For days, a furious rain had been beating down on the country of a Hundred Hills, as unpredictable as the murderous fever that had set ablaze the hearts and darkened the spirits of its people:
“Kill them all!”
Following this dreadful sentence pronounced by the baswazis in Toutsaïs villages and cities in the mystical silence of
their kuje chirhebo, friendship and love abandoned the looks of fathers,
brothers, and neighbors. Twisted by the gangrene of hate, they turned into
This curse hit Kigeri’s home village. The killers’ drawn blades glistened under the red moonlight. In perfect unison,
shadows climbed the concessions’ surrounding walls made of dried earth. The
slaughter began. Swords pierced through elders, adults, and young men on the
verge of initiation, or prepubescent young girls if their frizzy hair
unfortunately happened to be the color of straw and if their complexion
resembled that of the mizungus.
Kigeri was awaiting the fatal blow that was sure to come from the three men who had just stormed into his tiny cabin. He
knew them all—Bukuku was a kind-natured planter of sorgho; Luho, a taciturn
blacksmith; and Kagoro, the owner of the village’s greatest herd of cows.
Madness lit up their features. Despite his robust constitution, Kigeri could
not hope to defeat his armed aggressors who were blocking his cabin’s entrance.
His vermillion eyes managed to conceal his incredulity and resignation. He was
about to die without even knowing why.
“Why? You, who have watched me grow? My father, my brothers! Why do you remain in the shadows of these criminals?”