The Merciful Priest

When Osayo was arrested, people did not know where he was taken. The Blue-eyed took him to a small prison at Aluor Mission Centre in Gem. At Aluor, Osayo was forced to work on the maize plantations without any pay. He was also subjected to a little torture which came in the form of food denial to ‘teach him manners’ as the Blue-eyed purported. He ate only twice a day, in the mornings before he left for work and at night before he went to bed. The gang’s ringleader, Miguena, and a few youths who had been captured in the night of terror were with him.

Osayo before his arrest.

Back in Seme, however, things went dramatic. The youth did not stop their night attacks. They assembled at one place one time and elsewhere nother time. Immediately after the arrest, they stormed into the cotton plantation at Kolunje. The plantation had been shielded from inversion by humans and animals by a high fence, but finding weak points across the barbed wire, they made their ways through. And by dawn, they had just destroyed about nine square kilometers of budding cotton plants. Then they gathered in a hideout at Katieno, far in the north.

“Bravo, brothers! We did a good job today. Tomorrow a better one,” said Ondago, their new leader.

“Bravooo!” someone shouted.

“Bravoooooo!” chorused the whole group.

“Bravooo!”

“Bravoooooo! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!”

“Gumba eee!” shouted another.

“Gumba aaaaaa!” they chorused.

“Gumba eee!”

“Gumba aaaaaa!”

“Dipirr eee!”

“Dipirr aaaaaa!”

“Dipirr eee.”

“Dipirr aaaaaa! Eee, aaaaaa… eee, aaaaaa… eee, aaaaaa… .”

“Brothers,” said Ondago, amid the uproar, “Today… today we are going to destroy the mission school here in Katieno. We are going to do it by midnight!”

“We are going to do it by midnight!” chorused the group.

“Midnight!” thundered Ondago.

“Midnight!” they roared back.

“Midnight!”

“Midnight!”

“Let them proceed with their jokes. We shall triumph. All we want are the priest, Miguena and our brothers. We want them!”

“We want them!” roared back the gang.

“We want them!”

“We want them!”

The youth opened up resistance.

They dispersed to have a bite for the day. By midnight the same day, they had already gathered up at the gate of the mission school in Katieno. The watchman could not withstand them. They pulled down the gate and stormed into the compound. Then they picked up huge stones and pelted the houses, breaking the window panes to pieces and destroying the wooden doors, while they chanted ‘We want them!’ By the time the cops arrived at the scene, they were long gone.

The next night, they burnt down the chief’s home, leaving him, his wives and children scurrying for safety. Then the night that followed, they stood on the large field in front of the Catholic Church chanting ‘We want them’ at the top of their voices. The compound was fenced with a high concrete wall and so they could not go in, but after what they did at the school, fear betided those dwelt within the church compound. They gathered together in Father Jonathan’s house.

“Father, what shall we do to quell their agitation? Pray for us that they may not come in,” said one deacon, a Blue-eyed.

Father Jonathan shook his head and replied, “Be ye strong, my children. It is written that fear ye not him who kills the body alone, but him who kills both the body and the soul, that’s the Lord. And I tell you, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we shall fear no evil: for he is with us; his rod and his staff, they comfort us. He will deliver us from a fowler’s snare. We are the children of the most high, be ye not…”

Father Jonathan longed to speak to the rebels.

A loud bang came from the gate, then shortly afterwards, the watchman walked in panting. “Father… Father… they are… they are pulling the gate outward. With due respect please, allow me to climb up the ladder… the one leaning on the wall, and fire.”

“No. Don’t you have feelings? Damn it! Those are God’s children,” broke out Father Jonathan. “Let me climb up that ladder and talk to them.” He made to leave, but someone interrupted. “Wai-wait, Father.”

“What, Timothy?” answered the priest, turning.

“No. You can’t do this. Those people are armed with stones and spears. They will kill you.”

“Yes, they will kill you,” the watchman affirmed.

“And you, weren’t they going to kill you?” asked Father Jonathan, looking at the watchman. “Let me go talk to my children.”

Again he made to leave but the watchman ran and stood in front of him. “You think this is funny? You are going nowhere. You’re needed here more than anyone else. Besides, they won’t understand what you want to tell them.”

“We want them! We want them! We want them! We want…” The chant grew louder.

“Do you hear what they’re saying? They want them, their leaders and group members snatched away from them. What makes you think they will listen to you?” asked the watchman.

“Those kids don’t understand that we are all here to free them from the claws of Satan, from the filth of their outdated beliefs and practices, and to open their locked minds,” pointed out Timothy.

The soft strict Tomothy

Just then, they heard the croogling of a truck and, the next minute, gunshots mixed with a frenzy of wails and moans.

“Phew! Thank God, the troop’s here at long last,” the watchman sighed.

“Does their presence and killings make any difference? The people want justice,” said Father Jonathan.

“Justice! What sort of justice? The liberty to proceed with killing Christians? To raid our schools and farms? You call that justice?” posed the watchman.

“Whatever. After all, we are on their land.” The door suddenly flew open and James, followed by a troop of armed men and women, walked in.

“Hello, James. I’m glad you came,” said Father Jonathan, extending his hand for a shake.

