Story Detail

Gray Lions
by Tony Mochama
Pages: NA
Set at the turn of the other century (1898/1899), this is the fact-based story of a Maasai moran (warrior) in search of lion mane, an Indian newspaper founder in a godforsaken bar in the stony plains of the Athi, a European colonel called Patterson and two man-eating lions, the Ghost (Enaimin) and the Darkness (Ilemeneeg'a) that terrorise the Tsavo, and the coolie workers and their families, who are building the railway line.
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GRAY LIONS

Sunday, August Seventh, 1898

Among the Maasai of Kenya, that fierce nomadic warrior tribe of long legged men with shukas, and red hair that hangs in a mottle of ochre dreaded locks, and long necked chocolate-coloured women with bare(d) breasts and dusty bangle-filled hands that they use to build their rectangular houses (called manyatta) from mud and cow-dung, there is a ceremony that has to be done for a boy to become a man.

Not just any man, higgedly-piggedly-niggedly, but a real man.

A warrior! A Moran!

To become a Moran in Maasai culture, a teenager is given a single spear and sent out into the wild ... He has to kill a lion, single-handedly. Or single-spearedly.

It is like it was among the Spartans of Sparta.

One either came back with their shield... or on their shield!

The Maasai shield, known as sirata, and is made from cattle hide on the outside, with strips of tanned buffalo skin inside and a leather handle, which provides protection against penetration by enemy weaponry during raids; but it is of little use against a charging lion.

So either a would-be Moran, really, little more than a Maasai teen African, returned with the mane of the lion he had slain ... or else, after a few days, a search party went out into the wild scrub country of savannah wild and found the dead boy who would never get the chance to become Moran ...mauled by the very thing he had sought to kill, in order to be moulded into a man.

Everyone is killed by the thing they'd love to kill...

But between sixty percent to two thirds of the almost-Morans manage to get their lion, Olowuara, the Maasai call it, without getting mauled, too maimed, disfigured or disabled, and they then use the lion's mane as head-gear on the day of the enkipaata, the initiation ceremony where Zebu cows are poked on the neck by sharp stick points and as their blood spouts out in sanguinary spurts, the jubilant almost-Morans stick their own necks out, lips apart, Adams 'apples' bopping, drinking the live blood the way American teenagers may drink with glee from the water fountains of the 21st century world ...

It is the ultimate graduation ceremony, except instead of throwing graduation caps into the air, with the tassels streaming behind the mortar boards like tails, it is the morans who launch themselves into the air during the enkipaata, lion mane head gear shaking rhythmically to the guttural growls of the Morans: Laleiyo oyo yo o o o, Laaaleeiii yoooo oyo yo o o o.

The year is 1898.

It is a black August in Maasai country, with the levels of water in Lake Naivasha having sunk to such dismal levels the flamingos that dot the lake (in 1889 they'd turned it pink with feather canopy) have fled all the way to Tanzania - nutrition refugees;  the cows in Maa land are so thin their ribs look like Obokhano, the Gusii guitar, and only 'River' Kariandusi near the Elementaita, has some water left for the parched herds of Maa patchwork cattle, thanks to the condensation of the river water's air caused by evaporation when it comes in contact with the walls of the Nyandarua Ranges, standing at an impressive four kilometers above sea level.

The Mau Escarpment, almost a kilometer shorter at 3096 meters, is nonetheless the lifeblood of the ecosystem, of not just Kenya but the entire region of East Africa, thanks to the rainforest the Maasais call 'Mau' that sits on it.

The Maasai God/dess, Enkai, of course lives on Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai. It is here that S/he (for the Maa god/dess is androgynous) created the Maasai, before S/he split the world into two – sky, and land.

In doing so, Enkai also split into two deities! (but, still, they are One, a Holy Duality).

The good black god called Ngai Narok who lives in His people the Maasai, and the divine cattle which He created in the sky.

And the oft wicked red goddess, Ngai Nanyoke, who lives in the sky – hence the red coloured nature of it at sunrise and sunset.

Enkai then created a 240 km sky walk between the mountain and the Mau, for the Maa people to descend down to the world on, crossing over Lake Natron and Lake Magadi on that long first journey.

Three lakes - Naivasha, Nakuru and Elementaita - rely on the Mau forest, and the rain it brings - not just so that the flamingoes can feed on the algae in the lakes, but so the Maa's vast herds of cattle can drink the waters, feed on the grass, and sustain the Maasai, not just as a people, but as a prestige.

For the Maa believe all the cows in the world belong to them! And when their own herds begin to die, then heads (of other native tribes) must roll, as the Maasai do not hesitate to raid them for their cattle, and murder those others for their udders.

Cows, and bulls, sustain the Maasai and their culture.

A man's wealth, and so status in the community, is measured by the number of cattle he owns. Bride price, dowry, is paid in cows. So the more cows a Maa man has, the more wives ... and thanks to dusty hard-working hands, the bigger his Kraal of manyattas, the larger his Boma.

The Men with the biggest bomas get to sit in the Maa Council of Elders.

In 1898, the drought was entering its third year, having begun in the May of 1896, just as the first rails of the proposed Kenya-Uganda railway that would lay Britain's claim to the River Nile, were being laid down.

And the Olonana (leader) of the Maasai in Rift Valley, Laibon ole Sempeyo, was not a happy fellow at all.

By the December of 1897, a year and a half after the drought began, the Olonana had become convinced that this severe drought that was turning his people's cows into Gusii guitars was no accident of nature or climate, but a curse from the gods.

Laibon ole Sempeyo was a strikingly dark man, with skin carved from the very fabric of night, tall and glistening from the cows’ fat one of his six wives always applied to him in a rough Maa massage, every dawn.

The huge gap on his lower front teeth, and large hypnotic eyes that floated like two huge Jupiter moons in the vast galaxy of his long face, only added to the petrifying effect that the man had on everyone he met - friend and foe, man and woman, and someday soon, the European.

Even babies, upon encountering their specter of this Olonana, would break into shrill yelps, and cower into the long, bangled  curvatures of their mamas’ necks, before Laibon Sempeyo spoke, or sang, in his low murmur of a voice that magically calmed them, and everyone around them, down.

On the Sunday of August 7th, 1898, as the sun rose red over the gap between the Longonot and Eburru mountains nestled in the Rift Valley, Kaikai Kantai, 27, the most feared and revered Maa warrior of his Moran age set, sleepily made his way across the small grass and large rocks of the Rift to Laibon ole Sempeyo's Kraal, humming a tune that nobody but his herd of cattle seemed to understand, his feet kicking up little clouds of red dust as he walked on bare feet so hard underneath that they bent the thorns they strode upon.

