Uploaded by Jackson Mwewa Chabala Junior

Terrible nightmare, Chabala Jackson Zambia

(37,900 words approximately)
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
This journey was never easy some people couldn’t even spend a minute to check my work.
Others would say my grammar was rather too heightened. This however didn’t affect me in any
way people love the outcome not toiling. I spent almost every day of my journey working at
break time when at work and in the morning on the weekends. I am a man of a few words so I
find it much easier talking to papers and nature but I am not boring either that is if you get to
know me well.
I would like to start by thanking the following:
To my parents for the financial, spiritual and moral support. They made this journey
easier and enjoyable.
To my right kick and well-wisher Emmanuel Kaluba, whose cooperation, inspiration and
encouragement I have apprehended throughout the integration of this novel.
To all those who had a chance to look at my work and gave sound criticism. I can’t
manage to mention all the names however the limitless list include Victoria Chipasha my
accomplice, Puta Francis, Stephan Chabala my crazy man, and Oliver Kaluba.
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Dedicated to my parents, Pastor Chabala Jackson and Mrs. Chabala Ruth, not merely because
they brought me up with love but for creating in me a sense of self confidence as a writer. May
God continue blessing you; you shall live to see your children's children and their children.
I was brought up humbly, taught to respect every person regardless of their class in the
society. We are six but they love us equally. It is blessing to have such parents.
Jackson Chabala Mwewa
© Chabala Jackson, Terrible Nightmare 2020
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Hello! Everyone!
his book is a work of fiction. The work places and people in this story are all chimerical
and by product of imagination. However 'Terrible Nightmare’ is a novel trying to
put across a message to a growing youth.
The strange and impractical nightmares were used to prove that the majority of people both
young and old are haunted by bad dreams some of which are inane and others as foreshadows.
The predicament is how to draw a line of demarcation between an inane Chimera and a
divulgence one.
Nightmares can nag us when we are in fear or absorbed in thoughts. The former mainly
comes when one is frightened by something and the latter when one continuously processes
something in mind for a long period. Therefore it is advisable not to spend much of our time
pondering over negative moments faced by us as it ignites nightmares.
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The novel talks about Pelo a young and ambitious lad, who was continually nagged by a
series of nightmares ranging from sleep to day time.
Possibly this story could have been set in many other world cities but Kitwe city qualified not
because it is my home city but because of its beautiful people and reading culture. The content of
this novel is pure African and European partly.
In our era young people are the least positive about dreams, older people not exceptional
also. Dreams can affect our lives somewhat however some people would still argue that dreams
will remain dreams and without effect.
But why is it that when a person dreams winning lottery wishes it to come to reality, the
reason is very simple; it’s because the dream was appealing. On the contrary when one is nagged
by a bad dream they wish it to be the last in their life time.
The truth is bare, dreams are real and if they are, then we need to take them seriously as some
come to alert us and others to haunt us. Those that are ecclesiastical will bear with me ideally
that certain dreams come with a message, sometimes divulgation. However, scientifically dreams
are merely a series of images we perceived during the day or what we pondered on much time.
This novel is thought provoking; the bad dreams encountered by Pelo are both idealistic and
realistic. Primarily because of his love (Mapalo), anxiety, much thought and what we could term
as sacerdotal messages.
Jackson Mwewa Chabala
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Kitwe Zambia
“Wake up! Wake up!” These were words from my mother.
“The driver is waiting for you,” she said pulling my blanket.
It was on a memorable cold and windy Monday mid-morning when it was decided that I
should leave for Lusaka from my home town, Chalochidema. I have had waited for this
adventure to go for holiday and have sometime alone. For not less than two hours, I was in haste
stowing my educational materials making sure they were safely kept. My mother had then
already ordered our old family driver, Mr. Daka to travel with me.
Mr. Daka was impatiently waiting for me and breathed on my neck for having prostituted his
working time as if waiting for me was not working. I had books scattered in my bedroom both on
the mahogany couch and underneath the bed. Except for the gadgets I had recently bought. I kept
them like the hen covers the eggs being hatched.
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
In no time, I had everything in place and I was ready to start off by mid-morning. My family
was already shouting farewell. I could not respond but burst into tears of joy and sadness, I had
longed to visit Lusaka after being told many intriguing things about the town.
Thereafter, Mr. Daka drove some meters away; looking back I could see mama and pa
together with my siblings rushing back into our green roofed house with golden walls, for a
moment I wondered why? But later reckoned that it was a Monday and obviously they rushed to
watch our favorite Monday TV program on ZNBC junior president.
After a while, we suddenly heard a strange gigantic bang, people could be heard shouting and
yelling as if the earth was torn apart. At that very moment, I gazed back to see what had
happened, my eyes could not believe what I saw our green roofed house was on fire.
I could see people both young and old running towards our house, lazy morons stood like
statues with both hands touching the head obviously dismayed.
Responsible and caring neighbors were in haste trying to put out the fire. Mr. Daka languidly
turned our grayish family minibus and drove back to see what had really happened.
What could have caused the fire was the question lingering in mind. I remembered leaving
the Iron on as I was pressing the clothes to wear. Our kitchen used Gas appliances this could
have ignited the fire too!
As we were approaching the house, I could hear the sweet and soft voice of my mama calling
for help. My siblings were screaming at the peak of their voices with a key that cannot be
accessed in the physical world.
As I was alighting from the minibus with little strength to stroll, I stumbled and fell on the
ground. Mr. Daka rushed to help; I got my feet back on the ground.
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The flames of fire were still burning fiercely like a furnace heated thrice. On the other hand,
people in numbers were busy trying to put out the fire. The fire fighters and police were notified
but took time coming due to the bad condition of the roads.
Under hypnosis, I could see people running up and down. I could not believe this was really
happening; our green roofed house was slowly turning into ashes.
Behind the crowd stood our fluffy, the pet I had recently purchased, it was barking with a
sorrowful voice and made tears to drop out of my waxed eyes. My family was gone.
Eventually, the fire fighters accompanied by the police arrived at the scene fully equipped. It
was late though; they merely found black walls standing with ashes around. The crowd was in a
melancholy mood, women were weeping throwing themselves on the ground. The police
requested to see any kinsman of the deceased family as people were inconsiderately pointing
where I stood I keeled over.
Some hours later, I gained consciousness and to my consternation I found myself
hospitalized at the Kitwe central hospital and my journey was no more. On my bed side was Mr.
Daka who had loosely speaking become a kinsman of our family having served us for ten years.
“Where is mama? And Liger, the fluffy I had bought recently!” I exclaimed with anguish.
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
He could not respond but tried to engulf tears and laughter in the same cauldron saying they
were all fine with a hoarse voice. However, I could tell something bad had had happened though
I could not recall anything pertaining to what had happened having lost my short-term memory.
Three days later, I was discharged from hospital and my memory had already come back I
could then recall what had happened and my heart was in deep sorrow.
At the hospital’s exit on our way out Mr. Daka almost ran into a weak and sick old woman in
her late 60s trying to cross the road, presumably the old woman was the ugliest at the time but of
course someone’s mother and wife.
From the hospital we drove a mile without any conversation. Consequently, Mr. Daka
cleared his throat and asked if I wanted to visit the gutted house, nodding my head he knew I did
not want to go there.
Some few minutes later, the doctor from the Kitwe central hospital called on my mobile
handset and explained exhaustively that my family died on the spot and their burnt bodies were
laying in mortuary.
From the hospital we drove to Chalochidema where my pa had recently bought a four bed
roomed condominium. It brought so many memories. Despite all this I needed to pull myself
Early in the morning the day that followed, my father’s lawyers came to register their
condolences and went on to advice that there was need to temporarily close down all the
companies and Malls for a while.
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
In a more exhaustive manner, they explained that bad News spread like bush fire, thus,
backbiters would take advantage of the misfortune. The idea was of value, I was only a third year
student pursuing a degree in literature at the Mukobeko University of Chalochidema.
The last memory of my father was his habitual adage; he would ask you saying, “Son, do you
love life? And when you respond to him saying yes then he would nod his head whilst whistling
and say then do not squander time for that is the staff life is made of.
Immediately my conversation with the lawyers ended, I instructed all the companies' quorum
to close down all the companies temporary. Suddenly, the apartment was crowded, people kept
flocking in. I could see my extended family and close neighbors within Chalochidema.
Sorrowful noise filled the lounge. At the blink of an eye, a weak and pale man appeared before
me, he was the oldest surviving member of the family, he dashed straight where I was sitting and
slapped me in the face accusing me before everyone that I had killed my family for rituals and
diabolical purposes.
The stooped old man tried to slap me for a second time and in trying to escape I woke up and
found a thousand eyes set on me. I could not believe this was a nightmare everything appeared to
be so real. My family was paranoid saying I was calling sorts of names including a name of a girl
which they forgot and later on went unconscious for sixty minutes.
After being told all this, I was as calm as water in the pond thinking they had hidden
something truer than what was told to me. Nonetheless, my worry was disclosing the girl I was
admiring secretly because my mama was suspecting I had an affair with a strange girl.
~ 10 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The nightmare disturbed my morning, almost late for philosophy class I found a scandal at
the Mukobeko University, there were some allegations that the institution had squandered the
lunch allowances for students. Students were busy rioting, as the trend is in Africa, honestly
there was proper catastrophe at the campus. In mind I wished I had stayed home but on the
contrary the nightmare had forced me to visit the campus.
The predicament was not worth the rioting, students were not given lunch allowances. They
were misled by rumors that the institution was allegedly given money to give students. But from
the look of things someone from the management had ignited the fire but who knows……..
I stood afar from the campus, it’s obvious I did not want to be held answerable being part of
the students union, MUKOBEKOSU. Thinking of that, I saw Mapalo, the girl I was admiring
secretly. What I couldn't forget the moment I saw her was the transformation of my body.
Immediately, I saw her I couldn't feel my legs, my body was shivering from the toes to the
last hair of my head and my limbs perspired like someone subjected to fire.
She was only a first year student but already almost everyone at the campus knew her. The
reason was obvious, who can’t see a star in the dark if the blind can sense the source and
direction of light.
Mapalo and I had only conversed once in a dialogue of numbered words. And from the
dialogue we had any professional would tell that the girl is sophisticated and well-mannered.
Bluntly speaking, if God was to come today Mapalo could be the first one to be allowed into
Paradise. She had a moonlight face and everything about her was perfect I should admit that I
was intoxicated by her beauty. Whenever I saw her I could not get my eyes off.
~ 11 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
And for the first time I agreed with the sensible saying “the first step to know you are in love
is losing sanity.” lately I had claimed to be a misogynist but she changed it all.
Fortunately, she came straight where I stood and asked what the matter was. Before I could
lift my bubbling lips an intruder jumped in saying: the university has squandered our lunch
allowances like he had proof.
We stood there for some time and I kept on staring at her but could not say a word because
another group had joined us.
Despite the limbo at the campus, the fact that the girl I was craving for stood beside me made
me happy and forgot about the scene. She finally left saying bye, her father, from Mwaziona, had
come to fetch her with a Mahindra black in color hearing about the conflicts at the campus
.Although I failed to produce any utterance being mute for a number of minutes. That day has
remained memorable to me.
The day that followed was a Wednesday; all the students were assembled in the hall by the
vice Chancellor, Professor Chisanga, following what transpired the previous day. I was in the
midst of the students yelling that we needed nothing but the truth from him. The situation was
~ 12 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
catastrophic in the beginning but later it was harmonized when our thoughts were cleared. I paid
less attention to what was being discussed as my whole mind was blindfolded by Mapalo whom I
kept staring until the assembly was dismissed.
The university was now calm and sanity was restored. My moving from home and board at
the campus was the best option I had conceived lately because it would save me from thinking
about the nightmares that frequently haunted me at home. Additionally, I was going to have
ample time to see the love of my life, Mapalo.
However, I could not dare ask my Pa about it because I had the answer with me. Recently, he
had said that he wanted to observe and supervise me himself. The previous nightmare was still
haunting me, I had told Simulinda about it but being an ecclesiastical man he said, “Kumbele,
eeci Inga caakucitika.” He thought it was some sort of a revelation that was likely to come to
pass. How silly! From his response I had no option but to believe what people were saying
behind his back.
Rumors spread like bush fire, some young lads had claimed seeing him drinking Chibwantu
near the Kafue River at the far end of Mwaziona. I knew this was a mere dream so I did not fret.
Lectures were over, like every other Wednesday students were moving to and fro. Mapalo
was in the company of her friends and I knew this was my only chance to talk to her.
Surprisingly Simulinda identified her as the great hunter’s daughter. She was his neighbor
and childhood friend at Mwaziona. The girl drew close to us, she was not yet aware of my
craving for her. My attention was caught by her beauty. Simulinda introduced me to her and we
shook hands. Honestly, I was only able to let go of her hand after being reminded by Simulinda.
And asking her field of study she said that she was studying Literature in English.
~ 13 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
We spent some time talking the three of us, suddenly Simulinda realized that he had left his
palm top in the dorm and rushed to check whether no one had tempered with it. Some people
could come back from the grave just to come and put a passcode to their gadget and he was such.
Fortunately, I was left with her and knew this was my opportune time to tell her how much I
loved her. But standing beside her I was already feeling the cold wind blowing round my head
and shoulders. ‘Apatebeta Lesa tapafuka cushi’ An opportunity comes but not twice thus I pulled
myself together and cleared my throat saying my friend said your father is a great hunter, is it
“He used to, he is now a police retiree” she said. Whilst shivering I asked her out and to my
dismay she agreed without hesitation saying being alien in Chalochidema only a moment out
could do.
Simulinda came back from the dorm with Kafula the one we had nicknamed Kafumo because
of his great appetite. They found Mapalo had gone and did not bother asking about it. On my
way home, I deliberately asked Simulinda about Mapalo. Looking excited and patting my
shoulder he said, “It seems the Professor has fallen in love,”
“Silly,” I responded whilst smiling, “just curious.”
He continued and said that the girl was not merely beautiful and intelligent but also a rare
gene to find, he encouraged me to go for her before it was too late. Kafula was always against
relationship issues. “Leave the girl alone!” he interposed “she is pure and innocent.” "Stop it!" I
said to him jokingly, "you greed monk." And continued with our journey.
~ 14 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
In mind I was trying to analyze the statement Simulinda had put across 'before it is too late'
but could not bother asking him what he meant because I did not want them to know I had fallen
for her yet.
We finally said our byes as I boarded a bus home. On the bus, I could see them walking back
to the campus. From the campus to my place at Garnetone East in Chalochidema it was only a
ten minutes’ drive.
On the bus I was thinking about my date all the way up to my destination. Reaching home
with only a few meters from the gate I could hear mama shouting our dreamer is back get his
food ready. My appetite had gone hearing Simulinda's statement so I went straight to my room
and locked myself up. Everyone thought I was avoiding their talking about the nightmare I had,
but this time it was my incurable malady without syndromes, Mapalo, who had put me in a
For the rest of day I locked myself up thinking about it. My mama got it wrong and thought I
was mad at her because she had called me a dreamer.
So, she decided to come and probably say sorry but the door was locked, I could not open it
even after all the knocking and shouting by her. A few minutes later, I heard the screech of a
vehicle’s breaks outside and new my father was back from work.
My mama explained to him exhaustively what had happened in the morning when he left
particularly my nightmare and how I went unconscious for one concrete hour. My Pa became
worried and concerned. He commanded me to open the door which I did out of fear.
Immediately, I opened the door Pa entered followed by mama then my siblings.
~ 15 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mama tried to apologize but before she could do so I told her there was no need to apologize,
I lied that it was only the fatigue and stress from assignments. My naughty siblings
inconsiderately kept on laughing at me. I was dragged out of my room for dinner and after that
we went to our various rooms.
Mapalo had told her friends about our date on the weekend, being a fresher at the campus and
in fear of the previous kidnapping cases recorded at the Mukobeko University. However, she
could not disclose to her friends that one of the lecturers at the campus had proposed marriage to
her. The only person who had slight knowledge on this was Simulinda and it entails why he had
told me to go for Mapalo before losing her.
Indeed a woman’s heart is a deep well of secrets. “Pelo is good looking and intelligent,” the
girls added as they continued with the chinwag, “but you need to be meticulously careful boys
could be dangerous at times,” Taonga added. With smiles worn by the girls they concluded that I
could not do anything to hurt Mapalo because my father was a Reverend.
“There is nothing like Reverend's child," one of the girls chorused.
All the girls burst into laughter forgetting they were disturbing the other girls studying and
sleeping in the dorm.
After supper as I walked to my room I thought of composing a piece of poetry. Thus,
entering my room I went straight to my desktop but could not do anything so I laid in my warm
bed thinking about what Simulinda had said and his rationale. It was clear that he had slight
knowledge on Mapalo's love life.
~ 16 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The weekend got near, reminding me of the date. Meeting Mapalo made me a bit nervous.
Two days had passed without meeting my mad buddies because they had gone on an educational
tour, in the outskirts of Mwaziona. Their mobile handsets were out of reach.
This day the campus was merely crowded by students in the first and third years. The
semester was loaded with attachments, tours and other school programs for those in the third and
final year.
~ 17 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Professor Chisanga had made it clear that any damage to the school property would result
into termination so order was fostered at the campus. Lectures were boring due to the fact that
my mind was switched to my incurable malady, Mapalo.
Professor Puta was the one lecturing; almost every girl at the campus was after him. The
gentle man in his early 40s was not merely wallowing in money but also very handsome. This
was the lecturer who had proposed marriage to Mapalo. I should admit the man was worth being
Around 4pm Classes were over, students scattered all over the campus especially in the
orchard where two students were caught copulating by professor Puta during the evening time.
The day elapsed without me seeing Mapalo. In spite of this, I tried not to allow my feelings
disturb my studies because I had promised myself to graduate with distinction. Life my grandpa
always told me is hard one should work to the last atom to put a decent meal on the table.
My grandpa, a poet, once told me that;
A man should arise
Like the sun rises otherwise
He would never be wise
Like a voice in the wilderness
Mumbling and rumbling
So should a man cry foul
~ 18 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Of the injustice justified by the justifiers
A child frozen in the sleet
Is the calamity that awaits a lazy man
With hard work you will fly like an eagle and soar
Above the quicksand
Then you’ll understand the standard of life
The value that life has in possession and holds in high esteem
When you rationalize
And surmise the rise of
Of the wise
You realize that the
Flies are wise and exemplifies
The concoct of the rising
Empire in the condominium
(A lazy man)
Grandpa taught me that every man should be wise to rise above his problems. Almost
everyone in Chalochidema knew him and bearing his dialect name Pelo literally translated as
‘light of life’. People kept on calling me the light of life, the label that was given to him.
~ 19 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
He died when I was seven years old, then in my third grade and then Zambia was just
unfolding. His fame went beyond Zambia as a great African writer to have ever lived.
When I arrived home, I strolled slowly like a chameleon trying to cross a busy road because
my incurable disease, Mapalo, was nowhere to be seen that day. My little sister, the only girl in
the family of three, came running towards me and gave me a warm hug before telling me about
her homework. We held hands, joked and entered the house.
All I could think of was the date on the weekend and could not believe that the next day was
the last before meeting Mapalo. Around 10 pm I tried to call her, unfortunately her mobile
handset was unreachable. Later on, I tried to call Simulinda instead and unexpectedly the line
went through though the network in Mwaziona was extremely poor.
I decided to tell him about my date with Mapalo. He seemed happy and gave some advice.
We conversed on phone for almost an hour. He said he had sensed it coming despite my refusing
to be interested in her.
He cautioned me to utilize the opportune time, and not to disappoint him, nonetheless, he
could not disclose that Professor Puta had proposed marriage to her.
Friday in the late morning, almost late for class I bumped into Mapalo. She seemed to be in a
hurry so I did not want to disturb her. We only shook hands and arranged to have lunch together.
Lectures went well unlike the antediluvian days. Time was ticking like a flash of light and
had I put in a moral dilemma whether to concentrate on the lecture or lunch time to meet
Mapalo. It was soon lunch time; the cafeteria was already crowded like always. The day being a
Friday, to other students weekend had started and had no intentions of going back to class.
At the blink of an eye I saw her matching towards me with an indescribable gaze. She looked
like an angel in disguise. In mind I was already cooking up what to say, she came straight where
~ 20 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I stood and asked if I had enjoyed my lecture. My response was a ‘yes’ which was half way
blocked by a dry cough. After having lunch Mapalo and I had a serious chat.
The weekend had finally come so we reached a legal agreement to meet from the town
Centre then proceed to the after ten opposite the new Kitwe office park. The day I was looking
forward to was before me and I could not wait to meet my date. We had agreed to meet around
two in the afternoon but as early as midmorning I was already preparing myself.
Exactly noontime I was at the Kaunda city square. In the first one hour, I had no option but to
go into the library and read some romantic books before meeting her. Kitwe town center by then
was the cleanest town ever known in Chalochidema.
After another hour of waiting, my glands secreted enough adrenaline to drive me insane. I
consequently felt my pulse rate multiplied a million times.
