The thunderous noise that followed saw him dropping to the quaking ground, but he rose quickly to find his way out of the forest

 

 

By Nhamo Muchagumisa

Zviuya had been expecting that emphatic knock at his door for more than 48 hours, the knock made by someone who knew with absolute certainty that he had found the right door. “Hold on Officer!” he shouted in his head as he rose from bed, to go and open the door.

The sight of the four mascular men at his doorstep brought a strange sense of relief to him. For how long would he have to keep the cursed secret? For how long would he allow a mental affliction to keep him prisoner?

“I am Sergeant Bako,” said the leader of the law enforcement team “These other men are my colleagues.”

“Ok Officer,” Zviuya answered, knowing what would follow the introductions.

“We have a case of a missing young woman of about 19, a certain Celine Matufu of Tazirekufa Village, and after contact tracking, we established that you are the last person to have received a call from her and to have communicated with her via WhatsApp.

 

 

“Yes, she lured me into the forest and begged to die in my hands,” he did not say. Zviuya remembered how Celine had asked him to take her to their old love nest deep in the Chamatanda Forest. How could he possibly have said no when she had been away for four months and he had pessimistically concluded that he had lost her? What young man would allow the coldness of his shoulder to frustrate a woman who knows what she wants from a man?

“I will show you where she is,” Zviuya said with a note of resignation that made the senior officer grimace and the other officers look at him as if he was a comedian who had forgotten his lines.

Zviuya was led to the police van at the gate and was taken on board. The driver started the engine and the journey out of Mutare began.

The police did not ask the witness any further questions as they drove down Mutare/ Masvingo highway.

Zviuya recalled how a rejuvenated hope had brought him to ruin. He had fallen for the ploys of a woman who thought that she had not hurt him enough. Celine had left Tazirekufa Village for Chimanimani, and had ceased communicating with Zviuya. She had even blocked him on WhatsApp. But what was this malady in Zviuya that made him fall easily for a reunion?

 

 

Together the love birds had walked out of Tazirekufa Village towards the forgotten rendezvous, savouring the freshness of the summer airs as they made their progress. A few minutes after midday they fell into each other’s embrace, the songs of the birds of the air solemnising their reunion. Nothing could rend them apart again.

“Celine, your absence and silence had plunged me into the limbo of tortuous purple passion. Why did you have to make me suffer in that manner?”

“I’m back my Dear and ready to express my love for you in any manner that is sweet to the heart.”

Zviuya and Celine surrendered their bodies to each other among the bushes. Zviuya was overwhelmed with joy as nothing around him seemed alive except the woman whose body teased his maleness with zestful sensuality.

“Thank you sweetheart,” Zviuya said after the long act. He stood up and pulled the love of his heart to her feet and led her deeper into the forest. They walked side by side, then rounding a gigantic rock they found themselves in each other’s arms again. They fell into another round of intimate activity.

Then, it was Celine’s turn to say thank you, but it did not end there. “Zviuya my Dear, we had to do what we have done so that the fond memories of our relationship will live forever,” Celine said.

 

 

“What is that supposed to mean, ” Zviuya said drawing her into a possessive embrace.

“Just as you have started a new life at Mandoga Agricultural Engineering, I am going to start a new life as Mrs Matanike,” Celine said a seductive smile dancing on her face.

“I don’t like your joke. It spoils all the joy of our reunion.”

“No, there is no reunion. All we have done is a farewell act. From next week onwards I will be doing it with Trinity Matanike from Chimanimani. I hope I am sounding clear enough” Celine said emphatically. “Now let’s start our separate walk back into the village.”

“What if I made you pregnant?”

“Trinity will be the father of the child.”

“What if you have infected me with HIV?”

“Then that would have been an accident. Have we not played love before for you to start worrying about HIV today?” Celine said extricating herself from his tightening embrace.

 

 

Zviuya let her free before striking her in the face with a clenched fist. For how long had she burnt an underground fire with Trinity, that bastard who periodically visited the village, and whenever he was around Celine was full of excuses? So the two should have had another love nest.

Her screams were not loud enough to stop him. Another blow found her screaming mouth and her body hit the solid earth with a painful thud. She rolled twice and her tortured face connected with the earth as she fell and Zviuya’s foot landed at the back of her neck.

Daemonic fury had overtaken the young man. He could not withdraw his foot despite the young woman’s muffled groans. Celine was kicking violently, but Zviuya’s foot kept its firm hold on her neck. Finally, her kicks became lighter and then after a violent jerk she folded her legs and her body was immobile.

The lover turned murderer surveyed the landscape for a suitable place to dump the young woman’s corpse as heavy rain clouds gathered just above the tallest trees of the forest. He looked around furtively as he came to a flat rock that spread over an area of about fifty square metres. A deep crack of about a metre wide cut across the rock.

With the haste of a murderer desperate to cover his tracks, he rushed back to the spot where he had left his lover’s remains, dragged the residue of a once infernal love affair towards the rock and dropped it into the chasm. He turned around to flee from the scene.

 

 

A high voltage lighting flash blinded him for a moment and his body rammed into the trunk of a large tree. The thunderous noise that followed saw him dropping to the quaking ground, but he rose quickly to find his way out of the forest. It began to rain, the heavy drops hitting the ground in rapid succession.

Within ten minutes, the forest floor was dotted with puddles of brown water. Zviuya did not stop running, the splashing echoes of his footfalls giving him the impression that someone was making longer strides behind him in hot pursuit.

When he finally got home, he quickly got into his bedroom hut, tore his wet clothes off his body and put on dry ones. It was still raining, but he had no time to waste. He packed the muddy clothes into an empty paper bag and took them to the toilet. He threw the paper bag and its cursed contents into the gaping hole of the pit latrine.

The following day he took his journey to Mutare, to start a new week at Mandoga Agricultural Engineering.

 

 

Now he was back in the forest, leading police officers to the place where he had concealed his terrible secret. When they came to the spreading rock, Zviuya stopped and turned to look at the officers. “Here, look into the deep crack.”

Tears came to Zviuya’s eyes as he beheld the result of his jealousy. Celine looked very much alive deep in the chasm, but he knew that she would never be Mrs Matanike, neither would she ever be Mrs Zviuya.

The young man presented his wrists before the closest police officer for the handcuffs.

 

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 +263771271478 Email him at: muchagumisan@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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