Gb slowly approached the orange throne, her heart racing. Imagine a hush falling over the royal Hp republic, in IBM palace; a silence so profound that she could hear her own footsteps, the rustling of her garments, and the bobbing of her hair lurking in the air, crushing. Looking strangely sold out, absolutely loyal, and imminently focused, she could not let her attention wander, her vision stray, and her zeal waver from the grandeur of the royal courts, to the graceful columns of the sacred realms. She rather trained all her case on the god seated upon the throne, the god who held her hopes, her life, and her future in his hands. At the middle of the orange centre, on one of the lifted dais was where she sat herself facing her god, looking mostly nervous, particularly cautious, and rigid, praying. Today, she was in high spirits, in flammable moods. Going simply sincere, particularly serious, all the while clicking upon the keyboard, the bosom of her god. And here she was, right from the appearances of her face, openly telling this god to speak, to prophesy, and to act, for she had done it before, many times, and it had worked.
“Come on,” she screamed, daringly. “Speak out, dear!” she said, now looking thrilled, menacingly expectant. “Just play your magic. – Work out your miracles!” And she rattled the keys.
Then, this god, in his witchery wits, and in his magical dynamics, opened his eyes, and smiled. He started to mumble, to prophesy, now and then spurting forth oracles, trying to bless Gb’s hungry heart.
“Send me to Credit Island, and I will go,” the god expressed. “Even to the worlds across the Valley de’ silica,” he said, “for the whole world is my village, just a global village,” he added. Gb laughed. Suddenly, Gb’s face, now turning 14-star surprised, and as if was saying “curse the witch and die,” went on to rattle the god’s buttons even harder.
“There you are!” She hit the buttons. Yeah, continue playing your cards. She licked her quickly drying lips, at the same time singing the joy of royalty. Again, the orange royalty there, which this precious god was emitting, or dispensing, or simply showering, even upon the girl’s life, as all over IBM palace, seemed to hang over the sparkling royal river, called the river of life, the river of romance, the river of promise, which was the other endeavours to charm, in the season of love, the season of Valentine, this upcountry pedigree. Smooth and shiny it was, divinely speckled with a trinity of emeralds which like the rising sun, or the racing star, glittered with mysteries. It gave the royal family here, and other season’s worshippers there, now the followers of Cupid here, charisma, and courage, to enjoy life, just as they so wished. Or else, the valentine’s good moment of E-shopping today, and especially inside HP republic, like everywhere else within and without IBM palace, just meant the one and the same thing: Roaming and Rolling, ascending and descending – searing and hurling down wireless road, across the savannah de’ selica, through Lg community, even in search of, among other things, a soul mate, say, a sweet heart. Or else, it was orange siege called cul de sac, where the silvery emeralds balanced on 3.5 inches of merriment the moment itself, once again, gasping with romantic hue, exciting all souls: for, as a matter of fact, there was a display of something like a dazzling spirit, (even the same that walked with hunters, that went with dreamers, and that moved with Cupid chasers) that was amazing enthusiasts.
Learning forward and holding tightly to the sacred hour, to her teenage wads, and to her girlish wits, Gb poked her head in anticipation and then, staring at the gently sloping floor of the valley de’ silica, the floor that was carpeted with stuttering blue tiles, sprawled upon the large dais. She was passionately pledging allegiance, I tell you, in her own manner and style, even to the royal deity, trying to offer her final sacrifice to him.
“Now or never!” she vowed and clicked a button. “Today!” She said. “I must hit one – a soul mate.” A tear dropped from her eye. Her hair bobbed in innuendo, her shoulders squared, and her very small breasts strained gently against the surge of her dress under the golden tan of her cheeks. Her full bloodedness shone with a virgin glow, her moist lips that were half-open in a laugh or grin revealed her well cut teeth, milky teeth, virgin teeth.
“I will not quit!” She told herself, shuffled her legs. “Until I find one!” She swallowed saliva. When she tried to smile, she cried. Oh, my god! The desire was there, and the wish, and the philosophy – even in those vibrant eyes of hers, secretly employed in her angrily hunting escapades! Yes, they were there, between fingers, now between those nervous knuckles of hers, working, working hard. She was endearing herself, whatever that meant, to the new trend, to the modern adventure, to the current experience, now known as the latest chase-line around the globe. And she was being, or so it seemed, accepted, admitted, listed – and granted entry!
“Close, babe!” She groaned. “Just close. Now” and she started laughing, amid sobs. Carefully, she chose and created a username — a rather Cupid compliant, Valentine-friendly, and digital-related “name” and she said, “I will use the interchanged version of my name. Instead of Gb, it will be Bg.” She licked her lips and keyed it in.
