There was no electricity anymore; even the rich men did not have chandeliers for fancifulness anymore. The city became chrome with dishevelling dead bodies and bruises. One certain dusk was memorable. But it was an evening where many people died in other community. We were perplexed. Our anxiety became wry, and though, it was bemoaned, before the police came to rescue us. The entire community was in bloodshed. The children were crying endlessly. Mothers were screaming wantonly; while fathers were coupling their grief slowly. It was incredulity of misery. It was a period of despair.
That event was a story in our memory. It was a significant period of war and anguish. Adebayo who was among the perpetrators had once told me that everybody would die. The event had killed millions of people and many people had perished. When he said this, I began to cornucopia on, the lives we had lost. Even my bosom friend was part of the incident. His death caused grief in my heart and we bereft on his death.
And after the discussion that evening, Fola, whose mother sold us fried beans cake and bread was brutally injured. Her skin was bruised. And mummy Amaka who usually sold us provisional items was set ablaze in her kiosk. When I heard the news of these two women; I was terrified. My annoyance rose to the level that, I told myself that everybody won’t die and live their best memory to roam the street. Or, to take a moribund choice as we were being killed by marauders. I was soliloquizing when Nike came to me. She was a beautiful young lady, whose sheen face, always attracted me, and her curly hair is like of a kitten. And she spoke eloquent English.
‘’ What is wrong with you?’’ she said to me
I ignored her. I did like as if I was busy doing another thing. She stared at me and hissed. Though I was interested in what she had to say, my emotion was with those women who were killed. As I was about to talk to her, we heard a bomb explosion and, she ran into me, and unknowingly, we kissed ourselves. I looked at her face, and I saw her laughter incoming steadily in a sorrowful way. I was indeed scared of her reply. And I hastened myself; to apologize for what I had done.
‘’ I’m sorry’’
‘’ Sorry for what?’’
‘’ I just need to tell you, I’m sorry’’
She grinned. And I laughed back cheerfully. She cuddled me. And I touched her buttock with so much admiration. She wasn’t comfortable but I was excited to have touched her. My hand transgressed to her apples; but, she hailed at me. So I was naive.
‘’ I don’t know what my hands are looking for in that place’’
‘’ You don’t need to disturb my libido because you can’t have a touch on me’’
‘’ I never said that— ‘’
‘’ I know’’
Later, we were about to depart, because I was already tired of the rigorous meeting we had. I was yawning and stretching my hand like a cockerel who wants to be killed for Christmas. My body was weak. So I visited the pharmacy along the road close to where Amaka’s mother was killed. When I got there, the pharmacist was scared to attend to me. He felt I was part of those men who came last night. He ran swiftly into his inner shop. But I beckoned at him, he refused to answer me. I was standing for a while; when a lady came closer, with a cigarette on her hand. She lighted the cigarette with a match’s box she saw on the floor. Surprisingly, she introduced herself to me as Amaka.
‘’ My name is Amaka’’
‘’ My name is Sekoni’’
‘’ It is my pleasure— can you please explain what had happened in this community?’’
‘’ Is it that you don’t know or you are being sarcastic?’’
‘’ I don’t know anything’’
I looked at her unapologetically. She puffed her cigarette with amusement. And she inhaled with pleasure as the fume covered the entire premises. And the pharmacist was tiptoeing towards us when my eyes glimpsed at him.
‘’ I want to buy Paracetamol capsule’’
‘’ I don’t sell drugs anymore’’
‘’ Why?’’ Amaka asked him with an intense curiosity
‘’ I stop. They kill us. They have burnt us down. Our children are missing. Our daughters are abducted. Our Sons have joined terrorists’’
‘’ Tell me more—‘’
‘’ They kill us to gain another territory ‘’
After what he had said, I began to feel pity for his loss. While Amaka was busy chewing her bubble-gum, and even she inserted an earpiece. I looked at her scornfully. She did as if she didn’t see me. And later, she began to moan and with a sympathetic decadence. Suddenly, we heard another heinous bomb explosion from a district to where we were. I was desolate, at the point, the incident happened. And my fear increased.
‘’ They are here again, I think’’ the pharmacist spoke with an innocuous tone
Amaka who wasn’t focusing on the discussion began to fidget. She was shivering and worried. I was scared to see her in that mood. She threw her chewing gum. Perhaps, she saw the policeman as they began to patrol the district.
‘’ is this what you people face here’?’ she asked the pharmacist
‘’ No, but since the government has failed to improve the security we have been in this despair’’
‘’ Are you serious?’’
