Story: Blood and Water

Blood and Water
Written by Tisa Phiri

    Episode 1

    Two men held her hands as a strange woman slapped her across her face so hard she staggered before falling down. My mother spit in her face.
    “You are a devil!” she shouted, before she could say anymore, the violent woman stabbed her hard in the stomach. She could not scream because her mouth was covered by the man holding her on the left.
    I screamed telling them to stop.
    “Please! Please ! Stop stop stop…. !! ”
    I woke up screaming as my grand mother shook me.
    ” Mwazi !Mwazi! wake upMwandi!” she said. “Nichani…what is it?” Grandma asked with fear in her eyes.
    ” It’s that dream again granny,” I responded trembling with fear. I had been having the same dream since I was 6 years old.
    Now I was 10 and the same night mare still haunted me. My name is Mwaziona Daka. my grand mother named me when I was still 3 years old. She told me my mother who was now late had named me Joy but for some reason my grandmother called me ‘Mwaziona’ to mean someone who has been through a lot. Say, terrible things or something really disheartening. I’ve lived with her, grand ma, since I can remember. She took me in when I was only 3 years old. Instead of grand ma I mostly called her “amama”. She raised me until now.
    My mother I am told died when I was 3 in a terrible accident. I barely remember her, her image is faint in my heard. I only know from what I see on the photos grand ma keeps in her secret bag. But all this time i still feel my mother’s love and scent, even in my nightmares my mother’s face isnt clear.
    I swear though if I was to meet her again. I would know she’s the one.
    My grand mother is a hard working woman. She bought a farm house after retiring from her job as a Secretary in the government. She worked in Lusaka and relocated to Chipata after retirement where she had bought that farm. The land was quite fertile and we always cultivated lots of maize and my grand ma would cultivate vegetables and tomatoes too.
    Grand ma had three children,my mother was first and the second born I was told died too. The only surviving child is my uncle the last born, unfortunately for grand mother, uncle was always getting into touble. He dropped out of school when he was in grade 11 and started smoking Dagga.
    Since then, it was one trouble after the other. You can imagine my grand ma’s sorrow, loosing two children and having the only child alive give her so much head ache. Her only consolation was myself, her most beautiful and cheerful grand daughter as she would say. I was very clever and intelligent too. My grand ma always said I was just like my parents.
    According to her, they were very educated, successful and lived well, but for some reason she never said much about my parents and I cared less anyway. I never lacked anything, only sometimes when I would wish i had seen and got to know my parents somehow I missed them.
    When it was morning, granny called me where she was preparing sweet potatoes in the round kitchen she had built outside the main house. Instead of using the kitchen in the house my granny liked cooking in the small thatched kitchen outside.
    I went in and sat next to her, she looked at me and asked.
    “So tell me, do you recognise your mother from the dreams you usually have?”
    “No ” I said without hesitation. “Amama, I only see her figure and her face isn’t so clear,” I added.
    “What about the woman stabbing her?” She asked the more.
    “I see her, I see her amama and I can even recognise her if I saw her somewhere. Why are you asking granny?” I asked my grand ma who looked pale when I told her I know the murderer in my dreams.
    “Listen my child let’s take a walk to the garden after eating breakfast I have something to tell you.” My granny seemed so sad and serious, what ever it was I knew was huge.
    We walked to the gardens. It was April so the weather was cool. We walked in a small path slowly, I could feel the tension between us. I couldn’t take the silence anymore, so I stopped in front of granny.
    “Please Amama just tell me already… What is it? Do you know why I have night mares?” I inquired impatiently.
    “Patience my daughter, Patience” grand ma said with a small laugh.
    We walked a bit further and turned to enter our garden. Grandma removed the grass gate that covered the entrance to the garden. She had someone build a fence with grass around to prevent goats and cows from eating the vegetables.
    We sat near the stream that flowed through the garden. For a moment I could not help admire the green vegetables and red tomatoes in the garden. Surely grand ma was good with what she did.
    Granny cleared her throat, she held my hand and squeezed me a bit before letting go.
    “So?” I inquired..
    “Oh Mwazi you are so impatient just like your mother,” she said smiling. “You have her face my dear. She was so beautiful with a light skin, she smiled a lot and had a big heart. She was an angel, ” granny outlined almost shedding tears. It seemed like my mom was perfect after all.
    “Amama so tell me what happened to her? ”
    Granny narrated the ordeal…
    “Your mother was a good child. She was so hard working and cared so much for people that I and your grand father, may his soul rest in peace, always wondered why she hard such a big heart. Her only problem is that she trusted people too much. She easily trusted people and that led to her death.
    One day she came back home excited that she had met a handsome guy, she was so excited about that man that I had to force her to eat dinner. She told me she had met him at the meeting they had for a new project at her company. By the way, your mom was the chief accountant for ZESCO at head quarters in Lusaka.
    She explained that they had met with your father who was one of the investors to discuss the company projects. They had lunch and your mom loved him from the first time she saw him. Months after that your mom and dad got married. I remember she was so nervous I had to calm her down before she walked to the altar. It was a beautiful wedding and a lot of important people attended.
    Your mother was happy Mwazi. They were so inseparable. Your parents were so much in love… Imagine that they would kiss in front of us.” granny giggled, “but as usual your mom trusted a wrong friend. Her very best friend asked her one day to help with her young sister. She asked your mother to help her find a job at your father’s company. Even after your father refused so many times your mom begged that he employed her.
    “Please she’s my friend’s sister,” your mother had begged on her behalf.
    “Your father agreed at last.. Oh God, that girl brought them trouble my dear. She started seducing your dad at the company until one day he fired her. After which, she became worse and even followed him home to your parent’s house. She managed to seduce him and he fell for it. Just then your mom came in and found them red handed. She was devastated and ran off to my place. By then she was 8 months pregnant with you.
    That girl never stopped there. She went after your father until the time you were born.
    One day your mom packed out of your parent’s home and moved in with us. Of course your father always came crying and pleading for her to go back,” she paused looking at me
    “ Mwazi… I know your father loved your mother but whatever that woman did really messed him up. Your mother decided to rent a flat and moved out with you. That’s when I retired after your grand father died and moved here to this farm. Your mother called me one day when you were 3 years old. She had decided to get back with your father. After that, the next time she called me she sounded so worried. She said someone was stalking and threatening her but she didn’t know who. I told her to report to the police, but she refused.”
    “I will deal with it,“ she told me.
    “That was the last time I heard from her, “
    Granny sighed.
    “So Amama what happened to her? “ I asked..
    “Oh dear, what happened is so painful to even remember but I will tell you….
    To be continued.

    Episode 2

    “Oh my Chikondi, my beautiful daughter,” sighed granny. I looked at her and realised she was really hurting. I’d never seen her so sad. I felt bad for her, but I had to know. So I requested her to go on.
    “Please, Amama what happened to my mother? ”
    “Ok…”Granny continued..
    “Your mother was murdered two days later by unknown people. Some people claimed it was some robbers who stabbed her to death when she was coming from the mall. But I never believed that story. The most unfortunate thing though is that she was with you at the time they murdered her. You witnessed the whole scene, you were in the back seat of your mom’s car the time she was attacked. However, being a baby you couldn’t say anthing. you were in shock the time people found you.
    I remember I was called by the police the night of her death. They told me they found my number on your mom’s dialled list. It was so shocking I couldn’t believe it, just to confirm if I knew her, the police sent a clip of a video showing my daughter in a pool of blood, butchered like an animal. I’ve had that painful picture in my head and I always dream of her too.”
    I looked at my granny now in tears. I was shocked by what I just heard. In fact the scene she was describing was exactly what I saw in my dreams.
    “How could it be? Amama, I know that scene just like you described it.” I said now joining her in tears.
    “I know my child,” responded granny
    “I know… it took so many months for you to recover from that shock. I had to go through a lot for you to recover. You were a very active and talkative little girl before your mother was murdered, but after that experience you even stopped talking. I had for months to force you to eat by giving you apetito. Up to now you have a very bad apetite.” She said holding me so I stop crying.
    “Mwazi you went through hard moments back then you were so innocent and fragile. I decided to come with you here in Chipata. I even changed your name not only because of the agony you went through but because of your mother’s muderer.” She wiped her tears moving slightly from her embrace, I asked
    “But why is that amama?” I asked.
    “Well, someone tipped me that she believed it was not a robbery, your mom was mudered by that girl who was after your father. Your mother’s maid told me she received anonymous calls threatening to kill her if she went back to her husband, but your mother didn’t take the threats serious.”
    “But Amama why didn’t you report her then?” I interrupted her gain.
    “It was difficult mwanagu” she said. “There was no evidence and I feared the muderer would come for you, so I hid you here were no one even your father could find you.”
    “So father is alive? ” I asked suprised.
    “Yes,” granny smiled sadly. “He’s there in Lusaka. I hear he married that same woman after a year”
    “But granny why hasn’t he come for me then?”
    Not that I was ungrateful with what granny did for me, but I just wondered if he was alive, wasn’t it right that my father would look for me after mom’s death.?
    “Mwazi,” granny spoke up.
    “Your father doesn’t know you are here, in fact, I doubt he knows you are alive. He was not in the country the time your mom died he was only called from UK were he had gone for his business. He came after we burried and I had taken you away before he landed back in the country. I feared if he knew you were here he would want to take you and then that woman God knows what she could’ve done to you. So I kept quite to protect you my child. See, now she’s even married to your father and with her bad heart you could have suffered living with them or worse still get killed.
    I sat there speechless. What I heard that morning was too much for me. I ran off to the house crying like a baby. I’d seen and heard of such bad people. For example, my uncle who was always drunk and making noise and even beating me when granny wasn’t around but to hear of someone to stab another to death? A woman for that matter was so shocking. I was only ten but felt bad for my mom and prayed for her. Somehow, i understood my night mares. I experienced that heartless woman murder mom.
    I sat on granny’s bed and in my heart I vowed to find her one day and make her pay. I would work with my blood and sweat (water) to make sure I face her one day and make her pay for what she did.
    I was almost dozing off in granny’s bed when I heard footsteps. It was my uncle Jonah.
    “Hey child were is my food?” He shouted looking stoned with drugs, his eyes red.
    “I think there are sweet potatoes in the kitchen,” I told him.
    “And why can’t you give me the food yourself?” he nagged .
    “Ok, I will get it.” I quickly stood up walking to the kitchen. I knew any hesitation will land me in trouble so I quickly ran off to get his food.
    “So were is my mother?’ he yelled.
    “She remained at the garden uncle,” I responded from the kitchen
    “Iwe Mwazi why are you taking years to bring my food!” he yelled at me again. I ran to give him the plate and the look on his face scared me. I always feared him especially when he was in that state. He had no limits.
    Later that afternoon I helped granny with the workers she hired to reap maize from the fields. Like always my lazy uncle just refused to help, his was eating, sleeping and trouble.
    Some months later, after granny told me about my parents, she asked if I have been having the same night mares. I told her they came though occasionally.
    “I guess it’s beause you now know the truth.” She pointed out.
    That day granny received a call from katete district that her cousin was ill. So she left me with my drunkard uncle. She was to come back in 4 or 5 days she had told me before leaving.
    “Make sure you wake up early for school,” she warned and asked me to check on the 3 workers removing maize from the fields.
    I went bàck to the house after seeing granny off. I found uncle seated outside. He looked quite, I guessed he was not drunk yet. I went inside and did my homework. It was a Sunday the following day I had to submit it for marking.
    In the evening, I was preparing myself to go to bed when uncle Jonah came. He came to granny’s bedroom where I used to sleep. I quickly jumped into bed and pretended to be asleep. He stood there for some time I bet he was watching me. Just when I thought he was gone I felt his hands on me he was touching my dress. I screamed for him to let me go, but he pulled me towards him. I was so scared. He wanted to rape me. He threatened that if I screamed again he would kill me.
    Just when he sat up to unzip his trousers, I gained courage hitting him hard with a wodden box which was besides the bed, granny kept her jerwery ànd other important small things there. He fall to the ground in pain and I then jumped off the bed and ran outside. I could hear him search for me as I hid behind the big drums where we put water. I heard him open the small kitchen door and banged it on his way out.
    “I will catch you tonight,” he cursed going back to the house. I stayed in my hiding place trembling with fear. I even thought of running to the neighbouring farm but it was so dark I feared to walk the path there alone. I heard rumors of Ghosts and hynas around that area and decided not to take a chance out there.
    Later that night, I slowly tiptoed to the house and listened on the door. I heard uncle snoring from his room. He was asleep, I wanted to go in but realised he might come for me again. So that night I decided to sleep in the small kitchen. it was a cold night, thank God granny left her chitenge in the kitchen. I sat in the corner direct the door so I hear if anyone came in and there I fail asleep covering myself with a chitenge.
    Early in the morning I woke up and prepared for school, uncle was still asleep I could hear him snore. I quickly put on my uniform grabbed my bag and went to school.

