Morris and his fellow thugs were on a monlight flit. They had just robbed a wealthy family in the countryside and were being searched for all about.(C) 2022 Lamittan Minsah, All rights reserved.
They were carrying cash and other luxuries they had seized and had to hide. A fierce group of young men armed to the teeth were scurring the area with the hope of finding and killing them. Besides, they were perched and ravenous and nothing but a lot of food and water could help revitalize their strengthen. So they stopped by one of the grass-thatched huts in the woods and knocked at the door.
“Come in,” a slim voice answered from within. Shortly afterwards, the door flew open and a midle-aged woman who appeared much withered from sickness showed up. “I said come in,” she reiterated and stood aside to allow them in.
As they walked in, she said as if she had just realised, “Oh, you seem too many. Um… I’m sorry I can’t see you, at all.”
It was then that Morris noticed the woman was blind. Her eyes were stuck to the walls as if she was seeing some figures on them.
Morris was the gang’s ringleader – stone-faced, tall, mascular and with an old scar on his left arm. He resembled one of the local statuettes of angry foreign soldiers available at the nearest shopping center. He leered at the woman and then glanced at almost every nook and crany of the single-roomed hut.
On the left handside of the entrance was a small kitchen area with the traditional kiln at the corner and towards the wall, approximately two meters away from the kiln, the woman’s bedding – a mat and blanket. There were few chairs in the hut and so most of the thugs remained standing.
The woman shut the door and said lifting a half-full jug of porridge from a stool, “My name is Lucia. I wish I had more food but this is all I’m left with, and I’d be very glad to share with you, my visitors.” Morris grabbed the jug of porridge, took one gulp and passed it to the next person standing right beside him.
As the jug went round, Lucia continued, now holding her heart on her sleeves, “I live here alone. Fifteen years ago, a gang attacked us here and killed my husband and our ten-year old son. They then took away all our cattle and grains. Coupled with this sickness that’s slowly eating my life away, I’ve found it hard to cope.”
She paused and then added, “May I now know who my visitors are.”
Silence fell as the gang reflected on Lucia’s encounter. It seemed they were all touched by it. After a short while, Morris cleared his voice and said, “I’m so sorry, Lucia. My name is Morris and I am the leader of this group. I am touched by your story. I think all of us here are. We too are a gang and are escaping a persuit following an act of robbery we’ve just committed.”
He stopped a moment to study Lucia who was now visibly perplexed. Then he picked up again, “We knocked to find…”
“No, please, don’t hurt me, I beg you,” Lucia burst out trembling. “Please. Take all that I have and spare my life. I plea…”
“Calm, calm down, Lucia. We won’t kill you or snatch anything from you.”
“Then please leave my hut. Don’t you realize that you are putting my life on the line?”
“We will. Listen…,” Morris continued, now emotional, “I am indeed saddened by your story, and I’m sorry that… that I was among the gang that attacked you and killed your husband and child. I was only fifteen then. Please forgive me.” Lucia was even more shocked at the revelation. Morris continued, “From today, I’ve stopped robbery. Neither will I ever lead a gang. I hereby surrender all this wealth to you. We will be gone. But when morning comes, please give them back to Mr Ogelo and his family.”
He wiped his tears with his right hand and ordered his subjects to surrender all the cash, jewels, clothes and other things they had snatched from the Ogelo’s family. Lucia remained surprised as the gang released the items and left her hut.
Never sideline people. Showing kindness to moral reprobates and telling them our own story may help them change from bad to good.