The author is an experienced teacher who has taught for over ten years. He is a renowned writer of short captivating stories.
Angel was an orphan who lived with her grandparents. Following the untimely demise of her parents in a grisly road accident, circumstances forced her to live with her grandparents. This happened when she was only fifteen.
She was a beautiful lass. As a matter of fact, her beauty attracted many village boys who frequently called on her to help her run some errands. To express gratitude, she would give them some food. They would go home chitchatting happily.
Angel had taken after her mother. Her brown complexion and long hair that hung at her back made her as beautiful as a gazelle. Her cute round cherubic face was so stunning.
There are some life experiences that one can easily forget but this one, Angel swore that she would never forget.
After thorough preparations, Angel was ready to leave for school. She hugged her grandparents and wished them a fabulous day.
They had been good to her since her parents departed to the world of no return. However, due to strong believes about their culture, they were planning to do something that would annoy Angel. They had discussed the issue over and over again. They had once disagreed. But now they had arrived at an agreement. To marry off Angel to an old man called Uggo. It was not their wish to do such a disheartening act to their beloved granddaughter but the traditions forced.
That morning was very chilly. It had rained heavily the previous day, consequently, Angel had to Walk carefully lest she fell for the road had a lot of mud.
Angel Arrives at School
No sooner had she reached the school than the bell rang. It was time for assembly. She hurriedly entered her class and hung her school bag on a nail near her armchair. The headteacher was already addressing the school the time she joined other pupils at the assembly grounds.
He was about to wind up when two middle - aged men walked into the school compound. They seemed to be confused for they were walking very fast looking at every direction. There was unusual silence in the entire school.
One of them walked to where the teachers stood. " Where is she?" he thundered. I could not help laughing when I saw two male teachers scared to a point of trembling with fear. Since the teachers knew nothing about the question, they just remained silent.
This angered the man. He went back to his friend and the two were now in a deep conversation. Meanwhile, the headteacher, ordered the watchman to interrogate the two men. Abruptly, they started walking near the pupils observing their faces keenly as if they looking into something.
Finally, they stopped at where Angel stood. They all laughed concurrently as if they had rehearsed for a fortnight.
"Here she is! Now, let's carry her home. She is too young to walk," one of them said. " Let's hurry, we are behind time" the other one added.
There was a lot of confusion in the school. Before normalcy came, Angel was nowhere to be seen. But we could hear her shouting for help.
I was astounded when the headteacher, Mr. Bull, instructed all the pupils to go to class. The lesson would go on as usual uninterrupted according to Mr. Bull. Was this the same person who had instructed the watchman to question the two men? Why had he changed his mind all of a sudden? Something was not right somewhere.
Having nothing to do, we all entered our respective classes ready to have the first lesson. It was not long before we realized that Pretty, Angel's friend, was missing. Besides being Angel's friend, Pretty was the only headteacher's daughter.
For that reason, the tranquility in school was interrupted. No one was at peace. We were ordered to search for her in every nook and cranny.
When other pupils were busy looking for Pretty within the school compound, Musa and I decided to sneak out of the school. I knew something was happening at our village for I had overheard a conversation about a pre-planned marriage. We followed a narrow path that led us to a clearing at the middle of a forest. We did not want to be seen so, we we half walked and many times we just tiptoed. On reaching the edge of the forest, we could hear people singing. Ululations of ecstatic women could also be heard. I was absolutely right. But to be certain, we meticulously drew closer and closer to know what was was the cause of such excitement.
From far, we see a crowd of people. As usual, men were taking the local brew known as Muratina. I climbed up a tall tree to see clearly what was happening.
I was shocked to see Angel seated beside an old man. Looking at him keenly, I realized that it was Uggo.
Uggo was an old man who didn't have a wife. It is said that he had once married three wives and had beaten them to death. He was a cruel man who never entertained even a slight mistake made by his wives. Apparently, he killed his wives when they failed to prepare supper on time.
Now, Angel was going to be his next wife. There was a flurry of activities when I climbed down the tree to inform Musa what I had seen.
Together with him, we decided to join the the crowd that had thronged at Uggo's home.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the function has already started. I would like to call upon the bride to kiss the bridegroom,as per our traditions," the emcee started. I made my way through the huge crowd to catch a glimpse of Angel before she became someone's property. I pitied her. She had once told me that she would like to be a cardiologist when she grows up. She was an industrious lass who never joked with studies. But some people had sat down somewhere and planned to ruin her ambitions. But what could I do to help her?
Musa and I stood there dazed. Angel walked towards Uggo sobbing. Uggo stood and was ready to be kissed. According to their beliefs, kissing was a sign of love.
Several women stood behind her. They all wore broad smiles as they watched Angel prepare herself to hug Uggo.
Uggo was an ugly man. However, he was very strong. He was as tall as flagpole. Despite the fact that he had an adorable physique, his face was far from being handsome.
Angel was about to honour the traditions of the land when she fell with a thud. " Stupid girl! Don't be a disgrace to this village!" The emcee shouted. What followed flabbergasted me. Several men drew near her and started clobbering her mercilessly. What had she done to deserve such a cruel treatment? This was too much and unbearable. I had to act. I was about to shout when someone grabbed me by the scruff of the neck. I was strangled for a few seconds and then released. I still fought hard to reach where Angel lay still but just in time, Pretty emerged out of the blues and walked majestically towards where Angel was.
Suddenly, she grabbed the microphone from the emcee and glared at him. All the folks were discombobulated. "Civilized people,how are you?" Pretty started."You had better stop what you are doing because it's against the law. You have mistreated girl child for a long time and it's time you stopped those awkward traditions. Angel come with me." She concluded. " What do you think you are you silly girl?" an elderly man mocked.
Hardly had Angel stood to follow Pretty when all men rose to attack her for having interrupted the function. But they were wrong.
The whole compound was seized by the policemen who were armed to the teeth. Pretty had outwitted them.
Uggo is Arrested
I was very happy to see our chief stop unlawful marriage. Uggo together with other men supposedly the function organizers were arrested to be arraigned in court the following week.
Angel's grandparents were not spared either. Although they pleaded not guilty of any offense, they were punished. But due to their age, they were given a light punishment of performing community work for a period of one year. Besides, they were not allowed to stay with Angel.
Mr Bull, the headteacher, who was also Pretty's father was also cross-examined by the police but was found Innocent.
We celebrated Pretty for her quick action that helped save our schoolmate (Angel)from a forced marriage.
But who will save girl child from early/ forced marriages?
JEREMIAH MWANIKI KILUNDA (author) from Nairobi on October 01, 2020:
Thanks Nicholas. I highly appreciate your comment. Be blessed.
Nicholas W King on October 01, 2020:
I greatly enjoyed reading that, Jeremiah. Thank you for putting this out there. This sort of practice needs to be condemned. Great work.
JEREMIAH MWANIKI KILUNDA (author) from Nairobi on October 01, 2020:
Thanks a lot @RoadMonkey. Forced marriage must stop.
RoadMonkey on October 01, 2020:
Great story and I am very happy that this forced marriage was stopped. The headmaster's daughter acted very well and promptly. Child marriage and forced marriage are abuse and should not happen.
JEREMIAH MWANIKI KILUNDA (author) from Nairobi on September 30, 2020:
Hi MG Singh! Thanks for your comment. Forced marriage must stop!
MG Singh emge from Singapore on September 30, 2020:
This is awful news and very well presented by you. The same thing is happening in many villages in India also. The government is unable to stop it completely though Child marriage act is in force.