Something rustles behind us. I turn in time to see something lunge from the brush toward Neema. With a cry I rush to her defense, raising my spear to fight. It grabs my left wrist and cold shoots through my arm, forcing me to drop the spear. I stare, transfixed, at the thing rising before me, something burnt and black in the shape of a human swathed in dark rags, its face hardly more than a skull with bits of flesh still clinging to it. Its eyes stared nakedly without eyelids. Worst of all was its mouth, with a pair of long fangs curving from exposed upper jaw like those of the hyena. The quivering eyes gaze at me.
Neema’s dagger buries itself in the thing’s chest. It releases me and Neema’s strong arms pull me away. I clutch my left arm, all feeling gone from it.
The monster sags over without a sound, trembling. Neema approaches cautiously but it stands up again, pulling the dagger out. No blood stains the blade.
The monster raises its head, and flesh now crawls along the skull, the dead tissue healing before our eyes. Skin as white as ivory forms in loose strips over the charred muscles. I can only stare in sick horror. What kind of evil spirit is this?
Who are you?
I am now Mkono ya Mbao.
Yes. Who I was before is meaningless.
And your profession?
Savior of the world.
The world needs saving?
It will very soon.
Read the Rococoa anthology and you’ll find out.
Then I’ll read it today.
Then you’ll find out today.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
That he’s human.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
That she’s human.
You know many non-humans?
We all do, I suppose. Animals aren’t humans; neither are pencils.
You know what I mean.
I know what you said.
I mean humanoid creatures; monsters, if you will.
I know a few.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My beloved Neema was.
Where is Neema now?
In the Realm of the Ancestors.
Who are your favorite writers?
That would be Steven Fujimoto Workman. He told my story in the Rococoa anthology.
Have you read the Rococoa anthology yourself?
It is in English. I don’t read English.
But this interview is in English.
I can interview in English, but not read English…unless it is an interview.
What? I don’t…
Understand? English, or Interview?
I don’t understand this interview.
Because it is in English. Try Spanish.
Do you speak Spanish?
No. I said you should try Spanish.
Check out Steven Workman’s story, Mkono ya Mbao, in the Rococoa anthology. Available now!