She smiled again. You know what? There was a promise in that name; there was life in it, too; and success, where determination was giving birth to something nice, to something good, say, something great. Gb then entered in her “password” and repeated it just to be sure, and then stilled herself to watch the phenomenon: step by step something rolled across the divine royalty, across the sacred ladder, and stuck on the god’s face.
“Cupid, babe!” She shouted, sounding very provoked. “Or just his angels!” she clicked a button. Glances flushed. Touching the chords of life, now “n” then hitting the wall with her head, and mostly wallowing in hysteria, Gb fastened her eyes on the screen, the god’s precious face, relentlessly. There she saw, again, a glare of thwacking thrill gasping across the worldliness. “You see —,” she jerked. “Just for this one thing I came…” She licked lips. “To see things like these…” and she peered around, just carelessly. She stood on her feet. For the first time since entering IBM palace, she missed the point; she made a mistake, just broke several rules. You know what! She was disturbing the rest of the seed-royal, having just broken the republic’s second law which said: “observe silence.” She additionally was, in the like manner, about to break the third one, which, as it seemed, was at stake; it was more expressive then the second, which maintained its eloquence, thus: “don’t make movement inside the palace.”
“Keep cool, dear,” Apple, her close neighbour whispered to her. “Keep it slowly, honeys,” she added, just mockingly. “You soon will be there,” she said. Gb forced a smile, and sat back.
Yet, disguising her face, stifling her emotion, suppressing her expression, she clucked. Her rigidly quaking face, now glistening with perspiration, sometimes looking silly, often ambiguous, refusing every essence of guilt, creased. But, you see, it wasn’t her fault! She was surely trying to catch up with them, with Apple, Pad, and the rest of the fifty seed royal inside IBM palace this morning. “If they can, why not me?” she stammered, with a tinge of anger. “What do they have that I don’t?” She swallowed hard. Finally, when she touched the softest part of the divine royalty, and rattled a button, something mysterious occurred: Hitlove.com, a glorious chat page, or e-lovers’ chat line appeared. What a marvelous thing! Gb roamed the divine arrow a bit; she commanded the catcher a bit: then she clicked in the middle; then double-clicked! She scrolled: Hitlove.com opened, widely, just extravagantly. Across the screen, skidding towards the corner, three beings appeared, a trinity of gods. They looked like somber scepters…Just like celestial beings…rolling down the sliding cliff of the mellowing aura. They were smiling.
“Look here, buddies!” Gb spurted, coldly. “It’s silly I had all this time limited myself!” she clapped her hands. Gb’s blue ebony eyes turned orange, almost jarred by the much unexpected outcome of the long, again tedious, almost injurious trial-and-error business! Her glance fell to her hands, then slipped to the tips of her toes; there, her thin, rather rigid physique turned pale, and slender, and dark, just ambiguously orange. Her red mordant eyes, so red with crying, kept the match alive, where her heart was burning, even the heart that was bleeding, waiting enough.
“Hallo, Cupid!” she muttered. “Where is your magic?” Her head tilted. NOW THESE “BEINGS” WERE NAKED, (AND NOT ASHAMED)!
Their bodies were clasped amid disarranged sheets of orange, whose lace borders were dragging on the blue hue, glittering. They were struggling like boys, tussling shamelessly on the screen. They were getting draped in voluminous and transparent gowns, firmly fastened with orange sash, very loveable, adorable and fierce.
“What am I supposed to do now?” Gb asked herself. “Choose and select.” She ducked about and clicked in the middle. ”Yeah, just pick one of them.” She clicked again. Broadly, an image of a bare-breasted young male separated through the web tendrils spread and leapt across the walls. The other two disappeared into oblivion. “My love!” she clapped. “My sweet heart!” She drooled. “Humph! Finally, my Valentine will have a meaning.” She hit the screen with her head, three times. Across the royal dais, another loyalist was crying. It was Fax, of the tribe of M3, an extravagant, long-legged brunette, who loved to wear those short, insulting orange dresses on almost all orange occasions. Her dewy face, looking passionately vigorous, perfectly risky was shiny with perspiration. Her hands were at work, clicking several buttons, all at once and the same time. “Trouble me no more,” she seemed to tell her thriller, across the board. “Much is required of you, dear.” She sounded annoyed. She, too, like Gb, like Apple, and Pad, the seed-royal, was calling expecting and waiting upon Cupid, the god of love, the master of Valentine, to perform a miracle. Now staring up, the girl drew an “L” in the air and an “M” across the screen: of course, an L in a season such as this, the season of love, the season of Valentine, meant only one thing: love! An M was for mum, the mother.
