certainly disoriented her. She didn’t expect such a group to be so religious as such. What were they defending? She often thought. And when she got to find out what the actual cause of the Tribe was, she understood, fairly enough. But alongside her understanding of the cause was her comprehension over the oath she took. She had crammed it, as was required of her, that she walk her life with the knowledge of the Tribe’s oath in her mind. And it went:

Damu nitume

Damu nitume

Kwa ajili ya wanga ya wake na waume

Nifuge siri, Yake na ya mimi

Niifugie kwa miaka elfu tisa, mia tisa, tisini na tisa

Kwa damu na fupa, niliyemo mimi

Kwa nguvu yangu yote kwisha

Niulinde mwengu kwa siri ya kiza

And this, written originally in Swahili, translated roughly to:

Blood send me

Blood send me

On behalf of the world, of women and men

I keep this secret, for him and for mine

That I keep it, for years nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine

By thine blood, and thine bone

By thy whole might

May I keep this world from the secret of the night.

And each time Toti uttered this oath, admittedly, she was always overcome with a deep sense of belonging. Actually, in actuality, she couldn’t really describe the sensation she got as she uttered the words. It was belonging, yes. But it was a rather queer sense of belonging, like it was owed. As if belonging to the cause was an obligation, and even with it being that much as it was, you were required to repay something. Anything. It was as if, to Toti, the cause of the Tribe itself was insatiable. That the much you gave was insignificant to the much it took, the much it demanded from you. And for those fifteen or so hours, Toti pondered her oath to the Tribe, to its cause. She pondered over how much it wanted to steal from her. It had practically stolen the chance for her to do and be better, with Maina as it was. And yes again, before Toti was tasked her mission to stake out ‘the illusive jini of Onika’, she was warned about how dangerous he truly was, she was told about the blood-ridden and maniacal path he chose to live and leave behind as remnant of his history. And even though she was told that he was the practically devil, she took the assignment anyway. She wanted to see for herself if it was true. Because that was who Toti just was, not one to take word of mouth with a surety. But in her partaking of her task, could she have fallen hopeless infatuated with Maina? She didn’t know, and at that point it didn’t really matter. Maina was supposed to be dead fifteen hours ago. So she failed. And Toti understood well the repercussions to failure in the Tribe. But she couldn’t face them. Not when she didn’t have the strength to do what had to be done. And all because she was told so? She felt rather used. But at that point, she felt completely helpless: locked between the persistence and overbearingness of an immortal jini and the fury and probable punishment of the ever-reaching Tribe. She had to resolve to the conclusion that at that point, that day, she’d have to pick between the two. Of which or whom was she afraid of more. To which did her loyalties truly lie. With the boy she had been bedding the past two to three weeks, or with the organization that took her in when she knew the world would shun her for her perversion, for what she’d become? Toti knew she couldn’t return empty-handed. But she wondered whether she could even return at all. Alone in the world outside Onika, she wouldn’t survive a mere couple of weeks alone, fending for herself. She had to go back. But why did Maina have to die? For that much she was not divulged in upon. But at her current situation, Maina’s death was a gross joke to the circumstances of who had the upper hand; Maina did. He even knew it. As he dressed her wound from the fall and sweet-talked her into speaking to him, he knew. So they just sat opposite each other, each staring down the other. Toti had her back against the wall of the west staircase as she sat on the floor, and Maina had his against the leather couch. And Maina spoke,

“Listen Toti, we’ve been doing this for more than twelve hours already. Why don’t you just tell me who sent you and I’ll be on my way. I’ll leave you lot to your business. You’ve already barricaded your mind against me by singing the ‘Baby Shark’ theme song continuously for almost twelve hours, which I find largely annoying and impressive as it is. But you’re tiring and so am I. Besides don’t you have class today?”

“Today is Saturday. I don’t have class on Saturdays. So your effort to blackmail me with academic incentive is futile. Try again,” Toti mastered up enough mental energy to reply. But she wondered, why had she implied to Maina to continue finding ways with which she could crack? Did she want him to know the truth about her?


“And what is it I said that arouses your deep-seated curiosity! Hmm! I have nothing to tell you! Now let me leave!”

“You called yourself a semé? What in the hell is that?”

“It’s a club at school. Heard of it?”

“Very funny! You had claws! Your eyes, they glowed a different colour! Explain that!”

“Look, I don’t know which drugs you’re on right now, but I really don’t know what you’re talking about”

“Fine, evade! I’ll find out eventually anyway. And you don’t seem in much of a hurry to leave. Why? Because you failed to TAKE ME OUT!”

And at this point, Maina finding out about Toti’s true intentions or in this case, relevant background information (both supernatural and typical it seemed) was the least of her worries. She was rather more concerned with the punishment that await her for failure of her task. And with all the melee of questions regarding the incredulous moment of choice that lay ahead, was behind and was at that point succumbing her, she turned off yet again. It was as though she could merely shift perceptions of worry, as though she was able to avoid her own inhibitions, her own thoughts. But before she could get that far out into the labyrinthine system that was her mind, the reality of conflict of choice arrested her tie and again, such that in mere intervals of instances she would jerk back into the consciousness of her dilemma.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was an average casual day for Toti Mumbi in the fresh new air that as Onika City. It was usually hot, unlike or like her previous Machakos hovel she used to live in. And her mother, right before bidding her away to campus while leaving her square and poker-faced at the Buxton Hostels, had once drilled upon her the many lecture talks she gave about fitting in, absorbing the new air, for apparently this was their new home. And Toti just had to accept it, whether she loved it or not. She had just been admitted two weeks into the medical campus, and things were already up in heat. The class timetable was already out, and it casually spelled across the tabulated array of organized schedules: Hectic. Toti knew she had to put in double time as much work as she used to in high school, none of that reading-during-exams-only kind of business. She’d have to put in extra effort. Give it the works. Read day and night for as long as it took. And yes, she was not a quitter. But as the second week culminated into an almost third, Toti began realizing that at tertiary levels of education, one was almost often succumbed by more dilemmas than the academic-oriented ones. And medical school indeed was largely the dilemma pool. She found herself at the hands of a random bloke from the Medicine class. And word has it, they met, they courted, he fell in love, she fell in love; and then he ruined it. Gossip spread like wildfire around the campus about their tragic end. Painful as it was for each side, every ounce of gossip painted each character involved in order of their pros and cons. Though most opposed the bloke Toti was apparently in love with, she got rather flamed for playing the innocent broken party. And innocent and broken she was.

