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“Asiri” — A Short Story by Muhammad Haruna

Dodum! Dodum! Dodum!” my heart kept beating.

It was my first fight, after months of intensive training just so I can beat Kaiguna, a fifteen-year-old boy. I was seventeen then, but fighting against an opponent like Kaiguna, age was just a number.

“Coward!” he barked.

The entire crowd kept chanting, “Kaiguna! Kaiguna! Kaiguna! Kaiguna!”

You could feel the energy of the audience enveloping the atmosphere, a feeling no true fighter can resist. As the sun shone, sending its scorching heat upon us. Kaiguna, the ultimate wrestler as they called him, kept walking about the ring like a hungry lion.

“Are you sure you can do this?” the referee whispered to me.

“Yes. Yes, I can do it.”

“Okay, then, but remember to just fall on your back when the fight starts getting too rough, that will save you from the torturing grip of Kaiguna,” he said.

“We don’t have all day oo! Let the fight start already!”

“Are you afraid of Kaiguna!”

“Coward!”

“You can’t defeat the ultimate wrestler!” the crowd dumped the wrath of their desperation on me, they couldn’t wait any longer to see me get tossed like a coin.

“You can do this, Ramo!” my uncle called out to me.

Face to face I was with Kaiguna in the ring, I could see the rage in his unusual red eyes. Rumor had it that he ate raw pepper before every fight. His stare alone was too fierce for a fifteen-year-old, and he was the shortest wrestler in our wrestling division.

“Fight!” the referee instructed.

Our hands locked, our chests collided, and we began to struggle. We grabbled and grunted until the referee called the end of the first round.

“Hey, coward!” Kaiguna pointed his index finger at me, “I promise you that you will not last to the end of this round. Eyaaay!” he clamored.

“Come closer,” the referee ordered. “Fight!” he said.

We ran to each other and locked fingers, struggling to make a take down. Kaiguna had his hands around my waist, getting ready to lift me up, and hopefully take me down. I kept on struggling to loosen his grip, but the ultimate wrestler was too strong for me. From the way we raised dust from our struggle, you would think two elephants were fighting. And at that moment, it was as if I was fighting an elephant. Kaiguna was just too strong for his age, no wonder he was undefeated since he started wrestling three years ago.

We kept on struggling and pushing each other back and forth, I had already began to lose hope of winning. Then I looked towards my uncle’s direction, and I saw him take out a small mirror from his animal-skin bag, placed it on the ground and broke it with a stamp of his leg. Everyone was too busy to notice him. Kaiguna had already gotten one of my legs off the ground, when I felt his grip loosen. Like a man possessed, I cleared Kaiguna’s legs from the ground and lifted him up. The crowd went “Eiyyy!” before I threw him, back first, onto the ground.

“Ramo has done it! Ramo has defeated the ultimate wrestler!” were the words that echoed around the arena. My uncle ran into the ring and raised me up on his shoulders, dancing around in jubilation.

I was the new champion, and with a smirk on my face I took all the accolades.

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