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A Story written by Slickest…

The military is known for force and strength, perseverance and sweaty endurance even in death, that is why it takes a very long time for citizens who have chosen to become part of the military to blend in to the ways of the force because they under go rigorous training sessions, I also wonder if they were taught the easiest way to torture a man in speaking the truth he had concealed for years in seconds. A mistake on a military man’s path is so grave the word sorry is not enough to fix it, that is why bloody civilians in all ways avoid the being on the military camouflage, like nigerians say “na go dem sabi, dey no hear come..”, I think I have fallen prey for the hungry and angry soldier who happens to be Onome’s father.

Mama Onome dimmed her eyes like she was scanning for a particular information, she looked at we the tenants of the house one by one before she confidently pointed at me shouting “Na him be dat…”, gigantic Papa Onome walked forth towards me and said in his waffy tone “o’ Boy…where is Onome?…”, that was a big question I didn’t know how I was supposed to answer, all this while I never knew her father was in the military, my unconsciousness in the relationship has caused me a whole lot of damage, I would have thought twice before ever sharing a bed with her talkless she dying in my apartment. My heart beat pounded harder than the kick of a band, I prayed Papa Onome shouldn’t hear it, I could just imagine the soldier finding out his two daughters were stone dead in my apartment.

“..Sir, I saw Onome earlier today but she left immediately, she only stopped by to ask me some question about the upcoming waec she registered for, Nnenna also came by looking for her not long ago but she didn’t find her here so she left too…you can call their numbers sir” I slowly explained to Papa Onome in a shaky but a little confident tone, he stopped for a while as he picked up his phone which for sure he was dialling their numbers. All through the drama Baba Odika didn’t stop his gibberish incantations, he took a decisive back and forth stroll as he danced to the bells he tied around his ankles and elbows, Papa Sunday altered no word as he put all his concentration on the herbalist.

I stared at my doom as people kept trooping in to see the end of the matinee, my feet emitted sweat as I was already weak out of hunger, I believed my last day on earth had arrived, I looked at the waiting crowd that appeared set to mob a culprit, I looked at Papa Sunday who had the believe someone in the compound knows the whereabouts of his darling Mama Sunday, I tilted to my fellow tenants who just stood muttering at each other, I looked at Mama Onome who looks fed up of searching for her two troublesome daughters, Papa Onome kept dialling nonstop without giving up as he put the phone to his ear and then dialled again, Baba Odika kept waiting for a dead woman to talk to him.

Everybody was engaged in what mattered to them the most while I did what mattered to me the most, I wait in fear for what was to come as I still tried to wear a look innocence. Papa Onome got tired after his whole effort of reaching his daughters was futile, he came towards me and surprisingly said in a calm tone, “their numbers are not reachable…”, I took advantage of his new calm state and replied immediately “…well, she just dropped by to ask few questions, I inquired where she was in a hurry to but she reluctantly said she was off to momsy’s shop, I knew she was lying but there was nothing I could do, not quite long Nnenna came looking for her but I told her she wasn’t here, Nnenna left immediately as she tried calling her number…”, Papa Onome gave me that trusty look after my short story, he looked like he believed me but Mama Onome’s was bent on  the contrary, I could tell from the look on her face that she didn’t buy my explanation at all, “I’ll deal with these girls…” Papa Onome shouted looking at his wife, his wife stood looking at me like my eyes were telling her the truth, quickly I diverted my stare to Baba Odika who was still dancing around in his grassy attire, I thanked my stars I was able to escape the Onome accusation, I stood agitating what will become of me if Baba Odika was truly as powerful as people say he is. Papa Sunday was at attention as he waited patiently for Baba Odika to begin to shed the light, while I prayed he never finds the lamp less shedding any brisk.

My phone vibrated from my pocket indicating a just received text message, I never bothered to reach for it as my full concentration was stationed on Baba Odika, even the crowd wasn’t tired of waiting as they all had a cup of patience in their hands. My phone vibrated again with another message delivered to me, I knew it would be my service provider, they are the only ones capable of sending a text twice, I expected one of the tenants to complain of time wastage so I could follow suit but their readiness to wait was obvious. They all gave me that suspicious look like they all had something to confess, I ignored them and hoped I would be vindicated of the crime I committed so I could shame all the cowards called my neighbours.

There was another vibration from my phone which made me give a quick conclusion it was a call me back sent by one of my contacts, I thought to myself that this wasn’t the right time to call anyone back, I am about to be crucified if luck worked against me, there was nothing I could do but hope something just happens, something that would distract the gathering, but as it is, attention is at its fullest and no distraction whatsoever can get a better part of anybody here. Baba Odika started smiling as he chanted his incantations, he walked faster as he laughed while dancing, those in the crowd who were already seated got on their feet, there was a sudden noise from the crowd like they knew what that meant when Baba Odika does that.

There was a clash of cutlasses and a click of sticks, bangs of planks and a clink on iron from the roaring crowd, they were ready because it appeared the end was near, my neighbours were calm as they all stood smiling and waiting for the unfortunate one amongst us,I was nothing but scared at the whole new development. My phone vibrated again and it got me a little concerned but reading a text message wasn’t the priority at the moment, I put my left hand in my pocket so I could bring out the phone when next it rings. Baba Odika’s attitude became energetic as he made it look like he was about to come up with something, the sun was so hot that the sweat from my body could soak a shirt, even without the sun I would still sweat a river.

There was another vibration but this time it didn’t stop, the vibration was continuous meaning multiple messages were lined up to be read,  it kept on vibrating and vibrating till I had no choice than to read it, I removed the phone from my pocket and checked who it was that wanted to run my battery flat…to my scariest surprise…it was Onome’s number, all the messages came from Onome’s phone that was supposed to be in my ceiling. I looked around then looked back at my phone, I opened each message one after the other which read ” LIES…LIES….LIES….LIES…LIES…”, that was exactly what she used to say when ever I told her a lie to cover myself, I shook as my phone dropped to the ground, tears of fear tripped from my eyes as I looked at Baba Odika who stopped all of a sudden, silence prevailed because it was time for him to speak the language everybody understood.

To Be Continued…

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