She was a homeless orphan. Cold, hungry, beaten, bruised and defiled. And she was only nine years old.
Her usual place of abode, inside the huge and stinking city county dustbin was no more; – stolen by a bully, a street bum who beat her up regularly and sometimes even raped her.
Now she huddled herself at a corner of the dark freezing lane as she tried to shelter herself from the cold wind and drizzle that blew from the mountain, a several kilometers beyond the city.
It was 3am. Another three hours dawn would break and she would run to mama Sheldon’s food kiosk where she and a horde of other street kids usually got their morning meals.
As she struggled to get sleep, she was suddenly blinded by a powerful light. At first she feared that the bully was back, but then realized that the light was too powerful, it could be a car’s headlights shining on her, she thought.
She quickly got up to her little feet in fright. Funny, she thought. No this wasn’t a vehicle. The light was too powerful and… And … but it was not burning her eyes. With her heart beating fast, she thought of running away – or screaming… but the light… the light… it was so lovely, so loving, so soothing and so friendly.
The light came nearer and nearer towards her. Then it was all over her. She was now in it, and she was engulfed in a joyous feeling. Suddenly all pain, hunger, fear was gone and before she knew it, the light was moving… moving with her… carrying her along, to where she did not know, and did not care… all she wanted … desired was to remain within the light.
She did not know how long the light carried her, all she knew was that beautiful music and heavenly vibes of love surrounded her, and suddenly she found herself in a beautiful garden full of flowers and fruit, with happy children playing and laughing. They were very happy.
Then the light moved and stood aside, and now it was not engulfing her. Then it spoke to her.
“Emmy, do you like it here?”
She was surprised that the light knew her name, but again it felt so normal. Suddenly, she realized that like the children, she was also dressed in a beautiful new dress and felt very happy like them.
“Yes,” she answered without thinking, hoping the light would allow her to go join the children and play.
“Well, you can play with them but not for long.” the light, said and though she could not see it, she felt like the light was smiling at her.
“Why can’t I stay here with them?” Emmy asked.
“Because your time is not yet up. You will come eventually, I promise.”
She wanted to ask who the light was but it was so obvious that the light was an angel. She knew she was safe and no one would ever hurt her again. The light seemed to say that it would always protect her.
“Go and play,” the light told her and she joined the children who welcomed her with laughter and joy as they ran around the huge beautiful garden full of every type of flora and fauna. In the distance she could see a golden palace and other heavenly mansions, with adults happily strolling within the garden and around the park.
She did not know how long this lasted, because she did not know how long forever was, but eventually the light came back and she knew it had come to collect her and send her back to the bad streets.
“I don’t want to go back,” she said weeping. The children she had been playing with came and tried to reassure her, hugging her and telling her not to worry, everything would be fine. But the light, though radiating a feeling of joy and reassurance, did not speak.
It just moved closer and closer to her and eventually it had enveloped her. She didn’t like it this time because she knew it was taking her back to her troubles. The feeling within the light was so ecstatic that she just got lost in it and fell asleep.
“Emmy… Emmy… Emmy!” the voice called from afar. She opened her eyes and found herself still in the light, but the voice that was calling her was not from within the light.
“Emmy… Emmy… Emmy,” the voice seemed to get louder as the light that had enveloped her started to fade away.
The light from the bulb on the ceiling shone directly into her eyes and she blinked, and looked around. Funny, there was a needle stuck in a vein at the back of her left hand, with a tube that ran up a rack which held a bottle of some liquid above the bed.
Where is this she wondered looking around, and saw several other beds with people on them and some uniformed women walking around.
“Emmy, thank God you are awake,” the voice said and Emmy looked towards its source. It was Mama Sheldon, the kiosk woman who always fed them.
“Where am I?” she asked.
“Oh dear Emmy. Thank God you are back!” Mama Sheldon said.
“Back? Where is this?”
“Emmy, you are at the hospital. You have been here for a week. You were in a coma and we did not know that you would survive. We thought you were gone.”
“Gone?” Emmy asked confused.
“Yes. We thought you were dead, but the doctor said you could survive… and here you are!”
Then Mama Sheldon told her how she was found unconscious in the streets a week ago and one of the kids came to tell her.
“I came with Baba Sheldon and picked you and brought you here,” she said.
“Thank you Mama Sheldon,” Emmy said and turned to look at the light from the bulb. The Light, she thought. Where was that? Heaven?
“And don’t call me Mama Sheldon anymore,” said Mama Sheldon.
“Why?” Emmy asked.
“Because I am taking you home as my daughter. You are not going back to the streets. You can call me Mom now.” Mama Sheldon said.
Emmy smiled thankfully and glanced at the bulb again, and remembered the light promising to protect her.
© Patrick Ngugi 150615