Free at Last: Episode 1
Nina, ooh Nina!
The large orange sun peeped through the naked trees in the west, wood peckers prowled around the dried branches while the birds’ nests remained intact, the temperatures dropped slightly to let the freezing evening be and make a faint felt impact. The evening skies were falling pale as the lilies dried into brown stiff blades, the grey evening fog covered the better parts of the high lands and some grounds made shifts with the dull pale clouds, slight reflections glittered on the icy water, as it froze in the early winter evening. Few birds prowled about the cold air mostly flying in the dull orange sun.
Owls hovered around the atmosphere in the early dark evening, crawling creatures rarely seen as they were prey for hawks which scouted the land. The temperatures fell even lower as the sun sunk deep beyond the few trees to the west. Chilly winds blew across the pale lands, as the fire crackled up in the wind. Gathered firewood laid unattended to as the pot steamed up.
The pale orange late evening skies were quickly forming dark hues as she filled her cup with hot steaming tea. Sipping from the cup, she could feel the warmth spreading all over gumming her body. She calmly inhaled the sweet aroma of the local tea leaves as if instructed by a traditional doctor to. Her glimpse was quickly fading out as she sat out in the cold fireplace placing her cup aside to poke the fast dying fire.
Crickets had taken charge of the evening as the birds sauntered their domination and hymning nature to the knights of the night, a few still chirped, but faintly as they would have in the morning. The once warmer part of the village in the outskirts of the town had again fallen silent, dark and cold. The wind howled over the freezing lands as she sat by the fire place warming her numb palms, with no one to share her shanty windward territory, she stared on as the fire crackled on and on.
In the partial visible skies, the half moon was almost taking over the abandoned lands with no one stare with, no one to share her romance story with, during the cold seasons she hardly had any visitors stopping by, no hikers, no campers out in the cold but the moon which stared through the naked trees and shone dull on the world.
Beyond her simple shanty house, was the beautiful river which lay half frozen for a few weeks now. The simple structure lay at the edge of the village, slightly separated from the others. Nina’s parents had a family house at the heart of the village and many are times they would stroll down the path just to spend a few hours on the banks of the magnificent river which provided more than a refreshing look to the eyes of the many people who came to view of it.
A few streams still ran though the whole fishing and other water sporting activities had been halted due to the cold conditions. Many are times John had pulled Nina out of the freezing waters. She hated it. She hated the fact that she needed help during those moments.
She walked slowly towards the cliff holding the warm cup in her hands. Dressed perfectly for the weather, a scarf, a pale-brown trench and pair of fur trousers. The cold could not bite her a skin. She wore warm fur boots covering most parts of the legs. The night was befalling fast and sooner it was going to be late and hounds howling deep in the night.
She stood at the cliff and admired the dark vast plains and the few still trees which had shed their leaves. She smiled at the dull picturesque then turned to head for her house. She pushed her door ajar and threw herself on the sofa that lay beside the door.
Poking the fire with an iron rod she chuckled by herself and added on her dressing a warm fur coat, standing in front of the fireplace, the moon shone directly on her, making the shadows a companion. She walked to the glass window and breathed upon it. Fog, she thought. Her heartbeat raced, as the large owl above her head on the oak tree right by the window howled upon her. In the distant, hounds howled as if trying to scare her, she fixed her gaze on the owl who instead narrowed her black and yellow eyes to her trying to show her sympathy and maybe remind her of the misery upon her, and before the moon fell the owl howled one more time then flew out into the woods, deeper.
She sauntered into the darkness in the house just before the footsteps got louder. “Could I be dreaming?” she thought to herself. She tried to remember if Saul were to show up that evening but she couldn’t. She slid under her window and took a careful watch outside, dull figures were walking towards cliff, with them they dragged another figure which lay still.
Shock filled her heart, life escaped her lungs as they flashed for her direction.
“It’s all clear, I am not sure there is a life in this shanty, this deserted little paradise” one of the figures said mockingly.
“Lets get it over with, we have a ride to catch” another once voiced their concerns.
They pointed at the figure on the ground then the air was filled in a single gunshot. They pushed the body over the cliff then hurried into the darkness over the driveway. Tyres screeched as the getaway car sped off.
It was then, that she realized it was deep in the night.
© Price Mwandodo
Adapted from the “free at last” series.