Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Day The World Ended Episode 25

I woke up by nine o’clock to
the awful sound of the earth
rumbling and Dad shouting
my name. The whole house
was vibrating under the noise
and Dad was hurrying to get
everybody out of the house
for fear it would collapse this
time. As I ran outside in my
nightgown, I realized Sola was
nowhere to be seen. I
screamed for her and she
answered from the back of
the house. I ran over and saw
her with my mom as they
tried to turn our huge gas
cylinders on their sides. I ran
to Mom and helped her out.
“You should have woken me,
mom!” I said reproachfully.
“We didn’t want to wake you.”
Mum shouted, her voice barely
audible above the rumbling.
“it wasn’t so bad before now
and besides, Sola was helping
out.”
We secured the gas cylinders
and ran back to the front of
the house where my dad, Ayo
and Deji were sitting on the
ground. I looked around
outside our compound and
saw a whole lot of people
sitting or lying out in the
fields, some praying, some
crying, some very still and
quiet.
“We were waiting for you.”
Dad said as we sat down.
“Oya, mum, lead us in prayer.”
And mom prayed. She prayed
for each and every one of us,
asking for the forgiveness of
our sins, Thankful for our lives
and how we had lived it,
grateful for us all being
together at what might
actually be Earth’s final hours.
She prayed for our survival or
happy afterlife, she prayed for
our neighbors and friends.
She made us forgive anybody
we had a grudge against, and
admit any wrongdoing we
had secretly kept. At the end
of it all we were all sober but
at peace.
“This noise is going on longer
than the other ones.” I
observed nervously and Deji
nodded.
“The Americans said the
world will divide into three. I
guess this is how it all tears
up” Deji said. He was
sounding very brave but his
eyes darted
around fearfully with each
rumble. Ayo sat down quietly
in a corner, his face blank.
“Maybe we should sing
praises until the shaking
stops.” I suggested. Mum
nodded and Dad grunted his
agreement. As we started, we
saw those sitting outside our
fence watching us and then
starting their own songs.
Others followed and soon we
were all singing praise and
worship, trying to make our
voices heard above the
shaking and rumbling. We all
held hands and sang along,
waiting for the inevitable.
And then the rumbling
stopped.
We were silent for a moment
and then shouts of joy rent
the air. People started
jumping up and shouting and
cries of “It’s over, it’s finally
over!!!” were heard here and
there across the field!
“Is that it? Has the world
ended?” Deji asked almost
disappointedly.
“It seems so. The ground isn’t
shaking again.” Dad said.
Ayo stood up. “Other people
are standing up o! Dad, it’s
like the thing didn’t tear
anywhere, it just died on its
own.
“That will be wonderful.” Dad
said. “Let me check BBC news
and see what they are
saying.” But his voice was
now drowned by more
exuberant shouts of joy as
people darted out of their
make-shift tents and some
coming out of Chief Akpati’s
underground rooms. People
rushed from one compound
to the other, shaking hands,
laughing and patting each
other on the back. I turned
and hugged my mom and Sola
alternately, not knowing
whether to laugh or cry.
The Radio whinned and a
voice came over it “over,
sudden trembling would
indicate a temporary lull
which we hope will last long
enough to…”
“What are they saying?” Ayo
asked , coming close and
straining to hear above the
cacophony of human noises.
Dad shushed him and
continued tuning. I looked
around, people were running
helter skelter. I was tempted
to join but before I could
move Deji suddenly jumped
up and shouted as if he had
just realized it.
“It’s over!” Deji said jumping
to his feet. “It’s finally o-“
And then a very loud and
terrifying noise whipped
through the air.
It came from deep
underground, we could
actually feel it rising to the
surface and everybody quickly
lay on their bellies in the grass
as the whole earth began to
shake violently again. The
shouts of laughter a moment
ago had been replaced with
cries of terror as people
braced for whatever was
coming.
Suddenly the earth around us
erupted and we were thrown
high into the air. I landed
painfully on my back and for a
terrifying moment I thought I
had been paralyzed as I
couldn’t feel my legs and
everything below my waist
went numb. All around us the
Earth shook and shifted and
we looked on in horror as our
house gave way and collapsed
on itself with a mighty crash.
The sky turned a strange
purplish-blue colour and the
Sun seemed to intensify its
heat for a moment as if
whatever was protecting the
Earth from its scorching rays
had disappeared for an
instant. Everywhere became
incredibly bright and hot and
then dark almost immediately
and then bright and hot
again. And then the whole
field began to rise up.
“Make it stop! Make it stop!”
