Kuru

By Karanja wa Ngugi

Neno was just a young girl when she died of a mysterious condition. Among the Waboni , a dying archaic tribe  in Boni Forest, a young girl who hadn’t given birth had to be given the special burial rite of ukoma where the young unmarried women, children her age and young uncircumcised men her age had to eat some of her remains. Mostly the brain.

Sidi wept. Sadness had taken control of her emotions. She could not help but blame the foreigners for her sister’s death. She was sure they were to blame.

Then it hit her that they should have listened to Karisa, the revered seer. He was dead now and all they had was sadness and death.

*

Thairu walked into the house with Sidi, a girl he’d met in our field visits in one of the villages.

The young and rather soft Sidi had not seen a man with such charm all her life.

She had grown up at Boni and no man there could match Thairu. The charm and the life that was in Thairu was all she needed and much more than she ever wished for. Halima, Lerosion, and I left the room and off we went to the local brew den.

*

The report was now ready and we were pleased to go back home.  Mzee Kisaja, a Waboni elder from the Eastern side of Boni had alerted us on a mysterious condition that had struck the community and after two months of intense research and life threatening escapades, we had finally come to a halt. We had a full versed report and all we wanted was to go home.

Mzee was pretty sure that the revered ngomi(ancestors) were angry at the community and that this condition was punishment from them for not following their traditions to the core. He called the condition Kuru which meant Punishment in one of the recently dead dialects of the Waboni people.

*

Thairu wasn’t picking up his phone and I concluded that he was still asleep after a whole night of partying. Everyone at work knew of Thairu and his drunken antics, brothel visits and lots of other things that were built on partying and sex.

I was just about to catch my favorite motor show on Citizen Tv when I saw a headline about some cannibals attacking Kangemi and Sodom areas. They were said to have come from the very large Slum at Sodom. The number kept increasing and the panic started crowding the air.

Being a market day at Kangemi , the situation seemed to be getting out of hand. The bloodthirsty maniacs had taken over the market. Bodies everywhere, cars and buses burnt, and the Total Petrol Station was now burning up.

That morning had seen the Great North Road crippled. All those that were headed to Nairobi were in deep trouble as the maniacs had spread to Kinoo and to the Nairobi school. The nearest police station at Kabete was now a haven of police-turned-mongrels.

It was the only station that could offer the help needed and unless the forces came using helicopters, there was no hope. They say that hope is that thing with wings; at the moment, even the wings had been cut off. Two hours into the Incident, even the very secure lavish Loresho estate had been attacked.

Mama had told me once that death came when you least expected it. This time it was more than that because not only did it come to visit us but also came with its soldiers.

Five hours Earlier.

Thairu lived in Kinoo and we always took our bus home at the Super Metro bus terminal at Kenya National archives. I lived in Westlands, but as close as it was, I was too tired to walk this day.

Thairu’s face lit up when he received a call from one of his many girlfriends. It was Suzie informing him of an orgy at Sodom.

“Sawa, I’ll be there in an hour,” Thairu said.

“Bro , Leo ni kuchafua!”

I alighted at Westlands.

At 8:43 pm , Thairu alighted at Sodom and off he went to the party.

*

I sat in my apartment shocked at the news. Thairu being at Sodom did not explain the man-eating beings, but he definitely had something to do with this .

A few days ago, we were at Boni Forest investigating a similar condition and now it was happening here.

The condition at Boni Forest did not escalate as it had at Sodom because we had locked up all the infected in a quarantined area. But how had it spread?

We were sure that no one in the group was infected. We had all tested negative.

Something must have gone wrong somewhere and someone somewhere was a carrier of this bizarre condition.

Halima called to ask of my whereabouts. She had just arrived at the office to pick up something that she had left. Being an off day, I wasn’t planning on leaving the house. Thairu and I had planned on playing the Call of Duty video game later in the day at my place.

“I can’t reach Thairu… has he called?” Halima asked.

“Nope, he’s not picking up his phone .We last talked last night. He was going to some party at Sodom …”

“What ? Sodom? The area that am seeing on the news?  Ile iko na majini?”

‘Uhmmmnh… Yes, that one!”

Halima and I talked for a while when I saw two people with wobbly feet and diseased eyes walking in the neighborhood. One of them had his jaw dislocated showing his torn tongue and had a rather sloppy stature.

Moraa was playing with her toy at the main entrance. I could see her from my bedroom window. It was her favorite spot as she really liked the guard at the entrance.