It wasn’t long after when she fell for the heavy-accented, Nairobi, sharply-dressed Makiri from the Medicine and Surgery class. And he had asked her out to a lucrative restaurant right in Uptown called the Blue Room. And after a most interesting evening with a most chivalrous man, Toti was prepared to call it a night. And yet too, she was prepared to guard her loins for love. So she invited Makiri back to her room at the Buxton Hostels. And admittedly, she resented the idea, for hostels in town were rather a cramped space, a mere corridor where a student could sleep. And more to it, they offered little to no privacy therefore, which meant thin walls, and heavy pounding on either side could be accompanied with stiff ears held against either side for listening. But this was Onika, and Onika was known for one thing amongst many: udaku. This Swahili one did not necessarily have a direct English translation for its own meaning, however, the closest it came to as an English counterpart was: curiosity. However udaku wasn’t just the partaking of measly curiosity, it was of a rather deeper extent. Like to the point people couldn’t absolutely mind their own business. And Toti did agree that that was perhaps why Onika was so close-knit as compared to the capital. The walls had ears, and the ears in themselves had other ears for which to carry on the information forgiven (whether of truth or fallacy). So it didn’t take long before people noticed the constant visits of Makiri to Toti’s room, Onika was a curious community. And whether it was just top-of-the-water sex or the occasional cuddling after a long day, the next was always full to the brim of gossip in the campus about what the two did, or even more lucidly, how they did it.

And then one day, as Toti asked her boyfriend over to her Baroda Apartment, she noticed he was acting rather puckish at school. And as she noticed this, her heart filled with worry that perhaps he was losing interest. She was realizing her largest worry in the longest time she could remember, the fear of being irrelevant. He was in a blatant hurry to go somewhere. And he couldn’t really talk to her, which was completely unlike him. So she sort out the council of her best friend and roommate Tsofa. And she was told to reduce her worry, that everything was alright, that she wouldn’t be as hurt as she was the last. So she did and decided to invite her boyfriend over to her more private establishment. And that night that she invited him, Tsofa gladly took to her exile to hang out with the all so welcoming Arab family next door.

Makiri arrived around seven o’clock in the evening. And after a meal of beautifully cooked ugali, it was time. Time for the usual pounding. Time to recuperate two entities in the bounds and fruition of so-called love. They both felt it. They both loved it. And as each took off their items of clothing, and flesh slammed upon overbearing flesh, Toti felt an essence enter her. Yes, from her nether end right. But this essence was something completely unusual, a feeling she had never experienced in all the years she’d lived, which were a whopping nineteen. As she rode Makiri, her weight and flesh over his, she felt it enter her. First, it was a thirst: one unquenchable by water; a thirst of flesh and flesh alone. And the much that Makiri was sating her only seemed to add on to it. Such that in such the scenario, it built into a paradox of insatiability, in that Toti was being sated, but the very deed of sexually satisfying her made her even more aroused. Then came the lust, in a matter of mere instance. And as Toti felt, she desired sex more than anything; she wanted, at that point, to have any male’s member within her. But it wasn’t just so limited to casual, vague, simple lust, no. she wanted to literally infuse her skin with Makiri’s: as if they were to become one. As if being together in that awesome moment of copulation, was the peak of her existence. The only reason she lived. And after the lust came the fixation, where she wanted just Makiri and nothing or no one else. And then; the climax, where she felt all her bodily energy give out, and pave way or give space for a new somewhat celestial thing to take its place. As Toti climaxed in their heated passion, she felt as though nothing in the physical world could possibly harm her. She felt invincible. And as she looked down upon her soul-mate to witness the number she had done upon him, she noticed he was gnawing at her arm, kissing her affectionately. Kisses became gnaws, gnaws became bites of lust and finally those mini bites of lust culminated into on large, immediate, painful bite upon Toti’s forearm.

“Ow!” She screamed and passed out.

The next morning she awoke beside herself in her bed. Makiri was gone. He did leave a note for her on her nightstand though. And it read:

I had to leave in a hurry. Was late. I’ll visit later. Love you!!


And as she sluggishly dragged herself awake, reading the poor scribbles on the small piece of paper she recalled the bite from last night and considered it a mere ‘getting carried away’. However, she couldn’t shake the feeling of how transcendent the previous night’s sex was.

“Ow! My head” Toti muttered as she went off to her bathroom to wash her face off.

But as she did so, she felt rather queer. As if her body, her very being was not of her own. She felt as though the very skin that was hers merely clothed her body. She felt uncomfortable under her own skin. It was like it was a shell, an outer covering to something more convoluted, more benign. And had she might have known where Makiri was in such a rush off to; had she had heard all the rumours and gossip that spread across the campus grounds, and halls and walls; maybe she’d have terminated her relationship before last night’s rigorous coitus, AND THE BITE. However, Toti was stubborn. And it was fairly certain that even if she knew the truth about Makiri, even if she might have known what he truly was, she’d measly just shrug it off and wind up all wrapped up in his arms. For in truth, Toti would not accept it but, she was addicted, and Makiri was her addiction, her affliction, her damnation it would soon appear. In the succeeding weeks, Toti witnessed herself exhibit all new kinds of abilities. Like for one, she joined the campus girls’ netball team because, and she did say it in such exact words, her body seemed to be sizzling with an abnormal amount of energy. She couldn’t pay attention as much in class as she used to (her attention span practically dwarfed to a measly ten to twenty minutes). She was more emotional; she even once broke a chair against a wall when someone made a vague, but crude pass at her at campus. And while that happened, she was given a penalty for the damages she caused, as well as was assigned regular sessions to the school counselor (which she gladly attended by the way). But even after the scheduled talks with Miss Riri about her mental health, Toti still felt as though her body, nay, her life was not really her own. She felt an overbearing force yield for it, savor for it. It was as if this unseen force wanted at her in a whole: her physique, her mentality, her emotionality. Toti was breaking down. And it got so much to the point that to avoid incidents with most everyone at campus she found herself maintaining a regular schedule of school and dorm, school and dorm. She rarely spoke to people, which was not commonplace to her usual self. She only interacted with Tsofa who was all the while her roommate even from the Buxton hostels; and the all loving, ‘all knowing’ boyfriend Makiri who didn’t question her a second for her strange change in habit. And Toti didn’t suspect a thing. But while something sinister brewed underneath Toti’s flesh, she kept everything peachy keen until THAT NIGHT of her incident.

