Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Day The World Ended Episode 21

“What the hell does that
mean?!” Arnold shouted,
jumping to his feet. “What is
he talking about?”
“Can’t the Americans nuke
them?” Emobor said, looking
very apprehensive. “They
don’t look too intelligent, they
shouldn’t be too hard to
fight!”
“Well, remember they just
surfaced yesterday.” Ayo said,
“And they came out in large
numbers, millions of them, like
ants, riding huge snakes that
swallowed anybody in sight
including the bodies of victims
of the earthquake. They
cleaned up after the quake,
picking on the dead,
defenseless
and weak. As soon as the Sun
shines a little bit they retreat
into the bushes but as soon
as the Sun goes down…”
“They don’t have protection
from the sun like we do.” Deji
said. “That’s why they look like
albinoes, no skin
pigmentation.”
“It’s called Melanin. No
Melanin.” Sola said.
“This is crazy.” I muttered.
“First all those strange things
that happened this week, then
The Earthquakes and now
people coming out from
underground? It seems like a
bad dream.
“If it is, then we are all
dreaming it.” Deji said, turning
off the television. “It’s the
same interview with them
they have been repeating all
day,
nothing new.”
“What happened to Dad?” I
asked suddenly remembering
our dad, still on lookout duty
in the room.
“My dear, it was a miracle.”
Mum said, “Your father went
for a meeting with the
Presidency and they were
briefed that the federal
government had received
news of this impending
disaster. They wanted to
know how it could be handled
with minimal loss of life…”
“Until some wicked politicians
hijacked the whole thing and
started demanding that their
families should be saved first.”
Deji cut in. “They insisted that
Dad and the other Generals
should provide armed escort
for them and their families to
leave the country to ‘more
organized’ places. Can you
imagine!”
“Instead of them organizing
their own people on how to
handle the oncoming threat,
they wanted to run outside of
the country, As if the disaster
is not going to affect them
wherever they go.” Ayo
chipped in.
“Well, Dad and some other
generals refused.” Deji
continued. “They insisted on
going back to warn people
and prepare the civilians for
the earthquakes.
Unfortunately they were
detained until the others got
what they wanted. Their
phones were seized and they
were not allowed to
communicate with anybody.
By the time Dad was allowed
to leave a lot of time had gone
by. His phone was never
returned to him and they put
him on a plane immediately. It
landed just as the first tear
began. We don’t know how
he made it but next thing we
knew there was a knock on
the door and he was standing
there, his shirt covered in
blood, supporting himself
with a stick and his right leg
in a bloody bandage.
“He says he saw huge snakes,
eating people, leaving no trace
behind.” Ayo finished.
There was silence in the
house. Mom made me sit on
her lap and hugged me again.
It seemed she couldn’t hold
me enough. I didn’t mind
though. I was still trying to
piece everything together.
“Let us start calling their
parents.” Mum gestured
towards Sola. “I’m sure they
will be very worried.”
“Net work has been on and
off, but I’ll try.” Ayo said. “Sola,
give me your parents’ number.
“She doesn’t have one.” Sola
said quietly.
“Your mom doesn’t have a
phone?” My mum queried.
“Alright then, your dad’s
number.”
Sola was silent. She had
always kept her family issues
secret and Bimpe and I had
never deemed it necessary to
ask. She shifted uncomfortably
in the seat.
“I live alone with my mum.”
Sola said. “She is deaf. I take
care of her. Dad left some time
ago after they fought about
her not being able to have any
more children and didn’t
come back.”
“Sorry to hear that.” Ayo said.
He walked over to her and
patted her gently on the
shoulder. She smiled wryly.
“Thanks. I don’t even know
where to start from. I don’t
know if she can take care of
herself, talkless of me.”
“She’s deaf not blind, right?”
Mum said. “She would have
seen the earthquakes, felt it.
I’m sure she is hiding safely
somewhere and praying for
you.”
“How far away is your
house?” Ayo asked.
“Two corners from Macauley
street.” She replied.
He nodded. “I can take her
home mom. I’ll be careful,
don’t worry.”