    Episode 3

    I delayed going back home for fear of uncle Jonah , so I went to play with my friends at their farm. I had two good friends Sara and Sonile they were sisters. We were doing the same grade though Sonile the eldest was in a different class , she started school late no wonder she was in grade 5 as well .
    I told my friends what had happened the previous night with uncle Jonah . Sara suggested I stayed with them
    “But what reason do l give your mom?” I asked her. .
    “No Sara, I don’t want anyone else to know what happened. Please don’t tell her, if this got to uncle he will kill me .”
    I was scared because that night wasn’t the first time he tried raping me , the other time was in the garden but fortunately I managed to skip away . Just when I wanted to tell granny, he came back and sat next to us giving me killer eyes .
    When we were alone that day he warned if I ever told granny or even anyone he would kill me and to confirm his threats he even spanked me hard on my face . l cried silently without granny noticing .
    “I have a plan” I told my friends.
    “I will hide under the bed tonight he won’t know am there when he comes back but for now I will stay here with you guys ” I said .
    Later that afternoon, I remebered I had to check on the workers at the farm so I left . Planning to spend the whole afternoon there , When I got there a Mr Mbewe called me looking so sympathetic ,
    “I’m sorry Mwazi your granny will be okay,” He mentioned with sadness.
    “What ? What granny ? What are you talking about ?” I asked surprised about what he was telling me.
    “Uh so your uncle Jonah hasn’t told you yet ?” the man looked surprised.
    “What? “I asked almost crying.
    “Sorry mama your granny was involved in a road accident yersterday on her way to Katete , she was seriously hurt and is admitted in Chipata General hospital. Sorry” he added.
    I looked at him in shock , all sorts of thoughts running through my head . what if she dies? How will I stay with my crazy uncle ? What about my education? Oh God, I wish she gets well , she’s the only one I have, I thought as I sat down on the small hill in the maize field .
    I had been sitting there quietly for hours I didn’t even realise it was almost 6pm and the workers were starting to leave the field . Mr Mbewe called me out,
    “Hey Mwazi ? go home , your granny will be fine. I’m sure your uncle will come back with good news , okay ” he said .
    Standing up , l realised my uncle wasn’t at home after all , as I walked down to the house in my uniform I wished uncle will have good news about granny. I couldn’t bear anymore sad news.
    Uncle came around 19 hours drunk . “How could he even drink when his own mother was dying in the hospital ” , I wondered.
    “Uncle Jonah , how is granny ? “I asked him as he sat in the sitting room.
    “Go and see your dying Amama,” he answered carelessly.
    “Eheee! We will see now what you will do you stupid spoiled brat,” he said in a drunken voice .
    “Uncle, is granny going to be fine ?” I asked again.
    “Iwe I’ve told you she’s dying anytime so just start planning where you will go because all this farm is mine now , you hear me ! You will have no where to go,” uncle shouted on top of his voice .
    I realised I couldn’t stay with my crazy uncle anymore. I went in granny’s bedroom packed my clothes in my school bag. I went to granny’s secret bag and got some money. I don’t remember how much , all I know was I got a lot of K100 notes . I saw a photo which granny showed me, that it was my mother’s , I packed it too and sneaked out of the house. I had to go and find my granny and take care of her at the hospital .
    That night I wasn’t afraid of Hyenas or ghosts . I just walked to the road side thinking and imagining granny laying in the hospital bed alone and in pain I had to go to her.
    Upon reaching the road I found a big bus , two other people boarding . l quickly stormed into the bus not even asking where it was heading . The conductor came to collect his money.
    “How much ? ” I asked.
    “K120,” he responded.
    “Ok ” I just got the money and handed it to him . I held my bag tightly and immediately fell asleep.
    I woke up as the Bus was pulling over in the bus station. I didn’t realise I slept for many hours .
    “Oh, am sure we were in katete” I thought to myself. Everyone started moving out . l put my bag in my back and went out as well , to my surprise the town was so different from what I could remember. I had gone with granny to katete some two years past to visit some relative but the sight was so different .
    “How ?” I wondered , I was so hungry and confused, walking to the opposite shop i bought myself a bottle of Fanta drink and cream doughnut. I sat on the bench eating , a certain lady with a baby came by she looked dirty and was begging the people walking in the station. I felt bad for her , she looked hungry. I got the change I had from the man who sold me the drink and handed it to her without even counting it . She looked at me after counting the money.
    “Zikoma mwana wanga(thank you my child) ” she said.
    “God bless you” . I smilled at her and watched her disappear in the crowds. I went over to the shop and asked the man selling.
    “Please uncle , where is the hospital?”
    He looked at me surprised. “Which hospital?” he asked.
    I noticed I had even forgotten the name of the hospital Mr Mbewe had mentioned
    “Um, I don’t remember ” I answered.
    “Iwe you are not serious” the man shook his head, putting his items in order.
    I went back to my seat thinking i just had to remember the hospital , a tall boy came were I sat sighing as he sat.
    ” iwe Uyenda kuti (You, where are you going ) ?” He asked .
    “Uh um , I’m going to the hospital” I murmured .
    “Which one ?” The boy asked.
    “What is wrong with these people?” I thought.
    Everyone was asking which hospital . I remember granny told me there’s only one big hospital in chipata town . Then I realised I made a mistake , l just remembered Mbewe said Chipata general hospital but why did I rush to katete ? Oh God I panicked .
    “Answer me? ” the boy who was still staring at me asked when he noticed I had been quiet for a while .
    Instead of answering his question , l asked him. “Where am I?” The boy looked at me again puzzled .
    ” You mean you don’t know this place ? You are in inter-city bus station .” He smiled.
    “What ? I jumped from my seat , what intercity?” I remebered granny told me stories of intercity bus station in Lusaka . She told me there were a lot of crooks and boys who called out people for buses and if you didn’t know better they would put you in a bus that took hours to load and take off.
    “So you are saying I’m in Lusaka ?” I asked the boy almost crying.
    The boy realised I was lost and something was not well with me. He asked where I came from and I narrated the way I ran away from home . He asked the bus I used and dear, I didnt know ,
    “l never bothered to ask ” I told him.
    “lt was dark and I just got on the first bus l found ” l said crying visibly now.
    “Now what?” I thought to myself , “so you have money I put you on a bus going to chipata ?” He asked me.
    “No, I answered quickly.” I didn’t trust him and I thought if I told him I had money he would steal all I had .
    ” Uh too bad then” he said ,
    “now what are you going to do ?”
    ” I have to think” I told him.
    “Please leave me alone” I said to him holding my bag tightly.
    “Suit yourself,”, he shook his head and walked away .
    I sat on the bench trying to find a solution to my problem , at first I thought of going back to chipata but the idea of facing my stupid uncle was scaring . What if granny is dead already . I remembered the way uncle said it last time . I was sure by then she was dead. uncle Jonah sounded so confident when he spoke of her dying and him taking over the farm. “But then where do l go here in a strange city?” I kept asking myself.
    I didn’t know anyone, then I remembered I had a father in Lusaka, though I had no idea where to find him. If I did however, I didn’t know how to locate him or even tell him. He didn’t know I even existed.
    Another was the issue of dad’s wife the murderer , no way I was going to look for him .
    I trembled with fear upon realising I was in so much trouble than I had thought .
    Hours later , the boy who spoke to me earlier came back .
    “Hey , you are still here?” he asked ,
    “So what have you thought little girl ?” He teased
    “Nothing” l said sarcastically .
    “Oh, look at you, so you think you are a tough one aii? Wait till you face the street kids of this station then we see how tough you are.” He said walking away.
    “Please, wait!” I stopped him now scared of what he just said .
    “What , now you are just a scared little girl after all , now what ? What can I do for you?” he asked full of pride. I could see it rising.
    “Please, help me” I begged. “I don’t know anyone here and I can’t go back home , my uncle will kill me . ”
    “So what did you do for him to kill you?, you are a problematic girl ka ? ” He giggled .
    “No,” I answered quickly.
    “Please help me” I held his hand crying. For some reason I felt safe with the stranger boy . He looked humble somehow , l could tell he wasn’t a thief .
    He took me to a restaraunt nearby and bought us lunch .
    “My name is Joseph, but you can call me Joe, what’s your name ? ” He asked me chewing on his food.
    “Mwazi, Mwaziona” finished it.
    “Ok, Mwazi , tell me everything let’s see if I can help you.” I looked at him , he was so nice to me . He looked a few years older than me maybe 4 or 5 years older but he was proud of himself I could tell. He was acting all matured.
    For some reason he didn’t want to relate himself to the street kids or something but what the hell was he doing walking around the station .
    “Okay” I sighed finally.
    “l will tell you everything.”

    Episode 4

    “Oh little girl, you really have seen some drama , you mean at only 10 you have experienced all this?” Joe teased after l gave him a detailed story of my life .
    “Hey, I am not a small girl ” I retorted.
    “For your own information I’m turning 11 in 3 months time” l bragged .
    “What’s the difference , you are still a baby ” he pointed out laughing, making me realise l was actually too young to create such drama .
    “Joe what now? You said you will help” I inquired getting worried . It was past 17 hrs and I had no solution at all .
    “Ok first, we have to go to my place in chawama , let me ask if my sister can help us maybe tomorrow we can get you on a bus to chipata in the morning since it’s too late for you to board a bus today.” He stood rubbing his mouth after washing his hands clean.
    “But…” I couldnt finish the sentence ,
    “No buts” interrupted Joe .
    “Let’s go to Soweto market we ask my sister if she will allow you to spend a night with us or else you end up on the streets of Lusaka.”
    “Ok” I said defeated I didn’t seem to have a lot of options after all .
    “So what do you do in the station ?” I asked as we walked to Soweto Market .
    “l work” he answered plainly.
    “What kind of work?” I continued curiously.
    “The thing is , I’m not as lucky as you are Mwazi, both my parents are dead . I live with my elder sister who is 18 years old and the two of us rent a two roomed house in Chawama . We have to fend for ourselves. So I do whatever small jobs I find at the station , lifting people’s bags , washing plates at restraunts , sweeping and cleaning inside the big buses and any other job I find” he explained looking at me and walking on.
    ” So what time do you go to school then ?”
    ” Mmmmh school you say, I dropped out my dear. I couldn’t continue I have no money to pay . I went to a community school in our area but after qualifying to grade 10 I could not proceed . I was supposed to go to a different school my previous school only went up to grade 9.”
    ” Too bad” I shook my head.
    “So you don’t think of going back ?”
    ” I do” Joe acknowledged. “But I have to wait for a miracle .”
    We had finally reached a place with a lot of people and busses everyone that looked so busy . lt seems everyone was in a hurry , the hooting and peeping of buses was also loud . I almost covered my ears , the noise was too much that I couldn’t even move freely. Luckily Joe offered to help carry my bag which I agreed reluctantly. My flat shoes almost burning my toes , because I wore them the whole night and now day .
    We came to a stand in the busy area and stood in front of a lady with a lot of lipstick and wierd eyebrows . I had seen some make up before but that one was surely over done .
    “Ba Chile bwanj.”
    Joe greeted her lnstead of answering him , she gave me a weird look and asked.
    “Nanga aka ? (What about this one). ”
    “Oh yea, she’s Mwazi ,” Joe responded pushing me forward to her.
    ” How are you?” I greeted her.
    “Fine,” she said carelessly. I looked at Joe as though to say; “Are you sure this is a good idea? ”
    Joe then pulled me to the other side of the table were Ba Chile was .
    “Namupeza mu intercity saziba Lusaka , aoneka asoba . ( l found her in intercity . She doesn’t know Lusaka , it seems she’s lost) ” Joe explained .
    “So ?” Ba Chile asked ,
    “We came to ask if you can allow her to spend a night at our place, tomorrow she will find her own way back” pleaded Joe .
    I watched them argue as Chile pulled him a distant from were I was. I couldn’t hear their arguments , only gestures and I could tell the sister didn’t like the idea at all.
    ” Ok fine” she said finally walking back to were I stood.
    “Should you dare steal our things. I swear to God I will cut you in pieces” Chile warned looking at me .
    “I will cut you starting with your long hair. wanvela?(is it clear).” She asked me . l just nodded my heard in agreement .
    “Good ” was her response and she went on with her business.
    We waited for her to pack the remaining fruits in the boxes , she was selling apples and oranges .
    Joe got some coins and handed them to his sister . He got two apples and gave one to me. I felt bad for him because it seemed he spent all his day’s wages on me but I couldn’t disclose I had my own money yet .
    “I have to know these people” warned my inner self.
    We got on a small bus , the conductor was shouting K2 Chawama iyo. Joe and I say in the back seat while Chile sat in the passenger seat near the driver . I couldn’t help admire the strèet lights as the bus drove through a wide and busy road . lt then started moving slowly other cars were lined up ahead . I had never seen so many cars in one place before .
    “So what’s there ?” I asked Joe when I saw a place with some kind of words but made of little coloured lights .
    “it’s a Casino” he smiled . I dared not ask what it was for. I kept the next question to myself.
    We dropped off at some busy area, Chile signalled us to go ahead.
    “Let me buy charcoal ” she told Joe who carried a plastic with some pieces of chicken and vegetables they got from town , we walked through the noisy compound and turned to the small house. lt was dark and I couldn’t see clearly .
    Joe lit a candle and showed me a small armed chair, “Sit there” he ordered. I sat quietly and felt some relief after removing my shoes , the jean pant I wore was a bit dirty I noticed after i tried to rub the dirt off but it was impossible. I gave up the act and sat silently.
    I was just watching Joe making fire on the small brazier outside . l watched through the small holes in the door .
    Then, i decided to take a look at the small house . lt had two rooms , the other room had some kind of curtain hanging on the door. In the room I sat were two chairs. The one l sat on and another one opposite me . ln the corner was a small wodden thing which I guesed was a kitchen cabinet , plates and 3 pots were pilled there and some plastic cups.
    In the other corner was a small matress and a small heap containing two blue bedsheets and a checked blanket , from the look of things it was Joe’s since his clothes hang upon the big nails in the waĺl . There was a tiny table in the middle which was the size of a stool according to my perception.
    I took in every detail of the house , just then I remembered home . Our farm house was 20 times better and it was clean and neat and spacious with nice sofas and a TV . I really missed being there at that moment and watch some movies . I thought of granny and prayed she was alive despite what uncle Jonah had said , in my heart I knew she would live .
    Chile came back with some company , a big guy with a drunken voice . He even reminded me of Uncle Joe .
    “Hey Sweety!” he called Chile ,
    “Who is this little girl ?”
    ” she’s Joe’s friend sweety, I will tell you later ” Chile responded adding more charcoal to the small brazier . Chile’s boyfriend entered the other room . I just heard the squicking of the bed in the other room as the man frowned . lt seemed he was relaxing on the bed .
    After super that night Chile who barely talked to me since we arrived handed me a blanket and asked Joe to join the two armed chairs that l sleep on them . lt wasn’t so comfortable but l was so tired , I fell asleep almost instantly, my bag beside me.
    I woke up early the following morning everybody was fast asleep , I went outside and headed to the small toilet Joe showed me the previous night. I stood outside, now I could clearly see the house , it was made of blocks but not plastered . I realised it was attached to two other blocks , some kind of a flat .
    The house on the far left had a small door mat and red polish on the floor , it was in fact shinning . The one in the middle had a curtain hanging outside the door . I noticed the door was left a bit open . I could hear voices inside , l assumed the neighbour’s were up early as well , on the far left was Joes house . I noticed the door was quiet old and had lots of nails in it . lt looked like it had been fixed several times , no wonder I could see through when Joe lit some plastics as he made fire last night . l thought to myself .
    The yard was very small , there was a small toilet few meters away from the flat . I could hear the shouting coming from what seemed like a road . I recalled that’s the direction we came ,
    “The main road must be near” I thought . Seeing, two women pass around the corner from Joe’s flat . I wondered why someone would possibly just pass in someone’s yard without even asking for permission, then two other women with baskets came by. I walked to see where they came from and realised it was actually a path . Soon more people walked through. I decided to go back inside, Joe was still sleeping . I could hear Chile’s voice in the other room ,
    “okay sweetie, see you in the evening“ she said opening the curtain .
    “Good morning.“ she greeted me upon setting eyes on me.
    “ Hey little girl!” followed the boyfriend .
    I just wondered why everyone was calling me little , maybe coz I was slim . My granny always said I was slim coz I never eat enough food but thankfully I was tall . Granny would say taller than my age ,
    “Morning” I answered back and the boyfriend walked out, Chile came to sit near me . I had separated the chairs already but didn’t move them to their original position.
    “So tell me dear what happened to you ?” she asked surprisingly sounding like she cared. I then went through the story I told her brother. She just looked at me with concern this time ,
    “But what are you going to do if your granny is dead for sure , its like that uncle of yours is bad news ?” She asked me the same questions I was asking myself and I had no answers at all.
    “Okay let’s see” continued Chile
    “So you know your grandmother’s phone number so we can try calling her and find out what is going on there ?”
    Oh , I was so dumb, why didn’t I even think of that yesterday, I blamed myself in my thoughts . I knew granny’s number I had mastered it 2 years ago when she told me in case I found myself anywhere and needed to call her I could use the number .
    Chile got her phone and dialled as I gave her the number , she handed me the phone
    “ here talk when someone answers.”
    “hmhm” I nodded and held the phone to my ears. I heard the phone ring for some time. It almost cut then suddenly I heard uncle’s voice on the other side ,
    “hello !”
    “ Oh God it’s uncle” I whispered to Chile .
    “what ? “ she said back ,
    “talk to him anyway” she insisted “Hello who is this?” uncle asked again .
    “Hey uncle ! how is amama?” I asked without telling him who I was.
    “ so it’s you ka spoiled brat. So at your age you think you can just ran away from home aii ? Where ever you are don’t even think of coming back here or else l will personally kill you , you hear ? “ Uncle ranted without even giving me the chance to say anything .
    “Uncle Please, tell me how amama is doing “ l repeated the question .
    “So what I am saying is useless aii , okay we will see” he cursed .
    “ lf you want to know anyways, your amama is dead that’s why I ‘ve her phone , so you are all alone Mwazi . There’s. …. “ I couldn’t hear the rest I just dropped the phone collapsing back to the chair behind me , luck enough Chile saw it and grabbed the phone before it fall to the floor .
    “What did he say ? “ she asked seeing how weak and pale i looked .
    “Amama is dead” I told her now crying , “What do l do now ?” I screamed on top of my voice. I couldn’t hold it any more , the issue of being with strangers in a strange town , uncle wanting to rape me, the thought of living without granny, all came to hit me at once . Joe was awakened by my scream and rushed to where I sat ,
    “what have you done to her?” he accused the sister ,
    “What ? Are you mad ? It’s not me” answered the sister. “What do you think I can do ? She was just told her grandmother is dead.” The two of them looked at me with pity , Chile came close and held me tight.
    “Shh…” she patted my back .
    “lt’s okay” she tried to comfort me, “Since you are here already we can’t just throw you out , if you want you can stay with us, though it won’t be easy for you to live this kind of life but you are better off than going back to your heartless uncle . How can he even tell you such news on the phone he’s an idiot for sure” Chile added .
    I sat there quietly , l couldn’t say a thing , my life was over I thought. It was over before I could even start living it .
    Chile let me go and wiped my tears , “it’s okay , you are going to be okay you will see” We have been there too but now it’s just the two of us and thank God we have were to sleep , you won’t end up in the streets provided we work hard to pay rentals. “
    Joe spoke up too , “yes Mwazi, we will live here together as family don’t worry okay?”
    I just nodded my head.
    …to be continued