Kaikai Kantai was shorter and lighter than most of his tribes mates, not surprisingly so considering he had been born of a Kamba mother whom his Maa father had captured as booty on one of the rare Maasai forays, and forages of ravage, across the Rift and into Akambaland in the East, where the Akamba made their living not just as hunters and gatherers, but long distance traders of ivory which they carried all the way to the port town of Mombasa as barter for spices and colourful goods with the Swahili-Arabs who ruled over that Coastal space; as far away as Zanzibar off the East African Coast, an island controlled by a sea-wise Sultan called Seyyid Said who had the fortune, or lack thereof, of ruling at a time when the British got into East Africa in a big way - with white visions of a dark railway, and U.K. domination of the River Nile - on their mind, and in insincere white smiles.

Asians by their thousands came in the(sea) wake of Her Majesty Queen Victoria's triumphant ships, mostly ferried as 'coolies' (railroad workers) from the North Western provinces of India, courtesy of the frenzied negotiations of a Mr. A.M. Jeevanjee ('I Am Jeevanjee,' the Brits mockingly referred to him as, due to his earnest introductions of himself as such, devoid of all irony or self-parody), and began laying down steel on the earth; from Mombasa's Old Town all the way to the vast Nyika wastelands of Voi, to the Tsavo over which the River Tsavo's crocodiles, and Yatta's lions, had previously been joint masters.

'The Lunatic Line,' skeptics in the British parliament called the Kenya-Uganda railway line, and when stories linked to grisly deaths by a duet of man-eating lions delayed the construction of the railway line by first days, then weeks, then mind-boggling months from the turn of 1897, and well into 1898, the railway line began to increasingly earn the ominous nom de guerre 'the Lunatic Lions' Line...'

"My Mkamba sources tell me there are two demons in the form of lions that have terrified even the mzungu (white man)," the Olonana Sempeyo spake to Kaikai Kantai that morning, his hypnotic gaze even whiter than usual in a land where dust, rinder pest and a sanguinary lifestyle rendered even the most optimistic of eyes a pessimistic blood-red...

In the land of the red-eyed, the milk eyed man is king...

"They are called Eneimin (the Ghost) and Ilimeneeg’a (the Darkness), and I want you, Moran Kaikai Kantai, to kill them!"

The two men were sitting opposite each other on the hard earth, harder buttocks leaving temporary impressions on the ground, the Olonana's uncharacteristically earnest style leaving an impression on Kantai's heart, normally hard as an earthenware vessel.

His 'foreign' mother had died of cholera when Kaikai was two, so that he only had one memory of her; and his warrior father when at war against fellow nomadic tribal warriors, the Pokots, when he was only ten. Usually, it didn't matter.

Due to the high frequency of deaths in the region, due to diseases brought by tsetse flies and other pest agents, it was common for an orphan to be adopted by a 'community mother.'

Children borne of 'foreign' mothers were another matter, altogether, especially since the senior Kantai had steadfastly declined to take a native tribal Maa woman as his wife, in spite of his communal prestige and subsequent train of willing would-be wives, to the ire of one and all, but mostly the females.

 They spat in spite: "Kwani Wakamba women, with their kililindi dances, are better than we hard-working  Maa women?"

"I loved Ndinda," the Senior Kantai would often say, in spite of the lack of the word 'love' in Ki-Maasai in a world of no sentiment, coining the word 'olo va" for Ndinda, a lingual faux pas the senior Kantai picked up from his warrior missions to distant lands near the Coast where such concepts were not unheard of, thanks to the initial interferences of the missionaries, their wives, their Jesus, whom they insisted had died for all of us “... especially the pagan Amalekite-like Maasais."

"My father died for us," a young Kaikai often joked to the warrior morans he'd joined pre-maturely, by killing a lion at 12, after realizing no community mother would take and embrace him as her own, leaving him only to the Way of the Lion if he wasn't to sub-exist as the despised 'food beggar' he'd become in the two years following the senior Kantai's death, when no-one would take him in. Hence his mzungu nickname, Jesus Kantai, and they would all laugh out loud, a la lol, spitting saliva steams through the gaps in their lower teeth.

Kaikai Kantai, now sitting in the sunlit red earth and cow-dung floor of Olonana ole Sempeyo's manyatta, smiled at the memory, missing the brotherhood of his Moran age-set.

It was a fierce lifestyle, especially in these days of drought when they'd have to roam the vast valleys and savannah countryside, sometimes for months at a time, waging wars and raiding the cattle of the savage warrior-tribes of the Kalenjin, Pokot and Samburu, and driving them back to the bomas to sustain their Maa peoples. But it had its perks.

For example, all a Moran had to do was plant his spear outside the manyatta of any single Maa woman, and she was his for the night. That was the custom.

A sharp slap across his forehead brought Kaikai back from his reverie. "This is no smiling matter, Kantai," the Olonana Sempeyo berated him. "Those two olowuaru, Iimeneeg'a and Eneimin, are not real lions as per the seers. They are drought demons... and if you are to be an elder in three years, and take my daughter Resian Leboi, as your first wife, then it is your mission to kill them. Bring me back their manes as proof of deed."

Kantai sucked in his breath sharply, then spat clear phlegm on the floor. For Resian, of all the Olonana's daughters, was the piece de resistance of his boma. Whoever married the Leboi was the heir-designate to be the next Olonana of the Maa (because, for all his four wives, Laibon ole Sempeyo had gotten twenty one daughters, seventeen of whom survived, what curse was that??) Kaikai immediately understood that killing the demon lions wouldn't just be another enkipaata ritual, but something akin to a sacred mission, for him. If he succeeded, he had one buttock on the Maa Throne of Thorns.

The first half-breed designated Crown Prince in a thousand years of Maa history.

"Kill the Olowuaru, ole Kantai," the white-eyed chief said in his low, hypnotic voice using the 'ole' prefix honorary give only to chiefs, "and end the suffering of our people."

Three days later, armed only with a rungu (club) and his spear, Kaikai Kantai bid farewell to the community, his flesh glistening with fresh cow fat that Resian herself had rubbed all over his body, soft hands, gentle fingers (unlike the calloused, sandpaper quality appendages of most of the other Maa girls who went to work at tender ages, building manyattas for grown men). Kaikai set off for the four hundred kilometer journey to meet his destiny. His rendezvous with fate.

