“Akello! Ake…llo! This girl will be the death of me. What will I do to tie her to the house? Were give me the strength to…”

“Min Akello, why are you talking to yourself? What has Akello done now?”

“Ah, Nyar Asembo, Is that you?” Akello’s mother turned to the door to welcome her brother-in –law’s wife to the house. “This daughter of mine has disappeared again.”

“How did she do it this time?” asked Nyar Asembo with a knowing smile. “Did she wait till you took your afternoon nap or did she walk out as if going to fetch something?”

“You will never believe that girl’s ingenuity! She was driving out a hen, which had strayed into the house. I heard her clucking after it for a while from outside, and then all was quiet. On coming out, I was met by an empty courtyard. I’ve called out till I’m out of breath...”

“You never know Min Akello,” Nyar Asembo said amid bouts of laughter, “Maybe the hen was sent to call her.”

“Please do not joke about such things.” Changing the subject,“ What brings you here anyway? You may as well have this porridge I’d poured for Akello as we talk.”

Nyar Asembo sat on a low stool and took the mug offered her by her host and neighbor. She greatly respected and liked Esther who was her elder brother-in-law’s widow. Ocholla, Esther’s late husband was now two years underground. He had died in a road accident while traveling from Nairobi to their rural home in Uyoma, Bondo. Esther and Akello had remained in the city, as Akello was just about to sit her form four exams.

Nyar Asembo recollected the events following Ocholla’s death like it was yesterday. Esther, a teacher by profession, had been suddenly widowed and left with only one child, a girl. As was common now, there was a line of willing inheritors whose hands were itching to get a hold of the widow, her own husband being one of them. She unconsciously uttered a sigh of disgust which brought her out of her reverie and called Esther’s attention to her guest who had been...

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