    Episode 5

    Chile and Joe left for town , “someone has to bring food” Chile sighed standing up.
    “Make yourself lunch , there is left over relish in that pot” she said, pointing at the wooden cabinet .
    I remained curled in the chair for quiet some time , uncle’s voice still ringing in my head , “Don’t even think of coming back here.”
    I couldn’t think of anything else to do . I knew Joe was right, I had to make them part of my life as family or else I will be doomed .
    I just remembered I had some money in my bag so i pulled it and opened the zip, thankfully, the money was intact.
    Realising I never counted it . l thought it was time l knew how much I took from grand ma. I prayed that God forgives me. Granny always told me never to steal. “if you are hungry or in need just ask,” she would say .
    “Forgive me Amama” I whispered looking up . I counted 12 K100s and 3 K50s , that was K1 350 . I didn’t realise I carried that much , I’m sure it was the money granny was going to pay the workers . The day before she travelled to Katete she had gone to the bank and when she came back she handed the money to me to go and put in her secret bag . Only the two of us knew it existed and where it was hidden . Granny told me never to tell Uncle Jonah. For sure the money could have been disappearing if he ever found out .
    So I divided the money in two halves . l put the half in a small hidden pocked in my bag and tne other half l put on the side zip . “I would help Chile and Joe buy food” , l thought to myself.
    After sitting alone for some time, i felt bored. Granny had taught me to work at a tender age . There was always something to do at the farm and I enjoyed helping her with farm work so I looked around and decided to clean the house .
    I started washing all the plates including the ones in the cabinet. I noticed they were dusty , after which, I thoroughly swept the room, moving Joe’s matress and nearly made it as granny taught me .
    Minutes after dusting and moping the room even looked spacious . Later on I went to Chile’s room , the scent of her strong perfume made me sneeze . I remembered granny’s perfume but it was so nice and mild , sometimes when going to church she would spray some on my clothes and I loved the scent .
    Seeing Chile’s room it was seriously messed up . There were a lot of clothes on the single bed . I collected them and folded them nicely before putting them on top of the washing basket . From the way the clothes were left one would tell she had difficulties choosing what to wear . After dusting the sheets, I neatly made the bed . Chile’s blanket was softer than Joes and bigger I took note of that fact.
    Two hours later, I was done and sat to admire my work . The house was clean and l could even feel the fresh air entering through the small Windows which I had opened .
    I sat on the step outside the door and watched the neighbour’s kids play in the sand , their mother came and greeted me
    “We have a visitor ? ” She asked rhetorically
    “Yeah” I smiled.
    “What’s your name ?” she asked me .
    “Mwazi” I responded quickly ,
    “So where can l fetch water ?” I asked to change the subject. I noticed she was nosy and I was not to start answering all her questions .
    “Two houses behind our flat ” she explained.
    ” Okay thank you ” I looked at her smiling face, going inside to get the buckets .
    After taking a bath, I changed in a short checked dress and flat slippers on my feet . I didn’t bother to comb my hair. It was tied in a pony tail , thankfully it was long . Granny would always comb and braid it but if she didn’t I would go for days without touching it . If not for the fact that it was long and smooth it could have been a mess but it still looked good . Granny always said I got my long hair from mom and the curls and smoothness from dad. Definitely I had no idea what she meant cause I never knew them both.
    Later in the afternoon I made fire , I checked the pot with two pieces of chicken . There was a small pack of kapenta so I decided to fry it and cooked some vegetables too . By the time Chile and Joe came in I was cooking nshima .
    “Wow ! Chile see how Mwazi has cleaned the room” Joe marvelled
    “And she cooked too ”
    Chile added sitting down ready to eat .
    ” How was business ?” I asked as I sat down next to them. Granny always taught me to greet people and inquire about their work .
    “lt is good to be well mannered ” she would say. Chile and Joe looked at me and laughed .
    “You aren’t a baby after all” teased Joe as we all giggled.
    Later that evening, Chile called her boyfriend and told him not to come over.
    “I am sleeping with the girl ” l heard her say on the Phone. I could hear the man shouting and cursing on the other end but Chile just cut the line.
    “After all this cleaning you earned a space on my bed” she said patting my back .
    “I will join you later” I told her and went to sit outside with Joe watching people pass and making noise chatting and laughing .
    “So, how did it go ?” I asked again . “Hm, today was great” Joe bragged .
    “I managed to clean three big buses and earned a K50 and other jobs I got a K30 so I earned K80 all together’ he smiled.
    “That’s good” l smiled too not really knowing what to tell him.
    After some time of chit chatting, Joe telling me about his work, he sighed and looked at me holding my hand in his like an elderly person.
    “Sorry about your grand mother, I know how it feels to lose someone and it hurts but you are still young. When you grow up a little bit you will understand better and learn to live with it” he shrugged and looked in front of us like he had his own reflections.
    “Yeah, only that my grand mother was my only parent and now I am all alone” my tears came out and I wiped them quickly.
    “Come on, let’s go in, I am tired and need to rest” he stood up pulling my hand. He was being so bossy and mature but I liked him.
    Later, that night in Chile’s bed , I sighed and prayed . I was glad I had somewhere to be . I thought and missed granny , somehow I didn’t accept the news of her death but if uncle Jonah had her phone it probably were true. I fell asleep and dreamt of home.

    Episode 6

    The following morning we were awakened by a loud knock on the door ,we all rushed to see who it was . A short and old man was by the door , he just extended his hands towards Chile .
    “nipaseni (give me) ” i looked at Chile and Joe.
    “What does he want ?” I asked suprised at his arrogance
    He didn’t even greet us. Joe pulled me back in the house and whispered.
    ” iwe Mwazi that’s the landlord , he wants his money we haven’t paid him for 4 months now”
    ” Hey you are wasting my time” the man yelled at Chile .
    “You can’t be staying in my house for free. So today if I don’t get my money you are all out of here” he warned, I could see Chile fidgeting .
    “Ok, let me give you for two months l will finish paying you by the end of the week, business has just been hard” she pleaded .
    “Look , give me all my money or leave my house. Its been four months of stories. Ehee you think this house is for charity?” landlord raised his voice.
    I pulled Chile in the house seeing how much she was in trouble.
    ” How much is it ? ” I asked her .
    “Mwazi stop asking questions just stay here, I solve this alone please” she sighed
    “I want to help” i told her. “Look , I got some money from home.” I showed her the half I had out in the side pocket .
    “Where did you find all that money ? ” she questioned shocked at how much I had .
    ” I took it from home , remember I was going to help granny.” I told her .
    “Okay let me see then ” she counted it .
    “Are you sure you won’t want to use the money? Going home maybe ? ” she asked looking at me with concern .
    ” No I answered. I’m staying here if you allow me, I have nowhere else to go, how much is rent ?” I asked again .
    ” K100 per month and we owe him for 4 months.” She responded. “Give him that then” I pointed at the money I gave her.
    “Thank you Mwazi” she sighed in relief and counted some notes handing them to the landlord. He got the money counted it and left without a word .
    “He’s so rude” I said looking at Joe. He smilled,
    “So you have a big mouth too” he shook his head with a laugh.
    3 months later…..
    I insisted I follow them to town .
    “I want to help do business too” I told Chile and Joe but they didn’t allow me . According to Chile mine was to help clean the house and cook .
    ” We don’t have to struggle to prepare food any more,” Chile added .
    ” I hate staying alone the whole day ” I complained.
    “Stop complaining already little girl!” Joe shouted. “Let the big people find money.”
    lt was pointless arguing with them . Chile was so nice to me she treated me like her young sister. During the weekend on saturday when she was back early, we would spend the whole afternoon either at the saloon by the road side where she had her best friend. She would braid my hair or style it , she loved playing with my long hair for sure.
    Sometimes she would call me to town for salaula shopping , she really liked clothes . Sad she had no money otherwise she would wear designer clothings. She was good at selecting second hand clothes though .
    Everytime we would go shopping she would choose nice leggins , body tops and jeans for me. She rarely bought me skirts or dresses unless it was real nice and atleast short . lt would be above or up to my knees , she would compliment my looks.
    “Girl you will soon start driving men crazy” she would say. “Look at those hips coming up.”
    “No way” I would laugh.
    “You have the best shape ever!” and we would giggle like small girls. Really, Chile had a nicely shapped body. A flat stomach and nice hips , her facial figures weren’t so beautiful though ,that’s the area I’m sure I beat her 100% .
    Chile’s body attracted a lot of suitors for sure , though she only had eyes for George.
    George was her boyfriend, in my opinion I thought he didn’t deserve her . He was so rude and pompous , I actually had a bad feeling about him . lt could be he was involved in some shady business too.
    One Sunday when Chile sent me to buy vegetables and bread at the market I saw him holding a woman in an awkward way at a tarven , he saw me and called me too.
    “Mwazi come here!” he handed me 3 coins, “Don’t say anything to Chileshe okay? ” He asked, more of a warning though.
    I refused to get his bribe. “I won’t,” I said running home. I didn’t say anything, because I knew Chile loved George so much even though he was far much older than her.
    Days later, I sat at the door as usual after cleaning the house . A boy came were I sat in a school uniform.
    “Hey I always see you when I pass here” he started
    ” what’s your name ?” he asked.
    “I’m Mwazi , why do you ask ? ” I said looking at his story book in his hands . I had been seeing him pass by everyday and really admired him. I wish l would go to school too, were my thoughts every time I saw him.
    “Oh, I just see you here and thought of saying hi” he smiled.
    “Okay if you want to be my friend teach me what you learn at school I told him.” I offered bravely.
    ” What ? How ?” He asked .
    “It’s easyI” I said “Just tell me what you learn everytime you pass here,” i smiled standing up.
    “Deal” the boy said smiling .
    From that day he became my teacher. He would even leave me homework his teacher would give them at school . He was from a private school so he had homework 3 times in a week. I would answer all the questions correctly every time even doing better than him .
    Joe wasn’t for the idea of me hanging out with the teacher boy. He said he doesn’t like him maybe his parents are thieves or murderers he would say.
    “Why do they live in that big house and a wall fence?” he added seriously.
    “The father is a mechanic Joe and mind you we live in a big house too but my grand mother was not a thief, ” l would defend him.
    “I don’t care. People in town are not as innocent as you think.” Joe said acting like a jealous brother.