One of the strange humanoids entered and started walking towards Moraa. The guard who was just a few meters from the gate started running towards it from behind, a club in hand. The other strange being walked in and started chasing the guard who was chasing his partner. At the moment, I decided to get out and go save the young child. I opened my door but it was a little too late. The zombie pounced on her and bit her neck.

I stood there in shock. I had seen lifeless bodies before but I had never seen a young child die.

After a few minutes her legs began to wobble, then her whole body started to shake and she rose up and burst out into laughter and started to walk toward me. It was now four against one. The same happened to the guard. My neighbors walked out and on seeing what was happening, some fainted whereas others ran towards the gate.

I ran back into my house and locked it from behind but they did not give up. They started hitting my door and I could hear the pounding slowly get heavier and heavier.

I decided to use the back window to escape.

I could run into the office and seek asylum there.

I jumped through the window into the neighboring estate, thinking that it was safer than ours, only to realize that I had just walked into fire. Everyone here was infected.

I spotted a motorcycle at the back entrance of the estate that now linked it to the Kyuna road which would take me straight to the building that hosts our offices.

Stealing the motorcycle was easy till one of the beings spotted me and lucky enough I managed to escape.

Kyuna road was rather clear and as odd as it seemed, I did not care. I had to get to the office. It was the safest place I could think of, considering its location.

The junction at Parklands Road had me crash into a matatu that suddenly stopped when the driver saw the strange beings ahead. He got out and ran. With a hurt leg, I limped my way into the office building using an alternative route and making sure no one had followed me.

*

The epidemic had spread far and wide. Cases had been reported from Kangemi to Kawangware to the vast slums of Kibera to Kikuyu.

There was confusion everywhere.

The menace had the Secretary of defense as the Army and the Air force called for support.

The troops had taken over every entry point into the CBD. The first batch was posted at the University Way, another at Kipande Road and Ngara just to block any vehicle entering the Nairobi Central Business District.

In a few hours , the infected were everywhere.

6 counties had reported cases of this disease.

Things had taken a new twist when one of the zombies died and fell into a dam that supplied water to several constituencies in Kiambu and Nairobi counties and those who took the water changed to become zombies.

Social media was burning up. Everyone calling unto the Lord to protect them; others saying it was God punishing us for immorality.

Some running away and heading to Mombasa.

Others on this other side were trying to get into the CBD but the soldiers had strict orders not to let anyone in. Some were lucky enough to have been let into the Five Star Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel just past Westlands. Israeli Forces were there protecting their ambassador and a few other visitors who had come to see the Kenyan president when it all happened.

The day before the epidemic was a holiday and this fateful morning had people going back to work, kids going back to school, and so traffic was heavy on Waiyaki Way, but the most unlucky were the 3 am traders that were at Kangemi Market.

The guards at the office let me in despite having strict instructions from Halima that they shouldn’t let anyone in. They had known me for 3 years.

I was sure that Thairu had something to do with the outbreak and something in the report would prove it.

Halima , Lerosion and other workmates sat in the Lab shocked by the events of the day.

Lerosion talked of how the incidents happening were similar to those he had read from a book called Foggy Dawn. He talked of how the maniacs in the book killed ¾’s of the population in Siberia only to die of cold.

Halima was sure it was the work of some powerful witch and having grown up in a Ukambani you couldn’t convince her otherwise.

“How stupid it is for a scientist like Halima to believe in non-existent things like witchcraft.” Lerosion said sarcastically thereby causing an argument to arise.

‘I know what caused this!’ I shouted.

‘Wacha zako wewe… unajuaje? Hii ni uchawi,’ Halima said.

‘Thairu was the cause of all this. I know it. He must have been infected while at work’

“That’s impossible! We were too careful, plus we tested negative of the condition when we left,” Lerosion interjected.

“There has to be a way he got infected …remember Mzee telling us that the condition started after Neno’s death? After the ceremony, that forbidden brain-eating ceremony?” I asked

‘Yes. I do but what does that have to do with Thairu? He never dug out the remains or even touched Neno’s body or even ate the brain of the dead girl. How then do you explain it?  I did all that he did and I’m quite Okay.’ Halima replied in a confident tone.

“NO…It has to be this… hawa watu wanabehave the same way as wale wa kule Boni.. tofauti ni ati tulikuwa tumewafungia …”

“Stop it! It has absolutely nothing to do with this..this is completely different,” Halima said. “Just stop overthinking… This is witchcraft…”

*

The forces at University way were having a hard time keeping the Ferocious flesh-eating beings from entering the city. Several hundreds had been brought down by the soldiers but they kept coming and coming.

