Just maybe I shouldn’t have followed the big butterfly today, for three days consecutively it always sat on our clothes which Mama left to sun dry, usually I always turned a blind eye to it, but today it perched so close to the door as it slowly opened its wings showing its beautiful colour combinations as it flapped on and I decided I had to make a painting of it, to show papa when he comes back from the train station, he worked there everyday from dawn to dusk. Mama and I couldn’t spend much time with him, Mama on the other hand goes out once in a while, she always stayed at home and taught me my “alphabets” as she called them. Recently she had been going out more than usual, but she always came back in time to fix supper for Papa.
I found myself at the back of our house following the butterfly as it kept moving, it has to stop soon, I need to paint it I thought as I kept ducking at every tree branch I approached. After a long while I looked back and although I could see Home it was quite far and this was the place Mama had warned me never cross, she once spanked me and cuffed my ears because I went to pick my ball from the back of the house, but again I’m crossing the boundaries without worries because my thought had already been clouded by the beautiful butterfly ” I will catch it quickly and run back home before mama gets back” I thought and continued trailing the butterfly. It finally decided to stop in front of an old uncompleted building that I never knew was in existence. As I moved slowly like a lioness hunting her prey so as not to startle the butterfly, it flew into the the house. I turned around to check if anyone had followed me or I was being watched , when I was convinced no one was lurking in the bush I entered the house and kept following the butterfly as it flew up the stairs which looked too old and rickety to hold even a pound weight but I never cared, I was too deep in the mess already to back out, I wanted to paint the butterfly for papa and I’m sure he will be happy to hear the story of how I got to paint a beautiful butterfly for him. The butterfly suddenly flew into a room that had another adjoining room with a door, I was about to follow it when I heard a voice in the other room so I froze, I didn’t want anyone finding me and sending me back home pulling my ears.
” the dark man is serious ” I heard someone say, the voice sounded like Mr James the man who always got water for us when it hadn’t rained for so long and the water in the well was so down.
” I have sacrificed all I have ” the voice sounded like mama’s voice just that it came with a sob, so I looked through the little crack on the door and truly it was Mama but she wasn’t in her normal gown. Mama had the total of four gowns, two she wore on week days, one on weekends and one whenever we had papa’s friends visit, but the gown she was wearing was new, so new that I wondered if papa knew she had another beautiful gown. Beside her was Mrs Jackie, the lady that lives next door and watched over me whenever mama went to market, she had lost her husband and son last year and since then she has never really left her house, most times it was Mama that gets stuff’s for her at the market. Then there was Mr Rich the gardener, he was so good at his work that once it was rumoured that the Queen had asked him to cut her flowers. Then there was Mr James, the man that looked like he always got beaten by his wife and he had no say in his life but he was at the head of the table.
” But it’s your turn”Mrs Jackie said to Mama.
” I can’t give the dark man my husband, he already took my daughters ” Mama said angrily looking up .
” We all gave someone or things way out of our league, see Jackie, she gave her family” Mr Rich said pointing at Mrs Jackie. “See me? I gave up everything ” Mr James added supporting the motion.
Then immediately I saw the butterfly again, it flew round the tiny circle Mama and her friends were, then it settled on the table and slowly as it flapped it’s wings it transformed, I was taught that butterfly is the last stage of transformation,but that was proved wrong as i stood trembling as i watched the butterfly transform into a dark man whose ugliness knew no bounds, its no wonder Mr Fisher was ugly, probably he is a butterfly too i thought to myself. The dark ugly man stood up and everyone in the room bowed, Mr James stood from the head table and moved down as the man sat on the vacant seat specially preserved.
” Good day my humble followers” the man said as they all sat up, ” I have protected you like I had promised you, I have kept my word and you yours, so this year I will choose my own sacrifice ” he said and turned to my direction, as much as I wanted to move, my legs seemed glued on the ground as I watched mama’s worried face fade ” Grace behind that door is my sacrifice and I want you to kill it ” he said to Mama who moved immediately with a high pace and before I could blink her hands were already on my shoulders ” Alex? ” her worried voice called “Mama? ” I answered and everyone in the room turned
” what are you doing here? ” she asked almost crying, ” I was following the butterfly I wanted to paint for papa” I said covering my ears to avoid a cuff.
” Please Dark man, don’t make me kill my 11 years old son ” Mama said kneeling. The word kill registered in my mind, so Mama was to kill me for the butterfly? I sincerely liked it better when it was a butterfly I thought. “You do it or you die Grace” the ugly man said and this time Mama turned and looked at me, I could picture her shouting at me for leaving the house, maybe she will let me go home and then she will settle with the dark man before it is time for Supper.
But Mama picked up a knife from the table and drew me closer as Mrs Jackie brought a bowl closer
“Mama loves you Alex” she said brushing my hair with her hand. ” and this wouldn’t hurt” she said and as she raised her hands I knew exactly what had been going on, the sacrifices, the dark man stories she had been telling me were real. As the knife hit my chest I was embraced by an unbearable pain, I fell down crying and trying to pull out the knife but each time i pulled i felt the pain get intense , I rolled over to see Mama’s face one more time as she cried, I wondered what she will tell Papa, ” maybe she will tell him that I got missing in the Bush just like Judith, Stella and Sarah had gotten missing ” as it all made sense I closed my eyes and with the picture of the butterfly still stuck in my head. The air seemed different as I took my last breath and passed over to the great beyond….
David Vera Sorochi