The Evil Chemist.


“In a small African village, there lived an old apothecarist. He was mostly known for his bellowy voice. It almost shook the ground as he spoke. His pale face had a conviction that scared away even the older folks for it was scarred and contorted. But people trusted him to heal their afflictions and knowing this, he began to deceive the poor villagers who bought extremely diluted herbs and medicines. They kept getting sicker and worse which forced them to come back for more at his profit. And to those who tried to speak out against him, he banished mercilessly from the community. 
Now even though he respected the apothecarist,  the Chief was eventually displeased with this and sent his strongest soldiers and footmen to warn him against this cowardly behaviour. And each time, using his dark magic,  he would turn the soldiers into frogs and send them back to the chief with a warning not to interfere in his business. The people started migrating away into neighbouring villages and when he learnt about this, he immediately  put a hex around the border ensuring no one else left. Those who had managed to escape never reached their destination as he cursed them with boils and all manner of ailments, upon which they returned and fell at his feet to beg for mercy. 

There’s a saying ; However long the night,  the dawn will break. The villagers learnt in time that they had to be patient.  For secretly a council was being held to discuss the menace that was clawing at their backs. It was agreed that they were to hire a skilled mercernary to assasinate the evildoer. However, they also knew he was as cunning as a fox and would probably see it coming.  

“So let’s distract him! “The wisest among them shouted. “We all know the ultimate source of his power is that looking glass that hangs in his hut. Let us therefore invite him to a peace bonfire and while he eats and drinks with us, we’ll send mercernaries to destroy that mirror and burn his hut. Then destroying him will be an easier task when he’s powerless” The other elders were impressed and immediately sent a messenger to invite the old apothecarist to the bonfire, hoping and praying that their plan would work.

The sun rose brighter that day than it had before, a deep orange-pink swirl of hope and the elders silently nodded their appreciation to the gods for looking down upon them with favor. They waited anxiously for his arrival and upon the horizon they saw his beastly figure approaching with the messenger by his side. All went according to plan. Immediately he sat down, the two mercenaries were signalled to complete their task. The elders distracted him with ear to ear smiles and tried to plead with him to be less violent towards the people but his heart was as dark as the fate that awaited the two mercenaries that had been sent. 

They arrived at his homestead past his gate and into his hut, everything seemed to be going well. Until the door closed itself behind them and a deep  growl as from a hungry wild animal came from somewere within the hut. The candle lit interior of the room suddenly dimmed and the men held each other as kids do when scared of thunderstorms. This sadly was their last job. Their last breath. 

As they talked the elders looked at his face and suddenly saw a grim smile gracing his wrinkled visage. He held up a cup to his mouth then lowered it and said; ” I see everything. For the night has ears. I will spare you the gory details concerning the men you sent.  But I would not wish a death such as that on anyone. ” He shook his head, laughing outrageously, held his scepter and walked away into the sunset. The silhoutte of his beastly figure now more tormenting than ever as it blocked the last rays of the sun. The long night was approaching. 

Photography by Collin Atuti. That is a soapstone carving of the great colonial prophet Sakawa of the Abagusii .

Collin Atuti.