My Tales

The Real Night Runners of Alego

the real night runners of alego tales by ortis

Aki Luo traditions can be harsh. Houses have been built for dead men in a record of ONE day because a grown up man with a family can’t be buried without owning a house. Mara sijui you have to sleep with a dead person under the same roof for i don’t know what reasons. These are the things that make potential ladies from central say ‘Eh, mimi? Aki siwezi kuorewa na Mjaruo’. The cultures can be extreme but zengine zinaeleweka, but one day i encountered the devil himselfu !! And if your father follows them, aki hauna bahati.

My eldest brother was yet to build his Simba. A Simba is a semi-permanent house within the father’s compound that a son Must build for himself and his young family. As a son, you are not allowed to sleep in your father’s rural house once you became an adult. So lazima nyumba ujenge. Then as a son, when your children become adults and they need their own space, you move and start your own home.This meant anytime we went to shagz, we couldn’t sleep in my dad’s house, ikifika usiku mlikua mnatoka kwa Boma mnaenda kutafuta mahali ya kulala, hio ni shauri yenu. Have in mind we are four brothers, and at that time. No one could build before our eldest bro, hio ni laana.

So on this particular day, I was the only one in shagz with my dad. Stories until kitu midnight, the idea was I derail him until he says he is going to bed, so that I can sleep on the sofa. Lakini wapi, alikaa macho tu akiskiza radio. Then he goes, Wee, Kijana, nataka kulala. Ebu enda huko kwa babu yako, ndio hii torch na radio. Thoo! I was cornered, I had to leave.

My grandfather died in 1970, so you can imagine how old his house was. The thatched, cylindrical houses that were roofed with reeds. But at some point, the roof was changed for mabati. No cement was being used on those days, it was just cow dung and matope.

Around 1am, I had to leave my father’s house, and go to sleep. Our shagz is dark, seriously dark, and I think this is why night runners thrived in ALEGO. Alego was and is still known to have the most athletic night runners. They run like the wind, you can’t catch them. If Usain Bolt tried being one today, he would be the slowest of them all. Hana experience ya kukimbia kwa giza.

So I get to the house, since the door can’t close from inside, nikaweka tu slippers chini ya mlango na Nika ingia kwa kitanda. Capital fm mdogo mdogo as I listen to some Celine Dione. Sleep took its toll as I drifted away.

10 minutes into my sleep, I heard the loudest thud ever. It was so loud and frightening that my heart literally stopped beating. The fear that overcame me was unexplainable. If people can die because of fear, I should have died that day. I couldn’t explain what had just happened, it was pitch dark especially in the room. I stayed calm for some seconds, located my phone and switched on the torch so that I could go outside and have a look. But when I switched it on, I was in for a rude shock.

Half of the roof of not all of it had sunk it. The main pillar supporting the roof was broken into two and part of the pillar was suspended right above my head. A little more impact and the timber would have massacred me. When I looked beside my bed there was a huge, huuuuge, stone.

Behind this house, there was a huge tree ya Mkwaju/Tamarind. So this Jajuok, first of all, he knew I was around, secondly, he knew I was not going to sleep in my father’s house, so he had all the time to climb that tree with the huge stone and wait for me to get to the house. Sitting naked on top of that tree, supporting himself with his bare buttocks on a huge branch, adrenaline rushing in him. His sole agenda this night was to send fear down my spine. Did he achieve this? He over-delivered, he sent fear together with his family my way.

I never expected this from a Luo night runner, i was very disappointed. Such extreme behavior should only be expected to happen in a random village in Kisii. That’s the only region i hear night runners can fly and others can make cool kids from town do unimaginable things, imagine waking up in someone’s farm na wewe ndio umelima hio shamba usiku yote bila kujua. All because uliongea kizungu kwa sokoni ukakasirisha mtu. Usiku ukilala you get hypnotized and pick up a jembe and go to the shamba at 1am. Yet the only skill you have is slaying on social media.

Suddenly, the fear I had turned into anger. Underneath the bed, there was a panga and slasher. I took both. All this while this fool was chanting Luo stuff as he threw soil on top of the sunken roof, manze he had so much time and confidence that amazed me. But at least he gave me time to plan myself. I stealthily walked to the door. Stood silent, breathing heavily, waiting for him to get to the door as he was dancing and throwing his soil. But it’s like these people smell danger, he didn’t come to the door. Instead, he stood at least 3 meters from the door and said. ‘Omera okinyal bwoga, wuoi mo fuo, wuoi mo fuo, – Omera you can’t scare me, stupid boy, stupid boy. He continued taunting me.

Knowing so well he was that I was waiting for him. I just burst the door open and, RAN! The chase began. I was playing rugby then, I was fast, I knew I would catch him. But this naked ,short, fat man, was shockingly fast. You might have thought he was about to break a record for INEOS, he was representing all the other Jojuogi.

We get to this maize plantation and he disappeared. Silence for a while, then I hear him laughing. Suddenly he slapped my buttocks so hard with his bare hands, i felt VERY violated being spanked by a night runner, when I turned angrily to face this fool, he wasn’t there, again he starts laughing. But this time I’m more alert, again, Kofi kwa mgongo, PA!!!!!! Disappeared. I was so mad, I wanted to cry, I really wanted to get this guy. Then he says, Omera ifuo dhi inind.. You are so stupid, go and sleep. Again, I started chasing the wind, now I was just running out of anger in a maize plantation, not sure who I was chasing until I heard my dad asking loudly. Who is that on my farm?Get or I will alert the people.

Who is that,? I can see you.. I didn’t say I thing. I just walked towards the edge of my father’s farm and when he pointed his torch , he Saw me standing there, with my boxer, panga na slasher. So he asks, what are you doing? He was damn shocked. I told him I was chasing a Jajuok. He kept silent for some seconds, the laughter that followed after was so hysterical, he laughed until he ran out of breath and sat down. I hope he would say something encouraging until he said…Woyi dhi inind, okinyal mako jajuok gotieno.

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