One September night in downtown SabaSaba caught Toti out passed the ‘safe’ time in a most unsafe part of town. Apparently, she had had enough of postponing her pick-up for medication at the local pharmacy at the mercy of her hectic schedule of classes, and just merely decided that that evening, she’d run fetch them. So here was a new girl walking through the depths of downtown looking for a chemist or a legitimate pharmaceutical store to purchase her regular very much needed medication. The new girl in town! She thought nothing would ever harm her! And Toti had heard of all the rumour, truth or not, about Onika at night, about how its lights changed and the air went from glazing hot to a shrill cold. The suburbs, she heard, were fairly safe, more so places like Malu. But as for the city centre which she was currently treading, her mom had previously warned and practically forbade her (not like that would help a free girl in campus) from roaming its streets at night, ALONE. However, emergencies were emergencies. And Toti was fairly certain nothing unquoted would happen upon her. And so, she walked into her ‘assigned’ chemist that was located just a stone’s-throw from the SabaSaba intersection, and gazed upon the old wizened, milk chocolate complexion of the woman behind the counter. And the old woman said,

“Habari yako Toti, come for you usual I see. Well lucky for you, I have just the last box in store”

“Hello Mama Riri. Yeah, I hope I haven’t come at an inconvenient time?”

“Nonsense! You’re my customer and close friend. Even if you came at midnight, I’d happily leave my house huko Old Town and rush straight away to serve you”

“Thank you so much Mama Riri,” Toti continued, “but also, I kind of need another drug for pain, I’ve been having these rancid headaches,”

And Toti said this while giving a slight wince. It was true, Toti had developed migraines, but at her age she couldn’t really differentiate them from full-on headaches. And her head throbbed and throbbed, even while she stood before Miss Riri. And the pain was of an unbearable intensity, such like it was like some parasite crawled into her ear, made its way to her brain and was eating at it at that moment. It was a surprise, to herself, that she could even speak. The old woman spoke,

“Okay Toti, but as soon as you have what you need you take a boda and head on home. It isn’t safe out at this time of night”

And after she said that, Toti sluggishly turned to examine the wall clock on the adjacent wall to her left. It was 11.30pm. And sadly she hadn’t carried any fare to ferry her back home by public transport. She had walked there, she would walk back. And after Mama Riri had prescribed to her Panadol pills to be taken once per half day, she was out the door and on the sidewalk, debating the fastest shortcut with which she’d arrive at Buxton hostels. And so she turned right, and began her walk. And after turning right again, onto the ever-busy Ngoma Road section, she noticed that a shadow crept over her shoulder, SOMEONE WAS FOLLOWING HER. Or someones? She couldn’t really tell. She did have that feminine intuition much boasted about the Kenyan women in their superiority complexes about knowing danger at a mere sense.

Like a seventh sense. But hers was heightened. They followed her at a safe distance, keeping close watch, not to be noticed, but she noticed. And while walking down Ngoma Road she turned left onto a shortcut that connected it to Bondeni road which was adjacent to the hostels she resided within. Then she made a turn into an alleyway that she had earlier on discovered as an ‘even more deserving shortcut’, and WHAM!

She was on the ground in the shear darkness. Apparently, she had run into some drunk oaf on her way down the alley. And the ragged shadow in the darkness spoke, with a bottle and cigarette in tow in each hand,

“Seeeeema Mamiiiiiiiiiii! In soooooo much hurry? Where you going? Huh!”

And as a startled Toti looked up, two other shadowy figures appeared, and grabbed her hands and legs. The drunken alpha-male oaf spoe again,

“Ah! Very nice. This day we shall teach this newcomer what we mean by Onika raha, au sio”

And the other men grunted in moronic unison, “Heeeeeeeeeh!”

Toti squealed, “Please let me go. Tafadhali! LEAVE ME ALONE!”

And as she wriggled and kicked and punched at the darkness, the men proceeded to ripping open her jeans with a pocket knife. The alpha-male in this situation, the one with a bottle in hand and a cigarette in another, then took off his raggedy pants and lowered his body upon hers as she screamed obscenities at them. The man fiddled his appendage upon her semi-naked crotch, and Toti screamed. She screamed so loud it should have broken glass a mere kilometre away. She screamed, and screamed her heart out. It was as though she were possessed and in an effort to relinquish her ‘inhibitions’, the numerous they seemed, she was to let them free in one, singular, blood-curdling scream. And as she did so, the man above her, being as drunk as a skunk, just continued upon his deed. But practically he was too drunk and high to realize he was not yet nearly at destroying that little girl’s young adulthood, that little girl’s girlhood (even if it was well-broken). And in that scream, as the men holding her beside winced at their ears, as she lied upon the cold ground begging for respite from the all-so African communal responsibility, the virtue of ‘help for the sake of it’, the drunken oaf above her slapped her with all his might. And Toti went absolutely still.

With her head to the side, she gave a slight growl. And just as he fiddled his meat into her crevice the oaf spoke.

“Nice! I like that! Growl for me once more!”

