The watery ground resembled a chorus of mouths, causing concern among everyone present. The house was kept extremely cold throughout the night, as if it were an ice house. In the vicinity, there was a young girl, no older than ten years old. She was sitting amidst the water, trembling, and causing worry to those around her. Inside the house, there was a single room, but little did they know that Itaba was inside, fast asleep.

In this chilly environment, a particular tree stood, and in the midst of the water, tears welled up in the eyes of those who witnessed it, touching their hearts. It was a painful scene, though not an insurmountable one.

She continued to drink water until nearly dawn, with a rare sigh escaping her lips. She remained seated until the call to prayer began, and her father emerged from his room.

Inside his room, Itaba slept, wrapped in the cold fabric of his clothes. He appeared to be in a deep slumber. Observing this, his body seemed to have succumbed to the cold, akin to the lifeless role of a mannequin.

A deep sense of sympathy emanated from the young girl, Shikanshi, who couldn’t have been more than ten years old. Nanda, speaking before her, stated that she only had two months left before turning ten, just like the other children in the neighborhood, including her father.

Some of her actions resembled those of her friend, Hadixa, who was also nine years old. This had prompted Hadixa’s mother to visit their house, and they engaged in a lengthy conversation, which even extended to matters of life and death, something they eventually forgot.

Amid her deep thoughts, she sensed the water within her room rising. Alarmed, she quickly got up. She wondered who had warned her about the impending flood since she hadn’t felt the water rising herself. Someone had even cut a lock of her hair. Some of the people had witnessed her family’s poverty and decided to help by contributing to buy a house.

Aunt Uwale exclaimed, “You’re right, my dear, your father’s son.” They discussed how she had been unable to fetch water, as it had all become too much for her to handle.

As they were leaving her house, her father, who had been with someone else, overheard her words. Their neighbor had heard her predictions that two months would turn into a year, which was a common occurrence in their community.

It was evident that the water had come from the stream, but who had collected it? They wondered and decided to let the issue go for the time being.

With a trembling voice, she confessed, “I heard that you had taken a heap of rice to the stream,” but her husband’s wife, sitting beside her, didn’t respond. She didn’t want to be left alone with her in their race.

Only the palace’s king seemed to engage in conversations with her, treating her as if she were capable of taking care of him. This was well-known throughout the kingdom.

As she contemplated the stream’s rising waters, she knew that the evening prayer would coincide with the rain. She walked through the water, already feeling fatigued. She knew she would awaken in the evening and continue with her chores. When she reached the pile, she quickly began to drain the water. However, when she glanced upwards, she felt as though her legs were being pulled from beneath her.

She cried out in pain and prayed for the one who would return her to her parents’ home to be blessed by God. Since her leg had started cramping, she had to return home. She had stayed there until the evening prayer was called.

Uwale sat by the hearth, where a fire was burning, returning her attention to the meal preparations. She knew she had to keep the water boiling, as she was aware of her daughter’s condition. She had felt the pain from her leg all the way up to her head, resulting in cries of agony.

All the inhabitants of their house had to walk to the mosque. Even the sellers had noticed an increase in her suffering. The imam and many other congregants had joined in the prayer. It was clear that a significant event was taking place at MLM’s house.

Upon their arrival, a loud argument had erupted, quickly followed by criticism. They had been awaiting permission to enter Basiba’s abode. Uwale was holding a red knife in her hand, determined to confront the person responsible for her daughter’s misery.

She knew that she had to stand her ground and confront the situation head-on. The priest was the first to be targeted with her anger. Her daughter, Darmata, had been contemplating the moon, while aching from her leg pain. She had cried out in agony, and they had all needed to walk to the mosque from their home.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *