Promise in the Dark


The atmosphere was icy. A mother, her son, and a woman silently wishing to be anywhere else but squared off in a living room that was starting to feel fifteen times smaller than its actual size. Higher up on the wall at the far end of the room hang a huge golden clock; tick, tock, tick, tock it chimed  away, possibly the only sound in the room other than the uncomfortable sounds coming from  the mother’s hyperventilation.
Jackson Chibamba was desperately trying to hold his own against his mother’s intimidating and frozen  glare. He nervously wiped off the sweat on his forehead with the back of his hand, silently wishing  his mother’s hot acid tone could melt the ice looming over them when she thundered;
“Get her out of my house.”
Beauty Kabalo was the mother’s name, a woman known more for her viciousness than her
virtue…if at all she had any. She was known as a legend around the community for allegedly
shouting at a neighbours dog for messing up her lawn that the dog ended up committing suicide a few  minutes later. Contrary to her name, there was nothing remotely beautiful about Beauty, not in physical  form or character. Perhaps she might have had some beautiful physical features, but her icy demeanour always clouded people’s vision around her, including her only son.
Jackson had saved his mother as ‘Beauhazia’ in his phone and allocated her a specific ringtone, the chorus of the The Bee Gees’ song ‘Staying Alive’ as a reminder to take a deep breath before answering  her calls.
“I bet your parent’s are turning in their grave right now looking at how you never grew into your
name.” Jackson had once heard his late father say to his mother after one of their usual heated
fights. Jackson had always been on his father’s side, and so was everyone else in their old
The woman Beauty was chasing out of her house was Juliet, Jackson’s fiancée. Juliet Mwansa
and Jackson Chibamba had been dating for past three years. He had finally decided to lay aside
all his fears and reservations and took a bold step to introduce the two women responsible for
shaping his life in such profound yet parallel ways. On that day, Jackson discovered that it was
possible for one to have predications that equalled heavenly accuracy; everything was turning out
exactly as he had imagined it to be…except for the part where he had imagined smoke coming out
of his mother’s ears and nose. Instead of that, Beauty had opted to channel all manner of Oxygen
in the room towards herself, leaving the rest to start wishing death upon themselves.
“I think it’s best for me to leave.” Juliet said, almost getting up but Jackson put his hand hærd on
her shoulder and forced her back down.
“You’re not going anywhere.” He said sternly.
“Then I will be the one leaving.” Beauty thundered, already up on her feet.
“Please mum, it is not in your nature to leave your natural habitat even if it’s to get away from
someone you consider an enemy.” Her son said defiantly.
“You’re right,” she returned. “My nature would be to set the house on fire and then leave, locking
the enemy in,side and making sure there is no way out for him.”
Jackson didn’t need to ask who the enemy was. He knew he had become her enemy the moment
he decided to date Juliet and he sealed his fate the very moment he allowed the two women to
For a son who didn’t have a lot of good things to say about his mother and justifiably so, this was
the one case in his entire life that he understood her anger and pain. Beauty had every right to
oppose his marriage to Juliet and she had every right to be angry at him. And what was worse
was, Juliet too understood.
“I should just leave.” Juliet said, this time standing up quickly before Jackson could stop her.
“Yes, leave before I make you regret crossing paths with my son.” Beauty spat, rushing to the door
and holding it open for her.
“You’re just impossible mother.” Jackson said, getting up to get to the door before his fiancée. “Do
you know what it took for me to come here with her?” He squared off with her at the door as Juliet
stopped dead in her tracks.
“Have you lost your mind, or have you lost your memory?” Beauty asked her son. “Have you
forgotten what these people did to you son, how her family treated you, us, your family?”
“Of course I haven’t forgotten mum, how can I?” The thirty-five year old said, deliberately avoiding
looking at Juliet who was silently wishing for the ground to open up and swallow her.
“Then why have you brought this girl to this house?”
“Because I love her mother.” Jackson answered. “And because she is different from the rest of her
“What do you mean she’s different?” His mother asked, throwing Juliet a disgusted look. “Where
was she when her family humiliated us, when her sister made a spectacle of you in front of the
wh0le school? Where was she?”
Jackson hang his head resignedly. “Mum,” he said in a very low tone. “That was ages ago can’t
you just forget the past, please!”
Beauty snickered. “You want me to forget like you’ve forgotten that you dated that same evil sister
of hers?”
The look that Juliet sent him sent shivers down his spine. “I never dated
that girl!” he shouted.
His mother cackled. “Aaarh, so you just ran around like a headless chicken doing favors for her
that had you spending three nights in jail in exchange for s€×?” She asked sarcastically.
“Mum!” Jackson roared.
“What, I heard you tell your friend that she promised to sleep with you if you stole clothes for her
from Pep. Isn’t that why you got arrested?”
“I was only a kid back then,” Jackson said. “I was fifteen for Pete’s sake and things didn’t happen
as you are making them sound. I can’t believe you’re doing this. I am the fool for bringing Juliet
“You think?” Beauty asked, noisily tapping her foot against the carpeted floor, a smug look on her
face as she busked in glory over her Juliet’s defeated demeanour.
“I have to leave.” Juliet said, forcing her way between the mother and son.
“Juliet, wait!” Jackson ran after her outside, his mother watching them from the door with the same
triumphant look on her face.
Juliet suddenly stopped and turned around.
“You slept with her?” She said, tears streaming down her cheeks.
To be continued…

NEXT (episode 2)

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