Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Day The World Ended Episode 16

I struggled to breathe as he
carried me deeper and deeper
into the bush until we got to a
very secluded spot. Without
letting go of my throat he used
his free hand to grope at my
breasts, squeezing them till they
hurt. He pushed me to a tree and
pressed himself against me, his
body so hot it seemed like he
was having a fever, and
something hard between his legs
was prodding my tummy. I was
still struggling for breath and felt
my strength leaving me. I bucked
as my knees gave way but he
held me up with his body and
started feeling for my groin,
putting his hand up my skirt. As
he touched me down there I
panicked and felt renewed
energy and thrashed about but
he just increased his grip on my
throat and soon my arms and
feet became too heavy for me to
move. I was so weak that even if
he had let go of my throat I
wouldn’t have been able to
scream.
I felt him move his hand under
my dress again and feel my
underwear. His breathing
increased as his hands explored
further and with a sudden
ferocity he tore off my pant. My
head began to swim again as I
struggled to give my brain air
and I thought I was going to
faint. I closed my eyes, waiting
for it all to be over…
Then I heard Bimpe’s familiar
shrill voice.
“Temi! TEMI! Where are you?”
Then Sola, “Maybe she’s em…
using the toilet, Arnold wait here
let’s go that way, I thought I saw
some movement there.”
Suddenly Dare’s weight was off
me. He put his hand over my
mouth and squeezed extra hard
on my neck until I almost passed
out. He brought his head near
me and I heard him whisper:
“Tell anybody about this and I
swear I will kill you.”
Then the terrible pressure
around my throat was gone as
he let go of me and disappeared
into the bush.
I collapsed at the foot of the tree,
trying to catch my breath and
crying at the same time. It was
Bimpe who found me first. She
gasped as she saw me crumpled
on the ground and ran to my
side.
“Temi! Temi what happened?
Temi please talk to me, is it what
I did? I’m so sorry please!” and
she started crying as well.
Sola came onto the scene and
after looking at both of us for
some time she came forward
and helped lift me to my feet. She
looked into my sobbing face,
studying me quietly.
“What happened Temi?” She
finally asked.
My throat hurt and my back
ached. I could barely speak and
was dying for a cup of water, my
mouth was so dry. I motioned
for her to carry me out of that
place ad together they brought
me towards the road where
Arnold was waiting. As soon as
he saw me he ran forward.
“What’s going on? Is she hurt?
What happened?” He asked, very
alarmed.
Sola said nothing but collected a
sachet of water from Arnold’s
hand and gave to me to drink. I
took it thankfully and drank,
allowing the cool water flow
down my burning oesophagus
to my heaving chest. My body
was shaking uncontrollably and
Bimpe kept on rubbing my back
as if she thought I was catching
cold. Sola’s eyes were full of
questions but I said nothing.
They were silent as I continued
to drink, except for Bimpe who
was still crying quietly beside me.
Finally I felt better and more
composed. I gave the water back
to Sola with a smile.
“Thanks.” I said hoarsely. “What
are you doing here?”
“I came back to give you some
water and a sweater I saw in
one of the cars in case you got
cold at night.” Arnold replied.
“Sola and Bimpe said you had
moved over here but when I
came I didn’t see you, only this
blanket on the ground. I was
worried you entered back into
the forest alone so I went to get
them to help me look for you.”
Arnold had arrived just in time. If
he had not come looking for me
by now I would have been…
“So what happened to you?”
Arnold asked. “You look terrible.”
They all stared at me, waiting for
an explanation. I opened my
mouth to say something
“Tell any body about this and I
swear I’ll kill you”
I heard the threatening voice
again as if Dare had just
whispered in my ear
“I was overwhelmed by
everything that happened today,”
I said. “You know, the
earthquakes and crossing the
bridge, the idea that I won’t
sleep in my own bed tonight, and
then arguing with my best
friends…so I went into the forest
to cry, where no one would see
me.” I looked down as I spoke, I
couldn’t look them in the eye as I
lied as best as I could.
Biola gave a loud sob and
hugged me so tightly I grimaced
in pain. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry
for what I did, please will you
forgive me? Who will I talk to
again if not you? Please forgive
me Temi!”
“Let her go, you are hurting her.”
Sola said, pulling Bimpe off me.
“It’s alright, Bimpe” I said. “I was
angry. I didn’t mean what I said.”
“Why don’t you come and stay
with them by the fire?” Arnold
suggested. “It’s better for you
ladies to stay where you can
easily be seen. Some of us
prefects and teachers are taking
turns to do night vigil, so there’s
no need to be scared.”
He got up to go.
“Arnold,” I called after him. He
looked back at me.
“Please don’t abandon us again.”
I said.
He grinned then. He walked back
to me and sneered. “You are
looking for bodyguard for you
and your prince, abi?”
I shivered. “He is not my prince. I
don’t want us to talk about him
ever again.”
Arnold raised an eyebrow but
decided not to pursue the matter
further. He helped carry the
blanket Dare had brought for me
although I told him I didn’t want
it anymore but he insisted on
bringing it along and escorted us
back to the fire. He waited until I
had settled in with Sola and
Bimpe then left.
