Fear engulfed me,I could feel it sail across my spine,sweat flowed from armpits and the whole body became week.I thought of running but the legs were very weak I could barely walk.
In a flash of a second I was inside a Toyata Land cruiser not knowing where they were taking me.Stanley didn’t come with us and that made me even more worried, do they want to kill me or something.
I was taken to Central Police station,where I recorded the statement.
"Listen young girl if you co operate and talk the truth,this is going to be easy for you and if you don’t co operate I shall make it hard for you until you talk,"The detective who arrested me told me with an authoritative tone.I was already scared and I was talking like a a radio with new batteries,giving each details I knew about Stanley and his wife,how Stanley used to fuck me,how I bought a camera and with which intentions.
After recording a statement I was taken to a police cell." Excuse me sir,can I make a call",I asked the detective who escorted me to the cell.“Yes sure one minute only”,he told me.I decided to call Karanja and tell him what had befallen me.I feared calling mum but now I had no choice but to also tell her.“Hello mum I have been arrested and taken to central police station”,I told her immediately she received my call. “What?why?..” I heard mum ask me but the phone was taken away,“Time is up now “,he told me.
The room was a little bit dark there were other women seated on the floor.They all laughed at me when they saw how frustrated I was.” Welcome young girl ,what brings you here”,One woman asked me as she pulled me closer to her.“Blackmail “,I answered her.” “How much were you asking for?”, she continued.” A million" I said being very honest.She laughed and told me, "I love girls like you,bad girls for that matter infact I feel like I can work with in future,though I did not understand what she really meant.
Later I learnt she was an armed robber.
Different women narrated why they were arrested and I couldn’t fail to notice that I was surrounded by criminals and to them being in police cells was normal unlike my case
It was an on a Friday evening and so I had to wait until Monday to be taken to court.
It was hell for me for those two days until I realised the importance of freedom .Never take it for granted!.
Karanja came on Saturday to try and bail me out but police said my case had a lot of weight and there was no way I could get a police bail.
The following Monday I was taken to the court.I was surprised to find Stanley and Monica already seated in the court room.That meant Stanley had confessed his actions to Monica though I knew Monica would better go to the grave with her secrets.
My mum and Karanja were also in the courtroom.
" Grace Njeri you have been accused of blackmailing one Mr.Stanley Munene and trying to extort money from him which against the laws of Kenya",the prosecutor read my charges quoting some sections of the constitutions which I did not understand.
I had no lawyer either to interpret it for me.I had no otherwise but to accept the charges and plead guilty.
The court was adjourned and the judgement was to be made at 2pm. I looked at my mum as I was being escorted back to the cells and she was all tears,a thing that made my tears too to come out,I had ashamed her and I was the only hope she had,Monica could not even look me in the eyes but I could tell she was sympathizing with me somehow.
I was taken back to the cell as I waited the verdict later in the afternoon.
“Grace Njeri do you have anything that you can tell the court before i read its ruling”, The magistrate asked me as she raised her glasses may be to see me clearly. She was a middle aged woman.
Something told me to ask for forgiveness," Your honour, i ask the court for forgiveness and I will never repeat the Mistake again",I said looking directly to the magistrate with the hope that being a woman she was in a position to have mercy on me and rule on my favour.
“Is that all?”, She asked me." Yes your honour",I replied politely tears rolling down my cheeks.
After reading some constitution caps and quotes the magistrate finally gave her judgement…"therefore, the court finds you guilty of blackmail and extortion and its sentenced you to serve a four year Jail term without a fine to serve as example to other members of the public who may be having your intentions.You have 14 days from today to make an appeal of this ruling ",the magistrate finalised.
I don’t know happened next but I found myself in a room which looked like hospital, I had a drip on my right hand and my left hand was handcuffed on the bed grill.
The nurse told me I collapsed in the court after the judgement, she checked my temperature and my pulse." You will be okay it was just normal fainting",the nurse told me and left.
When Nurse went outside a female prison warden entered with a file and explained to me that I was going to serve at Lang’ata Women’s prison for 4 years as per the judgement.
“I will be your in charge ,don’t worry and don’t panic,we have girls your age in our prison convicted with various crimes and even some are serving life sentences”, the warden tried to console me.
To me it was the end of my life,shame and guilt was eating me from inside.I was thinking about my mum,I knew she was all tears wherever she was,I had failed her as a parent. I felt bad about myself.
Days passed into weeks and weeks into months,my mum would come to check on me from time time.Karanja visited me every weekend as he brought me the necessities.
I became used to prison life and even enrolled for my secondary education.There were so departments and courses which being offered in the prison including Masonry, carpentry, Salon ,Tailoring among others…
One friday evening Monica came to check on me in prison,I could not understand her intentions," let’s forget about the past ,I have already forgiven you grace, I decided to keep our deals secret for my your own sake and for my sake and am happy you never exposed me .Just be a good girl grace and empower yourself and you will have a bright future",Monica told me as she tried to counsel me and give me hope.She talked to more like a parent than my former boss who I had milked half a Million.
That’s when I thought of my past life and decided to change and be somebody meaningful in life
I got saved the following Sunday in the prisons chapel and gave my life to God,I confessed my sins and Pastors prayed for me.I was born again.
After four years of handwork , I was finally seating for my KCSE exam,I also had a month and a half to finish my jail term.
I did my exams to the best of my knowledge, after exams something strange happened, “Grace park your things you are going home tomorrow”, My prison in charge informed to my surprise," But my term is not over yet",I replied. I was used to life in prison that somehow I felt attached there.
“Yes we know its not over but the Management have decided to discharge you as result of your handwork , commitment and discipline”, the in charge told me.
I called my dad and told him I was being discharged tomorrow and he promised to come for me.I decided not to bother my mum and that it would be a surprise for her.
The following day I woke up very early in the morning,I packed everything ,bathed and got dressed, the prison in charge prison had briefed me to be ready by 8am.
" Grace are you ready",the in charge asked immediately she entered our dormitory. “Yes madam am very ready”, I said with smile written all over my face.I was very happy at last I was going home a free woman.All the inmates were happy for me as we posed to have some photos taken using my phone.I was the only inmate that was being released on that day.
After clearance, I could not believe my eyes when I stepped out of the prison gate,Karanja and My mum were outside conversing,they had not seen me as I stood looking at them holding my bag with both hands,I cleared the throat to alert them of my presence. My mum almost screamed as she came to towards me ,she hugged me so tight as tears of joy flowed in her cheeks.Karanja too hugged me." My daughter I missed you so much,God is great that we have re united once more",Mum said ,she couldn’t hold back tears,"its OK mum,Everything happens with a reason,I missed you too “,I consoled her.
" This is your father”,mum told me referring to Karanja,"we have solved the differences that we had and he has informed me everything that happened to you and that you stayed with him for a while before things fall a part,please accord her the respect he deserves ",Mum told me as I hugged my dad once more.He had so much for me already and I loved him so much
" Dad and mum I also got saved while in prison and now i am born again Christian “,I broke the news to my parents and they were very happy I had changed.
" Hey guys I think this calls for celebrations lets go”,My dad announced as he loaded my bag to the boot.
I sat back left as my mum sat infront.As my dad drove out of Lang’ata women Prisons gate…I knew it was a start of a new life.
Anyway I passed KCSE exams with B+ and now am doing Linguistics at UoN.