Wounds of a Man
By Agufa Kivuya (Kenya)
Life in prison was extremely hard for Junior at the onset but with time his body adapted to the environment. It was either he adapt or perish, so fearing the latter he adapted. The humdrum routine of the prison become part of his life. The bedbug infestation and overcrowded cells no longer scared him as he was told that was part of the rehabilitation. His body no longer swelled in response to bedbugs and mosquito bites. It was certainly not a dream. Many faces in the jail were familiar to Junior. He had participated in their imprisonment but little did he know he would end up now as his comrades. He enjoyed seeing the notorious and detrimental gangsters he knew run harmlessly like ewes to the order of the warders. They looked innocent. Who could believe they were the dreaded faces in the world of gangsters?
In prison, he met John, who was well known as pastor. John didnít take much time to fish him out and John always spent most of his time persuading Junior to try Jesus. Junior enjoyed Johnís company but he was an atheist and nothing could budge him. He enjoyed listening to Johns preachings in the prison, even though greatly disliked the myriad reference to him by John in his testimonies. This always evoked curious stares at him in the prison. This was not the John he knew. The John he knew was quiet and was very secretive and the John in the prison was talkative and outspoken. John had undergone transformation and seemed to enjoy prison life than any other prison. He was so happy and free.
Fellow Prisoners and prison warders treated Junior exceptional well, perhaps because he had revealed his identity to many people. This irked him even though the preferential treatment gladdened him. The man who was scuttled for the infamous coup and did mighty exploits in criminal investigations was now in jail. Who could remember that in his favour? Even the president had forgotten. The words of the fathers tormented him. A man is only important when needed or when he has what is required.
In prison, there was only one prison warder and one Fellow Prisoner who were to brutal towards him. Their exceptional hatred for him never abated. This troubled Juniorís mind. He had played part in bringing many to prison but he had never seen the two before. So, the reason they hated him with such unmatched cruelty remained cryptic to him. But after investigations he found out the prison warder was one of the beneficiaries of criminal activities in the city and some of the communications and guns were his. The prison warder was aware Junior was behind the death of gangs in the city even though Junior knew it not. No one seemed to know anything about the prisoner.
As if nature had conspired against him, the Fellow Prisoner was the prefect in charge of Juniorís group and the prison warder was the officer in charge of the group. The two just terrorized him
for nothing and seemed to enjoy it. They were extremely hard to him because, if anything, they surmised the president was responsible. There was no day they went to the field and the two failed to severely chastise him.
One day as they went to weed the onion plantation, Junior knew well he was to get not less than ten strokes of the truncheon Juma was carrying. It was just an unavoidable because of the overcrowded onions and it was impossible for Junior uproot an onion. In the field, you were to be first and without error. Junior was unlucky, as he had for long time never indulged in digging or cultivating
Junior had trouble in keeping up with the pace his comrades set. They were experts in the field and those in charge would hear none of it. He could not fail to notice the eyes of the prefect and the Juma just glued on him. The two were hell-bent on annihilating him. They shouted and hurled stinging insults at him. Was he the only one weeding? Junior tried harder to conceal the onion but the four eyes were monitoring him closely. Was he doomed to die? The heavy baton landing on his back jerked him up, and before he could say a word the hoe that was in the hand of the prefect spun and caught up with his forehead throwing him to the ground. This was pure malevolence. Fellow prisoners cringed with fear exclaiming, ďThat one has diedĒ