PLANET NAIROBI (When the sun goes down)
They were on the verge of losing this battle… it was only a matter of time, and he knew that. Through the window, he saw them advance, with a fierce swiftness that would have put anyone opposed to them at unease. Trembling uncontrollably, he reached for his weapon and held it firmly, ready to martyr himself for his family’s honour and legacy if need be. For they were not, and never would be known as a family of cowards, they were royalty... and he would rather go down fighting than cowering, that was the bottom line. But he knew that his sword, as well forged as it was, would be no match for Rath and his five hundred man strong battalion. So, biting his lower lip he waited for the pounding footsteps to reach the top of the stairs where he stood, the one solitary guardian to the throne. Martyrdom was his destiny.
“Let he that stands between Rath and the throne fall like the city walls!” Rath’s dominant voice bellowed as it got closer, too close for comfort.
He braced himself.
Suddenly, the doors burst open. And Nur... Prince Nur, finally got to come face to face with the scourge that had terrorised the lands of the sea for so long. A man of whom he had heard about from stories as a child growing up. A man that had haunted his dreams for as long as he could remember. Nur realised that he had always been afraid of Rath, long before this moment, how was he supposed to fight this man when he was clearly at a disadvantage? For it was common knowledge that to go into battle afraid, was to go into battle prepared to lose.
Rath was a gigantic figure, and exuded the air of one who was accustomed to crushing his opponents and hadn’t experienced defeat in a while... if not ever. This man stood at almost eight feet tall, with rock hard muscles that seemed to pile on top of more muscle, threatening to tear through his dark skin. His long locks of unkempt hair fell over a face that could only be described as menacing. He had a permanent scowl that was complimented by his black, soulless eyes. And as they stared each other down, Nur couldn’t ignore the presence of sheer evil he saw in those eyes, a shiver of dread ran down his spine. He raised his blade.
“A child?” Rath barked, “A petulant child? Is that what this Kingdom’s defences have come down to? An infant?” He waved a dismissive hand at Nur.
“A prince!” Nur responded defiantly, raising his blade even higher and more confidently. This man may have been the epitome of terror, but Nur would be ****** if he was going to be talked down to in this manner, this was his palace.
“A prince huh? Prince Nur I presume? Your father was a brave man, I respected him. Even if I met his acquaintance only for a couple of minutes, before I slaughtered him. But I do respect a king that fights alongside his men, as opposed to other cowards I’ve had the pleasure of killing that had barricaded themselves in their chambers and let others fight their battles for them. King Thur was a rare breed... but a dead one all the same.” He laughed remorselessly as he said this. “And soon you will get to join your warrior father foolish one.”
Nur lost all sense of fear. Infuriated, his nostrils flared as he swung the blade with all the ferocity he could muster, slicing deep into Rath’s right forearm. Time slowed to syrup as he saw his adversary’s blood stain the sword, but realising that it wasn’t a fatal strike, he turned around swiftly, switching his stance just in time to see Rath’s massive blade come down on his head. Then there was a deathly silence.
The afterlife was nothing like he had pictured. It smelt of... he couldn’t quite place that peculiar smell. It wasn’t pleasant, but neither was it unpleasant, just unfamiliar. Then he turned around and saw her. He deduced that she was probably the source of the smell. He noticed that smoke came out of her nostrils and mouth every few seconds after lifting a sticklike object to her lips. Nur mused at how wrong the high priest in their kingdom had been when he spoke about the place in the sun... the afterlife. It wasn’t anything like he had described.
But wait a minute! He realised that the sun was still above him, in the sky. He could see it. He could feel it on his skin. So WHERE WAS HE? He felt dizzy, unable to comprehend. Only a minute ago he was in the royal palace, facing certain death. And now he was... he didn’t know where he was, or even what he was. Was he dead? Transcended? Was this just his soul? If so, then how come he still had his senses? All these questions raced through his mind at the same time. He turned toward the lady, who seemed unaware of his presence. She was tall and very light skinned compared to him and her hair was tied in ponytail at the back of her head. He couldn’t make sense of her attire though, she seemed to wear a lot of clothing, garment over garment that covered her arms and legs. She was also extremely beautiful and had a slim womanly body most warriors would **** for, he noted, and felt himself flush. He tried to see what she was squinting so intently at and concluded that she was just staring into space as she drew, he realised now, on the tiny stick and blew out more smoke. That was when he noticed how high up they were, this palace stood almost five times as high as theirs. It was overwhelming to say the least. He got up and walked over to her, deciding to leave his blade behind so as not to come off as a threat.
