In the Quiet: Martha

My name is Martha, just like Mary’s sister in the Bible, my parents went to church. In that building on Sunday they were Christians and as soon as we left it, they were the Abakuria.

When my sister, Abigail, was nine years old she went out in the night with praises from our aunts and parents that she would be a strong, beautiful and confident Kuria woman and she never came back.

I was seven then.

They could not touch me because among our people there are some things that are unholy or considered bad luck and it’s odd that seven is what we call an unlucky number.

We had one leg in our ways and the other in Christianity; one deemed the number seven unlucky and the other holy.

I kept asking after Abigail until one time the answer I received was a slap, then two more after that, and when I was beaten and thrown out into the cold, then I too knew that it was time to stop asking for the dead, especially at night.

When I turned eight, my mother’s younger sister came to visit us from the city, and they kept me from her for three days. She was unclean, not a woman, an outcast because she too had refused to let them take her into the night and cut her.

An excerpt from In the Quiet…in-the-quiet-1


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