Out of anxiety, I kept on peeping at my silver wrist watch and in avoiding the public to
notice my restlessness I resorted to just walk about the promenade of the square. Surprisingly,
my handset rang and before noticing it my right hand was already in the pocket. It was a text
from Mapalo saying sorry for keeping you waiting, for not abiding by the regulations of the
institution some girls including her were almost suspended for coming at an awkward time the
previous day. But don’t worry she said as she was already in town and just alighting from a bus
at a gas station opposite the united Church of Zambia.
My heart was then calm, after a few minutes I saw her from a distance crossing the road
carefully like someone taking a special meal to a chief. After the gaze I was certain it was her. I
gave myself a quick check knowing very well that I needed to look like a gentle man that day.
~ 21 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The perfume I was wearing Simulinda had given me before leaving and told me that a
minority of girls disliked it. Immediately, I turned to my left hand side I saw her coming, putting
on her clung dress which looked like her second skin. She smiled and I smiled back.
Gazing into her eyes I saw my paradise and for a while, I remained mute and could not
believe she had finally come. We hugged surprisingly for the first time saying hello. Nodding my
head I voiced, “You look more beautiful with that dress on!” she smiled charmingly showing her
dimples and said thank you Pelo.
Time had moved very fast, knowing we had less time and dusk was approaching we took a
taxi to the after ten opposite the new Kitwe office park at the roundabout, where we had agreed
to meet from. Upon our arrival at the coffee café, I noticed that almost everyone kept gawking at
us, others whispering that we looked good together.
We both heard but pretended as if nothing had penetrated our ears. Recently I had lost
appetite thus little did I want to eat or take anything. However because of her, I was left with no
other option but to have some decaffeinated coffee.
We talked about a lot of things ranging from our past experience to families. And
consequently found out that her Grandpa was my grandfather’s trusted friend. She said that she
knew him at a tender age but the funny part was her explaining a lot about him yet never knew
his real name. She explained that she enjoyed his writings and when she was four her father
could read her stories written by him before hitting to bed.
The conversation went on well, I bluntly told her about all my craving for her. Her response
could not be read easily but her nugget actions could tell that she was also interested. Though it
seemed something was impeding her to disclose it.
~ 22 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Time ticked so fast and with a lot of people moving in and out we did not realize that we had
spent not less than three hours. And neither Mapalo nor I agreed to this. “Time has moved fast,”
I said looking outside through the window.
After the whole conversation she promised to respond only after giving it a serious thought,
probably before a week. As we were walking out of the after ten building, we suddenly heard
people shouting thugs! Thugs! Thugs are all-over!
Some unknown masked and armed men had surrounded the whole building and we could not
see our way out. The security personnel were already trying to put in order the catastrophic
situation but the thugs had come in numbers and their job was impossible. Laying down we
could hear the sound of guns exchanging. I could not believe this had happened. Our day was
ruined, Mapalo was shivering, abruptly and without my realization she rose and tried to escape
using the back exit.
I knew she had made a silly mistake; I tried to stop her but my efforts were in vain, the next
thing I heard was the sound of the gun and after that I saw her laying in her own pool of blood.
I could see her lips moving but she could not voice out what she wanted to say. Tears could
not be held in my eyes, no more scared of the gunshots I ran where she was. The booming
suddenly increased it was obvious that the police had arrived to fight the thugs.
I started screaming for help, somebody help! She is dying! For a moment my mind lacked
ataraxia, I could hear people laughing out loud and wondered what was really happening. A
moment later, someone was patting my shoulder asking what the matter was. Before I could say
a word I was awaken and to my consternation it was professor Puta wakening me up. I found
myself in the lecture room surrounded.
~ 23 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I had drawn everyone’s attention disturbing the lecture. Everyone was looking at me
strangely and professor Puta stood beside me. I could not believe the nightmare had haunted me
in the middle of a lecture. On the contrary this was the first time I had taken a nap in the middle
of a lecture and I could not figure out what had really happened.
I could not believe it was still Friday and lunch time was not yet. The fact that I had arranged
to have lunch with Mapalo was another puzzle.
Before lunch the news had already reached her ears that I took a nap in the middle of a
lecture. And what we would call a bad dream had haunted me. A bad dream during the day
according to Oenologists cannot be easily categorized, others say it’s a day mare and still others
argue saying the fact that it is bad dream makes it a nightmare.
I knew anxiety had cost me, my colleagues had already started calling me “Pelo the dreamer”
and I could not comprehend the fact that I had mentioned Mapalo several times in the nightmare.
She was prominent at the Mukobeko University and this entailed that my calling her name had
preached my love for her to the all campus.
Professor Puta, who was lecturing, was the gentleman that had proposed marriage to Mapalo
and the one to wake me up. The scene was proper catastrophe. And now it was clear to Professor
Puta that his rival was no other than Pelo, his best student in the literature class.
The news had already reached the management. Professor Chisanga ordered the counseling
group to see me. Many people had started to think I had a disorder but I knew it was not. My day
was ruined. I knew I could not see Mapalo after what happened.
The counseling group summoned me and called my mama telling her all that had happened. I
listened to their conversation and laughed inside me. “Your mama will be coming anytime,”
~ 24 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
they said leaving the room. I was left alone in the counseling room by then students had gone out
for lunch.
Being left alone I could not think of anything apart from Mapalo. I thought I had lost her for
eternity after the Maelstrom I was in. After fifteen minutes, someone opened the door making a
sharp sound and surprisingly it was Mr. Daka, our old family driver, then my mama and finally
the counseling group.
During the lunch period Mapalo had gone to my class looking for me. Almost everyone at
the campus was talking about the nap I had taken during the lecture and stared at her strangely
whispering that she was dating a guy with a mental disorder. This disturbed her greatly. She was
left with no option but to go back, on her way going back she bumped into professor Puta, who
later decided to have a chat with her.
Whilst laughing he muttered, “That boy, Pelo, is lackadaisical!” Mapalo asked what he meant
by that as he was fond of nonsensical words. He explained with every nugget detail that I had
slept during his lecture and not only that , but that I also kept on mentioning her name in the
silly dream as he termed it.
When lunch time was over she went to class processing what the professor had said and
never bothered to know where I was.
After a closed door discussion and diagnosis they concluded that anxiety and stress had
caused my recent nightmares. They emphasized that I needed a week time rest, but to me this
meant a week without seeing my incurable disease, Mapalo.
My mama asked whether I wanted to finish the lectures but in fear of becoming a laughing
stalk at the campus. I decided to go with her. We had no conversation on our way home. When
~ 25 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
we reached home I went straight to my room because mama had planned to visit my distant
aunty at Vundulu.
Back at the campus lectures had ended. Mapalo was greatly disturbed anyone could tell from
a distance that something had crossed her mind. She decided to go to the orchard and spend some
time alone. Sitting alone with fresh air blowing and birds twitting, a leaf fell on her forehead. She
looked up the orange tree and after noticing that a small yellow bird had caused it she smiled and
picked the leaf. Indeed the orchard was a place to be in when depressed.
Mapalo was prominent at the campus especially in her literature class everyone was talking
about the terrible dream I had and all the shouting, it was totally enigmatic. But the fact that no
one had seen us together in close proximity saved her from the shame.
Going back to the dorm she found only a few students delving. She could not study because
her mind was in a confused state. Taonga had followed her but she was nowhere to be found. She
knew that what had happened to me might have had frustrated Mapalo.
At last Taonga found her in the dorm. “Where have you been?” she exclaimed, “I have been
looking for you everywhere!” “In the orchard,” she responded with a plastic smile.
The two girls spent some time together and talked about a lot of things especially what had
happened before lunch time. She was not mad at me over what had happened, taking a nap and
having a dream is not unusual. She was rather happy knowing I loved her.
Home alone, I was bored and decided to have a stroll along the watercourse which was a few
meters from home. This was the only way I could relieve myself from pressure. Walking along
the stream I accidentally bumped into a group of farmers talking about the riot that we had at
school recently.
~ 26 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Amongst them no one had any idea that I was a student at Mukobeko. I kept myself busy and
pretended not to be following their gossip. Using their old proverbs they said that Mukobeko was
as good as an abandoned shamba, uncultivated for a decade. Hearing their derogatory language I
resorted not to talk back but to walk as fast as I could and forego them because my blood
pressure had risen abnormally.
“Indeed a king is insulted in privacy” I said to myself quoting the old adage. The farmers
continued with their journey and headed towards Vundulu at the far end of Garnetone east, the
township that was recently built. After a quite stroll along the river I decided to go back home
because it was getting late.
When I came back I found everyone home, their eyes were set outside particularly on the
gate. Mama had prepared supper so we sat to dine. The meal was enjoyable if not them talking
about what had happened at school.
Observing the series of the nightmares I had had they took it serious and presumed it was a
disorder because when I was young I never stayed inside the house alone and continually had
nightmares. After the meal we talked for some time and later saw an interesting movie before
hitting to bed.
Surprisingly, Mapalo called and asked whether we would go out on the weekend like we
agreed. I could hear Taonga in the background asking her whether I was fine. After conversing
with her I then felt at peace. She questioned me about what had happened at the campus. I told
her that she had caused it as I couldn’t wait to have lunch with her. What happened seemed real
and I explained it fully. After hearing my words she laughed and asked for a second time
whether we would meet the next day.
~ 27 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I could not refuse my answer was a “yes” in every Zambian dialect. However, I was scared
thinking something bad could happen when we meet. She finally hanged up the call saying
goodnight and wished me some more nightmares. I laughed almost breaking my ribs and wished
I could dream us wedded.
The counselors had advised me to always read something interesting or reflect on positive
moments of my life whenever I was bored or before hitting to bed. This was the only way I could
avoid terrible nightmares. I was therefore forced to read a love tale “Chimweta and Alvera” by E.
Kaluba, a Zambian young writer.
Saturday, the day started languidly, it was raining in the morning; no one was walking
aimlessly even hoboes were nowhere to be seen. But I could not wait for the rain to stop because
~ 28 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I had heard Kafula and Simulinda were back from the tour in Mwaziona. I had to visit them
because I was the only one in my group not boarding at the campus.
On the other hand, I had also targeted to meet Mapalo. I found Kafula and Simulinda
together with some other students seated, even a tot would tell that they were in adnauseam
seeing their postures. They bitterly complained about the discomfort and fatigue from the tour.
However, Kafula added that despite the fatigue the tour turned to be educative.
The students from the boys' dorm had already told them what had happened to me. They
deliberately asked me if anything had happened during their period of absentia. I knew this was a
hoax thrown at me. I was sitting next to Simulinda so I nudged him and said nothing had
happened. We laughed carelessly in the dorm. And later talked about the terrible dream I had but
after our chinwag they concluded that I had started taking drugs.
A few minutes later, an unknown male student came in to join us. After greeting us he asked
who Pelo was and before I could answer Kafula had already pointed where I was.
I wondered what could have happened. The boy said that someone had come to see me.
Peeping outside through the window it was my incurable disease, Mapalo.
“Don’t be an ignoramus and put us to ignominy,” they said whilst laughing, “Go and meet
your elixir!”
I knew a girl entering the boys' dorm was illicit so despite the brief fall of precipitation
outside I had to go and meet her. Hying towards her I stumbled on a stump and almost keeled
over. She gave me a warm hug and for a moment I could not feel my legs and the rain drops.
“How are you?” she inquired.
“Fine, tell me how do you do?” I said in response.
~ 29 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Then she continued to say that she had come to apologize.
“I am sorry, we should cancel our date because my Pa has come to fetch me there is an
anniversary party at the camp back home,” she said calmly, “but I promise to make it up to you
next time.”
I knew she was telling me the truth because I could see her father’s vehicle behind her. “No
problem, just take meticulous care?” I said, “You should not take long!”
Smiling at me she said that she would not take long because Monday she needed to be in
campus. We finally said bye to each other. Her Pa had already started the car engine. We
promised to keep in touch but this was impossible because the network in Mwaziona was
extremely poor.
My mad buddies were busy gawking at us from the window raising their thumbs up. “Indeed
in every man there is a percentage of madness!” I said to myself while walking back to the dorm.
My date with Mapalo was no more; this made me a little upset however because of the recent
ignominy I was rather happy that my date was cancelled.
The rain stopped so we decided to go outside and study from a gaudy gazebo behind the
cafeteria which was adjacent to the office of the librarian. The campus was calm all we could
hear was the twitting from the birds in the trees. The environment was conducive for studying
but I failed to study as I kept hearing the echo of Mapalo’s angelic voice whispering goodbye
into my ear.
I kept on smiling until Simulinda noticed it and nudged me to draw my attention. “I surmise
you are thinking about her,” he added, “study and avoid the insanity. I could not say a word
knowing he was right I needed to study.
~ 30 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
It was getting late; recently a senior citizen was murdered in the street behind the campus.
Many people believed ritual killers were behind the murder. They saw me out of the campus and
on the way we discussed on their tour and Alola, the girl that Simulinda had met in Mwaziona.
On the way Kafula recalled the funny tag we gave to the football team at the campus
“Babombwe” literally meaning frogs. We laughed to death and finally dispersed I went my way
and they went back to the campus.
I arrived home very late, went straight to my room banging the door and all I could think of
was Mapalo. I knew she was my second institution from where I needed to graduate with
Mapalo had travelled with her Pa. The distance from Mwaziona was not very long but the
condition of the road made it tantamount to a day journey on foot. Thus, they arrived a little bit
late. Unlike Chalochidema, Mwaziona was a secured area. Mapalo’s Family was residing at the
police camp though her father had retired a few years ago.
The day that followed was a Sunday; the whole lot of the police camp was in merry
celebrating lieutenant Mwewa's marriage anniversary. The lately wedded couple was celebrating
two years of marriage life.
The day was different from others; Mapalo was in her clung model skin Jean and wore
expensive cosmetics. Every man at the party could not get his eyes off her. Before enrolling at
Mukobeko University in Chalochidema she had refused dowry from not less than ten men both
young and old within the camp and beyond.
~ 31 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
“Her Pa treasures and cares for her very much,” one of the men present at the party said,
“two years ago, he brutally punched a lad that was reported chasing after her, the punch landed
on the forehead and left him half dead.”
Remembering all this, the men at the party gave her a distance because her Pa was around.
But they continued to salivate not until she disappeared from their sight. The party was booze up;
lieutenant and the wife were dressed like heavenly bodies. Some men were already shit-faced
and the mood was languidly becoming uncontrollable. People could be seen embracing eight to
ten bottles of alcoholic beverages whilst dancing.
Mapalo stayed close to her friend and consecrated herself from the noise and alcohol. They
locked themselves and talked about a lot of things. The two girls spent much time in the room
but they could hear the noise and sound of music from traditional performers including the
“Amayenge group” outside.
Alola told Mapalo that Simulinda had proposed to her. Mapalo knew Simulinda like her right
palm because they both grew up at the police camp. The two girls talked about a lot of things.
Later on, after the long discussion someone knocked at the door strangely like trouble was
after him. Danger was sensed by both girls however because of their believability that the camp
was a secured place they opened the door right away.
Consequently, it was one of the police men within the camp. His eyes looked as red as heated
coal in the furnace, both girls knew him. He was one of the common drunkards at the camp. He
appeared troubled and scared; he explained that some unknown men had attacked Mapalo’s Pa
mauling his nape.
~ 32 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The girls laughed and took it lightly, thinking it was one of his foolish hoaxes and rebuked
him to be serious. Nonetheless, the man insisted that there was no time to waste as her Pa was
under hypnosis and that he had come because the order was coming from her mama.
Without hesitation and in anguish the girls rushed outside to see what had happened.
Puzzling enough everything was fine and nothing malicious was observed. The two girls turned
back slowly gazing at the man. He could not hold it but laughed and forced everyone present to
join him.
And after uncontrollable laughter the man said that the girls had stayed long locking
themselves up. It was time to have the couple cut the cake so he was sent to call the two girls.
The girls looked at each other, hi fived and broke into laughter concluding that the man was not
only a drunkard but also insane.
Gazing from one fabulous sight to another the girls realized that they had missed a lot. After
witnessing the cutting of the cake everyone disappeared. Mapalo could not believe a new week
had started, the following day she was expected to be at the campus and assignments were on
hold waiting for her.
This was the most despising thing about educational courses at least to her; however, she
always dealt with school tasks adroitly. After the party, Mapalo in the company of her Pa and
mama headed to their house which was in juxtaposition with lieutenant Mwewa’s house. Noise
had stopped as those who were shit-faced had gone to sleep and some dragged into their houses
leaving their shoes and caps laying on the ground.
Early in the morning the next day, a Monday, everyone was talking about the grand party.
Mapalo was busy preparing to leave for Chalochidema when her mother came to tell her that her
Pa was not feeling well.
~ 33 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
This was another puzzle for the young lass; she could not leave for the campus knowing her
Pa was not in sound health. Lately her Pa was complaining about sharp pains in the left lung, this
fact made her and her mama worrisome. This technically meant that Mapalo had to remain in
Mwaziona away from the campus for some days.
The following day, the illness worsened, Mapalo’s Pa was admitted to the Kitwe central
hospital. The scenario made the girl to live in fear as she was the only child of the old couple.
After three days the illness seemed to be more serious than everyone thought.
One of the medical doctors in charge of the ward was told about the fatal condition of
Mapalo's Pa. When she came to check on him, she surprisingly I identified him as 'the great
hunter' the nick name that was given to him because of his hunting skills. The old man bubbled
like a born tot with little gusto saying little did I know you work here.
Mapalo and her mama were amazed at the comic strip. The doctor explained that Mr.
Chibwela was her childhood friend. Furthermore, she said that the illness was curable and urged
Mapalo and her mama to remain strong and support the great hunter. Smiles could be seen in
both faces of the mother and daughter. “Thank you doctor!” they said all together incidentally
and embraced each other promising the doctor to be strong. Mapalo’s mind was completely
switched away from school.
The only thing she could think of was the recovery of her Pa. From the time her Pa was
admitted her mama never left the bedside even after all the countless pleadings ranging from
nurses to her daughter. It was clear that the old woman loved her husband very much.
Consequently, after two full nights some signs of recovery could be spotted. Mr. Chibwela,
the great hunter, was then recovering from the fatal illness evident was the appetite that he had
~ 34 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
gained and could then eat something. The next day, in the early hours of the morning close
neighbors from Mwaziona paid Mr. Chibwela a visit in the hospital.
Nothing can surpass the excitement one gets knowing he could count on his pals. Amongst
the group that had visited were the lieutenant and his wife. Despite Mr. Chibwela being
hospitalized, the lieutenant threw hoaxes on him, he ironically said that Mr. Chibwela had hunted
himself at the grand anniversary party and people in the ward could not hold it they all burst into
laughter hearing the lieutenant’s pleasantry.
Mr. Chibwela smiled and said, “You will never change lieutenant, will you?”
Mapalo had left the hospital earlier to go and prepare something for her Pa and presumably
her mama. The visiting hour elapsed and the group that had visited was required to leave. The
group left and wished Mr. Chibwela quick recovery. Mapalo came late and was rebuked by her
mama to grow not merely in stature but also mentally.
The doctor had said the condition of Mr. Chibwela was stable. He was likely to be discharged
soon. Additionally, said that he only needed to rest to fully recover. Mapalo was not upset after
being reprimanded by her mama; she admitted her mistake and only smiled without uttering a
She had come late because of Alola, her friend at the camp. The two girls were inseparable
especially when they were young. No one could dare come between them. Truly the little girls
displayed the true meaning of friendship though many people complained saying it was too
~ 35 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Before serving them what she had brought. Her mama sent her to get some fruits at the
hospital’s entrance opposite the coffin work shop after giving her a K50.00. Where she met a
familiar man, her classmate, and told him about her Pa. The man had a similar story except that it
was on the contrary his mother who was diagnosed and found with breast cancer.
Basically, the man did not communicate with the institution about his mama’s condition. She
advised him to do so and avoid penalties. After giving him the details of the ward where her
father was she proceeded to get the fruits.
After a while she came back, her mama could only nod her head, from the gesture she knew
she had again delayed in coming. Her Pa laying in bed with his head resting on the pillow just
smiled and said a bowed potato cannot be straightened. The couple had spoiled their only child;
they hatched her like an abandoned egg.
The nuclear family laughed disturbing everyone in the ward. Lunsefwa was not a delicate
ward; but that week it recorded the highest mortality rate. Two days after Mr. Chibwela was
admitted not less than thirty men were recorded dead and they thought he was next.
Everyone in the ward kept on staring at them, the voice of the great hunter was then audible
and the next thing he wanted was to get out of the hospital.
Dusk was fast approaching and like every other day the doctors were passing round to check
those that could be discharged the following day and fortunate enough the great hunter was on
the list.
The small family could not wait for the next day to finally say bye to the hospital which was
referred to as the home for dying people. The term school had clocked into Mapalo’s mind and
thought of the missed assignments and lectures.
