Posts Tagged ‘tragic’

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FINDING CYNTHIA

             by Chris Tilewa and Moses Olarotimi

 

In Komolafe’s arms his dying boss found strength to speak his last words. “Find Cynthia,” he said and tucked a piece of paper into his breast pocket, “she alone is the key!” He drew his last breath. Perplexed, Komolafe held on to the corpse as tears drizzled down his sad face until the police came and arrested him away on the charge of murder. The hands that gripped him were strong and unrelenting. They shoved and tugged at him but his mind was far from him. “Find Cynthia,” that final word, almost a command, took over his thought. But who is Cynthia, how is he to find her, especially now that he would be confined in the custody of the police? But amid the stream of thought an idea came to him like a revelation. And suddenly he halted, startling the policemen. In a swift, sharp move, he managed a firm elbow to the face of the man who was holding his arm and put a foot in the crotch of the second. The blow came so unexpectedly that they lost grip of him. Before they could regain, they saw him running away like a dog with its tail freshly cut.

 

As a chauffeur, Komolafe had been driving his boss for more than seven years; he sure had been closer to him, even more than any of his relatives. He had wondered if his boss ever got married or had a child of his own. No such discussion ever came up between them, and he never summoned the courage to ask even when, on several occasions, he attempted to.

A clue to finding ‘this Cynthia’ and the key to unravel the mystery before him must be in the piece of paper his boss tucked in his breast pocket before he died. He found a spot in a corner at a bar nearby, quietly sat at a table and retrieved the paper, only to meet another shock. He had expected he would find an address, a phone number, or some name that would help find Cynthia. But on the creased sheet of paper which was now held to his face with shaking, sweaty hands, none of such was written; three groups of digits, separated with hyphens, were barely scrawled.

Komolafe arched his brow as he read aloud: “01-10-013”, what could this mean? This is what a dying man leaves to help find his killer? He was tempted to think all of this was a kind of joke, one not funny. The police were after him, and he never remembered his boss, when he was alive, to ever make trivial jokes. Deep inside he was agreeing that this was serious and his only clue was a. . .a date? ‘Yes’, he said reassuringly, “this is nothing but a date”. October first, last year. He sighed and rested back on the plastic chair, trying to figure out where to begin.

 

Of everything the creator blessed Komolafe with was a retentive memory; he has a keen recollection of events and incidents. He ordered a bottle of beer, and as he drank from it ruminated on the events of October 1st, last year. The day had started with an exchange of Independence Day greetings with his boss, and then into the car. They both drove to the office to collect some files, then to the hospital for medical checkup with a doctor who was also friends with his boss. Komolafe was sure none of these places would pose a threat to his boss. He took a gulp to wash down the thought and picked his thinking from where he left it. From the hospital, that day, he drove the boss to see the Bishop of his church, and most of the day was spent there and Komolafe would have to stay for many hours waiting for his boss to emerge as usual from the path leading behind the cathedral; it’s usually a boring outing for him. “Purple!” He screamed, startling those around him. Not caring if anyone stared he drank what’s left of the beer in concurrent gulps, without a second’s pause to take the bottle away from his mouth.

“I must find the lady. Purple, that’s what boss called her that night at the club,” Komolafe thought aloud, and as he made for the door he spotted the two police men, who he had earlier evaded, approaching the same bar. He turned quickly, took the back door, paid the barman and fled.

Purple was a code name Akomolafe’s boss used for a woman Akomolafe, in the real sense of the word, did not ‘know’. Infact, Komolafe didn’t know any woman affiliated with his boss except that in the few times, when he drove his boss to the bishop’s place he, Komolafe noticed, usually walk stealthily, like one who do not want to wake the dogs, towards the quarters behind the cathedral, and returns after a while towards the car with a look of exhaustion and having about him the smile of a sated husband. Settling in the owner’s corner in the car, he’d call at Akomolafe: “remind me to give Purple a call.”

“Yes Sir!” Akomolafe would reply, asking no question. No driver questions his boss, they are meant to take only orders. But Akomolafe was not a fool; he had been observing, taking note. Could Purple be Cynthia? He thought within.

 

Club Seattle was known to accommodate wealthy personnel’s in the state, but being the driver of a prominent philanthropist, Komolafe was allowed in. When he mentioned that his boss had sent him to Purple, the name almost got the security man fidgeting as he opened wide the door allowing Komolafe in, to the welcome of jazz music and a colourful interior.

He wasted no time at all, after enquiring from one of the attendants of Purple’s whereabouts, his hurried steps soon find a stairway, and in two full strides he was on the landing, before a door. There was no sign of movement from inside, so he adjusted himself for composure. He knocked.

“Come in,” came a sweet accented female voice from behind the door; he hesitated and then went in. Komolafe quickly scanned the room; there were five men and a lady he immediately assumed was Purple. “What’s the code?” She asked as she stood up and worked towards him. At that moment, Komolafe knew he was in a deep trouble, he knew nothing of a code or password, “I’m here to see Purple,” he tried to explain, “and Oga Okorocha sent me here”. He noticed her eyes widen at the mention of his boss’ name but she quickly hid it beneath a bland smile, “blow off his brain if he cannot state the code,” she commanded.

