the short story project


Ogallo Onyango

Blue Siren 

The sudden shrill of her ring tone punctured the static afternoon. She answered reluctantly as Twali sat beside her making sand cakes.

“Where are you Tamami?” Keri’s frustrated voice crackled through the speaker.

“Just another hour…please.”

Keri let out a heavy sigh before she hung up.

Tamami tenderly combed the sand out of Twali’s hair with her fingers. Twali didn’t like anyone touching her hair. She always wailed like a siren when Keri had to fix her hair in the mornings. Today she sat quietly yet visibly uncomfortable. She tried hard not to mind for Tamami’s sake. Sera had loved it when Tamami stroked her hair.

“You can call me Sera if you want.” Twali said without looking up. Tamami pulled the little girl to her. She inhaled the coconut scent of her hair. She smelled just like Sera. “Thank you my little angel.” She kissed Twali’s oily hair rubbing coconut on her lips.

Twali squirmed out of her arms. Something by the cliffs had caught her attention. “Do you hear that aunty?”

Tamami tried to listen but all she heard were the swaying waves tickling the shore. Twali stood up. “Come on Aunty, we have to go. We have to go.”

She ran off towards the cliffs. Startled, Tamami fumbled to get up and follow Twali. “Wait Twali. Stop.”

By the time Tamami had reached the cliffs Twali was already scampering up them. Tamami poked her foot around the edge the cliff littered with bonfire ash and broken beer bottles.

At the top of the cliff a figure emerged like something forged from the hue of dusk. It drifted over the edge and floated on mist. Tamami began to scream for Twali but the little girl was already at the top of the cliff.  Twali followed the figure as if lured by a hallow euphony like mice to the pied piper. Tamami clawed the wall of the cliff desperate to reach Twali.

 Twali had now reached the rugged edge. Twali stretched her arms as if bestowed with illusory wings.

“Twali no.”

It was too late. She was gone. Just like Sera.

Tamami reached the top of the cliff. They were already suspicious about Sera and now they would never believe her about Twali. Resigned, Tamami limped to edge of the cliff.

“Don’t worry my little angels, I’ll be there. We will be together. We will go where ever the tides will take us.”

She stepped over the ledge and gave herself to the tempest waves licking the walls of the cliff below.


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