~ 36 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Early in the morning the day that followed, Mr. Chibwela was discharged by the doctor and
urged them to give him the prescribed medicine on time and enough rest. The couple remained at
the hospital waiting for their daughter to come and fetch them with the Mahindra that Mr.
Chibwela bought after getting the pension.
Though he was in his late 50s he looked very young and energetic only the grey hair could
tell that he was a senior citizen. The days had moved fast the weekend was nigh. Therefore,
Mapalo had to wait for the next coming week to report at the campus and knew she had missed a
It was finally another fresh week, Mapalo had prepared to leave. Her father could not take
her to the campus, though he had fully recovered from the fatal illness he needed enough time to
rest, he knew his daughter could not drive to Chalochidema because the road was uneven.
~ 37 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
So he ordered one of lieutenant Mwewa’s men to take his daughter to school. No one could
refuse traveling with the lass. Four men volunteered at once, but one was picked. At least he had
a proven record of good conduct and was married with a child.
As he was about to start the vehicle, the great hunter cautioned him to take care of his
daughter and gave them his blessings. Eventually she was in campus.
No one assumed Mapalo had arrived because this time she used a different vehicle. She
alighted from the old Corolla and went straight to the girls’ dorm saying thank you to the police
Unfortunately the dorm was locked; everyone had gone to attend lectures. She sent for the
caretaker to come and unlock the door to the dorm. She packed her few things and checked if
Taonga had safe guarded her things.
She was happy everything was in place. But would she still be happy after hearing what had
happened the period she was away. After she had left Taonga and I became very close. We had
lunch together and she always walked me to board a bus home.
I knew Taonga and Mapalo were good friends and that nothing could ever happen between
us. Therefore I could not behave as riffraff knowing it was Mapalo I loved with the whole lot of
my heart.
She was dog-tired to go to class so she took a nap. After some time she heard sharp voices on
the air sounding from afar and later drew nigh. Suddenly the bang at the door awoke her. It was
Taonga and her friends. The girls were happy to see Mapalo back, the first thing they inquired
was the health of her father and she told them that her Pa was fine and there was nothing to
worry about.
~ 38 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
“Have you seen Pelo lately?” Mapalo asked her friends, “How is he? I could not reach him
the Network is poor in Mwaziona.”
The girls remained silent setting their eyes on Taonga and made her restless. “Did anything
happen to him?” she added looking worried. The girls laughed, take it easy do not fret he is fine.
But why did you become silent she added, is there anything that I need to know? “Let’s not spoil
the day, we have to go and get our meal for lunch,” Taonga said, “There is nothing to worry
about!” They all smiled and went straight to the cafeteria.
Mapalo had spent not less than a week in Mwaziona. I had no slight Idea she was back in
campus. On our way to the cafeteria with my mad buddies we accidentally bumped into Mapalo
and her group. I could not say a word but smiled she looked more cute. “How is the great hunter
that hunts men chasing after you,” Simulinda said looking at me, “we heard he was not fine.”
She responded saying her father was fine. And we joined them to the cafeteria.
On the way to the cafeteria I was caked with mud by my mad buddies who jokingly said I
was the next in line to be hunted down by Mr. Chibwela.
When we reached the cafeteria it was already crowded all the bullocks were occupied. We
could not hear our voices because of the noise unless you shout so we got our lunch and ate from
a nearby gazebo.
The next class was starting in one hour. Mapalo and I did not have time to talk in privacy.
Simulinda reminded me that Professor Puta was the next lecturer coming in my literature class.
No one said a word the professor was respected by everyone. Mapalo looked down after staring
~ 39 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
at him. He reminded her of the marriage proposal by the professor. She never liked him but he
was more than determined to win her heart.
After lectures that day, Mapalo and I spent some time together in the orchard before I left and
talked about a lot of things. She finally disclosed to me that Professor Puta had proposed to
marry her, but swore to me that she had refused him adamantly. I never imagined this, I had
suspected the students’ union president, but it turned out that he was as innocent as a born child.
I could then tell why professor Puta had been asking me endless questions about her
particularly after the bad dream I had during his lecture. I did not know what to say being
boggled. My heart burned with jealous and could not respond to all her questions. And the last
thing she wanted to hear from me was whether I had believed her.
After hearing this I was left in quicksand and trembled in fear of competing with the
professor. I could not respond to her there and then. She became exasperated and eventually
walked away leaving me in the orchard. This was the start of our battle I could not imagine her in
another man’s arms. I was absorbed in thoughts, she was trustworthy and I could not doubt her
words but jealous overpowered me.
After she had left, I could not run after her but left the campus without informing my friends.
This was the worst day ever experienced by me.
She was depressed and insinuated that this was the end of it whole. Practically it appeared
she had become fond of me and realized her mistake. She would have told me about it earlier.
~ 40 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Reaching the dorm she tried to pretend nothing had happened. However, she could not engulf
sorrow and laughter in the same cauldron. Her friends could tell something had definitely
happened but no one had the guts to question her seeing the glare she wore.
She went in and sat on her small bed. Taonga and two other girls followed her; she could not
look them into the eyes only tears dripped. The girls knew she was hurt and tried to placate her
rubbing her shoulders.
“Tell us what the matter is,” said one of the girls. She explained that we had a
misunderstanding and I could not believe her words. She told the girls about professor Puta
wanting to marry her and made it clear that she had refused him. The girls got surprised but told
them she had not disclosed it to them because she thought it was not important and they
Taonga explained to her that the period she was away I spent not a single day without asking
about her well-being only that the network was poor, “do you think he loves me?” Mapalo
Taonga in simplicity explained that a boy could only talk and be anxious about the one he
loves. “Pelo is deeply in love with you,” she said. Mapalo could now look at her friends and
smile. Indeed two are better than one. She was now in a gay face, frowns could not be seen
anymore and the glare disappeared. The girls resorted to showing her all the assignments she had
missed to flee her from the catastrophic situation. She had three assignments pending.
Two weeks passed after our misunderstanding and everything came back to normal. We
could sit, talk and laugh together. And the next thing we had planned was going to the cinema.
~ 41 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The cinema was the place and dream of every girl. Though we had agreed lately to meet
elsewhere, it was because Mapalo and I were not any close and the cinema was then not well
~ 42 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The Yule festival was approaching and soon schools were likely to be closed. Almost
everyone was planning to go home especially those that had come from the southern and
Northern Province. Chalochidema became a province to talk about because of the cinema that
was built miles from the Mukobeko University. In spite of this some students were never
interested in visiting the cinema but only wished to go back to their various places of origin.
The only thing that had become a menace in the campus was the exam. No one could be seen
loitering aimlessly; girls could not be seen in groups gossiping about anyone because everyone
was dealing with his or her own ghost. Anyone would wish the campus had been like this
Soon after the exams, some students left the campus and others finally said bye to the
university having concluded their courses, these included my mad buddies Kafula and
Simulinda. The campus was not the same anymore things changed starting from the students to
the administration as professor Chisanga was also transferred to the University of Zambia.
Mapalo had gone to Mwaziona, at the campus only new students could be seen coming to sit
for their aptitude tests. There was nothing interesting in the campus. The stress from assignments
was no more and I had ample time to refresh my mind and relax at home. Simulinda had also
gone to Mwaziona. Kafula had gone back to his village, he was the son of a chief of the people
called “Abena bwali” and it was obvious he was the heir to the throne.
We always made funny of him being the heir to the throne saying “you cannot crown a clown
and expect a king” and we could see frowns all over his face the man was short tempered.
~ 43 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The only thing I wanted was to be done with school, get a good job and start a new life. I was
happy for my friends, they had nothing to do with school but to wait for their papers and no one
could stand their pontificating.
Simulinda left the campus earlier than Kafula because of Alola the girl he had met in
Mwaziona. He knew the girl when they were all young including Mapalo. Nonetheless, the girl
left Mwaziona to Lusaka and came back after several years because her parents divorced and she
chose to live with her mother.
But after facing financial problems she had to come back to her father and claim for money
having passed her grade twelve exam. She left her mother in Lusaka and had no intentions of
going back not until she had gone to college.
Her mother was in safe hands, before her parents kicked the bucket they had bought three
houses and all of them were on rent except for one at Emasdel where they were staying. She was
the last born in the family of six and the only one to survive the fatal accident they had when
they were traveling from Lusaka to Chisamba.
Simulinda was not aware of this story. When he met her all he could think of was marriage.
Her father was still working for the state as a police officer and had remained unmarried after
divorcing his wife.
The innocent girl could not tell who was at fault when her parents divorced. Mr. Pobibo was
sent to help the state police and was away for not less than a month. Then his wife Bukwe took
advantage of the situation and invited her lover in.
~ 44 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
By then the girl was in her second grade and was told that the man was her uncle. When her
Pa came he was told by his pals that his wife, Bukwe, had replaced him with a common man.
After further investigation he found that this was happening even when he was still at the camp.
Mr. Pobibo was left with no option but to divorce the woman he loved so much. The girl was
so little so she went with her mother. She thought her father was only rude to her mother.
My Pa had arranged to visit our paternal village particularly to attend a parochial conference
and probably meet the oldest surviving members of our family. When he asked whether I wanted
to go with him I did not produce a word because I had planned to visit Mapalo in Mwaziona.
A week after closing school, my father went to the conference. I could not tell my mother
that I wanted to visit a girl. Where could I have gotten the guts? So I went under the pretense of
visiting Simulinda in Mwaziona. This was going to be my first visit; I was told Mwaziona was a
small Paradise laid along the Kafue River. The place was occupied by fishermen and subsistence
farmers. At the far end of it was built a police camp and prison. This was the reason why the
place was considered a secured area.
The conference my Pa had gone to attend in Kawambwa at Chapewa was important as
several Reverends across Zambia were meeting to discuss on the ministry of religious affairs. I
needed to be there as his help but slithered away and went my way because I had already planned
to visit Mwaziona and spend a week time there.
~ 45 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Simulinda had already organized everything and informed his family that I was going to
visit. I had met his father and we were fond of each other. The next day was a Saturday, Mama
was aware of the journey; I had planned to travel in the evening using the old Corolla that was
parked in the garage for some months. I made sure that all my gadgets were in place because I
had planned to take pictures of the Kafue River and other interesting sights. And I called the
mechanic to check on the car.
Across Zambia schools were closed because of the Yule festival which was to be celebrated
in a fortnight’s time. The Kitwe city of Chalochidema was crowded by students. They were
easily identified as they moved in throngs and often used the official language. Vehicles were
all-over the town Centre and parked along busy roads.
There was no breathing space in town and thieves took advantage of the situation invading
the town Centre. People lost valuable items at the blink of an eye. Vividly the scene was
catastrophic. The Yule was one of the most treasured and celebrated festivals. Business minded
people were already stock piling in preparation for the big festival.
After getting the old Corolla from the vehicle park behind our house checked thoroughly, I
decided to pass through town and get the paraphernalia I needed on the journey. On my way
from home crossing Chimwemwe to town I came across a number of people with disabilities
heading east and could not figure out why. Luckily I saw one of my close neighbors at Garnetone
east, who later told me that they were rushing to go and sit at the entrance of the China Mall,
recently built. I could not respond realizing such was extant.
Though my journey was extemporaneous it turned out to be exciting. Reaching the town
center, I could not believe the view, people were busy and scattered around town to the extent
~ 46 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
where one could not remarkably juxtapose a special trading day in villages called “Pamunada”
from the town center.
Consequently I could not find any space to have my father’s old vehicle parked. And in fear
of thieves who could not be easily spotted I remained in the vehicle for a while observing the
kerfuffle. On a day like this one it was difficult to juxtapose a thug from a good folk.
Vehicles were parked round the town center. Street venders were hying to bustle and hustle
in the streets of town, it was catastrophic. Awhile later, I managed to park my vehicle and only
got a few things from what I had planned and started off for Mwaziona.
Having heard many things about the place, I remained anxious to physically see it with my
naked eyes. Traveling from Chalochidema to Mwaziona one needed to pass through a number of
villages before reaching the town center. This fact made the journey extremely exciting and
could not wait to step into the fore experience and sensation.
Some hours later I was already in Mwaziona. Indeed the place was a small Paradise hidden
from the rest of the world. Simulinda’s family was hospitable evident was the way I was
The following day was a Sunday; religious folks could be seen in haste rushing to their
distinct ecclesiastical fellowships. I couldn’t wait to see Mapalo and survey the small Paradise.
Simulinda’s house was not in any way close to her place. She had knowledge about my visit;
however, upon my arrival I gazed at every corner of the camp but could not find her
A month had passed since we last saw each other. The network was exceedingly bad in
Mwaziona so there was no way we could keep in touch except using the Zampost which was also
concomitantly crowded.
~ 47 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
School was then yada yada yada because of the adventurous spirit. In the forenoon standing
and leaning against the corolla and holding a cup of decaffeinated coffee I saw my incurable
malady, Mapalo, matching towards me with her hips swung like a pendulum, from the left to
right. She clad on a Chitenge with cornrows plaited, she looked indigenously Zambian.
She looked unhappy and made me insinuate that something atrocious had happened. After
greeting each other, she said she was glad meeting me as she wanted to tell me something very
She could not allow me to look into her charming eyes. Looking more serious she
exhaustively explained that her father had received Lobola from his old friend’s son Mwatu, a
missionary. And she said she could not go against him.
After the tête-à-tête that was soliloquized by her I was left in a Maelstrom and could not spit
a word forth. My incurable malady then needed elixir.
A man is known to be fearless so despite the bogs and priers I pulled myself together. She
left without adding another word on what she had said. I could not dare lift my flip-flops after
her and instantly my decaffeinated coffee became caffeinated.
Simulinda was still inside the house and his family had gone to fellowship. When he stepped
out of the house I could not tell him that I had seen Mapalo.
~ 48 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
We got into the corolla and drove to a nearby village laid on the shore crossing the Kafue
River. On the way Simulinda asked when I was planning to see Mapalo. She was the last thing I
wanted to talk about after what she told me. The nod of my head and the shrug communicated
my words.
From Mwaziona we drove for some minutes, and in no time found ourselves in Bulangililo
the township that detaches the urban and rural areas of Chalochidema province.
In Bulangililo we passed a small market opposite the police station and just behind it we saw
lads playing amateur football the view looked extremely good. Nonetheless we drove and headed
towards the mosque which was located at the corner of the Kazembe road adjacent to Kimbangu,
a religious group. Upon reaching it we turned to our left as Simulinda was giving simple
instructions technically.
A few meters away from the mosque was a primary school where Simulinda did his primary
level. He explained with directness that the school was built by the second Republican president
of Zambia, Dr. Fredrick Chiluba and tagged it as Lulamba primary school.
After passing Lulamba we were already approaching the shores of the Kafue River. Behind
the school were different denominations, others had no tags and were simply known by the name
of the clergy in charge.
To my trepidation, among these denominations was a church which Simulinda and his family
had joined recently. But before I could produce a word he quickly interposed using hendiadys
saying his denomination was different and worth, because the founder was a learned folk with
~ 49 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
good qualities. Additionally, he said the denomination was recognized by the state. However, I
did not bother asking him the tag of their denomination as we were just approaching the shore.
The denominations lined almost reaching the shore. On the left side of the road was a
company that supplied water and we could see a few workers in blue working suits standing
along the highway.
It was a different place extant, everything looked new. We alighted from the corolla with my
camera hanging on my neck and I could not wait to take some pictures. And for the first time I
tried to put my malady, Mapalo, aside in order not to ruin my adventure.
The day was windy; the sun could only be seen behind the stratocumulus. Strolling down the
river and particularly where the crossing bridge was. I could not stand the obnoxious reef that
was coming from the far end behind the lined churches. Before Simulinda could explain
regarding the reef I saw street furniture indicating that there was sewage behind the churches.
After walking for a few minutes the smell of fresh water could be perceived and the reef was
killed. I could not stop gawking at the men with bicycles loaded with charcoal and shamba crops.
They looked grayish in complexion maybe as a result of them burning and wallowing in charcoal
but who knows.
Women on the other hand, were busy chasing after the loaded bicycles. It was obvious they
were marketers. Other women could be seen carrying loads not only heavier than stones but also
weightier than sand. The shore was a real hustle and bustle.
Along the river we saw boys of a tender age busy fishing and swimming the sight looked
superb and propelled me to take a picture. I did not have the guts to take a picture of the men
with bicycles who were locally called “Bakamalasha” literally translated as charcoal burners.
~ 50 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
They looked fierce and energetic with bearded mouths. If anything was to happen one would
probably die before being touched. Luckily, Simulinda met a man he identified as his uncle who
was also a charcoal burner. I took advantage of the situation and posed with him for a picture as I
handed the camera to Simulinda to give us a shot.
After that we tried to cross the Kafue River and survey the small village on the other side.
Stepping my foot on the bridge everything changed, evident was my pulse rate that multiplied. I
felt giddy, the bridge appeared to be as tiny as a rope and after a minute of insipid observation I
could not dare lift my lace up to make another brave step.
Simulinda seemed to be worldly keen on water, he dragged me and took hold of my arm then
I shambled languidly as a tortoise. Honestly I looked spooky and everyone kept on staring at me.
After crossing the river I then felt at easy, people paused what they were doing and stared at
us. We could not bear it; laughter overpowered us and made us laugh wildly. It was a lam for me
to cross the river and Simulinda added that it was the consequence of living a reclusive life.
On the other side, was a small regulatory board specifically for vehicles crossing the small
bridge. And to charcoal burners it was their main station from different villages. The regulatory
board comprised the city council.
~ 51 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
People were busy trading charcoal and other shamba products. I decided to buy some nuts so
I walked towards an old woman who clad on a Chitenge on which Michael Chilufya Sata; the
fifth Republican president was printed. And Simulinda took a picture of me getting nuts secretly.
After taking some interesting sights of the Kafue River, we walked slowly heading north as
we ate the nuts. Several meters away from the bridge were laid a new settlement which the new
mayor had planned. The place was good except that it was detached from the town and
surrounded by small shambas.
The day was adventurous; nonetheless I was already feeling exhausted and with a hang dog
face. This was enough for the day. We decided to go back and it was already afternoon.
Reaching where we had parked the vehicle everything thing was intact and no one had tempered
with it. We drove home and talked about the adventure. The picture of me getting nuts that
Simulinda had taken looked absurd, I appeared as a political figure, after taking a glimpse at it
we burst into laughter.
On our way back, Bulangililo seemed crowded as many people were coming from their
churches. Upon our arrival at the police camp, we found Simulinda’s family had come back from
church. And after taking a cold shower I took a nap.
After a while, Simulinda came to wake me up saying Mapalo was outside with Mwatu and
wanted to see me. Looking lost I followed him outside, from a distance I noticed that the guy
was handsome, tall with muscles and buzz voice. After the introduction the guy looked upset, I
had not said anything derogatory just wondered why.
Mapalo appeared to love us equally this could have contributed to his becoming upset. The
next thing I felt was a heavy punch that landed on my forehead and left me under hypnosis
laying on the ground. Unfortunately Simulinda had gone back inside the house, with little
~ 52 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
strength I was on my feet and tried to fight back; throwing a punch at him I missed and saw
myself on the ground again. I could hear Mapalo calling for help because she had failed to stop
the fierce fight.
The man kicked my head twice and I could not feel my nape. I felt mutilated as though my
head was separated from the whole body. Blood spurt and slowly oozed in my noise as mud at
the bottom of a river.
With blurred images I could see Simulinda trying to fight Mwatu. His father had come to
witness the scene; Mapalo had both hands holding her chin and could not say a word. People
gathered round including her father who had known that I was the boy in love with his daughter.
I felt powerless, I could not lift my limbs my body was paralyzed. The man was already
arrested and Mapalo could not be allowed to touch my body which was caked in clotted blood.
The camp medical doctor gave me first aid and said that I only had a minor cut in between the
nostrils and it caused the bleeding. The last thing I heard was a slap which was accompanied by a
sharp voice saying wake up Mum has prepared a meal.
Waking up I was in a mahogany bed my body was perspiring. I could not say a word and my
insipid response made Simulinda to surmise that I had a terrible dream.
I knew the terrible dream was not inane, but communicated something. Mapalo was forced
by her father to accept Mwatu’s hand in marriage so that he could cement the two family’s
relations and took his daughter aback.
I had not met the whole family and this was my opportune time to meet everyone. He threw a
blue t-shirt at me which was on the mahogany couch. After putting it on I followed him to the
dining room.
~ 53 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The dining room was nicely decorated and quite big with a large dining table in the middle.
They were impatiently waiting for us and immediately they saw us coming, warm smiles could
be seen round the Mukwa table. The family was hospitable and not indifferent with mine.
Simulinda’s father was sitting next to his wife while their three daughters sat on the left side of
the table. We joined them to dine. They asked me about my family and how I met Simulinda.
That day we talked about a lot of things. And the whole night I had these words running in mind:
(Strange dreams)
Dreams haunting a vulnerable man
Strange dreams haunt him now and then
He can barely switch to the
Other world
Or surmise the meaning
Conveyed in them
He rarely slumbers
Without encountering two
No one cares
Could it be fate or choice?
