Written by Myron J. Clifton
Almost seven-thousand miles away in South-central Kenya in the capital of Nairobi on a cool rainy morning the crowds were already gathered having started a few days earlier when news broke that Msichana Maalum would be speaking. The rumors further said it would be her last speech and that she would give her final revelation to all those who assembled.
Msichana Maalum stood quietly at atop the stairs of the governor’s mansion. Security tried to stop her after the governors of all forty-seven provinces who were in attendance, each with his or her own private security, along with the national military leaders sent by the President. And they were accompanied by foreign mercenaries from their own country and from western countries.
The government and province leaders had come to fear Msichana Maalum when they’d first been made aware of her over two years ago when as just a child of eleven years old, she walked into the capital city and began telling stories of the coming change for the country.
As far as they and their spies knew, she had no family, no neighbors or even villages that knew of her. She seemed to have come of out nowhere they all said.
Now with millions gathered, the government and military were as uneasy as the crowds were festive and accepting of what was to come, though no one could articulate what exactly was to come.
There was silence in the camp and among the mass of people that now stretched beyond sight and extended to all media platforms that surrounded the camp and which streamed directly to the headquarters of the party leaders and their military generals most of whom were war veterans, former warlords, or mercenaries with experience quashing civilian uprisings swiftly and brutally.
Their most trusted killers were now intermingled in the crowd and with snipers atop multiple buildings that allowed for line of sight to Malaika, which is what the crowd began calling Msichana.
They were awaiting order that gave them the authority to kill without consequence. They were anxious to kill this girl who was the cause of them being called away from the covert mercenary war they were waging elsewhere on the continent and which promised tens of thousands of dollars in kill-pay rewards.
“Make that whore bitch pay.” Their commander said over and over, expressing his anger at losing out on his money which was triple what his men would earn. He knew he had to continue getting his killers hyped because they were angry and bored, and when killers were bored bad things happened to their leaders.
“Space yourselves out, remember to kill in your assigned direction only – north, east, south, west, and turn your communications on – each of them. Okay, time to get in position, but one more thing.” He paused as he waited for everyone’s attention to refocus on him.
“Get the kill shot in the head, and you’ll get an extra twenty-thousand dollars and the pick of women from this dirty crowd.” The mercenaries showed their pleasure by animatedly grabbing equipment and making growling sounds that was their war chant as they began the month’s long process of setting up their kill areas, exit strategies, and contingency plans.
Months later Msichana Maalum walked down the steps and stopped, causing the hustle and movement of the crowd to slowly stop as it turned to face her.
Many began shouting “Malaika, Malaika, Malaika” in unison. The Swahili word for “Angel.”
Msichana stood still. Her round face wet with morning rain and her two wraps – golden and green, fell long to the ground. Her hair was thick and short, her nose regal and wide, while her eyes cast their own shadow. She remained barefoot with painted toenails to match eight of her ten fingers, with the other two a mix of colors. She was a teenager in all ways.
“I will speak tomorrow morning. We will have millions here and the rest of the country will watch on T.V. or listen on radios or their phones.” She spoke to a cheering crowd as she turned to walk away back to her space atop the stairs where she watched people fill in all around her. The immediate crowd was now more than a million people and half as many pets, and most could not see her but looked to giant monitors the city leaders put up all around the overflowing city and other areas where another million people had gathered and were now camping out in makeshift cities.
“Malaika, Malaika, Malaika the crowd chanted for another hour in celebration and expectation.
The crowd remained festive and celebrated into and through the night. Music blared all around as people danced, sang, ate and drank, sharing everything with one another.
The assembled guards and military stood aside and watched it all, waiting for kill orders for Malaika and to crush any subsequent insurrection. As the crowds had grown, more mercenaries and undercover military were called in and now, they too, numbered in the thousands.
Now everyone waited as the entire country stopped to await their Malaika, but she gave no indication of when she would begin to address the now anxious and excited crowds.
