My eye lids are slowly falling to my cheeks so we have to make this quick, juicy and lively. I am a night runner by default simply because I am luhya . The night runners are believed to be the selected few by the gods. Their purpose is to cause fear at night however, they are the security patrol team in Ingotse. Their ideal form of dressing is ashes smeared on their naked bodies and on a really bad night an extravagant mask that make your boogeyman come to life.
They are not witches, just an ordinary energetic lot who finds comfort in late night nude runs. (Don’t act surprised I bet you can’t wait to count hours till you are home alone just to be free of the weight of clothing.) If we had an all African traditional racers meet then Luhyas would a proudly raise Kenya’s flag; granted the race is held at night.
This time round we were driving from Meru town to Nairobi at a speed of 100kph using the Nanyuki route at 9pm. The air was fresh, the wind hollowed at the full moon while the sky dense with stars guiding our way. This was freedom no road hogs, drunk drivers or the mad men in a hurry to put out the fire in their heads. We had light conversations to keep from dozing off on the wheel and when all else failed an energy drink in the system would keep us going.
Although I attempted to drive, mother was too tired to push another mile closer to Nairobi, it was logical that an hour or two of rest would rejuvenate us and reduce all possibilities on an accident thus Nyeri proved to be a safe haven considering mother knew a kind and hospitable old friend of hers. As we meandered into Nyeri County, we saw a rather quire animal; gracefully crossing the road, oblivious of the full headlights or the path it was on. It was too big to be a cat and too careless to be a dog.
The closer we got the more visible it got. Auuuuwi!!!! mother yelled as she quickly pressed the emergency breaks and baam!!! there we were face to face with a Cheetah. It quickly got off the road and instinctively prepared to attack(that’s how mother saw it, I saw a scared cat.)and in reaction mother drove off like a miraa driver as advised by her adrenaline rush.
Umeona hio chui uuuwi! na students watakuwa kwa hii nijai saa tisa?(have you seen that cheetah , how will the students use this road at 3am?) Mother insisted we need to alert the Police at Kiganjo Trainnig College and just like that we detoured to the famous training grounds. I was awe of the beauty and boldness of the creature and how lucky I was to have encountered it outside of a reserve or animal cage. Wacha tuombe itakula mbuzi kabla watu wamke( let us pray it eats a goat before people wake up) mother commented after she narrated our encounter to the officer manning the gate. Nyumba yake iko hapa karibu( her house is nearby) she said as we entered what seemed to be an housing plan for the police trainers.
Mother asked me to go knock on the door once we parked outside a house that had resembled what was in her memory (Wait so we just saw this huge hungry thing back there and you expect me to get out of the car, go knock on the door and wait for them to open? ) the thought of it made my knees weak. In response, I suggested We call to avoid waking up the neighbors boy wasn’t it a relief when she entertained the idea .My heart was in my throat as I was busy scanning to see is Mufasa’s cousin decided to follow us. Once the door was opened, we jolted out of the car into the house without picking our bags for any change of clothes on agreeing on that the Cheetah would be waiting somewhere outside just like that we ended up sleeping in what we had on.
Little did I know that in the next two hours mother would send me outside to look for her change clothes that I had mindlessly stuffed at the bottom of a suitcase while she freshened up. Does she love me? is all I thought as I struggled to pull the suites to the ground from the boot before it was too late a shiver ran down my spine as I heard the thunder of running footsteps heading my way, it was uniformly vigorous almost like the sound of rain only to realize it was the Police recruits on their morning run. Their presence was a blissful yet assuring distraction that eased the paced at which I unearthed the clothes from the suite case.