Proverbs 25:24 – a short story

                                                                                                                      8 August, 1904

‘I felt the onset of the sickness four days ago. First my muscles became weak; I found it difficult to stand for any extended length of time. Then, the very bones within me became racked with a dull, throbbing pain. Next was the vomiting, I couldn’t keep anything down, whether food or water. Unfortunately there are no doctors here in the village to give me medicine of any sort and I don’t even know where the closest hospital is, but even if I did, I wouldn’t go. I already know my deathcase – malaria. It’s what gets everyone here, especially us whites.

Those damn mosquitoes are always around, thick as fog sometimes and there is no getting away from them. It’s because of our proximity to the coast, no more than a few miles at the most. They like the water and the humidity, of which we have plenty, which accounts for the masses of them. Three of my predecessors went out the same way I’m going. I personally buried two of them myself.

This morning I made the mistake of looking out my window and the locals have already begun digging my grave. That gives me mixed emotions, not only about my imminent demise, but about my work. The locals have supposedly accepted the faith I’m preaching to them, but it seems they missed the part about healing. At least I know what I believe. Maybe I’ll go have a look at my grave later, my very own gateway to heaven.

It seems like many years have passed since I first came here, but in actuality it’s only been nine months. Nine wonderful, depressing, life-changing, emotional months. I’m only a few months away from my half-way point. My commitment was for two years, but the bloody grim-reaper has stepped in and had his say. Death is a strange thing, I always wondered how I’d die, if it would be instantly or if I would have the chance to say my good-byes. Now I have the time but no one to say good-bye to. My last letters home will arrive long after I’ve been laid in the soil.

I know I mentioned the local’s faith earlier and it’s not that I don’t have faith to be healed. I’ve just resigned myself to my own fate, all men have to die at some point in their life and…’

“Excuse me dear, what are you doing?”

“Nothing. Just getting ready for work.”

“Are you playing with that new voice recognition software for the computer?”

“No honey, only in the evenings, just like you said.”

“Good, then come downstairs, I got up early this morning to fix breakfast for you.”

“Okay, just give me a minute to finish getting dressed and I’ll be right down.”

‘I can feel my temperature rising, almost as if the blood running through my veins is beginning to boil. Sweat is pouring out of me so fast I’ll soon be dehydrated, death can’t come quick enough.’

 – written on the road between Mombasa and Nairobi

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