“With those people or things
or whatever they are still
outside?” I gasped
“Don’t worry, we will keep to
the middle of the road. By the
time the sun goes down, say
around 4pm, its going to be
very difficult to move about.”
“And they might attack the
way they did yesterday
afternoon.” Deji said,
If we are going to go, it’s
going to have to be now.” Ayo
said, getting up.
“We will escort you.” James
said and Emobor nodded,
standing up. “We can handle
those things jo. And there will
be safety in numbers.
“Thanks.” Sola said with tears
in her eyes. It was obvious
she appreciated the company.
Wait, let me get you brave
boys something to eat first
before you go.”My mother
said, getting up quickly and
entering the kitchen.
“But, mummy…” Ayo began
“It will be very quick, these
boys have not eaten any good
food since yesterday abi? Even
Sola looks weak. Let them not
go and collapse on the road.
Don’t squeeze your face, Ayo,
the soup is already cooked.
*
Lunch was over in thirty
minutes. There was a sense of
urgency in the air although
the boys laughed and
bantered among themselves
as if they were about
embarking on a picnic. Sola
sat beside me and ate a good
portion of food. I could tell
she was beginning to feel
much better although she was
still acting quiet and reserved.
I cheered her up by telling her
that she would meet her
mother again soon, Ayo and
the other boys were quite
capable of taking good care of
her, see as she was being
treated as a queen , only her
and four hefty guys, and
pretty soon she started to
laugh. My mom nodded
encouragingly at me and
offered her more food which
she politely refused.
The boys wolfed down their
Eba and Ewedu very quickly
and also politely declined
more food. Emobor’s arm had
been bandaged by Deji and
despite pleadings from my
mom to stay and recover, he
insisted on following the
group to drop Sola in her
place.
Soon they were all ready. Ayo
went into the room to see Dad
and came out with a reloaded
gun. He smiled grimly and put
the gun in a holster he had
worn around his chest. He
seemed very proud to be the
one in charge of the cold hard
weapon.
“Are you sure you didn’t join
any…” I asked nervously. He
laughed.
“No, I’ve seen them doing it
like this in movies.” He said.
“Okay, let’s move out.”
I hugged Sola one last time
and bid her goodbye as she
went out in the midst of all
four boys who were busy
laughing and chattering away.
A shadow went past the crack
in the wall and dad stuck his
finger through and waved.
The boys waved back and
went on down the street. I
looked around at the
surrounding houses. All our
neighbors’ houses had
collapsed in great heaps that
spotted the terrain here and
there. Some people were
scavenging among the piles of
rubbish but they were not
many. I wondered where all
the townspeople were, or had
they all turned to ashes as
well?
Deji passed by me and headed
towards Chief Akpati’s house
carrying two empty Jerrycans.
“We fetched fuel there
yesterday. The filling station is
too far away and I don’t think
anyone will even be there to
sell fuel sef.” He said. “Let me
get from Chief Akpati’s private
stash and we can always
repay him when and if things
return to normal.”
“You don’t think he is dead?” I
asked. “I thought you said his
jeep tumbled down the hill.”
“I said, one of his jeeps.” Deji
replied and started trotting
off. “And no one knows who
was inside."
I went back inside and shut
the door.
Dad had come into the parlour
and tuned back to CNN. The
generator was still rumbling
away outside. The wall clock
chimed one o’clock. CNN was
repeating the interview with
the man who claimed to have
come from under the Earth.
Now, they were showing
diagrams of how the Earth
was structured according to
the under dwellers. 3D
animated drawings showed a
hollow earth, a sphere inside
a bigger sphere, connected
together by many pillars, both
spheres rotating in tandem
with each other. The diagram
zoomed in on three of the
pillars which had collapsed,
thus creating seismic activity
and causing the huge
Earthquakes. As I watched, the
Earth diagram was broken
into three different parts, two
sections larger than the third.
“This is what the Under-
dwellers believe will happen
to the Earth in a few days time
if these earthquakes persist.
Geologists and scientists are
reviewing the new
information to see how
authentic it is and If so, what
can be done to prevent the
End of the World as we know
it. Dan Summers, for CNN,
Washington.”