Love or hate
Remedy or malady
The answer remains hanging in the sky
He sees bloodshed and tears
~ 54 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
He hears mumbles and rumbles
Impossible to grasp
Every time he sleeps he sees visions clear and real
He cries for help but only receives back the echoes of his pathetic voice.
~ 55 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
It was unwise of Mapalo conforming to the decision her father in league with his wife had
made. I was conscious of the love that the beautiful girl had for me and I could see it from her
charming eyes but everything turned upside down.
My world was torn apart, I never saw it coming, not then, I had grown to love her and loving
another woman was not my second thought. I had planned to make her understand that she was
the one I wanted to be with but everything changed at the blink of an eye.
It was already dark, sitting on the bonnet of the corolla with a cold wind blowing and the full
moon shining brightly. I decided to tell Simulinda that in the morning that day Mapalo had come
and told me her Pa had received Lobola from Mwatu.
My surprise was tantamount to his; he exclaimed that Mwatu was his close friend and three
days before my arrival the two had met though he did not bother asking him what he came to do
at the camp with his uncles.
Mwatu and Simulinda did their primary level at Lulamba basic school and always played
together at Changanamai buildings. The two only got separated when Mwatu’s father, a police
officer, was transferred to the southern province.
At grade twelve Mwatu got a scholarship to study in Canada. It seemed it was there in
Canada where he joined a charity organization and ventured into missionary works.
As we were talking about all this the door suddenly opened, the noise attracted our attention.
Therefore, we stopped our chinwag and turned to see who was coming out. Surprisingly it was
Hatula, the oldest of Simulinda’s sisters. She brought us decaffeinated coffee.
~ 56 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
After gazing at the full moon which was moving slowly to the east she said the view was
exquisite despite the nip that was in the blowing wind and went back inside the house.
We continued with our chinwag after taking numerous sips of the hot coffee. I was chirpy
and told him about the terrible dream he saved me from after waking me up for supper. For the
first time he misbehaved not, he seemed serious than ever saying the bad tidings from Mapalo
had obviously caused it.
I knew there was sense in what he said. However, to me it appeared encountering nightmares
had become my second malady calling for elixir. The hooting from owls and groaning could be
heard in the big mango tree behind the house.
We had never conversed like this since the genesis of our friendship. After sipping his coffee
pleasurably, he cleared his throat and said he was also sensing danger coming to his relationship.
In spite of them residing at the same camp, they rarely met and talked, only received words from
her through Hatula his sister.
Our conversation slowed down due to drowsiness as evidenced when the cup Simulinda was
holding slipped from his hand and fell on the ground breaking into two pieces and the coffee
slopped all over the ground. Thus we were forced to make use of our beddings and rest after the
tiresome day.
Three days passed, my week visit elapsed in no time. The following day I had planned to go
back home. Not a word was heard from Mapalo this rather made me skeptical as in whether she
would ever come back and tell me it was all a plunk. All the good things we had planned were
then yada yada yada and a humdrum song missing some lyrics including our dreamt plan to go to
the cinema.
~ 57 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Early in the morning the next day, having the engine started. Simulinda reminded his family
that I was about to start off, they could not believe it, they wanted me to spend some more days
with them. Despite their humorous bon mots I stood my ground. They urged me to visit them
Hatula and her sisters could not say a word I knew they were mad at me. Finally I said bye,
Simulinda and I got into the car and drove out of the camp. We could see them waving at us in
the wing mirrors. The place had a lot of memorable things and Up to now the visit has remained
fresh in my heart.
Soon I was home, mama was out. I was dog tired; parking the corolla behind our house I got
my small black bag in which I had put my gadgets. My siblings were already outside to check
who had come.
“Pelo!” Sera shouted, “What took you so long?” “Mama did not spend a day without talking
about you and your nightmares. The network seemed bad we tried to call you but we could not
reach you,” Mwewa added.
The two little angels remained evasive even after hearing stories about Mwaziona and
showing them the interesting sights I had captured as the souvenirs of the place. They could not
change their minds and remained adamant thinking Mwaziona was some sort of a village boring
and uncivilized.
The conference my father had gone to attend was prolonged after the heated debate,
Protestant churches’ view was given a deaf ear. This made the conference to take a fortnight.
~ 58 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
My father was a renowned Reverend from the side of the Protestant churches. It seemed there
were some hidden Objectives behind the organizing of the parochial conference however
forming a ministry to regulate the affairs of religions was a recommendable move.
Mapalo was not aware that I had travelled back after the pandemonium it was health for the
both of us to face different directions. Rumors had it that Mwatu was already arranging for a
grand wedding which was to be preceded by a kitchen party. This fact was also attributed to my
leaving without letting her know.
After a fortnight my father came back from the conference it appeared they settled their
differences out and came up with something concrete.
I could not believe Mwatu and Mapalo were soon tying a knot. Simulinda had advised me to
move on and simply focus on building my future but the fact was she was already part of it. And
I could not easily run away from the truth, she was the girl I ever loved truly and wholeheartedly.
Indeed the course to true love is never even, we had vowed never to leave each other but Mwatu
suddenly became a gargantuan wall that was built between us.
The Yule festival was to be celebrated in a few days. I spent much time attending church
fellowships and singing sessions, only God could comfort me after the enigmatic encounter.
I still hoped one day I would see her matching towards me. This was too much for me but as
time went on her picture was slowly waning out of my mind. Gradually I kept hearing from
~ 59 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
people that Mwatu and Mapalo had nothing in common if not the ‘M’ in their names but then I
had decided not to disturb the forced couple.
One day at the library in town I coincidentally bumped into Taonga, Mapalo’s best friend.
We sat at the square and talked for several minutes. She really advised me on what had
transpired, she appeared to be more intelligent than I thought. She then looked beautiful in my
eyes and displayed some interest.
After the dialogue we went our ways. I went back into the library but on the contrary she
crossed the freedom way and headed to Chisokone market. I studied for an hour and then went
It is true time can heal every sort of wound except the heart because the heart is like a bottle
it cannot be easily mended, a broken bottle could never be mended as some particles would
never be picked no matter what and they remain missing for eternity.
After a month, on a Wednesday morning I was in the lounge room seeing an intriguing
movie. Frankly speaking I had become home sick and a known couch potato. Basically I had the
whole family seated with me excluding my father.
Awhile later, we heard a knock at the door, Sera rushed to check and a minute later she came
back saying a friend had come to see me. I stood from my couch, got my flip-flops and stretched
my arms as I walked to see who had come. The door was propped open and before I could open
it widely my eyes doubted their ability, it was astoundingly Mapalo after a long time.
“To what do I owe this visit?” I said looking more than puzzled.
~ 60 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
She did not say a word but only displayed a smile. I invited her in; reaching the lounge room
I introduced her to the family and gave her a seat. This was the first time my mother was meeting
the girl I first loved secretly and whose name I had mentioned in the nightmare. My two siblings
could not stop staring at her sitting next to me.
I was still wondering why she had visited after what happened. She humorously told my
mother that she had always wanted to visit but I could not allow her. Everyone looked at me but
before they could say a word I smiled and shrugged my shoulders saying it was not true but no
one believed me. She finally left and alluded that she had come to clear something at the campus.
I walked her out and on the way she asked why I left without letting her know. It was clear I
did not want to create catastrophe however she insisted that it was unwise of me to do so. I asked
how she managed to locate my place because I could not remember giving her any details. She
told me that Simulinda had given her my address.
On the way she told me that her kitchen party was coming before the Yule festival then her
wedding afterwards. I could not believe she had the guts to tell me about all this. I got
exasperated but I could not show it just pretended not to care but the pain at the bottom of my
heart was intense.
After two days, sitting on the garden chair with Sera, we heard the sound of a vehicle in front
of our gate. Sera was garrulous she supposed her friends had come to fetch her for remedial
works at school.
After the continued noise we rushed to check who was there. Immediately I opened the gate
three men alighted from a fold ranger. Surprisingly two were whites and the other man was
Zambian. Their faces did not look familiar; they looked strange with black specs on.
~ 61 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
It was our compound so we moved closer to them and asked if they needed some help. The
white men had accompanied Mwatu; they were his missionary friends from Canada.
“You should be Pelo,” the Zambian guy, Mwatu, said.
“Yes,” I said,” is there any problem?”
They introduced themselves to us, this was the first time I was meeting Mwatu. He bragged
and talked nonsense in front of my little sister. He said he was aware that I had met Mapalo two
days ago. He threatened to kill me because he had paid Lobola and the girl was his wife and in
no time they would be wedded.
I told him outright what I thought because he was out and out a loser. He was only jealous
because Mapalo did not love him. He tried to punch me fortunately he missed, my temper was
triggered already I also threw a punch trying to fight back, which missed his left eye then the
white men stopped us.
They drove and left, I could not believe he had dared to confront me. After his confrontation
I became greatly disturbed. The only thing I could think of was forgetting the forced couple for
Sera was very young so she could not tell what had caused the fight. We went back inside
closing the gate. After some days with Mwatu’s words echoing in mind I decided to meet
Taonga and explain to her what happened. We had become very close and anyone would think
we had an affair. She was admittedly with integrity and out and out a good lady and every man
would fall for her.
We agreed to meet near the farms crossing a small water course and sat on a gigantic stone
which enabled us to see Garnetone east and Vundulu as if we were on a small hill.
~ 62 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Our conversation went on smoothly, we dialogued for a good period and afterwards she
advised me to forget about Mapalo and avoid problems in future whilst facing the other
direction. She could not look at me as though my countenance was shining brightly like
The gigantic stone on which we had sat was along a road opposite to a community school.
We could see couples coming from nearby shambas, young men and women could also be seen
holding hands strolling pleasurably and languidly.
After sometime we ran out of words and remained calm. I gazed at her but she repeatedly
turned her face away from mine and smiled. It was crystal clear that she was shy before me, I
moved a little bit close to her and pretended as though I was trying to sit comfortably and later
had my throat cleared and asked whether she was dating.
Paradoxically she responded saying she was not and was never planning to date anyone soon.
I knew she was lying because in her eyes I could read a distinct message. I became more
inquisitive and deliberately asked if she was ever disappointed. Her answer was a yes just like I
had surmised in mind.
The poor girl explained that she was dating a poor lad, an orphan, who she helped to pay
school user fees and sometimes provided food. But later the boy decided to replace her with
another girl after gaining popularity as the boy was a talented singer, his name was Oliver.
It was indeed a sad story as she was explaining with every minute detail I could see tears
flowing on her chick and marrying her situation to mine I felt her sorrow like I was right in her
~ 63 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
She could not add another word to what she had said only tears flopped. Knowing I had
caused it I moved further towards her and embraced her in my arms and regretted asking her
about it.
With a more calm voice I explained that God sometimes allows it that we meet a few wrong
people before meeting the right ones so that we can appreciate what we have.
Frowns were slowly turning into a charming smile before I could notice it. She suddenly
asked with a pathetic voice if she would ever meet a caring and trustworthy man like me in her
life. Before she could finish her statement I interrupted, held her hand and told her bluntly that I
was already in her life to stay.
After hearing my words she quickly withdrew her soft and warm hand from mine and gazed
at me looking surprised. She made me to wonder what was running in her mind. After two
minutes of insipid observation she smiled and made me smile and held her hand again.
In spite of this, she remained evasive as in whether I could ever have anyone to replace
Mapalo in my heart; on the contrary she was happy knowing that Mapalo and Mwatu were tying
the knot after the Yule festival.
~ 64 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Dusk was approaching, people had stopped matching pleasurably knowing the area was
surrounded by shambas and was practically dangerous especially at night. After our conversation
she became twice shy and could not lift her head up. We rose and walked to the bus station.
After reaching the station I waited until she boarded a bus to Vundulu where my distant aunty
also resided.
~ 65 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The days that followed Mapalo and Mwatu were only a part of my past, Taonga’s tender love
made me forget them. The only thing that cloaked was the Yule festival that was coming in a few
days. People had already started preparing for the big day. Farmers on the other hand had cleared
their lands as rainy season could be smelled. The Yule festival in many traditions across Zambia
went with many activities.
For religious folks this was the time they held various gatherings to celebrate the birth of
Jesus Christ. My father had organized a camp meeting and a number of different Churches were
invited. The camp was set walking down Garnetone and crossing a small river near the Comis
farm, where Taonga and I had met lately.
Everyone was counting down to celebrate the Yule festival. Mwatu was however counting
down to celebrate his matrimonial union with Mapalo. I heard that after he confronted me it did
not end just there he went on to insult Mapalo and her family saying that he had expended a
fortune on them.
It seemed whenever he was shit-faced he habitually did this and made Mapalo a prisoner. I
could feel it for her though I was done with all of them. He was a dogged person, after finishing
his training in Canada and having joined the charity organization; his Father could not say a
word against him nor rebuke him.
The outskirts of Mwaziona comprised many small villages and it was there where Mwatu and
his Canadian friends had set up a charity organization they tagged SYM. He had enough time to
meet Mapalo as the place was nearby.
~ 66 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Despite his vicious conduct Mapalo’s father overlooked everything about him and insisted
that the man was suitable for her. Additionally he believed that it was the duty of a wife to mold
the husband in any shape she wanted him to fit.
A small kitchen party was held. Mwatu invited all his kinsmen and a few friends that
included some white men. Mapalo was dressed as an indigenous Zambian. The fact that Mwatu
had partly inherited the Western culture made it difficult for him to understand why men could
not be allowed to take part in the joyful celebration. Therefore he could not wait for the actual
In spite of the kitchen party being grand Mapalo was barely captured smiling even after the
presentation of the flower by Mwatu. The party was held at the police camp. The couple’s
parents maintained their proximity; no one could be seen outside the hall leaving the other
behind. Music was loudly played by the band that was hired and they were the best in Mwaziona.
Old women danced to the last muscle and beer flopped all over the floor.
Mapalo was suddenly dragged by her narcissistic friend to give a vote of thanks. The event
was well planned and caused young ladies to become envious but Mapalo’s hippocampus was
never into it. Her mother could tell that she was not happy nevertheless she could only encourage
her to love Mwatu as he was her husband to be.
She rose where she was seated and walked a few steps to the front of the hall; the
microphone was quickly given to her. Everyone stopped whatsoever they were doing and had
their eyes set on her. She gazed at every corner then cleared her throat after hitting the
microphone twice to check if it was working. She smiled and greeted everyone present. After
adding a few words women were already yelling that they could not understand the foreign
~ 67 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
language, English and almost everyone supported it. She smiled and quickly switched to the
dialect that was often spoken in Mwaziona, Icibemba. And everyone was happy as evidenced by
the appraisal that came from the audience.
After she had passed the magnitude of her gratitude which was infinitude the mistress of the
ceremony took charge. What was left then was the wedding that was coming after the Yule
Coincidentally, the time they were celebrating the kitchen party I had followed my father to
the camp meeting. The camp meeting took two days and was crossing over to the Yule festival
celebration. Many speakers within and abroad were invited to come and grace the gathering.
The camp meeting was the time that every young boy and girl dreamed, people competed in
singing and Bible quiz. Except for the immoral who took advantage of the time, they met and
merely conversed away from the camp which resulted into fornication.
The day after Mapalo’s kitchen party Mwatu visited. Her parents had gone out early in the
morning that day. The two seemed to understand each other. They talked about the kitchen party
that had passed and planned for their wedding immediately after the festival. Catastrophe only
came in when Mwatu tried to force himself on her and was consequently hit with a bottle of wine
which left him under hypnosis.
Blood spurt from his head like a spring of water, scared that he might lose a lot of blood she
called for help. When people rushed in Mwatu was lying in his own pool of blood in the middle
of the lounge room with his head pointing where she was kneeling.
He was rushed to the camp clinic but it appeared he lost a lot of blood and the cut on the
forehead had gone deep so he was transferred to the Kitwe central hospital. He could not lift his
~ 68 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
limbs; his voice had gone and looked pallid. Mapalo followed and could not say a word after
numerous questions asking what had really happened.
Mwatu was in pain, his friends; the white men were informed about it. Awhile later, they
arrived; Mwatu could not easily be identified because the forehead was torn into two.
Mapalo was sitting beside him, the man was still unconscious. Her parents had come after
hearing the enigma but it seemed Mwatu’s kinsmen had left after the kitchen part.
No one could believe this had happened to the young couple. Old people said their eyes had
seen their ears, it was a taboo. The news spread like fire all over Mwaziona, everyone was
talking about the fatal incident. After the kitchen party the couple was expected to live happily
because only a few days were left to their wedding.
After this unbelievable scenario, rumors had it that the wedding was then put on hold as
Mwatu was at the edge of the rock. His eyes were up, he could not speak and the pulse rate had
slowed down. His condition was critical and everyone felt for him.
Mapalo never wished him dead, she would have had never forgiven herself knowing his
blood was on her head. She never stopped howling for a minute and prayed tirelessly for his
recovery. Indeed we remember God more when calamity befall us.
After days, Mwatu’s condition worsened and Mapalo never left his bedside. His family had
already come and tore into Mapalo threatening to do to her whatsoever was possible if Mwatu
was to die. The man was still unconscious; his mother had already started mourning. But
everyone remained optimistic that he was going to recover.
~ 69 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The medical doctor in charge told the family that his condition was so delicate that they
needed to put quarrels aside and pray for him. The cut on the fore went deep and left the skull
with a fracture.
The Christmas day is regarded sacred worldwide except for some faiths that have many
unanswered questions about it. As it is claimed by others that it was this period when a
supernatural being known as Jesus or Joshua came into being. Born from a humble family yet
pious and holy. On the Christmas day only Christmas songs could be heard hovering upon the
city of Kitwe and almost everyone was dressed in white.
The day was debilitating I was in a mass chorus that comprised many different groups. We
sang for less than an hour and then the plays followed. From the near residencies a hubbub could
be heard. To some people however the way of celebrating the Yule festival was never a big deal
provided one was happy with it.
After the plays had ended, the third speaker invited from Nigeria was offered the pulpit and
everyone remained calm to hear his words. Music was not there and then stopped but rather
minimized and later the audience lapsed into placidness. Taonga had come for the camp meeting
but the two of us had little or no time to talk except for greetings. She was a playwright and
played the part of Mary the mother of Jesus. I was playing the piano and young lads and lasses
acted the announcement and birth of Jesus.
After the festival had ended, a day later I came to know what had happened between Mwatu
and Mapalo. Generally the man’s condition was critical but fortunate enough he started showing
signs of recovery. He could move his limbs but could not talk nor recognize anyone including his
~ 70 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
After communicating with her I was judiciously advised not to visit him because the blame
was on me. Things between Taonga and I seemingly went even but I could not forget Mapalo
because of the pang of nostalgia.
However I had lost hope and only focused on Taonga. She loved me dearly and vowed never
to leave me for anything in this world and the other to come.
Everyone knew that Mwatu would never again be the man that he was before the mishap.
The limbo was whether Mr. Chibwela would still want his daughter to be with him. On the
contrary it was another moral dilemma to his daughter, her forced husbands face was disfigured
and she had caused it.
With the chin on my fist and elbow resting on my knee I unknowingly displayed a pathetic
picture and forced my mother to ask whether something was wrong. The stamina to respond was
gone. She came where I was sitting and sat beside me having her palm resting on my shoulder.
I had no option but to explain all that had happened with directness ranging from my love for
Mapalo, her father forcing her to marry Mwatu to the misfortune that had occurred to the couple
and she advised me to pray for them.
Mapalo had no option but to marry Mwatu after the mishap. Mwatu was slowly recovering
and could respond to hilarious movements with his tee-hee. Truly the man looked like someone
suffering from Chikungunya.
Kafula who had gone back to his village, being the heir to the throne was already indirectly
ruling because he had started solving nugget problems. His father was then old and could not
walk nor see but his voice was fierce enough to chase wild animals. It was plain that he was soon
~ 71 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
to be crowned chief. He never left his father’s side and his father explained to him important
On the other hand he had formed a social group in the village. The group was gradually
gaining popularity. They collected garments and crops from those who volunteered and then
distributed to the vulnerable in the whole village. People could not wait to crown him chief
because of his hard work. He had accumulated enough knowledge from university and his father
to rule the village.
Immediately my mother left, my phone vibe on the thigh. I quickly got it out of my left
pocket and found that it was Taonga who was calling. I impatiently pressed the answer key on
my android, her voice sounded excited like one who had won lottery. She greeted me and said
she had bought two tickets for us to see a movie at the cinema. The day was tedious so I hastily
had a cold shower and started off to meet her at the cinema hall.
In no time I was at the cinema hall I found her sitting just by the entrance and after seeing me
she sighed deeply. She thought I could not make it and was already trying to call her friend
within Vundulu. I laughed and acted like I wanted to slap her, she moved a few steps backwards
and almost stepped a gentleman entering the cinema hall.
“The last thing I would do is not to accept your offer,” I said to her. “Really,” she added,
“men always say that.”
After exchanging some words I explained to her that the last time I planned to see a movie at
the cinema I was to come with Mapalo. She did not respond and looked upset.