And as she lay upon the dust, reduced to bare nothing, powerless and unpleased, helpless and broken, she felt a whole melee of emotions. The first was guilt, then came fear, then came hatred, and the last in such the order was fury. She was instantaneously angry. And it flooded her whole body in such the wave. Her head throbbed as if her brain wanted exit from within. And the intensity of emotion she felt at that moment, at that instant, was incredulous to its degree. It was like all she was was pure sensation. Unbridled, uncaged. But most insatiably: ENRAGED. And in a shadow of a second, the man above her was thrown a full three meters down the dark alleyway. And she stood up. Ragged her clothing, ripped to shreds. Eyes glowing a bright orange-yellow. Claws about a two inches long elongated. And she chased and beat down the men that held her down for the deed.

For one, she ripped his heart right out his chest ruthlessly.

For the other, who admittedly put on some fight, he lost much of the contents of his neck to slashed-away, massive claws.

And as they fell to their instant deaths, Toti stood above them, immediate corpses, writhing in complete and absolute rage. It writhed within her for she felt it burn to her bone. A rage for revenge; a rage for DEATH. And she stood above the two, formerly alive drunken idiots, feeling nothing but anger. And that anger in its whole entirety and intensity fumed at her very core. And it fumed to the very degree she felt nothing at all eventually but rage. Rage was all she felt, in that moment, and she was all rage felt. Then she turned her sights to the oaf making a drunken run for it down the alleyway. Apparently, his lunging had sobered him up enough to realize the dread that was imminent.

And the oaf ran, and he ran as first as his little giriama feet could carry him. Down the alley, and into another littered with rancid garbage. And as he ran she pursued. Till he turned right into a rather unlitten alleyway and ran straight into a dead end. The wall that ended it was too high to volt over. He turned abruptly, and there standing, claws retracted, frothing, amber eyes gleaming, was his death. His death for his stupidity: his death for his hunger. And at that moment the hunger this oaf of a man once had previously culminated into a hunger Toti felt for his blood. She saw red while her eyes glowed yellow. And in an instant, she was upon him.

“Please! PLEASE! I’m sorry!”

And as he said this she tilted her head in wonder at his plea. She stood before him for but a second, wondering why the man pleaded for his life. A part of her believed he deserved nothing more than death; a part of her pulled at her screaming, “What are you doing!” “Stop!”. And when she disregarded his plea, she grabbed his shoulder with a hand, and with another she began inserting her claws slowly into his chest cavity frothing at the joy of his pain. And he screamed and shouted and pushed and shoved but it didn’t budge. Her whole hand was inside his chest. She gave a squeeze to his heart, which she felt between his lungs, and dug her claws into its muscle. And as a sharp pain passed across the man’s chest cavity, as he fell to the ground silent Toti’s hand still square in his chest, the ‘voice of reason’ that was trying level hard to reach out to the physical extent of Toti’s conscious mind, pulled her into awareness. And she jerked.

“Wait, what,” she managed to murmur, “What’s happening”

She saw her hand in the chest of a stranger, caressing the man’s viscera with her talon-like finger nails. Had she just murdered three people? Her head was spiraling. The migraine was gone, but in its place a new ‘headache’. What was happening? What was happening to her? But before she could conjure another thought, a figure appeared behind her. IT WAS MAKIRI.

She screamed sobbingly, “I didn’t mean to do this! I couldn’t stop! What’s happening to me!!”

Her head was spiraling. And yet in that vortex of confusion her mind began to clear. And she began to realise the intensity and extremity of what she had done. She was becoming more conscious by the passing millisecond. And at that point she didn’t know what to be more afraid or aware of; her speedy recognition of the inhumanity she had just committed, or how she had actually done it or how it could be even possible. She just stood there, frantic, her mind, her body filling with both disbelief and panic. And it filled till all she was was panic, and when that panic was imminently just about to submerge her, Makiri pulled her out of it.

And he said, “Go home, I’ll take care of this. I’ll see you in the morning.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Toti and Maina’s stalemate enthralled, and enthralled it did. And when either were tired of each other’s position in the situation: one seemingly prying into the other’s mind, and the other probably trying to fight him off, Toti spoke,

“Look, it is not as if it’d be any believable if I just told you everything. I need to show you first”

And Toti so said, showing the first sign of compromise. It looked like Maina didn’t need to run her insane after all. He did take comfort in the relief that he wouldn’t have to madden her and/or kill her then. Perhaps, to Maina’s very deepest conscious thoughts, he actually held affection for her. To think that even beyond Toti’s apparent insurbordination, Maina actually cared about what happened to that puny little girl. A puny girl who had just beat his ass with the most inhumanly strength he had never seen! And she had bloody claws! What the hell was she, he asked himself constantly in that moment of her compromise. And more so, he wondered how much important her cause or mission to get rid of him was, as to risk all of that. Insanity and/or death. Maina did reason in his head that if she came at him she knew what she was getting into: that he was a jini. And now that she had failed in her task, she had no obligation but to take him to her sires. She really didn’t have a choice, he had made sure of that apparently.

Meanwhile, at the Casablanca, where Makiri was with his companions of the Tribe, Siunwa was being given the most divine of clubby treatments one could ever get in the city. It was like he was the VIP of VIP’s. Makiri still withheld him below in the basement chambers of the Casablanca. He was diplomatic, not stupid. And he knew that Siunwa was no fool either. He knew that as soon as Siunwa saw daylight he’d take off running towards the nearest police station to report what they had done. Kidnapping was an offence, supernatural or not. And Makiri couldn’t afford the feds meddling into their affairs, because in actuality the most unreasonable audience to the paranormal were law enforcement officers. Makiri didn’t really want to bother himself tongue-twisting his way through a medley of excuses with some middle-aged, out of shape officer who ate, slept and dreamt money. So he kept it safe. Siunwa wasn’t mistreated in any way. Actually, as of that moment, they were in the basement common room, that was so stocked with all arrays of wines and spirits and beers, it could have easily passed as a bar (naturally it was stocked as such to Makiri’s pleasure). And that wasn’t all with the common room. It had a large 72 inch flat screen television mounted against the wall that was plugged into the latest standard edition PlayStation 4 game console. The room was adequately furnished with long, elegant 3 meter-long leather couches that screamed professional artisan work (but of course they were imported). And the vast medley of drinks lined the back of the wall adjacent to the corridor outside, behind a counter that was waxed so clean one could eat off of it.