“Is the Earth going to split
apart?” I exclaimed, taking a
seat beside dad. He patted me
on the back.
“It’s okay. Whatever happens
we will be together.” He said.
“But what are our leaders
doing about this?” Mom asked
from the dining room. “What
is Africa doing about it? Are
our leaders ready for this kind
of wahala?”
“Most of them are leaving the
country to America on their
private jets.” Dad chuckled. “
Everybody wants to go to
heaven but nobody wants to
die.”
“Don’t you know any of your
friends that have private jets?”
Mom asked. Dad shook his
head with a little smile and
tuned the channel to our local
news. NTA Lagos showed
“Standby”.
“Ah, okay, this is promising; at
least these guys might come
up soon.” Dad said, settling
down into the chair.” Let’s see
what is happening in our
country.”
“Dad, what about the
lookout?” I asked
“It’s hot outside, I doubt they
will attack in this blazing sun.
But you can keep a lookout
and let me know if you see
anything suspicious. I just
want to rest a bit. Deji will
take over when he comes
back.”
I nodded and went into the
master bedroom. It smelt of
iodine and bandages. It was a
bit stuffy because of the heat
but the ceiling fan was on and
I sat directly below it for a
while before going to look out
the crack in the wall.
There was nothing suspicious
happening outside.
I must have stayed there for
about thirty minutes, looking
outside, wondering about all
that had happened, trying not
to think of those we had lost,
Mr. Abel, Bimpe… Wondering if
we would survive all of this or
if indeed these were the last
days of the World.
Had we missed the rapture?
But the Bible didn’t describe
anything like earthquakes did
it? It dawned on me that it
did. What about people
disappearing mysteriously in a
pile of ashes?
Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust…
But the way I had always
envisioned it, the way I think
most people envisioned it,
was a sudden loud
trumpeting in the sky and
people suddenly floating into
the sky. And there had
definitely been no mention of
people under the Earth or
great snakes…
I recalled the Snake that we
had seen swallowing Dare.
The terror in his eyes as he
ran back and forth, looking
for how to escape his
predicament. I remember the
leather girdle on the neck of
the snake and realized it was
probably what the under
dwellers used for holding
onto the snakes while riding
them. I tried to imagine what
their world would be like, little
or no sunlight, what kind of
food they ate; the diagram on
television had shown a kind
of underground ocean so they
had enough water to rely on.
They must have been
watching us for thousands of
years, I thought.
I was looking out of the crack
when suddenly the Sun went
behind a thick cloud.
Everywhere seemed to
become even quieter than it
had previously been. I spied
through the crack at the field
outside and immediately saw
them come out of the stones
and up from the ground, as if
the ground was water and
they were just surfacing from
it. I tried to scream and call
out for help but was too
terrified to do so. They came
up in their thousands and
marched towards the house,
hissing their strange language
to each other. One of them
broke through a hole in the
ground just in front of our
gate, sitting on a huge snake
that tore out the ground as it
rose. The snake turned and
saw me and as I turned to run
it struck at the house,
destroying everything,
sending everyone in it flying,
dad, mom, we were all
screaming and something
grabbed my lag and I
screamed the louder…
“Temi, Temi!!! Wake up! You
are dreaming!”
I jumped to my feet and
realized I had passed out in
the bed under the fan. Deji
was sitting on Dad’s chair,
near the crack and was eating
a biscuit even as he looked
away from me and towards
the crack in the wall.
“How long have I been
sleeping?” I asked.
“About two hours.” Deji said
quietly. “Dad said not to wake
you.”
I stretched and yawned. “Are
the boys back yet?” I asked.
“No.” Deji replied. I stood still.
“What? Sola’s house isn’t that
far, Thirty minutes at most
and they should be back. Have
you tried calling?”
“Network is out again.” Deji
said.
“WE have to go and look for
them!” I shouted.
“Calm down.” Deji said. “The
terrain has changed. It can’t
take the same time it used to
take going to her place before
the Earthquake happened and
our molehill became a
mountain. They should be
back soon.”
But I could tell from his tone
of voice that he was worried.
Tbc

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