…There was no time, he ran towards the house, shouting and scre-ming on top of his voice.
Chisala: “They are coming! Call the police, they are going to kill you. Somebody help!” he scre-med. All thoughts of self-preservation had fled his mind, all he thought about was warning the people in that house. He didn’t need another death on his conscience. He remembered when he was eleven, when he met Kopakopa for the first time. They had killed a woman, he had for the first time, witnessed dying.
He had reached the gate now, but the headlights were closer and he could see the distinct shape of Kopakopa’s van. He banged on the gate, but the gate man did not reply. However, the balcony light came on, and he saw a young lady in the balcony. He felt a sense of déjà vu, it was his dream all over again.
He continued scre-ming and then he really looked at the lady on the balcony, she was illuminated by the balcony lights, and she looked frantic.
“ Oh my God, it is Elizabeth” he thought with panic.
Chisala: “Elizabeth, it is me Chisala, you all are about to be killed. Call the police now, don’t die Elizabeth” he scre-med, his voice piercing the still night. Two shots rang out, the sound ricocheted in still night, and the bullets tore through the frail body of . He didn’t feel the pain yet, he was still shouting, and more shots rang out.
The pain tore through him, as he fell to the ground. Lights went on in other houses, and dogs began to bark.
The thought that went through Chisala’s mind as his world turned to darkness, was that, people were aware, the mission would be aborted.
The van turned around in a hurry and zoomed off away from the house. Chisala did not see this because the blackness had already enveloped him, and the last thing he saw was his mother smiling down on him. It was like she was saying, ‘Well done my boy’. Chisala had a smile on his lips when people came out to him.
It was like the earth was mourning the flow of blood, as the sky opened its bowels and poured out rain.
The rain washed the blood that flowed from Dayo’s body and soaked the earth.
Elizabeth had to fight her mother and the gateman to come out of the compound. She was sure she had heard correctly, the voice that rang out in the night. It was the voice of Mabvuto, the one she had heard on countless calls across the Atlantic, when they talked on phone through the night. But the voice had called himself Chisala, her Chisala from her childhood. She had seen the men dressed in black shooting at the young boy, and she had known then, that Chisala had come back for her and had saved her life and that of her mother.
Elizabeth “Mother, call emergency, Chisala is probably dying, he took the bullets that was meant for us.” She said and pushed her mother aside. She ran out the small gate and rushed to Chisala She knelt by his side and unbuttoned his shirt as she had been taught in her First Aid class in Red Cross society. Then she saw the pockmark by his potbelly, it was the same that her Chisala had when they were little. She needed no other confirmation that this was Chisala and he was also Mabvuto. There was no time to think of how things had come to this, she cradled his head in her thighs and began to cool him.
Elizabeth: “ Chisala, I know you are in so much pain right now but you have to hold on. I have looked in every face searching for you, and now that I have found you, I don’t want to lose you. Please don’t die, I need you, your mother still needs you to fulfil her dreams. Please Chisala” she cried and began to sing a song for him in Bemba. She was still singing when the ambulance came and carried Chisala away. Aisha and her daughter followed the ambulance to the hospital. She had heard about Chisala’s roots when he went missing. She had also met Kamulaza and known that Chisala was her friend’s son. She felt responsible for him.
She had not been a good friend to Tasila when she was alive, and now she swore to be a good friend to her in death.
In Lusaka, Purity was preparing dinner for her husband, who would soon be back from work when she felt a sharp pain in her lower abdomen, like something was pressing on her bladder. The pain was so much that she fainted. She was lying on the kitchen floor when her husband came back from work. He had called for her and when she did not respond, he walked to the kitchen from where he was perceiving a burning smell. He saw that the sauce on the frying pan was burning and so catching fire.
He switched off the gas, and then he saw his wife lying on the floor.
Ernest: “Purity! Purity!” he shook her. In alarm, he swung her on his shoulders and carried her to his car.
At the hospital, Purity had been revived, she thought that the doctor would tell her she was having a late pregnancy. She had been hoping that God would give her a child in her mid- age to keep her company, as James had outgrown her. Instead the doctor had a shocking news for her.
The doctor told her she had stage 4 uterine cancer, and her chances of survival was slim, but he could have chemotherapy if she chose. However, without chemotherapy, she had six months to live.
Purity: “ Ohhhhh! God this is too much. Is this punishment for what I did to Chisala” she cried, to the consternation of the doctor. Ernest just held his head in his hands. He was confounded, how could Purity have cancer? He was still thinking of the dilemma they had found themselves when he saw a call from Aisha. Since his boss died, Aisha had not contacted him, so, he was surprised when he saw her call. But he received it anyway.
Back in Livingston, Chisala had undergone surgery to remove the bullets, the surgery had been complicated because of the massive loss of blood and his rare blood group, he was Rhesus positive, like his father Kamulaza. Aisha called Ernest to tell him about Chisala and the condition he was in.
Aisha: “You need to let Kamulaza know, he is the only one who can give blood to Chisala. His life is on the balance” she cried and Ernest could tell she had been crying, even him was crying. He had mixed feelings, joy at finding Chisala again, and sadness at the condition he was in.
Ernest hung up and called Kamulaza immediately. He appraised him of the situation and it was Kamulaza would go mad with fear. He got the address of the hospital and got on the next flight to Livingston. Ernest also called his mother and told him about Chisala. She did not hesitate to call her driver, to take her to the hospital.
Kamulaza got to the hospital and donated blood for his son, the surgery was successful, but Chisala refused to come out of coma. His family converged at the hospital, even his two grandmothers, but Chisala’s eyes were shut tight, and his pulse got lower and lower. The doctor’s prognosis was bad, “He might not make it” the doctor said. The news was met with crying from everyone who had come for Chisala. Even patients in the hospital forgot their illnesses and joined in the crying when they heard the story of Tasila and Chisala.
James had been jealous when he heard Chisala announce himself, and when Elizabeth rushed to him without hesitation, saying things to him and singing to him. But seeing Chisala lying so helpless, with different machines connected to him, and a breathing mask strapped to his nose, he felt piteous towards him.
While others stayed in the hospital’s lounge, Elizabeth refused to leave Chisala’s side, she stayed by him day and night. For three days, Chisala was in coma, and on the fourth day he went into crisis. The doctors worked tirelessly, trying to resuscitate him. But at 11:45, the doctors pronounced him dead.
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