    Episode 7

    2 years later..
    I got tired of staying home , so I pleaded with Chile to let me join her selling in town until she one day agreed after almost a year of staying with them. I was now 13 years old.
    With the help of Ben (my friend who helped me with studies) I never went to school but Ben helped me , he would tell me everything they learnt though it wasn’t enough, i didn’t feel so much left out .
    Now at 13, I could contribute to the well being of what I now called my family . Since the three of us where doing something together, rented a three roomed house with bigger rooms and electricity . My brilliant idea of me moving around town offices selling packets of fruits really helped . Chile would pack in plastics different fruits , oranges , mangos , appples and pears. I would put in the plastic dish and go round selling in the offices . By the end of the day I would sell for more than K300 when business was really good even K0 during monthends .
    Joe was now working in a steel company , he had grown into a strong and handsome man , infact he told me he had a girlfriend of which I burst out laughing , for me he was still a boy .
    One day I sat across the gate of ZESCO . It was a very hot afternoon and I was tired of walking . I bought a pack of frozen freezits and ate as i rested, then an idea came.
    “What if I would go and ask about my mom , granny told me she was a chief accountant . Surely if she was that important someone must remember her” I thought to myself .
    I saw one security guard leave the premises, I quickly stood up
    “This is my chance” l thought .
    “Good afternoon? ” I smiled greeting him . greeting
    “Afternoon” he said .
    “Sorry to bother you sir but l want to know something , how many years have you worked here ?” I asked.
    ” Why do you ask?” the man responded.
    “The thing is , l want to ask about my old relative who worked here about 10 years ago.”
    “Sorry my dear , I started working later. I’ve worked for only 3 years.”
    “I see , thank you sir,” I said .
    “Hey!” the man called me back. “Maybe you can ask Mr Botha , the office elderly . He has been here for over 10 years , maybe he can help.”
    “I appreciate that sir , so is he inside?”I asked him.
    “No , he got a sick leave for some days, check next week when he’s back .
    I thanked the man again. I was so excited , I couldn’t wait to tell Chile and Joe .
    “Mwazi don’t you think it’s dangerous? What are you going to say to the man if at all you will manage talking to that Mr Both?” I could tell Chile was worried.
    “But I had to somehow find my father ” I told her. “Whether he knows me or not am going to find him . lt was because of him I’m going through all this , my mom was killed by the woman he’s married to . lt’s not fair and whatever I can do to find him I will do” l said with determination .
    Later during the week I would pass by ZESCO as though to familiarize myself with the place. On a Friday l stood there aimlesly again , not knowing someone had been observing me watch the premises . “Hey you !” Someone called from the small entrance , “Come here.”
    “Wow a customer” I assumed and i was excited .
    Upon reaching there the lady standing by the gate asked me in . “Which fruits do you want ?” I asked putting down my dish .
    “No , I don’t want fruits , l just want to know why for the past days you have been standing outside watching this place. what do you want ?”
    I didn’t anticipate to be caught. “Um mmmm, I’m just looking for” I stammered.
    “Speak up before I call the guard on you, who sent you to spy on this place ?” She raised her voice.
    ” What ? No!” I responded ” I came to see my uncle,” I lied .
    “Who is your uncle ?” She challenged me.
    “Mr BothaMr I said ” but he doesn’t know me so I came looking for him” I quickly added .
    The lady looked at me for a moment ,
    “where do you stay ?”
    “In Chawama” I responded.
    “I’m sure she believe my innocent face . she told me he wasn’t working that week ,
    “Come next week” she said
    “Oh, ok thank you” I smiled before rushing out.
    At least something good came out of this, l confirmed there was a Mr Botha and the story of him being off was also true . “Next week it is . ” I smilled as I went on selling my fruits .
    I spent the entire weekend thinking about my meeting with Mr Botha . I prayed he knew my mom and would tell me anything about my father and where to find him . Whatever the outcome of this meeting I planned in my head, I wasn’t backing out until I found my so-called father . lt was unfortunate I never asked granny about his full names , I only remember her call him Ackim.
    ” well, whoever and wherever you are I will find you” I swore in my heart.
    On Monday morning I woke up early, cleaned the house and took a bath. I didn’t want to look very small so I choose to wear a pair of Jeans and a loose body top, letting my hair loose it fall on my shoulders it looked nice espacially that i had it straighten the previous day. Chile insisted I put make up but I refused I wasn’t a fun of make up, lip gloss did for me.
    I looked at the mirror we stuck in our bedroom and was satisfied.
    ” I look older” I told Chile.
    “yeah, of course ” she teased with a laugh,
    ” if not that you are tall, someone would think you are still 10 with that small body.”
    “come on ba Chile, do you have to remind me am slim?” I complained.
    ” yes, until you start paying attention to eating” Chile responded throwing me flat shoes to wear. I grew to love her so much. we barely had quarrels and we easily blended, she was my best friend.
    I didn’t like her idea of getting married but lately it’s all she talked about.
    ” am not growing any younger Mwazi she would say, thankfully she found herself a good man after she discovered her old boyfriend was cheating. The new boyfriend, was a primary school teacher and he seemed decent. I just didn’t like the idea of her leaving us, she was the only woman in my life and in her was my mother, sister and friend.
    “Ok let’s go lady” teased Chile standing up. That day I only had one mission, to see Mr Botha, I wasn’t going to sell fruits
    ” maybe if all goes well I will join you at the stand” I told Chile as we got on a bus to town. It was passed 9, that day we were surely late for business.
    “it’s your fault” Chile accused me“you couldn’t stop talking about your father and all this plan of yours, you kept us all awake until passed mid night”
    “Stop complaining Ba Chile” I answered giving her a sheepish smile.
    When we got to Chile’s stand she told me to wait a bit.
    “If he’s an office orderly he probably is working right now. Go after 10 maybe you will find him free..”
    Chile was right, by the time i got to ZESCO, the man at the gate told me Mr Botha is in but was just having his breakfast.
    “you can wait there” the guard said pointing at some benches at the reception. He then disappeared along the corridor. Few minutes later, he came with an eldery man. I think in his 50s. He was dark in complexion and an unshaved white moustache,
    “she’s here” the guard pointed at me.
    “hello!” the man greeted me with a gentle smile.
    “hello!” I greeted back holding out my hand to greet him, he held me and stared at me quiet longer than usual.
    ” It can’t be” he sighed with a puzzled look on his face.
    “you said your name is? ” He asked still looking at me in a strange way. “Mwaziona Daka” i said giving him my full names.
    “Daka!” He exclaimed
    ” no way.” He raised his eyebrows at me and led me to the back of the offices him still holding my hand. “my child, who is your mother..?” He started.
    ” That’s why am here” I told him without hesitation. “I want to ask about my mom.”
    He signalled me to sit at the bench. he sat down next to me and before I could proceed with my questions.. he said.
    ” I think I know your mother, if am not mistaken. she looked just like you, a bit older but the exact copy of what am seeing right now. my child you almost gave me a heart attack. Are you Ms Daka Chikondi’s daughter?” he asked.
    I was marvelled by his accurateness.
    ” yes” I said smilling, deep in my heart I thanked God I would get some answers.
    “Wow.. am so happy to see you, your mother was a very good person. she had a heart of an angel and she helped a lot of workers like myself in this company, May her soul rest in peace.” He sighed sadly. I let him finish his praises before I asked
    ” so Mr Botha I came cause I want to know about my father. I don’t know where he is and if he’s alive. Do you know where I can find Him?”
    He looked at me, “my child you mean you don’t live with your father?” He asked surprised.
    ” No I dont live with him ” I told him. “I don’t know where he is my granny is dead and I need to find him.” I added.
    “Sorry my child, I met your grand mother once at your mother’s funeral. she was devastated, Just like me she also believed your mother was murdered by that witch of a woman. Am happy you don’t live with your father i swear that woman is evil.” He lamentated.
    “How well did you know them? I mean my mother and father?” I asked.
    ” I knew your mother very well, I was her driver for some time before she got her own vehicle. I met your father occasionally especially when I drove her for lunch and where they would meet. He seemed to be a good person too but I guess he dipped his fingers in a wrong pot. ” Mr Botha explained.
    ” tell me everything please. It’s important that I know the truth about the both. ” I begged “I really ‘ve to know…” I added seeing his concerned stare.

    Episode 8

    I first came to know your mother when she first reported here as an assistant accountant . I was the driver for a bus for workers here and she was one of the people who boarded everyday, she was a very kind and jovial lady. She called me elder brother and always made funny of my grey hair. She would tease that l will grow old fast .
    “How can you have grey hair at your age ?” She used to say .
    She really helped a lot of workers especially with salary advances . Barely a year later, she was promoted to the position of Chief accountant and everyone knew she deserved it , she was so hard working. A few months after that, the company got her a vehicle and she personally recommended me to drive her.By then she couldnt drive ,I taught her driving every day after work . She supported me and my family a lot when ever we had financial needs , she would lend me some money and refused to collect it back later on .
    She was so beautiful and attracted a lot of men . Unfortunately she turned down all the proposals , according to her, she had not found the right man so I was happy for her when one day she told me she found someone who moved her heart . She was so excited I could see her smile all over as she read texts on her phone .
    I used to take her for lunch to meet with her new boyfriend , that’s when I met your father . He seemed humble and talked casually unlike other rich guys , they would sometimes ask me to join them for lunch and he was so nice . When he told me his names I recognised him ,his father owned a big company and they had shares in ZESCO too. Your father was the CEO of the company at the time.
    Months later, Ms Daka , your mom told me she was getting married . She invited almost all the workers including the general workers which was a very rare thing to do , it was a beautiful wedding with lots of important guests .
    Unfortunately, some months after you were born she came for work one day looking so sad . I wasn’t driving her anymore by then I was involved in an accident and had a dislocation in one of my legs so I was assigned another job as an office orderly. I inquired what was bothering her and she told me there was a lady after your father. I told her men sometimes we acted stupid and that your dad would come to his senses . She complained that she had to plead for her husband to hire that lady and now she was causing trouble .
    “I even tried to talk to her with her sister my best friend but she won’t listen. It’s like she has wedged a war against me” complained your mom .
    She moved out to her parents house and later rented a flat . I encouraged her to take heart cause I knew the husband loved her whatever was going on would soon be over .
    One weekend she invited me and the other worker Silwimba to go help her install the new DSTV set she had bought . We found a black car packed outside opposite your mom’s flat . She stayed at the top floor, the shocking thing is that we saw a lady in the back seat and two men in the front . One of them was watching your mom’s flat with binoculars when they noticed we were watching them they drove off.
    I told your mom I had a bad feeling about that car and that someone might be stalking her . She comfirmed my suspicion when she told me someone has been threatening her and telling her about all her moves in the past week .
    I asked if she knew who it was and she told me she was suspecting the lady after your father ,she said the person who was threatening her told her not to get back with her husband or else she would die . I was scared for her and l told your mom to report to the police but she said the girl wouldn’t harm her, there were mere threats and she was just jealous your father was begging to get back with your mother.
    Days later they found your mother stabbed to death in her street on her way back from the shopping mall .The police rulled it out as a robbery since the killers had got her hand bag and all the groceries .
    “But it wasn’t I spoke up,” cutting him.
    “No , I don’t think so” answered Mr Botha.
    “lt was too much of a coincidence but there was no proof so no one not even me dared to say a thing about it.”
    “Okay ” i sighed.
    ” I know part of that story. Now I need the name of my father’s company and his full names ” I told him bluntly.
    “No , no way, I won’t let you face those people , that lady married to your father now is dangerous. God knows what she has done to your father. I hear she’s almost running things at the company after the mysterious death of your grandfather. Please just live things as they are Mwazi. You are still young and full of life, go on and live dont make history repeat itself my child”
    “No” I said sternly. “l vowed to myself and the soul of my beloved mom that l will seek justice . I’m not backing down now , those people will pay for what they did to my mother. Just give me what am asking its the main reason am here please .”
    After hesitating, he gave me a written address ,
    “here is the address to the company ” he said. “And your father’s name is Ackim Chisonga”
    Thank you , I said standing up to leave .
    “please be careful” Mr Botha repeated. “lf you need anything call me on this number. I will be here for you , for your mom’s sake .” He smiled widely.
    ” Thank you again ” I smiled and left .
    I walked to Chile’s stand with mixed feelings , curiosity , anxiety but the strongest of all rage . I couldn’t wait to see justice done. I started planning my next move and swore they would pay ,
    “They will pay for my mom’s death , every tear I have shed, the hardships I am going through and in fact they will pay for granny’s death too. And if my so-called father had anything to do with it he was going down too.” I thought to myself screaming in my head.
    Chile just watched me silently as I sat on a stool waiting for her to finish selling .
    At home she said she was worried and had a bad feeling about all that plan of mine , “From what you just said that woman is a devil, please be careful you are just a girl almost turning 14. You have your whole life ahead of you , don’t waste it ” she said .
    Joe on the other hand was supportive in fact, he offered to go with me to the company whenever I was ready .
    I went to bed going through my plan .I didn’t tell anyone for fear the devil might hear and send a message to his agent my mom’s murderer.

