“What is that noise?”  Auma wondered what the sound of jeering in the background was.

“The kids are playing outside; I heard one called Rooney!” Mwende retorted.

“Rooney!” Auma burst out in laughter.

“Don’t hate, that parent was prophesying over their child. They wanted a football superstar in that house, you never know.” Mwende retorted in laughter.

“You know in shaggs, there was a guy who used to roam around looking for trees to cut and burn charcoal to make a living.” Auma continued


“This guy was a burly man, about six-three, had those nasty locs some people have; you know the chunky ones …”

“…yeah, where the whole head is like three locs…” Mwende interrupted laughing.

“……Hahaha! Yeah, those are the ones, and filthy with all the white fuzz in them.”


“That’s not even the best part, even though he lived by the river, he seemed to prefer to avoid it, his clothes dark from the charcoal burning and by his side, his faithful companion- Mabele.”


“Yeah, oh, I forget you didn’t grow up listening to my hour-long Lingala songs,” Auma joked.

Both girls burst out laughing.

“Hate all you want I love me some 15 minutes long Lingala music.” Auma chuckled as she spoke.

“Wait! He named his dog after Aurlus Mabele?”

“Yep! Recognise!”

They burst out into a roar of laughter.

“You and your random stories!” Mwende chuckled.

“Me? You said you had something earth-shattering to tell me on text. Can you focus woman! What’s up?” Auma prodded jokingly.


“Hello Mwende, what’s going on with you?”

“Give me one second,” Mwende said beginning to whisper.

“Woman, what’s with the whispering, Mwende?” Auma was giggling. “Mwende?”

Auma heard a scuffle in the background, it sounded like Mwende was arguing with someone on the other end of the phone.

“Mwende is everything OK? Mwende! Talk to me!” Auma was getting agitated, her voice pitching higher.

“Auma! Are you there? Call the cops! Call the cops now!” Mwende sounded scared.

“Mwende, what’s going on?”

“He’s coming, Oh! My God! Auma! Call the cops! Call the ….” The line went dead as Mwende screamed those words.

Auma went frantic, ran downstairs to the living room to tell her parents what had just transpired. It took about a minute to explain it to her parents who were reprimanding Auma for being on the phone and up after 10 pm on a school night.

Auma’s father tried to call Mwende’s father, his phone went straight to voicemail. He tried calling Mwende’s mum’s number, she answered it screaming. She was so loud Auma and her mum could hear her with the phone pressed against Auma’s dad’s ear.

Auma’s parents looked at each other.

“Stay here! Lock the doors behind us, don’t open the door for anyone until we get back. Do you hear me?” Auma nodded to her father’s instructions. Her mother kissed her on the forehead reassuringly.

Dad whisked past them with his car keys in hand with a huge spotlight, quickly putting on his sneakers. Mum grabbed Auma one more time kissing her really hard and dashed out the door grabbing her trench coat on the way out.