Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Day The World Ended Episode 17

I woke up to bright sunlight and
the smell of burnt out firewood. I
turned and twisted around,
thinking I was in my house on
my own bed. wondering why my
bed was so hard and my alarm
clock wasn’t ringing. And who
had opened the window blinds?
I shielded my eyes from the
sunlight and tried to go back to
sleep when I heard a deep voice
“Temi, wake up.”
What was Ayo doing in my
room? I groggily sat up and
rubbed my eyes. It cleared to
reveal Dare staring down at me
and smiling.
Dare!
“Hope you slept well.” He said,
smiling mischeviously.
Suddenly I realized where I was.
The events of last night rushed
back in a flash and I jumped to
my feet. I staggered back and
nearly fell over Sola who was still
sleeping.
“Ah, ah, why are you marching
me now?” she complained as she
sat up. Then she saw Dare. She
stood up quickly in front of me
and faced him.
“Yes, what is it?” She asked in a
very menacing tone.
Dare’s smile vanished
immediately. “You told her?”
I shook my head vigorously and
Sola held my shoulder.
“She didn’t tell me anything but
you can be sure I will get it out of
her sooner or later and God help
you if you did anything nasty to
my friend! Now go before I start
shouting! Move!”
“Temi, I’m sorry about last night.
Honestly I don’t know what came
over me…” Dare pleaded but Sola
was having none of it.
“Arnold! Mr. Abel!” She shouted
and Dare walked quickly away.
“What was all that about?” Bimpe
asked, sitting up and rubbing her
eyes.
“Nothing.” Sola said. “Get up,
everybody is awake already.”
We looked around at our little
camp. The fire had completely
died out and most people were
already up and about. Mr. Abel
was near the edge of the pit
along with some other teachers.
They were discussing among
themselves, probably on how we
should proceed. Arnold and the
others prefects were nowhere to
be seen.
“They went to get some more
fruits so we can eat before
continuing.” One of the boys that
was passing by said when we
asked him.
We washed our hands and faces
with some of the remaining
sachet water and soon Arnold
and his team were back. He
carried a bag of fruits on his
broad gorilla like shoulders and
smiled at us as he passed by.
Soon they had shared the food
and we all ate quickly as Mr. Abel
described the day’s journey to us.
“The bad news is that mobile
network hasn’t returned, so
there is no way of letting our
families know we are all right.
The good news is that we’ll soon
be reunited with them. It’s just
for us to cross this road. The
bushes and trees aren’t so much
on the other side and I will be
happier knowing that those of
you who want to go towards the
market will be doing so in broad
daylight. The rest of us will go
the other way. We are going to
use those petrol tankers there.
We will climb down one of them,
move further down, and then
climb up another one. Very
simple, no bridge walking in this
one.”
Some people laughed and Mr.
Abel smiled.
“You have all been very brave to
come on this small adventure
with me and I am proud of you
all. It will soon be over and we
can gist and laugh about all this
in class tomorrow. I’m joking and
joking!” he laughed as there was
an immediate loud protest from
the group. “I don’t think school
will resume for a while, so you
guys make sure you read at
home. I will be communicating
with all of you as soon as
network returns.”
There was clapping and cheering
as we all got ready to cross the
pit. Mr. Abel led the way to the
tanker and we all followed
behind. The tanker was turned
on its side, haven fallen into the
pit probably when it opened up.
The other tanker was a little
further off.
Mr. Abel climbed the body of the
tanker then carefully walked
down to the bottom. He was
followed by the teachers and
then the prefects and the rest of
us. It was strange being inside
the crevise, as if we were inside
the Red sea when Moses parted
it only that the two sides of the
wall were rock and stones and
dirt instead of water and there
were wrecked vehicles
everywhere instead of pharaoh’s
chariots. We walked along this
strange landscape for a while till
we got to the second tanker.
“Where are all the people?” Sola
asked as we passed through the
wreckages.
“Will you stop asking that for
goodness sake?” I replied,
glaring at her. “Probably they
were helped out when the
earthquake subsided.
“Yes, but this kind of disaster,
there must have been many
injuries right? Maybe some
people even died?”
“Yes, and so? What’s your
problem?” I asked
“Where’s the blood?” she asked.
“There should be blood
somewhere, but everywhere is
clean. The earthquake happened
a few hours before we
reached here, there should be
one or two people going
through the wreckage, trying to
collect their things that they left.
There should actually be a small
crowd, but we haven’t seen
anybody since we got here! This
is a highway, where are the
ambulances, the towing vans, the
villagers? Where are the people?”
“Maybe rapture happened when
the earthquake took place.”
Bimpe said. She looked so
serious I had to laugh.
“Rapture? And I didn’t go?” I
snorted. “It’s a lie jo. Are you
saying there is no righteous
person among us? At least
someone in our group would
have disappeared if it was
rapture na!”
“Remember those airplanes that
went missing on television
before this thing happened…”
Bimpe said.