“Greetings?” He said politely. She jumped as if she had just seen a ghost, dropping the stick she was holding. He had clearly startled her, so he took a step back lifting his hands in the air to signify that he meant her no harm. She breathed rapidly and began to speak just as rapidly in a foreign tongue. Nur couldn’t understand what she was saying, but the hostility in her tone and her demeanour was hard to miss. He took another step back, ready to defend himself from an attack if need be. He had heard tales of an island with warrior women who could match, and beat, even the strongest male adversary in combat. He decided to tread cautiously.
Nasim Naikuni was beyond peeved. Who was this ******? He had scared her half to death and almost made her fall off the roof, not to mention burn her favourite grey, three thousand shilling trouser suite when she dropped the cigarette. And what annoyed her even more was that he didn’t seem to register how ******* she was. He just stood there with a blank expression on his face, like a schoolboy waiting for his mistake to be explained to him. Nasim couldn’t stand slow people, they got under her skin. She was yelling at the top of her lungs, which was taxing to say the least, seeing as she had been smoking just seconds ago.
“Are you slow?” She shouted, tapping at her temple repeatedly. “What makes you think you can sneak up on me like that you fool? You almost killed me. Do you realise that?” Then she stopped and studied him, out of breath. She noticed that he seemed unable to understand English and so she switched to Swahili, “Nini mbaya na wewe?” What’s wrong with you? Still there was no response.
She gave him a once over. He dressed strangely. His large, golden brown pants that fluttered in the wind seemed to have been made from an expensive material, though it was like no material she’d laid eyes on before. It bordered somewhere between silk and suede. His shirt was also made of a similar material, but leather brown in colour, matching his leather boots that were laced and reached just under the knee. He stood an inch or two shorter than she did, but she guessed that was probably because she was in heels. He had long hair that seemed to fall halfway down his back in one long braid. He looked almost exotic as he tried to communicate, but she couldn’t place the language or his ethnicity, for his skin-tone was chocolate brown but his hair looked almost like an Asian’s, dark and straight. He spoke in a tongue she had never heard before. There was also something really classy about this boy, whom she guessed to be around eighteen years of age or so. It was like looking at a darker, more pampered version of Sinbad the sailor.
Nasim relaxed a little and decided to give the fellow a chance to introduce himself, in whatever way he intended to do so. He seemed to pick up on this and started explaining something to her, making a couple of gestures, and at some point she thought she saw him mimic a fight, and then point to the sky. Nasim still didn’t know what he was talking about, but felt a semblance of communication begin to take form. He directed her attention to another part of the roof, probably where he had approached her from. And she saw the blade! With catlike agility she swung her purse at him, the blow caught him square on the jaw with a thud! The bottle of perfume she religiously carried around in it serving a different purpose on this day. He hadn’t seen it coming and so had no chance of stopping it. He staggered backwards as she made a run for it toward the staircase but felt a hand grab her ankle causing her to tumble onto the hot cement floor. At that moment her heart sank, for she knew that she was done for.
Nur was perplexed, he didn’t know what he’d done to deserve the assault. The lady had seemed to be calming down, but all of a sudden she had lunged at him with a weapon he had first assumed to be a bag. Though, she didn’t strike with the strength that a warrior would have, and also had made an attempt to flee. This told him two things. One, she wasn’t accustomed to combat... and two, she had attacked more out of fear than strife. Which meant that she posed no immediate threat to him. Also, she was the only person he had met so far and his only hope of figuring out where he was. He couldn’t afford to lose her, not just yet, so he decided to try something he was ashamed he hadn’t thought of sooner. Nur spoke into her head.
‘I mean you no harm.’ He said, and waited. No response. He tried again, concentrating harder this time. ‘Can you hear me? I mean you no harm’
‘LET ME GOOO!’ Her thoughts screamed.
He could understand her, they had made a connection. Progress...
One year later. Nasim...
“Good afternoon people? You’re hangin’ out with me Nasim Naikuni on your favourite show Voices, where you can throw any question you have regarding life... and living it, at me and the voices in my head will answer them for you... yeah, you heard right, the voices in my head. I’ll be takin’ your calls for the next hour. Let’s begin shall we?” Nasim spoke into the microphone just before a voice-over added...
“NASIM NAIKUNI, THE ONLY RADIO PRESENTER THAT’S LITERALLY GONE BONKERS!” And then was followed by some rock music. ‘So what?... I’m still a rock star... ’ Pink’s lyrics belted out as Nasim removed her headphones to take a breather before she talked to her first caller. A breather... and also to have a bit of a chat with the voice in her head. She walked out of the studio into a corridor where she was out of sight, and concentrated, her eyes crinkling from the effort.
‘Hey, are you there?’
‘Uh huh.’ The prince replied.
‘Okay, we’re on in roughly three minutes. Make me look good babes’
‘Don’t I always?’
‘True dat. What are you doing?’