“Hello, your holiness. Happy to meet you tonight.” He greeted him and nodded to the rest.

“We’ve restored calm outside.”

“Thank you. How many are dead?”

“Five. And the rest have all fled.”

“Oh! This thing is getting uglier every day.”

“We are trying to contain it, your holiness. Dr. Hobley has… . Could you please give us a moment?” The watchman, deacons and priests standing by left. “Father Jonathan… Dr. Hobley has decided to release some of the clan’s agitators held at Gem and send the rest to war. Says that’s the only way to quell the protests. Here are the particulars of his decision.” He pulled out a letter from his pocket and handed it to the priest.

“OK.”

“But… don’t you think it’s a bad idea? If I were him I’d not release any of them. They are troublesome.”

“He knows just exactly why he is doing this. Maybe he has consulted with the headquarters’ officials at the coast.” He opened the letter and skimmed through.

“Still, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“What are you trying to say, James?” He stopped and looked at James rigidly in the eye.

“Umm… can’t we do something to stop him?”

“What? See, James, I knew you were up to something crooked. Why are you always this stiff-necked? Look… I’m not having a discussion with you about anything of that sort. I respect decisions.”

With that, he walked into another room, leaving James stranded. Then walked in the watchman laughing.

“The priest cannot accept such a silly decision. Come on, I will show you and your troop where you can spend the rest of the night.”

“Holy mackerel! You were eavesdropping?”

“I was listening, not eavesdropping. Thanks for saving our skins.” He led them away.

They celebrated their leaders homecoming with a song.

The following day, at eve, Osayo and Miguena were released from prison while the other youths were sent to war. It was a whole night of party and pity at Kobita in Seme as the conservatives welcomed back their leaders.

🌷🌷🌷

Thanks for reading till the end. This is an excerpt from my book “The Long-lasting Tree”, a historical fiction about the effects of colonialism among the Luos of Kisumu, Kenya. If you wish to read the whole novel, simply grab your copy from here.

21 Comments

  1. Isackokothochieng says:

    Wow! I love the flow….the grammar use is just amazing which makes it easy to read and understand. Goodwork Laminsa

    Love the spirit of Jonathan the priest, that’s the true spirit of a Christian.
    Looking forward to grabbing a copy of the book to quench my thirst for the greater suspense….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, bro, thank you so much for your wonderful review. I am clearly glad you enjoyed and liked this excerpt. Yes, I couldn’t agree more – Jonathan is a true priest. People like him have fetched and taken the gospel far. Would be glad to see your review on Amazon too where the whole book lies awaiting its readers. Ever so grateful to you. πŸ‘πŸ˜Š

      Like

  2. Mike U. says:

    Fantastic writing Lamittan. This is compelling stuff, fraught with danger and leaving me wondering what will happen next. Thanks for the link to your book. I’ll check it out. Well done, my author friend! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Mike, I can’t put it in enough words what your support means to me. I am pleased you found this fantastic πŸ˜€. Thank you many times, πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Obong eno says:

    Great work Lami, enjoyed reading it ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most welcome, my beloved friend. It’s my happiness you enjoyed it.❀❀

      Like

      1. Obong eno says:

        Okay o☺️

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Daphny Aqua says:

    You got me hooked through the whole story, I for sure am gonna grab myself a copy Lam. I absolutely loved reading it. πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your delightful and kind compliments make me over the moon, Daph. I’m glad this excerpt grabbed your attention and filled your joy. Of course it’d be my utmost joy if you grabbed the full copy and walk the whole journey. Many thanks to you, dearest ❀😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Daphny Aqua says:

        I will for sure, I do hope your next release will be in hard copy as well. 😊
        It is my great pleasure dear! ❀️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I’ll make some paperbacks. ❀🌷

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Daphny Aqua says:

        I would love that very much. πŸ€—πŸ’–

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Great πŸ’–β€πŸ’–

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Beaton says:

    Great excerpt Lamittan
    Will definitely be adding this to my TBR list am curious to learn how it all ends up…. Also colonialism was some nasty that one I don’t think Africa has even fully recovered from the scars a long lasting tree was planted and we still sit beneath its shade πŸ€”

    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think so too. In fact, you just captured the idea behind its title. I’m glad you liked this. Your reading is my pleasure. Thank you, Beaton. 😊

      Like

  6. What a riveting excerpt, Lamittan. I enjoy historical fiction and haven’t read much that takes place in Africa. The photos are amazing too. Best of luck to you, my friend. The book sounds wonderful. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, what a noteworthy compliment, especially one from an accomplished author. It’s such an honour worth admiration to read your kind compliments, D. Wallace. Many thanks to you. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome. Well done!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Pleasure πŸ™πŸŒΊπŸŒΊ

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Moonshine says:

    Creating a fictional story of this sort, tying it with the true experience of people in Kenya. To me this is what it’s about, I enjoyed the creativity, the pace of the story, the disagreement, the dialogue, I like this. Thanks for sharing this excerpt from your work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh goodness, my dear friend! What a wonderful review of my work and a great expression of kindness. Thank you many times for this, dear. πŸ’•πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸ’•

      Like

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