Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Day The World Ended Episode 3

“Good morning bro.” I said carefully.
“Good morning. Are you through?” He’s the tallest of all of us and even though he is my brother he still manages to send a chill down my spine anytime he stares at me with those cold eyes of his.
“Yes, thanks.” I reply and quickly began to move out of his way when he grabbed my arm and pulled me back.
“What are you thanking me for?” He asked, a gentle smile playing on his lips. I opened my mouth to say something but nothing came out. He drew me closer to him and whispered.
“Are you afraid of me?”
I pulled away from him immediately. “No!” I almost shouted. “Why should I be?”
He grinned and gave me a pat on the back.
“Good. Because, honestly, there’s nothing to be scared of.”
“If you say so.” I said and left him laughing to himself and went to my room to get dressed.
Thirty minutes later and I was eating breakfast. Mum came in from the kitchen, already dressed and ready for work. Dad had already left the house and I knew I wouldn’t see him again till 4pm. Dad and mum were two opposite poles and it remained a mystery to me how they remained happily married. Dad was outgoing, authoritative, loud and demanding as far as I was concerned. I guess he had to be that way because of his soldiers but I didn’t see why he had to be that way with us his kids! He would order us in and out of the house, telling us where to go and what to do and I resented him for it. Okay, maybe resented is too strong a word, but why couldn’t he be more friendly like those fathers we saw in the movies? Why did everything have to be so serious with him? His authoritarian ways always put me in a bad mood.
“Temi, now that you have grown up, you have to be wary of these young boys,” he had said on the day my mum announced my womanliness to the world. He had been sitting in the parlour, watching the news on CNN. “I expect you to be home by 4pm straight from school, no branching. Anything other than that and you’ll see my bad side. I don’t want to hear any story!”
“I guess I should stop talking to boys too abi?” I had murmured and he had frowned that frown that looks as if his moustache is about to jump
off his upper lip and strangle me.
“I mean it little lady!” he had said. “No STORY!”
My mum had come to my rescue as usual. My mum is the best mum in the world. I know it sounds a little cliché but it’s true. A quiet, beautiful, tall, unassuming woman who fawns over all of us and always puts our comfort before hers, she is the one that the bible describes in the book of Proverbs as a good wife as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think I’ve ever woken up before her a day in my life. My dad acts all gruff and authoritative but I’ve caught him on more than one occasion melting at my mum’s soft touch or gentle words, being swayed by her quiet voice and clever tongue.
She had stood up for me that day, vouched for me and my good behavior, and my dad had mellowed. I was glad she had spoken in my defense but too embarrassed by her previous announcement to tell her so. The memory still lingered in my mind although it had been almost three months ago.
This morning, mom had made Akara and Custard for breakfast and was just rounding up on the Ewedu for lunch. Deji was already seated at the table and watched as I rushed through the Akara, hoping to hitch a ride with my mum to work, even as she bustled out of the kitchen.
“Alright kids,” She said, almost gasping. “I’m off to work.”
“But it’s not yet Eight mom, please wait a while so you can drop me at school!” I yelled, but she was already out the front door. I groaned and hastened my eating. I was going to be late again today for sure.
“You know, you could wake up earlier.” Deji suggested in between mouthfuls. He had already finished his meal and was rushing off for jamb lessons. “That way you can spend all the time in the bathroom you want and still not be late.”
“Stop teasing her, Deji.” Ayo said, coming in from the corridor, tying a towel round his waist. There was a fresh cut on his abdomen but I pretended not to see it as a deep feeling of uneasiness crept down my spine. Deji, on the other hand, had no qualms about mentioning it.
“Another scar, brother?” he said, looking up from his meal and smiling. Ayo staredback at him blankly.
“You know my name.” he said. “Ever since we watched ‘Spartacus’ you won’t let any of us rest.”
“He doesn’t do it to me, only you.” I chipped in, and immediately felt foolish for doing so as they both turned to look at me.
“Ignore the wench, brother.” Deji said. “Tell me, what foe left so indelible a mark on thine thick hide?”
“I cut myself while clearing the bushes at the back.” Ayo replied, and with a small smile, he entered the kitchen.
“The cut is so deep, one would think the bushes fought back, dear brother!” Deji taunted. He seemed to be enjoying himself.
“Hold your tongue, little brother.” Ayo’s voice came from the kitchen, quiet but menacing “Or I swear by all the gods I will cut it off and stick it up your Bottom.”
“Deji stop teasing him!” I whispered, a little alarmed. Deji just laughed, and then to my relief, kept quiet. I hurriedly finished my food and carrying my backpack filled with my books, I rushed out the door.
Our street is built on a gentle slope. Most of the estate is on the eastward side; hence we have a good view of the Sun when it rises. I groaned as the Sun shone directly into my eyes and held on to the straps of my backpack with both hands as I began the 20minute walk to school. I averted my gaze from the sky and concentrated on the tarred road in front of me. It was free from pot holes and had been swept clean by the environmental workers a while ago. As I trudged down, I passed by the big man’s house.
Chief Akpati’s house was a mansion, a huge duplex with surrounding pillars and a gate so big and shiny the locals called it ‘Heaven’s gate’. There
were flower gardens in the front of the gate with little red and yellow flowers I was sure had been imported, they looked so beautiful. After the garden was the wall as high as the walls of Jericho, and on top of that, an electric fence. The owner was believed to be a politician who had left his native soil in Port Harcourt and had decided to come and build out here far away from home. Offa was a relatively quiet town and a few of such people had decided to settle down here, far away from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives.
It was rumored that he had guard dogs who could swallow a 5year old child whole. His security men were not thin and lanky like the local ones but were well built and always wore dark shades and berets like a scene out of a bad Nollywood movie. Most of the local folk kept away from him and the few that had dealings with him were viewed with suspicion. Cars, the likes I had never seen anywhere else kept going in and out of the house at odd hours of the day. My dad had specifically warned all of us to keep away from the compound and we did that religiously. The chief must have realized he was quietly being ostracized from the community he had decided to settle in and dug a borehole near the gate with almost five taps constructed above it and declared it free for anyone who needed it. It had been a success on the first day but soon after the people had abandoned it again when it was rumoured he put something in the water that fed his wealth and robbed others of theirs. I personally didn’t believe it but had no need to test the theory since we had a borehole of our own.


Post a Comment

We Cherish Your Comments Most, Kindly Drop your comments below.