Fear had taken over the place. It smelt of frailty. Even the most feared defense forces in East and Central Africa had bowed and agreed that they have never faced such a thing. Fighting the insurgents in Somalia was much easier.

All armies need supplies, and the war was intensifying as the ferocious beings had somehow started coming in large numbers. The soldiers were running out of supplies and it seemed impossible to get more unless they got air support from the air force which had not arrived and that would take quite some time.

I sat in the office deep in thought. Thinking of the impending doom that awaited us. ‘What if one of us is infected and the condition hasn’t yet matured to a level that affects us?’ I thought to myself. It all seemed like a never ending cycle of questions in my mind. I took the report and started going through the witness statements. Maybe I would get a clue on how it had all happened and get to know of how the situation could be handled.

I was however sure that Thairu had something to do with the current situation.

I don’t believe in coincidences but there was no way Thairu was at Sodom and then an exactly similar condition to the one we were researching in Boni erupts there. Something somewhere was amiss. I was also not in agreement with the report’s findings. There was no way the condition was caused by natural forces. The virus was manufactured but when I told them this, they dismissed me as a conspiracy theorist and Halima had me shut up since she was the lead scientist in the group.

*

(The party at Sodom)

Suzie unzipped Thairu’s trousers and put his cock in her mouth. Thairu remembered his encounter with Sidi, the village girl from Boni Forest. Suzie did it so perfectly. The sucking would make Thairu cum in a matter of seconds.

She then stood, her panties dripping wet and said, ‘Now fuck me like a dog!’

All she wanted was Thairu’s cock inside her. She imagined him as the black guy she had seen in one of the videos.

It got pretty intense and their bodies now commanded by the hormones took their places.

Thairu started kissing Suzie’s lips and slowly headed south. He bit her shoulder.

His body shook and this time he felt the urge rise in him, a bizarre urge to have the taste of blood …He bit her again. This time on the neck.

Suzie let out a shattering cry and fell down… Thairu fell down too but this time his body had changed .. He had a desperate need for more blood..

He knelt down and bit Suzie again, this time getting to the Carotid artery..

He left the room and pounced on a guy that was just heading out of the washrooms..

Suzie’s body lay on the floor lifeless. After a few minutes, she woke up, this time with renewed strength.

Her body now full of the parasitic urge to cause havoc and a hunger for blood.

Thairu pounced on a few more beings before the string of the ferocious zombies took over and got out of the house where the party was, and like ghouls, crept into the slums and made Sodom fall apart. Within an hour, hundreds were infected with the condition.

The 3am Traders at the Kangemi Market were the first to have their human selves drained by the flesh eating humans.

*

I sat in my chair trying to read the report from my computer. I had no interest in the scientific findings of the report as I found them highly flawed.

I was reading across the witness statements when I came across this:

SIDI’S WITNESS STATEMENT. 

Translated from Swahili by Halima S.

“I walked home that day with some sweet brown thing in hand. Neno and I were from the village school where some foreigners had visited. They gave us sweets and other sweet things to eat.

I did not like them, so I did not eat. We had been warned of them by the seer before he mysteriously got murdered. Neno started having this dark spots on her skin that evening and after a few hours she started twitching and having weird marks… She then fell down and died and as is the ritual, we enclose all dead bodies for a few days before we bury them… It is forbidden to touch a fresh dead body… Our parents were very traditional and still practiced Ukoma,the forbidden ritual where if a young child died, her brain and a few other remains are cut out and eaten… I did not like it but I had to eat it…..”

That still did not explain everything.

It only explained a bit of the story and it did not make much sense.

How is Thairu connected to this? I just needed a connection. There had to be one.

“ Sakaja? Sakaja?” Halima called “ I have some news for you. Mzee Kisaja just called and he’s said that Neno’s sister Sidi just died and she then rose again and has caused havoc in the village and that more and more people are eating each other …”

‘Waiit! Whaaat? I was just reading her statement here … How did she die again?’

I knew that what was happening in the city had something to do with our research at Boni Forest… and now the zombies were in the village at Boni…

But How did Thairu, if he had anything to do with it, get infected ?

Because I was now getting more and more confused.

What does our research have to do with what was now happening in the city?

Questions arose as to what had caused the virus.

Who was patient zero?

Were the foreigners involved in this?

The questions further arose when Halima reread the witness statements and she noticed a rather strange trend. All the kids that went to the visit by the foreigners later got the virus and most died.