‘’ Do you think this is a joke? From what you have seen so far, does that look like a joke? Our children are dying and there is famine in the land’’
I sighed. Suddenly, my mobile phone began to ring. After which I became fierce. I was also naive about the kind of intrusion the call had made. I looked sternly at the phone, as it kept ringing. And my mind was even throbbing that I hope it wasn’t a perilous call. Still, I refused not to pick the call because Amaka was still somehow grieving about the bomb sound she heard.
As the pharmacist went into his shop, I insisted on wearing my fear, so as to pick the call when the caller called again. I was expecting the caller, but it was a message that beeped into my phone like a doom. When I saw the message, I thought, whether it was from the caller. I checked. But I was dissipated with what I saw. Afterward, I began to shed tears. While I was crying, Amaka noticed me and she came closer to me, and she held me closer to her breast. I enjoyed the softness of her breast. I felt comfortable.
‘’ Sekoni, what is the problem with you?’’
I was just sobering and whimpering. I was even stammering because I was hurtful with the content of the message.
‘’ What kind of message is that?’’
I felt like I had been ceding myself for anguish and delinquency. I showed her the message and she read aloud: ‘’we are terrorists and we are incinerating the entire district. We have killed your beloved friend Nike and her family. So, be prepared to welcome us when we visit you.’’
Immediately she finished reading the message, she too began to cry. We both shed tears to the notice of the pharmacist. He heard us crying and, he left his primary duties. Drop his stethoscope on the table and came outside to see us where we sat
‘’ What is the cause of your cry?’’
I stopped for a moment. I was trying to explain before we heard another bomb blast again. This time around, the blast was closer to us.
‘’ Tell me your problem?’’
Amaka looked at me instantaneously. I sighed. While the pharmacist left us alone. He moved back to his shop and began to dust his medicine when a woman ran from a nondescript to his shop. She was sober. Perhaps, her dress was tattered. And she started to behave as if she was suffering from a particular trauma. She was grotesque. Even somehow gargoyle as she had appeared without explanation
‘’ Where are you coming from?’’ Amaka asked
‘’ They came to our neighbourhood and they have killed all the women and thrall our men and daughters. I was the only one that escaped from their captivity.’’
‘’ They have come here too’’ pharmacist replied her
‘’ And where do we go now?’’
‘’ Nobody knows. Only God will direct us from this fleshy people. They have cause carnage in our district. Two of our girls have given birth for them in their den’’
‘’ What is the government doing to secure these districts’’ Amaka cleansed her face and asked
‘’ They are writing letters to themselves ‘’ I said.
They all looked at me. Yet, they did not understand what I was saying. I was distorted with their suspicious look at me. I felt unsatisfied. I was even curious to know what led to their hurried look at me when I said they were writing letters.
‘’ What is the problem?’’ I asked Amaka without any trepidation
The tranquillity on the air had made her think, I was fussy because of the bizarre and she began to laugh at me with her ecstasy. The look on her face was disillusioned. That made the tattered woman begin to give instance on what she felt concerning my earlier talk.
‘’ I don’t think the government is ready to stop these horrendous killings in these districts. Many lives have gone and they have done nothing.’’
‘’ Even the subaltern army are dying like prey’’
‘’ What is the cause of all this?’’ Amaka asked in a kind of puerile question. And I looked at her with piquant face
‘’ The problem is that the government has failed woefully to manage communal crises that have now led to pogrom’’ the pharmacist replied her
Where we stood, we heard people crying, and I looked afar, and I noticed that they were carrying dead people to the morgue. I was pathetic because of what I saw. When Amaka and the woman noticed my immersed look at that direction; they asked me
‘’ What are you looking at?’’
As I was about to explain to them, tears began to drop from my face, like I was sprayed with canister teargas. Amaka saw that, she came closer to me, and helped me to clean my face with her handkerchief. While the woman thought I was bantering.
‘’ What can make you begin to cry like a child?’’ the pharmacist asked
‘’ I saw dead bodies. I saw people burying themselves’’ I told them. I point my hand to the mosque behind the pharmacist’s shop. It was from this mosque they brought out their remains.
‘’ Who are these people?’’ Amaka curiously asked
‘’ They are night musketeers’’ the woman replied
We all laugh boisterously. And the pharmacist dropped his spectacle and his white pull over on the visitor’s chair, where I had sat before.
‘’ They are not Christian or Muslim’’
‘’ Who are they?’’ Amaka asked
‘’ They are messengers of the devil coming to weep us into days of sorrow’’ I replied her.