The journey, if he survived it, would be precarious, and would take four moons to complete. From the playa areas of the Maa valley, through the Rift Mau escarpment, through the Kiambu area of the agrarian Agikuyu, past the hunter-gatherer barter-traders of the Akamba, into the wild animal infested areas of the Yatta plateau. And if he lived that long, and followed the Athi river banks, he should finally reach the point where the Athi met the Tsavo.

Where he, Kantai, soon-to-be 'ole' Kaikai, or corpse Kantai, a feast fit for fisis( hyenas) would finally confront the Demon Lions - Ilimeneeg'a and Eneimin, - the Olowuaru whom the wazungu (white men) called the Man-Eaters of Tsavo, who had eaten human beings - white, Asian, black - by the dozen in the last few months.

XXX

Exactly four hundred years earlier, in 1498, a Portuguese sailor called Vasco da Gama landed on little know Coastland in East Africa with three naval ships, and found a small slave triangle of Swahili-Arab sultanates - Zanzibar, Mombasa and Malindi - flourishing towns of brick cottages, brass-studded doors, men in kangas inland who played bano (draughts), drank coconut wine (mnazi) and had the capacity to talk all day, as their women gossiped and cooked spicy dishes, dressed in their brightly coloured kangas, and on Fridays, embellished their noses with little gold rings, as they gesticulated dramatically at everything that happened around them ... which was really very little.

At least until Vasco da Gama checked into the scene, and for the next ninety years, the Zanzibaris, Mombasa and Malindians were to know little peace, as fleet after fleet of Portuguese ships laid siege to the area, especially in the years 1502, 1528 and 1588.

Fiercely resisted by the triumvirate of Arabs, Swahilis and the inland Wanyika bows-men, also known as the Mijikenda (or nine villages), the Portuguese finally gave up after building Fort Jesus in honour of The Saviour, in 1596, and the white man disappeared from the scene ... for three hundred years.

When the European resurfaced, it was in the form of the Christian missionaries followed by racial exploiters under the guise of the 'Imperial British East African Company’ (IBEAC), a Royal Charter company whose shareholders dreamt of exotic fortune by gaining control of the lucrative ivory trade on the interior lands of Kenya. Akamba bows-men killed the pachyderms, and dispatched tusks to the Coast, where the task of the Arab traders was to sail to India and dhows with their know-how of the Indian Ocean, and sell them to the Indians who in turn sold them to the Brit colonialists, for export to Great Britannia.

The British dream of cutting out the Swahili and Arab middlemen never materialized, with the Tana and Athi rivers both stubbornly un-navigable, and the tsetse flies making animal portage impossible into the interior land.

The Indians set up base in Masaku to act as middlemen between the Akamba and the Arabs,and the British 'company men' soon despaired of making money from Fool's ivory, — and sold the IBEAC to the U.K. government for £50 000 in 1895.

A year later, in 1896, exactly 300 years after the completion of Fort Jesus in Mombasa by the Portuguese, the white man was back at chasing wild geese, laying down the first rail track in Mombasa, ready to set the wild gander agenda all the way to Uganda, where Port Victoria was still known as Kisumu by the lakeside Luo Nilotes who lived off the fish in its large fresh-water lake.

In 1898, three years before the first train chugged its way from Port Victoria to Mombasa way to Voi, (ironically the same year that the Empress Victoria, after whom the port-and-lake were named, would herself steam out of this life), Mr. Silva de Souza, a Goan liquor store owner, burst into his wooden make-shift bar called the 'Stony Athi' in the trading centre of Masaku (Machakos), wildly berating his barman, a Mkamba called Kyalo Musyoka, for unpunctuality, idleness and everything else except dishonesty.

With the Kikuyus too busy doing their own businesses at Fort Smith in Central Kenya, the Akamba were all the Asian businessmen had to rely on to keep business honest.

 In fact, the racial dynamics of the interior lands had changed quite a bit. With the Mijikenda having given up the business of war for the time being, the British were forced to rely on the arms of Sudanese soldiers conscripted from Khartoum after their successful war against the El Pasha, their ruler, in 1892.

And although the Pasha was Arab, the soldiers he handed over to his British conquerors were midnight black southerners, to act as 'janjaweed' militias in Kenya.

 A century down the line, this northern Arab domination of southern Sudanese blacks would be a humanitarian disaster simply known as 'Darfur.' Because one can only kick the can further down the mean streets of history for so long.

To complicate matters farther at the Coast for the Brits, the black Africans would not work for them on the Lunatic Line adventure, having been ironically liberated from Arab slavery by white missionaries; thus creating the paradox of willing Asian coolies being shipped from India to work on this Top Priority rail-line, and playing second class citizens to the original wealthier Asians who had come to Kenya as businessmen.

'Rockets,' these types of Indians would come to be dubbed, seventy years in (to) the future.

Kyalo Musyoka was a short and stocky feller, with both a short temper and an infinite capacity of humour that made him a temperamental paradox.

His round face tried to frown, failed to find the necessary facial lines, so he delivered verbal lines, staccato-like:

"Hi yam not lazy! Hue yau malaria, Bwana Nsilva. Yit yiz your malaria yat makes hue think yam am lazy." His great great grandson would be the comedian Kenya would come to know as ‘Churchill’ Ndambuki.

Silva d' Souza, in spite of his star-like name, had nothing future Bollywoodish about him. His boyish looks were marred by a darkness of soul that eclipsed his features. And in-spite of the flat caps he wore, he did not look like a cricket player at all, which is the look he tried to effect, quite unsuccessfully.

If anything, his dapper white suites were ridiculous in Machakos, the white that had shone in Mombasa now a permanent dirty brown in Masaku, that made him look as unhygienic as his liquor stor, the 'Stony Athi,' that was all wood with not a single stone within its structure.

The 'Stony Athi' also had lodgings in its back-room, for wayfarers and sexual adventurers, but that is a story for later. Here was beer, and only captain Franklin Digmore, the man in charge of railway security in the whole of Masaku, didn't seem to mind it.

The beer the 'Stony Athi' served was a brand called 'Holland' from the Netherlands, and as Pop Binks, an American photo-journalist, had told d' Souza at his first bar in Mombasa, it 'tasted like it is skimmed from a dam into which everyone pees into, in Holland." Shipped through the Suez Canal and laced with preservatives to stop it going flat, Pop Binks had added, but this time in a damaging newspaper review that "In Egypt, they add formalin from the rectums of dead mummies to Holland beer, before sieving it through the charlatan Silva d'Souza's flat cap, with the final result that it tastes of Dutch pee, old Egyptian ass and a pretentious Indian's dandruff …”

Yum yum, and ready to drink - since 1865.

