Chapter One – Run, run for your life!

Once upon a time before the continents were formed, in a land far, far away; in a time so long ago that no man can possibly imagine lived three great men. Ironically they all came into this world bearing the same name. They were not brothers and they were not friends. They were not relatives and never met, talked or sat in the same room in the course of their lifetimes. But their name will be remembered for a long time to come. Okay may be it has been forgotten. But it won’t be long when that name will be on every man’s lips. How do I know this?

I was there! I probably promised myself that someday I shall tell their great stories to the whole world. Now is the time – time to experience the life of adventure, magic and love which was the life of these three men.

Call it fiction, call it a fairytale, call it whatever you want. I call it…? Please give me a second to think… I couldn’t come up with anything but I simply insist it all happened and I was there.

It all began when… No! I think this will sound much better.

Emerging from the bushes of Nomposuro (the dark and cursed forest) was a dark, lanky figure. His skin was dark and had been darkened some more with mud. His head was big and had been made even bigger with his long puffy black afro hair. Only his bright eyes shone brightly like a speck of light in the night. Panting and breathing heavily, he decided to catch his breath. It was dark, as dark as the darkest night ever imagined. He bent over placing his palms over his knees – still breathing heavily. He felt so much fear he wondered if it was possible to feel this much fear. He tried to think but the only thought he could process was run, run for your life!

He heard it again… The roar he had been running away from. The roar that sent icy chills instantly down his spine every time he heard it – it never gets old. It is back and it is getting closer. He was very tired and felt soar all over. “It should at least give him a few seconds to catch his breath” he thought. He looked left and then right. He saw an opening on his right and run towards it with all his strength.

The rain was coming down in torrents. Accompanying the rain was loud thunder strikes and lightning flashes. It was cold and yet he felt a little bit warm. He wondered how it was possible to feel warm on such a cold night. He ran swinging his skinny arms and moving his skinny legs as fast as he could. He touched a tree trunk with his left palm while running and left his fingerprint on it; He jumped over a tree trunk and landed in a muddy surface leaving his foot print in it and still he ran. It was becoming more difficult to see in the forest. He looked around for a while trying to determine which direction to take.

Nomposuro was a dark place. The trees towered so high above the ground that, the clouds hanging in the sky could not be easily seen. Then there was the issue of rain – rain that fell so hard that not even the great canopy cast by the tall trees could prevent the young man from getting a beating. He could barely see a thing and the path he took was not straight forward. So he ran even when he was slapped once or twice by the tall branches of the trees that dominated Nomposuro. And he run even though he swallowed leaves and munched on bugs. He still ran after he stumbled and fell over the big roots that covered the floor of the forest. How could he stop running after he had slipped and fallen on the wet slippery ground of Nomposuro? Yes! He ran; he ran for his life.

He kept on running until he stumbled and fell one more time counting as perhaps his hundredth fall. Okay, maybe that was a little bit of an exaggeration but he did fall many times. He got up slowly from the ground this time, not in that much of haste. True! He was afraid; true! He did not know what was coming, how big it was or what kind of arsenals it possessed to tear him up, but one thing was certain in his mind; whatever was coming for him had no intention of giving up. He had two options; face whatever is coming or die from stumbling and falling. All ends in death, anyway.

He felt different, stronger perhaps. Something was spreading through his body. What is this feeling? He questioned. His pupils dilated. His mind felt strong. For once he was not being bullied by fear anymore. “I will face this thing and if it ends in death, so be it” he told himself.

He had just entered some open space. His dark skin and face was all covered in mud. He spat a few times to get the mud out of his mouth and tried removing the chunks of mud off his skin using his fingers. The rain fell with less intensity, yet the few drops that touched his skin went a long way to help remove some of the filth.

He stood still for a while. Then he started to move in a circular path holding out his arms as if ready to fight. Occasionally, he made a fist with his dainty fingers ready to fight. He continued to move in a small circle jumping in fear once in a while whenever he heard movement in the bushes. Bravery is not something one acquires overnight. It is either you are born with it or you learned it over a long period of time. Something this young man was now getting to know.

The human mind cannot be trusted. One moment it is strong and the next it is weak. It presents man with pictures and scenarios that are sometimes real than reality itself. It distracts man in thinking and makes him forget his aim. The human mind is the devil and if not controlled can lead one to his doom.

The young man begun to think, what if there were more out there? In his mind he could see images of these great monsters with their long claws and large teeth tearing him apart limb from limb with no mercy. He could see himself helpless and lying in a pool of his own blood stirring in the blood-filled eyes of his predators’ whiles they gruesomely feed on his internal organs. Now, they are probably hiding around him – four or five or even more of them, stalking him. Very soon, they will pounce on him and before he could respond he would be a goner for sure.

He was lost in his thoughts for what to him was just a moment and yet in that moment everything changed. He heard a crackle sound; it sounded like something or someone had stepped on and broken a twig or branch from right behind him. He turned abruptly to see what it was.

It all happened too quickly. It all happened in a flash but he was a certain he saw something dark; a creature. It pounced on him, struck and threw him across the circle. He collided with a big tree and collapsed.

We are all running away from something. Some of us know exactly what it is we are running from. Others are running from a shadow. But what would you rather be; a brave man who will stand and fight or a coward who keeps on running?

The Legend of Kiwakaazi
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