By Lilian Momanyi
Detective Inspector Max Njagi lies asleep on the
couch in his living room. He mildly snores. A
bottle of Tusker rests on a scuzzy coffee table.
On it are also bottle caps of beer, a nail-cutter,
dried streaks of soup, and his government-
issued glock. On the floor is another bottle of
Black and White whiskey, a quarter of the liquid
remaining. He sleeps prostrate on the couch, a
hand dangling on the edge, hanging close to the
bottle of whiskey. On the T.V. mounted on the
wall, a petite lady in a black suit and pink
blouse is behind a news desk, reporting
In bold red a highlight keeps crawling through
the news bar at the bottom of the screen: Killer
Nanny Strikes Again, Butchering Woman and
The newscaster is saying:
In yet another shocking killing at the plush
estate of Kilimani, a mother and her ten-year-old
boy were today found dead in their living room.
Early reports describe the crime scene as gory.
Investigators say that the killer wanted to leave
a statement of terror.
They found the woman naked with her throat
slit, and the boy was lying on top of her, face to
her breast in a suckling posture. They found the
bloody hilt of a kitchen knife protruding from
Directorate of Criminal Investigation boss
Samson Kulei identified the missing nanny who
allegedly killed four of her employers in the
suburbs as the prime suspect. A manhunt has
been underway for the past ten months since
the killer nanny of Kilimani first struck. She is
still at large, however. The police are advising
the public to remain vigilant as the killer
nanny’s M.O. is to use witty disguises when
seeking her next victim.
While the report goes on, the door to Max
Njagi’s living room creaks. Outside, wind howls
with a supernatural effect. Someone steps in
stealthily and carefully locks the door behind. It
closes with a drawn out creak that jolts Max
Njagi, a highly trained DCI investigator.
He instinctively goes to the side of his waist, but his gun
is missing. Shocked, his eyes fall on the coffee table and
he makes a try for the gun. When his hand closes on the
gun, she speaks, and he freezes.
“Max Njagi. I must tell you you’re making this
game uninterestingly drab. You could not catch
me, but now here I am.”
It is the voice of a woman. The overhead light
splitting through his eyeballs, Max Njagi
squints, raising the pistol in a two-handed grip
to the figure standing on the other side close to
the coffee table. His eyeballs adjust to the
lighting and he sees her.
The killer nanny. Hands covered in black gloves,
the right one holding a six inch serrated blade.
There are dark red splotches of blood on her
white shirt, half-way buttoned, exposing her
Her dishevelled hair looks thin and grey under
the white light, and when she laughs, it comes
out terrifyingly sweet. Low, musical voice but
with an unmistakable touch of terror.
“I killed them all. I will kill them all, and then I
will kill you too, honey.”
She makes her way to him, and he squeezes off
a shot. Tense silence. The trigger clicks. His
finger shakes in the trigger guard. The killer
nanny laughs even harder, brandishing the
magazine of Max Njagi’s firearm in her left
Max Njagi shoots up from his bed, pushing
himself to a sitting position. A film of sweat
covers his forehead and his white vest clings to
his skin like a patch, soaked. His head throbs
with a terrible headache. Squinting at the
cutting rays of the morning sun slanting
through the cracks left by his curtain, he places
a hand on the back of his head as though it will
calm the ache.
This isn’t the first time the killer nanny of
Kilimani has tormented him in his sleep.
Taunted him. Demeaned his ingenuity. It has
been a month now since she last struck, but as
lead investigator, every lead has come to a dead
end. Kenyans are questioning the skill of the
DCI, and his boss is breathing on his neck. His
boss had written off Njagi’s initial theory that
this was a serial killer. But now, they are all on
the same page, it’s clear they have a serial killer
on the loose.
Up to now, the killer nanny has remained the
greatest mystery in the history of mysterious
serial killers ever entangled in the daunting
game of wits and dares with the DCI.
Max Njagi reaches for the bottle of whiskey on
his bedside table, takes a drag directly from the
bottle. He grimaces as it burns down his throat.
He then goes to the bathroom.
Later, he sits in his untidy living room with a
cup of coffee he’s fixed. And he misses his wife,
Keziah. Five years down the line, though the
pain of her sudden death still is a fresh stab in
his heart. Five years ago, Al-Shabaab, a jihadist
fundamentalist group terrorizing East Africa,
struck a mall; West Gate Mall. On Max Njagi’s
birthday. This thought keeps fleshing his
Keziah, eager to get a surprise gift for her
husband, went to the mall. Their unborn baby
kicking in her stomach. And then an explosion
erupted at the main entrance. Followed by a
shower of bullets pinging off walls. Screams.
People scampering to all directions, unsure
whether they are running to safety or towards
the terrorists. Keziah didn’t even get time to call
her husband, though they found her phone in
her hand and had to pry it out of her icy fingers.
Three bullets had struck her. One went into her
throat, another to her ribcage, and the one that
gives Njagi throaty breaths went right into her
stomach. Post-mortem results revealed
disturbing news. The bullet hit the baby too.
While driving in his old Toyota Auris to DCI
headquarters, he’s held at a crawling traffic
snarl up along Lang’ata road. Insistent hawkers
try to sell him steering wheel covers, towels,
fruits, appliances and stuff, but he waves them
away. His clammy hands restless on the wheel,
Max glances at his reflection in the rear-view. In
his eyes, he sees the darting loneliness of a
man who misses his wife, and his daughter,
Angel. High on the joy of having a baby coming,
Max and Keziah had gone as far as naming
The traffic eases and vehicles pick up speed.
Just as he steps onto the gas, his mobile
vibrates in the glove compartment. He fishes
for it and, controlling the wheel with one hand,
sees that Nelly Wairimu is calling. His car eats
up the road ahead as he picks the call. He has
no regard for the law banning drivers from
using their mobile while driving. Whether the
traffic police stop him, he doesn’t give a toss.
He is DCI, and he has bigger things to care
about, like the killer nanny. And the news Nelly
is about to break to him.
When Max Njagi gets to Nelly’s, Nelly and Harry
have moved from the dining table and are now
on the couches in the living room, watching the
1 P.M. news. Nelly had left the door unlocked.
When the haunted investigator raps on it, she raises her
voice and asks him to come in. He
leaves his shoes at the doorstep.
Max walks up to them, stands for some
seconds to look at the young man in a sparkling
white shirt, well tucked, hair well-coifed.
“Goodness, always the investigator, Njagi. Are
you ever off the clock? Meet Harry, poor boy.
Jackline is his girlfriend and now he is anxious
like we all are. He’s been keeping me company.”
Harry gets to his feet and offers a hand. Max
Njagi takes it firmly, letting the handshake
“I know you’re going through a lot, my boy.
Thank you for also being here with Jackline’s
mother. I promise I will find her.” The boy smiles
“Thank you, sir,” he murmurs.
Njagi then walks to Nelly, who stands to receive
him, and they fall into each other’s embrace. For
a moment, the investigator in him fades out and
even Nelly can feel that this is Njagi, her
husband’s most trusted friend and Jackline’s
As they embrace, the boy looks at them from
the couch, the voices in his head congratulating
him for finding himself a worthy opponent. Now
let the games begin. “I promise I will find her.”
That’s what the investigator has said. The boy
thinks to himself, yes you will find her body, but
you will never find me. His lips pull back into an