Hot, stinging tears trickled down her face. She put her hands behind her head and scanned the small crowd that had gathered to witness her predicament. All had been well; a serene afternoon of household shopping at the local supermarket had turned into a nightmare. After two hours of shopping, Atieno walked back to her car accompanied by one of the supermarket’s attendants, only to find it missing. She was a bit startled and maybe attributed a bad memory to the absence of her car. Where could she have left it? The guard, a tall, robust and dark man, who had been manning the vicinity, walked up to her and began to explain himself. He narrated to her how a man of Asian descent facilitated the whole process of having her car towed away. He emphasized on how he unceasingly begged them to at least contact the owner of the motor vehicle. They wouldn’t listen and he was left completely helpless.

Atieno felt blood gushing to her head as she galloped to the chief’s camp. She was amazed at her fitness because it took her no less than half an hour to get to his improvised office. She thought about storming into his office but quickly thought twice about it. She deeply valued her liberty. Atieno headed directly to the officer in-charge and demanded to have an audience with him immediately.

You can imagine her shock when the officer rudely retorted that the chief was busy. This was after his first attempt to lie that he had stepped out was arrested by incessant calls to his office. His mobile phone rang unashamedly.

‘Let her in afande’, the chief barked.

Atieno swiftly marched into his office. She threw a stinging glare at him.

‘Is this how you choose to treat me now?’ she yelled.

‘Calm down, what are you talking about?’ the chief stammered.

‘Your mouth is like rancid meat, and your actions like that of a coward. I know you had my car towed away because I refused to sleep with you last night!!

The chief feigned disgust and shock and immediately ordered one of the guards to apprehend her. She would spend the night in the lone cell until she made atonement for her sins. The cell reeked of urine. Old urine, the kind that stings your face and chokes your throat. Seemed like someone couldn’t control their bowel movements hence helped themselves at the corner. She scanned the cell twice and strongly vowed not to cry.

This was her fault. She had said no to the chief.