Mercy could not stop running. The footsteps were getting louder, quicker - and scarier. She could barely breathe and her heart felt like it was going to explode. This man pursuing her just couldn’t give up. What was he going to do to her? Would he murder her? Rape her? Steal every possible coin from her?
Words by Lennie Businge
Ironically, the thought of theft scared Mercy the most. How would she be able to provide for her children? Christine was just seven years old, her mother was her world. And her nine-year old son Gideon was quite mature for his age; but still just a child.
If anything happened to her, Mercy knew her children would have nowhere to go. Yes, her sister Patience was very fond of them and had even looked after them for three months when Mercy lost her job. However, she couldn’t continue doing so since her husband had been transferred to work in another district. In fact, just that morning he had coldly told her that she and her children were no longer welcome in his house. Mercy knew that she had to save every shilling she came across, and with that thought, she was determined to make sure this thief, or attacker got nothing from her!
She took a left turn and almost cried out in dismay; there was a large wall ahead - a dead end! Mercy raked her brains trying to figure out what to do. She had no choice but to turn around and face the man who may end her life in more ways than one.
He was young, probably in his early twenties. Mercy looked out for a possible knife he was brandishing but on seeing his empty hands, she panicked and guessed she had to be more alert; goodness knew what was up his sleeve - or in his sock!
The man approached her with an alarmed expression on his face. Mercy braved a warning, “Stay away from me or I’ll hurt you! I have a knife in my bag!” She knew she was grasping for loose straws, but it was her last shot.
The man quirked his eye-brow, making him look even more menacing in the pale moonlight.
“And I suppose you have a wallet in there too?” he was being devilishly cynical.
Mercy felt her pounding heart sink; he was a thief then. He would take all her money, how would she feed little Christine and Gideon now?
“Please don’t rob me, please…” Mercy knew it was hopeless. All was lost.
Her pursuer looked shocked, almost angry, then burst into hysterical, uncontrollable laughter. Mercy was puzzled.
“Rob you? Why would I rob a lady? Why would I rob anyone? I was just returning your wallet. You dropped it in the taxi!”
He then pulled out Mercy’s threadbare wallet and held it out to her. When she didn’t move, he sighed, tossed it on the ground and walked away.
When he was out of sight, Mercy still remained rooted to the spot. Tears of relief run down her face. As she decided to pick up the wallet and head home, a stray dog appeared from the shadows, grabbed her wallet in its teeth and trotted off.
-First published in BINGWA Magazine Issue 6