LOCKED UP Part 1 of the Series “Journey to Freedom” MIRIAM SCHULZ http://Journey1.miriam-schulz.com Content Dedication Chapter 1 You are Your Mother’s Perfect Reflection Chapter 2 Detained as A Criminal Chapter 3 A Very Long Night Chapter 4 Miriam has Confessed Chapter 5 A Visit That Surprises Us Chapter 6 A Night Filled with Gloom Chapter 7 A Journey into the Past Chapter 8 The Arrival of Mr. Kisoko Chapter 9 The very last Warning Chapter 10 The Truth is Unveiled Chapter 11 Here is The Prodigal Child! Chapter 12 A Blessing in Disguise Chapter 13 An Unexpected Visitor Chapter 14 A Great Disappointment Chapter 15 Demand for Respect Chapter 16 The Shopping Expedition Chapter 17 A sense of Self Responsibility Chapter 18 Friendship Thicker than Water Just parts of the book… “Theft is a very serious crime, young lady,” was the police officer’s reply. “Where are the stolen textbooks? You must get these textbooks tonight or else we will have to arrest you and have your name registered as a thief in our police records” added the police officer. “I did not steal father’s textbooks, sir” was my firm reply. “Miriam, did you not hear what the officer just said? You will have a criminal record and that means you will never be able to freely travel, let alone ever leave our country” These were Moris’ words. I could not believe that the brother, who I followed could say such a thing. It was unbelievable. I was just about to say something, but my words were cut short with the inquires of another officer who had walked in from one of the rooms across. “Did I hear you right? Is this your daughter that you bring to us here this night as a criminal?” He asked my father as he nodded his head with so much disapproval of such an action. Father’s reply was fast and cut. “Yes, she is and with me here are her only brothers, Sham who is her eldest and Moris her elder brother. Moris is studying his degree course at the university. He leaves us tomorrow. She happens to follow my two sons what makes her their younger sister, but not the youngest of my children. I have great hope in her that she too will join the University one day because she is quite an intelligent young girl, but this does not change the fact that she is a criminal. This should not be an excuse for her criminal conduct. Now officers, do your job before the main crime suspect vanishes or hides the entire evidence that has brought us here in the first place. “That has long been taken care off, Mr Omara Vitalis Ojok, our officers are on their way back from the operation. “That is great news gentlemen, do we have to wait until this main suspect is right here?” My eldest brother asked with excitement. “Not really, this is a police investigation case and the official proceedings begin tomorrow, Mr Omara Vitals Ojok.” The officer in charge replied. “It is very unfortunate that I will miss out on these interesting findings although I am very sure that our dear and loving father will inform me of how the events here do turn out.” Interrupted Moris. I was amazed to hear Moris’ last words, I always thought that at least there existed a family for me in him, but tonight’s events have proven me completely wrong, for I was on my own - all alone. We shared so many sweet-bitter memories together as we grew up. They were very special that left many people in so much wonder, the neighbours, our schoolmates and at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s witness. They always looked at us as exemplary siblings with an undying love for each other. Some of the people on the streets have always mistaken us for twins, but on this very day all these memories meant absolutely nothing to him. This reminisces were cut short by what my eldest brother was saying. “I wish you get thoroughly raped by the male prisoners in your cell that you are unable to ever get back on your feet ever!” Sham and I never had such a great relationship. We were cats and dogs when placed in the same room except for this very day. I was the underdog, the disgraced, condemned as a criminal by my own father with no one to defend me. He was the mighty one, the one who could judge me and wish the very worst for me. “Young lady come along with me to your cell.” An officer brought the reality of sleeping in a cell back to my mind. “What an ill-starred young lady she is!” Gasped the officer seated at his desk as he entered the details about me in his file. Tears rolled endlessly down my cheek as his words hit me like lightening. Father had barely spoken to me, and to ever believe that he was my biological parent was unimaginable, he had simply walked out… “Rita, it is nothing to be repeated over and over. The young lady must be very distressed. Let us give her time to adjust. She will talk about it herself when she is ready.” Replied Jenny. “Excuse me, please. Elizabeth, if I heard your name correctly. Do you know what time it is?” asked another inmate. “I was picked up at around fortyfive minutes after eleven pm. It should be mid-night soon.” Was Elizabeth answer. The room was very quiet except for our whispers. “Fatuma, whose house is directly opposite mine, came to inform me of how terribly your family had dealt with you. She told me that it was because you spend a lot of your time at my home. The police officers came and arrested me just before we had finished talking. I was left in shock when the police officers asked me to hand over the textbook that I had asked you to steal from your father’s family library. “Miriam, is there something that you are not telling me? You know very well that my husband has travelled to Kampala city. Our children are all alone at home.” Elizabeth spoke with so much sadness in her voice. I was filled with guilt for what was happening