Remember Lindiwe? She was the daughter of Muhlabase. They met with Ipyana in Chitipa. She played a key role in bringing her father down.
“I am going to Yanja’s funeral,” Sali said. I nodded my head. She exited her house. I made my way to my room playing with Akuzike’s letter in between my fingers. It had been such a busy day yesterday that I could not spare time to read it. Okay, I could have spared a few minutes but I wanted to savour reading it. I poured myself a cup of red hibiscus tea and sat down on the chair near my bed.
How are you? I am okay. I work in the infirmary. How is your project going? Forgive my handwriting, it’s been long since I wrote. The night attack took our soldiers off guard. We lost a lot of good soldiers. Death surrounds us here. We are hopeful for a military intervention soon. For without it we will lose for sure.
The Mzati bring us food everyday. I got to taste meat from an actual cow for the first time. It was just as delicious as you said it was. It’s been interesting tasting different organic foods.
I hope you can read this.
“I can’t be involved in this.”Luntha said. “I work for the army now.”
I placed my hands on his desk and pulled myself closer to him. “You are my only hope.”
“What about Lindiwe? She would love to get in on something like this.”
I withdrew my hands from his desk. “I haven’t talked to her in ages.” I said looking down at my shoes.
“Just call her. She wants to talk to you.”
“Then why hasn’t she contacted me.”
“Maybe she is ashamed.” He passed me her number.
I put my feelings aside and called her.
“Hi, long time no speak.” She said.
“Long time indeed.” I retorted. I told her we needed to talk in person. Salifya instructed me never to talk about anything Ulalo over the phone but do it in person in case Diminga were listening.
The door opened and I led Lindiwe through Sali’s place. In the past we would have hugged but instead she starred at Xo and Sali’s wedding photo on the living room’s wall.
“It was a beautiful ceremony.” She said with a smile.
“Yes,” I retorted sitting down on the couch. Lindi turned around and sat on the couch I was on. Why did she sit on the same couch with me? Ipy focus on the mission at hand. I told her about the EMP and how it could stop the war. “My mother thinks she found the EMP. It’s in one of Utawaleza labs. We want to go extract it tomorrow night at 3am.”
“I am definitely in. Should I bring my team?”
“Just you. We don’t know who to trust so we are keeping the circle small. That’s why we are raiding this place instead of just getting the League of Jume to just give it to us.”
“I am flattered you still trust me.”
I smiled awkwardly not knowing what to do.
“It sounds like it’s been a busy couple of months for you? Why didn’t you reach out to me for help sooner?” She said, after I had told all I knew on Ulalo.
“Are you kidding Lindi? After your father was arrested you shut me out.” My mouth felt the static of the angry words that had just left them.
Her face dropped. “It was a dark time for me Ipyana. I found out so much of what my father was involved in. Before I knew my father was evil but reading and hearing what he actually did was worse.” She glanced down at me. “And the bomb…Ipy my father tried to kill you. Every time I saw you I remembered that.”
“I wanted to be there for you but you pushed me away.”
“You and everyone in Aka-Rebel reminded me of what my father had done just by being you. I was hounded by journalists constantly. I needed to get away from everything so I went to Utawaleza for six months. When I returned, I did not want to be with anyone that reminded me of that.”
“I am sorry I remind you of your father.” I muttered bitterly.
She slithered close to me. I recoiled.
“I know I hurt you. I was in so much pain and I was so ashamed of everything he had done. I only visited him twice when he was in jail.” She drew her breath in. “I buried myself in my degree and then he died. But the damage he had done had not died with him so I joined Aka-Rebel.”
I held her gaze. “Three years Lindi. Three.”
“I was ashamed for hurting you. And I was certain you would not want me in your life again.”
“I would not have punished you. That’s just not how I am. I thought you knew that.”