Sola screamed, her eyes shut
tight as the entire landscape
began to tilt upwards. It
started gradually, almost
unnoticeably and then with all
the shaking and rumbling the
entire field tilted at an almost
30degree angle. I started
rolling down along with a lot
of other people. Ayo grabbed
on to some shrubs and
steadied himself, same with
Dad and Mum, but Sola and I
were nowhere near any
shrubbery when it happened.
We rolled all the way down
the street until we came to the
point where it leveled out.
And then there was a terrific
BANG! like a thousand bombs
went off and for a moment
everything went dark.
And then it was all over.
The Rumbling stopped and
the skies slowly cleared and
became bright again. I stayed
flat on the ground for a long
time, shaking uncontrollably
as I waited for the ground to
start moving again, but
nothing happened. I looked
across at Sola who was lying a
few feet from me. She was
hiding her face in the ground
and sobbing uncontrollably
but she didn’t seem hurt. I
crawled towards her and
shook her. She jerked away
like she had been electrocuted
and looked up, her eyes filled
with relief that it was only me.
We stayed there, looking at
each other, daring the other
to pick up confidence and
stand up first. Finally she held
my hand.
“We’ll both stand up.”
And we got shakily to our feet.
All around us was smoke and
fire and people, some
standing, most still lying on
the floor. Some of the people
were missing. We looked up
at the place where my house
used to stand; there was only
a pile of rubble now. I saw
Deji standing up and helping
mum and Dad being carried
down the field by Ayo. They
didn’t seem badly hurt.
“Is it all over?” I asked Deji as
they all made their way down.
“Yes, I guess so.” Deji said.
“We’ll listen to the news and
see what is going on. Did you
hear that terrible crack?”
“Even the deaf would have
heard that one Deji” Ayo said,
coming down with Dad. “We
have to gather ourselves and
our properties, let’s start
arranging a shelter over our
heads.”
All around us people were
doing different things. Some
of them were praying on their
knees or standing up, others
were arranging whatever of
their properties they could
find. The air smelt somehow
different.
Dad fumbled around with his
radio until he got a signal.
“This is a recent photograph
taken aboard Air Space 1. The
American government has
already decided to sponsor
the rebuilding of the planet,
being the world’s largest
donor to the WHO. It is
estimated that building these
intra-land bridges will take no
less than a decade, providing
of
course the landmasses do not
shift further apart.”
“We need to get the TV.” Deji
said. “We need to know what
they are talking about.”
“And you think it will still be
working after the whole
house collapsed?” Ayo asked.
Deji shrugged. “It wouldn’t
hurt to check.”
As he struggled back up
towards the house, I sat on
the floor with Sola. Mum was
hugging dad and speaking
comforting words into his ear
as he
stared vacantly at our
crumbled home. It must have
been terrible for him to see
his house destroyed like that.
Finally he sat down helplessy
on
the floor and Mum sat with
him.
Deji came back with the
television which was
miraculously intact.
“Let me get the generator and
an outlet we can plug the gen
to.” Ayo said and ran back
towards the house. He was
soon back with a couple of
the youths who were
interested in what we were
doing. Soon we had the
generator working and the TV
plugged but Deji was
pessimistic.
“The satellite is damaged so
there’s no way we can watch
any of the foreign channels.
Maybe if we made a pole for it
to stand on…”
“and even if you set up a pole
do you think there’ll be any
signals?” One of the youth
said. “We are probably not
going to get network for
days.”
Impulsively I brought out my
phone and looked at it. There
were no bars but a strange
signal was there instead, and
a prompt for me to accept
connection.
“Dad, check your phone!” I
cried excitedly.
“He fumbled in his pockets
and Ayo and Deji did the
same. We all had the same
signal on or phones.
“They were saying on the
news yesterday that they
would set up a kind of
worldwide wifi!” Deji gasped.
“I’m going to accept to
connect.” I said and clicked
‘OK’
A software immediately began
downloading on my phone
and soon I received the
message “Welcome to the
World Wide Unity Uplink. All
calls and text messages are
free until further notice. If you
need help, send ‘help’ to the
emergency numbers of your
respective countries you will
be receiving shortly. If you
need updates on the state of
the world…”
“This is so cooool” Deji said as
he uploaded his own too. Ayo
shouted out to one of the
youths that was watching us.
“Mutaino7! Tell all those that
have phones to switch them
on!” The youth nodded and
ran off.
“Put on the TV, maybe it will
work too.” I suggested.
Deji eagerly put on the
television and to our surprise
and delight all channels were
showing freely, although most
of them were not clear. The
NTA reporter that had been
talking the day before was on
the air, filming his
surroundings and trying to
describe his experience as it
happened in Lagos. His eyes
widened momentarily and he
started running and shouting.
“Wait, what is going on?”
“Be quiet Deji!” Dad said as
we all focused on the
television. Other people had
come to watch as well and
soon a large crowd had
formed.