I looked fearfully around the
group. There was no sign of
Dare. Everybody else was either
sleeping or talking in hushed
tones. Bimpe made me drink
some me and eat some roasted
plantain before she yawned
widey and lay down to sleep.
Sola sat beside me for a while.
She looked very uncomfortable
and I looked away from her,
trying to put my mind on
something else.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
she asked suddenly.
I stiffened. “Talk about what?”
She was quiet for a moment then
stuck her hand behind her back
and brought out something I
couldn’t immediately recognize.
“I saw this near the tree where
we picked you up.”
I squinted in the glowing light
and finally saw what it was. My
torn underwear.
“Throw that thing away.” I
whispered.
“But, what if you need it for…”
“Get rid of it!” I trembled, my
heart full of terror and disgust.
She nodded and wrapped it in a
piece of paper she saw on the
ground and casually threw it into
the fire.
“Did he?”she asked.
“No!” I replied and lay down
backing her. “And I don’t want to
talk about it.”
I heard her sigh then felt her
hand on my back as she patted
me.
“I’m here whenever you are
ready.” She said. And then all was
quiet.
Sola spread the blanket so it
covered all three of us.The
blanket helped to protect my
exposed body from the
mosquitoes but after a while I
couldn't bear touching it
anymore, not after knowing it
was Dare that brought it for me. I
shrugged it off and used a
plantain leaf to drive away the
mosquitoes till I slept off.
*
DAY 3: EVERYTHING BREAKS
DOWN
I had fallen into a fitful sleep
when we were all awakened
around 2am in the morning by
wild screaming from one of the
girls who had been sleeping near
the fire. We all jumped to our
feet, some people running into
the bush in fright while others
ran towards the screaming to
see if we could help. I was
among the latter group though I
went mostly out of curiosity.
It was Shade, the girl that had
been helped across the bridge
like I was. Those around her kept
shaking her to stop her from
screaming but it wasn't working.
Eventually Mr. Abel came and
splashed some water on her face
and she stopped abruptly. One of
her friends hugged her tight as
she sat down, her hands folded
across her chest, rocking gently
from side to side.
“Snakes.” She kept on repeating.
“Big snakes.”
“It’s alright, everyone go back to
sleep.” Mr. Abel said, dispersing
the crowd. “She just had a bad
dream that’s all.”
The crowd dispersed as people
grumbled back to their make-
shift beds. I was looking at shade
and saw the way she shivered
violently and I had a feeling it
was more than just the cold from
the water splashed on her. A
vague memory of what had
happened to me when I nearly
fell off the bridge flashed across
my mind and I remembered the
horrible things I thought I had
seen moving in the shadows of
the crevice.
I knelt beside her as soon as Mr.
Abel and the others were out of
earshot.
“Shade, were people riding on
the snakes?”
She looked at me with fear in her
eyes and nodded vigorously.
“Yes! Did you see it too?”
I didn’t reply but left her and
went back to where Bimpe and
Sola were sitting. They hadn’t
budged at all from their ‘bed’.
“What was that about?” Bimpe
asked. “She screamed like she
was being strangled.”
“We heard Mr. Abel say she had a
bad dream?” Sola said.
I sat down beside them. They
knew I wanted to say something
and drew closer in anticipation.
“You remember when I was on
that bridge, when I almost fell
and I was holding on to the
side?, I thought I saw something,
deep down in the crevice…” I
began and looked at their faces.
“Continue. What was it?” Bimpe
asked.
“Well, I thought I saw very big
snakes, ridden by men, like
horses.” I said. “I know, it
sounds strange, but I swear I
thought I saw something like
that. There were many of them,
moving along the walls, in and
out of it, and when I screamed
they moved in my direction as if
drawn by the noise.”
“Okay.” Sola said. “It was dark
and the crevice was very very
deep. There was no way you
could have seen anything like
that. Probably your mind was
playing tricks on you because of
the fear you were feeling at the
time.”
“Yes, but…Shade said she saw
the same thing when she was
dragged off the bridge,
remember? And now the
nightmare she had was of the
same big snakes with people
riding on top.”
“Shade probably watches too
many horror movies! I know you
watch such things too, your
imaginations must have run
wild! It was probably deep roots
in the ground that you saw and
thought you were seeing
snakes.” Sola said.
“Deep roots from which trees,
Sola?” I asked apprehensively.
“Roots don’t go that deep, do
they?”
“We don’t know do we?” She
said. “Nobody has dug deep
enough into the earth to know
what goes on down there, I’m
sure even those that sink
boreholes and wells haven’t gone
as deep as what we saw
yesterday. Who knows what
happens underneath us?”
“Exactly my point, Sola!” I said.
“Nobody knows what happens
deep deep down beneath us!
What if…”
“Temi, don’t let your imagination
run away with you.” Sola said. “It
will soon be morning and when
everywhere is bright and you are
back home you will see how silly
this thing you are saying
sounds.” She smiled and went
back to sleep. Bimpe had already
covered herself with the blanket.
I wrapped Arnold’s sweater
tighter around me and lay back
down, thinking that I would
never go to sleep again.
Tbc

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