Chapter 3

 

The midday sun was slowly rising by the time Kenneth returned to the Gully. And as he limped down the street that led home in agony, he bitterly rued his fate. He could not figure out the whereabouts of Mathias and Marcus, as yet. Everyone he came across regarded him strangely, no thanks to his stained shirt, his disheveled hair, and his soiled trousers which had torn at the knee to reveal a swollen, bleeding patch of skin, making him to look like a brutalized soldier escaping from a warfront. He lumbered down the street, took the turning to his house and the outlook became very strange. The entire vicinity suddenly looked unfamiliar and people were moving about apprehensively. Overall, the atmosphere lacked its characteristic repose. It was unlike the Gully Street he knew, he thought to himself, and a sort of queer feeling seized him. He could sense that something was amiss with the neighourhood, but what exactly the snag was, he could not tell as yet.                    Then, as he walked on, he suddenly caught a whiff of thick fumes of asbestos, fumes of fusty bricks and of putrefying woods, with the whiff getting stronger as he moved deeper into his neighourhood, then he felt the ground under his feet quaking at the vibrations sparked off by the loud explosions that engulfed the district. There and then, he discerned the rubbles that lay on either side of the road. The shops, the houses, the shanties he had known in the street had suddenly vanished, and in their places were piles of rubbles that ran extensively along the street, it was as if a huge volcano had erupted and swept off all the structures in the vicinity.                                                                                                                                  He walked edgily to the spot he had expected to find the grey bungalow in which he lived with his uncle, but the house had also disappeared with its patchy walls, cranky doors, and rusty roofs, and in their places was huge debris which sat formidably on the site where the house used to be. He gazed queerly all around the piles of rubble and spotted Tammy and Fikayo almost completely whitened from the thick dusts that now clothed them from head to toe, alongside other occupants of the former house, bending and laboring to fish out their belongings from the wreckage. He stood still for moments, watching all the frenzies – it was as if he had wound up in a grim trance- then suddenly a wave of giddiness swept through him, folding him up and dropping him flat on the ground.

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