The reporter seemed to run
under a flyover and hide. His
breathing was labored and
the camera swung uselessly at
the floor for a moment before
he finally raised it up to his
face which was covered in
sweat.
“The Under-dwellers are
coming out in large numbers!
They are riding on big snakes,
bigger than the ones that
came out at Lekki! Where is
the army? Isn’t anyone
watching this? Where are the
Authorities…?!”
There was a loud noise in the
background and the camera
went off.
*
There was a loud murmur
among the crowd as people
quickly began to disperse.
“We need to find shelther.”
Dad said, getting up. “Let’s get
to Chief Akpati’s house, I was
offered one of the
underground rooms…”
“Too late!” Ayo shouted
pointing as a large shadow
suddenly loomed above us.
It was a giant snake. It
appeared out of one of the
tears in the ground, a tight fit
at first and for a moment I
held my breath, hoping it
would get stuck but it pushed
its way out of the ground,
tearing up the earth as it did
so. Following it poured out an
army of under-dwellers, like
soldier ants. They wielded
their weapons and hissed
menacingly.
There was a loud outcry as
people began to run helter-
skelter. I had never seen the
under dwellers in such a
violent mood so up close
before. In moments they had
cut down most of the people
around them as if they were
nothing at all and blood
flowed freely on the fields.
Sola and I ran towards the
remains of the house as Ayo
tried to rally the youth
together to fight.
“Form a line!” He shouted. He
grabbed some of the youth
and made them stand side by
side with him forming a single
line that kept getting longer
as more armed youths joined
in.; this was the safety line
and soon people started
running behind it. Sola and I
crossed it easily as the main
fight wasn’t in our path, Dad
and mum found it more
difficult as dad was limping
but he managed to fight off
some of the under dwellers
before finally being helped by
one of the vigilantes as they
got to the line.
“Don’t break this line!” Ayo
shouted and the order was
passed down. It looked like
some sort of macabre game,
as the under dwellers
advanced, some would rush
forward with their blades to
try and break the line only to
be pushed back, fought off or
killed by one or more of the
brave youth.
I was terrified of the snake. It
just hovered in the air, with
one of the under-dwellers
astride its head, watching the
whole scene from afar off as if
it didn’t concern him. Deji had
formed a kind of marauding
band of seven youths that
would charge at the under-
dwellers to try and help those
people who still hadn’t
crossed the line. Dad got a
hold of his gun, filled it with
bullets and started shooting at
random. The fighting
continued and soon things
began to look desperate for
us humans.
“Temi. I’m going to fight.” Sola
said after a while, suddenly
standing up.
“With what?” I jumped to my
feet and grabbed her wrist.
“Leave the guys to handle it
na, do you see any other
woman going to fight…other
than my mom?” I said as from
the corner of my eyes I saw
mum helping dad refill his
bullets.
“But they need all the help
they can get, we are too few
and it looks as if the under-
dwellers are just playing with
us.”
I had noticed it too. Although
we were hitting back as hard
as we could, it seemed now
the under-dwellers were just
biding their time. They had
stopped the violent killing and
were making mock charges at
our line of defence. They
would rush forward
vengefully and Ayo and the
others would brace
themselves then at the last
minute they would run back
with hisses that closely
resembled laughter. Once in a
while an over-exuberant
youth would rush forward to
attack and the under-dwellers
would strike him down dead.
They were definitely more
seasoned in warfare than we
were and our lines were
methodically thinning out.
“I’m going, Temi. Stay here if
you want but I’m going.” And
so saying, she ran forward.
Well, I guess it has come to
this. Who would think that a
week ago, I Temitope
Richards, daughter of General
Richards , a two time class
beauty queen and all round
care free teenager would one
day take up arms and go into
battle against a group of
barbaric underworld
creatures? But that’s what I
guess I’m about to do. Writing
about it has really helped and
it’s quite possible that this is
my last entry. I’m actually
sitting behind a large boulder
as I write this with people
screaming and running about
all around me. Sola has been
gone for a few minutes and
I’m working up the courage
to go and join the fight. If I
don’t return, well, whoever
reads this knows all that
happened. The world has
been torn apart and it seems
we are on our own against
these creatures. Dad is
shooting beside me, Mum has
picked up a handgun and is
firing beside him. There is
black dust on her face and her
teeth are gritted together. I
haven’t seen Ayo and Deji in a
while. But there is a blade
beside me, it belonged to one
of the under-dwellers who
tried to rush at Sola when she
came out to fight, Dad shot it
down. I’m going to pick up
the blade and go and help
those I can. I’ll leave the diary
under this rock, would have
buried it deeper if I had the
time…
I’m rambling. Well, here goes.
If I don’t come back, then, its
goodbye.
Tbc..

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