    Episode 9

    I spent the next months touring my fathers company . I would go to the premises and pretend I was selling fruits . One day I even befriended a young man who worked there. Slowly I would inquire about the owners of the company without raising any suspicions .
    One day, he asked why I asked a lot of questions and I lied that l was just so curious about rich fellas and wanted to know how they were like . He told me the wife visited the company almost every day and was very mean.
    “She has this fake smile ” he said “but you can see from her actions that she really isn’t a good person . The man , Mr Chisonga the owner of the company is humble , the complete opposite of his wife but lately he has been travelling a lot outside boarders . He barely works at the company.”
    Atleast I got something I told myself , all I needed was a way to get close to that woman and my father . I even thought of seeking a job as a cleaner or something at the company but that wasn’t close enough . I had to get to their house .
    “Tell me when the boss is in” i asked my new friend . ” I want to ask him for a job” I begged . He was so interested in me that he just smiled and agreed . Unfortunately I liked my teacher friend , he was almost like my boyfriend but we never did anything physical . We would just sit and chat , he was in grade 11 now and we barely met especially with my new mission . Joe didn’t make things easy for him too , he actually hated the guy . He always acted jealousy of him .
    Chile got married 6 months after l launched my mission , she moved in with her husband and it was now the two of us in the House Joe and myself .We fought almost everytime we were home and that really made me miss Chile , she was staying within the compound so I visited her regularly .
    One day I went to my fathers company as was the trend . Brian my new friend told me the boss was in the office.
    “Oh great !” I said , “I’m going to see him then , let’s see if he offers me a job” I smiled.
    I went to the reception to ask if I could see him . The Secretary at his office told me l could only see him with an appointment . I stood there arguing with her . I turned to leave and I bumped into someone . lt was granny.
    “Amama” I screamed
    ” Amama is that you? ” I asked shocked, thinking I was seeing a ghost . Granny stood still her mouth open .
    “Mwaziona!” she shouted tears running down her cheeks. “Mwaziona! mwanangu ! What are you doing here ? Where have you been ?” She asked
    I ran and hugged her. The Secretary watched in awe as we stood holding each other and crying .
    I pulled granny outside and we walked out of the company premises . She was so happy to see me.
    “But granny, uncle told me you were dead.” I spoke up ,
    ” what ? That idiot is mad . I was only admitted in the hospital after an accident .” She giggled.
    I told her everything that happened and how I got to Lusaka . Granny cried and hugged me .
    “I looked every where for you mwanangu” she said.
    “After I was discharged from the hospital . I found your uncle had sold most of the things at the farm including my phone , he told me you ran away from home for no reason but l never believed him. I knew he had something to do with your disappearance , he told me that he didn’t know where you had gone , he even lied that he searched for you the entire town of Chipata . How could he tell you l was dead ?” complained granny. Who was now looking a bit older than l left her.
    “So how did you find yourself here ?” I asked .
    ” I came after years of searching for you in chipata , the police there just told me that maybe your father kidnapped you .
    “So I came to face your father and get you back if he had you but I was told he was out of the country so my informant just called to let me know he’s in the office so here l am.”
    “Oh amama , am really glad you are alive . You have no idea what I went through without you ” I cried out.
    “It’s ok mwanangu” granny said wipping my tears.
    “I’m here now, Now let’s go where am staying at a friends house you tell me how you have been and how you have grown so much . Now you are an exact copy of your mother , you look so beautiful my Child” granny held my face and smilled.
    ” I missed you amama ” I said honestly .
    “I missed you too my child. God is faithful, he answered my prayers and kept you safe.”
    I asked granny that we instead go where I lived so we would catch up . We had a long day of talking and laughing . I told her about Chile and Joe .
    “May God bless them” she said .
    ” I will thank them for taking good care of you”
    “So what happened to uncle ?” I looked at granny.
    ” Oh dear,” she sighed ,
    “Your troublesome uncle was caught with drugs by the DEC in chipata , he’s now in prison serving 10 years . I tried raising him well but that son of mine was out of the way . I pray prison life makes him realise what is worthy in his life .”
    Granny asked me to go to Chipata with her .
    “No way I’m leaving amama” I told her. “I was at the company today because I have a plan to get justice for my mom”.
    “How are you planning on facing those pipo my dear ?” She asked worried .
    “I have it all planned out amama don’t worry.”
    Granny refused , she told me Justice belonged to God and that l should forget and let God avenge mom’s death .
    “I will not back down amama” I insisted and I could see her defeated . She knew very well if I aimed at something I never backed down.
    “Okay, let me help you then ” she said .
    “No amama I can’t put you in harm’s way” I shook my head. Granny looked at me puzzled .
    ” Look who is talking . Lusaka has really destroyed my little girl” she said shaking her head .
    ” Forget it Mwaziona I’m not letting you do this alone.” She clearly outlined. I knew for sure she was serious. She was as stubborn as I was.
    “Ok then, tell me what you think” I asked after telling her what I intended doing.
    Later that evening I took her to Chile’s house , she was so happy and said she almost didn’t believe uncle’s story .
    “lt was too plain” she giggled , we spent a night together and talked almost the whole night .
    “Thank God she’s here” I prayed. l really needed her around . I felt so much comfort and slept like a baby..

    Episode 10

    Granny stayed with us , she insisted I go with her home but I wasn’t going without settling scores with my mom’s murderer.
    ” I will not leave you alone in this, there’s no way am loosing you again.” She pointed out firmly.
    ” I just love this woman” I thought to myself.
    I watched her chat and laugh with Joe , to my surprise he was acting all matured and manly , if I didn’t know him better I would think he liked me more than I thought . Even my efforts to pick fights with him failed , he turned down every effort and I felt really stupid .
    We grew fond of each other and despite our little fights, I knew Joe would put his life on the line for me . I saw the way he would fight and overprotect me against boys, lt was so evident . Luckily I didn’t give him much trouble with boys except my teacher boyfriend Cheelo.
    I recall the time l first had my menstrual periods . I rushed to him holding my pant crying that someone bewitched me and there was blood on my pant . lnstead of saying anything . Joe fall to the floor laughing hysterically . I even cried more , Chile came to find out what was going on and scolded Joe for laughing at such a serious matter . She took me to the bedroom and explained what was going on , she taught me how to wear pads and cautioned me not to sleep with boys .
    “You can now get pregnant” she explained.
    “Wait until you are matured enough before you get engaged in sexual activities.” She added.
    I was devasted with the news that l will be seeing blood every month .
    I joined granny and Joe snapping from my memory, Granny wasn’t for the idea of me pretending to be looking for a Job at my father’s company .
    “I won’t let you get in trouble with a bunch of lies” she said
    ” what then?” I asked almost upset , I was regretting lèting her on my plan .
    “She might ruin things” I told myself .
    Granny said we had to tell dad the whole truth.
    ” let’s tell him know the truth and if he’s an honest man he will help us get Justice for your mother.”
    “But amama,”
    “No buts….” she cut me short . “I raised you to be truthful and honesty , am not letting you lie around like a criminal, besides, it’s dangerous . ”
    I knew I had no option but to go on with her idea.
    “So how do we see my father? ” i asked giving up.
    “Leave it to me my dear, she said assuring me. ” we would meet him by the end of the week .”
    Later that week on a Friday Granny left and came back with a gift bag , she handed it to me .
    “Here, get cleaned up we are going to have dinner with your father this evening and I don’t want him thinking we are beggars or something like that . Go get your hair done as well ” she added .
    “Wow !” I said teasing ,
    “I like this part of amama . Welcome to Mwazi’s den” I smiled at her rushing out to the saloon .
    “Lusaka street’s have really destroyed my little girl” laughed granny .
    “Am not a girl!” l shouted back. “I’m almost 15”
    “What ever” she laughed. “You will always be my small girl”
    I went to Chile’s friend at a saloon and had my hair over blown , she made a small shade in front and made curls in the hair falling on my shoulders . Granny was satisfied , “good” she smiled, ” now go dress up we are running out of time.”
    I wore the new dress granny bought me , a nice blue that matched my light skin tone perfectly ,it shaped my small round breasts well and my slim waist . lt was flayered from the hips down to the knees . On my feet I wore a new pair of middle hilled Brown shoes , I really liked the image I saw in the mirror though it was half broken. I could see the beauty that people always talked about . For the first time I agreed with them ,my hair dangled when I turned .lt was like I was 18 years already .
    I went out to meet Joe and granny in the other room and they all looked at me in awe ,
    “wow ! You look super beautiful , ” exclaimed Joe, surprisingly he had never told me l was beautiful . He either called me little or stubborn girl .
    Granny came and made me turn . “wow !” she marvelled , “you are beautiful my baby, just like her.” She said almost shedding tears .
    “Thank you” I said bowing down and modelling around just to lighten the moment .
    “Be careful!” Joe shouted as we entered a taxi Granny had hired , “Arcades” granny told the driver. 20 minutes later, we arrived and walked to a restraunt which looked so expensive . I gave granny a wonder look.
    “How ?”
    ” Don’t worry ” she told me “Just sit and relax” She signalled me to sit .
    ” What next?” I asked her curiously .
    ” Now we wait to meet Mr Ackim Chisonga” she proudly responded. “let’s give him a shocking evening”
    I couldn’t help admire this part of granny . She really was determined and her actions thrilled me .
    “It’s gonna be a long evening…” I thought to myself sipping on my glass of orange juice.
    We were seated for almost 20 minutes, I had a couple of cups for juice I was getting so nervous.
    “I hate waiting” I told granny.
    “you have to learn to be patient ” she scolded. ” we came earlier than we agreed ” she explained. “so let’s give him time, he should be here by 18 00 hours.”
    “So tell me how you got to him.” I asked to get us talking.
    “okey” agreed granny. “I first called the Secretary, I got her number from that informant I told you about. I then managed to get an appointment and met him this morning.”
    ” this morning?” i asked surprised.
    “yes, why ?”
    “No way! why didn’t you say anything before you left amama? ” i sat up now truly excited.
    ” Oh well, because I know how impatient you are. Besides, I wanted things to go well before I told you anything. I didn’t want to get you upset.” She smiled
    “okay so?” I asked so she would tell me everything.
    ” I saw him at 10 hours, at first he didn’t believe I was seeing him but was glad. He said he always longed to see me after he death of his wife but he didn’t know where I shifted to. He said he even went to my old house to look for me but the neighbours told him I moved out.” She paused.
    “so, did you tell him about me?” i inquired.
    “I didn’t” she shrugged. “he almost brought up the issue of you but I dramatically changed the subject. I told him we meet here and that i had a lot to tell him.”
    “Amama you are an actress,” smiled nervously. ” so what will we do if he decides to defend that devil of a wife he married..?”
    ” Dont worry mwanagu” granny told me. “Believe me, it’s his loss, because I won’t let him near you again. I promise.”
    “But I don’t want to stay with with him amama. I don’t know the man.” I shook my heard scared of the idea of staying with my father.
    “let’s not get ahead of ourselves, lets see how this meeting goes”
    We were busy talking, when sudenly granny announced,
    “He is here Mwazi.. ” I felt so weak in my knees with nervousness. At that moment I really realized how much I needed granny. I didn’t think I could have done it without her.
    “hello!” I heard a voice behind me. “to be honesty, I think I had heard it before, that voice was so familiar.”
    “hello! ” granny stood up in front of me.. I knew I had to turn but I couldn’t I was so nervous.
    Granny nodded her head as an indication I stood to face my father. I stood straight gaining my courage and boom!, we were face to face. The man before me was tall and so handsome, he was in an exclusive suit, you would tell he was rich. I looked at him and he was looking at me his jaws dropped.
    “What?” he shivered and I could see his hands tremble.
    “what? Babe…is that you?” He asked coming close and holding my face. I just looked at him I couldn’t move. It was like I turned into ice.
    Granny came to my rescue..
    “Ackim, it’s not Chikondi, this one is Joy” she told Him, giving my other name.
    “You… you, you mean she’s my… my girl Joy?” He stammered geting even more shocked.
    “Yes,” granny chuckled looking at him
    “this is her..”
    He let go of my face, I noticed people were watching us. I felt so embarrassed and sat back in my seat, my father sat next to me holding my hand.
    “My baby girl how are you?” He greeted me.
    “I’m fine” I answered looking at granny.
    “you are all grown up and you are really a true copy of your mother. for a moment I thought you were my Chikondi.” I was just watching him. He had this element of sadness on his face. He smilled but it still was there. I instantly connected with him, sure it’s true what they say, blood is thicker than water.
    Granny cleared her throat.
    ” Mwazi this is your father, I called him here so that like we discussed. we tell him everything.” she turned to dad.
    ” Ackim this is your own flesh and blood your child the one you had with my daughter Chikondi.”
    Dad spoke up. “But mam, why did you take her away? I had the right to see my daughter don’t you think? I spent years wondering if she was alive..” He started complaining his displeasure registered in his voice.
    “Excuse me Ackim” granny was sounding upset now.
    “you lost your right to see her since the day you decided to make my daughter’s life miserable and let her be killed”
    Dad looked shocked, “What do you mean, I let her get killed?” he asked looking suprised.
    “Oh yeah! so you really don’t know? Please…” I knew at that moment granny was loosing it.
    “Amama come down,” I said moving to hold her hand.
    My father loooked at both of us.
    “what do you mean? Please tell me. I know my wife was murdered by robbers but you make it sound like it’s my fault. what’s going on here? You called me years after hiding my daughter and now you accuse me of killing my wife? I loved and it was unfortunate she died early. But please drop the blame games already huh, what is this?” he asked all serious.
    “Look here sir.” I spoke up.
    “You are the reason my mom died, I had to suffer trauma at 3 years old because of you. I had to live in fear of being raped by my own uncle because of you, I could not even sleep at night for fear of dreaming about that murderer, I was almost lost and probably killed in the streets all because of you.” I backed out my anger crying.
    I couldn’t hold it any more, I somehow didnt believe that he had no slightest idea of what happened.
    “How can you be so blind?” I accused him. “You know what? now that i met you, am not interested in talking or seeing you again.” I was so upset I ran off.
    I felt so much pain in my chest it felt like I would burst. All my night mares were coming and hitting my memory. I ran so fast I didn’t realise I had reached the road.
    Suddenly, someone grabbed me from behind, i turned sharply, it was my father. He managed to pull me back and walked me to the packing lot.
    “please Joy” he begged.
    “Mwaziona” I corrected him without turning to look at his face.
    “You know why granny called me that? cause my suffering started when I was too young.” I cried out gain tears dropping on my dress.
    My father held me tightly,
    “I am so so sorry my baby. I had no idea you went through hell, please forgive me and let’s go back to the table so that your grand mother can enlighten me on what really transpired back then, believe me I am as blank as a blank page. hear me out I beg you. I love you so very much you are the product of my greatest, first and forever will be love of my life.” He whispered.
    “Why did you cheat on her then?” I asked him still sobbing
    “please Joy, let’s sit down we clear things out please” he begged.
    I finally agreed and went back to the table were granny stood up,
    “are you okay my child” she asked holding me and letting me sit back in my seat..
    “am fine amama” I said wipping my face .
    “Tell me everything please mam” dad told granny….
    “okay” she said…
    “am fine amama” I said, wipping my face .
    ” Tell me everything please mam ” dad sighed looking at granny.
    “Alright..” she sat up…

