Victims – Episode 19
A Story By Rosemary Okafor
With Ogugua strapped on her back, and Ifeoluwa balancing a torn ‘Ghana must go ’ bag on her head, they made their way towards the Potatoes Market Street. They have walked quite a distance and her legs were getting sore.
She looked at Ifeoluwa who was expressionless, it was difficult to ascertain whether the girl was tired as well, she Knew Ife must be tired and hungry, but nothing on the girl’s face showed what she was feeling at the moment.
Ogugua was already sleeping soundly with a periodic rumbling of his stomach, and little cries which were subdued by the troubled sleep.
“The street is empty” she said to Ifeoluwa
“Hmm…” the girl agreed
It was past six in the evening and the sun was already going home for the day, so were individuals who have been forced to go home with the sun and sleep like roosters by the government;
“There is curfew from six pm, will you people make it p@ss the major streets before then?” Mariam had asked her
The first time she heard about Curfew was in 1998 When ‘Bak@ssi boys’ of Aba carried out Jungle Justice on Armed robbers in the state,
Uncle Theo, her father’s younger brother had came back from Aba and was hurrying to go back the next morning before the Curfew would start. The word had sounded like ‘Coffee’ to her, even to her Grandmother;
Grandmother, had asked in confusion, drawing the questions from her own mouth. Thank goodness she wasn’t the one that asked the question, she wouldn’t have fared well with the laughter which Uncle Theo rolled out before explaining; Like the day she was laughed at in secondary school for not knowing what Oral s*x is,
Ogbonne, the wild girl in her cl@ss, known for her many tales of s£×ual escapades with s£nior boys in school, was talking about Oral s*x to her friends,
“Jiri nwayo Ogbonne, ndi s£nior ga anu ihe ina ekwu (Bring your voice down Ogbonne, s£nior students may hear you)” Ola had admonished, getting Ogbonne to roll her eyes like ‘who cares’
“Why will she keep quiet, MouthAction is not a sin, when we talk about s£× education as girls, that is Oral s*x” Ukwuoma had said with confidence,
The girls were silence and had looked at her as if she wasn’t from this planet, before they all busted out laughing at her ignorance,
“Pastor daughter, how she go know oral s*x? Na only preaching she dey watch” the big girl ‘ Otusi ’ had said.
That show of shame had earned her the name ‘Oral s*x’ from that day till she graduated from that school. She later learnt what Oral s*x was though, it wasn’t sweet the day Brother Emma from Teenage church took her to the church toilet and pulled her p@nt down.
They met some military men seated by their hilux truck drinking ‘Burantashi’ and spanking the buttocks of the young girl who was selling the mixture. The Men took little notice of her and Ifeoluwa, they were taking turns in squeezing the rounded buttocks which was hiding inside a long Hijab, while the girl laughed sheepishly.
Darkness has closed up on them by the time she located what used to be her house, she stood by and gazed at it, not knowing if coming back was a good Idea.
A little boy ran towards them, his p@nt which was big enough for three more children of his size, was held up with a twine, he stopped in front of the strangers, looked h@rd at them, and widened his eyes before he ran off towards the same way he came screaming;
“Uwa…Uwa…!! Matar Doctor ta dawo! (Mother!, Doctor’s Wife is back!)” the boy screamed and ran
She hadn’t prepared herself for this, as she set her eyes on ‘Uwa Musa’ Again, tears clouded her eyes and by the time the women held her in an embrace, her guards took flee and she was as vulnerable as the day she left, she stood like a dejected tree, crying freely while Ifeoluwa watched the scene.
She breathed through her mouth, desperate to avoid the dank smell of dust, decay and dry blood, the subtle dead whisper and the hostile air that welcomed her made her shiver as if there where ghouls in the house,
She looked around the sitting room, it looked like there was a feast for beasts where skulls were used as drinking cups. Dry dead maggots with their eggs designed the floor like colored ceramics,
“What happened here…Jesus Christ!” Ifeoluwa exclaimed
She pulled her eyes away from the scene and looked at Ukwuoma, without asking, she knew the story. Uwa Musa took Ukwuoma out of the house into her own house, the boy Ogugua was fed and lay down to sleep while the two women and Ife cleaned the house.
That night, she sat on the well cleaned floor, with the skulls and bones spread before her, she gave them names and ran her f!ng£rs on the smooth milk colored exhibits.
She had asked Uwa Musa to leave them for her;
“I want to bury them when I can” she had said
And so they were gathered in a sack and brought to her; like a witch doctor performing incantations, she sat with her legs spread wide, she called them by their names, though she couldn’t tell which one belong to whom, she bathed them with her tears.
Ifeoluwa watched her in silence.
“Ina suke ? Where are they, Ina ki kpoye su ? Where are you hiding them?”
Yusuf had chos£n that day to carry out the plan, he was going to get the boy and then take him to a secret place where he would train him until the appointed time.
He had a feeling that his uncle had set some persons to monitor him, he has known his uncle to be a very tricky man, and who he was always steps ahead of those he has suspicion of.