Siunwa sat by the couch transfixed on the FIFA 21 game match he was currently playing against Makiri. At that moment the outside world was absolved of them, and they of it. They, at least Siunwa, didn’t care if the whole realm collapsed around them as they played. Quite frankly, if the most miscellaneous distraction were to deter them, they’d rave insults against it of “Songa bana” and “Ah” as they each shoved and squinted to get better view of the TV screen so as to make sure the opposing side hadn’t the chance to score a goal.

“I see you around campus with Maina a lot. So how close really are you two? No homo!” Makiri asked

Siunwa chuckled at his ingenuity to avoid a homosexual-ridiculing comment and said, “Well, we’re good friends. Though I’d have expected he’d have started looking for me by now. Which begs the question, why are you keeping me here?”

“Up! Down! Goallllllll!” Makiri paused the game, “I can’t necessarily divulge as to why we’re keeping you here, Siunwa. Just know it’s for your own good. A lot of stuff is going down right now and you shouldn’t be in the middle of it”

In front of them were twin glasses, each filled to the brim (just as Makiri liked it) with scotch. Siunwa took a swig and continued to interrogate Makiri. It was a reverse interrogation for in reality Siunwa was the captive here, yet he asked such question so as to monitor Makiri’s mode of response, if he stuttered, if he murmured, if he blurted. Siunwa knew what he was doing as always, he was that calculating. He spoke,

“A lot of stuff has already gone down and I’m already centre stage. You kidnapped me! My mom is probably sick with worry. Does the school even know you actually run the most lucrative club in town?”

“Whatever I do without the school grounds isn’t of their concern”

“Look, you’ve made it clear. You don’t want money, hell, you don’t need money,” Siunwa said while gesturing to the fanciness of the vast room, “just let me leave. I won’t tell the cops!”

“I know you’ve been selling over-counter oxycodone to Maina”

As Makiri said this Siunwa appeared unmoved. He didn’t see where he was going with this.

“Surprisingly cheaply, I might add! What if Miss Amondi were to find out that you were peddling prescription drugs illegally to one of the students…”

“Oh! Is this the part where we threaten each other! A bit soon don’t you think! Well if she were to find out I’d be fired and blah blah blah who cares”

“Then your only chance of seeing ‘her’ would be stripped from you”

“Wow! We’re seriously going serious threats. Unbelievable. And so soon!”

Throughout this conversation, Siunwa did as he did best: he pried. He pried through every single syllable, every letter in the very fashion and manner it left Makiri’s vocal cords. He pried and pried, and when his mind was done devising and divulging any possible meaning he would have meant from what he said, all alternatives considered, he pried some more. Siunwa was often considered such: a bit of a detective it seemed, rather only to himself. When he was idle or alone, usually at campus, some people often caught him speaking to himself, trying somewhat way to decipher some code in may-haps a text he received from a girl some yester night. In short, or perhaps in a more layman term, Siunwa was your classic overly-anxious, everyday over-thinker. Everything he did, or that was done unto him was always given overthought. A mere ‘hello’ in the fashion with which one said it might have even kept him up at night, riddled with insomnia, devising all manner of delusional scenarios he would or wouldn’t want to occur in real life. But it was Siunwa’s capacity of overthought that made him indeed formidable intellectually. He may not have been studying with the others at the BMC, but even the smartest student would realize, in matter of IQ, Siunwa was unbeat. And it was with that same unbeat reputation of a mind that Siunwa evaluated his situation as it was. Makiri had threatened him adequately, he admitted; using his one and only weakness against him. His credibility, yes, but also, he was threatened with the only other reason motivating Siunwa into going to the campus every day and working for the spritely young lady Miss Amondi. And her name as it was, didn’t miss within his thought processes every other hour of every other day. And here was Makiri, suing for a snitching, and a well-deserved one at that. It was the perfect leverage. At least, perfect enough to keep Siunwa quiet. Apparently, selling such medically-crucial drugs over the counter would not only get him fired by Miss Amondi but also probably incarcerated by the local police. He didn’t really know if it was a crime to do so in the first place. He didn’t know if Maina had known too as well. And quite frankly, in this situation, that point proved absolutely moot.

Just then, a commotion began upstairs, and it seemed heated at that. Siunwa focused his hearing so much so he could hear the vessels in his inner ear pulsate. But beside that he heard nothing of virtual significance. The point was people were arguing up stairs and he was rather curious. He wondered who it was. And as Makiri noticed Siunwa’s equal curiosity, perhaps mischievous it appeared, he walked towards the door of the room to go check out what the matter of concern was.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Makiri walked in, head-first, into an ensuing brawl between two already half-ranting, alpha females in the VIP room of the Casablanca.

“He cannot be here!” Livia screamed, her temper boiling so high one could see it just off the outline of the vein nearing to bursting in her temples. She said this while looking Maina dead in the face, eyes cold, eyes shrill. It was as though the slightest or however devastating distraction could just as happen upon them and Livia wouldn’t bother a smidge away from her apparently rising distaste.