“Ipy, I am sorry. I didn’t mean…”
“Save it. Let’s just ran sims.” I jumped off the couch. I called Mwase so we could start running sims together. I was surprised that she never came to visit me at the hospital after the bomb at the TV station. I texted her several times till I got the message she did not want me in her life.
“I think the best is for Fya to go alone and me and Mwase to go together because we have a rhythm to how we do things.” I said.
“And I go alone.” Lindi said sounding hurt.
“It’s the best tactically. Mwase and Ipy are law enforcement they move the same.” Sali pointed out. Fya took one corridor, Lindi another, while me and Mwase took the other.
“Who knew Utawaleza had so many secrets.” Mwase said.
“Right?” I chuckled. “For a bunch of technophobes they sure have advanced tech.”
It had taken Ama a half hour to get through their front door.
“He has liked you for a long time.” Mwase said. My eyes widened: he was talking about Atuweni. These last few weeks of him being gone had been a nice break. “At first I thought you liked him too.”
I looked up at him, then quickly returned my gaze to the dark corridor before us. “Why?”
“You seemed to get on well. When you refused his first advance, I understood that you saw him as a friend.”
“But he didn’t.”
“He did, he just hoped he could change your mind.”
“When did he start liking me?”
“About six months after you joined the service or at least that’s when I saw it and asked him.” Six months after I joined the force is Atuweni and I started going to plays together. And we would discuss novels we read and share historic films. “As you grew closer, he started thinking you liked him too and that’s when he told you.
I don’t agree with the way he pestered you Ipy. I did tell him to stop. I told him that if you filed a harassment suit I would back you up. Because he had grossly abused his position.”
“Why didn’t he?”
“He said he saw a spark there, even when you didn’t see it.”
“Atuweni.” I grunted. “We had such a good thing going.”
Mwase smiled down at me sympathetically.
We met two guards. Sali said we should just taser them so we shot at them with our tazer blaster till they went down then we handcuffed them to each other.
“I am at the door.” Lindi said through the earbud.
“Wait for the others. Fya is two minutes away.” Sali instructed her. Fya arrived first then we soon got the door too. Fya kicked the door open. It was a room filled with computers.
“It’s not here,” Sali said through Fya.
I rushed to the computers and plugged in a usb. “Maybe I can find something that helps us find it.”
“You have 15 minutes to get out of there. The alarm is on, I turned it off five times already. If I turn it off again the place shuts down and alerts the reinforcements.” Ama’s voice was frantic.
“We should go.” Sali said through Fya.
“Two more minutes.” I said.
Fya pulled my device out of the computer. “We have to go.” Sali said. “What we came for is not here.”
I was annoyed but I knew Sali was right. If we stayed we would have been locked in.
“They are a lot of guards coming your way.” Sali said.
“Maybe we just tell them we are on their side.” Mwase suggested.
“They won’t believe you,” Sali argued.
“Then we shoot our way out.” Lindi said taking out her taser blaster. We tasered our way out of there.
We were almost at the pod which was in the parking lot. Lindi insisted me and Mwase get in first.
“I’ve been hit.” Lindi fell on the entrance of the pod. Me and Mwase dragged her inside. Fya took control of the pod and flew us out of there.
“I was certain it was there. I am sorry for wasting your time.” Ama said. We were busy getting Lindi comfortable to answer. Lindi grit her teeth as I inserted a tampon in her bleeding leg.
“Try to relax.” I told her. She inhaled and exhaled. We helped her out of the pod into Watanja’s clinic. One of the nurses rushed her into surgery. Me and Mwase sat in the waiting room.
“Go I will stay. Your wife must be worried sick.” I said.
“Text me updates.” Mwase said getting up.
I nodded my head.
I heard her wake up. I put down my tablet and looked up at her on the bed. “You are awake.”
“You stayed.” She smiled.
I nodded my head. “The doctor said the wound was deep but it should be healed in a week.”
“I was hoping to go to Utawaleza I guess that is out of the question for now.”
