A Story Written By Nitefury…
Journey**
Ima
She was determined not to cry so as to avoid a situation where she would turn back and go for the baby. Stopping the next available bike which was being ridden by an elderly man, she made her way to 8-miles while leaning on the bike man for most part of the over 15 km trip. Her rather large boöbs for her size was pressed firmly but unconsciously against the man’s back. 
“Are you ok my child?” the elderly bike man asked her in Efik when he stopped at the park and motioned to her they had arrived when she didn’t wake up. She alighted, staring confused for a few seconds before making to pay him.
“Your body is feverish” he prodded her further. He was worried why would a young girl sit the way she did on a bike, pressing her boöbs on the riders back deliberately. It was only after a while he realized she was sleeping on his back.
Not being able to hide her feelings, she replied with teary voice “Papa I’m not feeling too well. But I’m I’ll be ok. I’m on treatment already” she added lying. 
“So where are you going to from here?” he asked concerned as she gave him his pay
She replied, calling her village and where she would stop at Odukpani and immediately turned to leave so as to avoid further questioning from the man. 
He wondered what a young girl her age was doing in Satellite, with her even saying she’s still going further to Odukpani. Coupled with the fact that she slept on the bike for most part of the trip. Even with the way she had turned to leave after paying him, he knew she was deeply troubled and didn’t really want to speak about it. So he just called her back and gave her half the money she paid him saying “Add this to your transport my child”. 
When she turned back to look at the man, she made no attempt to collect the money and just stared at his face and then his hand. She wondered why he would give her transport when he himself is a public transporter. Again after that distance
“I can see you are troubled my child, but just know that where there’s life there’s hope. You are too young to be thinking and forgetting yourself on a bike. Ideally, i should be home by now with my family, but my two kids were sent home from school for fees earlier this week. So that’s why I’m still out this late to make some extra money for food and their fees. Yet I’m not letting it wear me down because I believe Tomorrow would always be better” he advised her and smiled. “Just take the money and add to your transport, but make sure to take your drugs when you get home” he added.
Touched by his kind gesture and words, she managed a smile, thanked him and collected the money and started walking towards the jalopy buses parked by the roadside. A tout ran towards her calling out the names of the villages along her route, asking her where she was going to and pointing to the bus he was loading. Ignoring the tout, she kept walking and had just gone a few meters when she head the sound of car tires screeching followed immediately by what was a loud impact. Turning around quickly to see what was happening, she saw the body of a man land at her feet with a thud. 
With car headlights illuminating the place, she looked at the body surprised and shocked. Immediately, her eyes met those of the man on the floor. Looking back at her, the man smiled and then tried to open his mouth to say something but only blood gushed out. Less than a second after, his head fell to his side as he breathed his last. She screamed when she recognized the face of the bike man that had just dropped and advised her less than 30 seconds ago. 
After giving her part of the money she had paid him, he watched her walk away for a few seconds feeling pity for her. He decided to close for the day and go home. “Tomorrow is another day” he said out loud kicking his bike to life. Without looking back, he attempted to enter the road when an approaching driver in a station wagon saw him and applied his brakes. The driver’s efforts where ineffective as he hit the bike and the man, sending the man’s body flying away from the bike. Landing with his head on the tarred road, he had landed on the girl’s feet. Looking at the mortified girl, he wanted to tell her everything will be ok when when he realized he couldn’t say a word other than blood gushing out of his mouth. Within a few seconds after he was hit, he gave up the ghost.
A crowd quickly gathered around she and the lifeless body of the man. She kept on screaming and moved away from the body. She heard several voices asking her if she knew the man but without voicing anything, she kept shaking her head crying. As the crowd increased in numbers, she made her way out and towards the buses. Within 10 minutes, other bike riders had gathered and were shouting at the top of their voices, and she could hear the windscreen of what was obviously the station wagon that hit the man being broken. 
Knowing how things like this easily generate into madness that usually affect other cars, the bus drivers began to run into the buses to leave the scene. Calling out the villages along their route, they quickly started driving out. How and when she got into a bus, she didn’t know. She kept hearing other passengers talking and arguing about the incident but couldn’t comprehend a thing. The only time she said a word was was the driver called out her stop when they approached it, and she indicated she was stoping there. 
How she got into her room, she didn’t know but she was thankful no one was around to ask her questions. It didn’t take up to 10 minutes of her entering the house that it began to rain. Fortunately for her, she had already packed her bags and cleaned the house. She was hungry, but had no appetite to eat anything. So glancing at the clock, she saw 9:30pm and then slept off telling herself she killed the man. She knew she would live with the guilt for life. 
***********