“Look just listen to me. I…” Toti tried to mutter. Her words lost both upon Livia’s shrill arrogance and her own cowardice. And Livia’s arrogance was a tad inunderstandable admittedly, but for her cowardice, it was well earned. After all, how could she admit to them that she had failed in the task given her by the Tribe? How could she walk in on them, chin up, expecting them to accommodate her incompetence? How could they just relent, after all they had done for her? After they took her in, gave her food, made her turn even more bearable? How? Toti had apparently already asked herself the obvious medley of questions that swarmed her mind on the way to the club with Maina in tow. But it wasn’t as if she was given much of a choice there. On the one, the Tribe, led by her suave ex-boyfriend, had sent her to infiltrate, gain intelligence on and eventually kill a jini who apparently was her schoolmate, and most credibly had had an enormous track record of blood and insanity on his hands the past couple of decades. And they didn’t apparently care how she did it, they just wanted the deed done, collateral damage was obviously irrelevant. And on the other, she failed, and she was sent back by her ‘target’ with the apparent ‘target’ by her side, to divulge information and get answers as to why the people who wanted him dead actually did. The irony was so overly crammed it was insulting. Now Toti had to explain to the Tribe not only why Maina was alive, but also why he had come to get answers from them? It seemed utterly ridiculous at best. And so the brawling (but it was really just an argument) ensued,

“HE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE!” Livia screamed this in full view and earshot of Maina, it was as if he was supposed to hear her. But Maina just stood there enjoying the chaos. It was true that Maina was an odd individual at best, but as it was he did enjoy conflict. And this time he didn’t even have to illicitly break into someone’s psyche to get a decent shouting going, they were doing it all on their own! But did Maina care? Not really, no. His job was to find answers from this ‘tribe’ Toti muttered about on the way there. His threats to her had served him fairly well up until this point. And it did serve him right to presume that in the haste she took to get there, she was no killer. In fact, according to Maina, Toti may have just been as much in the dark as he was. To him, she was just a pawn going about her usual pawning. And admittedly, his choice in using this one vital weakness against her did seem rather inhumane and misogynistic at best, but he needed answers. And he needed them NOW. Apparently, shagging one girl continuously for weeks while trying to decipher her true intention with being with him had finally hit its climax. Never had he expected it to turn out as it did in the many years he’d been alive. In fact, Maina didn’t want to admit it but he was actually impressed with the plot twist. It was an abrupt and largely unusual change to the boring norm. It seemed needed.

“Listen Livia, I appreciate your extra stuck-uppy mood today but I really need to speak with someone less biased right now so…”

Makiri stood there at the other end of the room watching meekly as the bare conversation between the two peaked. Then, he decided to intervene,

“Livia! Go upstairs, I feel Raio beckoning for his usual six-hourly blunt. I’ll handle this,”

And without but a word, she went mute and left through the open door to her left, and up the flight of stairs at the end of the hall. And without a shadow of a doubt, Maina was instantly impressed, yet again. But this time by Makiri. Who were these people as to convey such social authority as though they were a pack of wolves and one stood out as their alpha? And if Makiri was the ‘alpha’ Maina presumed, why did he want him dead? It made no sense. The information Maina had gathered still wasn’t enough, he still needed a little more digging done. So, he began. He started with the unthinkable. Makiri had given him reason to do so with his commanding of Livia out of his presence. As Maina stood there, mute, he broke into Makiri’s mind in pursuit of answers, but quietly. Quietly, it had to be ensured, for he didn’t want to create yet another enemy among the vast number he had gifted himself over the years. He wouldn’t topple over a memory; he wouldn’t distort a single thought; everything would and should have been left exactly as Maina found it; and most imperatively, Makiri’s consciousness could not know that another consciousness momentarily inhabited his mind. He was not supposed to know that Maina was using his ‘abilities’ to rummage through him. Makiri spoke,

“Maina, that little trick you usually do to me while we’re at campus won’t work here. So better just stop”

And Maina twitched as if to wonder as to what Makiri was talking about. So Makiri turned his attention to Toti and said to her,

“GO TO MY OFFICE NOW! I’ll speak to you in private”

And Toti, Livia did, also left out the door to the left. And now the two boys, nay men, remained in the fancy VIP room, each eyeballing the other. Each trying to intercept the other’s probable next intention. And so, Makiri took it upon himself to break the ice once and for all, he turned towards the bar that was to his left hand side, and picked a bottle of whiskey that was square upon the counter awaiting consumption.

“You look like you could use a drink”

And Maina retorted, “And you’re going to spike that one too as she tried to earlier?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Just relax. We will sort out whatever you came here for that so angered you with Toti”

“Cut the crap, Makiri. I know you know who and what I am. And quite frankly we were never nice to each other before now so there’s no need to be. You sent Toti after me, why?”

“I’m guessing she told you she meant to kill you,” Makiri chuckled, “it’s all just a practical joke. Lighten up!”

“Your ‘practical joke’ nearly cracked my skull open with a wall”

Makiri was running out of answers to give the jini. He couldn’t play this down. He noticed the scars Toti had come back with, which meant they had fought. And judging by Maina’s presence there, it didn’t seemingly end well, for Toti’s side especially.

“Listen, and I’m only doing this because you forced my hand, meet me at this place, and I’ll tell you everything you need to know,” Makiri whispered as he handed Maina a note with some writing scribbled on, almost as if he didn’t want the seemingly unlistening walls not to hear what he was saying.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Tribe of Morio had existed long enough with its stiffened rules and strict decorum. And while it wasn’t particularly known as to where or when it was exactly founded, its system of organization gave the implication that it had existed for ages beyond ages, that it may have even been older than the civilizations off the Kenyan coast, nay, the ancient Dark Continent. Which meant that the Tribe may have been older than the civilization of the entire world, Hellenic or succeeding. However, due to the many raids that had occurred upon Onika more so, during its medieval ages, some of most of its information went lost to flames and cannonfire. And so all that remained instead of the Tribe’s history was its tiny book keep below the Casablanca that had no more than about thirty to forty books, all dating back to not more than two hundred or so years ago it seemed. And in the very many books, there were a few that bore serious significance to the Tribe. But the most revered of them all was their Book of Statutes that was always kept top shelf and had in store all the laws and rules that were to govern the Tribe’s governing of the city. And there were many laws put in place by the Tribe for its own governance or working, but the most outstanding of them all was the penalty doled out for failure to complete a mission proclaimed by the Tribe. That penalty, written in the 423rd page of the Book of Statutes, was DEATH. Underlined in twain, for its severity. Apparently, or it was assumed by the Tribe more so, that if one failed in their mission then a mutiny was afoot. And honestly, the Tribe would not be able to handle an uprising, let alone the unstable state of Onika’s paranormal community. And so as the penalty seemed so severe, so did Toti feel the weight of her failure upon her shoulders as she walked into Makiri’s office, that was now apparently full to bursting with people each anticipating the punishment Makiri was to doll out on his precious little ex-girlfriend for her incompetence, and worse so her compromise of the Tribe’s ranks.