    Episode 11

    Granny explained everything to my father .
    “So like I said Ackim, if you had been more considerate you could have known what was going on with your wife . She died because of loving you and wanting the two of you raise your daughter together. Now see where that got her, leaving this poor child so young and broken.”
    Dad was so quite his head bowed down .
    “I know the woman at home is not a good person, but I had no idea she went as far as killing the only woman I loved , my life has been a misery since I started staying with her . We are not even married . She practically forced herself on me and moved in without my approval . I wonder why I tolerate her so much. when am away I really get to my senses and plan to do the right thing but I don’t know, when ever she’s around its like she has this power over my life .
    She controls me so much and l don’t do a thing . Now she’s practically running things at my company ,bossing around and intimidating the workers . I noticed how bad things are becoming and so I decided to invest more in my outside businesses . The past two years I spend most of my time outside the country just to ran away from her , thank God she has no idea I have other businesses there . I just tell her I go for studies .
    ln fact if not for the welfare of my faithful workers I could have gone to stay in the UK by now but I want the company here in Zambia to continue running so that my workers are not left Jobless.
    I barely knew my father but after saying all that l couldn’t help feel bad for him . He really looked sad and I was positive he was suffering deep inside his heart .
    “So now that you know your wife is a murderer what are you going to do?” Inquired granny .
    “l will personally make her pay. Justice has to prevail and my wife deserves more than justice for the person that killed her.” he spoke gazing at me .
    ” lf l had any slightest feeling of care for that woman in my house now it’s all gone . I will not live with a murderer , now that you have said. I think lots of people tried telling me but for some reason I didn’t get what they implied .” He sunk back in his chair.
    “How are you going to do it Sir ?” I asked challenging him .
    “lt’s dad Mwazi” granny spoke up .
    “No it’s fine she’s not used to that , give her time” dad said looking at me .
    “I don’t know yet” he said
    “.We need proof otherwise the police won’t open a case without evidence,” he shook his head.
    ” you know what dad, if your wife has killed before am sure she has done far much more bad things in her life . I swear if not for granny I could have come for her myself ” I spoke angrily.
    Dad smilled ,” you trully are my daughter . You have the strength of a lion . I used to be like that as well but well , I guess am all finished God knows what happened to me” He smiled exposing his teeth.
    ” by the way Sir, Oh dad..” i said almost forgetting the dad thing.
    “If we have to put her in jail we need to work together , do you know that l was the witness to mom’s murder ? I know her face and I can easily recognise her . The thing is l have re-lived that moment most of my life in my dreams, so yeah I can testify”
    Dad shook his head ,
    ” am sorry you had to experience all that my baby. I know I can’t turn back time to correct my mistakes but please if there’s anything I can do to help you get passed your sadness and misery I will do it . I love you and I need you , my life ended when your mom was taken from me but I feel God has given me another reason to live and be happy , will you forgive me ?” he asked getting down on his knees .
    At that point I felt really bad for him . lmagine him all dressed up in an expensive suit kneeling before me a nobody ,
    “give me a chance to get to know you better baby” he pleaded tears falling from his eyes
    ” Please” he went on..
    I just sat there speachless right then, I knew I loved my father . I actually wanted to hug him but I couldn’t I was motionless.
    ” listen to him Mwazi” granny encouraged.
    “Whatever happened is in the past let’s move forward and live on , we can not bring back your mom but we can live for one another now . You only have me and your father here .” She softly spoke.
    I was so arrogant .
    “No granny” I interrupted
    ” l have Chile and Joe too , they are part of me now .” I answered looking away.
    ” I know ” chuckled granny, ” but we are your blood mwanangu ,nothing beats that. Those two are a big part of your life so is your father.”
    I knew deep down my heart I had forgiven him already .I was just being stubborn , finally I held his hands .
    “lt’s ok dad ” he stood up and pulled me into hug.
    “I love you my baby ” he smiled, “thank you .”
    He looked at granny .
    ” Thank you mam for raising her . I don’t know how to repay you”
    ” you don’t have to” smiled back at him
    “She’s my blood too . lt was my duty to raise her, unfortunately she has lived part of her life among strangers, we owe that girl and her brother a great deal. They are the ones who needs our appreciation .”
    Granny told my father everything about how I came to Lusaka and got to live with Chile and Joe .
    Later that evening we had our dinner , which I barely ate , as usual I didn’t have enough apetite , worse still after all that drama
    ” lf you don’t like your food I can order something else for you” dad chuckled after seeing how I was nibbling my food .
    Granny giggled too, ” Oh, get used to it , your daughter barely eats . I tried all I can to get her to eat but it seems she always looses her apetite .”
    ” But she used to eat a lot as a baby , ” he responded .
    “Hmm, I gues she doesn’t now ” responded granny.
    “Since she recovered from that trauma she’s been like this , it’s like her apetite was never recovered .”
    “Oh that woman”, dad cursed,
    “I swear she will go to jail for this .” He scoffed angry.
    Dad insisted that l ate something , he even asked me what I really wanted unfortunately there was nothing l really desired . Just to please him I said pizza , the only time l could remember eating pizza was when I was still young so I liked the idea of trying it out again . He ordered pizza and I regretted making him . I only managed to eat a piece and I was full . I really wanted to show I liked it and eat more but i just couldn’t.
    “I will eat at home” I said just to make him feel better.
    ” It’s alright baby, l understand” he said patting my hand .
    Later in the evening he offered to drive us home. His vehicle was so big and extra nice inside , the seats felt so comfortable and dad wouldn’t leave my side . He told me to sit in front with him . I saw the concerned look on his face as we drove through the compound .
    Yeah , l gues he was wondering why his only daughter had such a miserable life when he was living in his rich life .
    He asked granny if it was safe for us to live there .
    “lt is ” i answered on behalf of granny ,
    “I have lived here for 5 years now and nothing happened to me” I could see granny wasn’t so happy with my answer .
    ” It is don’t worry” she added giving me a warning look.
    “Let me pick her out tomorrow?” dad asked looking at granny
    “I need to spend time with my baby please”
    ” Of course” granny shrugged , “she’s all yours .”
    ” Can you stop talking and planning my life as though am not around” I interrupted.
    Granny laughed
    ” you are stubborn little one , don’t worry about a thing she’s a good girl only too stubborn for nothing ”
    she told dad.” I knew someone like that” dad smiled laughing too. “Okay fine, I will go with you tomorrow” I said getting down from the car.
    ” Good night” I indicated to dad . “Good night baby” he answered back ,
    “See you tomorrow morning” . Granny remained behind and they talked for a while before she came into the house .
    “What were you two talking about ? ” I asked her before she could get in the room.
    ” None of your businessrooms she answered pulling my ears .
    ” lf you two are busy planning my life behind my back then it’s my business ” i argued.
    “you talk too much go to bed .” She laughed pushing my shoulder a little bit.
    I decided to sit outside with Joe and narrated the whole dinner meeting .
    “He’s a good man after all” shrugged Joe . .
    “Whatever” I said carelessly ,
    “As long as he is still with that murderer he will not have my peace” i burst out.
    Joe chuckled , “seriously you are a child.” He shook his head.
    “I’m not,” I argued as we went back Inside.

    Episode 12

    I woke up really late the following day , it was a weekend so Joe wasn’t working . lt was one of the weekends he was given an off day , he prepared breakfast and came to wake me up .
    “Hey aren’t you waking up today ? Happy birthday.” He smiled ,
    “you are officially 15 years of now ,” he said teasing .
    ” Oh thanks , Mr big boy” I smiled too pushing him from where he sat next to me on the bed.
    “You remembered huh?”
    “How can I forget when you have been singing about it the whole time? I have seen you hatch you know..” He let a laugh and I hit him again.
    “Hatch? ‘re you crazy, Am not chicken
    “Where is amama?” I asked him . “Please, that amama name does not even sound okey, besides, she looks young . The amama name sounds like you are calling an old lady or something.
    “Oh, so now I don’t even talk properly? you know what? leave me alone already you silly boy” I said covering my head with the blanket .
    Joe pulled away the blanket , “remember you have a date ?”
    ” A date ?” I asked frowning.
    ” Yes little girl , have you forgotten your resurrected dad is coming to take you out today ?”
    ” Oh that” l said relaxing .
    ” Okay go i dress up then” I told Joe .
    “No way” he chuckled folding his hands .
    “since when are you afraid of dressing up in front of me ?”
    ” since I turned 15 you idiot” I said throwing a pillow at him .
    He shook his head as he went out. “15 indeed!” he shouted still giggling.
    Granny was not outside as I had thought before . I cleaned the house and took a quick bath . I was not in the mood of looking good any more so I went back to my usual dressing , a jean and body top . I tied my hair in a pony tail as always . I didn’t even bother to apply any lip gloss that day.
    Granny came back with a small cake ,’ written happy birthday Joy. may your life be filled with love and peace .”
    Granny always got me a cake for my birthday and it was so long since I had it , the past five years I barely remembered my birthday.
    “Wow ! amama thank you” , l hugged her.
    “Happy birthday my child” she said smiling widely .
    “You are the best ” I said dipping my fingers in the cake and eating it .
    ” Use a knife please” pointed granny.
    I didn’t like eating much but I really loved cakes. I sat with Joe and ate almost half of it . Granny grabbed it from me .
    “enough of this sweet thing, you need to eat real food now. ”
    We heard a car hooting outside . “He’s here” Joe announced .
    I asked Joe to go with me but he refused . I needed someone I knew near me . I didn’t like feeling out of place and since I barely knew my father I thought it will surely be awkward for both of us .
    Granny let him in and he handed me a small wrapped gift .
    ” Happy birthday Joy.” Dad hugged me.
    ” Thank you” i gave granny a side ward look. I opened it and there glittered a very nice gold necklace with letters ‘JOY’ hanging on it .
    ” l love it!” , l shouted.
    He must have spent a fortune on it. It looked like real gold not those l saw in town which faded barely a week after wearing them . l looked at granny again , she obviously told him about my birthday.
    As though he read my thoughts, he came to hold my hand.
    ” l never forget the day you were born,” he smiled .
    “I got that in the UK 2 years ago with the hope of seeing you again. ”
    Dad asked granny to go with us but she refused too.
    ” I have to stay here today . So you go on without me”
    That day, dad came with a different car . I liked it more , it was very poshy and small. Sitting in the front passenger seat as he started the engine.
    ” how does it feel to be 15 ? ” He looked at me .
    “Oh um it’s good I guess. I aren’t feeling anything different anyway, l just hope people would stop calling me a little or small it’s irritating .” I told him honestly .
    Dad giggled ,
    “so you want to be fat ?” He teased
    ” A bit” I responded . He smiled and I could see I had his smile even the funny way I moved my mouth sometimes . I realised our conversation was just flowing unlike what I thought before .
    He took me for shopping .
    “Get whatever you want” he told me .
    ” I have to spoil you it’s your birthday. If there was a way to make up for the lost years together I could have done it. Am happy to have you back my daughter.” He kept saying as we went round.
    I got all the nice clothes I could see . I never bought clothes from a boutique before , the designs were thrilling . My dad got almost anything I touched and he would pay with his debit card . I got something for Joe and granny too .
    At lunch time he told me we were going to have lunch at his place . debut
    “I asked people to prepare a special meal”
    “But what about your wife ? ” I asked him ,
    “am not sure I want to see her” I spoke honestly .
    Dad assured me nothing would happen .
    “I will protect you, I already talked to your grandmother, am working on a plan to put her were she belongs , besides she won’t be home until evening” he added.
    “If you want to know, we live under one roof but have separate lives , don’t worry about a thing , everything I have worked for is yours now Joy.” He squeezed my hand assuredly.
    He was so good l even felt guilty I treated him badly , it was like he wanted to make up for all the years . Of course it wasn’t possible but I sure was glad I found him .
    He drove through town to his house in New Kasama , when he turned to enter the big wall fence I couldn’t believe my eyes .
    His house was big and very nice , I had only seen such in Nigerian movies . Four cars were packed in the packing garage where he drove to . I saw the other vehicle he had the previous day too . we entered the house . wow ! I was amazed , just the furniture and the tiles on the grounds was so stunning and attractive. It was nothing I ever dreamt of seeing in my life.
    Dad showed me all the rooms except were his wife was sleeping , we sat to eat at the dinning table and the meal was delicious , the house worker greeted me with smiles .
    ” She’s Joy” he introduced me ,
    “my lost but found daughter.”
    “Welcome” the workers greeted , giving me so much respect .
    Latter in the day we went to a TV room , that’s what dad called it . lnstead of switching on the TV we just talked , my father was so jovial he told me lots of stories about some countries he visited and what kind of people lived there .
    “One day you and me Will fly out together he said .
    He asked about Joe and Chile , I told him Joe dropped out of school and Chile was married .
    “How old is Joe?” he asked.
    “He’s 19 ” l told him
    “. Okay let’s see how I can help him maybe he can go back to school and help at the company . by the way, How far did you too go in your education ?”
    “Grade 5″, l looked down shly.
    ” I was about to go to grade 6 when I travelled to Lusaka but I learnt something from a friend” I explained .
    “Okay, starting next week am going to find you a place at a convent so you start in grade six. Yeah? ”
    “No dad , am too old to start grade 6 plus I don’t want to go to school anymore . People will laugh at me , am supposed to be in grade 11 not primary.” I complained.
    “You are my only child Joy , one day you will have to take up my businesses but you need education , you have a small body no one will even tell you are 15 yet, please come on, do this for me.” dad convinced me and I finally agreed .
    ” Fine then” I said .
    “I will go but I ‘ve to try sit for grade seven exams earlier, l know most of the grade six and seven work already.”
    He agreed and promised to send me to a nice boarding school if I passed .
    We were carried away chatting and eating the fruits the workers had served us , we didn’t even realise it was getting dark outside .
    ” I have to go now dad” I told him .
    “But why? I can prepare you the other bedroom I will take you tomorrow.” He suggested but I told him I wouldn’t I had to go to church in the morning .
    ” l can’t live under the same roof with your wife dad, no I just can’t . ”
    He told me he was going to get the car keys after i got him to agree to my not staying and I stood up waiting for him .
    “Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house ? ” a cold voice spoke behind my back, i turned to look at the direction the voice came from , my knees felt so weak . I couldn’t feel my legs .I
    There before me was mom’s muderer, I recalled how she stabbed her several times in my dreams, I could see blood dripping from her chest , her orange top turning red. I heard mom’s voice screaming and her body falling to the ground . All this clouded my mind in a moment and l didn’t even realise I was screaming on top of my voice..

