Silent Night || 𝑏𝑦 π‘€π‘–π‘π‘Žβ„Ž πΎπ‘Žπ‘šπ‘Žπ‘›π‘”π‘Ž

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CHIOMBA TIPTOED PAST THE MANGO TREE, his wrinkled hands clasped to his sons wrists, Joel and Atu. The crickets screeched and dry leaves rattled beneath their feet as they sneaked along in the dark. He hastened his pace, pulling the children along, and he would occasionally flit a glance about to make sure no one was following.
"Dad, are we not yet there?" said Atu, in a whisper.
"No my son, I will tell you once we are there," Chiomba assured.
Atu squeezed his father's hand tight, the chill of the night washing goosebumps across his limbs. A howl breezed about them, freezing their hearts for some seconds. Chiomba heaved a sigh and at once, picked up both children into his arms. He wouldn't take a step further. Only stood transfixed like a zebra surrounded by wolves on every side. 
The children shivered, breathing moans within the chill. The howl whizzed closer than before, as if a growl in their ears. Chiomba crashed onto the leaves at once, and a scaly grip clasped his wrist /, dragging him away from his children. 
Before the children could raise their voices, he was already disappearing from their sights. They could only watch helplessly as he melts into the night. Atu took the first step, chasing after the fading. Joel followed. But it was a wild goose chase.
"Daddy! Daddy, come back!" they cried, gazing into the murky distance. 
Chiomba's cries breezed back to them. "Joel! Atu..." Atu darted a run towards his father's feeble voice but to no avail. Under the bright moonlight, he could see a fresh trail of blood. He halted, his heart edging towards his throat.
"Help us please!" Joel cried, but the echoes in the silent night warped him about. "Daddy! Daddy!"
The trees shook violently at that instant. A flash of light blanketted the night. And a thunder rumble shook the forest. Atu staggered, shaking like a troubled leaf. It began to rain. And within the downpour, a man's dying cry faded into the torrents.
Atu grabbed his brother's hands and they scurried back, down the narrow path their father had led them through. Lightning flashed again. This time it did well to highlight the silhouette of a creature slinking towards them. Atu paused abruptly, the meander of rains cascading down his body. His bladder loosened, urinal flow mingling with the downpour. "Shhh," he whispered in Joel's ears. 
The howls rang out again, louder and closer.
Atu jittered. "Do you know how to pray?" he asked his brother.
"Ye-ee-s. " Joel trembled.
They could hear the creature's footsteps closing in on them. Atu eased a turn behind, and two long horns shaded his sight. Just then, voices filtered close from afar. He recognized their mother's voice.
"We are here! Mummy! We are here!" 
The creature faded away into the dark at once. "They are alive! I can hear them!" someone cried.
The voices intensified amidst flashes of light. Both children scampered in their direction, their fears partially melting away. 
Mrs Chiomba recognized her two little sons. Throwing a wail, she rushed to meet them, hugging them tight.
"Mum, where's dad?" Atu asked. "We saw him being dragged—"
"I'm sorry, he should be dead."
"Dead? Why?"
"He paid the price for his evil deeds"
'"What evil deeds, Mum?" Joel asked, face crumpled.
"He wanted to sell your body to the herbalists," replied their uncle, wiping off a tear.
"Why? Why us?".
"Because of your skin. Because you both are Albinos."

MEET THE AUTHOR:

MICAH KAMANGA is a writer who comes from the Northern part of Malawi. She was born on 27th September, 1980. She attended several schools including Nkhamenya Secondary School where her passion for writing was conceived. She has written a lot of stories such as The Picture of Love, and many more. Apart from being an author, she's also a poet.

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