Atop the governor’s mansion were military snipers who were also spread throughout the crowd in surrounding buildings and in the countryside as the leaders fully expected a mass insurrection to occur. The president was firm in his orders: “Kill the girl the moment she says anything negative against the government.”
President Kamau was in contact with other world leaders and he quickly stepped aside for privacy that wasn’t possible in the crowded observation suite.
“Completely. Yes. Yes. We have it under control. I am as worried about the other countries as you should be. I am the law here. When I give the order, she is dead, and it’ll mean nothing. It’ll be over. Don’t call again. I will let you know when this shit is over.”
“Those fucking leaders think they can tell us what to do when they can’t even control the other little bitches in the other countries. Fuck’em all to hell god-dammit.”
“Sir. It looks like she is about to talk.” It was the Minister of Defense.
The president picked up binoculars and walked to the large sliding glass window that spanned the width of the room. It was, like every window in the building, bullet proof and with reflective exterior glass.
“Make certain every fucking sniper is ready.” President Kamau said to the room.
It was morning now and the crowd’s energy was higher than the previous night, despite the constant rain. Everything and everybody were wet, yet no one cared. The morning was here, and it held the promise of Malaika, the hope of Msichana Maalum and the literal dawn of a new era.
No one could even articulate what she was to say or do but feelings were unanimous that life would change with her words. Everyone felt it and knew it.
The crowd stopped all sound and movement as recognition rolled through the mass of people as Malaika descended the stairs and stopped at the bottom stair. No one recalls her moving overnight but now she stood in a deep head to toe black wrap that was lined in emerald green.
Malaika turned away from the crowd and looked to the roof where the snipers pointed their weapons at her.
The crowd followed her eyes and finally saw the assembled snipers atop the government buildings. Soon a huge roar came from those closest to Malaika and as it passed through the crowd and voices became louder and body movements more defined as over the course of about thirty minutes word had even reached the countryside that Malaika was in danger.
Malaika remained still with her head raised and her eyes directed to the snipers who were directly above and behind her and directly above the main overview window where the president and military men were.
“She’s looking right at us.” The president’s voice cracked, and he slowly lowered the binoculars.
“Remove the snipers!” The president yelled to his closest general as they looked upon a crowd of growing anger. “We will kill her after she provokes. We cannot kill her now or she’ll be a martyr and we will have a riot and uprising before she has said anything that we will use to justify killing her. I don’t need those fucking world leaders blaming me for fucking up. Remove them out of sight. Now.”
“Now!” The general yelled at the nearest soldier to him.
“Yes, sir.” The soldier hurried out of the tense room that was far too hot. He was on his communicator as he left and could be overheard screaming orders as the president had commanded.
The president opened his phone. “Something is about to happen. Watch our drone feed.”
“We are monitoring several similar situations and we have our own drones, satellite streaming and pictures and our own contractors in the crowd.”
A few moments later Malaika watched as the snipers backed away and disappeared. She turned back to the crowds who cheered loudly as the word of the government’s snipers backing down reached the ears of two-million people from city center to the countryside.
It was still raining, and the crowd remained festive as they awaited word from the girl who stood perfectly still with a slight smile that was shining through the rain sliding down her face causing her hair to look silvery.
Finally, Malaika gently raised her left hand which the crowd understood to mean to quiet down, now was time to listen.
“Asubuhi njema, familia.” Good morning, family.” Malaika began in Swahili. The assembled crowd and those listening on various media heard Malaika in their own language and no one questioned what they were hearing or how because her words were all that mattered.
“I am grateful you have all been so kind, patient, and welcoming to me. Now I will reward your patience, your faithfulness, and your historical perseverance. You call me many names and I love them all. And I love you. I come to you with your history in my blood… and today you are talking to someone you have long expected but had lost hope of ever seeing in person.”
“I am honored by the names and titles you have given me. Let me tell you who I really am and why life has changed for you, and everyone, as of right now.”
… to be continued.
© 2019 by Myron J. Clifton and Dear Dean Publishing. All Rights Reserved.