“…this makes our situation with him even worse. She must be dealt with immediately!” Said Livia, her eyes virtually pointing instructively to Raio who she had been arguing with.

“Sawa, I agree she failed at her task, but do we punish her for the sake of the sharia, or just for our own fear?”

Just then Makiri walked in, passed a seemingly really meek Toti, round his large mahogany desk, and sat still in his fancy twirling office chair he always enjoyed when no one was looking.

“Are we convening court or what?” Makiri asked.

And as he asked this to the apparently full room, the faces of Gabu, Reni and Ronoh appeared rather concerned. Toti was their friend, and all she did wrong was fail. And was it so wrong to fail? They each asked themselves within the confines of their own minds. But not Livia, no. She looked sure of what she said, sure of what she meant. Toti had broken the sharia; and worst yet, she had compromised the fate of the Tribe by involving an insider in the concerns of their existence, which no on else besides the people in that room were supposed to know. But now the jini knew, and there was no undoing that. At least, it would have been better if it were any other jini, but Maina of all of them? He was the bloodiest and most impulsive of them all, in all the history of the Tribe’s record of him. And such unpredictability couldn’t be trusted, not for the sake of the supernatural world, and certainly not for the future of the Tribe itself. Makiri continued,

“Toti, you are aware of your misdeed?”

“Listen! I had no choice! He caught me! He was going to kill me! I had to bring him here!” A pleading little Toti insisted.

Livia interrupted, “It doesn’t matter. Toti, I wouldn’t want to be against you in any way but did you possibly even slightly consider what bringing THAT here would cause?”

“Like I said, I had no choice!” Toti tried to say this sternly, as if to put on a face of confidence in the face of repercussion.

Jerri was in some corner of the room just biding his time fo a reply, and when it arrived he spoke,

“It doesn’t matter what Toti did or failed to do. He knows, what now Makiri?”

Livia interjected, “Now! We exact the sharia. If we don’t we risk the ghosts of the forerunners of the Tribe’s haunting. You know the severity of this Makiri,”

And as Toti stood there listening to her trial, listening to her imminent damnation, all she could do was tremble. Tremble at the might of those in authority, tremble at the fact that she was the outlaw, and she needed to be punished. And at this point, her very fear of Maina had left her, and she had left it. He was the least of her problems as it was. Livia and the sharia called for HER BLOOD! But would Makiri let her have it. Toti contemplated how much Makiri once cared for her way back when. She remembered how the flame that sparked so brightly burnt out so dimly, and she wondered why at such an occasion she got such thoughts. She wondered why she was thinking of him in such the way. Perhaps it was because she wanted to identify with his humanity, nay, their once so-smitten intimacy, so as to escape the reality and weight of the decision about to be made. She needed a buffer to fall back to as she imagined the worst that would happen, that “at least I know he won’t kill me”. But amidst the gigantic chain of thought that was sizzling the room to a crisp, Makiri twiddled his fingers and spoke. And as he spoke, he did so as if he owned his authority, not like it was merely just give, no. He spoke as if he were those spunky political analysts he heard of on television that always squabbled over petty affairs, like power that they couldn’t have. Power that Makiri owned by the bounty.

“Toti, you have failed in your deed tasked you by the Tribe, and therefore for this misconduct you should die,” he paused, “however, with the rising number of paranormal anomalies in Onika right now and the apparent mysterious dwindling of our numbers you cannot die just yet despite what is accorded for in the Book of Sharia,” he paused yet again and sipped at his scotch that he had carried with him into the room, “as punishment for your insubordination, you shall serve a resurrection. THAT WILL BE ALL”

As Makiri said this, he noticed Livia stir uncontrollably under her skin. She was indeed deeply displeased. Livia was apparently the type that observed the rules. And far from it, she hated all other supernaturals that weren’t like them, so how would they account for Maina in their ranks? To her, Toti simply had to pay for her involvement of Maina into their kerfuffle. She hated him, first hand. It wasn’t as if they had met a couple of times and gotten to know each other fairly well enough for her to dislike him deeply so. She merely just read about him in the ancient books of the book keep. She read all about his selfish ventures, his delusional isolationist standards, and worst yet his propensity to causing more harm than good (this attributed mostly to the late Bei, who had apparently died at his fault). So it may have been justified for her not to like his track record; the amount of bodies he left; the ridiculous number of minds he maddened. And Makiri did understand her reasons to hate him. After fidgeting for a while, Livia found her tongue and said,

“That cannot be! She and THAT THING need to be dealt with! We cannot just let them walk around so freely as if we did not have targets mounted on our backs!”

“Livia, people make mistakes. I am not killing Toti for the first one she made here! Need I remind you the remorse that was shown ou?”

And just like that, Livia went silent. The whole time they were discussing Toti, she stood there mute, as if she were an abstract prospect, there to be seen but not heard. This was no trial. This was a WITCH HUNT (even though that’s not what she was). A resurrection? She asked herself. What in bloody hell was a resurrection? And why did everyone in the room seem appalled when Makiri mentioned it? If it was anything like the stories of Jesus she had learnt from church service, a resurrection couldn’t be that bad! As a whole swarm of questions filled Toti’s mind to bursting, it was apparent to her that she knew absolutely nothing about the Tribe regardless of being part of them for two years now. Toti knew nothing. And at that moment, she felt like she was nothing, her body, her soul. And yet so, her resurrection was imminent.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was around 10pm and the busy roads of the city centre already appeared to be clearing one after the other. Stalls and stores closed for the night and the club’s usual clientele seemed to be pouring in by the multi-sum. Makiri was on the terrace of the Casablanca, basking in the moonlight of a February full moon. Surely, he’d have enjoyed it better if the lights went out but beggars couldn’t be choosers. He just sat there, alone, with his scotch bottle on the table and a glass by its side. He was contemplating the weight and responsibility of his power, and he wondered why he was granted such the curse. He didn’t want all that responsibility. He didn’t need it! All he wanted to do at this point was just sit and watch a good game of Chelsea versus whatever pathetic team it had to face, drink a bucket of scotch while arguing with some other bloke about the table stats. But he couldn’t simply just do that, could he? He had just sentenced his own ex-girlfriend that he had sent directly into danger, to a resurrection. And while he as fairly sure she knew nothing about what that was, he still felt awful about what he had done. But the sharia was to be followed. And followed it would be, by Livia’s own right!

