On the morning of June 18th, 2010, Jack Mutua was hit by a car. He was on Moi Avenue, trying to get to Tom Mboya Street so he could make his way home when it happened. The light was green for pedestrians but one impatient motorist ignored it and rammed right into Jack’s side. Jack could not remember the colour of the car that hit him nor could he recall the make or model. All he remembered was flipping through the air like an Olympic gymnast, landing with an obnoxiously loud thud and the crowd huddled around him as he struggled for breath. He heard the incoherent shouts coming from their mouths. He remembered a siren. And he remembered the pain.
The pain was intense. It ran along the entire right side of his body, from head to ankle. He tried to turn his head – move it in a slow arc to see the extent of the damage but his neck would not cooperate. So he looked up at the crowd. One eye shut tight, the other spilling tears onto the tarmac.
He smelled the coppery scent of blood. And the faint smell of petrol.
He drew weary breath after weary breath. The people’s cries became louder, fueled by an unseen rage. Someone banged on something metal nearby, then on something glass. Another person, a man, cried. Begging for his life and his car. “I’ll take him to the hospital,” he said. “I’ll pay his bills.”
It took Jack a moment to realize that the man was talking about him. That’s nice, he thought. What a nice guy.
Someone else appeared at his side. A man. “Let’s lift him up and get him in the car,” he said.
They, Jack did not know how many they were, had lifted him up a few feet off the ground when one of them let go suddenly and Jack’s torso plunged back down. Blinding white pain shot through him. Something sharp moved on the inside and suddenly he could not breathe at all.
A broken rib, Jack was sure. It was either in his rib or his lung but this was it. He was a dead man. He felt the pain slowly ebb away as he left the world of the living. His spirit detached from his body and he now could see the scene around him. Could hear it clearly too. A woman let out a yell calling upon God to bring Jack back. But Jack did not want that. Surely God would not thrust him back into that terribly broken body. The woman’s prayer would go unanswered.
Another crowd, around a blue Subaru, screamed. A roar went up to the sky. A cry for revenge. A madness. A thirst for blood.
Jacked looked on, powerless to stop whatever was about to happen. He felt someone tap his shoulder, he turned and saw a man draped in brilliant white light and a warmth he could not explain. The man smiled at him and said, “It’s time to go.”
“Go where?” Jack said.
Jack looked back at the scene then took the man’s hand and walked with him.
Somewhere back in the crowd, one voice was silenced forever.