Call me Miriam. My nana often brought crusty biscuits from her job. She was a fan of trimmed dresses and stone clay teacups. The sun hung above my head when I spotted granny limping towards me, panting.
‘Run!’ granny said.
‘I’m paralysed!’ I said.
I’ve been disabled since that day I was shaping mud cakes in tin cans under those blue-green leaves. The fortune-teller said my great-grandma was buried under this very tree, and she had stiffened my legs.
That’s the sound of a rifle. A bullet hits granny, and a thick red fluid dripped from her waist. I crawled towards her, but she stared at me pop-eyed.
Her spraying blood squirted all over my face. A two button-less skirt soldier showed up and said, ‘Guten Morgen’. Then, he pressed his pink eyes at my disfigured legs.
Soon, he kicked my ribs with laced-up pigskin boots.
Ouch! He fired a bullet between my twisted legs. Then, an ear-splitting bang peeled my thighs. So, I pushed the shooting tube from my stick-out forehead. I looked the trooper in his blue eyes. ‘Schieben mich,’ I said.
‘Lauf,’ he said. His boots ironed my chest, and I coughed up bloody saliva.
The lanky soldier blew up our black and white pup. The puppy flew in the air before it thumped next to me.
Then, the soldier shot our red-berried cow. He pointed the metallic barrel at me before I peeped through the hole in the shooting tube.
This time, I rubbed my webbed legs. I whizzed past him.
‘Lauf,’ the soldier said, giggling.
I galloped past a few dead bodies. Then I tripped over an object.
Oh! It’s a baby. I grabbed the baby, tossed her over my back, and rolled through the red-hot sand.
The wave-shaped sand flung the tot out of my slippery hands.
Later, I spotted a waterhole.
Before I could wet my dry, sticky throat, I counted littered bodies around the spring.
Around the pool, cows with puffed-out bellies remained frozen. Then, I bumped into a swollen-tummy man.
‘Don’t drink,’ he said, pointing to the foamy water.
Then he squeezed his tummy and dropped face-down.
I stripped my blue-and-red skirt, and dipped it in the foam-covered water. I tied it around my chest, and hopped.
Behind the pale-yellowish sand, I bumped into a skinny man.
He dug out the simmering sand, and I jumped inside.
That nightfall, he fried grasshoppers.
He dropped the crispy grasshoppers on my tongue.
When the evening sun flashed the hilltops, we spotted a signboard, saying ‘Welcome to British Protectorate’.
* Ruben Kapimbi is an English teacher at Eros Primary School. He writes fiction in his free time.