Multiple scars on his body tell of a painful experience and hardships that not many can relate to.
The boy who cannot be named for legal reasons is only 13 years old yet he feels abandoned and unwanted in his own home.
He first came to the limelight on Sunday when a video of him bleeding from the head, as he narrated his ordeal in the Kikuyu dialect, went viral.
The Nation tracked him to his best friend’s home in Gikondi village in Mukurweini, Nyeri County, where he took refuge after being attacked and beaten up. His attacker is a 29-year-old man who has been identified as Wachira Njambuya.
Why would a child his age be subjected to such brutality, worse still by an adult? Apparently, the boy’s mistake was seeking shelter in the suspect’s grandmother’s house.
Mr Wachira allegedly went to his grandmother’s house on Saturday night demanding that boy leave immediately even though he had already gone to bed.
“I heard him shouting and banging on the door. He said I must leave and look for another place to stay,” he narrated.
As expected from a scared child, he sought protection from the woman who had provided him with shelter and begged her not to open the door.
“I told her he would beat me up if she opened the door but she assured me she would protect me,” he said.
BEATEN, DRAGGED OUT
The man eventually made his way into the house and hit him twice on the head with a stick, then dragged him out and started bashing him against the wall as the elderly host screamed for neighbours to intervene.
“He dragged me into the kitchen and took a knife which he placed in front of me as he wiped blood off his hands,” the boy said.
Neighbours responded to the screams allowing the 13-year-old to slip away into the woods in the darkness. Hours later, he knocked on another neighbour’s door seeking medical attention.
At that home, he was given first aid and a place to sleep until Sunday morning when he was taken to hospital by his friend’s brother.
The matter was reported at Mukurweini Police Station and the boy given medical attention at the neighbouring Mukurweini Hospital. The suspect, Mr Wachira, is yet to be arrested.
The attack has brought to light several claims regarding the boy's alleged tribulations under his foster parents.
Before the Saturday night incident, he had not set foot into their house for over a week, a situation his guardian confirmed.
Following the incident, we tracked down his stepmother on Sunday evening and found her getting her hair done at a friend’s house. She admitted knowing about the beating but said she had not seen the boy since then and had not reported the matter at a nearby police post. She said it was usual for the boy to disappear for days.
The victim said this was not the first time he ran away from home but added that is was out of fear of being beaten or starved. He said he opted to sleep in the woods most of the time or to seek refuge at neighbour's houses.
The teenager's father reportedly runs businesses in Nairobi. He is rarely at home so the boy and his four siblings have been in the care of their stepmother.
The boy claims that on multiple occasions, his stepmother kicked him out of the house and asked him not to return.
“Whenever I ask her to let me go back home she tells me to throw myself in the river or go wherever I want because she does not need me,” he said.
Residents of Gikondi told the Nation that they are used to feeding the teenager and providing him with shelter as his foster parents seem unwilling to do so.
“It is almost the norm for us to give him food and a place to stay. He keeps running away, saying his parents attack and kick him out. He is a normal boy who has never exhibited any extreme disciplinary issues so we do not understand why his parents would treat him that way,” Mr Gichinga Muita said.
The boy dropped out of school early this year, claiming his guardians had neglected him. Teachers at Wahari Primary School, where he studied, said his only problems were lateness and absenteeism. The matter was raised with his parents several times but the boy was eventually withdrawn from school in Class Five.
The teenage said local administrators have not come to his aid despite reports on his plight.
Assistant chief James Gachuru termed the issues internal and said he had discussed the boy's education with his parents.
A formal report was made on Monday at Mukurweini Police Station and the matter taken up by the sub-county children’s welfare officer.
Children’s officer Peter Irungu said the boy will be placed in protective custody as investigations continue.
“I intend to place him in a safe environment because I understand the home is not safe for him. The allegations about his adoption cannot be confirmed but the father has been summoned to explain further,” Mr Irungu said.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has also intervened and asked the public for helpul information.
A tweet on Monday stated that the DCI will take swift action.
"We are extremely concerned about the safety of the boy. Please feel free to share with us any information that may help us on the matter,” it stated.