Lots of commotion could be heard in the house as George drove into the compound. He wondered what the fuss was about.
He’d received a phone call from Amina, his girlfriend, asking him to pass by quick. From her voice, he couldn’t tell whether she was happy no sad. But from the laughter in the house, he felt somewhat relived that he was about to receive good news.
As soon as he got out the car, Amina rushed out the house and ran towards him excitedly.
“Hi boyfriend,” she said cheekily planting a kiss on his lips. “You want to know why today is a good day, huh? Huh?”
He smiled holding her by the waist, “Tell me.”
“Your girlfriend just got a job as the head Linguistics with the UN….”She was grinning hard now. “The letter was in the mail all this while. Baby, we got in, we finally got in!”
“Whoa…that’s amazing!” he said lifting her up. “I’m so happy for you babe.”
“Come on, let’s go inside, mother’s ecstatic.”
The excitement and energy that filled the house was overwhelming. Amina’s aunts had come to visit too and all the women were gushing and laughing that their first born had set a good pace for the others.
Now that she had a job, the aunts hinted, Amina should marry soon. George couldn’t help but smile. All the men had disappeared without a word, leaving him in the women’s mercies.
Despite the two religious backgrounds, both their families accepted them as they were. They made each other better people and that’s all that mattered.
George changed the topic quickly by mentioning the word ‘soon’ then skipped on to festivities. Shopping needed to be done to feed the crowd. They were near a Shopping mall so he offered to go, so long as Amina accompanied him.
On the way to the mall, Amina excitedly spoke of her next step in life. In two months, she would have saved up enough cash to move out, have her own place and eventually start investing as they waited to see what the future held for them.
He smiled. They had been dating since college and he had seen how much work it took to get her to where she was. He remembered the huge fight with her father when she said she wanted to quit medicine and study languages. The fighting hurt her but she stood her ground. Then she introduced her christian boyfriend to her family! Her father almost disowned her but she still stood by him and with time, the resistance died down. She was a strong character and he was lucky to have her by his side.
George was a doctor who had his private practice. From time to time, he volunteered with the Red Cross when he could and believed in making the world a better place for everyone. The thing he loved most about Amina is that they shared these ideologies, and they were bound to do great things together. What she didn’t know was that he planned to propose by the end of the year.
They had arrived at the mall and they dashed straight into the supermarket, hand in hand. Within five minutes, they had a trolley half full, with sodas left to go.
As they walked close to the fridge, they heard a huge bang from outside. Then another, and another.
Panic filled the room. Amina was scared and other shoppers started questioning what was going on.
“Probably thieves robbing a bank or the Casino,”said one woman casually as she proceeded with her shopping. “Nothing to worry about really.”
George was skeptical. “Stay here as I go find out what’s happening.”
“No,”said Amina holding him back, “It may be dangerous…”
Their conversation was cut short by a crowd of attendants who ran into the store for safety. “Terrorists! Run for your lives!” They shouted as they ran for the fastest place to hide.
“What?”said Amina as fear engulfed her. “George, we have to hide.”
They abandoned their shopping tray and looked for the safest place to take cover. People hid behind trays, bottled water and in the supervisor’s office. George moved towards the fridge and pushed it from the wall leaving a space. He beckoned Amina to hide in the space as he carried trays of fruit to conceal the space.
As he was about to place the last tray, a huge bang was heard in the supermarket. They were here. He quickly placed the tray and moved in next to Amina. She was praying in whispers.
He could tell she was afraid as the bangs got louder and closer. Screams could be heard as people took their last breathe. He was confused. What would make one go through such madness?
They could hear the footsteps closer to them. It was as silent as death. One of the men took a soda fro the fridge and opened it. They heard him sit as his companion walked towards him.
“How many shots have you taken?” he asked him in Swahili.
“I don’t know,”said the other opening his own drink. “I lost count after the Cafe. These idiots were running in a straight line making it too easy.”
“I spoke to Ahmed just now, he says there was a cooking competition upstairs, so many women and children dead.”
They were silent for a short while, as if taking it all in. “It has to be done my brother,” said one of them getting up. “They never spared our women and children when they attacked our country.”
They were both standing now. One of the two spoke out in proper english, “If there is anyone alive out there, please come out. We will release you, we have killed enough people for today.”
Amina pressed George’s hand who resisted and told her to wait.
The man repeated the same statement again, and soon, they could hear a group of women walking towards the two men.
From their accents, George could tell one was a French national. “Here is all my money, my phone and car keys,” she said with fear. “Please take everything but spare my life.”
“When your government aided this government with funds, did they spare anybody’s life? Why should I do the same to you?”
After that statement, gun shots were heard and within a few minutes, silence was heard.
Amina was desperate now. “We should leave now, before they get back.”
“No,” George said sternly. “We stay here until help comes our way.”
“George, that could take days!” she said overly emotional.
“Shh! Keep your voice down, you do not want to alert them we are here. didn’t you hear what they said to that woman? They are out to kill Amina, I won’t risk our lives like that.”
And so they stayed behind the freezer, cold afraid but together. Hours passed and they fell asleep.
They were woken up by the huge ring of a mobile phone. It was Amina’s. She couldn’t find it fast enough, it was in her purse. Panic gripped her as she looked for the phone to silence it, but was too late, they could hear the footsteps coming their way.
“I can’t find it George,” she muttered as tears trickled down her cheeks. “It’s too dark…”
Sprays of bullets ran across the fridge. George pushed Amina to lie on the ground, but it was too late for him. A bullet caught him by the head as he tried to lie down himself.
Amina, on realizing what had happened, let out a huge cry.
The terrorists moved the fridge over to identify how many people remained. On seeing her, they halted. Her phone still rang.
“You,” he said pointing the gun at her,”get up.”
Amina stood, trying to muffle her cries. She knew she was about to die so she whispered a prayer as she counted her beads.
Her observed her cynically, looked at her blood stained hi jab and the beads she counted.
“You are Muslim,”he stated factually. “Get out.”
Amina couldn’t believe her ears. “What?”
“Carry your belongings and walk out,” he said sternly. “And do it quick before I change my mind.”
Amina grabbed her bag and tried to lift George’s lifeless body.
The man with the gun looked at her and laughed. “Leave the body, Allah protects those He loves. There is nothing you can do for him.”
“He is my husband,” she said crying,”He deserves a proper burial.”
“Get your belongings and go,”he said pointing the gun towards her. “Now you feel the same pain our women felt when you sent your soldiers to kill defenseless innocent people. You shall remain testimony of what war does to people.”
Amina walked away, tears in her eyes as the man escorted her out.
“Killing people will not replace your loved ones, and neither will it end the war,” she said out loud from the pain in her heart.
“I know madam, but it will make people listen and feel what we felt,” he said. “From here on, you are safe, run to the exit where your people wait for you.”
As soon as the words were said, Amina lifted her hands in the air and ran for her dear life.
True to his word, the Kenyan army stood by the entrance, supported by the Red Cross taking on the survivors. They placed her on a stroller and pushed her towards an ambulance.
Her phone was still ringing, and this time, she found it. It was her mother.
“Oh mother!” she shouted out loud as her tears flowed continuously and her cries grew louder.