And Sidi’s Sister was the first to get affected by the condition.. But then again , how did people like Sidi get the condition and how comes it took that long for it to mature and change them?

How did the older citizens of the village get the condition…

especially Patient Zero..

He then died after 48 hours.

Why did kids like Neno die so soon?

What’s the incubation period of this disease?

*

“Intercourse!sexual intercourse..” Halima shouted.

“Yes..It has to be it.. The virus can also be spread through intercourse..”

Still it did not add up.

No one had sex with the kids.

“What of Thairu and Sidi?” Lerosion asked.

“He had a thing with Sidi but then again , who infected Sidi?” I asked.

It was a mystery that needed solving and by the time we saw the evening news, the infected had grown to a rough  10 Million and the number was still growing. 15 counties and now Lamu County had joined the list of affected counties.

At around 9:35Pm, the lights suddenly went off and from where I was seated, I heard a man scream.

Read more of Karanja’s work on his blog: Tarzatian.

 

How The Apocalypse Went Down In Kibera

By Lewis Wachira

Very few people in Kibera can narrate to you the story of Msanii. In fact, most, will spin yarns about tens of other Msaniis except the most infamous and scandalous of them all despite most of our horror stories when we were growing up, being patched-up slivers of Msanii’s ill-fatedlife.

The fourth child in a family of six siblings, he was one of the easily forgettable ones. Often, his father, who was well-known for his drunken antics would skip his name when introducing his children. His elder brothers had also noticed this and when making fun of him, they nicknamed him ‘Nameless’. Even though he didn’t mind it, this nickname didn’t stick around for too long.

He got a firm grasp on the name Msanii when a Scottish-American missionary visiting a local NGO noticed his work. He would sometimes draw quick portrait photos of people for five shillings per child and 10 – 20 for an adult. One afternoon, as he sat on his stool by the side of the road drawing a passport photo of Mama Fatuma (the one who used to sell porridge and mandazi at Ayani), he felt someone tap his back. Looking behind him, he saw a teary-eyed chubby Caucasian woman with jet black hair looking down at him. She was also standing amidst the silent audience gathered around to watch him as he replicated Mama Fatuma’s round, bubbly face on paper with almost exact precision. “You have a gift boy!” She shouted excitedly as she clapped her small stubby fingers with glee.

That woman was Gwendal Knight.

Over the years she would visit him and take his work back to other Wazungus back in the US. Apparently, they couldn’t get enough of it and this only cemented his reputation further, as the one true Msanii around Kibera. He used the proceeds to educate himself and his siblings. He pursued his dream and became a clinical officer at a meagre 24 years old. It went without saying that he was a young man headed for greatness.

The weird shit started happening when he set up a small NGO in partnership with Gwendal and members of her local church. It was a pre-natal and reproductive health clinic aimed at helping the women of Kibera deliver safely, free-of-charge. For a while, it was a true shining beacon of what a boy raised in the vast slum with countless other drunks, thieves and all sorts of ruinous personalities could achieve if he set his mind to it.

Three weeks in and the clinic got its first abortion request. It was from a suicidal girl whose teenage husband had been gunned down by the police on suspicion of being a Taliban gang member. Depressed and bitter, she wanted her child to have nothing to do with this cruel world. Needless to say, he chased her away furiously.

She killed herself and her unborn child in a ghastly manner two weeks later. Her body was found at the dumpsite by the old bridge after she had gone missing for a few days. Her face was gnawed off, probably by dogs or some other wild animal such that you couldn’t identify who she was. It was not a pretty sight.

After much deliberation with Gwendal, they decided to introduce clandestine abortion services. At the time, it was one of the best kept secrets around Kibera. Only young whores and other individuals of suspect sexual behavior knew about it. This time, they charged quite a bit. The fetuses were dumped in an uncovered pit latrine behind Msanii’scolorful clinic.

In his halcyon days, Msanii drove around Kibera in a white Toyota Corolla G-touring as his clinic did close to five successful abortions every day. Desperate young girls came to find him from places he’d never even heard of. Soon enough, his secret just like the pregnancies his clients sought to hide away from the world, could no longer be hidden.

Shit hit the fan when a popular local preacher’s daughter died a few days after lying on his operating table. The enraged man of the cloth, unable to come to terms with his beloved daughter’s death and her betrayal of his ways branded Msanii a devil worshipper. One who had been sent by ‘Babylon’ to destroy the social fabric of Kibera and thus snuff out its brightest future leaders. They called his artistic gifts demonic. That his god-level ingenuity when capturing faces on paper was inspired by the Lucifer himself. It did not help that his vehicle registration number had a ‘666L’ in it.

