December 4, 2020

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Victims – Episode 18

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Victims – Episode 18

A Story By Rosemary Okafor

“I want to go and see what is left of my house”

The three women were washing and spreading cloths at the back of the house. It was that time of the year when the legendary Jos dry wind dries the skin and makes the lips bleed.

The force of the wind was capable of giving a child a free air ride to an unknown destination. Ukwuoma rushed to rescue Ogugua from the claws of the wind as the boy was about to be swept off the ground

“They said the roads are clear, and the city is becoming calm” Ukwuoma continued

She rinsed a bed sheet, held one end between her laps and beckoned Ifeoluwa to hold the other end; both ladies wriggled the cloth until it was drained of excess water, Ukwuoma left her end, allowing Ife to take the bed sheet to the rope.

Her wrapper lapped on her laps like a leach, making every movement of her body so visible and pronounced, back in her university days wrappers was her weapon of seduction.

While her friends where enticing their men with bom-shorts and leggings, she had put her Grandmother’s seductive tips to use by employing the use of wrappers and she knew the right way to do it and get heads turning. Folded into two, she would tie the wrapper round her waist so tight that her hips would dance to the rhythm of her movements, and her yellow supple laps exposed

“chefuo Nne gi, Iru ya esika, omaghi azu nwanyi (Forget your mother, she is too tight faced to raise a beautiful lady)” her grandmother would say

“How will she ever get married if she keeps staying in your Prison?” Her grandmother would tell Her mother

Nnewi, at her grandmother’s place was her escape and the memory of childhood she knew. The first place a boy had stopped and razzed her while she drew lines on the sand with her toe, Nweke was an Albino whose eyes danced ‘kpakpangolo ’ when the sun hit him, and it was difficult to know if he was looking at her or at the

Udala ‘ tree behind her, but wasn’t that why she had loved him then?

She had suddenly developed eagerness to going to the ‘ Nwola ’ stream to the amazement of her grandmother, until the day Nweke took her behind the Udala tree and put his mouth on her small breast that wasn’t as big as the ‘ Udala ‘ seed,

“Kanyi me ihe iberibe, ihe ahu broad m na anti m na eme na elu beedi (let me do to you that thing that Auntie and Brother do on the bed at night)Nweke had said to her, his little p**is dandling between his legs like his unsteady eyes. He had not yet found the entrance of her v***** before ‘ Dinta ’ the palm-wine tapper caught them, and her grandmother had beaten her to coma.

“What will become of her?” Mariam asked, referring to Ifeoluwa

Ukwuoma followed her gaze, Ife was still spreading the cloths, her cloth flapped like a flag to the force of the wind.

“I will take her with me”

The old woman was silent, she didn’t want to persuade her to stay, but she had bonded with this woman and would miss her;

“You have a job now, though it pays little, but…something can come up from there who knows…why would you want to go back to the past?” Mariam tried again

“I have not gotten the opportunity to bury my own, I have carried them long enough in a grave I dug within me, please allow me to go and mourn them properly…” Ukwuoma was determined

She knew Mariam wanted her to stay, she had also thought of going back to her father, but her Grandmother was dead and she had no one to open the door for her when her father would remind her of the reward for disobedience.

“Promise me…Promise me you will come back if your house no longer look like yours anymore, Promise me you will knock at my door when you feel the cold hands of darkness descending on you…” the Old woman held Ukwuoma by her hands and looked into her eyes

“You are very kind, I don’t know how to repay you of your kindness, but God will bless you”

“Allah will keep all of us, please bring them to me once in a while when you can” Mariam said, referring to Ogugua and Ifeoluwa.

*

“We no get anywhere way we fit go, my oga don go check, him no fit even fine our house self, them tell am say them don burn am for that riot time”

Ukwuoma looked at Mmesommachi’s husband, he was seated with his legs folded towards his chest, his eyes closed and face folded with loads of thoughts

“You can go back to the east” Ukwuoma suggested

She had come to inform her friend of her decision to leave the camp,

“That one no go work, you wan make our enemies laugh us? God no go gree” Mmesommachi circled her hands around her head and snapped her fingers “Tufiakwa!” she said

“where we go even start for village?, which face we go take face ‘Umunna’ tell them say we go city come come back with empty hand?”

Ukwuoma wondered which was better, starting all over in the village or struggling in the city with fear of death still hanging all over one’s head, then she remembered she also had rejected the thought of going back to her father for similar reason

“Your children, have you heard from them?” Ukwuoma asked

“Ehn…that Army man way carry them go Kaduna, give me latter way him say my sister write, she say them dey fine” Mmesomachi said with a sigh

“So watin you go do now?” Ukwuoma picked a dry stick from the and started drawing on the sand,

“We go stay here for now, then no dey pursue us for here, I go try fine small work do, ehen… make you help me talk to that your nurse friend, make me begin dey do that cleaning way you bin dey do for that hospital, I no mind the little money abeg”

“No wahala, I go tell am…what of him” Ukwuoma referred to Okechukwu

“Him dey do carpenter now o, na the work way him bin dey do before them burn our house the small small money way them they give am, na him we dey manage”

The wind blew some sand into Mmesomachi’s eyes. She robbed her eyes vigorously, bringing out tears from her eyes

“Biko help me blow breeze for my eye, sand dey my eye” Mmesomachi pleaded

Ukwuoma held her eyelid with a two fingers, rounded her mouth and blew some air into the eyes

“Hapu ya, oga apu (Oya leave it, it will go on its own)

They were silence for a while, only exchanging greetings with passers-by

“Did he finally talk to you about the other night…the night with the Army man?”

