Copyright©. Wongile Mbano. 2018
All rights reserved.
This book has been published on Amazon. Any reproduction of it; be it plot or characters or anything else, are liable to a lawsuit. The images accompanying this episode and subsequent ones are not my own. All credit goes to their owners.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Below are pronunciations for main characters in this chapter:
Salifya=Ser-Lee-Fee-yer(say Fee-yer as a single syllable)
Part: The Cities
Centuries from Indepedence. AIDS cured. Poverty eradicated. We had finally built our utopia or so they said…
I stopped writing, what would be my personal statement for college, when I heard Salifya walk into our lodge room.
“Take this.” Salifya said passing me the solar blaster.
“What why?” I asked getting up from my bed to receive the blaster.
“To protect yourself. I reconfigured the pod it will let you drive it. You have enough fuel to take you back to Kaulimi.”
I slowly wrapped my fingers around the solar blaster. “Why does it sound like you are leaving?”
“That’s because I am.”
My eyes wandered to the full length mirror behind Salifya, her tall figure almost blocking my own image. I turned to face her. “Why??”
“I checked us out of this lodge. Here is some cash it’s about 20 thousand Kwacha.” She avoided my gaze as she placed a wad of cash in my hand. She started to walk towards the door.
I followed her. “Sali, where are you going?”
Her back was still turned to me when she said, “I don’t know yet. All I know is we can no longer travel together.”
I reached out and grabbed her hand. “Why? Why are you leaving me?”
She pulled her arm out of my grasp and faced me, “Because you are a pygmy. You attract attention. I don’t need that right now.”
Her words slashed through me like a sharp blade. “You...are…leaving…me?”
“You are a smart kid. You will be safe. Just travel back to Kaulimi. Pass Ama my regards.” She walked out.
I don’t know how long I stood there starring at the door. I suppose a part of me thought it was a joke. How could she have abandoned me? She had taken me out of Kaulimi to search for our adoptive parents. My mind kept rerunning her words. “You are a pygmy” resonated in my mind. I starred at myself in the mirror, what did my height have to do with this? Maybe this was a ploy to trick the men who had attacked us. Maybe they bugged our room?
I was packing my things to go when I heard my phone ring. I hoped it was Salifya explaining what had just happened. It was an unknown number.
“You don’t know me.” A male voice said. “There is no time to explain Ipyana. Just get out now. The men who ambushed you and Salifya are coming up to your room. Ipyana put the earbud in your ear and get a move on.”
“Look I don’t know you. Why should I trust what you are saying?” I said.
“I am not lying to you.” His voice sounded sincere.
I placed my earbud in, and packed the money, my tablet, and the solar blaster in my bag. I rushed out of my room into the corridor.
“Use the stairs. They are coming in through the elevator.” The strange voice said.
I sprinted down the stairs.
“Take the door on the left.”
My chest was heaving forward and backwards. “But that leads to the kitchen?”
“I know. If you go through the main entrance the bad guys will be able to follow your trail easier.”
“But if I go through the kitchen, someone will ask me to get out.”
“You are right. Just pretend not to understand Chitumbuka or Chichewa. And keep walking towards the door on the other end quickly too.”
I stood outside the door. “Go now! Those guys are already making their way back from your room.”
“I hate this.” I muttered.
“It will be over soon.”
“I’m going in.”
“All the best.”
I walked briskly. Everyone was busy cooking or taking food to the restaurant. I was almost at the exit door when someone stopped me. I panicked. “No Tumbuka” I said in Kyangonde. The waiter who came up to me spoke Kyangonde. He asked me to exit through the door I entered through. I wish Sali was with me. She would have insisted on getting out through the exit door. I quietly let the waiter lead me to the door I entered through.
“What do I do now?” I asked.
“Can you jump from a balcony?”
“No!” My whole body was shaking now.
“Then your only option is through the lobby.”
“Is it safe?”
“It is for the next one minute. Those guys are making their way down the elevator. You have to sprint through but do so in a way that doesn’t attract attention.”
“That’s impossible. Sprinting through the lobby will attract attention. I will walk briskly.”
I made my way to the lobby. I tried walking stealthy. The strange voice kept doing a count down of how many seconds I have. My heart jumped into my mouth when he said I had zero seconds. I turned and faced the elevator and those men were there. They spotted me. I ran to the parking lot and got into the pod. I was in the sky. I was safe.
My relief did not last long. “Those guys are following you.” The strange voice said
“Accelerate.” I said to the pod.
“We are above legal speed limit” the voice of pod announced.
“Maintain speed.” I commanded the pod. Behind me I could see a sky blue pod following me.
“That’s them.” The strange voice said.
“What should I do?”
“Pod accelerate.” My body jerked with the pod. I wiped my sweaty hands on my jeans. I could see their pod closing the distance between us. My heart kept pounding faster and faster.
“This is the Ga’moto 2000 right?” He asked.
“It has a boost option. Just say the command boost.”
“Boost.” The pod jerked forward for a kilometre. My hands were shaking. I wiped the cold sweat off my forehead. I could see my assailant’s pod behind me coming even closer. I saw the sign saying “NO FLY ZONE”
“Should I go to the no fly zone?”
“No, it will make it easier for them to find you. I’m seeing heavy traffic ahead. Keep speeding till you get where there is traffic. They won’t be able to grab you there.”
I said a silent prayer, it was my fourth silent prayer since this chase started. God can you hear me??
“I know you are scared. Try to take deep breaths it will help you calm down.”
I closed my eyes and drew my breath in for as long as I could then exhaled. Salifya’s pod started accelerating backwards towards the bad guys’ pod.
“What’s going on?”
“They are using a powerful magnet. It’s the thing below their pod. If you take a clean shot at it, it will stop working long enough for you to get away.”
“That involves getting out of this pod?”
“I can’t. What if I fall??”
“You can do it.”
“I’m not Salifya.”
“Okay, open the pod like you are about to exit then take the shot. The wind blowing to your face will make it hard to see, so you will have to calculate your shot before you open the pod.”
I drew my breath. I did not want to do this but I knew this was there only way to get out of this situation.
I stood up, switched on the solar blaster and tried to calculate the correct angle to shoot from.
“Pod open.” I was about to take the shot, when the bad guy’s pod crashed into mine.