We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Drum Bits of Terror

Drum Bits of Terror

Imali J. Abala

Publication Year: 2014

Poignant and perceptive, Drum Bits of Terror tells the story of Samuel Adooli, a young man struggling to find his place in society. Inadvertently learning he was not born of wedlock, a cultural taboo, he embarks on his pursuit to find his father. He hits a roadblock as his quest side-tracks his schooling; he flunks his fourth form exams, leaving him with little to no option, but join a polytechnic college. Along the way, he forges a couple of unstable friendships, resulting in his assault not only once, but twice. Soon, his life becomes endangered when he finds himself entangled in an ethnically charged quagmire that threatens to down the stability of his nation. Ultimately, his survival becomes suspect and his choices startling. The realism in this story is exquisite.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.6 KB)

Part One

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (88.4 KB)
pp. 3-13

"Who is my father?” Sam asked the Old Man one afternoon as they sat under the canopy of the gum tree. His tone was very abrasive. The Old Man who was sitting in an old wicker chair shifted his weight to the left, but...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (85.3 KB)
pp. 14-24

The Old Man was a very thoughtful man. He understood the modern world, though it differed from what he knew. In his time, life was simple. Men woke-up at dawn and worked the fields from sun-up to sun-down. They provided for their families and...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (66.9 KB)
pp. 25-28

The sun had already set when Sam arrived at the gates of Bumbe Polytechnic, a remote place in Port Victoria situated right at the fringe of Lake Victoria. Near the school, were minuscule islands where Kenyan traders traded with those from...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (76.0 KB)
pp. 29-36

Sam’s life at Bumbe Polytechnic was not bad, hard back breaking, but not bad. He acclimated well to his new environment. The weather was no different from that in Mung’oma Village. The only adjustment he had to make was relearning the dawn raise. He had to drag himself from bed at...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (81.9 KB)
pp. 37-46

One night, after working the whole day, Sam returned to his room completely worn-out. He did not have the strength to visit the Den. Instead, he took a quick bath, went to the dining hall and ate his supper hurriedly. He returned to his room...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (78.9 KB)
pp. 47-54

Two days after his proposal to Nekesa, Sam went to the Den. It was a dreary dusk and the wide sky above was covered with dark clouds. Where the sun dipped in the western hemisphere, a tiny rainbow formed its ark. That evening, Sam dashed to the Den for his regular fill of changaa. The first drop of rain had...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (62.6 KB)
pp. 55-56

The next morning, before the glimmer of dawn had crept through the sky, Sam literary forced himself out of his bed. He rolled off, pushed his covers to the side, and without moving, he planted his feet on the floor. It was cold. On his mind, an...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (71.2 KB)
pp. 57-62

The morning sun had already peeked behind the clouds when Sam left his room to go to the construction site. He could clearly see its golden dazzle of bright shimmering colours. That morning, he walked with the timidity of a wounded man. He...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (73.4 KB)
pp. 63-68

The next morning, Sam found himself in the Principal’s office yet again, just as the radio was announcing the news of an attempted coup in the nation. That was August 1, 1982, and the country was in tumult. For Sam, he was staging a ‘coup’ of his...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.7 KB)
pp. 69-72

Sam returned to the Old Man’s homestead empty handed like the prodigal son who had squandered all his inheritance only to return and beg for his father’s forgiveness. Only that there were some significant differences: Sam was not returning to his...

Part Two

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (82.1 KB)
pp. 75-84

Sam’s journey to Kakamega was eventful. At day break, he hopped into a van with the inscription Mwenda Tayari. Poor man, he chose a wrong day for his journey. For he was not only rammed in the van like a sardine in a jar among students...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (62.0 KB)
pp. 85-86

That evening, by the time Achaga returned home, the sun had already set, and Sam had landed his first job. Sam spent a fruitful afternoon getting to know his neighbours. He talked to just about everyone who came his way. Be it toddlers simply...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (98.6 KB)
pp. 87-102

The next morning, Sam’s day began at dawn. Being it was his first day of real work, he was at his most ebullient. He expeditiously jumped out of his couch, which was his bed, and hastened to get ready. That was even before the sun graced earth...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (68.3 KB)
pp. 103-106

Months after his arrival in Kakamega, Sam met Wanja, the woman who would later become the love of his life and still remains. He met her at the most unusual time and place. It was not in a bar like he had met Nekesa. He was not inebriated, which happened a lot following his expulsion from...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (73.8 KB)
pp. 107-112

Weeks came and passed, but Sam had no way of tracking the girl. Even though he had hoped to accidentally bump into her, it never happened! A chance meeting spoke to his lifelong motto: What was destined to be always come to pass...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (71.5 KB)
pp. 113-118

One evening, when the sun had gone down and bad weather had stormed the seasons out of order, Achaga, Sam’s friend, staggered into his home. That day, Wanja had come to visit Sam, and the couple was sitting in the living room in silence...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.2 KB)
pp. 119-122

A couple of months after Achaga’s warning, Sam married Wanja. The night before his wedding, Sam barely slept. His mind was disarrayed and his heart in tumult. He knew he had a monstrous day ahead come morning. It was much grander than when he had left home for the first time to attend Bumbe...