~ 72 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
“Let’s not ruin our day,” She interposed dragging my hand. We walked slowly into the
cinema hall. The usherette was very kind. She directed us where to sit and luckily it was in the
back row because the hall was almost full. The movie was interesting and the fact that it was
latest made the hall crowded. Mwinemushi and Kasaka were actors with every reason to be
Taonga had bought popcorn pieces and ate them with shyness. People laughed at the comedy
of the two actors. She seemed taken by the comedy and never noticed that I was gazing at her
smile. She looked happier than ever. She abruptly turned and looked at me and caught me
unaware. I quickly got my eyes off her and pretended to be taken by the comedy.
This went on several times and we realized that there was something we were avoiding. It
was there in the cinema where I first kissed Taonga. The day ended with a lot of memories.
A week passed, Mwatu was discharged from hospital. However his memory was not yet back
and could barely recognize anyone. Everyone who had seen him before could not recognize the
Mwatu that was discharged from hospital. His countenance had disappeared and looked rather
With this condition his parents decided to take him with them to Lusaka. Everyone prayed
for his recovery. Mapalo and her parents frequently visited him in Lusaka. No one could talk
about their wedding. What happened was the consequence of fighting nature.
Schools were soon to be opened; the New Year was full of blessings people alluded that it
was because the year was even, 2012. Simulinda and Kafula’s graduation was scheduled for
June. January in school was a month loaded with assignments and I could not believe the week
that followed we needed to report back to school. This was the Start of a fierce battle between
~ 73 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mapalo and Taonga. After what had happened the two girls could not face each other and from
best friends they were then foes.
Despite my relationship with Taonga being beleaguered she was not to be blamed for what
had happened between Mapalo and me. Mapalo made her choice by conforming to her father’s
decision. Professor Puta had knowledge about all this but I heard he was still interested in
marrying her.
The New Year was rather a busy one for me. It personally meant my last year at the
university and because of this my father had allowed me to board at the campus to enhance my
studying. I prepared the paraphernalia to use at the campus. I had boarded at school but that was
junior secondary at the Kawambwa boys’ secondary school in the Northern Province of Zambia.
There were so many restrictions and they never gave us breathing space. But this was not the
case at the university but workload was, assignments never ended and were chronicled in
accordance with the course.
Back at school, Mapalo had reported and was obviously aware of my affair with Taonga and
for a good month she never spoke to her much less me.
One balmy morning, the two girls met in the orchard astoundingly and only pouted at each
other, that day they were in groups working on different projects. On a hot day like this one only
the orchard was the placid place.
Suddenly Mapalo started spouting about my affair with Taonga in the company of her
friends. This caused a spat between the two girls and after exchanging uncountable words the
spat developed into a fierce fight that went uncontrollable.
~ 74 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mapalo’s voice was full of reproach and accused her friend to have had a hand in her
misfortune. The next thing people saw was Taonga bleeding badly and Mapalo was sighing
heavily holding a big stone in her right hand. The security upon being alarmed came to control
the enigmatic situation.
First aid was given to Taonga and later the two girls were summoned by the new Deputy
Chancellor, professor Isomo. The occurrence spread and covered the whole campus. After the
fight the two girls were almost expelled if not it being their first misconduct.
No one ever thought that the two girls could turn into serious foes and ready to shed blood.
Their group was divided into two, some girls chose to be with Mapalo and others sided with
The campus became terrible for me I wished I had remained at home. My relationship with
Taonga was slowly turning sour and she never wished to see me.
Professor Puta diplomatically avoided ignominy by giving Mapalo a distance after analyzing
the hot situation; however, he never stopped sending warm messages to her.
Lectures were never taken seriously because the management had put the graduation
ceremony prior to any school program. Simulinda was to graduate with merit and Kafula with
credit. Kafula was not bothered about the grades because soon he was to be crowned chief
moreover chiefs were on fixed salary and paid handsomely.
Soon after the graduation ceremony Simulinda was deployed by the government. He started
lecturing at a vocational college. Kafula by then was crowned chief of ‘Abena bwali.’ The man
was fully qualified as merely a minority raised about his ruling.
~ 75 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
However, this to me meant waiting to write my final examination. The two girls on the other
hand, that is Mapalo and Taonga, despite the threat of being expelled kept frowning and pouting
at each other and I could do nothing about it.
Mwatu was now in sound health and had resumed his work. Though his memory took time to
come back, he could recall what had happened and never wished to see Mapalo ever.
The last time Mapalo and her parents visited him in Lusaka. He never spoke to her but the
fact that Lobola was not claimed back meant that the two were still bound together in some way.
The incident was however taken as a mishap after the two families had sat together. Mwatu’s
heart was still beating for Mapalo but the fact that she had left his face disfigured was a thorn in
his fresh and left him in a moral dilemma.
After everything that happened Mapalo remained in quicksand, I felt sorry for the poor girl
she was psychologically disturbed. Her performance went down and almost every lecturer
complained about it. The counseling group from the campus had done their best but no positive
outcome was observed.
I could not wait to sit for my final exams and leave the campus for good. The worst thing was
seeing Mapalo and Taonga fighting endlessly, it was hell for me. Their being in the same class
almost tore the literature class into two.
I tried uncountable times to put an end to this but it was to no avail. Even after talking to
them they could not control their emotions but rather became worse.
In spite of Mapalo being dejected and in a dilemma that needed supernatural intervention she
never stopped loving me. Some of her friends could come and tell me about her regrets. Truly
she was the girl I loved with whole my being. I had devoted myself to loving Taonga but the gap
~ 76 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mapalo left in my heart was irreplaceable. There was no hope for the two of us coming back
After some months my exam was due. I had wished for it but it came sooner than I thought.
The period of the exam I had my hippocampus focused on it as it was very important to me. I
promised myself to graduate with distinction.
After the exam, I had no time to see the two girls fighting but I heard they had minimized
their lackadaisical behavior and occasionally greeted each other. This was good tidings to me
because I hoped for their reunion. I always reminded them of the good times they shared
together. Additionally, they were in their second year and had two more years to be together.
It seemed the two girls had blacklisted my network line. Whenever I tried to reach any of
them their lines were ever busy. Trying to use a different network could not work because they
were only answering and hang up upon identifying the tone of my voice.
Despite all this, I kept myself busy working on a few projects that included a novel I had
planned to compose. Months flied slowly, we impatiently waited for our results. I attended some
seminars and workshops for young leaders and writers. These meetings helped me to gain gusto
and enthusiasm to write creatively.
One freezing cold morning, with my arms crossed on the chest and staring outside through
the window from my room, I pondered deeply and reflected upon my life. Consequently I
realized that Mapalo was the center of it and Taonga was the elixir that failed to heal my fatal
and incurable malady. But what if? What could happen next? Would she? These were the
~ 77 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
questions that lingered in my head and sometimes I could compose pieces that many people
could not easily understand. The memorable piece was:
She runs to me
In my dreams
She loves and hates me
She lives in the world unknown
She stands
On the edge of a strange red Rock
Walking towards her
Could make her slip and fall
~ 78 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
She is jewelry
That should be seen not touched
Her voice is solemn
She holds a great golden key
In her soft hand
But no one knows
The right padlock.
(The strange girl)
~ 79 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Being in a church choir I always wished to become a prominent pianist but it all changed
after attending seminars and conferences for young writers locally and internationally. I realized
writing was the only thing I was good at.
Traditionally, people claimed it was simply because I had been given my granny’s name. He
was out and out a good writer and always remained my inspiration to write.
Salubriously, it seemed my friend, Simulinda, was then settling down. He was a lucky sheep;
he got a job at the blink of an eye.
Back at the university with a new and enthusiastic students union in place everything looked
a bit changed. Mapalo and Taonga contested in the elections as executive members and luckily
I had planned to visit the campus but Mapalo and Taonga were forcing me not to visit. The
only time I could visit the campus was when urgently needed particularly by the students union
for delicate meetings.
I spent most of my time writing and therefore had little time to think about things such as
immature relationships. Besides by then I was bent on writing. I had focused on completing my
third novel which I had planned to dedicate to my family. And each day that passed gave me a
notion to write.
Words of negation were only avoided by me. Many people said I would go nowhere as all the
ideas in the world were then already in books and in somebody’s mind. However this had no
effect on me because to me there was no such a thing as a new and old concept but style and
~ 80 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mukobeko University in the previous years of operation recorded successful students the
majority of which held key positions in the government. We wished wholeheartedly to forgo the
previous successful students and break the record.
Soon rumors had it that our results were out I was not sure and therefore remained dubious
and never bothered approaching any lecturer to inquire about it because the information was
third hand if there is any.
Mapalo and Taonga I had heard were then happy together and could be seen all round the
campus laughing and possibly gossiping about the new female students who had started standing
by busy shops especially Malls to attract Sugar daddies colloquially referred to as ‘Blessers’ for
Unfortunately, the two girls could never say hello to me whenever we met unless you
accidentally bump into one. I managed to talk to Mapalo but never talked about our relationship
or Mwatu because she could not allow me to.
After Mwatu had resumed work he was called and sat down by Mr. Chibwela, the great
hunter, to know his stance. The man could easily be read that he was in a moral dilemma; he was
furious with Mapalo but on the other hand wished they could work things out.
Life became a terrible nightmare to me I could not talk to the girl I ever loved.
Two months later, that year, our results were out and names were stuck opposite the
administration block, on the golden wall where freedom fighters were painted. Early Friday
midmorning I went to check whether our results were really out. Reaching the campus, there was
calmness. I had expected a pandemonium that day because people needed to celebrate.
~ 81 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I sensed something was in progress and for sure some students had sat for their exams. Only
a few students could be heard and seen walking aimlessly like hoboes do. I matched slowly to
the administration block. The Secretary was humorous, upon entering her office she displayed a
warm smile in her face and such a smile could only communicate good tidings.
“Good morning Pelo!” she exclaimed whilst giggling. “I am fine, how do you do, madam?” I
interposed politely.
Congratulations she added you have made us proud. I could not get sense of what she was
talking about. However, I responded saying thank you but congratulations on what?
She could not add another word, this made me more curious. After noticing that my heart
was troubled she said don’t stress everything is fine. It is just a little surprise for you she said
directing me where our names were stuck. The number of students who had sat for the exam was
quite big yet countable, thus not less than five thousand names were stuck and you could not
easily find your name.
Fortunate enough, results were chronicled in accordance with the faculty. Moving close
where results from the faculty of Education were itemized in white and black. My eyes could not
agree with my perception. I scratched my eyes thrice and continuously glimpsed at the printed
paper on the golden wall. I needed someone to punch me hard to believe this was not another
dream but reality. My name was second on the three that were to graduate with distinctions. I
had hoped for it and worked tirelessly, indeed it was a dream coming to reality.
I was overwhelmed with joy and screamed wildly like someone in need of help. In the
process a few students were forced to come and see what had happened.
Within a short period of time, a good number of students came. They found me standing
akimbo and smiling.
~ 82 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
“What is it, Pelo?” one chorused, “are you hurt!”
I shrugged my shoulders and said nothing atrocious had happened, before I could tell them
the good News.
“Look here!” another student interposed, “he is going to graduate with distinction!” They
seemed happy for me and congratulated me on my success. I had wished to see Mapalo that day
but could not find her whereabouts.
I knew she would be obviously proud of me because she always wanted the best for me. I
went back to the Secretary; however, her office appeared to be busy so I could not get to see her.
Later tried to see the bursar but to no avail. The last alternative was going home to disseminate
the good news.
Reaching our home, my mum was home alone because my siblings had gone to school and
Pa was out for official works. After telling mum the good news she was elated and sung a song
of joy:
Though I can only recall one stanza or two.
Lesa afulamo uluse no kutemwa
Talekelesha abana bakwe
Cinshi ninga mupela
Pali ichi?
God is bountiful in grace and love
~ 83 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
He never forsakes His own
How would I repay you?
For what you have done.
Whilst singing she dashed straight to me, kissed my forehead twice and blessed me. The
scene made me shed tears because I had never seen my mama that happy. I knew what was next
was my favorite dish being prepare and I could not wait.
And just like I had expected she rushed to the kitchen and started preparing my special meal.
Some minutes later my naughty siblings arrived home from school in the company of their
friends. My mother tried to tell them about the good news but they responded negatively to it and
gave her a deaf ear.
They had bought a new computer game so they could not wait to install and play it.
Therefore, my graduating with distinction was rather a bother to them. Leaving their bags on a
mahogany couch they rushed straight to their room. The kids had become addicts of computer
games. I could not recall the day I found them studying on the contrary they always insisted that
they studied during their prep time at school. Moreover, no one could possibly doubt it because
Nalemupela secondary school was strict in its operation.
After entering their room like they always did, music was played loud enough to exasperate
anyone close. This forced me to go and check on one of my friends within Garnetone east.
Basically no one loved it when these kids were home and not kept busy.
~ 84 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Fortunate enough, my friend, Kunda was found home sitting beside a gigantic pile of books.
After sitting for his final exams he became homesick to the extent of living a reclusive life. He
was not aware that our results were out.
He was sitting on a garden chair and it appeared he was the only one home. I walked slowly
behind him and covered his eyes with my palms.
“Get your hands off my eyes!” he shouted, “I know this is Pelo.” What has brought you here
after ages and I cannot recall the last time you visited. After harrumphing and standing akimbo I
laughed at him knowing the blame weighed equally on the both of us. We laughed and greeted
each other putting our fists together.
“Don’t tell me our results are out,” he said. “You have hit the nail on the head! Do not tell me
you are unaware,” I interposed.
Kunda was the one who had come first in our faculty. He surely deserved it because he was
inseparable with books. He could not believe that our results were out and thought I was joking.
After being sure that results were really out he became more inquisitive and wanted us right there
to go the campus.
I advised him to be calm patting his shoulder. “Have you seen my tag?” he questioned. “Of
course,” I responded, “you are top on the list of those that will graduate with distinction.” He
questioned about me almost cutting me short but I could not say a word only remained silent.
“What is the matter?” he interposed looking even more inquisitive, “why are you silent?” I
smiled and told him that I was second on the same list. He abruptly jumped on me making his
pile of books to scatter and caused a pandemonium that day.
~ 85 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I did not spend much time at his place after giving him the message I went back home.
Moreover it was dusk and in Chalochidema a good number of people were murdered in the late
evenings thus I hastened back home.
In Mwaziona the charity organization setup by Mwatu and his Canadian friends grew
gargantuan. A new school was being built by them at Pekozi particularly to help the vulnerable
in the area. Everyone in Mwaziona was talking about the sovereign youth movement (S.Y.M).
And it seemed Mwatu was gradually winning people’s hearts. Surely the charity setup, SYM,
was helping people. I had heard they were planning to construct a secondary school for special
education specifically for the physically handicapped.
Lately I had seen him but it was on TV when was being interviewed by a journo. He became
a young man with influence and almost everyone was talking about him and the charity’s works.
Mapalo was bent on her studies and was no longer interested in marrying Mwatu because
after the incident that landed him in hospital he almost withdrew his paid Lobola. The two
family’s idea of cementing their relationship by dint of marrying their children did not turn as
they expected. The two had nothing in common except their short temper.
~ 86 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I was left standing on the beam balance because I loved Mapalo madly and was optimistic
that we could work things out. But from the look of things the door to her love world was shut
with keys thrown in a bottomless pit.
Three days later, Kunda and I made a legal judgment to visit the campus. It was crowded
because many students came to check for their results and no one stood their shouting. Western
literature was rather complicated and only three of us out of a thousand were to graduate with
distinctions. This meant getting scholarships to go and study in London. I always dreamed to
graduate with distinction but never thought it would stand me a chance to get a scholarship to
study in London.
A month later, all the required documents were in place and whatsoever was to be done by us
was worked upon. The year had almost ended, therefore the following year January we needed to
report in London.
Doxdale University was an institution in London that ever recorded great poets and writers
and the fact that we were to Master literature made us anxious and proud.
~ 87 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Early January the next year we were already in London, Kunda, Sipo and I. Life becomes
livelier when you go Western though we were easily spotted especially in our class that we were
typical Africans we tried hard to suit the environment.
Life at the Doxdale University was a good experience, courses unfolded very well and from
the time we joined the campus no one had recorded below average scores.
One day with snow falling sitting in a green garden near a swimming pool, I saw a thin, tall
and beautiful white lass, she strolled pathetically. I sensed something was wrong because she
appeared hurt. After gazing at her insipidly she suddenly stopped and sat under an apple tree. She
did not notice me gazing at her.
After the blow of a cold windy that forced beautiful trees to shed leaves. I rose from the
garden chair and walked slowly towards her. As I was getting close to her I could hear her sweet
voice crying with anguish.
~ 88 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I wondered what could have had happened to the beautiful girl. Still walking towards her I
stumbled on a tiny of canned fish and almost saw myself on the ground if it was not the balance
of my left arm.
With only a few meters left to reach her. I suddenly heard strange voices approaching.
Hannia! Hannia! They shouted uniformly. The voices kept drawing near.
I supposed she was Hannia but before reaching her, the voices were already sounding behind
me. Immediately I turned to my right hand side rubber necking, my eyes bumped into a group of
four cute girls with long hair. They strangely stared at me and rushed to the Apple tree and
hugged Hannia.
“We’ve looked everywhere for you!” one of the girls with big round eyes said. She did not
respond to her but rather cried even more. After this scene I could not dare joining them and
probably ask what had happened to her.
Additionally I was alien in their land thus I simply turned slowly and walked back to the
garden chair. I left the girls without conversing with any of them. However I wished to see
Hannia again. The girls spent some minutes under the Apple tree before they left.
Hannia found Peter, her boyfriend, with another girl kissing carelessly and ran into the
campus garden. The girl loved him very much. Truly it was my first time seeing an extremely
beautiful girl like Hannia weeping over a mere man.
I piled my books together packed them into my small blue bag and went back to the dorm. I
could not tell anyone what had happened. Hannia’s voice was echoing in my ears. I thought I had
neglected her because I was practically the only one there to help.
~ 89 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Later the same day in the evening we had a class. My eyes were never set on one place
because I was searching for Hannia nonetheless it seemed impossible to spot her because whites
look nearly the same.
“Have you lost something?” asked Sipo,”Nah,” I interposed just looking around!” “Don’t tell
me you are looking for a certain girl!” added Kunda. Almost interrupting him I said, “You are
In the morning I saw a certain girl in the garden she was emotionally hurt from the way she
appeared. But I did not get a chance to say sorry. Before I could finish my statement they
laughed wildly attracting the attention of some white guys close.
“One Pelo,” Sipo interposed “this is London not Chalochidema, don’t forget why you have
come here!”
It is not what you think Sipo I exclaimed and explained to him that I only felt sorry for the
poor girl. It appeared she was cheated on by her boyfriend within the campus. Our dialogue
ended because in no time we had reached the lecture room.
Entering the lecture room it seemed a little crowded as some students had joined us. The
lecture went on well, professor Hagar was a renowned folk. He made me realize the importance
of literally works.
~ 90 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
After the lecture surprisingly we were invited to attend a party welcoming new students
though the invitation came late we had to go because we needed to be exposed to London life.
The party was colorful with loud music. And after being served drinks we sat behind. Some
minutes later Hannia and her friends arrived and were directed to sit in the front row. I knew this
was my opportune time to talk to her. After a while, having told my friends that Hannia had
come I decided to go and say Hi. Moreover it is not a crime to talk to anyone as long as you are
With loud music being played I courageously walked to the front row where she was sitting.
Her face wore sorrow; I could tell that something was being processed in her mind. On the
contrary her friends were on the dance floor.
Finally I reached where she was and said Hi!
“Hey,” she responded lowly, “you are new here you, aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” I added, “I was recently admitted.”
“Okay!” she said looking concerned, “where are you from?”
“Zambian,” I responded proudly.
“Oh!” she exclaimed,” central African.”
Music was really loud so we decided to go and sit a few meters away from where the party
was held. “I saw you in the garden this morning you seemed hurt,” I said gazing at her. “I was,”
she said, “and I don’t want to talk about it.
~ 91 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
“I did not mean reminding you of it,” I interposed gently.
It’s just that I saw you walking pathetically and followed you to find out what was wrong.
She exclaimed that she saw me standing like a statue after her friends had come but never really
knew that I wanted to say sorry. You are really a generous man she added. We talked for a while
before her friends came to fetch her.
She explained more about the Doxdale University. She was in second year and already
seemed to know a lifetime about it. She later introduced me to her friends.
The party ended very late however we enjoyed having been part of it. On other hand I
cleansed my conscience talking to Hannia.
~ 92 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
One year later, not a single thought about Zambia crossed my mind. London was Paradise for
us; we had become acquainted and mingled with the whites like we were natives. Hannia and I
were then good friends. Her boyfriend had become aware of our friendship and was jealous.
One day, when I was coming from meeting her I was attacked but fortunate enough people
heard me scream and came to my rescue. Peter was my first suspect, after his countless threats
telling me to leave Hannia he could have had planned to attack me.