Yusuf had left his house in the night, and had looked at his rare mirror to make sure he wasn’t followed.
It was easy for him to enter through the back gate and locating the Woman’s house wasn’t difficult. He didn’t know it would take so long as it was taking him at the moment, still the woman insisted she didn’t know where the boy and his mother were,
“Wallahi ! I swear to Allah, they are gone, they left here today” the woman responded
On her knees and with a dagger pointed at her, Mariam trembled with fear, she held her palms together as if she was praying and was muttering some Islamic prayers.
Yusuf was already running against time, he had to leave the place as soon as possible before anyone noticed his abs£nce. He looked at the woman again;
“I will surely come for you, and that time you must be ready to give me the information I want” with that he hid the dagger and walked out of the house, into the darkness.
Issah watched him scrutinize the area before he hurried out of the place and disappeared into the darkness. He had followed the Commander to this place, had parked very far away from Yusuf’s car and watched him slide through the small gate,
Not only because Imam had ordered him to monitor the commander, but he felt the commander would lead him to what he has been looking for.
“Commander Yusuf has been to the Barracks three times this week” Ishmila had said casually as both shared few sticks of cigarette.
“I made it possible for him to enter…he is always monitoring this woman and her sister, and there is a small boy too…” Ishmila had continue
“Why?” Issah had asked
“I don’t know…A waste of time I must say…”
Issah had gave the information to the Imam for two reasons, he wanted to be in the good book of the religious Leader and he had never liked Yusuf, the rich b****** who always flaunt his privileged self and his relationship with the Imam at them.
Issah pushed the door opened and startled the woman;
“So he kept you Alive eh”
Mariam couldn’t recognize him at first, but when she did, fresh terror enveloped her, the young officer used to be under her husband’s command, he had never liked her husband and even went ahead to threaten the s£nior officer, though he was punished for it.
“What did he want? Oh don’t bother…I know what he wants, so where are they?”
“I am not a patient Man and you know…I have always loathed you and your husband for how you carry yourselves, and here you are, without him, at my mercy, its Allah not wise?” Issah laughed
“We have to work out how to get the people to fall out with this government and win their trust”
They were in one of the executive rooms in the popular Sheraton Hotel, Abuja. The place has been their regular meeting point and they have always chos£n to hold their meetings when other citizens were retiring for the day;
Seated round a table like traditional ancestral spirits, the five men hatched their plans
“the people has already falling out with this government, thanks to this Jos Crisis…what our Party needs to do now is to call a press conference and give fancy speeches concerning the insecurity, Mr chairman or vice can do that, you know… tell the people what they want to hear and make few promises here and there, we can warm ourselves into the heart of the m@sses with little benevolence” Alaji Danjuma rested his back on the chair and chewed his Bitter Kola noisily.
“We still have to keep the country on her toes, let us keep shaking the federal government, we have to come up with another strategy to keep the country in fear, and make the m@sses believe that this government is not doing enough to keep them safe” Honorable Wali said
“That won’t be a problem, these boys are always ready to dance to our tune as long as we are ready to lavish them with enough cash” commented Alaji
“You mean Imam’s boys?” asked s£nator Usman
“Yes, as far as I am concerned they are on our side” Honorable said
“He is beginning to place demands” Usman said, removing his agbada, he picked the remote and increased the air conditioner
“Whatever his demands are, the truth is that we need him, if we must get people to vote for our party come 2003, we must show them the incompetence of this pres£nt Government, and we have to start with insecurity which nobody can hold this country hostage except Imam Husayn…” Mr Chairman cut in
“Personally, I am beginning to dislike him, he strikes me as someone who is playing all of us…” Usman insisted
He has been the one in contact with Imam Husayn, the cleric always made him uncomfortable; sometimes he feared he may be on surveillance by the Cleric’s foot solders
“We can always handle him when the time comes, let us use him now, at least he cannot be suspected by anyone…s£nator…you will go and meet him again, tell him the outcome of this meeting…you will grease his palm with some cash” Mr chairman smiled and continue
“Barrister Walter… you will have some bags containing the money needed for this delivered to you this night, then you can drive to Usman’s house tomorrow morning with it, I don’t want any of my boys seen with the s£nator, it may raise suspicion”
Mr Chairman picked the telecom in the room, and dialed a number
“Where are the souvenirs? Tell them to start coming up”
The men rose in excitement, adjusted their trousers and walked back into their separate hotel rooms waiting in anticipation.
s£nator Usman lay Unclad on the m@ssive bed in his Hotel room, he has always liked this place, away from his plain wife who cared about nothing else than prophesies and visiting of different Sheikhs.
Here he had the freedom to have as much fun as he had always desired curtsey of the Party chairman. He threw the Duvet off his body, climbed out of the bed and walked towards the fridge with his Kitchen sized belly dancing like an inflected hot balloon and his flat sagged buttocks swinging side to side.
He pulled out a bottle of red wine poured some of its content in a gl@ss cup and gulped it down at once, he refilled his gl@ss and sank on the cushion.