Being a rolling stone that never once gathered moss, Msanii kept his little death factory running at full steam. On the very day he clocked 10 abortions-done-in-a-single-day, his last patient died in a matter of hours after she left the operating table and an irate mob led by his nemesis, the angry preacher, matched into his clinic stoned him unconscious and flung him in the same dark pit he threw the other fetuses. Then, set fire to everything the man owned in Kibera. Sort of like a purge.

He was only 26 at the time.

For days on endless, people kept saying they could hear Msanii wailing and begging from the bottom of the pit, sometimes joined in by the chorus of hundreds of wailing babies. The piece of land where his burnt-down clinic had stood before, became harrowed to the point that people deliberately avoided even looking at it, perhaps hoping that it would disappear. And so, it became dilapidated and covered with all manners of bushy weeds. Still, on some of those silent nights when no one was up to mischief and the whole of Kibera was asleep, you could hear Msanii’s shrill voice with an otherworldly rattle to it, groaning for release in the midst of screams from local mongrels.

This went on for a few years before the land was sold off to a low-cost housing company. Needless to say, the housing project never took off. Apparently, a string of misfortunes and unexplainable events kept happening during the construction. For example, the foreman accidentally fell into a well-concealed bottomless pit while his mates were out for lunch.

They only managed to trace him by repeatedly calling his phone and by the time they found him, he was lying aslifeless as a dodo at the bottom of the vast pit. Weirdly, his Nokia 3310 was still intact inside its colorless plastic pouch which was hooked to his belt. They were forced to send a man down with ropes to retrieve the possibly dead foreman and what came up was a limp body with a weirdly contorted neck. His head was puffy and swollen, caked with dried blood on a few spots and his expression was that of a man in eternal shock. The foreman had landed on his head. He didn’t stand a chance.

That same week, as his bereaved colleagues reported to work on a severely rainy morning, they found a man standing in overalls at the work site. He stood as still as a doornail with his face to the wall and his slouched back turned to them. In spite of them calling out to him, all he did was just stand there as he tenderly caressed the rough wall that he was clearly, very mesmerized with.

Upon closer inspection, one of them noticed something weird. The man’s head had a shiny crown just like their dead foreman. In fact, he looked a lot like him. He even matched his height profile. And so, he approached him.

“Wafurraa… ZabronWafuraaa…” Kimani called out to his dead boss, hoping against all hopes that the man would not answer. He didn’t. So, with his hammer held high and his workmates standing beside him, he approached the hulking figure.

At first, when he tapped the man, nothing happened. He didn’t even bother to turn around. It’s like he didn’t even notice what had happened. His shoulder felt cold, without even the slightest hint of bodily warmth. He felt like a chunk of cold beef.

He finally managed to tug him strongly enough on one shoulder forcing him to sluggishly turn around and face him. To his shock, he was met with a pasty black face, swollen and puffy. It was ZablonWafula’s horrid face, that was already starting to smell like rotten flesh. From his ears and nose, a thick greyish liquid was slowly oozing out.

Without warning, he lunged his huge torso forward towards Kimani.

Kimani swung his hammer hoping it would save him but it was too tiny a blow for the shirtless big-bodied Wafula. He landed squarely on Kimani and pinned to the ground. At first, he kept licking Kimani’s face as he struggled underneath him before he started gnawing at his face. He started by biting off his lower lip from his screaming mouth then vehemently chewed it with the tenacity of a wild animal. As he chewed, he made strange growling sounds, like a dog would. By now, none of Kimani’s workmates was anywhere to be seen. They all vamoosed at the earliest sign of confrontation with the undead thing.

At some point Kimani passed out. When he woke up, he was at Nairobi Women’s Hospital at South C, in the intensive care unit. He couldn’t see through one eye and his whole face was aching from the 1000 stitches that held what was left of it, together.

It took over ten men to subdue Wafula. Because he was terribly hard to kill, they tied him to a metal post, piled huge logs of wood and tires around him before setting him on fire.

Like I told you, not many people in Kibera know this story because some of the firsthand witnesses eventually moved out, just as many died and most plainly avoided talking about it.

*

The Kenyan Parliament was clearly trying to make God (who had other plans) laugh when they amended the Election Law, allowing President Kenyatta to run a third term in the coming year. His sycophantic generals, trailed around the country for months parading him as ‘Kamwana’ in front of the masses.

