the machete, the pounded yam, the prophet

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He opened the door and slipped into the house.

It had been  sixteen long months. he had counted. He missed his wife he hadn’t seen her . He wanted to see her and he wanted to… he grinned. She won’t be sleeping this night.

And the baby… he wanted to see his baby. He imagined the little thing, she’ll be trying to crawl he guessed. He hadn’t even seen a picture yet…

Funny enough, she wasn’t home. Nobody was.

*

“PUSH!!! I SAY PUSH!!!”

The woman on the bed lay sweating and grunting like a disgruntled pig. Her once pretty features twisted in pain more at the thought of the water-melon that was about to pass out of her vagina than any actual pushing… 13 months pregnancy, who ever heard of that? Which kind of abomination was she delivering? What would she tell her husband?

The doctor turned to the nurse in wonder, “this woman dey hear word at all?”

*

“madam? Do you know where my wife is?”

if anybody knew where his wife was, it  would be the street’s newspaper… or textbook, judging from how fat she had gotten.

“she’s in the hospital…

“hospital? Is she sick?!”

The gleam of malicious gossip disappeared from her eyes replaced by what looked to him like pity.

“no … oga sit down let me tell you everything…”

*

The prophet lay still in the darkness of the room around him were lit four candles.  … fully clothed in his white gown and eyes shut, he started to vibrate, muttering things.

“eregbetiro eregbatidin!!!”

Suddenly, he jumped on a stool with the grace of a goat. His visitor watched in shock as he started to hop on the stool. His eyes were tight shot , sweat poured freely from him, the stool shook. she wondered what her prophecy would be if he fell down.

“WOMAN KNEEL DOWN!!”

Heart beating, she did as he commanded.

“Oluwa has sent a message.” His gold tooth gleamed as he smiled and slowly pulled off his clothes, “you must do exactly as I say.”

*

“PROPHET!! PROPHET!!”

Kola only had time to fling the white dress over his shoulder and sit in the corner and face the wall in the darkened room before  the woman ran inside the room. His could barely control his anger and irritation… the smell of the pounded yam, egusi and goat meat that Mama Nkechi had come to sacrifice this morning tickled his nostrils as he tried to stay still and motionless… this useless gossip never knew when to come. That was how she barged in and almost caught him with that ChiChi girl yesterday. Chichi, he smiled faintly at the memory.. he would definitely take that one again.

“HE IS COMING OH! YOUR ARE FINISHED!”

Kola forgot his position, he forgot Chichi, he even forgot mama Nkechi’s well pounded yam; leaping up, he demanded “WHO? WHO IS COMING?

All He heard was a shuffle, the bang of a fat person hitting the floor and a shout. Then the undeniable sound of a cutlass been dragged on the concrete floor. The sound was coming towards him!

THE END.

the twelfth

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Vultures and flies alike encircled the tree,

Feeding on The decayed body, hung taunt by the rope.

Robes gathered in the distance, far from the putrid odour

And sent a man to the gathering of vultures.

“His guts were spilled before we arrived from Golgotha,” the vultures announced in defence

“but look, those shiny bits on the floor are not food at all, for Victor took one and look at him now, quite dead like this poor robed fellow.”

The man spared not a glance on their fallen comrade, but picked the shiny bits from the floor.

“Coins,” he told the robed men, “thirty in all.”

“Thirty?” A robe questioned, “it must be one of the a twelve.”

The land was cursed, the talking robes agreed, the traitor had made it so.

the rope bit deeper into his neck,

Questioning his decision… making him doubt

he kicked and tugged at the rope,

struggling for life,

Struggling to take back time,

Struggling and wondering, “why me?”

Forgetting what he had done, sentencing an innocent man to death…

Forgetting the kiss,

Forgetting why he had to do this.

As he lapsed into darkness, from the corner of his eye,

A vulture landed close by.

It winked and it smiled and said cordially,

“Good evening sir, I’m Victor. Hope you don’t mind, I’ll nibble on those shiny bits till you are good and dead… you look real tasty too… I’m sure you work out.”

He looked at him from a far corner of the table.

He was talking. As usual.

About things no one could understand or piece together.

And washing their feet like he were a common slave.

3 years on and nothing to show.

No mansion,

No vineyard,

as the group’s treasurer, he could count on their money as his

it was the least they owed him for wasting his years….

But as for fame?

He had seen the posters put up by synagogue police…

Warning people about their little gang.

The robed ones didn’t believe in their cause. All was lost.

The people still came… to be healed and stuff.

He couldn’t care less…

He hadn’t signed up for this struggle pot of burnt beans life.

“Do what you have to do,” the teacher now said to him.

And was he ever happy to do so…

With a kiss and a hug he sealed the teacher’s fate

The robed ones will teach the teacher good sense now.