And it was so that, in Valentinal pilgrimages, there existed three mums, or even say, three best mothers in the world, i.e. Safari, Airtel, and Orange, where, in their formal trinity, as in the trinity of gods, as that of Cupid’s, kept the season at arms, all the time. At that time, shimmering between surprise and suspense, between fact and reality, Gb clicked her keys! The image on the screen rolled, as the screen glowed, as Hitlove.com enlarged. It remained opened, wide and clear, twinkling. GB clicked again. Slowly, the Rollin’ male responded to the clicks: He posted through some information about himself, even thus: ‘Name, Tablet; address, R4real.com; cell, 070260,’’ then closed. Gb peeped at the information and smiled.
“Great, darling!” she licked lips. “Here you are, fresh from orange limbo,” she clapped. Then she moved the arrow a bit, scrolled a bit. Gb spotted another thing there; two things in fact: A naked picture of her thriller, and some few references here and there. It was a story of Tablet, her new thriller, the reference of his exaggeration: “Tablet, 26 years of age; undergraduate of Excel University; inspiring son of a single mother.”
“Oh, my dear, desperate for love,” GB thought of him. ”And lonely, too, no doubt,” she imagined. “Yeah, just as I am here.” And she giggled. Gb’s breathing became slower, in a velocity close to a sigh. She stretched out her hands, possibly to thank Cupid, the god of miracles. “What do I say now?” She troubled herself. “Just — thank Cupid!!” She snapped her fingers.
Thus far, thus good! She prepared herself to respond (backed with RW optical drive, Di’ cell battery, and colloquial lingo, et al. ) even in the best known way possible. Yeah, she did answer Tablet, to the best of her knowledge, even in the name of love, the e-love, and in the manner and style of orange: say: “Name: Gb, from Lg community, of the clan of Forbes; a pure black by pedigree, and a virgin by choice; one who loves travelling, watching soccer, and reading love magazines: an outgoing girl, sixteen years of age.” Gb thought of including that, too. “…of stout thighs, strong biceps, and blue eyes.” And that, too. She laughed. And she felt somehow compelled, and even triggered to say few other things, the things she thought necessary, or important, and of value to her on-line fiancé; things like: that she was a student of Intel academy; bright and visionary, who aimed at going up to PhD level, but who was otherwise ready to ditch books if marriage came early; who was equally too ready and even prepared to give up anything, anytime, for as long as it would be for purposes of seasoning their romantic affair.
“What else…?” She hummed and scratched her head. “That’s enough for now.” She nodded, then smacked her face with the laps of her hands. Then she clicked and said, “Aren’t you mine, Tablet?” she stood to her feet. “Mine – soul!” She bit her lips, fighting off tears. “I will print your picture and carry it home with me!” And she did according to her words. She then signed-out and walked outside of Hp republic, smiling. She had accomplished something!
In the glories that followed this one, Gb could dodge her mother, Galaxy, shoot through the back window, rush to IBM palace, merely for a technical visit there to say a word or two to Tablet, on-line. Her loyalty that summed up a single day would end up like this: L’g-HP-IBM, and back. Daily. “For romance in love,” Gb would tell herself, “is both sacrifice and personal dedication,” clapping twice. And time went on — Orange lilies grew on. The chat sessions deepened, love loomed, even deeper. One day heaven broke loose, and the duo’s feelings went offensive.
“Isn’t it vital that we meet, sweetie?” Tablet expressed.
“Very certainly, darling,” Gb replied. “Organize.” And they let it go, but for a moment. And time went on, orange lilies grew on. The chat session deepened, love loomed, even deeper. At the time being, anger or just misery, seemed to bite harder. In the process, as need dictated, as desire compelled, and romance permitted, Tablet and Gb went off-board, in expressing their demands.
“Honey, how do we meet?” Tablet would ask.
“You can pick a day and date!” Gb answered back. So they fixed a day in the air, perfected it in the promise, and made it known to each other: Friday, 23rd.
“Wi-Fi hotel, behind Zippi hills!”
“There you are! Granted!” Gb agreed.
“OK, Friday 23rd, at 0100 hour!”
“Fine, keep time!” And they hung up. But when was Friday, the 23rd? Only two days before the week-end! A long time.
“An eternity, I tell you,” Gb thought. “A millennium, too.” And she longed for it. In the space of that millennial eternity, long buried yearning careened to the expectation surface; it was painful waiting, quite troubling and boring, too. Yet, that length of time, as eternity itself, in some sense, was the point of decision for both Gb and Tablet. And because battles had been fought and won, because fear had been invaded and prevailed upon, and because doubt had been arrested and conquered, all that remained now was wait and see and experience. Nothing else.
