Life and General FictionNaija Stories

Sometime in July

Some wars are meant to carry the nature of death—come knocking on the door without prior notice ;so does death. Its visitation is impromptu.

One lifeless evening, around five of the clock, I was returning from summer lesson. Every nook and cranny of the city was as bloody quiet as a dry tomb—the rodents in the neighborhood bushes were dumbstruck; every window and door of many a house and uncompleted building was shut and locked up. But I could hear the furious and sequential barking of dogs in the street; rats and mice were running helter skelter as if they were chased away from the town.

All of a sudden, I halted my stroll a little, and looked around suspiciously. Fear gripped me, thinking what could have likely summoned such a grave quietness in the town; and at same time thinking of all diverse nonsense in my distorted head. I felt a bit perturbed—everything became knotty and complicated. I had nothing to do but to proceed home.

“Hmm,” I breathed deep down with a long pause. “What’s happening, God?” I looked directly into the sky, holding my waist. “Anyways!” I mumbled and continued to go, hoping to reach home soon.

*************

The only event that did bring this kind of silence in my town was during a notable ritual, specially called Õɾò, where every female in the town, be it young or aged, albino or mulatto was not allowed to come out in the course of the ritual. And if probably any of the females did otherwise or proved adamant, the Õɾò deity would eat her raw without bone or skin. It was a taboo for the former.

In spite of the fact that this law was only made for the females, males also submitted themselves to it. This ritual did take place sometime around December. But that month was July, nothing like Õɾò ritual would have taken place, without prior notice. I doubted that.

***************

As I was almost approaching the T-junction that led to my street, suddenly, there came a violent hurricane, plus tornados gathering dusts and dirt, billowing turbulently for almost thirty minutes before it stopped on spur of moment. As it ended, I raised my left hand a bit closer to my eyeballs to know what the time was by the watch worn on my wrist. It was 6 o’clock that evening. Night was falling, everywhere was becoming darker.

As I bent low to pick up the pen that fell of my left hands, not sooner than I maintained my previous position that I felt the touch of a clap, lightly striking my shoulder continuously without a halt until I was about to look back to confirm who might be the person doing such act, which brought an utter phobia to my fragile heart.

I was shocked, and at the same time pissing on my body, when I saw the half-part of a rifle pointed at my forehead when I tried to look back. I could see the man pressing the rifle’s trigger, but not clearly; he was dressed in a rough-handled, grey khaki, wearing a terraced, red beret. His eyeballs were likened to that of the god of thunder—it was daring and somewhat dareful. I couldn’t dare to look at them the second time.

“My friend!” he roared. “You better look forward before I shoot my shot directly into your skull now!” he said brutally and aggressively.

Not sooner after the he said this, I noticed there were some giant men as tall as the men of valour, emerging out of nowhere; maybe probably from their hideaways. The fear in me germinated more than before. I was sweating profusely as though a man who was bombard by honeycomb of beetle. This day was like hell on earth.

Before I would know, I had heard thousands thunderstorm of hardened slaps on my cheek by one of the member of the gang of terrorists. It was terrifying! I screamed out loud liken to a pregnant woman in severe pain during labour. Then, they all beleaguered round me in view to seeing one of them pointing his pistol directly to my forehead, holding the trigger tightly; and ready to fire.

As he was about to fire, all of a sudden, the serene sound of the military force blurted out faintly from a nearby nook of the town. Before I could look up to know what would be the next, they have all disappeared into the air like faded smoke.

I hesitated not to waist much of the time, as soon as I sighted one old-fashioned storey building nearby to where I was kneeling down. I drew closer to the door. It was faintly locked. Then, I moved a bit backward to get an aid in opening it. With much confusion and a waisted time, I fortunately found an iron rod.I forced the door opened after much stresses that I went through. It opened at last! I rushed quickly into the building, shutting the door back.

Not long after I entered the building, I heard the wailing shots of guns that the strikings could be envisage from my perturbed heart, coming from outside.

‘Lives shall sleep in cold blood of howling rifles!’ I thought within and breathed in softly.

A dim light flashed, repeating it twice before it stayed, radiant. Inside me, I was glad, seeing the power restored. I took a step to the staircase closer to the main exit; did that the second time and the third. Before I reached upstairs, every nook of the building has turned blackout.

‘Mtcheew! NEPA don off light shaa,’ I mumbled, hissing.

Soon, I developed this feeling of fear while I suddenly heard the fading cry of a baby from an unknown room. A lady, whom I couldn’t identify due to the darkness touched my flesh when I was trying to look for a room to stay until the ongoing violence on the street stop. I shouted loudly as the former touched me, caressing it.

As I was about to runaway from her in the dark, I felt down hardly on the surface of that ground –a dim light flashed that time long after the power went off. Now, I could see the woman clearly, gushing out blood slowly out from her mouth; she looked horrorsome. She was trying all her best to draw closer to me, but as she continued, I was stepping back from her to stop her from hurting me with her sharp toothed canines. As though that was not enough, I hit my head on the arm of the staircase while working backwards from the harm of the former.

“Eshh!” I screamed as regard to the result of the hurt, standing steadily, “Out of frying pan to fire,” I clamored.

The woman has almost gotten to where I was standing, holding rolling pin to hurt me. Before she could raise it up, I have escaped, entering another room that leaded to the backyard, not knowing it was a place mainly meant to bury the dead. Everywhere was occupied with coffin. I grew more afraid; my heart was beating faster as though I was going to give up the ghost soon.

All at once, a hand, which I didn’t know, held my neck, menacing to strangled me. I fought to the last breath; my legs were shaking, head was almost dead and dry, I was screaming beneath my voice. No doubt! It has been ceased.

* * *

“Leave me! Leave me! Leave me!” I shouted loudly from sleep. “So it was a dream?!” I was surprised while my legs and arms were still shaking badly and grasping tenuously and gaseously. It took some minutes for me to regain my strength and come back to my right senses.

Few minutes after, mama screamed out loud from the living room, shouting out my name.

“Ige! Ige! Ige!”

“Ogun ti de o!”
(War is here o!)

The shots of rifles kept on resounding on the iron sheets of our building.

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