“Bimpe that was an entirely
different matter. You are getting
as bad as Sola!” I replied. She
grimaced and we all laughed.
Sola looked at me, this was the
third time she was doing so in a
sneaky sort of way since we
entered the crevice. I knew what
she was looking out for but I just
wasn’t emotionally ready to deal
with it yet. I was looking for any
opportunity to get Dare out of
my mind and this conversation,
any conversation, was welcome.
But she kept on glancing my way
until I became exasperated.
“Sola I’m fine.” I said quietly
when Bimpe moved a little out of
earshot.
“Dare didn’t touch you did he?”
She asked, sounding very
disturbed. “If he did then we
should report to Mr. Abel. I think
we should even get your father
involved…if…you know…”
“He didn’t rape me, okay?” I shot
at her. “You guys came just in
time. I really don’t want to talk
about it. I don’t want anybody to
know about it,
it would be too embarrassing.
Let’s just forget anything ever
happened okay? I won’t go near
him again.”
Sola kept quiet and we continued
our walk.
Soon we reached the other
tanker. It slanted upwards and
out of the pit. As usual, Mr. Abel
went first, climbing up the tanker
carefully. He slipped and almost
fell once but regained his
footing. It wasn’t a particularly
difficult climb except for the
smoothness of the sides of the
tanker and soon he was climbing
out on the other side of the road.
“Alright, very easy as you can see,
next person up please.”
The next person had started
climbing up when we heard a
low rumble and the ground
beneath us began to shake!
Another earthquake! There was
sudden pandemonium as
everybody struggled to climb up
the tanker at the same time. Mr.
Abel tried calming them down’
pleading for us to come one at a
time.
Arnold and Dare were one of the
first to climb up the trailer and
then they turned and started
helping others. Suddenly there
was another huge noise and Mr.
Abel looked up to see what
might be causing it. When he
looked down at us again his eyes
were wide open with fear.
“Climb! Everybody climb!”
We needed no extra prompting. I
joined Sola and Bimpe in pushing
our way to the tanker and we
started to climb. The loud noise
drew closer and the ground
trembled again and Mr. Abel
urged us to move faster. Now
there was a cracking noise, like
the sound of many trees falling,
and I looked back and saw that
the walls of our pit were
collapsing. I struggled to climb as
fast as I could and reached out to
Arnold who pulled me out. Sola
and Bimpe were next. Soon we
were all out and we scrambled
from the edge as the pit we had
just walked through caved in.
We were finally on the other side
of the road! Home had never
seemed as close as it did then.
The ground continued to shake
but not as badly as before. Mr.
Abel suggested we all sit down
and wait until it passed.
“Just a minor earthquake unlike
the first one,” He said. "Nothing
to be afraid of”.
As if on cue, as if some strange
god were mocking Mr. Abel, the
ground right in front of us tore
open with a thunderous sound.
We all started screaming and
shouting and I joined Bimpe and
Sola in running into the opposite
bush. We found a large tree and
started climbing it instantly. We
could hear Mr. Abel’s voice above
the roaring noise of the earth
moving around us.
“No! No! Don’t climb the trees!
It’s more dangerous there! All of
you come down and lie flat on
the ground!”
Ignoring the voice, completely
panic stricken, I climbed higher,
urging Bimpe who was in front
of me to move. Sola had climbed
up another tree and was
screaming something at us.
Without looking back down, I
urged Bimpe upward and finally
settled on a branch big enough
to hold my weight. The tree
swayed dangerously and I held
on tight, hearing the warning of
my geography teacher but too
panic stricken to obey. I looked
around and saw the others who
had climbed up. Sola, Bimpe,
myself, two other boys and a
female teacher. The noise
gradually reduced and the
horrible movement stopped. Mr
Abel and Arnold stood up from
the ground where they had been
lying with the others and rushed
to the trees.
“If those trees fall down, you will
all break your necks!” Mr. Abel
shouted. “Come down at once!”
“Temi come down.” Arnold said.
“Come down so Bimpe can come
down too. It’s safer down here,
don’t worry.”
“I can’t!” I screamed. “I’m
frightened!”
“Sir, don’t worry, let me go up
and help them down.” Arnold
said. Mr. Abel Protested but
Arnold was already climbing.
Some of the other boys who
were lying on the ground
previously had gotten to their
feet and come under the trees to
watch the drama.
“Arnold, this your babe go kill
you o! Come down!” One of them
said and the others laughed. I
looked around and saw Dare
watching from a
distance. He caught my gaze and
then looked away.
Arnold slipped and fell off the
tree and there was an uproar of
laughter as he landed on his
bottom.
“How did they climb up sef?”
“You know fear is a powerful
motivator!”
Arnold didn't answer them.
Instead he stood up and dusted
his hands and grabbing a huge
root of the tree, hoisted himself
up once again.
That move saved his life.
Tbc

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