    Episode 13

    Dad heard the screaming and came back running , he held me tight .
    “lt’s okey! it’s okey ” he held me leading me out I could not get the chance to see her clearly and I was not sure she did either. she as too shocked with my screaming.
    I was in so much shock . I didn’t pay attention to dad’s wife staggering and almost falling , her eyes popped like she had seen a ghost .
    “What’s happening Ackim ?” she asked dad in a shaky voice. Dad looked at her with so much hatred , l could see even in my shock state , he didn’t answer her , instead he lifted me up like a baby to the car and drove off .
    I sat crenched in my seat. I could feel my whole body tremble with fear . At that moment it was like I was experiencing the whole murder again. Dad asked if I was okay and I couldn’t say anything . I sat in deep silence fully aware of what was going on around me but unable to respond . Dad stopped the car after driving for some minutes away from his house .
    He got out of the car and came to me.
    “Joy !Joy!” he called me.
    “Are you okey ? ” he asked panicking.
    I looked at him but said nothing.
    “Baby please talk to me , are you okey ? ” He got panicked his skin turned pale. I could see his panic as he picked his phone and dialled someone .
    “Yes, I don’t know she won’t talk to me ,” he said on the phone . I assumed it was granny on the other side .
    “Okay, right away” dad said hanging up . He ran to the driver’s seat and drove at a high speed .
    He turned and we found granny waiting by the road side on the way home . She came running to the car before it could even stop .
    “Hey, Mwazi !” she called out , opening the door and grabing me . “Talk to me my child what happened? please say something ” she pleaded.
    Inside myself I really wanted to speak to her and tell her I had seen that devil but I couldn’t . I just looked at her with wide eyes .
    “She’s in shock Mam” dad explained .
    ” She saw that woman and now she won’t talk . it’s my fault I took her home . I swear I didn’t know she will be there , am sorry, oh God what do l do now ?” Dad cried pacing the ground in confusion.
    Granny told him it wasn’t his fault , “it’s the fault of that devil in your house , ” she added.
    ” let’s get her home now” granny told dad ,
    “help me get her in the back seat.”
    Hours went by and everyone was just watching me . Dad gave me some pills and made me drink .
    ” It will help calm her down” he told granny .
    “I just got it from a doctor friend ,”
    I had not even realised dad had left for some time . He went to get help am sure .
    I startled , like someone who was in deep sleep about 30 minutes after l took the pills dad gave me . I looked around and saw everyone in the room . Granny, dad, Joe and Chile too .
    I looked at granny and my senses where back .
    ” I saw her amama” I spoke up , “just like in my dreams I saw her.” I said bursting out and crying .
    ” I know mwanangu , I know” granny sighed sadly coming closer and holding me tight .
    “lt’s okay you are safe now, look everyone is here . We love you and will protect you I swear. That woman will never hurt you again” she said wiping my face.
    Dad came close too ,
    “sorry baby, I didn’t mean to hurt you , please don’t scare me like that again, Oh my God, I couldn’t hold it , I can’t loose you too. Please Joy ” he said wiping a tear dropping from his eye.
    ” We are here for you don’t worry you will be safe ” he said .
    Everyone came to comfort me . Chile was heavily pregnant but she put my head on her laps as I lay on the floor mat . She stroked my hair softly. l knew those people in the room were all I had and they loved me . I foll asleep on Chile’s laps feeling exhausted maybe because of the drag but I felt at peace too .
    I woke up later in the night and dad was still around .
    “How are you feeling ?” He came to me immediately i opened my eyes.
    “Am fine dad I smilled at him . what are you still doing here ?” I asked him .
    Worried that it was late and he had not left yet
    “he refused He insisted to wait for you to wake up” , granny told me .
    “He’s been sick worried he won’t leave you .” I sat up , I was now sleeping in my bed . l didn’t remember how I even got there . Chile left and Joe was dozing in the corner of the bed .
    “Am okay now, everyone please , stop worying already don’t worry next time she will see the real Mwaziona” I joked and everyone laughed sighing with relief.
    Joe patted my back and went to sleep in his room .
    “You are full of drama little one” he said before leaving .
    “Go home now dad” I told my father ,
    “it’s late ”
    “Oh so that you put up another drama , no way.” He shrugged sitting comfortably .
    ” Stop, please am fine I promise, If anything I will call you on granny’s phone ”
    “Okay fine ,” he said finally after I convinced to.
    “l will go but first thing tomorrow morning am coming back. Be good and take care of yourself”
    “Yeah sure Sir. I mocked with a smile .
    Granny came with a plate of food that very moment ,
    “you need to eat mwanangu” , she handed it to me
    “Amama you never stop with your eating thing aii .” I nagged hating the process of eating.
    ” No way am letting you sleep without eating child , now get on it and finish that food” she said seriously .
    The next morning dad came with a new phone in a small box and gave it to me that I would use it to be calling him
    “whatever you say dad, thank you , so how is your wife now that she saw me ?” I asked him.
    “Oh that , believe me you are doing much better than her today . She’s all cooked up , she cannot sit in one place . She asked me what was going on . I told her I ‘ve no idea what she was talking about and she’s all pissed now , you should see her face” dad giggled .
    ” I guess she thinks you are a ghost ” dad teased and we all laughed so hard ,
    “by the way dad . She’s not your type” I said winking my eye ,
    “She’s too urgly for you.”
    Dad laughed so hard at that comment he could not stop.
    “You are really something my dear Joy he shook his head,
    “you really are your mother’s child.”
    Weeks passed and my life was really changed. I stopped selling and was starting school . Joe quickly found a place at a secondary school , it was easy cause his results for grade 9 were good . Dad paid all the school expenses . Joe couldn’t stop saying thank you, whenever he saw him .
    We had all we needed at home with dad supplying us. Granny went back to Chipata , she said she had to go and hire people to start cultivating and promised to come back immediately that was done . She told me she left mr Mbewe in charge of the farm and wanted to be there to make sure things were okey.
    Dad was mostly at our place since I wasn’t ready to move in with him yet . We got really close and I came to realise he was an amazing dad , not only did he supported us financially . He cared a great deal for me too .
    “What if we give your wife a better visit” l told him one day .
    ” l need to face her again dad if l have to live a normal life . l won’t be able to sleep peacefully knowing she’s out there. Planning God knows what .”
    After talking over it for some time, Dad agreed and we came up with a plan .
    “Let the show begin” ,smiled dad, giving me a high five.

    Episode 14

    The days that followed we spent them planning my meeting with dads wife. The plan was that i met her alone and record the conversation between us. Dad told me she liked being at the company office.
    “she’s trying to control my finances, so deliberately I have let her believe she’s in charge of the finance department. I want to catch her stealing the company money. I know she’s been working with some workers to steal money, so for me to get evidence I needed her to get so close to that department. That way, we can easily link her to the fraud..” dad explained..
    I had to look a bit older, so that i looked so much more like mom. I told dad we needed to go shopping again and we went to an expensive boutique as it was the trend then. I got myself a high heels in black, an office skirt, a short sleeved office jacket in black and a silk pink top for inside.
    Dad even suggested a wig, but I wasn’t for the idea.
    “The natural, the better” I told him.
    “Besides, I don’t want to hide my facial features.”
    I tried the clothes on and dad marvelled with satisfaction. He got me some other office clothes.
    “just in case you want to change” he laughed.
    I prepared myself early in the morning and Chile’s friend did the trend with my hair, she even relaxed it and curled it to make it even more beautiful.
    “am cutting it after this I told Joe.. “I like my natural hair.”
    “cut it and you are out of here !” Joe warned me.
    ” oh so now you are the boss? You will even dictate what i do with my hair huh? we will see ” I challenged it as we waited for dad to pick me up.
    Joe was so excited about the whole plan.
    “my only worry was that we don’t really know that witch. what if she throws some juju on you and boom ! you disappear?” he joked
    “what? You are mad” I scolded him “how can you even think like that? you want to scare me you idiot” I ranted chasing him around the room. It was imposible to catch him like I always did cause of the high heels I had on.
    “You are lucky you silly boy am all smart or else..” I yelled giving up and he was so happy at that.
    Dad picked me up at 10 hours in the morning, he was to drop me in town and then I would get a taxi to the company, the driver had to wait for me there and take me back home when I was done.
    Dad held my hand a bit and assured me he will be close. “Besides, the office is the best place cause there are lots of people and she can not do anything stupid ” he said. I was a bit nervous but had lots of courage too, knowing that dad would be close gave me confidence.
    “I get it dad” I assured him
    “I can do this don’t worry.. ”
    “may God help you” he said as he checked the recording device inside my jacket.
    I got to the company a few minutes later and held my head high. I got my pink hand bag, which felt so off hanging on my hand and headed for the offices. Dad gave me a name to use, so the Secretary could let me in.
    “say Monica Owen, the lady has an appointment with her but I called her to cancel ” dad had informed me.
    That was a good move, the Secretary couldn’t have allowed me in without an appointment or good reason.
    As I walked I could feel a few faces glancing at me. I chuckled inside. “How silly men can be, am just 15 you idiots” I shouted inside my head.
    I saw Mr Botha on the other end of the corridor carrying files to some office and tried to hise but was glad he turned before reaching where I was. I didn’t want him picking a conversation with me there , someone might have overhead us.
    I announced to the Secretary, “Monica Owen, am here to see” I cleared my throat
    “Mrs Chisonga.” I wondered why dad let her use his last name when the two of them weren’t even married officially. The Secretary glanced at a book and smilled.
    “oh yes, she’s waiting for you ” she said showing me the office.
    I knocked softly on her door my nerves almost shaking visibly,
    ” come in!” I heard her call out to me.
    I was standing there for a few seconds, collected my breath and opened the door. upon entering I turned to look at the figure before me, there she was, seated majestically in an armed chair looking into some files.
    ” morning ” i greeted her in a soft voice, sounding more calm than I actually was.
    she lifted her head to look at me and boom! She almost ran out. I blocked her way with my hand.
    “what is it Sofia.?” I asked sounding so matured.
    “are you glad to see me?” i added moving closer to her.
    “what? Who ? Whe. …..” she stammered moving backwards..
    “you are supposed to be… ”
    “dead?” I finished her sentence.
    ” yeah since you sent me to the grave am sending you there too.. ” i smiled enjoying her facial expressions.
    Sofia started talking like a mad woman.. “am not afraid of you ChiChi, I killed you before and I will do it again. I took everything from you idiot, your husband and your future am here running the company and having all you never had you idiot. you thought you are more beautiful yea? well he left you for me, see, yes I will kill you again if I have to” she repeated panting angrily.
    I felt so much rage to look at her taking pride saying she killed my mom. she actually thought she was untouchable, I had enough of her and lost it.
    ” indeed you are a devil…” I shouted shaking with anger.
    “you killed her and you are even proud? who do you think you are to take away a mother from her child? God? ” I asked sitting down. “you will pay for this you witch!” I cursed.
    “Wait?” she started, gaining courage and standing up.
    “who are you? Oh I see you are the stupid girl I saw at the house the other day. who are you ? ” She shouted getting close to me.
    ” you are not chikondi you idiot” she called me.
    “She’s dead and burried I attended her funeral and saw her burried.” She smiled pleased with her revelation.
    I couldn’t help seeing her so close. I stood up to her face. I was only 15 but I was taller than her.
    “am your worst night mare Sofia. i won’t rest until I see you in jail you evil woman, you are so shameless.” I spat.
    She grabbed my hand roughly lifting me up.
    “I know now” she sighed
    “yea ! you are that idiot Chikondi’s daughter, no wonder you were with my husband.”
    “your husband?” I answered her pulling my hand away.
    ” you have no shame, he’s not even married to you, you are just a silly prostitute.” I popped my eyes at her with a teasing smile.
    Sofia got so furious she held her hand to slap me.
    “don’t even dare!” I shouted holding her hand.
    ” I may be young but belive me am stronger than you can imagine.”
    “What do you want you stupid girl? If you think you can have your fathers wealth, you are mistaken ” she said
    ” am now in charge of both your fathers life and his money. So you won’t get a dime. ” she shook hwr head.
    “oh, that is your problem woman” I snapped…
    “it’s all about you, let’s see how you will have all that in prison.” I stood to walk out and she blocked by way.
    ” we are not done here small girl. if i managed to get your mother. what makes you feel you are untouchable. I will deal with you and you will regret ever messing with me you have no idea what am capable of..!” She breathed in my face.
    ” let me go Sofia” I said, pushing her away. she held my shoulders tight and started shaking me.
    ” I will deal with you little brat.. I will deal with you..” she pressed hard sending pain in my shoulders.
    “let go of me you witch !” I screamed, at the moment dad banged the door open.
    “let her go Sofia or you will regret it!” He shouted angrily, she let go and dad held me.
    ” are you okey Joy?” he asked checking me.
    ” Am fine dad, I said looking at Sofia standing behind me.
    ” sweety, whats going on here ? ” She asked dad desperately.
    “You will pay for killing my wife Sofia, I swear you will pay” he responded instead as he held my hand and left the office.
    some workers from other offices stood outside watching, am sure my scream alarmed them. We just passed them silently.
    Dad drove me home and he played back the recording…
    “we got her baby! well done” he smiled proudly.
    I sighed with relief, “it was almost over…”