The robed ones will show the teacher the errors in his teachings.

… make Him see reason.

The robed ones had no such plan. He soon realised.

“Too late,” they said, malice in their eyes “by tomorrow, your teacher is dead”

and tossed at his feet, a bag of coins.

Not three years before, In the land of Kerioth there lived,

A young well read Jew.

The laws of Moses and the ways of Israel

Were embedded deep before he turned 13.

The pharisees and scribes and Sadducees, he respected

the law in human form, never wrong.

But still, like all Israelites, he awaited their promised saviour…

The one to ride into Jerusalem on a noble steed

and cease Israel from the Roman,

Drive away and slay the uncircumcised dogs,

And restore Israel to wealth and strength.

Just like in the times of King David.

One eve, his father came from the synagogue.

“There is a man that spoke this day, I say” Simon told him,

“They call him ‘the Christ’. He is wise beyond his years.”

The saviour has come!

Oh! What it must be like to be a leader in his army!

He would be rich!

A mansion in Jerusalem and one in Bethlehem.

… some vineyards as well, of course.

Gold would line his pockets and women would swoon at his feet.

… and so when one day Jesus tweeted,

“@Judas, kindly follow.”

He knew his fortune had come.

The child

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Daddy’s crying again… he hasn’t being happy since mummy left. he comes in later than before.. then he asks me about school.
Try to. I tell him how much better I am in school. He doesn’t really listen. He jut nods and smiles. Some days he will just look at me. His eyes reminds me of my doll at those times. He isn’t seeing me. Its her he sees. I look like her, everyone says so. I hate
her for making daddy sad all the time.
Daddy just dropped me off at aunty Laide’s house. I don’t like aunty Laide. She is always shouting and complaining when she
comes to the house. She even hit me once. Daddy got so mad at her. Mummy always said she’s just a bitter soul because she
chased her husband away and at least there was no child for her to transfer her frustrations on. Now she has one. Me.
Daddy hasn’t come to see me in two months. I call him and I talk and talk… I tell him I love him, and that I’d be better, that he
should come to see me.. take me back… that I won’t mention mummy that much again since it makes him so unhappy. The last
time i called, he hung up on me. I know it wasn’t mtn jut being their usual crappy because i called back again and again and he
kept cutting the call. I will never call him again.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
today is my 11th year birthday. Aunty enrolled me in a boarding school today. She didn’t know my birthday. I didn’t remember
either.The head-master saw the day i filled in for my date of birth and asked me if today was my birthday. On the way home,
Aunty was shouting at me in the car. She said I was trying to make her look bad in front if the headmaster. She slapped me when
I said I hadn’t remembered it was my birthday. It is not the first time. I can’t remember when last I talked to daddy. I wish I was
never born.
Mr. Eze, the Head master called me out of class today. I am on my way home. He didn’t tell me why. I begged him to let me stay.
He just looked sad-like and hugged me I hope I am not going to live with aunty again. I like mr. Eze. His wife lets me stay with
them for the holidays. I wish he was my real dad.
Mummy is dead. They buried her today. They put her in an open coffin. It is the first time I am seeing her in two years. She looks
thin. She has no hair. They said she was sick. They said it was cancer. She left a letter for me. She hadn’t wanted me to see her
dying… she wanted to do everything she hadn’t done in life… and daddy? Daddy knew all along. He hadn’t wanted to upset mummy. They had gone off together. Mummy at first then he. They had gone off to have a two-year romance and left me … like the child they never wanted. He wanted to hold my hand. I will not let him.

The Wife

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In blue scrubs, lying on a table, Bisi finally admitted to herself. She couldn’t feel it… she felt normal… she felt the same way she
felt last week. Last week, when the world was sane. When her boss had given her the letter of promotion to be the new
international adviser.
A doctor’s checkup, that had been it… she still remembered her doctor’s frown and his quick retreat from the office. She hoped
she wasn’t pregnant. Turned out pregnancy would have being the better option.
“Can you come back tomorrow for an MRI Mrs. Ogunlade?”
“An MRI? What for? I don’t think I can… I have work to do.”
“Bisi. I don’t want to alarm you at all… but this needs to be done as soon as possible… it might already be too late.”
Late for what? She had asked but doctor refused to budge. He didn’t want to unduly alarm her, he said. Irritated, she had booked
an appointment the day after…
cancer.
She had never thought in her wildest dreams that it’d come to her. Doctor said there was a chance… a 80-20 chance… but she’d have to fight. She couldn’t understand… fight what?
“It’ll take over your body, Bisi… you will be in pain… at those times, you must not give up.”
She still remembered her husband’s face when she had told him. He had broken down into tears. Her own tears, that had refused
to fall since the beginning of that terrible day fell. He held her, whispering through sobs “we’re going to get through this…”

To Have… and to hold…

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“I don’t want Tayo… No.”