Hannia was only a friend to me and I had no intentions of snatching her away from him.
Despite all this she kept on visiting me and we went out frequently.
London was slowly turning into a nightmare after meeting Hannia and her silly boyfriend
Peter. Everything changed I could not enjoy my lessons anymore and only thought of going back
to my continent, Africa.
Though only a year was left to graduate with a Master’s Degree School became hell for me. I
could not stand the threats from Peter. I knew that some white lads are spoiled children without
conscience and could do whatsoever they wished.
~ 93 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Living in a foreign country is rather strange you need to adapt to their style of living. London
was all in all different from Chalochidema.
My friends advised me not to continue seeing Hannia so as to save myself from trouble.
However, the girl could not understand why I stopped seeing her often. I never dared telling her
that Peter was behind it because I wanted to save their relationship.
From the look of things Hannia was deeply in love with Peter though she was left with a
broken heart. Whites never take relationships as serious as we do take them in Africa, it is more
of hid and seek to them.
I felt sorry for Hannia because we were in a similar situation. Hannia was not merely cute but
also loving as a sheep in the green pastures along a slow flowing river.
The Doxdale University comprised students possessing indescribable gifts, talents and
thinking capacities. In spite of emerging as the outstanding students at the Mukobeko University
of Chalochidema we found real competition surely this was a school for the abnormally born.
Despite this fact we maintained our performance and did better than the other students who
were stratified as the working class at the campus. The university seemed puritanical in its
instrumentality, no misconduct was condoned and this gave the institution a good chance to yield
not only outstanding students in the society but also good results.
Evident was the repercussion of my friends after sneaking out of the campus for a beer. Their
scholarships were almost terminated and the scene inculcated a sense of good conduct in me.
Gradually, we became used and observant of the school regulations. And we were saved from
serous penalties.
~ 94 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Back in Zambia particularly in the province of Chalochidema I had heard some cases of
cholera epidemic were recorded. I was worried because my family was in the same province.
Fortunately, the outbreak of cholera was merely recorded at Vundulu, Kamatipa, Kapoto and
other places in the outskirts of the province.
During my absentia, my father had bought a new house at Parklands particularly for me and
kept it as a secret because he wanted to surprise me upon graduating from Doxdale University.
My siblings were then doing their junior secondary level.
The road from Chalochidema to Mwaziona was being reconstructed. This was good news
because the road was a business route and link between Chalochidema and Mwaziona. The last
time I used it was when I visited Simulinda in Mwaziona. The two provinces were then finally
linked thoroughly.
After two years of hard work I finally graduated together with my funny friends. I could not
believe that I was back in my motherland. Hannia was quite disappointed she thought I would
stay in London after graduating. After a few months I was deployed as tutor at the Mukobeko
University main campus while my friends Sipo and Kunda were posted to different universities
in distinct provinces.
~ 95 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mapalo then just wrote her final examinations. Mwatu had gone back to Canada with his
friends for further studies and my chances of being with her were fattened. Mapalo and I never
conversed for not less than two years. She was the girl I ever dreamed to marry though
realistically it was seemingly impossible because the girl was already engaged. However Mapalo
and Mwatu were simply forced into the catastrophic relationship. She never loved him but me.
~ 96 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Upon my arrival in Zambia, many things looked new and strange. We had become used to
seeing whites walking about in the promenades of London, at games and parties. In spite of this
fact they say east or west home is the best. The first two weeks when we arrived in Zambia we
deliberately forgot our dialects and mimicked the white man’s intonation and stress of words.
A few friends and family members frequently visited and thought my skin had turned into
white; this almost destroyed my character as it made me to pontificate and became pompous.
It was a good feeling being united with my family again, three years seemed a decade parting
us. I really missed them. Whilst in London, I learnt a lot of things ranging from public life to
academics. Initially I was no longer the Pelo they used to know three years ago. The experience I
accumulated in London made me mature, responsible and viewed the world from different
One bright morning I reported for work at the Mukobeko University and accidentally
bumped into my incurable malady, Mapalo. Honestly she appeared from nowhere and made me
stand akimbo with my mouth wide open allowing flies to move in and out. Three years had
passed when we last saw each other; she had grown into a gorgeous lady and was no more the
girl I knew. She ran to me with her hands and arms opened widely and wore smiles all over her
~ 97 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I couldn’t believe it was really her after a long time. For a moment I did not want to run after
her but my feet pushed me to, I wanted to fold my arms but they moved open on their own. My
eyes appeared red and swollen; tears started rolling from my waxed eyes. Finally I had to meet
Mapalo, the love of my life.
With only a meter or less distance left between us she threw her arms round my neck. She
kissed me passionately and propelled me to kiss her back. I could tell our love was still fresh
truly she loved me. She cried with her chin resting on my shoulder. The incident rose inner
emotions. Students who had recently joined the campus insipidly gazed at us and wondered what
was next.
I could hear small voices behind saying that is our new Dean Pelo and his one true love
Mapalo. They love each other dearly nonetheless it is unfortunate that the lady is betrothed to a
missionary we were told. I could not hold it but responded with rolling tears. Mapalo and I could
allow our words to meet not but sighed heavily.
We held each other tightly and for a few minutes and wished nothing would ever come again
between us. Unfortunately I heard the breaks screech behind me. It was her father and his long
awaited in-law, Mwatu’s father. Before I could notice it Mapalo quickly withdrew her hands
from me.
“Is this what you came to do? Mapalo!” exclaimed her father, “I thought you said you had
come to check your results.”
“And you!” interposed Mwatu’s father pointing at me, “this is my son’s wife!”
~ 98 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I could not respond knowing they had their own reasons. The occurrence was embarrassing
and people within the reach came to witness. I remained quiet without saying a word they
continued shouting and dragged her into the car. Suddenly I realized someone was hitting my
tummy lightly and repeatedly to wake me up! Are you dreaming about London already? At that
very instant I woke up and to my dismay it was eight in the morning.
I could not believe it, only a few weeks had passed upon travelling back and nightmares on
the other hand had already started haunting me. It was however clear that my nightmares
conveyed some hidden message but who cared?
My mother had awakened me and obviously knew that I had a nightmare but pretended as
though she did not notice it at all. Nonetheless her facial expression explained it all. Mapalo was
something that I could not get out of my head.
I rose from my bed with a low spirit and dashed straight to the dining room because mama
had had prepared breakfast. Apart from my mother and me, no one else was home. Daddy went
for work and my naughty siblings had gone for an outing.
The week that followed I needed to report for work at the Mukobeko university main campus
in Chalochidema as a tutor for Literature in English. I was anxious to step into the fore sensation
and experience being a tutor at a gigantic institution with thousands of students and numerous
I considered myself to be a lucky sheep; Kunda and Sipo were equally recommended but in
some remote areas, of course, out of Chalochidema. I had recently heard from Kunda as we were
~ 99 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
required to report on the same date. On the other hand Sipo was unreachable because where he
had gone phone calls could merely be answered upon climbing a small hill at night.
Hannia and I were still communicating through face book and email. She was out and out a
good friend with traits that could be despised by only a few people. She was a unique gene,
loving and a true friend.
After a week having reported for work, I could not comprehend the fact that my former
lecturers were then addressing me as their colleague. The funny part was budgeting for the first
salary before I started working, how silly?
Mapalo was still in mind nonetheless I resorted to laying a good foundation for my future
because our coming together was seemingly impossible. She dearly loved me but her parents
never wanted me coming close to her. My parents had urged me to leave her and allow someone
else to come into my life.
I knew half of my heart was already taken by her. I had recently not communicated with
Taonga because of the limbo before I traveled to London. Generally I was not conscious of what
she was up to then. I did not want to disappoint her, she was innocent, and honestly I regretted
rushing into that relationship.
~ 100 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
A year down the line, I became more acquainted with the university. I could then say I was a
full time lecturer with some experience. I grew both mentally and financially, moreover, the
university gave me a personal vehicle and I was altogether living my dream life.
Mapalo I had heard was also working as secondary school teacher at Chaka’s secondary
school. We had not met nor talked seriously for a period of two years. Mwatu was still in Canada
because the charity organization he was working for promoted him as chairman.
From the look of things, mwatu’s family and that of Mapalo were then tired upon realizing
that the two were two worlds apart with a strange river betwixt them and had nothing in common
totally. The great hunter swore out of the catastrophic issue stipulating, ‘Ipala tabasumika’ an apt
proverb from one Zambian dialect (Bemba) which implies that some things can never be forced.
~ 101 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
After knowing what was really happening I planned to visit Mapalo but Taonga could not
allow me. She had become obsessed with me even upon knowing that the half of my heart
belonged to Mapalo.
One sunny morning with the dusty wind blowing from all the directions, I left for work just
like any other working day. On my way to the university I almost ran into a young lady,
shockingly it was one of the friends to Mapalo. I quickly alighted from the car and ran to check
on her. She merely sustained minor bruises. I felt extremely sorry because I was the one at fault.
She was with her friend who assisted me to get her into the car and rushed her to the hospital
before the mob was attracted.
After medical checkup, the doctor said it was a miracle because she was totally fine and only
needed some pain killers and enough time to rest. After gaining consciousness as she was under
hypnosis for some minutes she recognized me;
“Pelo!” she exclaimed, “Is it really you?”
“Yahh!” I said harrumphing.
Mapalo is going to be proud of you she interposed looking happy as if nothing terrible had
happened. We drove and then stopped at a chemist store to get the drugs that were prescribed by
the doctor. Afterwards proceeded to Vundulu where she was living.
On the way I deliberately inquired if she had heard anything recently from her friend Mapalo.
She exclaimed that Mapalo was doing fine at her new school and astonishingly gave me her new
line before I could even ask.
~ 102 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Upon reaching Vundulu, the girls got off the car and said bye. I could not comprehend the
fact that I had almost taken someone’s life. I waved back at them saying sorry for the accidental
occurrence and promised to visit her soon.
After all this I rushed to the university. I had missed my literature class and some students
were already searching for me like a needle lost in the quicksand. Upon reaching the campus I
walked straight to my office without uttering a word to anyone and closed the door.
Professor Puta sensed that something horrible had happened and decided to run after me.
Entering my office I reached for my swivel chair pulling it near the window I had myself
ensconced and stared out the window counting my numbered beards on the chin.
After five minutes, somebody pulled the padlock and made some noise thus I rubbernecked
to check, stunningly it was professor Puta with smiles covering his face. He walked where I was
and sat on the desk.
“What is it now?” he questioned softly, “did you have a fight?”
“Nope!” I responded shrugging, “as I was coming here this morning I ran into a lady and to
my consternation it was one of Mapalo’s friend.
Looking more inquisitive he asked whether the girl was Taonga and his smiles disappeared
suddenly. Do not worry I added the girl is not Taonga and she is alive and kicking, she only got
minor bruises on the arm. I rushed her straight to the hospital for medical checkup. Honestly my
day is ruined!
“Your day is not ruined, come here! You have work to do! The vice chancellor wants you to
prepare a speech for the fourth coming graduation ceremony,” said professor Puta. He dragged
my hand and helped me to stand and took me to the vice chancellor’s office.
~ 103 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Professor Puta and I became good colleagues forgetting the limbo we had because of Mapalo
and always laughed when we talked about it. Basically he really helped me to adapt to the
environment and pedagogue.
The following day a Wednesday driving more careful this time around I left for work. My
mother was aware of what had happened and my daddy inclusive nonetheless they appeared not
bothered at all knowing the incident that had occurred was a common thing on the road.
With my earphones on I tried to reach Mapalo’s line because the whole night it was
unreachable. Unpredictably it went through, for a while she could not recognize my voice not
until I identified myself as Pelo. We talked for some good minutes perhaps ten to fifteen and I
could tell that she was excited hearing from me.
Hearing her voice refreshed so many good memories. Chaka’s secondary school was in the
outskirts of Mwaziona and I never dared visiting her because I thought she had moved on with
her life. From the conversation we had I was then sure that she really belonged to me. She told
me about Mwatu’s vile behavior towards her and added on that she was more than ready to give
him back the coins he paid as Lobola.
Promising her that I would visit on the weekend after looking at my busy schedule I ended
the phone call and said bye. That day I had a class at eight in the morning; therefore without
hesitation I drove at a reasonable speed and reached the school on time. I went straight to my
office got my materials and preceded to class. After lecturing I went back to my office and
worked on the speech.
~ 104 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The week that followed was rather busy however I could not wait to meet my malady without
elixir. It was unfortunate that I had a speech to work on in time, as can be seen, there was
nowhere I could visit Mapalo.
In the evening I called her and narrated the change of program. Luck enough she understood.
Though some years had passed it appeared our love remained fresh and zealous. She was fine
from every facet of life, well-mannered and cultured, educated and from a respected family. It is
true the course of true love never runs smoothly there were so many hindrances standing in the
way of our love.
The speech that I was assigned to work on was then ready to be delivered by the vice
chancellor. And my chances of meeting Mapalo were then numerous.
~ 105 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
One fresh morning on a Saturday, Mapalo was busy tiding up her place as she always left
early in the morning and never bothered to ensure everything was left in place. She was all alone
in the outskirts of Mwaziona, how scary! Friends could only visit her on the weekend but
frequently she visited her parents at the police camp, being the only child of the old couple.
The house was loosely structured due to it being a rural setup. Calabashes of munkoyo ‘a
local drink’ were brought to her early in the morning on the weekend by some young men and
women in the village.
Among the young lasses that visited her often was a girl named Leya, she liked Mapalo very
much though she was envious of her because every young man in the village kept on talking
about the incurable malady, Mapalo.
That day the same girl, Leya, brought a calabash of Munkoyo and out of pretense helped
Mapalo with the household chores. A few minutes later Mapalo was propelled to taste the
Munkoyo because of the sweet smelling aroma that was coming from the calabash and little did
she know that the Munkoyo was poisoned. After being sent by the oldest woman surviving in the
village Leya went into a nearby thick bush and added poisonous roots to the Munkoyo.
~ 106 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The two girls sat and played a local game called ‘Ichiyenga’ and laughed together. She
explained to her how hard it was living in the village without power and proper sanitation. After
having taken two full cups of Munkoyo Mapalo started developing sharp pains in the stomach
and her throat began to swell consequently she asked Leya to bring her some water, looking
pallid. She had no idea that there was poison in the calabash.
Leya quickly ran into the thatched house pretending she had gone to get water to alleviate the
pain. Basically she went in to check for Mapalo’s jewels and money. She got every valuable item
that she found and left the poor girl dying without remorse.
Mapalo was left dying and without help, after getting every valuable item she left and ran
into a thick bush. Mapalo’s eyes were slowly going up, her pulse rate became weak and finally
took her last breathe closing the eyes.
Immediately she rose from her dead body and stood beside it looking lost and scared.
Suddenly she heard a strange sound and unpredictably it was the alarm on her phone. Because of
the continued noise she was awaken and could not comprehend the sort of a dream it was.
Her whole body was perspiring like someone subjected to fire, she became paranoid. The
outskirt places of Mwaziona were known for witchcraft. Psychologically she could tell that
something was wrong and needed to be meticulously careful.
Looking on the phone it was already nine in the morning. She practically over slept. No
sooner had she got off her bed than someone knocked on the door, she clad on her Chitenge and
rushed to check and shockingly it was Leya the girl in the nightmare. She had brought a calabash
full of munkoyo with sweet smelling aroma and some wild fruits which included wild loquats
traditionally known as Amasuku in one of the Zambian dialects particularly (Bemba) and
botanically referred to as uapaca kirkiana.
~ 107 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mapalo could not say a word but allowed her in. the two girls sat on the bed. Before Mapalo
could open her bubbling mouth she interposed saying that she had come to ask for forgiveness.
She narrated how envious she became whenever Mapalo’s name was mentioned. Additionally
her boyfriend broke up with her because of Mapalo.
“Who is your boyfriend?” Mapalo asked with her eyebrows up obviously shocked.
She was really left out of words with her mouth wide open. She had no time to mingle with
the villagers as she was ever busy practicing her career. Patting Leya on the shoulder she told her
that she had never seen him and never wished to. She calmly explained to her that she was
already in a messed relationship.
Afterwards the girl left looking happier than she came. After she had gone Mapalo could not
dare touching the calabash of munkoyo. She quickly ran outside to be certain if Leya had left the
house. Nonetheless the munkoyo was not poisoned like it was in the nightmare.
It was normal for her to feel that way because of the chimera she had had. After being certain
that Leya had left the house she ran behind her thatched house poured out the munkoyo on the
ground and threw all the wild fruits.
After getting rid of the harmless gift from Leya’s mother, the oldest woman in the village
surviving, like her weekend routine was she swept the house and rushed to a nearby stream to
fetch water.
From the time I started working my schedule became so tight that I could not spent even little
time with my treasured family. Even weekends sometimes appeared like normal working days,
to be honesty I did not have even little time for myself.
Two years had passed and I did not get to hear from my friends, however I never bothered
knowing they were working and on the other hand I was overloaded with work being appointed
~ 108 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
as the Dean of Education. Life was then enjoyable and worth living but despite all the luxury I
had a thorn in my fresh, a stain that was inerasable and kept nagging me.
Honestly I could not get Mapalo out of my head, each time I met Taonga I could only picture
her in front of me and sometimes accidentally addressed Taonga as Mapalo. This happened on
several occasions and caused unceasing quarrels between us.
Taonga was altogether a good girl, and I felt bad having put her in a maelstrom. She did not
deserve the kettle of cat I had put her in; I thought she was the elixir to flee me from my malady,
Mapalo. Unfortunately she could not flee me and I could not blame her because she was
Mwatu I heard was still communicating with Mapalo’s parents, telling them that he
personally refused to accept the notion that Mapalo wished to return the Lobola. Although she
left his face disfigured he still doted on her with great adulation and never wished to be separated
from her. But practically they were just what he wished not to see. Despite all this I needed to
visit her because I had promised to and the last thing I could do was going against my words.
Back in London, Hannia and peter were married and I was happy for them. She sent me some
pictures that were taken on the day they were wedded. I must say I became a little envious; my
love life on the contrary was distorted and entangled like a coin in the thick forest developing
Early Saturday morning, the week that followed I called Mapalo reminding her that I was
going to visit her in Mwaziona. The last time I visited the small paradise, Mwaziona, was three
years ago when I visited Simulinda at the camp. I heard that a lot had changed and enough
dopamine to leave me anxious and ever smiling was evident.
~ 109 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The long and uneven road was worked on two years ago and consequently the duration that
was recorded from Chalochidema to Mwaziona was depleted. In no time I was already in
Mwaziona the place looked gaudy than ever and local people had changed its tag to ‘half
I did not know the situation of Mapalo as she was in some typical area. Nonetheless with the
help of the phone I managed to locate her whereabouts. Immediately she saw me she ran towards
me with some hideous laughter and arms crucified in the air.
After leaving my vehicle to cross a stream that was much deeper than it looked I was then
tired and could not lift my lace up further she jumped on me and I embraced her tightly. We
stood holding each other for not less than five minutes without uttering a word and all we could
hear was the wind blowing softly accompanied by the tweeting from the birds in the trees.
A while later she phlegmatically loosed her hands from me, her hideous laughter disappeared
suddenly and all I could see was tears rolling from her eyes. Her face was waxen with thoughts I
could easily tell. Using my right thumb I wiped away her tears and held her tight again.
“It’s been long, Mapalo,” I said to her.
She could not say a word but only nodded her head and wheezed. We slowly matched to her
thatched house. The place was hell on earth I could not believe she had chosen to live in the
labyrinth of squalid bamboo huts for the sake of securing a job in the government.
~ 110 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Subsequently, we walked for a few meters and reached her place, it was calm and only fresh
wind could be heard blowing and the tweeting from the birds in the trees continued.
In mind I was already thinking I had prejudiced the settlement. It turned to be attractive at the
blink of an eye. She quickly reached for a wooden stool, which was decorated with some
traditional symbols reflecting the Chewa people of Mwaziona.
She had the stool put under a shady tree locally referred to as ‘Akapenta Nsofu’ and asked
me to sit. A few minutes later, she brought munkoyo in a small calabash and then got a
traditional mat and sat beside me facing the thatched house. Clearing my throat I looked at her
insipidly however she could not notice it as she was busy fiddling with a stick. I then tried to
harrumph continuously and managed to attract her attention. She smiled and quickly turned away
her face.
I knew I needed to pop up a story however the puzzle was….what story? I could not ask
about Mwatu and spoil the day; on the other hand I could not talk about us. Thus we remained
mute for a couple of minutes as I enjoyed the tasty munkoyo.
Looking at the thatched house I asked, “Was this munkoyo prepared by you?”
“Nope!” she interposed almost interrupting me, “people from the village bring me. I wish I
could do it myself.”
Having my entry behavior established I threw another question saying are you comfortable
living here, scratching my nape. Clicking her tongue she responded saying it was really difficulty
adapting to such a life. She added on saying that the town was only a few kilometers away and
had already applied for a transfer.
