Short Story


By Lawrence Kadzitche

Everyone who heard the story of Khombiri Sanza could not understand what led the man do what he did. You see, he was the richest businessman at Limbuli with a good family. Yet he threw all these away in search of the contract with devil.

He found it just as they had said. Just like those who had sought it before, he had left behind a trail of bodies, the sacrifices the witchdoctors had ordered. But at last he had found it. They had said the great Shaka Zulu had sought it and fell when he failed to find it. So had the Monomotapas of Zimbabwe and countless other ambitious individuals in Africa. The Kalonga had tried to get it but failed and eventually his mighty kingdom withered away.

But he, Khombiri Sanza, had found it. It was buried in a deep cave near Dziwelankhalamba on Mulanje Mountain. The contract would make him the richest man in Malawi, that’s what all the witchdoctors had said. And to get it, seven boys had lost their lives as sacrifices to the devil.

His hands shook as he held the contract close to his chest like a baby. It was a magic gourd made of burnt clay wrapped in dried human skin.  They said even if you threw it against a rock it would not break as it had been tempered in hades.

He only needed to open it and all he desired in life would materialize. He could see himself snatching other peoples wives, raping girls as the whim took him, killing anyone he didn’t like and taking anything he fancied. Nobody would be able to stop him.

It was all written in the bible. The devil is the god of the world. So for whatever reasons, it had pleased the prince of darkness to draw a contract that gave whoever held it power over the world. And he, Khombiri Sanza held it.

They said the magic gourd had been hidden by a witchdoctor who thought the magic gourd did whoever got it no good. To track it, one had to sacrifice seven lives. Very few people were willing or had the heart to do this. Of the few that had tried, some had been caught and hanged or given life sentences for murder. But he, Khombiri Sanza, a smart man, had managed to complete all the required seven sacrifices.

Lo and behold, he now held the contract. It was time for all God fearing people to be aware, the devil’s collector arrived had and all their pious lives were due to meet their maker.

A clever man would have thought twice before opening the gourd. But Khombiri Sanza was not clever because if he had been clever he should have asked himself why had all his ideas turned evil the moment he found the contract? When he has been looking for the contract, it had been to make himself the richest man in Malawi. Yet, now all that had flew out of his head. All he could think of was murder, rape, revenge, plundering-nothing good.

He slowly opened the magic gourd. A smell like that of burning charcoal hit his nostrils. What remained was for him was to chant two words seven times and all was for his picking.

Just as the witchdoctors had said, the chant came involuntarily the moment he opened his mouth. The words were so vile and blasphemous that even Khombiri Sanza himself was astonished.

The magic gourd suddenly exploded. Dust enveloped Khombiri Nsanza. As the dust settled, demons in chains appeared. All were in the form of corpses- rotting corpses.

“You have earned yourself a great place in hell for freeing us!” the demons shouted with glee shaking off their chains.

Khombiri Sanza felt himself grow into a giant with the mouth the size of a cave. The demons flung themselves into his mouth cackling laughing evilly.

Then suddenly all was as quiet as in a graveyard. Khombiri Sanza was alone. A loud lough, without humour or reason escaped his mouth. He was now a powerful man. He could fight the world. He had thousands of demons who would help him. He tore off his clothes. He didn’t need them. He was fit to be called Legion like the man in the bible. The demons would protect him from anything.

He went down the mountain at a run. It took him the whole day to get back to Limbuli. He immediately went on the rampage, hitting everybody he saw, stoned cars and smashed windows of shops. People tried to stop him but he overpowered them.  Didn’t they know that he was Legion? He wasn’t alone; there were demons fighting together with him.

He moved about, singing to himself, enjoying his newly acquired power as everyone ran away from him. He picked a piece of rotting fish from a rubbish pit, sat down and started eating it. He was the most powerful; germs could do nothing to him. It felt so good staying in the rubbish pit. He wasn’t going to go home. This was his new home.

A woman claiming to be his wife came and tried to take him home. He would have killed her if people had not come to her rescue. He was not somebody to be trifled with.

A large group of men came to take him away from the pit. He fought them off desperately but they were one too many. They placed him in chains and dragged him out of the pit. As they crossed the road, with supernatural strength, he shook off his captors and broke the chains.

A big truck with a Mozambican registration number was coming at full speed. Spellbound, people watched Khombiri Sanza stand stark naked in the middle of the road intending to stop the truck.

The truck hit him and then ran over him. It was very shocking. People had to use shovels to scrape the remains of his body off the tarmac road. Up to now, parents at Limbuli still warn their children about the dangers of consulting the devil to get rich because like Khombiri Sanza they too would end up badly.


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Lawrence Kadzitche

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