That had being her immediate reply to his proposal. For a proud boy, who considered himself quite a catch, that reply was hard to accept. What was even harder to accept was that but for his parents and hers, the girl of his dream would not be standing in front of him today.

“…with this ring, I, Motunrayo Lola Olasope do thee wed, Olatayo Smith. To have and to hold, to love and to cherish, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

He could feel her hands shaking as she pushed the ring onto his finger; he could see the tears shimmering in her eyes and trickling down her face. Her lips were parted as she took in short bouts of breathe. It wasn’t wedding jitters or bridal meltdown, it was just plain old fear.

He wanted to hold her close and tell her something… he didn’t know what he would tell her… but it would be something sweet… that she was beautiful? No… too cliché. You’re the one? No… too random. He’d tell her he loved her, that he would take care of her… He would tell her what a perfect girl she had being for him in the past six years and how much of an awesome wife he knew she was going to be… He would tell her how much he had missed her for the months she had disappeared after leaving that note… he would tell her of the joy in his spirit when he had finally seen her again… he would tell her how he’d be the best-est father ever to the little one in her… He would tell her how he would remember important days for life and not be the husband that forgot anniversaries and birthdays… how he would work at being the best husband ever.

He could literarily feel the fear in her cold hand as he grasped it in his and said his vows. Willing the strength of his love to drive each word and remove all her doubts, all her fears… as her shimmery eyes met his, he whispered the only thing he could: “I love you.” And for the first time that day, his bride smiled

3 years later

“ADAMU!!!!” He shouted, his voice already hoarse from crying and shouting.

He made to rise to get her some help, but she gripped him fast. “Don’t leave me,” she chocked. He held her in his arms. She who he had promised to hold dear, who he had bound to me with bands of gold. He held her now, his wife, in a pool of blood. Her blood. He held her tight. He could feel her heartbeat. It was faint… and then… then… he didn’t feel it anymore…

The tears fell.

She was gone.

The house heaved with the strength of wails skull… deep groans of a someone in pain. But there was no one around.

There was a patter of feet as Adamu ran in shouting, “Oga sir, I was bathing when – ”. He knew the exact moment Adamu saw the body of his life-less wife. When he rose, or grabbed Adamu by the throat he didn’t know, he just started to beat him mercilessly…

“I will kill you today! You!! You killed my wife abi? I will kill you!!!”

“Oga it’s not me oh!! no be me!! It’s that woman that just left now! Blood was on her clothe oh! I thought she was on her period oh!!” Adamu shouted, as he wrestled himself and his, now tattered, shirt from Tayo’s grip.

“which woman?! Answer before I-!!”

“that woman nah… the one I bring to meet you at the hotel…”

Tayo’s hand met my head in a kiss of death… Itunu… and he remembered when she had told him yesterday that she loved him and he had laughed, saying, “you have a  husband, I have a wife, what are you saying?”

“but you love me. Tayo, leave her now…”

“What?!! Leave Lola? For you? Are you mad?”

He remembered the look in her eyes as he dressed… he remembered thinking; if look could kill… But she couldn’t have… she just couldn’t…

The vibration in his pocket pulled him back to the present, hammering the final nail in the coffin.

If I can’t have you, nobody else will.

He fell to his knees, gathering the body of his wife… his lovely, lifeless wife and wept.

 

 

Mini series: Don’t be scared

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The girl walked briskly into the class-room; her bag flung carelessly over her shoulder. She donned a suit-type top synonymous to her grandmother’s era and a long skirt. Her face, devoid of make-up, wore a no-nonsense look as she made her way swiftly to a corner at the back of the room.

In the shadows, just behind the main-door, a seated figure watched her. His eyes rested on her in the way a house-wife would regard meat in the market. Analytic but strangely detached, fooling the seller that they lacked interest.
Unaware, the girl sat, her attention immediately swallowed by one of the books she had brought to read. The silence was calming. Minutes passed and she glanced around unexpectedly. Her eyes clashed with another. They didn’t turn away… just rested on her steadily.

An uneasy fearful tremor drifted down her spine. with a sickening feeling she finally noticed the emptiness of the room and how far she was from the door. With shaky hands she started to gather her things… every tale of rape she had ever heard played on slow replay through her head.

She stood up slowly, eyes still on him. She could swear he never blinked. Breaking the stare, she started to move, still having him in the corner of her eyes, She would make a run for it, if he as much as made a move.

She never got the chance. the figure stood up; tall and menacing in his black Hoodie . the slam of the door was the next thing she heard. She was alone.