Captain Franklin Digmore, a tall, lanky fellow with narrow gray eyes, a gray moustache like a blast-back to the American Civil war and gray hair that stuck to his skull like a pickelhaube, certainly hadn't minded drinking 'Holland' since he'd landed in Kenya in 1895 - after five years in the Sudan fighting El Pasha for two, then subduing the man for another three.

Digmore's first stop in Kenya in 1895 had been Mombasa, where he found 'Holland' in Silva's 'de Souza's' store there. In 1896, together with his contingent of Sudanese mercenaries, the career soldier had been posted to Port Smith in Kiambu to contain the restless Agikuyu there, before he was moved to the Ngong Hills in 1897 to deal with the Maasai (and where he met The Martins, whom we'll meet shortly) before being re-united with de Souza, and his atrocious 'Holland' liquor, here in Masaku in '98, his new job to preside over security of the rail-line when it got there from its current Tsavo location, sixty kilometers to the south-east.

Digmore may have been the only white man alive in East Africa that d’Souza did not dislike. Not that he liked him, either. Actually, Silva de Souza didn't like anything in the world, including himself. Except for the god Mammon whom he worshipped. Silva de Souza had arrived in Mombasa in the August of 1894 to be a coolie, but realizing the lack of relaxation amenities in the town, he quickly opened 'The d' Souza liquor store' by the December of 1894 and sold only 'Hollands' (which he got from a gritty Dutchman called Jay Groening) at atrocious profits in his hell-hole.

In one year, his profits enabled him to open 'The Africa Hotel' where very hot and spicy foods were sold at huge profits under the excuse 'exotic Indian fare' but really to hide under sauces, roti and pepper the fact that the food was going bad, which is how de Souza managed to get it at literally throwaway prices ... as it was about to be thrown away at the docks, the voyagers' leftovers.

When two Arab brothers, the Bousteads (whom d' Souza called ‘The Bastards') opened the clean and clubby 'Mombasa Hotel' for expatriates only on the Valentines' Day of 1897, with 60% occupancy of their ninety room facility, and good food to boot, de Souza was wiped out overnight... and moved his 'Holland and hell-hole' hotel act several hundred miles inland to Masaku, which is how he was now re-untied with his loyal Holland-chugging client, Captain Franklin Digmore.

And although it was only 24 minutes past noon on this Friday morning of January 27th, 1899, Digmore was already well into his cups at the counter, growling "more" at Musyoka, who nonchalantly served him one shitty Holland after another.

'The only other customer at The Stony Athi that hot day in 1902 was 'I Am' Jeevanjee, looking immaculate as always in a well-cut Brit-style suit (never mind the hot weather), puffing a pipe (never mind the dry Ukambani heat) and squinting through eye-glasses perched precariously at the end of a hooked long nose that looked like a natural eye-glass holder, at the self-styled newspaper (one sheet of news, agitating railway worker rights as against the British) that he grandly called the 'African Standard' and self-printed once a week, Fridays.
Silva de Souza, the Goan Catholic proprietor of the Stony Athi loathed Jeevanjee for reasons of ethnicity and religion (he disliked Indians in general and those from Karachi in particular, darn Muslims) as well as at a personal level - this pretentious, intellectually preening individual who said he was an activist for the coolies (de Souza saw them as cheap muhindis) but dined and wined with the Brits, and dressed like the bwanas, in the name of negotiations.
"You know, my dear d'Souza," Jeevanjee was saying to him, having folded his one-sheet African Standard pamphlet neatly over a crossed knee that went on to show happy socks and one gleaming leather shoe, "I have just consumed your notorious curry and pilipili, pardon me, heh heh, your world famous fare. Sadly, like a one street town or a one trick pony, it is the only meal on your menu ..."
Silva wanted to scream at the Indian to Shut The Hell Up, to tell him his menu had about as much content as his so-called African Standard.
"You know, my dear d'Souza, if you diversified your menu, learned a few more recipes, threw in some sauces and got more brands than just Holland beer, in a few years, the Stony Athi could be a major and profitable enterprise for you, maybe even a hotel, no? But you need to embrace change, spend money to make money."
"In the same way I suppose that your 'newspaper,' " and here de Souza threw a scornful look at the African Standard on Jeevanjee’s knee," will someday be read all over East Africa and employ hundreds of journalists and have a London-style building somewhere up the Athi road, yes?"
Jeevanjee shrugged in an 'I give up on you my dear d'Souza' way, took his paper off his knee, uncrossed himself and asked Silva with a sigh to give him a cupper of nice Coastal tea, chai tangawizi. A.M. Jeevanjee did not take alcohol, but didn’t mind those who did.

De Souza scowled, snatched away Jeevanjee’s empty plate. “You seem satisfied! That’s cow dung, my good man. One needs to spend as little as possible to make profit as much as possible. But you would not know, no? Because all you do is to make easy money using your contacts with your British buddies, yes?”

Behind the counter, Kyalo comically turned a finger around his right ear and mouthed, “ni ile malaria ya kichwa mbaya.” It’s that malaria making his head bad. Jeevanjee sighed. Ever since he had let Kyalo, a man who had never been taken ill in his life, in on the fact that Silva had suffered a serious stroke of malaria on his way here to Masaku from the coast in the October and November of 1897, the Mkamba had never let up on his master.

Actually, Jeevanjee worried more about one Captain Digmore, whom he suspected to have a chronic case of cerebral malaria, going by his eccentricities. “Kyalo, A.M Jeevanjee will have a chai,” Jeevanjee yelled, “and kindly give Captain Digmore a Holland beer. Cold, if I correctly recall? And a second one for Frank! He can certainly take the piss.”

Frank Hall, 39, professional white hunter (and writer-hunter Ernest Hemingway’s future senior bush guide in 1933, a safari Hall will never see through because he’ll contract amoebic dysentery and die in the bush) nodded as he walked with his horrible limp to take his seat in the Stony Athi.

A rhino his party was hunting (in 1893) had turned round and charged them down, badly goring Hall in the upper right thigh. As he had floated into the big blue guileless skies over the savanna whence the rhino had tossed him, Frank had had the certain thought that he had already died.

That he was now his soul, floating up into those white altocumulus clouds far away up there.

Before his body came back to ground with an almighty thud!

“What’s the news today in the African Standard?” he asked A.M., partly to compensate for Captain Digmore, who was that silent bloke at the bar counter, hunched over his Nth beer.

Yule msee!

A.M. Jeevanjee, after a sip of his chai, happily told him of a Mombasa girl he should meet called Zaituni, whom the British Commanding Officer there wanted to leave his aristocratic wife for; then followed this extended piece of spicy gossip with an entirely unrelated, unexciting and utterly serious discourse on small pox among the Maasai, and why the Christian missionaries should make its prevention and eradication their number one priority in the new century, beyond the spreading of the gospel.

