African StoriesLife and General Fiction StoriesNaija Stories


Nanka. The mini bus that escorted him into that red dust-coated semi town smelt of akpu and dried crayfish, and was filled with returning market women who talked loudly above the sounds of that rickety bus as it climbed over hills. That was how he would remember his coming—the laughter and loud chattering of returning market women who were absorbed in their conversations while their foreheads gleamed with perspiration and their backs were covered in beads of sweats that trickled into the parts of their backs that were soft looking like cleavages.

“Nothing can go wrong here, I am in a bus with working mothers, heading for a quasi town that can be described but not found on a map.”

The message he had received on Facebook that had prompted his coming into this mock of a town had been very direct and simple for a desperate mind. It had contained besides pictures of erect penises, a request for twenty thousand naira, which if granted, a lover would be found waiting.

It was a bizarre request for a romantic tryst, he knew, he wasn’t a child, neither was he gullible. But what had urged his coming was that he knew how each day of his adult life started and how it ended. He knew he worked from Monday mornings to Friday evenings, that Saturday was meant for clean up and buying of foodstuffs and cooking the stuffs bought because the morrow was Sunday and that day was reserved solely for God. He was also aware of the condition of which his condition was in, of how he had to consistently behave in a particular manner during the day because you could not tell which eyes were watching and how he learnt with great difficulty to love in the Dark. Even though those euphoric expressions lasted for brief moments. Twenty thousand naira was a small price to pay for the validation one needed to live Life.

Armed with crispy notes, he crossed states into an unknown village to live, even though such ventures might and will cost him his life… well, life is for living.

Emeka was his name. The lover. Calm and controlled was the mask he wore when he went to escort his lover who had travelled states to see him. He gave nothing away nor was uncertainty an attribute to him. He had done this before. So he led the love-starved and starving boy into his awaiting doom; a lair beforehand prepared by his closeted boy lover who had been spurred by greed but more by jeaslousy to hatch up such a place for this seemingly gullible fool.

“Who be dis ashawo wey tink say him fit collect my daddy prick? I go show am today.”

It was the trees and the leaves that clinched desperately on those trees that could tell how desperately the unfortunate boy struggled to hold unto life, because they themselves too struggled to hold unto those trees and those trees too struggled to hold unto the ground of which the poor boy lay dying thinking these thoughts;

“How far I’ve come from loving in the dark to dying in the light. Imagine the irony of it all,” and “whatever happened to those market women, did they reach home safely and into the arms of those who loved them?”

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