Mirembe couldn't move, the pain was intense. Her small infantile body shook. The sounds around her were deafening - gunshots, a tirade of voices and hurried and frantic footsteps.
She had been hit and she was bleeding. She looked down and could make out blood trailing from her side and mixing with the dirt ridden floor.
She had managed to crawl back inside the dark encased mud hut which was her home. She had briefly left her home to find her parents after their venture to find help meant they had not returned for some time. They had assured her that they would be back and she was to stay hidden in their home until their return. After witnessing them both being shot by passing bullets in the mayhem that was, right outside the market where Mirembe would often buy fish and pepper, she did the best she knew. She ran.
Mirembe cowered in the dark and heard the voices on the outside. She curled herself up in a ball as she winced with pain and listened.
She heard voices quarreling.
''Let us go Bale!'' Akello screamed, ''We have to leave now! Our lives are in danger! Our own are after us!"
''But we cannot just leave her!'' Bale cried. ''She is our very own! She is an Acholi child! We need to do something! If we do not take her they will be sure to kill her!'' They were both frantic.
''She is as good as dead!'' Akello screamed pulling Bale. ''We have to go! They are getting closer! We have to go! She is not worth it!!''
Mirembe listened out. The footsteps of the two men running away grew fainter. The decision had been made.
A flash. A bright light. She squinted. A flash of hope?
She was cold and shivering. Maybe this was her destiny. Left to die in the genocide.
''Father please'' Mirembe prayed, slipping in and out of consciousness. ''Father, please. Help me''.
She heard loud sounds, feet racing, voices shouting. Tears ran down her face, Mirembe hoped her hiding place would keep her safe. She was struggling to breathe, she could feel her life slipping away.
The loud sounds seemed to be getting closer. Footsteps running. Running towards her. Big strong hands lifted her up.
Mirembe's pain grew dim. It began to ebb away.
She took a breath, her last breath. The strong hands held her tight. Her body fell limp and her eyes closed to darkness.
'It is too late''. The one who held her said. ''She is dead''.
Nasiche was exquisite in every way. The way she walked. Her head held high, her back straight. Her lips smiled slightly and her eyes glowed.
She had finished her acceptance speech for the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. She thanked her listeners and made her way down from the stage.
''Wow'' someone said. They all exclaimed. What a beauty.
''Hi'' another acknowledged. ''I can't believe it's you! You are beautiful. The world acclaimed author... I can't believe it!''
Nasiche smiled, and moved on. Gentlemen tipped their hats, others just stared. Some blushed as she brushed past.
Women stared, eyes glowing with envy, some in admiration.
She sat quietly, confidently, assured of who she was. She ate her meal and drank her drink laughing with those at her table. She looked at her watch. She had to soon go.
Across the way she could hear a commotion, men in conversation.
''I'm going to go and speak to her'' one man exclaimed.
''Please, let me go first'' the other pleaded. She smiled and raised an eyebrow.
They both walked over. They extended their greetings and joined the table. One of the men talked, the other laughed.
Nasiche was silent. Her phone rang. She answered, nodded and smiled. She got up to leave.
''Ma'am'' One of the men stood up, ''May I have the pleasure of taking your number that I may speak to you again?''
The other followed suit. ''No, Madame, may I?''.
Nasiche stayed quiet. She drank the last drops of her juice, and paused.
She smiled at them as she bid goodbye to those at the table. As she left, she opened her purse and pulled something out.
There was a picture of a young girl, blackened with dirt, lying on the floor, in a war torn Uganda, one hand reaching out.
Their backs turned running away. Nasiche threw the photo on the table and turned and left.
''It is me'' Akello said as he picked up the picture. His face turned as he realised he was the one in the picture. Bale was sober as he realised he was the other.
Akello turned the photo around. There were words written on the back.
''I was your very own, an Acholi child. I was the one you thought was good as dead. I am the one who is today very much alive. I am Nasiche. Nabulungi Mirembe Nasiche.''
Bale whimpered. Akello sobbed.
She was met outside by a man, the same man that had taken the picture, the same man that had carried her away all those years ago. They walked away hand in hand.
''On that dark war torn day,'' She smiled up at her husband, ''you were my hope, my saving grace.''
He smiled back.
''It was our God's saving grace that He chose to bring you back my love, for you had surely died. He knew your worth, and He heard your cry and my prayer that you may live, my exquisite and beautiful Mirembe''.