Lights

In his dream, which could not possibly be a dream, Kip was floating in a space as black as the blackest night.

A black so solid you could hear it, feel it and smell it. There was no up, no down. No east, no west. It was a void of darkness. Then a golden light appeared in the distance and yet an arm’s length away. The light cut through the dark in a ribbon. When Kip touched the ribbon he was transported to a place he could only describe as a library.

It was an endless hall of books on either side. Books that spanned generations, each representing the soul of a human. Before him, there was a table with one book in particular.

JACKSON KIPTANUI. SON OF WILLIAM AND ANNE.

Kip’s name was written in cursive golden font. He sat down in the chair that only just appeared and touched the book but immediately jerked his hand back when it opened by itself.

Kip saw Rose. His darling Rose in a hospital gown, hair plastered to her face, smiling holding a baby in her arms. The baby latched on to one nipple and he was suckling furiously. Yet still, he saw Rose. Really saw her. He felt what she felt and she was feeling anxious. He wasn’t there with her. Where was he?

“I’m right here, babe,” Kip said.

The book turned to another page. A page way at the beginning. He saw a young man, about 20 years old if he would venture a guess. The man stood in the doorway of a small country house. The young man’s father said something unspeakable to him. He saw the young man leave. Tears stinging his eyes. “I have no father,” he whispered to himself. And as he stared into the face of the man, Kip could see his own face.

The pages turned rapidly forward now. The young man from before was now older. His name was William, Kip thought. And Kip knew that it was his father he was looking at. William sat in the waiting room of a hospital. The words of his own father swirling in his head. A curse so cruel that Kip saw his father’s heart beating ever so slowly. Slower and slower each minute. In the next room, William’s wife, Kip’s mother, was having a baby. He cringed. Seeing himself being born was disturbing. Still, he saw his birth. He saw his mother’s tears of joy. Saw his father receiving the news that Jackson Kiptanui had arrived.

He watched as William hugged the doctor and he heard the last words William Kiptanui ever spoke. “God. Thank you. I have a son. Watch over him and don’t let my father’s words affect him. Let him live long and watch his children grow old. I bless him as his father.” He sighed. “And I’m ready to come home.”

Watching his father’s spirit leave brought a tear to Kip’s eye but before William’s spirit disappeared, Kip saw a three-year-old boy hold his hand. The boy winked at him. His face too looked familiar. William looked directly into Kip’s eyes in the present and said in a voice as clear as day, “This is your brother. His name would have been Charles. Say hi to your mother for us.” The image of them froze and the book sped forward to the recent past.

Kip saw a man in a lorry drive him to a hospital. He saw doctors working to stop his bleeding, trying to plug the hole the bullet had torn in his back. Just a few centimeters to the left and it would have hit his heart.

A page after that, he saw another young man in a bar. He held Kip’s phone in his and and read a text message from his wife. “It’s a boy,” it said.

The young man broke down into tears as he searched Kip’s apps. I should really password-protect my phone, Kip thought. The young man opened his Twitter app and began to send a series of tweets:

@jaxtanui The owner of this account was jacked today. I happened to be there when it happened.
@jaxtanui Some guy I knew from high school set me up. He said he wanted to give me a job. I didn’t know it would end like this.
@jaxtanui I felt like I shouldn’t take him up on his offer but I needed cash so I did.
@jaxtanui The guy’s name is Patrick Awende. We went to Highway Secondary together back in 2012. He was with a guy called Kelvin. Kelvin is crazy. He pulled a gun on me.
@jaxtanui Patrick told me to take this guy’s phone and drive his car to the mall in Naivasha. He had a gun on me when he told me to do this.
@jaxtanui Shit. I hope the guy is okay. Kelvin shot him before we drove off.
@jaxtanui I really hope he’s okay.
@jaxtanui I left the car hapo Flyover. I didn’t take anything apart from a blanket.
@jaxtanui And of course, his phone.
@jaxtanui I’ll leave the phone here. At a bar I’m in. I have called the police and told them about Patrick and Kelvin.
@jaxtanui And where to find the car.
@jaxtanui I really hope he’s okay.

The young man placed the phone on the barstool and walked to the restroom. After pissing for what seemed like a very long time, he walked out of the bar. He looked at the stool where he’d place the phone but it was gone. The man walked out into the night.

Kip tried to flip the book forward but it would not let him. It violently glowed a fierce glow and shut itself tight. The library then disintegrated into nothingness and Kip found himself once again floating in an endless sea of black.

Kip woke up feeling like he had been hit by a bus. One of those City Hoppas he used to ride before he bought a car. He coughed and the movement woke up all the pain receptors in his body. His chest was bandaged up but he could feel like each breath threatened to open up whatever stitches he may have. He also had a monstrous headache.

And he was thirsty.

Soon, a nurse came by with a glass of water and a bendy straw. The kind you get with Ribena juice boxes. She also brought with her Kip’s wallet which had been in his back pocket when he arrived. A police officer accompanied her. The cop told him what happened and that they had found two of the carjackers and his car. The third one was still at large.

“The two you found,” Kip struggled to speak. “What are their names?”

The cop puzzled that that’s what the man wanted to know, looked into his phone. “Their names are Patrick Awende and Kelvin Ochieng’,” he said.

Kip nodded slowly. “Leave the other one alone.”

“Ati nini?”

“He wasn’t … Just leave him alone.”

The cop scratched behind his ear. “Uko sure, mkubwa?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

The cop shrugged and typed something in his phone then left.

A week later, Kip was discharged and he took a very long, very expensive taxi ride to his home in Naivasha. Rose was sitting outside with the baby in a rocking chair under the canopy of an umbrella shade tree. She smiled when she saw him. Kip’s mother, Anne, emerged from the house with a tray of sweet potatoes and some juice which she promptly dropped and ran to her son.

She tried to hug him but Kip kept her away. He leaned onto the cane he was using and pointed at his chest with his free hand. “Hi mum. I would hug you but it’s too painful,” he said. “I do not recommend getting shot.”

Anne had tears in her eyes. She said, “Oh my sweet sweet boy.” Taking his head into her hands, she went up on her toes and kissed his forehead. “Thank God you’re okay.”

“Thank God,” Kip repeated. “I would like to see my wife now, please.”

Anne straightened and stepped out of the way. “Of course.”

Kip hobbled over to Rose. She was crying and didn’t stand up. “Hi,” he said.

“Hi,” she replied.

“I’m Kip. I enjoy scaring random women. And not paying attention at plays.”

Rose burst out into laughter waking the baby. “Aww, there there baby. Meet your daddy.”

Kip ran his fingers through the boy’s soft hair. Then he bent down slowly onto one knee and kissed his forehead. “He smells like heaven,” he said. Then he scrunched up his nose. “And poop. He smells like heaven and poop.”

Rose laughed again. “Welcome back, babe.”

Anne took the baby from his mother. “I’ll go change him. You two enjoy each other.”

Kip smiled. “Thanks, mum.”

Anne nodded and started for the house. “And mum?” Kip said.

“Yes?”

“Dad and Charles say hi.”


Happy New Year.

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The Kip Story (read part 1 here) is over and I hope I tied up all the loose ends. I ended it on a light note because Eve said she’ll leave me if I killed Kip. So… Anywho, thanks for reading. See you next year.

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