‘It’s one in the afternoon... ’
‘This is not my planet, therefore I’m not obliged to follow its rules. I can have a one o’clock breakfast if I want to.’
‘Brunch, what your having would be brunch. Breakfast... aaand lunch?’
‘You see? You get all high and mighty on me about this and you even have a name for it? If it is so wrong to have breakfast at this time, then why would your people give the meal a name? I’m just saying.’ Nur said mockingly.
‘I give up’ She replied with a sigh.
She walked back into the studio.
“Caller... you’re on air. Shoot.” Nasim said softly, leaning into the microphone.
“Hey Nasim, lovely job you’re doing by the way.”
“Why thank you dear, but I don’t deserve all the credit you know?”
“Yeah I know... you and the voices in your head... ha-ha! Anyway my name is George, and I’m kinda’ in a predicament at the moment. You see, I have a wife and a family... two kids, but I kinda’ got into this relationship outta’... obligation as opposed to real love...”
“Yes. I met my wife five years ago in uni’ and we dated. But looking back, I only got into the relationship because I felt I’d led her on and she loved me soo much, I just couldn’t disappoint her. So I got stuck in a phony relationship, at least on my part. Next thing I know, we are pregnant and... It’s been we ever since.”
“So you want to what? Get out of your marriage?”
“I want to be with the person I truly love...”
“Hooo... **! Scoreboard! Now we have lift off. And how long have you known this person that you truly love George?” She said this with a tinge of amusement in her voice.
“Six years... and we’ve been going out for the past two.” He sounded ashamed.
‘He sounds ashamed.’ She heard Nur say observationally.
‘No kidding.’ She retorted.
(In the past year or so, Nasim and Nur had come to an understanding somewhat. After she had struck him with her purse and the little scuffle they’d had on the rooftop, and after convincing herself that she wasn’t going crazy... or that the cigarette she had been smoking wasn’t laced with marijuana or some other hallucinogen, she finally gave in and listened to the voice speaking to her in her thoughts.
‘Please, just give me a chance to explain. I need your help lady!’ He sounded desperate.
She felt sorry for him, but still suspected she could be going nuts.
He continued. ‘I don’t know where I am. My father is dead and I don’t know where I am or how I arrived here, and you’re the only one that can help me right now...’
Nasim, touched now, replied. “How am I supposed to do that? And how are you doing this telepathy thing? Are you really doing this?” She shook her head violently, like a wet dog trying to dry itself, “I’m very confused right now.”
He looked even more confused. ‘Talk to me in my head, I think it is the only way we can communicate with each other.’
She didn’t know how to.
‘It’s simple, concentrate.’ He said reassuringly.
She tried. Still nothing.
‘I could hear you a moment ago, I don’t understand. Let’s try this slowly, repeat after me... Nur.’ He told her.
She heard him, and was thinking what?
He repeated, ‘Nur.’
She tried thinking the word he’d asked her to repeat as hard as she could but he didn’t seem to be getting anything. She decided that the cigarette must have been laced with something. Here she was, on the roof top of her work building trying to master telepathy, with a stranger who just happened to own a sword. This had to be a dream, a nightmare.
‘I must be high.’
‘Yes! Yes! You’re high!’ She heard the excited reply.
‘You did it!’ Nur said happily, ‘you figured it out. And yes, I was also meaning to ask you about how high we are.’
She had done it. Nasim could hear him and answer back, she felt oddly proud of this accomplishment. Then she asked puzzled. ‘High? You get high?’
‘I am high.’ Came the naive reply.
‘Why are we so high up? The palaces on our island are half the size of yours, are you that many in your palace that you need to build it so tall?’
Then she understood. And laughed... ‘Who are you? And how did you get here?’
‘My name is Nur... Prince Nur... how I got here? That’s what I’m trying to find out.’ He was being honest.
And thus begun an adventurous relationship between the two. Nasim took him to her apartment that day, passing curious and disapproving looks all the way. The most difficult part being trying to explain to her boss why she was coming from the roof in the company of someone who dressed like a ******, as he put it. She made up something. And he gave her one of those I’ll accept your story just because... looks. Nasim found that hilarious. But she was glad she had asked Nur to leave the sword behind to be recovered later. That would have been a tad difficult to explain. They got to her apartment block and were met by more disapproving looks from a group of nosey old women, the type that love to mind everyone else’s business but their own, as they walked to the lift. And when they got into apartment F6 on the second floor, she introduced Nu
Planet Nairobi… wrote this a couple of months ago, it was turned down by one publisher and awaiting other publisher’s feedback. However, it’s been a minute so I decided to share it with my peoples… if you like my work, this one will get you going… it may have it’s flaws, but hey… I never said I’m perfect, I’m just a writer.