“Just a matter of time,” Gb would tell herself. “And I will see him as he is!” She licked lips. “I will touch him also, hear him talk, just face him, one-on-one.” She smiled.
So, on the morning of Friday 23rd, Gb climbed over the orange ladder, her soul awash with clattered light provided for by nature and left home. Her mind was thus made: to Wi-Fi hotel, and no turning back! Great Rollin’ hills ahead and beyond; the tinting tree line above and across; the walls of quaking savannah de’ selica, and the dancing solar system, all celebrating the orange girl, coming to cheer her up. Gb went on. Karonga in the hills; Runigah behind. Zippi to the west; IBM palace ahead. Beyond the memory towers, the flush myths, the groaning so deep, Gb’s life ripened.
“Curse the witch and die!” she said. “How far is Wi-Fi hotel?” she groaned.
A stride at a time, the step in its position, and the fist to the hip, the virgin made a U-turn, this way, just the way Xperias do, the way Blackberries do, going full throttle. She passed the wailing curves of Modem, then the ranging cliffs of Intel. Now seeing the credit tower to her right, she fronted the hazes of the valley de’ selica head on. Oh, dear, 0100 hours on the dot! The girl held to her anxiety. Beyond flora and fauna, even far beyond the sun’s persisted glare, the 5-Wifi hotel sighed in its panorama.
“There!” she pointed. “Just on time!” she hastened. Upon entering the hotel, Gb found herself a seat near the counter. The ravenous and dizzying hits of Acapella sangoma would wail across the staggering vapor, all the while whirring through the pews, keeping her busy. Something kept on telling her, “your promise comes through the door!’’ And whenever a guest entered the hotel, Gb would quickly shoot to her feet, steal a glimpse to the picture in her hands, and then make her own judgments.
“Aha, not him! Not my Tablet,” she said, mostly gnashing. But at about 0142 hours, a mystery entered Wi-Fi hotel! A man, I tell you. He indeed, from the closest point, resembled the image in the picture: Big-eyed, smiling, but fierce of countenance. A goodly-looking chap. He was shorter by about 1.3 inches and slightly four-five percent thinner than Pixel or Android, or G-tide, the average man!
“Him, exactly!” Gb declared. “My Tablet!’’ And she tried to duck, no, she leapt up. It was perhaps too late to realise, and to consider how much she had become provoked and thrilled by the man’s presence, during the unveiling season. She however looked thin, in fact thinner and frail, who was once stout and beautiful. She was crossing toward the man, dimpling under her light tuxedo, stumbling over things. In her endeavour, instinct would however tell her to slip off her shoes, to grasp the hem of her dress, for both seemed to distract her strides. She felt like calling her lover by any other name, title or expression: darling, honey, sweetheart, anything. No! She changed her mind, and instead decided to do her best. She called him Dad. My Dad!
“Here for you, Dad,” she exclaimed, almost crying. “Here I am, waiting,” she gasped, trying to offer herself to Tablet. Yeah, she did! Just hoisted herself nimbly, even to the cornice of the open floor, snuggled the shadow of mix of both surprise and marvel, sashaying to her dismay. Finally, in a well-calculated move, Tablet laughed. he stretched his hand to receive the descending hulk of a girl as he pasted his angel-like eyes on her raw face. Gb saw it. She released herself.
“Receive me home,” she cried. “Here I come.” She creased her face. “Just take me in!” And she hid her face in the man’s open palms. Then Tablet spoke. He called the girl’s name!
“Gb, my precious one.” He smiled. “Hey, sweetheart.” He hugged her in public. “Just for you. Waiting for you.” And the man, too, started crying. Quickly, life touched life. A dream pulled to life again. High in the air, the girl’s golden hair bobbed on her shoulders, perhaps on account of her short, loose, singing neck. Her face melted, the face that seemed to say, “render to Tablet what is Tablet’s, and to Gb what is Gb’s.”
“Come on, honey,” she cried. “This is where you kept me, all time, in this prison,” she stammered. “Get me out – now!” Her body jerked, tremendously. A radiating smile and a twitching whisper were uniting together, more than a million million times.
“Yes, darlin’, I am going to do it,” Tablet said.
“Please do.” Gb looked up.
“Certainly, dear.” And both Tablet and Gb locked hands in a holy re-union. They were, merely, teary, getting into each other’s life as two-in-one! One flesh!
is a poet whose poems, in 2019, have appeared in Vasant magazine. His other works include short stories and other ‘unpublished’ works. He is the Director of Elitewika, a writers’ club that brings together writers of Mbeere, Embu county. He lives in Ishiara, Mbeere, Embu county, Kenya.
Please do kindly submit the story for Ako Caine prize.
The deadline is Ja.2031