Part Three

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.5 KB)
pp. 125-128

For years, Sam and Wanja continued to live in Maraba suburb. Sam still worked for Kamau, while Wanja owned a small vegetable stall. The suburb was a diverse community, with many of its residents as newcomers to the region. They came from...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (60.8 KB)
pp. 129-130

There was nothing particularly unusual about Friday December 27, 2007. For Wanja, her day began like any other. She, like any market goers, left her home at her usual time. That was routine. Matatu drivers began their morning at dawn. That was...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (78.0 KB)
pp. 131-138

Seven at night! The sun was down, and darkness had overcome the suburb; it was natural. That evening, when Samuel Kivuitu, head of the Electoral Commission of Kenya, announced the incumbent candidate winner of a coveted presidency, everything changed in an instant for almost everyone. The word of President...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (64.2 KB)
pp. 139-142

That night when Sam reclined on his bed, he was alone and his body ached profusely. Each time he turned, his entire body ached afresh. He had no painkillers, so he ground his teeth in disgust. Not only that, his wife had not returned home, and that worried him to his wits end. He wished she, like most people from...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (87.5 KB)
pp. 143-154

Meanwhile, earlier that evening, when Wanja arrived at the police station, which they later nicknamed Kuresoi,22 she was wheezing and panting. Her eyes were gaping wide and her chest heaving. Streams of sweat ran down her brow, her back,...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (83.0 KB)
pp. 155-164

The next morning, Wanja opened her eyes and gathered herself up from a dew covered ground as soon as the first streak of light appeared on the horizon. Already, Nature had withheld its wrath against them that night, for it did not rain. God had Her...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (77.0 KB)
pp. 165-172

Meanwhile, when Sam woke-up the next day, he could still feel the raw pain from the beating he endured the previous evening. He was tired and sore that he could hardly roll out of bed. Though he could see the bright shafts of light...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (78.3 KB)
pp. 173-180

Sam dreamt of going home, to his village of Mung’oma. He had not seen his grandparents for a very long time, a little over seven years. Though he was no longer a youth with a dufflebag running away from home, he was a grown man accompanied by...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (41.0 KB)
pp. 181-182

While Sam was facing his own challenges at home, Wanja’s first days at Kuresoi were terror filled. She could not understand why she had become a prisoner in her own town. She could not understand why she had no place to call home...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (42.0 KB)
pp. 183-184

Wanja’s family, which had not left home, was under lockdown. They could not go outside their compound. For their safety, they paid some young men, sympathetic to their plight, to keep a vigilant watch over their home and guard...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (71.7 KB)
pp. 185-190

Several weeks later, after Sam was confronted in his house, he sat in his living room dazed, while distantly he listened to the radio. He did not pay attention to what the reporter was saying. His door was ajar and already the morning seemed oppressively hot...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (72.8 KB)
pp. 191-196

Ever since Sam and Wanja were separated, he had plenty of time to think—from his childhood to his current state of affairs. Though it was to his formative years, he returned repeatedly, or every now and then. Whenever he sought to find...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (41.9 KB)
pp. 197-198

When the New Year came, no one noticed. A sheer blood bath of terror already engulfed the nation. Although a curfew was in effect, forcing people to stay indoors, it was rumoured that, in other parts of the nation, Nakuru and Naivasha, it...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.6 KB)
pp. 199-202

From the moment they set foot at the police station, Wanja, and many other displaced people in Kakamega town, knew it was going to be their temporary home for a very long time. They were cut from everyone and everything that mattered in their...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (73.4 KB)
pp. 203-208

Later that day, after the Man of the Law and Okongolo, the Guard, had departed, the camp had the semblance of a house in mourning. When the sun set, leaving behind a haze to an overcast sky and the impact of its oppressive heat was all, but gone...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (41.0 KB)
pp. 209-210

The next day, when darkness paved way to dawn and the sun peeked above the hazy Kakamega sky, it brought with it the uncertainties of displacement. Nico, who had vanished the previous night, had not returned to the station. No one knew his...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (69.3 KB)
pp. 211-216

Seventeen weeks, following the aftermath of the fracas, had come and gone, but people still lived in fear. By noon of the next day, rumors of Nico’s missing took the station like a deluge. No one was more affected like his sister Wanja; the two were...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (79.4 KB)
pp. 217-224

Four months. Seventeen weeks. One hundred and nineteen days had come and gone. That was from the day Sam and Wanja were separated. That was a fact. Since then, his life was marred by the turmoil of a world gone mad, of a dark moonless sky...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (447.6 KB)
pp. 225-228

Months later, when the dust settled and the drum bits of terror had claimed many of its victims, Nature’s wrath took its toll against humankind. In the western region of the nation, an acute drought erupted. January, February, March...

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)

E-ISBN-13: 9789956791460
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956791439

Page Count: 234
Publication Year: 2014