Jeevanjee then plunged into a side story of how much Mombasa had grown, at one point bringing in the topic of the Boustead brothers much to D’Souza’s chagrin, and spoke glowingly of the British engineer George ‘Experience’ Whitehouse who had built the Makupa causeway linking Mombasa island to the mainland, before proudly pitching the latest bazaar he had started at a tiny town called Darajani on his way to Masaku.

“And all this in the tiny African Standard, uh?” Captain Digmore’s voice had a sense of wonder.

“Well,” said Jeevanjee, “mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.”

Then, taunting d’Souza, ‘unless one begins with The African Hotel.’

"But it is what I saw after Darajani that concerned me," Jeevanjee went on passionately, as Francis Hall sipped his beer and Kyalo at the counter listened keenly, while Digmore dug into his rice blankly, and with the single-minded intensity of a gravedigger, as de Souza clicked with vexation at intervals of the news: "Horses, asses, bullocks and even hardy dromedaries are dying by the dozens, in days, in-between Mazeras and Kibwezi, thanks to tsetse flies, so there's no-one to carry the rail-road loads in-land except for the local peoples there..."

"And we all know how lazy those Coastal natives are," Hall guffawed. Jeevanjee frowned." It's not their endeavour that matters here, Frank. The entire enterprise just isn't viable."

De Souza clicked: "And I suppose with your genius, you have solution yet unseen by the British." Missing the sarcasm, "I Am" Jeevanjee smiled," Actually, I do. If they could make special traction engines, and we import the trains of wagons, hey presto!" Jeevanjee's face lit up with the elation of inspiration revealed. Like the only boy in the classroom who clicks Calculus.

"Why, if I organized this importation, immediately, not only would I make money for my future paper, the East African Standard, more importantly, the rail-work would go on."

"Kazi iendelee," Kyalo Musyoka offered from the bar, and opened himself a Holland.

"Bloody fackin," de Souza yelled, glad to project anti-Jeevanjee rage on his worker. "Now you think you are what, a bloody European? I'll cut that beer from musha-hara."

At that moment, a rugged Captain Godfrey Gore, Commanding Officer of Masaku whom everyone considered a bit of a bore for his pompous public proclamations stormed in. "Hall-oo, everyone. Jeevanjee, Hall, Captain Digmore - salute me, you old bastard! What's with the kelele then, de Souza? This bloody Mukamba drank a beer?

Here's a penny, his bill is on me..."

"And your penis is in my niece, Ndinda," Kyalo thought in Ki-Kamba.

Musyoka knew many things that these white folk didn't.

About the Commanding Officer's affair with his twenty year old niece, yes, but also that the hunter Francis Hall walked with a limp not because of his 1893 rhino wound on the thigh, but because he had had serious toe-bender jiggers in his toes. (Although Hall had told the fib about the rhino so many times, he had come to believe it himself, often saw himself floating above the savanna towards the clouds).

Kyalo was an expert on spotting jigger-walkers.

He watched as Captain Gore laughed uproariously over his fellow C.O.'s marital problems in Mombasa over a local girl called Zaituni, wondered about the hypocrisy of calling that C.O "a native-lovin' S.O.B., with a soft thingammy for dirty local Mombasa whores." Musyoka reflected on Arab, and then European atrocities like rape and molestation by the by-passing caravans upon local wa-Kamba women; the way Fredrick Lugard, a colonial administrator, had forced this man Digmore and his dangerous Sudanese troops on them to "suppress any local complaints" about physical abuse on local men, or sexual aggressions against the women, and hoped the kind District Supervisor John Ainsworth would stay in Machakos for long - for Ainsworth did not tolerate "crimes against the natives" – even from the whites in Masaku, and was unpopular among Europeans already for getting the local resident European magistrate to jail a white killer called Cholomondley in Machakos, (using the 1897 Indian Penal Codes), for life.

Cholomondley had been found raping a local woman in his sisal estate's field one evening, and when her husband confronted him, he had shot the man, strangled the woman, then molested their twelve year old daughter - who had later testified against him.

An all round evil seed!

The 'Cholomondley Case' under Ainsworth supervision (Mrs. Ainsworth also adopted the twelve year old African orphan to raise as her own daughter, the couple being childless) was a novel one, for many such barbaric acts went unpunished in Africa. In these years, when "anything went" in Kinya.

 White mischief – they playfully dabbed some unforgivable acts.

Now it was three o'clock and Masaku's 'elder statesman' James Martin walked in. At fifty, he was younger than Digmore, but having lived in Machakos for 15 years after helping the legendary Scottish explorer Joseph Thompson cross Maasai-land in 1884, James 'Maasai,' as was his moniker, was the foremost white 'elder' of Machakos.

He and Captain Digmore (who believed in 'force against the native') detested each other.

It didn't help that Digmore, the career soldier who had never married and was sometimes suspected to be homosexual, was actually secretly in love with Antoinette. Antoinette Martin!

In 1893, a missionary called Stuart Watt arrived in Ng'elani, Machakos, with his wife, his five kids, and a strange Maltese girl, all of fifteen, who was suffering terribly from malaria - yet the Watts had heard the call to go on to "the Interior" to ‘preach to the pagans’ there, and save them all from Hell.

Worried that Antoinette, the Maltese girl they'd adopted on their way to Kenya from Australia, would die if she traveled farther, the Watts left her in the care of Masaku's elder statesman, with the promise to return for her on their way back to the Coast "after our God-given mission is complete."

James Martin tended the teenager back to health on pawpaw, oranges and a diet of black magic paraphernalia that Musyoka availed, courtesy of sorcerers from the hidden hills of Kitui. The Watts reached Fort Smith on Kikuyu-land early in 1895 and settled there. In 1896, shortly after she turned 18, Martin made the maiden Antoinette his missus. It was a scandal!

Not only was Antoinette young, but with her Afro-Euro-Mediterranean features and hair, it was impossible to tell she was from where, with any degree of accuracy.

That did not stop Captain Franklin Digmore, now 62, from falling hopelessly in love with her, kwanza at first sight.

When he dug more into the 'Martin scandal,' Digmore was beyond incensed!

He had known the Watts in Fort Smith, during his time there in 1896, and was determined that when he got his next leave-of-duty in the November and December of 1899, to let them know how their daughter had been defiled by the dog, James Martin.