“Wait!” Komolafe screamed, fear evident in his eyes. He thought about showing them the crumpled piece of paper in his pocket but thought better of it; if he ever tries to put his hand down into his pocket, they will think he’s reaching out for a weapon. But his good instinct got the better of him and with shot eyes, without knowing exactly what he was saying, he read out the digits he had seen on the paper in one breath. When he opened his eyes, he saw large arms lowering their guns that were once pointed at him. And Purple, with the same bleak expression, ushered him in with a wave of her hand. Purple retrieved a square shaped box that looked like a little coffer from under a stack of wine cartons and handed it to Komolafe.

“Guard it with your life,” she said, “and if the police ever know about this, you are gone. Guys see him out.”

 

All the puzzles and precision surprised Komolafe, did his boss know he was going to die? He sat on the bed staring at the box before him in the hotel room he rented for the night. The box was mechanized to open at the input of the correct combination of alphabets as indicated by the small, glassy screen over the lid. Komolafe tried Okorocha; his boss’s name, but the screen displayed error, he tried purple and some other words and names; the screen still displayed error. He’d even stupidly assumed that the password did not exist.

All hope to unlock the box was abortive, and it seemed the quest had finally come to an end. The thought of living like a fugitive so scared Komolafe; so much that he could no longer fight back the tears that formed in his eyes. “Find Cynthia!” came his boss’ voice again, a whisper to his ear, his eyes ignited. He did a mental count, ”oh!” he said, and quickly pulled the box closer and inputted the words as it displayed on the screen in capital letters: C-Y-N-T-H-I-A. The lid clicked open, the wide smile on Komolafe’s face was nothing short of relief, but he anticipated in his heart with a panic what awaits him in the box.

From inside the box was a pile of documents and a red envelope. On each document were two recurring signatures; Okorocha Patrick and Caleb Bankole. The documents showed a transaction of four billion naira, and of an illegal trade and transport of hard drugs. Beneath the signatures was the date: 01-10-13.

Okorocha had a dysfunction one might call date amnesia; he is forgetful of dates. So to make up for this he likes to appoint significant events like promises, meetings, and business appointments on holidays, dates observed by many. His business deal with Caleb fell on October 1st. Komolafe tried to recall all the places he drove Okorocha that day; from the office to collect some files . . . the hospital? He straightened. ‘The hospital!’

Perhaps this drug documents had something to do with the doctor; he probably has special patients he sells them to; celebrities, or even rich men like his boss. But then he remembered that Okorocha didn’t take the files with him into the hospital building, that the only place he remembered him taking them was to the cathedral. But he didn’t think anything happened in the cathedral that day to contribute to the death. Maybe they were files different from these ones.

So he searched deeper into the box to see what else he could find; Nothing.

Nothing but a red, fancy envelope that looked like one sent between lovers. “Oga had a secret lover?” he wondered, and felt like he was intruding his boss’s private life. But then what life does the dead have that is not lost already? He opened the envelope, and on a small card inside it was written “find Cynthia in the cottage behind God’s temple.” What’s this? Komolafe read again, and the puzzle began to connect in his mind, images reeling through his head; of Okorocha coming towards the car from behind the cathedral with that look of a satisfied husband. . . of the file. . . of his last word ‘find Cynthia’. . .everything pointed to the cathedral. God’s temple.

Komolafe picked up his hotel card and dashed out.

Komolafe had descended the stairs with all thought whirling around the mysterious Cynthia and the sudden misfortune she plagued his world with. He had barely stepped into the reception when he spotted the faces of the same men who had come to arrest him at his boss’ place. How could they have traced him here? He thought. Quickly, he bounded up the stairs back to his room, and shot the door behind him.

He knew he had limited time to figure out what to do, but then, he picked up his pen and wrote a long detailed letter; Explaining the death, the piece of paper, the box, the documents, the red envelope and its message. And he concluded by stating that only she can save him now, and that the police must have had him in custody by the time the letter gets in hands.

“The password for unlocking the box is your name. Please confirm the evidence in the box and bring them along to the police. My life is in your hands; please don’t let my boss die in vain.” Satisfied, he folded the letter and neatly put in the red, fancy envelope, packed the documents back inside the box and locked it. He dialed the intercom for room attendant, and one soon came knocking. Trying to conceal his haste, Komolafe handed the box and the letter to the confused hotel worker, and shoved into his hand an address slip and three notes of a thousand naira, “kindly help deliver this box to this address,” he said pointing to the slip, “please, it is important you do it now.”

The attendant smiled on seeing the money, “Oga, no worry. My shift is ending in twenty minutes; I’ll deliver it on my way home. You don’t have to worry, our job is to make you happy” Komolafe did not wait to hear his happy prattle; he left him, headed down the stairs into the waiting arms of the police in total surrender.

