She knelt down and pinched the insides of his thighs so hard that he pleaded, "Etiye, why are you so cruel? Please forgive me..." She pushed him and shouted, "Get to your feet, you bastard!" Tello stood sobbing and blowing his nose.
"You've become the rudest boy in town. You insulted your teacher in the rudest possible way. You bit the hand that fed you. What can I say? You embarrassed me again. I am ashamed of you!" She fidgeted back and forth absentmindedly.
Tello felt guilty. His tears dried on his thin face and he wanted to say something to appease his mother.
His mother stopped fidgeting abruptly and firmly said, "Do you know that I'll leave you in this wide world alone in a year's time with nothing but bad behaviour? And what will you be? Tell me what will you be?"
"Tello, I am going to where your father lives."
"My father?" he said confused. "You told me that he died a day before I was born."
"That's true. And I am going to die next year."
Kebere Mala holds the national record of winning the Burth Award for African Literature Competition in Ethiopia by winning two of the four rounds of the BAAL. The 27-year-old won his first award in 2012 for the captivating story entitled "One Night in the Street". Kebere repeated the feat in this round by producing "Pashke on Deathbed", a beautifully crafted work for young adult readers. The setting of both works is a small town called Selamber, where Kebere Mala was born. He later studied English Language and Literature in Arba Minch University where he engrossed himself in diverse works of literature. Pursuing his education further, the young writer secured a Master's degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Addis Ababa University. Kebere is currently a lecturer at Semera University.