As Makiri sat there basking in the moonlight, his worries cast into the night sky where they almost never stayed, an angry half-tearing Toti arrived at the top of the spiral staircase that led to the terrace. Toti had spent the majority of her day worrying about what a ‘resurrection’ was. And more so, she worried about the audacity Makiri had to ‘pass judgment on her’. Apparently, a part of her, up until the very last moment, had hoped that he remember their attraction, that foremost he remember that he was her sire. But he disappointed her. And she had spent the majority of her day in Anatomy class creating all manner of scenarios for how her talk with him would go down, envisioning how he’d explain himself this time. And as she happened upon the terrace, she could feel herself collapse even before she had the opportunity to get a word out.


Makiri turned round, in his plastic chair, to meet a very frustrated-looking Toti approach him, bag to her side, fury at her front. Yes, like she was carrying it.

“Makiri, I mean nothing to you?” She said, “such that you pass verdict on me like I was just some fugitive you met at the street?”

Toti was tearing up. And as she said this her eyes looked as if they would burst. Burst in frustration, burst in disbelief.

“I seriously cannot believe you right now!”

“What did you expect of me? My hands are tied. You should be dead had I not shut Livia up about it!”

“Oh so, the verdict you gave me wasn’t as terrifying as it sounds huh! Just what have you sentenced me to!”

Toti said this and her voice broke midway. Her ignorance was afoot. She simply didn’t know. And the way everyone was seemingly terrified at the verdict, she couldn’t help it. She was terrified too, by association at least. And she couldn’t take the suspense. And she wondered why anyone there hadn’t bothered in telling her what she had just gotten herself into. She wondered why all the secrecy. She wondered why Makiri and the others had to mope around carrying about their whispers and murmurs as if the walls had ears. And it was that wonder that made her distraught, the constant feeling of always being in the dark.

“A resurrection is a ritual that the Tribe usually doles out as punishment. It’s incredibly painful for this reason. But you’re strong enough…”

Makiri was blurting away the truth. Besides it didn’t hurt him even if he concealed it. She would have to take the ritual. There was no other way. To the tribe, the ritual was a means of cleansing, though rarely so did people usually survive the torment. However, it was said, or rumored, that those who walked away from it, remained obedient and loyal to the Tribe till they drew their last breaths. And so as Makiri stood there, with Toti yelling in his face her frustrations about his treachery, about his insolence, he thought but of one thing and one thing alone: would she survive it? Who would have known that below the fallacy of complete control of power, below the imagery of authority and its strength, there was a boy, not a man, who cared for the girl he once loved. There was a boy underneath all that scotch and money who as much as they broke up as per her terms, because it was completely her fault, who cared for the much suffering he had caused the girl he once thought for everything. He couldn’t make amends. How could he? Because deep down he thought to himself, “Toti, this won’t be the last time I hurt you”. And truth be told, he did think to himself those very words when they terminated their utopic relationship. But this here was rather different. Apparently, it was one thing to be able to hurt each other within the confines of a relationship, or within the ‘wedlock’ of love, but it was completely elsewise another to be able to do it when split up. In that context, and especially in the contemporary 21st century youth society, there was no moving on. Which in the common dialect was inferred as “Mmekufiana!” which crudely meant that the both of you won’t get over each other.

“YOU TURNED ME! YOU GAVE ME THIS MISSION! IT’S BECAUSE OF YOU I AM LOYAL TO YOUR MEANINGLESS CAUSE!” Toti said tears streaming and steaming her face, “I could have been normal! I could have been free! Me!”

Just then Livia showed up from the stairway, walked up to the fuming Toti and asked,

“Toti are you okay?”

“DON’T TOUCH ME!” she jerked her arm away

“YOOUUU and your people!” Toti sniffled and then went absolutely still, as though the influx of emotions she experienced had plugged itself in its own intensity.

“I will serve your resurrection, just out of respect for you. And it’s not like I have a choice anyway. But beyond that, me and you, YOUR TRIIIIBE, this bloody club are finished!”

Toti finished with this and stormed off. And as she stormed, so did an apparent storm emerge within Makiri’s self. Did he do right? Where would she go if not with them? Could she survive on her own? Apparently she was bested by Maina, what if he was to come after her in vengeance. Or worst yet for answers, since revenge didn’t seem outrightly Maina’s exact MO. Makiri worried, and worried he did in those few seconds as he watched Toti brood off in the direction of the stairway. Livia saw fit to break his chain of tormenting thought and spoke,

“Just leave her be. She’ll learn to accept the sharia. Give her time”

Almost immediately, Makiri’s phone vibrated from within his jeans pocket. He took it out, excused himself and strutted off towards the edge of the terrace in deep conversation. Livia observed his swift change in demeanour, and was wowed at his luck. He had just left one pressing and/or tempting issue storming off as it did, and was picking up another from inside his very pockets. It was intoxicating, the degree of responsibility and authority he owned, he spawned.

Makiri spoke,

“No…no, please! We have him, we’ll bring him. Give me 96 hours and he’s yours!”

And Livia didn’t really hear who it was he spoke to on the other end. But she knew, as everyone in the Tribe did, well except Toti of course. She knew by Makiri’s mood, things were fairly grim. She and they knew that threats were flung and sooner or worst, yet later, a war would come, for as they stood, creatures beneath the moonlight, a war was brewing. And this war, like many before it, would determine the fate of not just the Tribe itself, but of the mysterious city of Onika as well.

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