“You two look like people that have seen a ghost,” was the first words Aune Kamati said upon seeing her husband and son entering their modest village home.
This statement was met with silence by both son and father, still shaken from having seen this strange figure while making their return from Johnny Tenda’s house.
Neither had spoken since their short-lived quarrel during their return from the house of the man who collects stones.
The normally talkative Silas could not bring himself to speak of what they saw nor could he garner the energy to relate his exciting day spent in the company of Tenda to his siblings, who have become used to his daily stories.
“What did you to the child?” Mrs. Kamati probed her husband when Silas left to go to his hut.
“My wife, please make me a strong cup of coffee so that I can tell you this strange story that even my ancestors will find hard to believe,” Markus instructed, finally having gotten hold of his senses.
A strong cup of coffee in the Kamati household always meant that Aune had to put in traditional brew in the hot drink.
This, the lady of the house did without much delay; eager to hear what has turned her two leading men into two virtual zombies.
Markus took his time in drinking the beverage but once he was done, it seemed the words were just flying out of his mouth.
“You know, mother of Silas… I sent that son of yours to spy on Mr. Tenda in the hopes that he’ll discover what magic this man has and why he spends most of his days collecting stones.
“But instead of reporting back to me, I had to go find him at Tenda’s place. I was surprised to find the pair laughing and joking like two old friends. And despite spending the whole day with the smart fool, Silas was unable to gather anything of substance.
“Coming back from there, we stopped on the road and I was just about to give him my mind when… when,” Markus felt his voice growing softer as the words now struggled to come out.
“When what, father of Silas?” Mrs. Kamati couldn’t help saying, now on the edge of her seat, greatly hanging onto every word her husband was sharing.
“When… well when we saw Mr. Tenda passing us from the direction into which we traveling,” Markus managed to get out.
“What? How is that possible?” Aune responded, “I thought you had left him at his place. How then could he have come to be in front of you?”
“Yes, dear… that is what shocked us too. I had made sure we had travelled a good distance from his house before stopping to interrogate Silas. And yet there he was… casually greeting both of us, as if he was coming from an evening stroll,” Markus told his wife.
“But are you sure that it was indeed him?” Aune queried.
“What are you not hearing, woman?” Markus yelled, slightly irritated.
“He was wearing the same clothes I had seen him in when we had left his place and it was not too dark to have mistaken him for someone else,” he added, a lot softer than his first response.
“Haitche... this is weird,” Aune managed to get out.
Neither of the couple said any words after that as both minds’ were now occupied with the strange shenanigans of Mr. Tenda.
First it was the disappearance into town, then the strange collection of stones and now the man appears at places where it is impossible for him to have been: No; this Tenda is now going far with his magic.
This line of thinking was exactly on both minds of the husband and wife in the Kamati household.
Their silence was only broken when Silas made his reappearance from the hut he shared with Lukassy, who is the sibling that follows him.
“Papa,” he ventured, only continuing when the elder Kamati nodded his head.
“Do you want to go back there again tomorrow?”
Markus looked at his wife and for once he wanted to leave that decision up to her.
If truth were told, he was now afraid of what tricks his son will learn from Tenda.
His wife, though, avoided eye contact at all cost.
Reluctantly, he returned his attention to his son.
“Yes,” he said softly.
“But you must be careful and make sure that you report everything to me, especially things that will help us find out why Tenda is collecting the stones,” Markus instructed his son.
“By the way, you never told me what you did there the whole day,” he added.
Without hesitation, Silas told his parents of the eventful day he had.
He animatedly informed them of how he had kept an eye on Tenda from a distance and how he went closer until the man discovered him.
“He knew who I was,” he related, to which Markus responded with a curt, “Of course he would… he is the son of a very powerful man, after all.”
This news prickled Silas’s ears and he immediately wanted to know whose son Johnny ‘MaakDieBoereKwaad’ Tenda was.
Certainly, you too want to know who is the father of the strange Tenda…
Well you’ll just have to wait for another chapter of The Man Who Collected Stones… An original Hector H. Mawonga story.