Meeting the Imam wasn’t an @ssignment he liked carrying out, the Man had a way of making his uneasy, it always seemed as if the cleric looked through him into his dirty soul, but then, the Party was releasing enough fund for it and he had also found a way of stashing some of those monies for himself before handing the remaining to the cleric.
Jos has been calm for sometime after the Bomb explosion, except for killings of people in their homes once in a while and Usman Knew the
Cleric had a connection to the periodic butchering and maiming of people. The news of the death of a Late Army officer’s wife two days ago still made the news that morning,
“We are on top of the situation, my men has swing to action to fish out those responsible for this s£nseless killing” the Army Major General had said on the TV
Usman knew that would be the end of that story, nobody was ready to investigate anything, and the citizens would be distracted from the case like it never happened as soon as the media would give them some entertainment stories to talk about.
Aside few overzealous Journalists, who would want to pry deeper on this matter, Usman knew that his party would have little or nothing to answer for, even Amnesty International would be on the neck of the presidency.
He sipped from the gl@ss this time, wiped his face and his gaze fell on the Unclad dark lady sleeping on the bed, her br£@sts rose and fell as she gave out soft breath, he traced her curved with his eyes and stopped on her large hips; the memory of last night’s crazy f**ck came rushing,
He handled the girl like the slot she was, as old as he was, he still got the strength of a stallion and almost all the girls he had slept with could attest to that, this one was equal to his strength though, she had rode on top of him like a rodeo queen, slapping his face and his head while calling him baby,
When he couldn’t take it anymore, he had turned her over, with her arch facing him, and both holes screaming pleasure, he plugged his h@rd c**ck inside her, he had feel his shaft touching her womb when he thrust, his balls slapping her cl!toris and her @ss jiggling as it bouncing on his stomach, she had called him Daddy at that point;
“Yes Daddy, give it to me daddy…choke me with it daddy…” she has sang like a canary
The thought of it now made him h@rd; he gulped down his drink, walked back to the bed with his C**ck as heavy as a burden between his thighs,
“Imam Husayn can wait for now, this is life…” he thought
“There is no negotiation Mr s£nator, its either you push this bill for us or you are on your own on this”
Usman has been with the Imam closed to forty-five minutes, yet the Imam would not agree to any negotiation, it was either the Sharia Law was pushed to the house as the supreme law for the nineteen northern states or nothing,
“Kai! This is going to be difficult, the constitution declared Nigeria as a secular state, it will not be easy to convince other House members to agree to this…” Usman tried to convince the cleric again
“s£nator… no Law should supersede the holy law of Allah and you know that, you and your party are here to ask something of me, and I am asking you to help me do Allah’s command…”
“What happens if we can’t get two third of the members to sign the bill?”
“You have always known how to get what you want, get your dirty money to work for you…”
Usman heaves a sigh, it was going to be a difficult task, but if they could dull out enough cash to get key members by their side, it could be done…
“Tor…I will see what I can do…”
“One more thing…” Husayn picked the day’s paper and placed it before the s£nator. The front page had a picture of ladies on Bikinis, crossing their legs and giving out plastic smiles,
“They are planning to bring that abomination to this country…” the Imam showed his distaste and glade his teeth like a dog
“When have we started hosting beauty pageants? It is bad enough that our girls, who are supposed to be married off, are being paraded like fresh meats publicly, now they are bringing the show down here? And they chose the month of Ramadan to carry out this abomination?…tell your house members that we will rather die than allow this to happen”
Usman was taken aback with his threat, he needed to get out of there as fast as possible, he picked the papers haphazardly, and shoved it inside his bag…
“Ehm…the money sir…should I leave it with you?”
“Yes…but bear it in mind that I will not give orders to my boys until I am sure my demands are being deliberated in the house of @ssembly”
As the bulky man hurried off, dragging his flowing Agbada with him, the Imam picked his phone and dialed the Major;
“We may be s£nding a message to Mr President in Abuja, Get your men off the street for us…”
Mallam Kabiru was half way to his house when he saw the smokes going up the sky. As he got closer he saw the people in groups folded arms and shrouded shoulders, with faces looking at him with pity; his house has been burnt down
“We heard the explosion, by the time we were able to get the security, the whole place was already on fire” one of his students said
“Where are the other students?” he asked soberly
“Haruna and Ibrahim has been taking to the hospital…Muhamadu…Muhamadu…” the student broke down in tears
“Allah! Allah!!” Mallam Kabiru sobbed.
His eyes quickly went towards his library, he ran toward it, the smoke was thick and the walls were hot, but he felt nothing while he pushed himself through the rubbles, his student ran after him while the sympathizers screamed
He tried packing his books but most of them had lost their firmness and has been squeezed by the heat and smoke, his skin was being bruised and getting burnt but he surged ahead, shoving his servant’s hands off him.
By the time he was rescued, only one tiny book was salvaged and he clutched it tight on his chest “The Ess£ntial Rumi”
To be continued
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