Kofa Blama quickened his normally leisurely steps after reading the note and shoving it into his back pocket. He stopped, looked down at the dry earth below his feet, looked up, looked straight ahead and broke into a full-speed sprint toward the home of Madia Biyarna.
The sun bore down on the western horizon of Eritrea; a land that was his homeland and a land that his family had shed blood to call home for 165 years and maybe longer because that’s the farthest back he was able to research his family history.
Sweat poured down his face. Dogs barked at him and chickens scattered as he rounded the corner of the single road leading out of his home village of Denbe Bengul; a place barely north of the Ethiopian border and not far east of the Sudanese border. Off he ran, into the outskirts of the village, and past, to a place that had no name, to a house made entirely of bamboo and mud, a solid house, where Madia lived.
Forty-four minutes later, he arrived to the dirt path that led to her home. He kept his run all the way up the trail to her front door. She opened it before he knocked as the sun made its final dip in the west.
“Kofa. Are you alright, boy?”
He fought for air, closing his mouth to swallow while nodding and struggling to breathe through his nose. He bent over and put his hands on his knees. Flies and mosquitoes descended onto him.
“Come inside and I’ll get you some water. Come and sit down over there,” she said, pointing toward her wicker loveseat that sat alone in the living room, facing the single front window. A small end-table made of twine and bamboo sat in front of the loveseat with a large, 3-wicked candle atop that had not yet been lit. A pair of binoculars sat underneath it, beside a pair of leather moccasins.
As he moved past her, she looked at him in wonder, leaning her head back as if she was trying to read through bi-focals, studying him, startled, concerned, and quickly becoming afraid.
“Duwna sent a message,” he said, between gulps of water from the bowl she had served him. His orange button-up was made maroonish by the sweat that adhered it to his skin. She watched as he gulped again, finishing the rest of the water in another large swig, gasping for air again after he swallowed. “He says they are asking questions and not just the normal ones. Here…” he said, handing her the damp note.
--Pythagoras Prophecy, Vol. I of the People Phenomenal series, Ch. 2