The Battle Within By Felix Brown

Feb 13, 2024 | 2023 Competition, Short Story Competition, University Prize | 0 comments

Tears fell down her cheeks as those of Kapichira falls on the great Shire River. The shout of a cry awakened all the patients in the ward and even those from nearby wards. It was early in the morning, with mild cold air coming from Lake Kapiri penetrated through the hospital windows. Nurses and guardians were busy looking after their respective patients. The lonely Nasibeko lied low on her bed with no guardian to take care of her. Her face alone could tell a lot of problems lingering in her head of which nobody could ask. She was not able to move and speak, rather she kept her eyes wide open with occasional blinks after some minutes. Obviously, upon looking at her one could tell the hell of life she was passing through in her life. Nobody knew where she bought that strength to shout for the first time in her five consecutive days stay in the ward without even a cough. She had been in a coma. It was a piece of paper handed to her by one of the women from her village. The wet eyes stared still that piece of white paper and some tear drops wet the scribbles appeared on it. Everyone in the hospital was hungry of knowing what has troubled the poor woman again. Nasibeko remained idle without another word or shout, her legs and hands trembling and the heart could beat heavily that anyone could listen to its sound. She then handed the paper to the nurse who rushed immediately towards her upon hearing such a heavy intonating cry. It was from her daughter, Asiyatu.

Asiyatu was just seventeen years old. A young hardworking girl in Tisasalane village. She was admired by almost every family and peer for her good behaviour and commitment to education. A short sized in height, her round face resembled her mother with a dark-skinned complexion accompanied by small shining eyes. No man could resist to ask for her hand in marriage. Asiyatu was well-known for her good performance at Nzeru Primary School because she was always on position one since standard one to the last class of her primary level. The results for Primary School Leaving certificate were out, Nasibeko and Asiyatu danced whole night celebrating her achievement. Asiyatu’s smile showed her gap-toothed mouth complementing the “beauty with brains” phrase. She was selected to National secondary school located at the capital city.

Asiyatu held an ambition and a dream that one day she would bring the real happiness to her sole mother.

“Mother, I promise to work hard at secondary school, so that I end the insult we are passing through.” She spoke with energy while looking into her mother’s eyes.

Nasibeko dropped a tear of happiness as she nodded her head in approval.

“I know my daughter; you are the only hope and the reason for my existence on earth. I shall do whatever it takes to support your vision. I am looking forward to seeing your success.” Nasibeko replied. They hugged and went to sleep.

Years did a race, Asiyatu was already in form 4, unfortunately at a community day secondary school because her mother failed to raise school fees and transportation expenses for her to study at the capital city. They tried ask for help from non-governmental organisations and well-wishers but in vain. Others were in need of exchange with Asiyatu’s pride. Asiyatu decided to go to that school rather than sell her pride in exchange for school fees. Nasibeko really worked hard, each morning she could go to sell firewood at the market and sometimes wash clothes for the wealth Augustus family in order to support her daughter. She had no relative to support her for she was disowned by her parents when she was impregnated by Asiyatu’s father who later denied the pregnancy. Despite that, Asiyatu was still performing miracles at secondary school and almost all teachers were anticipating good results from her.


It was a sunny day, Asiyatu was so hungry and tired on her way from school. She could walk close to four kilometers to reach home. Her left hand carried the plastic paper with some exercise books packed inside. She was still amidst a certain forest before she could find her village. All her friends were already gone to their prospective homes leaving Asiyatu behind. She could only hear songs of insects and birds from different trees until she sensed footsteps from behind, someone was following.

“Stop young girl!” The strange deep voice hit her ear drums.

She was caught by a mysterious force that made her stop unwillingly amid fears. Her voice was gone, her legs started to vibrate causing the ground beneath to quake, she did not turn black her head to see who was behind but footsteps started approaching closer by and by. The person was a few centimeters from her. Asiyatu slowly gathered the courage to look back. A huge body stood behind her, with fluffy hairs and beads, his muscular body being exposed by his loose vest. She threw her eyes side to side and back again but no one was coming for her rescue. She prepared herself to scream but the strange man pressed his heavy right arm on her shoulder while the other one on her mouth as sign to remain silent. Asiyatu’s body felt discomfort, she could sense the velocity of her blood in all veins and capillaries.

“Do not ever try to scream, nobody will hear you here! Stay calm and cooperate.” The man spoke with energy and stabbing voice. He lifted her up easily on his shoulders into the forest, she tried to resist but she was just a poor weak girl, her strength could not outdo the strange man. She felt the pain, her pride was gone. Her face was full of tears and the strange man disappeared after the mess without a word. It was getting dark and early stars were vividly seen in the sky. She did not remember the hours she spent on that spot. The odor of the strange man and the pain within are the things she felt along. She kept it to herself not even her mother was told.

The life changed, she could go to school whenever she wanted, her body was getting thinner and thinner and this was because sometimes she could to bed with an empty belly. Each time, she passed through the forest on her way to school, she could start on the spot where the stranger stopped her. The hot tears could fall from her eyes and the unpleasant smell of the strange man suffocated her and this made her to dislike going to school. The performance started going down at school.

“I am fine” Asiyatu was answering whenever some teachers asked her if she was well.

After a month, she discovered that she was expectant. She felt more hurt this time around but still her mother was not aware of her condition or what happened a month ago. One evening, they sat together eating their little supper. Nasibeko kept on staring her daughter with an optimistic to know what troubled her daughter. Asiyatu rushed out of the house, she vomited. Her eyes looked pale and Asiyatu and her mother kept on looking at one another. She knew time for hiding is over.

“Asiyatu, my daughter, tell me what I do not know?” Nasibeko pressed the button while looking still into the eyes of her daughter.

“Mother….Sorry… But it was not my fault.” She replied while sobbing. Nasibeko embraced her to ease her temper and tension so that she could narrate everything.

“This other day from school, this strange man came on my way…… and… this man …raped me. I have discovered that I am pregnant.” She cried while hugging her tightly.

Nasibeko’s heart jumped, she did not expect such a heavy news. She looked at Asiyatu for some minutes without a word. Only tears on both their faces and Nasibeko suddenly started to tremble

“Why didn’t you tell me Asiyatu?” Nasibeko cried and fell down. The other burden Asiyatu to carry. She could not hold her pain till she cried on top of her voice. The broken-hearted girl in darkness. She could see the world swallowing all her visions. In a short time, people assembled to see what was going on Nasibeko’s house. Asiyatu wept uncontrollable and unceasingly whole night while her mother was taken by some well-wishers to the district hospital. Asiyatu, expectant, so lonely she started passing through hardships, she had no relative and the food run out a day after her mother collapsed. She completely dropped out of school and that was the most painful thing.  Every night she was haunted by nightmares, she could dream of the strange man and what happened that day and this caused her to spend sleepless nights because she could scream whenever she tried even to take a day-nap. She could see all her ambitions, dreams, and visions been buried into the deepest sea. She had nothing left, she could not go to see her mother because she had no money for transport, she wished she could know her father perhaps she could have run to him. It was five days down the line, her mother was still at the hospital struggling for her life. That evening, she sat on the veranda, the twinkling of stars shining through her dark face. She was looking up to the sky with heavy unanswerable questions. She felt herself worthless. It was not her fault. She dragged herself into her bedroom, lit the lamp and took her old exercise books and a pen.

She was scribbling something.

“Dear mother, I wish I could be there for you!

But I cannot. You told me, I am strong but I am not.

I was raised without a father, my child should not pass through it again

If it is a curse. I am ending the chain now.”


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