to her and her family. “It is all my fault, I am terribly sorry for what is happening to your family, I should have never…” The words left my mouth, but before I could finish my statement, Elizabeth interrupted me. “Miriam, you are never to be blamed for whatever bad decisions your family makes, you know that too. You are not to be sorry for my police detention. Do not shed a tear on account of what your family members accuse you of, for one day the truth will be revealed, but that is their guilt that they must live with and not yours to carry.” She held me much closer to her until I was more relaxed. The officer at the desk looked at me from below his wide brimmed glasses. “You are such an ungrateful child! I do pity the man who will marry you. That man will be the most unfortunate of all men here on earth. Your thoughtless response shows that you are not only a very arrogant, annoying, disrespectful girl, but also a headache to your family”. Father watched this entire scene with a sarcastic smile on his face. “You have been handed over to us for committing a crime, what makes you a criminal and this places you at our mercy” he added. “You are simply wasting your father’s money at school. You need to be married off, so that a man can discipline you properly”. The police officer who picked me out of the cell was now talking with her voice raised. “Do you think that you are an Apese? Take a very close look at yourself and you will notice that you are getting older for marriage” she gave me a look of disdain. The term Apese was used to describe young girls whose breast had just sprang out. Tradition considered them ripe and suitable for marriage. “You should be grateful that you have a very kind-hearted father. We had a scenario last week of a father who ordered us to give his son fifty strokes of the cane. He asked for specific canes from the bamboo plant” the officer at the desk talked with so much pride about the execution of his duty. “The most interesting part of it all was, that his child confessed before he had received the eighth stroke of the cane” he concluded, satisfied at his accomplishments. “Now that our souls are to some measure equally grieved, I request you all to lend me once again your ears” Atim voice radiated in the cell. The tone in her voice sounded on one hand like an appeal and on the other hand more like a demand. We were all silent. “Weeks after the burial of my second husband, my father in-law came to visit me. He demanded to keep the bed of his late sons warm” this was not funny anymore. “What...?” Sounds of disapproval were whispered by the inmates. “This is an abomination. I will never tarnish the bed of my late husband” Atim spoke so courageously like she was addressing her Father-in-law. “You are a witch, a wife of the spirits… a murderess! You used your evil magic on both my sons to get them killed by Kony. You two must be counterparts who work together deep in the evil world. What was your last power of negotiation? Was it my youngest son? I will never let my youngest son to inherit you” Atim deepened her voice in imitation of her fatherin-law. “Mr Obua, please go to your wife and do not throw insults at me” Atim stood up as if she was speaking face to face with an imaginary person. The candlelight was burning out so dimly. “You have threatened me enough. Mr Obua, did I make a mistake to marry your sons? I followed the customs by marrying your eldest son, James, even though he had a wife, simply because our customs dictate it. What was my crime in falling in love and finding one who loves me in turn with my first husband, Michael? You yourself confirmed how so happy he was with me and thanked me for being a great wife. What has changed, Mr Obua? Am I not the same Atim? Your wonderful daughter in-law.” Her voice became lower and sadder as she spoke further. 69 “You know how much Michael and I loved each other. Not even death could break our bond of love. However, I made a fool out of myself to fulfil what tradition demanded of me. I let myself get inherited like a piece of furniture. Your reasons were to have children to inherit my late husband’s name “Michael”. My God bless his soul. Little did I know your true motive in doing all this. You took over his business and left me with nothing, all his houses and later, you threw me into his childhood grass thatched house. What else do you really want from me?” “Nonsense woman! Who gave you the audacity to speak that way to a man? Don’t you know your stand in the presence of men? You will pay very highly for raising your voice at me. Do you have a claim over any of Michael’s property? No, you do not. Where are the results of your love or the fruits of my two sons labour? You are an unfertile piece of land that was well fertilised with no yields. My sons took enough wealth to your family members, you can go and share the leftovers with them” Atim’s deep voice slowly faded away. “He moved closer to me and claimed that I had to pay for the shame that I brought to his family... I pushed him hard against the wall and ran fast out of the room. I walked to the next pub, bought myself a drink to celebrate my misery of being childless. The police officers picked me up for attempted murder on my father-in-law” She fell on the ground with a heavy thud as the candle-light died out. Silence griped us all as we sympathised with her. Obedience to traditions greatly impacted on her current state. I was surprised to hear the name Mr Obua, for this was one of the most famous family names in Lira town.
The book Locked-Up describes the first part of her life story "Journey to freedom". The part ends at her moving to the university. There begins after a short time of freedom the second part "Trapped".