She stood in the shower, water soothing her skin, but her mind was far.
Last night was still very vivid in her mind. She had boarded a matatu on her way home. It was one of those rainy Nairobi evenings so they all scrabbled for the first matatu to arrive at the stage. This one had a few passengers in it. She didn’t think much of it, after all, some people could have boarded at the Shell Petrol Station. Next to her was another woman, ahead of her were three more, she felt safe. It would be a long drive, with rains came crazy traffic.
She took out her phone and sent her husband a text message that she finally got a car and was on her way home. She then checked her Whatsapp and responded to a few of her friends. There was a juicy story in one of her girl groups. Jacinta was getting married, Matt had finally proposed and she had shared the video. She was happy and excited for them. They were all gushing about the plans, about how romantic he was, and before she knew it, an hour had passed.
As the first lady was about to alight, one of the men seated behind her shut the door tight and told her to sit.
” Excuse me, I-”
“I said sit down bitch!” he shouted pointing a gun at her. “Onyi, tell the driver to go straight ahead,” he said to his colleague.
Inya raised her head as it begun to dawn on her what was happening. She wanted to alert her friends they were getting car jacked, but a third guy behind her put a gun on the back of her head. she could feel the cold metal against her head, as if she had no hair, as if her scalp were bear against metal on a cold rainy night.
He did not have to say a word, she passed on her phone, her bag and her shoes. The woman next to her did the same, and they looked at each other, with fear in their eyes. They held hands, strangers joined by a common enemy, as if to comfort themselves and assure themselves they would be okay.
Inya thought to herself, would they steal and abandon them somewhere, or would they kill them? Would they take them to a forest, beat them up, rape them then kill them? Would her husband find her? Or would he think she’s still stuck in traffic?
The rain didn’t help. The humidity in the matatu had formed a curtain against the world, and nobody would see what was happening. If any of them mastered the courage to scream, they would be dead before anyone heard them. So they all sat, complied and prayed to their God that nothing bad would happen to them.
They were in a hidden cemetery now. One woman was forced out of the car. She didn’t have any more, nor a phone, just some second-hand clothes she had bought at the stage, and her fare home.
The thug said they were going to make an example out of her. The boss, seated beside her, told the rest to subdue her, to beat her up till she had no strength to resist then they would take turns raping her.
Like a flock of sheep, the rest of the captives stayed put. None of them said a word, nor tried to do a thing. They listened as she screamed, as she fought in the rain. They heard thud after thud, as blows and kicks landed on the woman. They heard her beg for mercy, scream for help, pray to God, but they all sat there with their heads buried in the sand. None of them wanted to join her, and they knew all too well that was the consequence of courage.
She saw the light before she heard the sirens. Someone must have heard her cries and called the police, or whoever it was coming their way.
The leader of the gang, alerted the rest to pick what they could and flee into the forest.
He smiled at his victims and told them they would meet again, then disappeared into the forest.
Inya stayed put as the rest scrammed into the other vehicle. She could hear a police officer tell her it was alright, that she could alight.
She was afraid. She did not know if to trust them, or if this was a trick. The rain was getting heavier and she knew she had to make a choice. To go with the cops and risk further harassment, or to walk home and risk the possibility of meeting.
She boarded the police van with the rest. they allowed them to make calls and said they would drop them at the next police station. They were asked to fill in statements as soon as possible before anything skipped their mind.
Her husband joined her half an hour later and the proceeded to the statement room. The police officer who had taken the other statements had just completed his shift, he explained. Her requested that they give a few minutes for his colleague, who had just started his shift to come in and assist them.
The new police office walked in and sat at the desk, greeting them both.
Inya and his eyes met and she went numb. She started shaking.
“Are you okay madam or should I get you a blanket?” he asked politely.
“I’m fine, thank you,” she whispered.
“So, Mrs….”, he said going through the previous report,” Mrs. Inya Timoi, I see you live in Nairobi West, Leaf Estate, House Number five. ”
“Yes,” she said, still shaking.
“Today must have been a bad experience for you, I’m so sorry,” He said. “But to be honest, you are way luckier than some of the cases we get here. Some people end up dead, others raped. just thank God you lost little money and a phone, right? Now, let me get your statement ma’am.”
“I…I don’t remember,” she said.”I was so afraid. All I remember is feeling a gun to my head and my mind going blank. Then I found myself here.”
“Are you sure ma’am? The woman before you says you were seated next to one of them, you can’t remember what he looked like?”
“I think I zoned out. All I want to do is go home. I remember nothing. Can I? Can I go home now?” she asked standing up.
“Of course ma’am,” he said standing up. ” Please note we will call you in the course of the week to see if you remember anything. We need justice to served, and hopefully retrace your belongings.”
As soon as she was allowed to, she walked quickly to her car, leaving her husband behind thanking the officers. She threw up beside the car.
Timoi rushed up to her and embraced her. He was worried, he said. He wanted to take her to the hospital. She said she was fine and wanted to go home. From afar, she could see the police officer watching them by the entrance of the station, smiling.
She got into the car and locked her door.
It was him, the ring leader of the gang. But she could not tell anyone.
He knew where she lived. She knew what the police were capable of doing.
All she needed was a hot bath and some sleep, and maybe, God willing, they would never cross paths with that man again.