A Snippet of Fiction – The Price of Amber

Happy May! I’m so excited to share snippets of the story Ram and Amber, which now has a tentative name ‘The Price of Amber’. Still not in love with the title, in any case, I’m excited to have a 10K word count on this project.  There is nothing like getting started and having something to work on, instead of only planning.  Here is a look at the first chapter.

Chapter One

Kata right, kuja, kuja, sawa. Hapo! Hapo!”

Ram Jelani hit the brakes, stopping the tipper truck.  He leaned out his window to see his friend and business partner talking to their client.

“Amos,” Ram called out.

Amos hurried to the back of the truck and spent a few minutes unlocking the tailgate.

Mwaga,” Amos called to him and hurried to the side, giving Ram a thumbs up.

Ram nodded and engaged the controls to lift the tipper’s dump body.  The dump body of the truck lifted on hydraulics, letting out thirty tones of sand brought from the river.  Ram waited until it was all poured before he drove the truck forward to allow any excesses to pour out.

Ram’s phone rang and answered it, hands-free. His attention stayed on Amos and the two young men working with them.

“Ram, it’s Mom,” Candace Jelani’s voice filled the cabin.  “Where are you?”

“At a construction site in Othaya delivering sand,” Ram said.  “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t always call you because something is wrong,” Candace said.

“I told you I would be far today.  You must have an issue to call me,” Ram said, giving Amos a thumbs up when Amos called out that they had emptied the truck.

Ram lowered the dump body, drove forward, and brought the tipper to a full stop.  He parked and removed his phone from the hands-free mode.  He took it from its holder and brought it to his ear.

“What’s wrong?” Ram asked.

“Naria needs you,” Candace said with a sigh.  “She is stranded in Nyeri Town.  Her friends left her alone to pay for the table.”

“Mpesa her,” Ram said, annoyed by his little sister’s consistent letdowns.

“She doesn’t have her phone,” Candace said.  “She says she lost it last night.”

Ram bit his bottom lip not wanting to curse for his mother to hear.

Sawa, I’ll deal with it,” Ram said.  “Where is she?”

“White Rhino,” Candace said.

“Her tastes are getting expensive, Mom.  One of these days, you’re going to need to use your mwiko on her.  Why is it I’m the only one who knows what that mwiko is used for?”

“Keep complaining and I’ll give it to you when you get Naria home,” Candace said.  “You might be taller than me, but I can still smack you with a mwiko, Ram.  He, who are you joking with?”

Ram chuckled.

“Relax, Mom.  I’ll make sure Naria gets home after lunch,” Ram said. “Let me call when I have news.”

“Thank you, Ram,” Candace said and ended the call.

Ram started the truck and drove it out of the tight path leading to the construction site.  He drove it out to the exit of the access road and parked on the side of the main road.  Taking the keys, he jumped out of the cabin and stretched his arms over his head.

Amos hurried to meet him.

“Have they paid?” Ram asked.

“Yes, thirty thousand,” Amos said, waving their business phone. “Thank you for maneuvering the tipper.  The driver would not have made it.”

“I have to head out,” Ram said.  “Let’s meet in Karatina this evening.”

“Where to?” Amos asked, reaching into his pocket for car keys.  He handed them to Ram in exchange for the truck keys.

“To rescue Naria,” Ram said.  “I don’t know what to do with her.  Her friends are not friends.  She won’t believe it.”

“What happened now?” Amos asked.

Ram scratched his chin and shook his head.

“The story she gave mom sounds incomplete,” Ram said.  “I’ll need to hear it from her to know the truth.”

We,” Amos sighed.  “I’ll do the next delivery and call you later. Let’s meet at the usual place.”

Ram thanked Amos and hurried to the black SUV parked on the side of the main road.  He jumped into the driver’s seat and drove off with a wave at Amos.  Ram thought about Naria and his mother on his drive to Nyeri Town.

Naria was his half-sister.  She was younger than he was by ten years.  His mother had gotten her with her boyfriend, Zion Kavinde.  His mother, Candace, was soft with Naria.  She spoiled Naria and gave her everything she could.  Candace said she did so because Naria was a child born into an unsteady home.

Ram scoffed at the description.

Unsteady was a mild way to describe their tumultuous home life.  Broken home was more accurate.  The truth was that Candace Jelani still loved her husband, and Ram’s father.  She refused to divorce him and the affair she had with Zion was an attempt to heal her heartbreak.  Naria was born into a messy situation and there was nothing to do but cope.

Ram parked his car at the White Rhino Hotel and went in. He found Naria sitting at a table for two on the terrace.  She smiled when she saw him.

“Ram to the rescue,” Naria said with a quick smile, though it did not reach her eyes.

Ram pulled out the chair opposite her and sat.  He placed his phone and car keys on the table.  Crossing his arms against his chest, he sat back.

“I’ll settle the bill in exchange for the truth.”

Naria started to talk but Ram shook his head.

“If you don’t give me the truth, I’ll walk away,” Ram said, not caring that his mother would find her cooking stick and hit him with it.  He could take a little pain.

“Ram,” Naria said, her voice shaky.

Her eyes filled with tears and in a different setting, he would fall for this, but not here.

Ram pushed his chair back and started to stand up.

“Wait!” Naria said, reaching for him in a panic.  “Just wait a sec. I’m just…”

“The truth, Naria.”

“Fine,” Naria said, sitting back.  “Relax, please don’t leave me here.  I don’t want to call Mom again.”

“If you tell me, I’ll even buy you lunch,” Ram said, glancing at his watch.  It was just past twelve o’clock and he was hungry.

Naria sighed.

Aki, Ram,” Naria shook her head.

“Why are you here?” Ram asked, looking around the high-end hotel with a frown.  “Your budget does not allow you to be here.”

“I came with friends,” Naria started, clasping her hands on the table.  Her nails were a brilliant shade of green.  She was in a short black dress, her leather jacket shiny and there was smudged eye shadow around her eyes.

Ram sat back and crossed his arms against his chest, waiting.

To Be Continued!

Look for it on Wattpad, or Here. Hope your Friday is full of great vibes!

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