The cry of her baby woke her up only for her to realize she had been imagining Idara was crying. After being used to waking up severally in the night to feed the baby, she had thought she heard the baby’s voice crying. She laid down there on the bed feeling very sad and sober. It didn’t take long before tears started flowing from her eyes.
It had stopped raining a long time ago and she felt a slight headache as she sobbed which was immediately followed by grumbling in her stomach. She realized she was very hungry and the headache was probably as a result of the hunger. She had expended a whole lot of energy thinking and crying yesterday and had forgotten to eat before retiring to bed. Yet, here she was again crying.
Picking up her torchlight, she flashed at the clock and saw 4:30am. It was then she remembered she was supposed to travel that morning. The remaining sleep and moodiness cleared from her head and body and she sprang up from the bed and began pacing around the room thinking of what to do next. 
Making up her mind, she went outside into the kitchen and made fire. Putting a pot of water on the fire, she began peel a tuber of yam. She was halfway done when she heard the sound of a cöck crow. Ahe hurriedly washed the yam and out it inside the pot. 
She ran back into the house to look for see what else was left for her to arrange when another cöck crowed again with the first one joining in. She became restless realizing it was only a matter of time before people would start coming out. 
Then she heard a door open in the next building and she realized her grandaunt had woken up and was preparing for her farm which was a good 1 hour walk from the family compound. Telling herself she would eat when she got to the park, she went back into the compound with the old woman calling out to her. 
She greeted the woman saying she was boiling water for her and the baby. This was what she usually did, so there was no suspicion whatsoever from the lady. Going into the kitchen, she dropped the boiling pot from the fire, removed the yam and turned the water into a bucket. Not minding the nature of the water, she went back into the compound, diluted the water and headed for the corner of the house to bath. Ideally she could have used the bathroom which was a few feet away from the building, but since it was still dark like most people in the village do, she just stood on the veranda and took her bath in the cold weather. 
It was a quick bath and within 5 minutes, she was done. She went inside, got dressed in one of the dresses Jama had bought for her. Beside trying it on (like she did when ever he bought her a new dress) at his place, she had never worn it again. She smiled when she realized how much the dressed accentuated her shape, even better than when he just got her the dress. Underneath, she also wore a new floral patterned matching pair of bra and panties he had gotten for her. “What better way is there to appear before him like a new bride in and out?” she thought in her head while blushing. 
But again, the next cöck crow reminded her of the fact that time wasn’t her friend and she hurriedly wore her “Simbi” (from Ali and Simbi) sandals and grabbed her bag. Closing the door, she stepped into the compound peeping to see if anyone would notice her. Thank goodness for the rain earlier in the night, everywhere was still dark. She made her way to the road unnoticed. I forgot to mention, she had a wristwatch she got as a birthday gift from Jama. So looking at her time piece, the time was 5:15am. 
She didn’t even spend more than five minutes on the road when one of the usual jalopy buses plying the route pulled over for her. She got to the park in Calabar by 6:10am. Being the east, the sky was already brightened by then, with the morning sun trying to rise. 
She saw a Mercedes 1414 bus, a Nissan Civilian bus, smaller cars and then a Marcopolo bus all with banner written Lagos. Remembering her Lagos friends back in FGGC used to tell her how the Marcopolo’s interior looked like a plane, she decided to join it. 
But as she was heading towards where the Marcopolo was parked, her eyes caught the sight of an Igbo inscription on it which was obviously translated in English “Tomorrow is better” under the initial Igbo writing. Immediately she remembered the bike man of yesterday night and turned back to where the Nissan Civilian bus was parked. 
She paid the fare, got a seat by the window through which she bought bean cakes and Bread for breakfast. Though she ate because she was seriously hungry, it was obvious she was still pensive. Some 30 minutes later, they left the park for Lagos. But not until they drove past her village in Odukpani did she relax

To Be Continued…

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