Correctly, Digmore deduced that a furious Pastor Watt would come for Antoinette, and take her back to Port Smith with him. Once there, Digmore planned to abduct her with his trusted Sudanese mercenaries, and take her to his house in the hills of Ngong, where they would live happily ever after.

After all, if she could live with a fellow 30 years her junior, 42 wasn't a stretch, was it?

Musyoka, observing the gray-haired captain when he spotted Mrs. Martin, often muttered. "This being heads-over-heels with a woman, is what will drive this man's in Kikamba head down-the-hills. Ayu?"

Now twenty, Mrs. Antoinette Martin swept into the 'Stony Athi' in her flowing flowery dress, and for the first time that afternoon, Captain Digmore dug his elbows out from Musyoka's wooden counter, as he called it, twirled his left moustache and looked lively, -like someone alive, instead of some gray half - dead thing left to haunt the corner of this bar, spooking some unforgettably bad tasting Holland beers...

"A table and tea for Mister James Martin and the Missus," Captain Godfrey Gore shouted from the table where the 'Zaituni affair' was still being analyzed by himself, Hall and Jeevanjee, the Three Magi of Masaku.

And as soon as a table and rickety chairs, still stained with 'mavi ya kuku' were available for the Martins from the chicken shed at the back of the Stony Athi, old warrior Digmore dug himself in, without preamble, like a stray shot lodging itself somewhere, between man Martins, and his wife.

"Nsiku moya mtu atafirwa.

"Ndinda Nzinsa, as always, seemed to materialize into the Stony Athi - a chocolate brown ethereal presence, all curves and body, with a backside like the perfect question mark, eyes that looked slightly dreamy all the time, and a pout of mouth that gave the impression that a tiny if invisible pot of water always moisturized her lips, especially in this dry land where red eyes and cracked lips and parched skin was all the rage.

The brown in Ndinda's eyes only seemed to suggest a secret sorrow in an otherwise perfect bombshell of sex, and male hormones raged when and where this 22-going-on-23 vixen chose to go, although in Masaku, that was a lot of No places to Go.

Where Antoinette Martin enjoyed a cool beauty, Ndinda was as hot as an explorer's magnet, and Captain Gore felt a stirring in his khakis as his Akamba mistress planted a very European kiss on his mouth, before he forcibly shoved her away, feigning distress to impress "I Am" Jeevanjee as he said-" Ah, ya Kamba langa (for prostitute). Let a man be, will you?"

Ndinda laughed easily, wetting lips with tongue, and swung on to the bar stool previously occupied by the smitten Captain Digmore, now burping beer and desire as he attempted conversation at the tea-steaming table of the Martins, completely ignoring James.

James Martin, a hard-faced fellow with a large moustache and a semblance to Soviet's Stalin (then known as Soso Koba and the same age as Antoinette, 7, 385 kms north of Stony Athi) thought of the Mkamba girl's words as she burst onstage seconds ago.

"One day, someone will get fucked-" and he wondered how long he could stop himself from hitting Digmore ... years? Months? Weeks? Days? Hours? Seconds?

The truth was, in less than a year, he would shoot the soldier right here at this Stony Athi table (after a drunk Digmore followed Antoinette outside and made a sloppy rape attempt as she peed). James Martin would get an eight year stretch for ‘manslaughter’ in Manyani prison camp, 300 kilometers down in the Tsavo.

Ndinda, meanwhile, hollered for a 'Olland' from her uncle, Kyalo Musyoka, as Jeevanjee, Hall and Gore returned to their trilogue, the Captain keeping his eyes deliberately fixed on

"I Am," the hunter stealing glances at Ndinda on "de kaunda" the way a hungry man may eye a yam on another man's farm.

And then, at five to five p.m. that Friday in Machakos at the Stony Athi bar, the group swelled to eleven with the entry of two gentlemen - Charlie Kitchen and Charles Lane — the two auditors and accountants of the railway line on behalf of the British Protectorate, and partners in the mobile firm 'Kitchen and Lane.'  On the surface, the two Charlies were as different as, well, a hotel kitchen and a street lane can be; and then, again, they were not.

Charlie Kitchen was a large, full bearded, bespectacled man, with a tendency to suffer crippling migraines. Charles Lane was a tall, gangly chap, with clear sky-blue eyes, a battered hat that made him look movie star handsome (in the era before film) and not an outer inkling of the worrywart he was, that had led in turn to painful tummy ulcers, that often had him awkwardly bending over, as if to apologize for his six foot four frame.

Whereas Kitchen had been a brutal army sergeant in the Indian campaigns against insurgents before worsening eye-sight ruled him out of active service, and into farm management in Kiambu (for four months in 1895 for his coffee-farming military superior, Lord Mackenzie), Lane had been a quiet and efficient tax collector for Her Majesty Victoria in Mombasa, pursued by many women while pursuing only evasive mathematical figures...

At the beginning of 1896, Lord Mackenzie summoned him to his offices in Mombasa, introduced him to the other Charlie (Kitchen) told them they were now rail-line auditors, in her Majesty's service, on the Kenya-Uganda railway.

That afternoon, Lane registered "Kitchen and Lane" at the Mombasa Sheria House, and the next morning over tea, told a shocked Kitchen that they were "private partners, with the United Kingdom as their client, as auditors and accountants."

The army-trained rule inclined former sergeant Kitchen was shocked - "But Lord Mackenzie said we were in Her Majesty's service?" Lane grinned: "I'm tired of being a civil servant for Queen Victoria. Tell your Mackenzie you and I are private partners, operating at a fee from the government of Britain. You know the interior of the rail-and-management business and have the personality to cut costs and confront folk. I have the auditing and accounting skills, not to mention the intellect, to make us worth at least £10,000 each, richer."

"For how long?" Kitchen growled, adjusting his large, rectangular spectacles. Lane gave him blue eyes," Latest? The first of January of 1900. Deal?" "Partners, mate," Kitchen said, grasping Lane's long outstretched accounting hand.

 

The year is 1899

The day is Friday, the sixth of January, and the two men are going strong towards their goal, with their 'Kitchen and Lane' firm only £3,000 short of twenty thousand sterling in profits.

Charles Lane, when they walk into the Stony Athi, automatically goes to the 'Boys' table' of Jeevanjee, Hall and Captain Gore, where he knows what "the stories" are at, with a shy hello at Musyoka and Ndinda on either side of the counter. As de Souza hovers like a sullen marabou stork, Charlie Kitchen sits, with embellished tales of his exploits in Egypt as the British fought some ancient Alexandrian entity in 1886, or something, tagging at Captain Digmore’s arms to make the man pays apt attention; but also speaking to D’Souza as well as the natives at the counter – who cannot make head or tail of his loud ramblings.