A small harmless boy, they called him. That he was too young to go home and in fact, Kenyans were privileged to have him steer the nation for another five years. They would bring him out tothe stage clad in his usual college jacket and he would proceed to do idiotic things such as punch the air in youthful abandon and the Odi dance which was still popular among the young people that came to his rallies. For a while, most Kenyans were sure that this ploy would work. It was like a democracy horror story unfolding right in front of their eyes.

The protests that followed this landmark decision were vicious and unrelenting, mounting week after week. By now anyone could tell that Nairobi and with it, the nation, was coming to a standstill. Military trucks were in constant patrol around the city and most of the recreational parks had been converted to temporary military bases. It was not uncommon to find bodies floating in the drainage pits and rivers that went through the city. People who worked/lived in Grogon and Gikomba, retrieved dead bodies from the blackish-red mucky river almost daily till they got tired of it and just let them pile up instead. Same case in Kibera. All the while, the President was busy on his campaign trail and this was the kind of news that made it to the national headlines. Nothing about the people being butchered in Kibera and Mathare other than bylines of ‘violent eruptions’ among the slum dwellers.

How ‘The Headmaster’ as most people had nicknamed him came to the reins of power is still hard to grapple.

Exactly three months after parliament amended the elections act, President Kenyatta was declared dead after being taken ill with pancreatic cancer. Towards his end, he became a fearful, frail man who kept asking why the people hated him that much. In one of his last rallies, he shed tears on stage as he declared that his illness was caused by all the negative energy Kenyans were projecting onto him. Looking thoroughly confused, he then begged for forgiveness like a man who sensed that his end was nigh.

A few days to the burial and a week before Kenyatta’s deputy Willy Ruto could be sworn in, the Military and the CID stormed into his office and arrested him for a murder case they had been pursuing for years. The EACC also hopped on the bandwagon and charged him with racketeering, grand theft and looting the public coffers. Entangled in his incessant legal wars, his second-in-command, The Headmaster, assumed the reins of power.

Fred Matiang’i, was sworn in as the acting President on Nov 28th 2021, in one of the most iconic ceremonies the country had seen in a long time. It felt like catharsis after a prolonged period of reckless violence. Like as if someone had finally been sent to rescue Kenyans from the bottomless pit of political war. Some even said that Matangi’s presidency had been prophesied before. He was the leader they deserved; a true King Arthur in all his shining armor.

*

I learnt about the State of Emergency and the 2022 Kibera Curfew from Cyprian Nyakundi’s blog. By now anyone knew that if you wanted the truth, you went to the blogs. Mainstream news had come under fire after staying shush on the killings that happened in 2021. Kenyans were bitter that their political referee was compromised in their hour of need.

Like the recently dead president once cheekily alluded, mainstream media was at its deathbed. He was once quoted having declared that newspapers were only good for wrapping meat and nothing else.

The morning after Nyakundi posted about the curfew, we were woken by ground’s heavy rambling. It felt like we were going through an earthquake until we started hearing the loud horns and the mechanical bleeps. Huge thunderous helicopters flew above us almost immediately before landing right where Msanii’s old clinic used to be.

The medical staff sent by the UN had set up camp there because it was the only abandoned, free piece of land they could find. In a few minutes their huge machines cleaned up the area and in a matter of hours, huge tents branded UN in light blue were set up. This was going to be the quarantine location.

Meanwhile, a huge wall made of thick steel sheets was being set up around Kibera.

It had officially become a concentration camp. The Headmaster’s previous directive declared that no one was to leave Kibera unscreened but from the new posts on Nyakundi’s blogs, he had expectedly given a shoot-to-kill order for anyone trying to leaveKibera until everyone who had contracted the disease was dead.

We were ordered to stay in our houses as the UN staff went door to door performing tests and screening people for signs of the disease. Some called it Ebola. Some said it as a lethal form of Cholera. What they all agreed on was that it was a weaponized pathogen. Kibera had ushered the world into a bold new era of biological warfare.

The disease killed in a matter of days. Victims would seep out bodily fluids and blood from all their orifices before dying a bloody, painful death. What’s more the infected had a pungent smell, like the smell of bedbugs but with the intensity multiplied by a few times.

The military and the UN medics would initially remove the bodies and incinerate them in shallow pits before it became inefficient to do so because of the large numbers. Tens of people would turn up dead each day and the numbers were sharply growing.

Remembering that they had a huge pit right at their backyard, the mission commander ordered all bodies contained in the pit before final incineration.

Daily, I would peep through my door and see bodies of people, most naked and some that I knew, piled up on each other as they were carried by blue UN trucks for dumping in the pit.