    Episode 15

    Dad was devasted to hear the ranting of Sofia .
    ” How can she honestly do that? ”
    “I don’t know dad , all I know is she’s suppose to pay for her crimes ”
    I told him i was suspecting she could have been the one who killed my father too ,
    “now that you have mentioned, it I think that my father’s death was a mystery , he died in a car accident after his vehicle supposedly lost control. We were shocked because he never was a fast driver and besides That, he just drove a few meters away from his house .” He explain
    Dad managed to get my mom’s case opened by the police and they promised to get her for questioning and probably lock her. I was the only witness , though dad said my testmony wouldn’t carry so much weight since I was still a baby at the time . One officer assured us the recording was evidence enough and told us to see him the following day after he discussed the case with his superiors .
    Unfortunately the officer in charge refused to proceed and arrest Sofia , supposing the recording could be a forgely.
    According to them, they needed more time to analyse it . lt was so disappointing . Dad was so furious he almost caused a scene at the station but unfortunately we had no alternative but to wait .
    The following weeks, dad was even staying at a hotel . Granny came back and was too disapointed with the police , she only stayed a week and went back .
    “Since your father is around let me go and finish up the farm work” she told us before leaving .
    Dad was suspicious and hired someone to follow Sofia and find out if she had a hand in the delaying of the case , for sure she was . The Chief of police was infact her cousin and she paid him off to delay the case and probably destroy the evidence.
    ” we have to find another way” dad complained .
    ” What kind of justice system do we have In our country”
    I was now going to school at a private school and my dad would sometimes pick me up after school .
    He dropped me home one afternoon . After saying our good byes, I walked to the house and upon seeing the door open I assumed Joe was back . I opened the it and someone grabbed me, helding my mouth . I felt all my strength run out and my sight became dark.
    I woke up with a terrible headache. I felt dizzy as I tried to stand up , slowly I opened my eyes . Sofia was there smilling like a witch she was . I quickly jumped up and she grabbed my hair pushing me down .
    ” Not yet you idiot , where do you think you are going ?” She snarled.
    ” What did you do to me you devil !” l shouted pulling myself away from her .
    “Now let’s see how brave you are baby Joy” she teased with an ulgly grin .
    I realised she had kidnaped me , two men standing by the door in a room . lt looked like a hotel or guest house room . There was a double bed where Sofia sat and I was on the floor. I tried to escape her grip but she slapped my face so hard I felt dizzy again . I crumpled to the floor crying .
    ” Cry you stupid child , soon we will see who is an idiot. How could you ever think you are clever enough to have me cornered ?” Her lips were smiling.
    ” Dad will send you to prison you witch” I said in her face
    “you are an evil woman , you will pay .”
    I know what to do with your dad crazy small girl don’t worry , I ‘ve always had my way with him . Way before you showed your nosy face . So dont raise your horses so high cause this time I got You” she was laughing ,
    “so now let me tell you what is going to happen, Today you will join your mother and please if you will, pass my regards .”
    ” What are you talking about?” I asked sitting up again.
    “Oh Joy, I feel for you , you are too young to die but you gave me no choice, so as it is l will kill you and everyone will think you committed suicide” she laughed again .
    ” Oh sorry poor Joy you are such a depressed girl and couldn’t handle your mom’s death” she poured out her plans.
    I could bet she had it all planned. She iritated me so much that l felt more of hatred towards her than fear. I felt my mouth drying up . I needed water but I dared not give her the pleasure of begging her for water.
    “Watch her” , Sofia told the two men by the door
    “,let’s wait till it gets dark . This idiot child will soon commit suicide .”
    I sat folding and hugging my legs . I felt so trapped . I remembered I carried my phone in the pocket of my school uniform , I touched my pocket and there it was intact .
    I knew removing it would expose it so i slid it out a bit and went straight to dialled numbers and redialled dads line. I quickly placed back the phone in my pockets and started shouting ,
    ” let me go please , let me go ! Why did you kidnapp me? Please let me go!”
    One of the men told me to shut up or he will kill me.
    “Dad will give you more money than Sofia,please listen to me and let me go, please!” l was shouting .
    Ofcourse, trying to give dad the chance to do something . The man tied my mouth and hands. I cried bitterly.
    A few hours later, I noticed it was dark outside the window . Sofia came back and instructed the men to put me in the car outside ,
    “it’s time, ” she told them.
    I was dumped in the trunk of the car still crying and feeling so desperate and powerless.

    Episode 16 (Final)

    I could hear doors close as Sofia and her men entered the car .I prayed for a moment and tried to move my hands but the man did a good job tieing me up . I couldn’t move an inch , my phone rang and I panicked .
    I tried moving to lay on my right side where my pocket was but the tone was still audible . The car had started moving and with every move my hope of being rescued was dimishing .
    After moving for about 10 minutes, I heard the car come to a halt , a door opened and clossed again. I was dying to know what was going on out there. I heard Sofia talking on the phone .
    “I have no idea what you are talking about?” she said ,
    ” what the hell? Are you mad ?” she said sounding upset ,
    “am at a friend’s party, since when do you give a damn where I go . Please don’t involve me in your stupid issues. ” I heard her shout as she hang up , she went back in the car and talked to the men ,
    ” let’s hurry” she said ,
    ” we are running out of time.”
    The vehicle started moving and I was sure that was my end . I thought of granny , Joe , Chile and dad . I will miss them I cried .
    Sad that l just met dad and now I was going to die . I decide to think of happy moments. I ought to die happy I thought, and like Sofia said if at all I was meeting mom I had to smile.
    I was carried away by thoughts I didn’t hear the vehicle stop .
    One of sofias men came and opened the door to the trunk. He untied my hands .
    “Get down” , he ordered me . I moaned a bit as I stretched my hands. l felt pain where the rope was tied . The man was standing waiting for me to go down Suddenly his phone rang . He bent his head to his pocket and as he grabbed his phone I saw an opportunity to escape .
    I kicked him hard on his manhood, He fall to the ground holding his himself in pain and I jumped out running like hell , I could hear Sofia shout behind me
    ” Hey come back here ! You fools catch her! how can you let her escape ? ”
    I ran with everything I got, I could hear them ran behind me . without even knowing where I was going I kept running as much as my feet could take me. It was dark I could barely see .
    I saw vehicle lights coming from behind me and I ran even faster. I realised running on the clear read wasn’t helping so I decided to turn and ran in the bushes . I stopped for a while to look behind . “I lost them” I thought as I leaned on the small tree to catch my breath.
    after a few minutes I started running again came to another wide road , a thought told me to stop and wait for a vehicle so I ask for a lift but then I thought of Sofia. I couldn’t risk it . I crossed the big road and my legs couldn’t go any further . I felt so tired my chest was burning .
    Finding small tree a few meters in front, i decided to sit down in the bushes.
    Looking up i saw some lights at a distance . I knew there where some houses near by but I was so tired my legs were heavy. I gave up and decided to rest .
    Some minutes later I heard a vehicle stop by the wide road I just crossed .
    “Sofia” I thought but then two other cars stopped and I heard voices ,
    “search around this area” a man’s voice shouted . I saw touch lights pointing in my direction . Hiding behind the small bush so I first see who it was then two men passed me. Looking closely, they were not Sofias men . Then a third man emerged,
    “Dad !” I called out ranning to him . “Here!” dad shouted ,
    “we found her!” He ran and hugged me so tight .
    ” Joy are you okey ?” dad asked .
    “Am so scared dad” i cried out.
    “Thank God I found you , that woman will pay for this . How can she think of doing such a thing ? She has no limits .”
    “She wanted to kill me, she said she will make it look like a suicide , ” i sniffed on as he led me out of the bushe.
    “she’s crazy ”
    we walked to the vehicles, a group of men standing by 3 of them where in police uniform.
    “How did you find me ?” l asked dad .
    ” You did well to call me . I picked the call and I could hear everything . I called the police and gave them my phone to track you but because of what happened last time l didn’t trust they will do a good job so a friend of mine helped me hire these other guys to help me search for you . Thank God their equipment worked faster and we started tracking you , we were almost catching up and your phone went off. Luckily we caught Sofia by the road side , she was pacing around and I knew you had escaped” he explained.
    ” Have they caught her ? ” I inquired .
    “Yes they did and there’s no escaping this time since the police heard and recorded everything , you are clever my child ” dad looked at me smilling I could see his face as the vehicle lights shined in our faces.
    “Thank God you are a strong and courageous girl. God knows what Sofia could have done to you”
    I was taken to the hospital for check up, my feet were swollen I didn’t even realise I lost my shoes as I ran away from Sofia .The Doctor recommended I spent the night at the hospital they observe me . Dad stayed with me ,
    “thank God it’s over now” he said sitting next to me .
    Sofia was charged with murder together with the two men as her accomplices , infact they charged her for fraud at the company and kidnapping . She was given 60 years Imprisonment with hard Labour .
    Weeks later, Joe and I moved in with dad and we both completed out secondary school after some yers.
    Chile opened a fruits and vegetable shop at a large shopping mall . Dad helped her with a large sum of capital . He said it was just right that he helped them since they had contributed a great deal in my life and sacrificed a lot for me.
    Granny would always visit us but stayed at her farm. She always did missed me but was happy I was safe and happy with my father. There was no day I felt unloved by the people around me. I was happy and all the days at high school were great.
    4 years after completing a master’s degree in economics from the UK I came back to Zambia to ran two more companies Dad opened. Joe was the new CEO of the old company and was doing so well . He made his own investments too and was a big boy .
    One day, we sat outside my house in the evening with Joe. He had grown into a stunning handsome man.
    ” Hey little one! so when are we getting married ?” He asked cutting the conversation he were having.
    I sat up and looked at him suprised , “what do you mean big boy ?” I asked laughing not taking him serious.
    “Am serious” he moved closer . “you know I love you and I have waited for this moment my whole life . I want you to be my wife Mwazi , I love you and can’t wait to start a family with you .”
    I looked at him and saw he was being sincere . I know I cared so much for him but wasn’t he supposed to be my brother ?
    “Okay Joe you are playing me around again right ?” I chuckled.
    He came closer and kissed me, to my own suprise I kissed him back and it felt so right .
    I had one or two boyfriends in the UK but with Joe it felt so much special .
    “I love you my little one . will you marry me?” he proposed with so much love and calmness in his deep voice . I knew at that moment I had loved him the entire time. We fought so many times but were in love too.
    “yes” I said without hesitation .
    ” I will marry you big boy” I said holding his hands .
    Dad who stood behind us clapped ,
    “well done my son you couldn’t have choosen any better.” I looked at him.
    “Dad ! You knew ? ” I asked him . lt seemed he was fully aware of Joes plans .
    “Yes, he knows” Joe answered
    “I asked him first you silly ” he chuckled .
    “Oh, you two are bad” I teased kissing him.
    Two months later, I walked to the aisle and Joe stood in front looking so handsome and smart . I glanced at dad holding my hand walking me to him .
    “Thank you dad” I smiled
    ” You are welcome baby. You deserve this happiness Joe is a good man and he loves you. I pray the two of you will live happily from now on. ”
    ” you have made me a proud father.” He added.
    Granny and Chile sat in the front row , they looked so happy . I smilled at my husband to be and he held my hand ,
    “thank you ” he smiled ,
    “my little bundle of Joy . You fought with blood and water to realise this prescious moment. Am glad am part of it all and I will love you forever and always.”
    “I love you too, Joe” I whispered to him..
    The priest cleared his throat ,
    “we may now begin the ceremony , in the name of the Father , the Son and the Holy spirit”
    we looked at each other again,
    “amen !” we both answered smilling.
    *THE END*

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