Digmore says nothing, but looks like a man under extreme torture.

The love rectangle is now complete.

James Martin 'Maasai' is married to young Antoinette whom Captain Digmore digs. She thinks she loves her husband, but she is helplessly in love with Charles Lane, the tall, shy, handsome auditor with eyes like sky lanes, and with budding female intuition, Antoinette suspects the 29 year old Lane (Kitchen is seven years his senior), likes her very much too.

The scene in Stony Athi is ripe for a tragedy, albeit of comic disproportions. But that will come later. And, after it comes, Antoinette will set sail for England forever with Charles Lane.

First, A.M. Jeevanjee has to tell them all, with his twinkling eyes and exaggerated mannerisms, of how the legendary Colonel James Henry Patterson just killed the feared and dreaded man-eaters of Tsavo, just sixty km south of them, not too long ago...

Patterson's Ghost

"In 1898, just last year, two huge male lions, one maneless, the other with a fearsome head of hair, appeared out of nowhere in the wild plains of the Tsavo where a railway bridge was being constructed over the Tsavo river, and began terrorizing humans by tearing into the bridge workers and supervisors, dragging two away, to eat them in night's heart. They were named the Ghost and the Darkness, because those who glimpsed them swore one was a rare white lion, while the other one was a huge ebony cat, like a panther.

The Ghost and the Darkness devoured so many people that natives fled to their villages, the Indian coolies deserted to Voi in droves, as the white supervisors, barricaded in their thorn-fenced huts, found it impossible to push the railway line forward with maimed manpower.

 By December 1st, 1898, two Brits, thirty five Asian coolies and 98 Africans in camp (but mostly in surrounding, unprotected villages) had been mauled and eaten by those two beasts. In other words, as Colonel Patterson put it, ‘Christmas had come early for the savage predators ... and humans were the turkey.

Early on the morning of December 9th, 1898, Colonel

J.H. Patterson was keeping vigil over the Tsavo camp of canvas tents, and a fence of thorn constructed with the sole idea of keeping the lions out.

Only problem was somebody had forgotten to give the Ghost and the Darkness their brief. It was cool, real cool, that night, a full moon making the Taita Hills to the south look yellow in its light.

The hills have lion's eyes, Colonel Patterson thought, and then there was a blood curdling scream from inside one of the coolies' tents, and Patterson finally realized why they called these feline beasts the Ghost and the Darkness.

Under the cover of Africa's ebony darkness, they had simply slipped into the enclosure where the railroad men, a few women and children were sleeping, and now the nightmare was upon them again - for the over eleventh dozen time.

Colonel Patterson grabbed his Springfield bolt-action rifle,.30 – 40 Krag, with the short and shockingly big bore, and still in his military breeches and military hat, raced towards what had been the yell; but like an opera singer whose solo is just an intro to the full symphony, the night was now an ugly opera of sound as a cacophony of screams rent the dark air.

Lanterns came on, and in one tent, the Colonel could see dark shapes twisting this way and that like shadow puppets in a gruesome show.

 Only these shadows weren't of an entertainer's hands as he made little kids cackle. These were family shadows (coolie, mother, child, baby), a shrieking quartet, caught in the cruel paws of death.

And on a cool night in the Yatta plateau in Africa, death was a lion called Ilimeneeg’a in a coolie family's tent, pausing to strike lightning blows with black ghostly paws, a red mouth full of the angry roar of thunder biting and biting, the yellow light of a deadly African moon shining in his primeval eyes — Ilimeneeg’a and Ilimeneeg’a, from dust to last to bloodlust, from hymen to hey man. Amen!

Colonel Patterson raised his rifle, prepared to shoot at the grotesque lithe panther-like creature, the conductor of a death pantomime inside a poor Indian's tent. He bent at the right knee, and at that moment, Death flashed by in a bolt of muscle over where his head had been not a second before, and landed in a squeal of swishing tail, and fury, in front of him.

The Second Lion

Ghost, or Eneimin, raking the dust carpet of the Tsavo with his talons(claws). In the moonlight, he was a terrifying creature – large, mean, powerful, shaggy-haired, with disturbingly intelligent yellow eyes. Like a feline that had devoured sixty six human beings in the past twelve months, compact and muscular, and in those feral eyes, Colonel Patterson saw a wild  intelligence, hatred and cunning that turned the blood to ice inside his veins, making the Springfield model seem to weigh five tons (instead of its 5 kgs) in hands that had long turned leaden.

"Hail Mary, now and at the split second of my impending death," his mind yammered.

The Ghost had its tongue out, a long looong pink tongue, panting like a dog on heat, its tail swaying like a cobra in an Hindustan flute charmer's basket, and now it was on its haunches, preparing to spring, pre pa ring spring, spring spring... and Colonel Patterson felt his life slip from autumn to the winter of his end.

It sprang!ffffuuuuccccck!

'Ka-ronggg!’

The Colonel felt the gun jerk in his hand, the aftershock of the back kick rattling his stomach. Eneimin let out a roar of outraged thunder that shook the Tsavo. Patterson saw the shot had split open the underbelly of the beast.

He bit soil, spun round on the balls of his knees, his eyes blinded, chest heaving, sensed the lion fall heavily behind him and turn, and felt his life hang on the strength (or weakness) of what happened in the next moment.

Man vs Feline Machine, a schottische between him and the beast, in stark contrast to the dark death waltz going on in the tent.

He had his gun in front of him, but it was brushed aside by the beast's broadside as it lunged at him the conductor upping the fatal tempo of the dance, blinded by rage and fury, so he rolled with it like a matador, sat in the dust on a buttock, and blasted off a shot.

The thunder of Eneimin this time was a howling sound, full of pain and (he could swear) regret at not dying with this human, and Colonel Patterson somehow leaped to his feet only to see the beast still coming at him low on the ground, like a demon dog, in spite of its shoulder bone sticking out where the metal bullet had gone in like a white crucifix.

This time, there was no mistake.

Patterson let the creature get to within a few meters of him, more serpentine than lion now in its movement, then let it have it, full lead into the top of the head. Eneimin skidded awkwardly on its hirsute chin, and went down, chini.

Patterson did not put a punctuation mark to his motion, only stopping to step on the strange soft yellow flesh of the dying lion, the way a malicious pugilist will pose to throw a few air punches down the face of a vanquished foe in the boxing arena.