I lived alone so I was able to conserve the little water and food I had. I rarely left the house and when I did, I always found the streets of Kibera empty and deserted. There was never a soul in sight. I wondered if I was going to ever make it out alive.

*

The first report of Zombies was made on Nyakundi’s blog after a UN medic sent him a strange video. In the video, a filthy young boy in metal restraints was heard growling as he launched an attack on the medical staff at the UN quarantine in Kibera. Eventually he became too hysterical and the staff fired a couple of tranquilizers into him. They didn’t work and only seemed to enrage the boy further. Right before the video ended, the boy took a bite of his flesh. The petrified medical staff could be heard screaming out in horror before the screen went black.

Nyakundi went on to state that a high-ranking UN staff had confirmed to him that the disease only seemed to kill its victims at first but if their bodies were disposed of without incineration, the deceased came back to life. The comments section was riddled with anonymous comments from people who were in Kibera and could confirm this to be true while others remained skeptical and kept saying prayers for the people of Kibera punctuated with the same horrid hashtag #IStandWithKibra.

Two people reported hearing a volley of gunshots at the UN compound that morning and choppers taking off. One said that she could still hear the gunshots.

*

I was headed to Karanja’s wholesale shop at around 7:00 in the evening to pick up my weeklyration of UN-sponsored food when I heard footsteps behind me. They were dragged and heavy, like someone who was tired after walking for a long time.

Then I felt the smell.

The familiar bedbug smell we had come to associate with the disease. Someone infected was approaching. I looked behind me and couldn’t see anyone. So, I started jogging. Whatever it is that was after me, would have to outrun me first.

Almost immediately the steps then grew animated and started getting louder. Whoever it was, had picked up pace. The more I ran, the more I became aware of more footsteps joining the chase. One had a soft patter, like of a child’s foot hitting the ground.

I ran until I came up to Karanja’s shop. The security lights outside were lit but there was no sign of anyone in sight. I ran to the door and kept knocking. No one answered.

Then as if from nowhere a small boy appeared under the streetlight. In his hand, he held another human hand completely detached from its body. His bloodied skin was dark and pasty, and his lips black and shiny from a reddish-black liquid (obviously, blood) that flowed down to his tiny chest. As he stared right through me with his defocused eyes, I felt a quiet panic rising through me. He was sizing me up. That’s what he was doing as his muffled growls grew louder.

I did not wait to face him. Almost Immediately, I scaled up the mabati perimeter wall around Karanja’s house and jumped inside. The boy came running right into the mabati wall in a thunderous thud.

Then he started yelling and screaming like as if he was in pain.

Three other louder screams joined in from not so far away. The boy had just requested for reinforcement. I was panicking looking for a plan around this when I noticed Karanja’s body on the veranda. Next to him lay a white woman in military fatigue. UN staff probably.

Instinctually, I approached them perhaps to see if they had anything that could be of help. Karanja lay lifeless, one arm missing. His liquid glassy eyes were starting to dry out as they stared blankly at the yellowish night sky above. His neck looked like it had been sawed through repeatedly with chunks of meat hanging out, some stuck on the floor below. There was a small pool of blood around him surrounded by tiny bloody footsteps,exactly like a baby’s.

Just when I was turning around to check on the white woman, I felt her tug at my hand. I tried to jerkaway from her but she was too fast. She pulled me in and whispered into my ear…

“Help me!”

Then I noticed the piece of glass sticking out from her tummy.

“The baby fights dirty…” she explained.

“What?”

“One of the Zombieis ababy. He stuck that in there as I fired into him…”

“I saw him outside—”

“Then we need of get out of here right now and to the closest screening center we can find. That’s our only chance of survival.”

No sooner had she said this than we heard a loud thud on the roof above us. Like something heavy had just landed on top of us.

“Karanja has a motorbike chained to his bed in the next room. Do you know how to ride one?”

“Uuuuhh—-”

“That’s a yes. Help me up and let’s get the fuck out of here!” she yelled as she pulled out her gun and fired twice at a sunken spot on the mabati roof. Immediately, resounding screams were heard from the other side as well as the sound of something huge, running.

“The fuckers can’t die from bullets but are still terribly afraid of guns…” she chuckled sarcastically as I pulled her up.

“Animal instinct, I guess?”

“Those aren’t animals. God cannot create anything that callous. They’re demonic creatures. Now, hurry, let’s break this bed!”