“Hm hm, me I bin dey fear to talk about am, I know say him see us, but yesterday as him come back for night, him f**k me with all the strength way dey him body, I know say na vex him use do am, me kwa I respect myself open for am, na him way he use tell me say him see watin I do be that”

“It’s amazing how una still dey do this thing for this time” Ukwuoma said casually

“Hmm, watin again we go do na, na the only thing way them no collect from us be that, make we use am hold body na, even if we no see food chop, make we Fu**k na, that one na free”

The two women laughed and Ukwuoma wondered how they could still find laughter in their situation, while she nursed feelings about what she would see and how she may react when she would stand at her door again.

*

“Akwai dalili day a san a ce ka zauna a wurin da yaran, kar ka yi mun tambayan banza! (I said you should stay there with the children, don’t question me woman)”

“It is not safe here…yes…we are not done with the war…don’t be a child, this is Allah’s command!”

“Ya makaranta? Zan zo in gan ku ina sanmu lokaci (How are their academics? I will come and see you people when I have the time…)”

Imam Husayn slowed his speech as someone opened the door and approached him, he cut the call and dropped the phone in his pocked

“Salaam alaikum” Mallam Kabiru greeted with mockery

“Ka zo yi a nan? What are you doing here” Husayin spat the words with his face clouded with hate

“The question Husayn should be, what are you doing?” Mallam Kabiru corrected

Husayn eyed the other Man with fury;

“If you have come here to show your pathetic face and waste my time then, I don’t have such leisure to give you” Husayn sat down and resumed writing

“I have come to look at the face of the man whom Iblis uses to destroy others, whose selfishness has grown so big like the great wall of china, who has lied to many with the holy name of Allah!” Mallam blunted out

Husayn raised his face and looked at his inlaw for a while, and busted out laughing sinisterly

“It’s like the many books you have been reading had weakened you more, when I look at you, all I see is a looser, a man who would have helped me bring fear and terror in this country but he chose to cower in his Library” Husayn stood up and walked to face his inlaw

“…you know what, you would have been seating where I now sit, but you blew it, my father convinced you to follow his weak believe and here you are, stupid and senseless as ever”

“I know what you did, I know your unholy romance with the politicians and your part in this whole crisis, you have wasted many lives yet you are not satisfied” Mallam scolded

“Oh! You know…ha ha ha ha” Husayn laughed like a man who has lost his mind

“…we are just beginning, you know the reason why you are still alive? I want you to see what this beloved country of yours and fathers’ will become as I crush it, I want you to see me play the biggest politics this country has ever seen and would ever see, I want you to witness me take back this sinful country and give it back to Allah…”

“And then what?”

“And then you would die like father, I will make sure it is painless”

“I wish my son would know the beast you are, I wish he would…” Mallam said

“Your son is also a beast, I raised him and I am watching him gradually becoming me, you have lost him Kabiru, the way you lost your wife…” Husayn cut in

“…You killed my wife! You led her to her death!”

“No…she chose the way of Allah, she took up the fight when you were a coward to perform your Islamic Duties” Husayn said

His eyes danced with victory, his voice raised with mockery,

“The Way of Allah is love not killing; ‘who ever kills a person, it is as though he has killed all mankind. And who ever saves life, it is as though he had saved all mankind’ Qur’an 5;32 ” Mallam said

“Are we not missing something in that quotation? You are missing a word my good friend; Who ever kills a person unjustly… the word is unjustly! And we have reasons to kill these infidels, they are enemies of Allah, friends of Iblis and Allah commands us to wage war against them; Sura 4;76 of the Qu’ran ” Imam put in

“You interpret the holy book to please your selfish desires Husayn, Allah is merciful…”

“…To those that repent! Have you not read oh intelligent man? ‘Slay the Idolaters where ever you find them, and take them captive, and besiege them. But if they repent and establish worship…Allah is forgiving, Sura 9:5 of the Qu’ran ” Husayin pointed, he was almost screaming

“You have read books Kabiru, yet you know nothing, I have pledge allegiance to the Caliphate, thousands more have done so including your son without knowing, this war is beyond you Mallam, go home and beg Allah for mercy for you will surely beg for your life from me” Husayn spat on the Mallam’s face

Kabiru wiped the spittle from his face and looked at the Imam with disgust

“Ehen…” Imam continued

“…Before you think of alerting the police or going to the media, don’t forget that Yusuf your son is part of this now, I will take joy in killing and using his skin as my praying mat…”

“One more thing” he continued

“…most of the security apparatus and government officials in this country know about me already, they all pay allegiance to me in one way or the other, so…” he threw his hands in victory and smiled

“True Jihad is the internal struggle of a believer to live out the Muslim faith as well as possible…” Mallam Kabiru tried Again

“True Jihad is Judgment to Unbelievers” Imam Husayn cut in, looking at Kabiru with challenge

To be continued

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