African StoriesFantasy and Adventure StoriesNaija Stories

Burning Ice

Somewhere in Africa, a boy is running, running as fast as he possibly can. The dog is determined, focused and bloodthirsty of the little boy’s fluid. He is still running, with legs crisscrossing like tribal marks, an obvious evidence of the caveman’s whip. He is running through the woods, through every cranny his little body can venture through. The moon is about to take its shelter into the clouds; soon the night will be enveloped in darkness. The owl on the big iroko tree has his eyes transfixed on the running boy, he might be thinking same thing as the caveman’s dog: ‘This boy’s flesh will be soothing for a pleasant dinner’.

The boy is tired, weary, dehydrated of every liquid in his body. The jungle has never been forgiving, never in the boy’s eight hours stay here. Now he is dragging himself, with every energy he can grasp within him. He is going towards the river bank, the river that birthed him into the jungle. Where he left his mother to have a tour around. He can’t hear the dog’s bark behind him anymore, seems he has succeeded in comouflaging his trail.

He is getting closer and closer to the river, but he is seeing shadows, his eyes weary out of exhaustion. He has suddenly stopped. Through his dizzy eyes he sees a group of maidens: he can only see from their waists to their heads, their skin colors of the family of serpents with two huge horns affixed on their foreheads. They have eyes in every part of their heads; they can see from every angle, with no limb attached to their bodies. They are standing inside a circle of fire: dancing, moving in cycle with their invisible steps within the circle of fire. They are singing, chanting the spine–freezing of all lyrics:

“Little one, little one, little one, let’s play
Come, come
Come with us let’s play
Like a burning ice you will burn.
Little one, little one, little one let’s play…”

The boy is in fear, he wants to run back, but he can now hear the caveman’s voice barking orders to his dog to continue the chase. The boy knows only God can save him now. His eyes are drowning in tears, droplets rolling down his dry cheeks. He is cold all over his body; he is between the devil and the deep blue sea—the caveman is after him, the maidens want him to burn. Who will save him now?


A canoe is sailing in the river, the crew flashing their torch lights on the river bank. They are calling a boy’s name, several times they call. A woman is with them, she is crying, calling a boy’s name aloud as well. She seems to be a mother, yearning for her child. She just fell on her knees, her hope is getting shattered. She is lost in her emotions.

The boy sees the canoe coming his direction. He turns to see if the maidens are still present, but he sees nothing. The caveman is at the bank now, he sees the canoe. The boy runs close to the river, he is calling at the crew—he is desperate.

The caveman and his dog are retreating, going back into the thick jungle. They are not happy; their meal just slipped through their hands, the meal they found eight hours ago—lost in the jungle.

The crew sees the boy, they are slowing down to get him. He runs to them. The woman onboard is now hugging the boy, seems he is the child whom she was calling awhile ago. She is happy to see him. He is happy to see her. He is safe now, for one more hour in the jungle, he would have been an appetizer for either of the jungle beings.

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