Read more of Lewis’s work on his website: LewisWachira.com

A Drunken Revelation

By Elias Muthama

***

Thick smoke. A siren at a distance. The beeping of car alarms. A scream from a person at a length that didn’t last long. And a putrid stench that covered the air. These are the stimuli effects that met the senses of Daudi who had just woken up. He had a splitting headache, and the hot midday sun was amplifying a thousandfold more. What was he even doing on the rooftop of this building? He wondered to himself. The usual sounds of a busy Nairobi town had changed into some strange collection of other sounds that he could not quite bring himself to figure what it was.

The taste of alcohol and a deep thirst for water made him remember the previous night. The fight at the bar. That explained the pain in his jaw and the swollen eye. Someone had sucker punched him. It had all started when he had had one too many and had turned into a conspiracy theorist.

“I am telling you these foreigners coming into our country are planning on something big,” Daudi told the patrons who seemed to care at first to his drunken ramblings.

“What do you know? You work at the hardware. You have never even been to the airport. What do you know about foreign propaganda?” asked Wafula.

“Listen to me Wafula. I may be a clerk at a hardware store, but I know things.”

“Drink your beer Daudi and go home. Stop scaring us with your cock and bull stories.”

At first, this had seemed to stop Daudi from sharing with the other patrons, but another beer told him that he did not need anyone’s permission to be a loudmouth at the bar.

“The government has made a deal with some foreign government from the East to carry out some secret scientific experiments in our country. Why do you think there are so many roads right now? It is those laboratories made at the foot of the mountain,” went on Daudi.

The bar broke into laughter as one of the men shouted, “Daudi hio bangi unavuta sio ya Kenya. Niunganishe na pedi wako!”

“I am telling you. The missing people we continue to see in newspapers. They are being experimented on in laboratories.”

“Wewe unafaa upate mamaa awe anakupikia uwachane na stori za baesa. Ndogogio inakuharibikia mtu wangu,” said Wafula.

Daudi who was now getting agitated decided to swing one to another merrymaker who was passing by his table. That’s when the fight at the bar begun. Doris the bartender who was well aware of the things that her loyal patrons did while they were drunk, understood that she had to hide Daudi or else he would part with his dear teeth or an eye. With the help of other friends of Daudi, they moved him to the top floor of the building and locked the gate behind him. This was supposed to help him sober up a little as well as protect him from the wrath of the angry people who were not amused with him punching some stranger at the bar.

***

The lead research officer at FF-5 in a frantic ran towards the exit secret elevator. The specimen of their cultured virus had been mishandled by one of the lab assistants and it had contaminated the air at the facility. The experiments at FF-5 were a top-secret project being carried out in Kenya as the United Nations laws prohibited such kind of tests on human beings. The corrupt state of the country had entered into a trade agreement with a country in the East and part of the deal was scientific research which the government did not follow through on the nature of its particulars. The state in the East wanted to make bio-weaponry, and the subjects of its operations were some missing Kenyan nationals. The number had managed to increase, and the investigations department of the police was always ending up with dead ends. People were missing off the grid with no explanations. Every day on the news there were people crying and pleading with the public to give information on the whereabouts of their loved ones. Daudi who had pursued Computer Science at a college in Europe was good with computers. When he got back in the country full of expectations of landing a great job he had been met with the sorry state of lacking a vacancy in corporations that were led by corrupt CEOs and officials. However, he belonged in secret hacker groups in the deep web that shared and traded classified information about governments around the world. He had happened to get a hint of information that there was something that was happening in Kenya.

“The president is urging Kenyans to keep calm during this period as they do further investigations,” said the news presenter on the emergency broadcast on the television at the bar.

“We! Ati amesema watu wanaumana?” asked a patron at one end of the bar.

“Sindio man. Hio ni uchawi msee,” replied another.

There had been a breach at the facility, and the specimen had escaped the FF-5 before the self-terminating system had blown the underground labs into ashes.

The first town to be attacked was Nanyuki. People reported of incidences of people who seemed sick who were biting and feeding on other people. Panic grew in the country. The president of the country was not aware of what was happening in his backyard as was evident in his emergency speech on all media outlets.

A helicopter that was flying out of Nanyuki with some foreigners had crashed into KICC, and that was how the strange disease of people biting each other had reached into Nairobi. Within four hours the entire country was in flames and smoke. People screamed and stepped on each other while fleeing for safety from this epidemic that was eating everyone up.

Daudi who had passed out from too much alcohol and a punch to his face slept on the rooftop of the building oblivious of the prophecy of a drunken mad man.

Read more of Elias’s work at Millenial Symphony.