I stretched my folded legs which had fallen asleep underneath the weight of my body. “You guess right.” I chuckled.
“We were good friends once. Would it be dreaming to ask if we could be that again? Working with you these past few days has shown me how much I missed you.”
“I missed you too. And I would like to go back to being friends. Just don’t push me away again.”
They discharged Lindiwe at noon. I took her back to her apartment where she stayed with another Aka-Rebel operative.
“Take care,” I hugged her.
“Keep me posted.” Lindi said.
I returned to Salifya’s and slept for the most of the day. I had wanted to reply to Akuzike’s letter. But I was hoping my letter would hold some sort of good news. That disappointment and my own fatigue made me not write it. I hoped I would be telling him the war will end soon. I had no good news. Akuzike, Naledi and Xo could die any day now. And my mother’s home could be destroyed. To quiet my mind I played a video of my mother.
“Yes, Sayo and I have been spending a lot of time together these last eight months and I should have seen this coming. But it took me by surprise. After church, we bought something to eat and then we went for a walk. He played a song for me it’s an old song. The type of music Lusayo listens to, from decades ago. The song was entitled ‘Coming home’ by Leon Bridges. I was very surprised. It was a love song. My face felt hot. ‘It’s a good song.’ I said at the end.
‘Every time I listen to it, I think of you.’ He told me.
I stopped walking. ‘Lusayo what are you saying?’
‘For the last year, every love song I listen to makes me think of you. They express how I feel about you, my hopes for us and what you are to me.’ His hickory eyes shinning down at me. ‘I love you, I want to build a home with you.’
‘I want that too. I love you too.’
I had so many questions. I asked him what he meant for the last year. He told me that through our interviews he came to fancy me. We sat down on a bench in the park.
‘I even thought of extending the interviews so we could spend more time together.’ He confessed. He admitted that he came to drop the manuscript just to see me and that he had intended to ask me to lunch after his graduation. ‘I said to myself, if she comes to the graduation party then she likes me. If she does not, I move on.’
‘Then why didn’t you tend to me towards the beginning?’
‘You wore a green pencil dress. You looked so lovely and your locks were in an updo. I wanted to tell you how lovely you looked. I feared I would scare you away. I was so nervous Asi, I thought I would say the wrong thing so I hid behind my friends. Then I noticed you were bored and wanted to return home. I realised I was messing up my plan.’
I threw my head back in laughter. ‘I cannot believe you remember what I wore.’
‘It’s hard to forget an outfit that enthralling. Did you wear it to impress me?’
I giggled at this and told him, ‘I don’t know.’
‘When you told me that you preferred pygmies for potential mates I was disappointed.’
‘I saw that. I said it to tease you.’ I talked about my fear of having difficulty giving birth and he told me that God would help us.
‘Why tell me today?’
‘Because, it’s been 18months since I met you and I have procrastinated enough.’
My finger trailed through the palm of his large hand. When they reached his fingers, his fingers clasped mine.
“Can I kiss you?” He asked.
I nodded my head, my lips curved into a smile.
He lowered his face and pressed his lips against mine. Then pulled away and stroked my cheek. I forgot about all my fears about colossus and pygmy marriages. I just focused on the warm mirth that filled my heart. Lusayo was mine and I was his.’
Tumpale called me to give me an update on the search for Kazako’s source. I told him we could not speak on the phone. We met at Sali’s house.
“This place is huge. Private investigating must pay well.” He said starring at the house. I did not know what to say. I silently led him inside the house and into the sitting room.
“Hello Tumpale.” Sali got up from the couch she was and shook his hand. They exchanged pleasantries. When Tumpale asked where Xo was, Sali’s expression tensed when she responded.
“He is a brave man.” Tumpale’s eyes were on Sali’s belly.
“So what did you find?” I asked.
He gave us the name of the source which was Khataza Chavinda. Sali invited him to stay with us for lunch. When Ama returned from her lunch date with Amalewa I gave her the information we had just learnt.
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