Afterwards it appeared we all ran out of words. I had completely nothing in mind, however
after some minutes I asked her about her father, Mr. Chibwela ‘the great hunter’ before I could
~ 111 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
reach the punctuation mark of my statement she jumped on it saying I was the reason she had not
visited him that day.
“He is fine, I usually visit him on the weekend,” she added with smiles in her face, “how is
the reverend?”
“Daddy is fine,” I responded, “and the ministry has grown, thanks to God.
The chinwag went on well and bearing in mind that it was my first visit after a period of not
less than two years I behaved like any gentleman would in order not to spoil the visit.
This fact forced me not to ask anything that could cross her. Time moved very fast and to my
dismay dusk was approaching already. Knowing better than anyone else that I could not spend a
night with her I thought starting off there and then was a legal judgment.
Dramatically, I told her it was already late and I needed to be on my way to Chalochidema.
From her facial expression I could tell that my leaving made her uncomfortable. We slowly
strolled down to the river where I parked my vehicle before crossing it as only boats could be
used crossing to the other shore.
Before reaching the watercourse we talked and laughed just like we did when we were
together, the incident refreshed so many good memories and I could not hold it, tears rolled from
my eyes. After noticing it she stopped walking and stood before me asking what the matter was.
But I cracked a joke and acted saying a fire fly called Akantemya in the Zambian dialect almost
got into my eye.
~ 112 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
After crossing the watercourse, she walked me to the vehicle. “I like this car,” she said
calmly touching it. We finally said bye to each other. She turned and walked to boat.
Immediately she left I entered into the car and flung the door.
Unfortunately, my vehicle could not start and the pathetic sound it produced made her to
come back. “Something is wrong with your car,” she said.
I quickly alighted from the car and opened the bonnet to my trepidation nothing was
technically wrong. After tightening the battery terminals I tried to start it but to no avail. Only
one option was left, of course, going back with Mapalo this was drama. The following day was a
Sunday so it was not a big deal travelling the next day however sleeping in a thatched house with
the love of my life was.
I tried to reach my father’s line but the network in Mwaziona was extremely poor so I could
not easily reach him. She insisted that it was fine travelling the next day but only with one
condition, to behave like a gentleman not like some savage on the street.
I took my car key, locked the car and left it parked. I should admit that I was worried about
my vehicle but Mapalo placated me saying stealing was rare in the village as people were scared
of being bewitched. Previously a lad lost his arms after stealing from an old man’s shamba.
Eventually we crossed the river and walked to her thatched house.
It was very late then, so we entered the hut surprisingly the inner part of the house was so
colorful that I had to go outside just to prove I was in the village, the occurrence aroused laughter
that day we laughed like teens. She prepared supper in no time. The food was delicious I had had
never tasted typical traditional food thus I enjoyed the meal.
~ 113 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I could not believe destiny again allowed us to see each other. We talked till midnight and
she became drowsy and slept. After she had slept, I gazed at her continuously for not less than
five minutes. She was truly the definition of beauty. Her head was not resting on the cushion so I
gently pulled her a little and made her nape rest on it. Then I unrolled the mat and made myself
comfortable on the floor next to her bed where I was able to see her beautiful face.
A moment later I was awaken by her. She looked frightful saying someone was knocking on
the bamboo door. I got the machete and opened the door phlegmatically and carefully. It was
quite dark and only owls could be heard hooting.
It seemed no one was there she just imagined the whole thing. She was only a meter away
behind me with her palms on the chest wheezing. As I was about to turn to my right hand side,
she yelled look out! Before I could reposition myself a punch weightier than sand landed on my
forehead and saw myself on the ground, for a moment I was half dead. I started seeing dead
relatives coming to get me.
The next thing I heard was a scream from Mapalo. She screamed sharply once, putting
myself together I stooped and found the strange man had left. It seemed he was from the
neighboring village. Probably one of the village men she gave a cold shoulder.
I looked where she was but could not see properly because my sight was blurred I walked
further and what I saw was indescribable Mapalo’s eyes were wide open with a machete
penetrating the central part of the lungs to the abdomen. Whilst stooped I grabbed her hand and
called for help!!!
~ 114 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
“Pelo!” Mapalo shouted waking me up, “what is it?”
It is already 7am do not tell me you have not stopped having your nightmares. I could not
respond knowing the nightmare was all about her. The nightmare appeared so real, I realized that
the place was dangerous and she had risked herself.
I knew my family was already wondering what had happened but the network was so poor
that one needed to climb a small ant hill to pick a simple phone call. The fact was I never dared
to tell them that I had planned to visit Mapalo because they could not allow me after what
happened earlier between Mapalo and me.
So I needed to go back as early as possible. I took the caffeinated coffee she made for me
though it was a danger to my healthy I cared less because the girl I adored made it with love.
Finally we canoed crossing the water course to where I had parked my vehicle. She helped
me to look for a mechanic to check my vehicle. Fortunately, we found one and the vehicle was
worked on. Upon seeing Mapalo leave, I felt like staying there for good but I knew she was
practically Mwatu’s wife and I needed to face the reality. We finally waved at each other as she
urged me to visit soon.
~ 115 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mwatu was practically settled in Canada and rumors had spread that he was planning to
marry a Canadian woman, daughter of a prime minister. A week passed since I had visited
Mapalo. I knew that she was unaware of Mwatu's bad intentions but chances of not believing
were very high, moreover she appeared unconcerned.
Three months later, the news that Mwatu had another woman in his life was spread. Some of
his kinsmen were bragging that finally their child had wedded a white woman, the daughter of a
prime minister.
I knew this phase of life was difficult for Mapalo so I needed to be with her but I couldn't
because Taonga had emotionally blackmailed me saying that if I ever get to meet Mapalo she
would end her life.
When the news reached Mr. Chibwela's ears that Mwatu had married a white woman, he was
shocked. It was barely easy for him to believe that Mwatu had ruined his only daughter's life. He
couldn't hold himself this affected his struggling health, his blood pressure rose abnormally and
was rushed to the hospital.
~ 116 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
When they reached the hospital it was too late, they didn't realize his heart had stopped
beating on the way. His eyes were up, a cold wind blew strangely. The doctor only confirmed
that he had been brought in dead, this was surely a bugaboo.
Mrs. Chibwela couldn't believe this had happened. Mapalo was not yet aware of the demise
of her father. A dark cloud enveloped the police camp and no one saw it coming.
The following day, some people were sent to go and inform her about the demise of her
mother. When the message reached her she remained mute for countless minutes and tears rolled
out endlessly. Her father, the great hunter was no more.
Though he was of old age, he still looked energetic his was untimely. He left his wife and
child with grieved hearts. Mwaziona was known for rumor mongering already almost the whole
town had learnt that Mr. Chibwela was no more. Indeed bad news spread like bush fire.
A day later, Mapalo was mourning her father and no one from Mwatu's family was seen at
the funeral house. The camp went into placidness; only sorrowful voices could be heard from
I decided to go and mourn the father of the love of my life, Mapalo. The journey was set for
the evening time because I needed to catch up with Simulinda and Kafula, who was then a chief.
They informed me about their coming to mourn so I had to go and fetch them in town.
They arrived late, from town we rushed straight to the funeral house in Mwaziona. The camp
was already crowded when we arrived, this forced us to go and sit under one of the canvas tents
at the far end of the camp.
"The chief himself!" Chorused Simulinda looking at Kafula and his armerbearers commonly
known as Bakapaso. We shook hands noisily forgetting we were at a funeral house. The chief,
~ 117 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Kafula couldn't hold it he laughed asking his armerbearers to give us space. Some years had
passed since we saw each other and talked like we used to in school.
Alola, the girl that Simulinda had betrothed was aware of our coming. She came out and
greeted us on her knee that was one thing I loved about cultured girls unlike these imitators of
the failed foreign culture. She went back into the house. And a few minutes later, Mapalo came
out. She couldn't walk properly if it was not for the help of Alola. Her father's death was not
merely sudden but eerie too!
Her eyes were swollen and teary; sorrow was worn by her face. I couldn't lift my lips. My
heart was connected to hers; I felt her sorrow deep down on the inside of me. As soon as she saw
me she embraced me and cried loudly attracting the attention of the mourners near our tent.
Some villagers were already pointing accusing fingers at me whispering I was the cause of
all that happened.
"Why is this happening to me, Pelo?" she screamed in anguish, "Mwatu has disgraced my
family and now my father is gone!"
I couldn't add another word to what she said knowing she was hurt from every facet of life. I
held her tight and vowed never to leave her again in front of my friends and mourners nearby. I
forgot about all Taonga's threats of ending her life as Mapalo was ever my priority and
A week later, Mwatu's family visited Mapalo and her mother after the burial saying they
couldn't gather the courage to come and mourn Mr. Chibwela, the great hunter, after what their
son, Mwatu, had done. However, they conveyed their condolences and begged for forgiveness on
behalf of their spoiled son.
~ 118 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mr. Chibwela was well known in Mwaziona and beyond; only a minority did not learn about
his death. He was given a decent send off.
Some months passed before Mapalo's long waited application for transfer was accepted. This
was good news because she needed to be with her mother, luckily, she was transferred to a
school just near the police camp with the difference of only a kilometer or less.
After the burial of Mapalo's father I couldn't get any chance to see her. Simulinda spent some
days at the camp with his family before leaving and Kafula left two days after the burial. He had
important issues to handle especially that he was a Chief.
Taonga, on the other hand did not catch the funeral. She was in South Africa for a short
course which lasted for almost a month. Upon coming back, she heard all about the demise of
her friend's father. Surprisingly she gave me a trunk call in the early hours of the morning.
"Hello!" she said, “are you working?" Before I could respond she interposed me.
"Avoid meeting Mapalo, “she said, "now that her father is late and her good for nothing
fiancée has married another woman for money." Hearing her platitudinous words I had no better
option than hanging up on her and never wished to see her again. I cared less about her threats
but did not wish ill of her.
A few days later, I had a chance to meet Mapalo and her mother. I could see the hatred in the
eyes of Mapalo's mother. It was evident she never wanted to see me with her daughter after
everything that happened. Though the words of Taonga were still echoing in my ears I bothered
not. I took her words lightly but it appeared she was more than determined to ruin me.
On my way from Mapalo's house, I received a phone call from Taonga.
"Hey,” she said calmly, "How is my Mapalo?"
In trying to shun away from the topic I said, "I have not heard from her for months now."
~ 119 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
"I know where you are," she added, "you have traveled to Mwaziona to see her."
"Remember what I told you," she blurted out, "you should be the first one to see my dead
After she had hanged up, I stopped the car and thought about what she had said. Before I
could start the engine someone called on my other phone. It was a strange line calling so I
hesitated picking.
Picking up it was the voice of a girl, she bubbled in fear saying Taonga had taken poison to
end her life. She didn't give me a chance to ask what really transpired. I was left in a fiasco. I had
no option but to turn my vehicle and drove to Vundulu. Reaching her place I almost ran into the
ambulance in which she was rushed to the hospital.
The substance she had taken was fatal and surviving the incident was going to be a miracle. I
reduced on my speed and drove after the ambulance. Arriving at the Kitwe central hospital, the
doctors said the poison had secreted in her body, however, promised to do their best.
~ 120 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
I couldn't believe she meant every bit of the words she told me. This was an inhuman act.
Some hours later the doctor came out of the operation room and assured us that she was going to
be fine. Hearing these words from the doctor was a relief.
A while later we were allowed to go in and see her. I couldn't imagine myself being
responsible for her death. The wards at the Kitwe central hospital were crowded as the city was
densely populated.
My day was ruined; I did not bother to report for work. Taonga proved to be a thorn in my
fresh and I regretted ever rushing into this relationship.
Mwatu was out of my life and I had a chance to be with the love of my life. But Taonga
appeared from nowhere and became a wall built between Mapalo and I. The days which
followed I could not dare to talk to Mapalo.
For so many days I could not think of anything, my mind was disturbed totally. Sooner or
later I needed to find a way to kick Taonga out of my life. My fate was questionable and twisted.
~ 121 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Mwatu just got out of my life and Taonga appeared to ruin it. I did not know whom or what to
blame, fate or myself?
One sunny day on the weekend seated outside our house, under a shady tree I received a
bouquet of flowers from an unknown person. The person said she was sent but could not disclose
the sender. Looking more carefully at it, I noticed there was a note hidden at the bottom of it. I
reached for it and read what was inscribed on a writing paper. These were the words:
I am sorry for everything especially trying to ruin your life purposely. I know you truly love
Mapalo and that made me envious. Do not worry anymore because I will never again be a wall
between the two of you......yours Taonga.
After reading this I suddenly developed spasm and remained mute. I thought this time she
had really taken her life. I consequently called her sister after reading the note because I couldn’t
reach her.
Her sister answered sounding happier than ever and for a second my heart rested. Upon
asking about Taonga's whereabouts she said that Taonga had taken a flight to Delhi for further
studies and was likely to start working there.
~ 122 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Two years passed without hearing from Taonga. Subsequently, I heard that she forgot
everything that happened between us and moved on with her life. She found a good job in Delhi.
Even after knowing all this Mapalo chose not to have anything to do with me even learning
that Taonga had traveled abroad meant nothing to her.
I had tried to make her understand but it appeared to be impossible because she had decided
to do nothing more than taking care of her aging mother. The last time we made a date she stood
me up and gave a lame excuse for it. To some extent I lost all my hopes.
She was the woman I truly loved but my love for her only brought sorrows into my life....It is
true, true love is like a gold coin developing rust and entangled by thorns in a jungle....First it
~ 123 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
was Mwatu then Taonga and no one could predict the future except God. I tried on different
accounts to talk her into it but my efforts were all in vain.
On the contrary, my career was progressing well and so was my family. My parents had
already begun talking about my settling down with another woman; from their perspective
Mapalo and I were two worlds apart. They encouraged me to move on, settle down and focus on
my career.
Honestly, I could not allow another woman into my life because there was no day I imagined
my life without Mapalo, my incurable malady. She had become a part of me. I knew our love
was mutual but unending congruities attributed to our going separate ways.
Like an innocent child drenched and soaked in the rain so my life became, I was an Island
surrounded by fear and coldness. I wished I could see her just once and embrace her. But she
could not come any close to me even for a second. She lost her father because of Mwatu though
her family held me responsible believing I was the one who came between Mapalo and Mwatu,
but blaming me was unfair I was innocent.
Things were more complicated than they appeared to be. Mapalo was aware that I had no
hand in the death of her father. On the other hand, her mother thought I was responsible for all
that happened. She also ever complained of sharp pains in the feet and ribs coupled with
workload Mapalo had no time to think about herself but her mother. This was the time that I
needed to be with her but she couldn’t allow me to help, how strange this world is!
After realizing all this, I had no other choice than to give her some space. But the fact was
though I couldn’t get to see her often I kept my eyes on her, spying maybe that's the more close
~ 124 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
One thing which came to mind was trying to visit her mother. This was plainly impossible, it
meant my death. Mapalo's mother never wanted to hear my name. I heard she almost threw hot
tea on Mapalo for merely mentioning the name Pelo.
I wished to be in good terms with her mother this was the only possible way to win Mapalo's
heart again. From a distance I could tell that she was good hearted but misled by her emotions.
One fateful day, reading my poems something clicked my mind. One of my friend's at the
campus was a medical doctor. I decided to meet him. After meeting him I explained all about my
issues with Mapalo and her mother.
Lucky enough, he was dealing with a patient with a similar problem as Mapalo's mother.
This was good News. Right away I asked him to go and visit them but cautioned him not to
disclose I had sent him in fear that they might refuse my help.
The doctor did as we planned. He visited Mapalo lying he had heard from the Hospital staff
at Kitwe Central hospital that her mother was experiencing sharp pains in the feet and ribs and
added on that he was assigned to be her doctor. He explained the cause of her problem using a
scientific jargon to convince them.
Mapalo's smile could be seen on the face her mother however showed no interest because
many doctors had failed to treat her and lost all her hopes. She was only waiting for God to
loosen the door.
The treatment was out and out expensive as she needed to have an operation. Mapalo could
not raise funds for the treatment; however, i had paid the doctor for the pharmacons which were
to be prescribed and the treatment.
~ 125 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
This was to be a secret between me and doctor Hambulo. I was updated every day on the
progress of the treatment. I was glad to hear so soon Mapalo’s mother was already walking
without the help of crutches and little by little the pain in the feet and ribs was waning.
Mapalo knew that the treatment and pharmacons were quite expensive so she thought of
ways and means to raise the funds. No institution was ready to grant her a loan. One thing
disturbed her greatly she wandered why Dr. Hambulo never asked or talked about the hospital
She had tried numerous times to ask the doctor about the bills but he kept on saying....it was
not important then but her mother's health was. She knew such generosity went with benefits but
could not bother asking about it.
Deep down she thought Dr. Hambulo wanted to get nigh so that he could convince her sick
mother and probably ask for her hand in marriage. After some months, the old lady was back on
her feet. She could walk walkable distances. She practically failed to thank the doctor for his
One day, she called Dr. Hambulo to ask why he helped her like she was someone close. Dr.
Hambulo hesitated to explain. She insisted to know the truth but he remained quiet.
Then she concluded, "I have noticed how you look at my daughter. If you like her, which I
know you do, marry her. "There is nothing I can do to recompense what you have done for me."
Tears were dripping from her eyes as she spoke. Dr. Hambulo was put in a dilemma he knew
this was the right time to tell her the truth. He remained mute for a few seconds, his forehead was
covered with sweat....He imagined Mapalo's beauty and our friendship....at that instant our
friendship was equated to nothing...He resorted not to tell them about my sacrifice.
He harrumphed and said, "I helped you out because you are like my mother."
~ 126 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Hearing these words Mapalo's mother was trapped in the quicksand of blind faith. She fell
for his words. She concluded there was no better man for her daughter than him. Mapalo was
not aware of this as she was out for work.
The following day was a Friday; Mapalo's mother was waiting eagerly for her daughter to
come back from work knowing it was a half day for civil servants. After a while Mapalo came
back and rushed to check on her mother. She could not be seen anywhere in the house and only
one option was left the garden behind the garage.
Mapalo's mother was sitting on her favorite garden chair reading her Bible. Mapalo slowly
tiptoed to her mother covering her eyes from the behind.
Noticing her soft palms and perfume she giggled and said, "Why is the only daughter of the
great hunter forgetting I am the lioness and can easily detect my prey."
''Here is your sit my daughter," she said looking very happy.
"Why is my mother so happy today," Mapalo said reaching for her chair.
She explained all about her conversation with Dr. Hambulo. Mapalo was practically not
ready for any commitment but she did not want to stress her as the Doctor had instructed. So she
gave her consent with a plastic smile to make her mother happy.
Doctor Hambulo and I rarely talked, he stopped picking my calls and I wandered what could
have been the problem. I accidentally bumped into him one day at the campus....
Doc I said smilingly, "Long time! Where have you been hiding?"
"Friend! Friend!" he said spreading his arms in the air, "too many patients on my list. But I
was planning to come and see you today.”
~ 127 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Asking him about Mapalo and her mother he said they were fine but I should not try to
contact them. He advised me to give them some time because in their eyes I was still Mr.
Chibwela's murderer.
This was shocking enough for me to give up. I told Dr. Hambulo that I would never again
bother to hear from them; however, out of pretense he drew close to me and patted my shadow
encouraging me not to give up so easily because a quit could never win. I took his words to
heart, I confided in him. To me he was as transparent as crystal. The day passed. My help back
fired and did nothing to bring Mapalo back to me.
After a week, I saw Dr. Hambulo, Mapalo and her mother at the Mall...it crossed my mind to
figure out what was happening but I trusted him blindly so I minded my own business and left.
That eventful night, I came across him in the evening and decided to ask what he was doing
at the Mall with the Chibwela's family. Like my expected response was, he said they had gone to
~ 128 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
get some medicine and cosmetics for Mapalo's mother. When he was explaining to me I noticed
that he was restless and uncomfortable. But it all ended just there...we said our byes and
The next time I saw Dr. Hambulo and Mapalo was at the beauty Parlor and my suspicions
were raised she rarely visited Chalochidema leaving her mother behind. Again if this was not the
case there were so many beauty parlors in Mwaziona. My mind could not answer all these
But the truth of the matter was Dr. Hambulo took her out with the consent of her mother not
hers. She had no better option than doing it for the sake of her dear mother.
Neither Dr. Hambulo nor Mapalo saw me. I could tell from a distance that she was unhappy
but I could not bother disturbing them. Moreover, I said within me, I tried to help them but I got
in return more hate. I wanted to go and just say 'hello' but I did not want to create a scene at the
But I should confess she looked astonishing and grown up. A few years had passed since
talked warmly. She was the woman I ever loved but our reunion was impossible.
Instead of helping me like we had agreed the gentleman, Dr. Hambulo double crossed me
betraying my trust for him. I had no idea or intuition that he had planned to marry the only
woman I dreamt marrying.
