Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Day The World Ended Episode 6

“It all happened so fast, and without warning.” The farmer was saying. “One minute I was in the house, watching television and having a mug of malt prepared by me wife. The next thing I hear is something like stones falling and the livestock making a mighty ruckus. Before I could put on me jammies and load me Dane gun, it was all over. I just took a loan from the bank. Who’s going to pay for my lost livestock? Does insurance cover this?”
At this point the man broke down in tears and his wife came and put her arms around him as she led him away from the camera.
The CNN reporter continued. Apparently the phenomenon had been global, with some places experiencing severe hail the size of cars and other areas had blocks of ice falling from the skies. A satellite view of the Sahara desert showed a cool mist but no ice. It seemed the hot deserts were the only places where Ice had not fallen.
“Miraculously, reports coming from around the world have indicated that although there have been a massive number of injuries here and there, there were no human casualties. Scientists are calling it the freak accident of the century…”
“Scientists must always have an explanation for everything.” My father cut in suddenly, making us jump.
“Thank God nothing like that happened here.” Mom said, “Can you imagine what our government would have said?” she deepened her voice “’We are looking into it, we will set up a committee.’ They won’t do anything about it,”
“Well, something like that happened this afternoon.” I interrupted.
My father and mom turned to look at me. I continued. “There was a hailstorm about 30minutes ago. I’ve not seen a hailstorm before…”
“The last one happened just before you were born dear,” My mum said
“-and this one was really frightening.” I continued. “The stones were huge, as big as melons!”
“Well now you are exaggerating Temi,” My dad replied with a sigh. “Hail stones are like little pebbles, they don’t get so large in the sky and even if
they did, they would definitely melt before reaching the ground.”
“I’m telling you papa, one of the children in the fields on Ijani street got hit on the head and collapsed. There was blood everywhere, it was terrible!”
My father and mom looked at each other then suddenly burst into laughter. Well, mum did anyway; Dad’s was more of a hiss and a smirk. I was hurt either way because they didn’t believe me.
“So how come we didn’t hear of it, or see it, dear?” Mom asked.
“It’s the laptop you left for her to be watching film with.” My dad retorted. “She watches films there all day. It’s no wonder she’s coming up with
these strange ideas.”
“I know what I saw!” I almost shouted. Mum kept quiet and dad’s moustache started to twitch again. “You just heard there were hailstones the size of cars on the news! Why would I be exaggerating?”
“What kind of tone is that?” My Father bellowed, sitting up straight in the sofa. Mom’s hand went to his arm and he took a deep breath to calm
down before continuing. “My friend, will you go to your room and read or do your home work! I don’t know why you are even here sef!”
I hurriedly left the dinner table and went to my room. I hadn’t meant to be rude, but my parents laughing at me had made me feel foolish. Just because I was last born didn’t mean I didn’t know what I was saying!
I locked myself in my room and read up on hailstones on mum’s computer that she had lent me. They were little balls of ice that formed around solid particles in the cool sky. They usually didn’t get to the size of a fist before falling and melting back to water even before hitting the ground. I angrily wished I had been able to take a picture of the ones I saw in the fields before they melted. I could call Bimpe and Sola to my house to confirm the story but I didn’t think it would be worth it.
I went to sleep only to be awaked an hour later by Deji’s excited voice coming from the parlour. He was literally shouting and my dad was ordering him to calm down. I got up and cleaned the sleep from my eyes and staggered to the parlour.
Mom and dad were standing and Ayo was sitting on the sofa’s chair beside Deji who had sat down and was drinking a glass of water.
“It’s a very disgusting sight Sir!” Deji was addressing my dad. “Snakes everywhere! They were crossing the express as if migrating to the east…”
“Snakes don’t migrate, son.” Dad said.
“They don’t? Well, these ones looked like they were going somewhere. There were thousands of them! Cars were just crushing them anyhow…”
“You are exaggerating Deji” I said and suddenly realized it was the same words papa had used on me a while ago.
“Exaggerating what? Deji gasped, still trying to drink from his cup and talk at the same time. “Do you even know what I’m talking about? I’m just returning from the express, if you see the amount of snakes that cars have run over eh! And they are all facing in the same direction, crossing from one side of the road to the other! I’m serious when I say there were thousands!”
“Come, come now brother.” Ayo said with a smirk, “Surely your heart has not failed you…”
“I’m serious!” Deji shouted. “It was a terrible sight. People are thinking it’s the heavy hailstorm that fell earlier today that scared them out!”
I saw dad raise an eyebrow and look at me,
“Told you so.” I said in my mind, not out loud. I didn’t want any more trouble from him.
“Well, I didn’t see anything when I was returning from the base, I don’t know what’s got into you two today. If anything strange was happening
we would hear it on the local news.” He said with a huff.
“We two?” Deji followed his gaze to look at me.” What happened, Did you see the snakes too?”
“No, just hailstones.” I replied. And added: “They were really big.”
“Well I didn’t see the hail but my friends did. They said there were a few big ones but since it had been a long time hail has fallen in this part of Nigeria I think their excitement was more because they had witnessed it.”
“Dad, have you actually put on the local news today?” Ayo asked, pulling off his singlet. “It is possible we missed it.”
“Okay, okay.” My father said and went to turn on the local TV station. I sat down beside Deji and asked for the full gist while Ayo took the rest of the water and started to drink. Mom went into her room to change.
The TV station came on, not as clear as CNN but visible. The newscaster was interviewing a man that had managed to create a car engine in his garage. The man was asking the government for funds to complete the project. He had a company he wanted to register called 3Dimension. It would go places, he said. We watched in silence for a while but after that another program depicting the workings of the governor came on air.
“Nothing as usual.” Dad said, switching it back to DSTV.
“Check Channels TV” Ayo suggested.
Dad tuned to Channels TV and the reporter was interviewing a hunter in the outskirts of Lagos. The hunter was grinning stupidly from ear to ear.
“Nothing too.” Dad said with a sigh. “You should all go and rest. Except you Temi, I’m sure you have assignment and I want to see it when you are done. I want you ready for WAEC as soon as possible.”
“Papa,look!” I shouted, pointing at the TV excitedly.
They all turned back to the television. The grinning hunter was showing the Channels reporter his catch for the day.
His trappings included 5 grass-cutters, 8 huge cane rats, 7 antelopes and one large python which he proceeded to carry and wrap around his body, much to the alarm of the female reporter.
“And you say you caught all of these today? Just today? How?” She was saying.
“Ha, my ancestors decided to bless me today o” The hunter said in fluent Yoruba. “The Animals just rushed out of the forest towards me! I would have caught more but my traps were filled and my bullets finished. The rest ran off towards the East. It is indeed a good day.”


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