Then he was off to the death tent, to join the throngs of wailing folk - blacks, Asians and a few whites, a United Nations of the shocked and relieved that the other lion, the black one, Ilimeneeg’a, had not gotten them, at least not tonight; but instead had vanished into the darkness of the Tsavo bush, a baby in its jaws, leaving behind a distraught mother shrieking in grief and tearing at her long curtain of Asian hair as her seven year old son sat on the ground, numb with shock and horror, and her husband, his father, lay flat on the earth, mortally wounded by paw blow ghost lion bite as he tried to save his baby, and family, with bare rail-laying hands, that had been no match for the lion.

Patterson shoved his way into the centre of the tent. The light of lantern showed him shambles, blood, and a dying coolie trying to hang onto the light, muttering gibberish in Gujerati, his faced creased with terror as he felt the savage pressure of death crowd around him, his soul already shrinking back across the Ocean, to India, perhaps, to re-incarnate inside a long-horned cow. From ferocious feline end, to bovine beginnings.

Exactly three weeks later, as 1898 turned into 1899, Colonel Patterson and a lion-hunting party composed of half a dozen natives hungry for food (no amount of cash could persuade the Europeans, or Indians, to join him in the search for the left-over lion) came across a magnificent sight at half past two in the afternoon on a blisteringly hot day in the Tsavo.

A huge dark beast lay dead under a scruffy thorn tree in the brush and scrubs.

Flies landed on the creature's eyes, other saprophytes crawling over his hide, his belly distended with death juice and maggots. A single spear protruded from a huge wound behind its left ear, and the wound was graveled with white pustules, already.

Ilimeneeg’a!

Colonel J.H. Patterson slowly pulled out the Maasai spear that had killed The Darkness, and carried it with him into the nearby cave that had been the home of the tag-team of the man-eaters of Tsavo.

A ghastly den of bones from ghostly, deathly killers, that resembled a mass grave of victims of genocide, a year before the century of genocidal wars - Armenia, Stalinist Soviet, The Holocaust, Cambodia, Serbia, Uganda, Rwanda, Darfur - would make such sights common place; a cave piled high with dozens upon dozens of human bones, baby skeletons, too.

The Cave

A sarcophagus of sorts, Patterson thought, only that he was in its interior. The lions had piled up the bones in different heaps, grotesque and ghostly gouges with a primeval Gothic grotesqueness to them, and curtains of old blood that had once dripped now draped the walls like cave paintings crafted by cruel claws.

Everything else in here was dark, but in the colonel’s eyes, the bones seemed to glow although the amount of sunlight that found its way into this den was minimal. The cave had a high ceiling that vanished in a point high above the Patterson’s head where no light reached, but on what looked like natural shelves carved off the hard rock, Patterson noticed the human skulls whose sockets stared emptily down at them.

A distinct image of his own ostentations tent in the Tsavo camp occurred. Behind the palm fronds, and the 'door' made of strings of Akamba beads, behind his desk, the mounted heads of rhinoceros and buffalo and cheetah and an elephant head, devoid of old tusks, and yes, one of a lion-depicting his remarkable prowess as a hunter of the Big Five in Africa.

He recalled the Ukambani Vice-Consul, Mr. James Ainsworth, with his moustache, freckled pasty face and the earnest air of a missionary, visiting him last January, staring at the mounted heads with a stony expression on his face, and the silent heads returning an icy stare with their glass-y eyes; the clipped tone as Ainsworth said;

"Treat the indigenous peoples here well, Colonel Patterson. Remember that below the skin's surface, we all belong to one tribe. The tribe of Israel! That we all are Children of God."

Now looking at the skulls the man-eaters of Tsavo had meticulously mounted in their lair, Patterson thought-" Jim is a liar. Below the skin, we all are whites."

Colonel J.H. Patterson then carefully placed the short Maa spear that had taken out the last mass man-eater of Tsavo at the center of the pile of bones, hand shaking, then walked out back into the sunlight, trusty Springfield bolt-action rifle in hand.

Lowering its cold muzzle into the hole where the spear had been, he shot the dead lion, dead, as the local tribesmen watched.

Wiped the sweat off his brow, after lowering the gun, removed his wide hat, a coolie hat made from woven straw (to let out head heat), a shallow cone, best when hunting lions. He then said a Christian prayer at the mouth of the cave, then turning to the natives: "Do not just stand there for the Dead like zombies. Block up this den of iniquity, ye good men."

The good men did.

Afterwards, rewarded handsomely for their eternal silence by bwana, they dragged the dead maneless lion (Ilimeneeg’a) back to camp, skinned it, and handed over the treasure to Patterson, Colonel. When one Mr."I AM" Jeevanjee passed by the camp two days into the New Year of 1899, he got the story of how Colonel Patterson had bravely, and single-handedly, polished off the dreaded man-eaters of Tsavo, and saved the Imperial Railway project for Her Majesty.

Jeevanjee dutifully 'published' the dual heroic exploits in his ’African Standard' pamphlet, then moved on to Masaku, a three week journey by road trek.

In 1899, the drought that had scarred Kenya (and more than scared the Maasai) for two years came to a sudden end, heavy rainfall flooding the plains, the flamingos coming back to the lakes from their self-imposed exile in Tanganyika.

Three years later, just as Jeevanjee turned the Africa Standard into East Africa's first bona fide newspaper in Nairobi, Colonel Patterson entered British folklore with the publication of his book "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo" in the United Kingdom.

Five years after that, while on the lecture circuit in America, he would make a farther small fortune from a Chicago Museum when he sold the stuffed lions to them, to exhibit, and had he lived another 89 years, he would have seen himself mythologized by Hollywood, not existing then in any shape, size or form, by famous actor Michael Douglas playing him in the film 'The Ghost and the Darkness.' He didn't!

Patterson, however, in quiet moments sipping his 'native' Holland beer till the end of his life, always wondered who the solitary Maa moran was, the man who had single-spearedly killed the terrifying Ilimeneeg’a.

How he had actually done the deed.

What had happened to him, and what he would have done with £12,500, his share of stuffed lion?

He would never have been able to even begin to imagine the bitter disappointment that moran Kantai had felt at discovering that the demon Olowuara he had slain did not even have a mane for him to take back to his Olonana, as proof that he'd really done it, so that he may claim Resian for a song, and a lion.

"Life," A.M. Jeevanjee often said, "is like a lion when one is young! Fast, grand, fierce ... and gray in its ambiguities.

 Everything afterwards, even in the most brilliant sunshine, comes in shades of gray.

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ALL REVIEW:
EMILY WEKULO
So intelligently written! Going back in time, and managing to put the historic reality right before the eyes of the audience is just epic! The story is also very informative and eye opening... Any one in touch with the Maa people and the riches of their culture would love it.
Author:
tonyadamske@gmail.com
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