He frequently visited Mwaziona; I was bothered not because I knew he had been attending to
Mapalo's mother. One thing was puzzling he could always pass by the Mall before heading to
Mwaziona. Was it out of generosity? Fine, then. But was it not too much? I knew he had
developed some feelings it was likely because she was so cute,
~ 129 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
This was only being processed in my mind. I could not dare ask him why he was buying gifts
for them. He was playing some hero I thought he was to be a doctor, not an aspiring family man.
One weekend, he visited Mapalo in Mwaziona like his routine had become and of course he
foolishly brought some gifts with him. In no time he was in Mwaziona as roads had been worked
on thoroughly though people complained about the price of the staple food.
After hooting his car twice Mapalo and her mother were already out to welcome him. They
exchanged greetings walked into the house...
"Hold on!" he exclaimed looking at Mapalo, "would you mind getting what is in the car?"
She did not respond however turned and walked to the car kicking it twice after they had
entered the house. She quickly opened the back door of the car in fear of finding her wedding
date fixed. She reached for the carrier bags and pulled them out. Before she could close the door
she realised she had scattered papers on the ground.
Putting the bags away, she bent to fetch the papers before they were ruined. Her mother
could be heard laughing with Dr. Hambulo loudly. She managed to put all the papers in order
and back into the car. She lifted the bags and walked two to three steps to the door way.
Unfortunately, she realized there were some other papers left underneath the car close to the back
Frowns could be seen on her face, she had to put the bags down again and get the papers and
this time around she was forced to read what was on the papers. She peeped at the door in case
anyone was coming; reading anyone's document without their permission is unethical.
~ 130 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
She gazed at the papers closely. They were treatment papers for her mother and receipts were
attached to them. This was the first she came to know that the cost of the treatment her mother
went through was paid by me. She could not believe it; the cost of the treat was worthy a
Out of curiosity, she was forced to check the other receipts and puzzling enough all the
receipts had my name written, Pelo. For a moment she could not walk or think properly. The
papers slipped from her hands. She was only brought back to life by the scream of her
"What has kept you so long?" she screamed, “are the bags too heavy!"
"No mother," she interposed "I am coming."
She quickly picked up the papers and arranged them in the right order before leaving the car.
She walked straight were her mother was sitting with Dr. Hambulo she wanted to ask him about
what she had discovered but she could not risk the health of her mother so she pretended nothing
had happened.
The homicidal character of Dr. Hambulo was then known. She made sense of the whole
situation. If Pelo had paid the hospital bills why did the doctor Hambulo lie to us, she questioned
~ 131 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Time passed, Mapalo could not gather the courage to thank me for everything and on the
other hand Dr. Hambulo kept on faking explanations whenever I asked him about Mapalo and
her mother. So I never bothered visiting even calling her. As days went on, I started observing
him closely and figured out that something was not going right.
Mapalo could then see the true colors of Dr. Hambulo but she could not tell her mother. She
had grown fond of him. In her eyes he was the angel who saved her life from the edge of death
and they were getting along very well.
One day at the campus, Mukobeko University I came across one lecturer who happened to be
a close friend of Dr. Hambulo. After exchanging our greetings he asked how the preparations for
Dr. Hambulo's wedding were going.....
"Who’s wedding?" I muttered controlling my reaction to the News, "do you mean Doctor
Hambulo is getting married?"
"Do not tell me you are unaware," he continued, "I heard there is a girl in Mwaziona, named
Mapalo maybe you know her. I must be on my way now!"
"Bye!" I said, "and thanks for the great News."
After the man had left I could not gather the courage to walk. All the shopping and gifts
made sense then. My suspicions were right; he faked all those reasons to cover up his ill
behavior. I left the campus in rage that day.
One thing was uncertain, I could not picture Mapalo agreeing to this marriage but I knew she
was capable of doing anything for the sake of her mother. I called Dr. Hambulo nearly 8pm and
~ 132 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
pretended I was unaware of his plans. I asked him jokingly why he could not tell me that he was
marrying soon.
His response was slow. He bubbled, " I....mmmm.....hhhhmm. I was about to tell you."
Moreover I wanted to finalize everything before publicizing it. He practically lied to me
again. I could not imagine him stooping this low.
The night seemed long. I could not believe this had happened, I respected him. I could not
explain what had become of him but we needed to talk man to man.
On Mapalo's part, this was a compromise and she was planning on exposing the ill Doctor.
Her mother never wanted to hear a word against him, her savior. She was yet in another
catastrophic situation. Arguing with her mother would worsen her health. So agreeing to marry
him was the only option.
To marry him she was going to sacrifice her life. She knew how terrible the man was.
Though she never wanted to see me on the inside of her heart was inscribed only one name, Pelo.
Our tie was sacred and unbreakable.
~ 133 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Soon, preparations of the wedding were in progress. The doctor had loosely speaking
forgotten all about his profession. He was busy with the wedding preparations. A week before
the wedding Dr. Hambulo visited his to be mother-in-law as the wedding was to take place in
When he reached her house he hooted his vehicle thrice but could not get any sign of people
being around. He stepped out of the car and walked to one of the servants asking her where
Mapalo's mother was....
‘Madam is sleeping,’ she said to me, ‘she is feeling weak. I will tell her you are here.’
Mapalo had gone shopping that day. Her mother took time to walk to the lounge with the
help of the servant as they walked at the speed of a chameleon.
The doctor was getting impatient. His phone rung it was one of his friends at the Kitwe
central hospital.....
"Hello!" chorused the friend.
"Hey! Long time, how are you?" he interposed.
"Fine," added the man, "why are you marrying suddenly? Is your girlfriend aware? You
know her; she will come for your head."
"My girlfriend is not aware," he said, "I don’t even love this girl. I am doing it for fun she is
really cute if you see her."
"Why then, do you want to go ahead with the marriage," the friend asked surprisingly.
"I want to have fun with her, and then dump her," Dr. Hambulo chorused after harrumphing
forgetting he was in his in-laws house...
~ 134 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
After the chinwag had reached the climax he realized late that Mapalo's mother was already
standing a few meters away from him. He quickly changed the topic before hanging up saying I
will come and try them on....whatever that meant...
"Who was on phone?" asked Mapalo's mother.
"Mapalo," said Dr. Hambulo calmly and in a state of discomfort just like someone who has
swallowed three hot eggs.
Dr. Hambulo quickly helped her to sit and asked about her health. The two folks spent some
time together before Mapalo joined them............
Mapalo's mother was not yet aware of the doctor's bad intentions. After saving her life Dr.
Hambulo became dear and close to her heart.
Mapalo was at least conscious of it but compromised for the sake of her mother. Her
happiness mattered than anything in this world. A while later, Mapalo arrived and the three had a
meal together.
It was time for Dr. Hambulo to leave. "I should be on my way Ma," he said looking at
Mapalo lustfully.
"Mapalo will see you out,” she said, "I am feeling weak these days."
Mapalo was good at faking smiles. She faked one looking at her mother and made her smile
back. Dr. Hambulo had already walked of out the house.
"Go quickly, he is waiting for you," she said smiling.
Mapalo rose from her seat and reached for her phone. Busy looking at her mother and
thinking about the intentions of the doctor she was absorbed in thoughts. Consequently, she
couldn't take hold of the phone but pushed it on the floor making a dull noise.
~ 135 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
She rushed to the floor to check if the phone was not damaged. Fortunately, the phone fell
face up and not face down.
Dr. Hambulo was impatiently waiting for her outside. He had planned to ask her out for
coffee. His eyes were fixed at the door. Mapalo opened the door making a sharp noise which
alerted Dr. Hambulo.
She was out and out aware of the bad doctor's plans. She slowly walked to his car to say
goodbye. But immediately she came close to him he reached for her hand. And without any
shame he asked why she had been avoiding him.
They talked for a few minutes. He asked her out for coffee on the weekend. But she refused
making all sorts of excuses in the world. The doctor knew she gave in because of her mother.
With rage he entered into his car and started it before flying the door. She was happy
realizing she had infuriated the two faced monkey, as she called him. She went back into the
house to prepare their favorite evening meal, Kapenta and kalembula a tropical vegetable never
missed the menu.
Mapalo's mother was slowly starting to sense danger. She was completely sure something
was wrong. Mapalo always faked her smiles but you can’t hide anything for so long from a
mother. She couldn't hide her pain from the woman who nurtured and saw her grow.
After preparing the meal Mapalo called for her to dine. She gazed at her mother. And tears
dripped from her eyes thinking what would happen if her mother learnt the truth about Dr.
"What's wrong may daughter,' she said, "you can't hide anything from your mother."
"No," she exclaimed rubbing out her tears, "I am very fine. It's the pounded chili peppers
from the kitchen. That's all."
~ 136 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Despite this lame excuse her mother knew something was wrong. “Is Pelo troubling my
daughter again?” She took it upon herself to find the root cause of the problem.
Mapalo continued figuring out the way to tell her mother the truth and the sort of man the
doctor was.
One day, after working hours, Mapalo bumped into Dr. Hambulo rushing to her house. She
didn't have a choice but to embrace his company. When they reached home Mapalo's mother was
exceedingly happy to see them together.
Mapalo faked a priceless smile when the two arrived and rushed to the kitchen to prepare
After all this, I was slowly giving up. Our story was strange even the very best narrator
would get tired. The disappearing of Mwatu and Taonga from our lives was never a relief. So
many battles were ahead it seemed. Dr. Hambulo was not willing to back out. He was
determined to marry Mapalo and ruin her life.
~ 137 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
In one way or another I needed to rescue Mapalo from this terrible nightmare. She was not
aware that I knew about all this.
One fateful night Dr. Hambulo called Mapalo. You have to take your mother for medical
checkup was the message. The following day at 9' in the morning Mapalo took her mother to the
hospital. This meant moving from Mwaziona to Chalochidema.
Dr. Hambulo was very busy at The Mukobeko University so he assigned another doctor to do
the checkups on Mapalo's mother.
Lately, she was admitted for a few days. She had a heart attack when she heard the shocking
news about the death of her distant relative in Choma. Therefore, they had some hospital bills
Mapalo left some money and asked her mother to clear the balance. She took time discussing
with the doctor on the health of her mother.
Mapalo's mother walked slowly to the patient's accounts department. She found a young man
very kindhearted. He helped her to sit down. She stretched forth her hand and forwarded a few
notes of Kwacha.
The gentleman asked her name. Before he could finish his statement she interposed, "Ms.
Chibwela Mutinta,"
After processing information in the hospital's databank he smiled and handed the money back
to her.
"What's wrong now?" she asked looking dismayed.
Your balance was cleared yesterday." Dr. Hambulo paid the bill, “she said waiting for
confirmation. “Not really," he said, "There is a different name, Pelo."
~ 138 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
She couldn't say another word. She rose up without any help and matched towards the rest
room. Mapalo was also coming from the doctor's office looking for her mother. The two almost
"Mama!" Mapalo exclaimed "where are you rushing to? You can get hurt."
“I’m more than hurt child” She said squeezing her hand, “are you still going out with that
boy, Pelo?"
For a moment she remained quiet. "Her mother shook her twice are you even listening to me"
Mapalo couldn't say a word. They decided to talk about it upon reaching home.
~ 139 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The day that followed, mid-October, people matched with empty pockets wondering how
they would celebrate the Independence Day which was coming in a week and few days. The day
was extremely hot no one could hold a book. The research I was working on forced me to go to
the library.
Arriving at the town square, this was commonly known as the Kaunda square. Like any other
diurnal course hoboes were all over walking about the promenade of the square. They made the
square crummy obviously observing people they could rob.
The square was crowded and noisy. It appeared the health workers, public servants, were
distributing condoms to the youths such an act was as good as exhumating copulation.
I slowly and carefully parked my car like a chauffeur would. After alighting from the car,
some students were already gawking at me forcing me to say hi!
After this drama, I walked majestically to the entrance of the library. My phone rang. As I
was trying to reach for it from the left pocket, I bounced into a man. Both our documents
scattered. For a second I forgot my phone had rang because I had carried important files.
~ 140 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
We coincidentally bowed all at once to pick the documents. Our foreheads kissed producing
a thud sound. Before I could realize it my palms were already covering the forehead. I developed
a ball at once.
The pain was unbearable. Sorry we said again in unison and looking at each other with our
knees still on the ground. At the very moment we refreshed our incongruities.
"Dr. Hambulo, are you hurt?" I said.
"I can't be more hurt than someone putting my reputation at stake," he responded with frowns
worn all over his face.
I couldn't get the gist of his statement perhaps he was not picky with words.
"Don't pretend like you are innocent when you know exactly my point," he shouted pointing
his index finger at me.
I had no slight idea of what he was talking about. I was also slowly losing my patience.
"Lower your voice, I don't know what you are talking about," I said.
Behaving like a savage and throwing away his diplomacy he reached for my necktie trying to
choke me. 'Why did you have to tell her mother that you paid for her treatment? You have ruined
my plans, I will deal with you today.' he continued blurting.
The whole scenario then made sense to me. Mapalo's mother was aware of his intensions and
the fact that I had paid for her treatment from day one. This was being processed in my memory.
Boom! Was the last sound I heard. It was a heavy punch landing on my nose. Blood whoozed
out, I remembered my mother. Am I really dying I said to myself. After some minutes I was
caked in blood.
~ 141 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Dr. Hambulo jumped into his car and drove away. My important files were scattered at the
square. I was luckily rushed to the Kitwe central hospital so I didn't lose a lot of blood.
No one normally born could accommodate a punch weighing two to four kilograms. My cut
was cleaned and I was given pain killers. A man who happened to be friend of Dr. Hambulo
remained behind and drove me to the hospital as well as back home.
When my Ma saw me she panicked. My shirt was caked in blood.
"What happened to you?" she asked making me sit on a mahogany couch.
The man I had come with jumped on it explaining what happened from A to Z. I looked at
him and thought he would have been born a woman. Only a woman could explain like that. He
handed the files to me and said bye. "Thank you so much," I said extending my hand for a
The following day, it was around five in the morning when we heard strange noises in the air.
I wondered what could have had happened as early as 5 in the morning. The noises kept on
drawing near. It was a mob of people. Their footsteps shook our house.
In no time the noise could be heard just in front of our house. This is where he lives! This
where he lives! Voices continued shouting.
Feeling languorous, I gathered enough strength to check what was really going on. Walking
to the living room my father was already standing at the window. He looked powerless and
worried. My Ma and siblings stayed behind in fear.
Barely had I opened the door when someone knocked fiercely. Opening the door it was a
police man with his company standing on the left and right.
"We are looking for Mr. Pelo?" he said with his eyes set on my father.
"I am right before you," I said with courage knowing I had done nothing wrong.
~ 142 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
"You are under arrest for the murder of Dr. Hambulo and you have the right to remain silent
as every uttered word maybe used against you in the court of Law."
I was not allowed to say a word. My hands were handcuffed. Looking back where my father
stood with his elbows crucified in the air my mother dragged me by the arm you are going
nowhere my son, you have done nothing wrong she said pulling me back. Though it was early in
the morning people came out in numbers and they shouted murderer! Murderer!
Two police men dragged me into the open Van and drove me to Kitwe central police. I
wished this to be another terrible nightmare but it was real. Though we fought I never wished
him dead.
The next thing was finding the real murderer of Dr. Hambulo. But who could have done it
was the unanswered question. The case was very serious. Investigations were still going on. I
couldn't be allowed to be bailed out.
~ 143 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
After days of torture in prison and thorough investigations I was allowed to go out on bail but
of course with a condition not to go out of the city.
Mapalo had come to know about the murder of the two faced doctor. She knew I couldn't do
such a thing. Her mother couldn't decide which way to go. All she knew was that the doctor was
dead and this was shocking enough to her. Mapalo hid the fact that I was the suspect. She didn't
know what was really going on.
Mapalo's mother was in a kettle of cat. If Dr. Hambulo didn't pay the hospital bills why did
he lie? This was the question she couldn't answer. But she couldn't dare to ask Mapalo about it
knowing Dr. Hambulo was laying in the mortuary.
After thorough investigations the police reported that Dr. Hambulo had some finger prints on
his body and the knife which he was butchered with.
I was the first suspect, so my finger prints were checked prior to anyone. Fortunately they
didn't match, this was a relief. Their next option was Mapalo. They thought she had reasons to
the doctor. During their investigations they found out that Dr. Hambulo's relationship with
Mapalo was a compromise. Technically, they thought she could have had murdered the poor
Mapalo was summoned. Her finger prints didn't match too. This made the case even more
complicated. Who was the real murderer? His family thought the police had failed their job
because they couldn't put to book the murderer.
This made the job for the police even more difficult. The inspector requested to have Dr.
Hambulo's handset checked. Last contacts on his phone were checked too. A strange line had
called him five minutes before he was murdered.
~ 144 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
They had the line tracked. One of the females in the service called, luckily the line was
picked. This made it very easy to trace the person who called Dr. Hambulo. In no time a lady
was brought to the police station. After interrogations, she disclosed her name, Namonje, and
agreed to have called Dr. Hambulo but denied murdering him.
She narrated what happened: When I called him, he was tensed. I thought something was
wrong but I couldn't bother much because my daughter was ill I had to rush her to the hospital.
The girl was tortured mercilessly and continually. She eventually agreed that she murdered
him. "I killed him! I killed him!" she kept on shouting.
She narrated the truth: he used me. He impregnated me she continued saying, but refused to
settle down with because he was not ready to be a father. He forced me to abort the pregnancy.
Investigator: After that......
She continued: I aborted the child because I loved him so much. When I heard he was
planning to marry Mapalo. I was propelled to kill him. The girl didn't show any regret.
Namonje appeared in court and was charged with murder, and sentenced to life in prison.
I was finally free as a bird unlocked from the cage, vindicated by the court. I had a chance to
be with the woman I ever loved. Her mother was the only obstacle. The demise of her husband
left her shocked. She always thought I was the cause of the fatal incident.
Meeting Mapalo was the only thing I could think of after what happened. We loved each
other dearly but destiny kept on driving us apart. What I wanted to find out was whether her love
for me had waned or still ablaze like flames of fire.
Indeed God is alive. I got a chance to meet the love of my life. We had a good time, talked
like we did during our school days. "This day will forever be inscribed on the inside of me," I
said to myself looking at her.
~ 145 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
We subsequently agreed to approach her mother and tell her that we wanted to get married.
Like the survival of the fittest by Darwin, my favorite philosopher, I gathered energy to meet
Mapalo's mother. I was psychologically prepared for any outcome.
Reaching Mwaziona I almost got lost a few things had changed. But I couldn't forget where
she lived. It was a Saturday so the Police Camp was a bit crowded. I walked straight to the door.
One of the maids, known as Ba Mutobambale by locals, approached me "How can I help you
sir," she said.
"I'd love to see Mapalo, Miss," I said making some funny looks.
I was allowed in. A few minutes later, I saw Mapalo with her mother strolling down the
staircases wearing smiles.
"Good morning, Ma," I said after harrumphing.
Surprisingly she answered me, "Thank you. How was your journey?"
Honestly I couldn't believe this was really happening. The last time we met she almost killed
With the help of her daughter she made herself comfortable on the couch sitting opposite
Before I could say a word she asked for my forgiveness saying: sorry son, I really misjudged
you. Forgive me if you can find a place in your heart to.
"Please don't embarrass me," I said, "elders are supposed to bless young ones not asking
forgiveness from them."
She embraced us in her arms and gave us her blessings.
'Naka lebalika," she said.
~ 146 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
Our wedding was arranged and it remained the talk of the day. After everything we went
through people couldn't believe we were getting married. Many people came in numbers to
witness God's wanders. It was a grand occasion and memorable day too.
We agreed to have our wedding reception at the lodge which was recently opened; the place
was heaven on earth. The decor was indescribable. Our two families were very happy but
Mapalo wished her father was alive to witness the grand wedding he always talked about.
The wedding procession started at 9 in the morning. My father had asked his friend, a clergy,
to come and officiate at my wedding.
Loud Music! Chants! Hovered over the air it was indeed a memorable occasion.
~ 147 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala
The ceremony progressed well; all the traditions were followed accordingly. We arrived on
chariots pushed by white horses, covered with fresh roses and the fragrance which was coming
from them was no less than pleasant.
We alighted slowly from our chariots in the company of the entourage as everyone kept on
admiring us. Walking on the Isle we matched slowly to the clergy and stood before him.
As we were exchanging our vows a gun was shot and the wedding hall went into placidness.
Everyone was down. No one could tell where the bullet had come from. I rubbernecked to check
on my bride.
I couldn't believe my eyes; she was laying on the floor. Her white wedding dress turned red
caked in clotted blood. The gun was aimed at her. The security men outside cried out assassins!
Assassins! They are running away let’s get them.
Subsequently, a bucket of water was poured out on me. "Wake up this is a prison cell not
your bedroom, get ready for the next court hearing," one of the prison warders said."
"You have only spent a week in the prison and you are already dreaming about home,
murderer!" One of the inmates added.
After waking up I was allowed to have a shower. And later taken to the court by the police
handcuffed. My family, Mapalo and her mother were already at the court.
~ 148 ~
A Terrible Nightmare-Jackson Chabala