Jane gradually allowed herself to transform into a candy monster, choking the lonely elder out of his wits

Nhamo Muchagumisa

Jane had made up her mind to apologise to the old man. At least that would lighten the burden on her heart, but not remove it. Nobody had done anything to atone for the wrongs they had done her, but did it matter now? Will she not play her part just because others had not played their parts?

The odour of the blood of the people she had murdered in her nightmares began to suffocate her. Her mother was always her first victim, and the groans of a she devil in her death agony filled her ears. Her bedroom choked with the smell and the guttural noises of people tortured by the pain of certain death.

Having made up her mind, she could feel every moment of the night dragging towards uncertain dawn.

Mr Tazvirega had filed a court application against her, seeking a protection order. The story of how her vituperative behaviour had caused Mr Tazvirega untold suffering had appeared in the provincial weekly newspaper.

 

 

“I think it is better for me to settle for an amicable break up with the elder, instead of suffering the embarrassment of standing in court over an issue arising from an intimate relationship with a man who is four times my age,” Jane told herself as she waited for the morrow’s dawn that seemed to be ages beyond the eastern horizon.

She had sought accommodation at his business property at Nhedziwa Growth Point after her conflict with her mother had reached its breaking point. She remembered the live coals her mother had poured on her heart, “You are not even daughter to my late husband, even though you have his name on your birth certificate,” she had said.

“What is that supposed to mean mother?” she had asked befuddled. “I mean, keep your nose out of my affairs because it is out of such relationships that I got a beauty like you.”

“But mother, I have been quiet about the men you bring into the house, but now …” the words trailed off. “But now what? Why don’t you learn to keep your mouth shut?” Mrs Mahari shouted with venomous anger. “Everyone at school is calling me daughter of a whore, and I wish you to do something about it before I strangle somebody.”

Jane did not cry after the dreadful exchanges with her mother. She was too hardened to cry, but not hardened enough to ignore the pain.

 

 

Two days after her altercation with her mother, she got entangled in another quarrel with the school head girl over the controversy surrounding her mother’s conduct. A fight had ensued and she prevailed over the student leader who came out of the contact with a torn lower lip, a bloody nose and a swollen eye.

The following day she walked out of the hearing on the fight and never returned to school again. Her mother wanted to send her to another school, but she rebuffed the idea and left home. She was only 15.

Renting a room at Mr Tazvirega’s business premises, she opened a market stall,selling roasted peanuts and mealies, which earned her enough to guarantee her just her daily breath.

It was when she was in Mr Tazvirega’s custody that she started murdering her mother in her dreams, plunging a chisel into her bare chest. Mrs Mahari would fall at her daughter’s feet, kicking furiously, before folding her legs.

It was always when her groans grew fainter and fainter that Jane woke up.

Sometimes Jane would slit the throat of one of her mother’s lovers with a broken beer bottle, swearing that it was too kind a death for a man of such a depraved character to have attempted raping her when she was only twelve.

Then came the day she crawled into Mr Tazvirega’s bed when he had gone out for an evening shower, leaving his bedroom door open. After all the old man needed a woman. His wife had left for the UK four years ago.

Upon his return from the shower, the businessman celebrated with her the joy of an easy love.

 

 

 

Jane gradually allowed herself to transform into a candy monster, choking the lonely elder out of his wits. She hacked his WhatsApp account so that any messages he received also found her inbox. She also hacked his calls and message centre so that all the traffic of the calls he made or received as well as the messages he sent or received reflected in her phone. The delight of doing this made Jane forget her woes for a while.

Whenever he received remittances from his children and wife in the UK, she demanded one-third of the money, threatening to take court action against her hapless lover if he denied her as she was only 15 years old when their bedroom relationships began.

With the money she got, she managed to construct for herself a three-roomed house in the rural village close to Nhedziwa Growth Point. Although her conscience often tortured her, she also felt that she had found relief against a demon mother. Although she had thrown morals to the dunghill, she was not like her mother who was the carrion upon which green flies gorged their appetites.

Now Mr Tazvirega no longer wanted her. His wife and children had threatened to stop sending him money if they continued hearing reports about his amoral relationship with Jane. Jane moved out of Mr Tazvi’s property and occupied her own quarters, but continued demanding her undeserved share of Mr Tazvi’s earnings. Finally, Mr Tazvi had no choice but to seek legal recourse.

 

 

 

The human being that had died in Jane after leaving her mother’s custody came creeping back into her, wounded by the cruelty of fate and the evil acts fate had forced her to perform.

No, she did not want the old man to give her another chance. She just wanted him to know that she wished him well, now that they were going separate ways.

Dawn finally arrived, and after a quick bath Jane walked the two kilometres to Nhedziwa Growth Point. Mr Tazvirega was still in bed when she knocked at his door. Mr Tazvirega answered the knock and admitted the girl into the house.

“It is you again Jane,” the old man protested. “Why don’t you give me a break? I’m sorry, but…”

The old man did not wait to hear what she wanted to say. He walked through the long corridor back to his bedroom. Jane followed him there and found him lying in bed, staring blankly at the ceiling.

 

 

 

“Mr Tazvi,” she said, but the man could not hear. He started coughing and spluttering as if he had been gassed. Trickles of blood started oozing out of his nose. The pores on his face exuded a countless beads of sweat. His laboured breath revealed how the pain in his body pronounced his inescapable death.

Jane was petrified. She turned away from the dying man and walked into the passage and stopped in her tracks as she bumped into her mother, coming her way. Jane turned in the direction of Mr. Tazvi’s bedroom, her mother behind her.

Mother and daughter entered the room, and stood facing the dead man before them. For a long while they were speechless.

“For the first time mother, even though I do not know why you are here, you are going to behave like a real mother to me.”

The elder woman held her daughter in her arms as the tears she had never shed since she started living a wild life, to the detriment of her daughter’s social health,fell freely from her eyes.

 

Nhamo Muchagumisa is an English Language and Literature teacher, and he writes from Odzi. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on +263777460162. Email him at: muchagumisan@gmail.com

 

 

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