*         *       *

“…you seem to be the only solution to all of this. Please, lives are depending on you.” The nun read the last words in tears. Nothing had happened to Okorocha that she didn’t know of, but the news of his death came as a shock. The memory of their first meeting was still fresh, like it was only hours ago. She was taking a quiet, leisurely walk around the church when she saw him. He sat on the last pew at the back row. That cold night she saw him as a straying man who lacked affection of a family, the warmth of a home of himself. He looked rich but his soul was retched. But that night he poured his heart out to her, and from then on they would become more intimate than with the heart, but also with both their soul and body. He became her first; she was his last–his only Cynthia.

Cynthia changed from her vestments into a black dress, a show of mourning, and she sneaked out of the cathedral. The day was beginning to go to rest but she didn’t mind. All secrets were to be unraveled; she had made the resolution once and finally. She headed to the police.

 

The Bishop sat in meditatively on the front pew, a slim tall man in his sixties. He has a captivating mien and a kind of peace was in his eyes that could tame a beast. So was he, in quiet communion with the angels when Cynthia walked in with uniformed men. As if in a world oblivious of people around him, he said the Lord’s Prayer aloud so that the policemen got disconcerted.

“That is the man you came for,” Cynthia said bitterly, pointing at the Bishop. “He is Caleb.” As if her outburst gave them courage, one of them grabbed Caleb’s arm tentatively. Bishop Caleb rose in all honour, he looked like he was speaking from a trance, that same cold look and resolution with which he’d shot Okorocha.

 

He had gone discretely to Okorocha’s residence to convince him and, if he remained adamant, to make him pay for his sin; he went with a revolver in his garment pocket, and though he was sure he’ll use it, he still inclined more to persuasion. “You can’t back down on me now,” he’d said, “we have to complete building God’s temple.”

“We can find another mean,” said Okorocha. “We can do other business that is not illegal, and I think we have had enough money from drug pushing already. It’s time we stopped.”

“But not enough to reach my goal,” said Caleb, a little louder than usual. He moved closer to look into Okorocha’s eyes with an imploring face. “I have vowed to duplicate King Solomon’s success, I have promised God to single handedly build Him a house. And He saw my heart and decided to help me do it; He ordered your steps into the church that night when you needed money to pay your debt. . . to redeem your life. I saved your life, you owe me, and you can’t back down now.”

Okorocha appeared too tired to continue to argue. “This is crazy, Bishop, God dwells in holy places, not in a house built with ‘crack’ money. I am not going into this sinful business again, and that’s final.”

A heavy moment of silence passed.

“The Lord has justified his chosen,” said bishop finally, pointing a revolver at Okorocha, “they pay with their blood who come against him.”

 

“The Lord justifies his chosen,” said Bishop again, now with an ironic smile as he committed himself to the hands of the uniformed men. He looked at Cynthia without passion and stretched forth his hands to be cuffed. They walked him out of the church, and he never returned

 

 

MOSES OLAROTIMI is just a simple dude who loves writing stories, poetry and anything that comes to mind.

Twitter/IG: @sheyzznote

CHRIS TILEWA is a young Nigerian, a creative writer, social critic, and lover of aesthetics. He writes fictions, poetry and non-fictions. You may want to join him on Facebook: Chris Tilewa, or on Twitter @krislucid.

 

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I carelessly swiped my sword, cutting bales of air. My martial art skills eluded me as I struggled to avoid death. It stylishly gadded towards me, so confident before my timid self. Moving closer towards peril, I courageously summoned the vim to conquer; a desperation to win the duel. It acrobatically descended on me, knocking me down as the sharp edge of my sword missed its pate. The hilt i gripped fell off my wrist. ‘Oh! This creature isn’t real!’, I cried. It wasn’t like I missed the attempt to cut off its head but my sword went through it as if it was cutting through space. It was as though I had struck at nothing. I concluded it was the conjuring job of the witches. They must have carved this Chorduo with their metaphysical grit to execute their evil cravings.
It closed up on me as I lay on the ground. It seemed ready to pounce, tear, skin and suck my blood. At this point, I sighted its manhood. It was long as that of the horse. I cursed and thanked the gods I wasn’t a dame. The stiffened rod would have penetrated my holes. I kicked the penis so hard with my strong foot. It squeaked. ‘Even Chorduos feel pains?’, I sneered. It did some acrobatic stunts backways as it flew into the sky and escaped. I quickly advanced towards Daram;shook him vigorously. “Kill it, kill it”, Daram screamed. I proudly grinned, pointing skywards. “I already beat him to fleeing. “He regained full fitness and to his utmost surprise, his gaze followed my hand as he saw the Chorduo fly away. Before he could utter any statement, I pulled him up. I walked him over to where my sword laid, blood stained.
“Your Highness. Your bravery saved us all. Thank you so much.””Daram. It is part of my duty as a king, let’s forget about it. How many people are still alive?” “Your Highness. I think…” ,he replied as he walked across the plain to do the counting. “Twenty-five are fine and the remaining fifteen are injured.””That’s good, Daram. Not bad at all. Assign a man with only a bruise to contact the emergency troops for proper burial of the dead and aids to the injured.”  Daram and I afterwards advanced on our journey-just the two of us. Getting to the gate of Oakshire, a harsh gale blew on us and blinded our sight. I struggled to regain it as i yelled at Daram. He could not see a thing as he screamed and brayed like a donkey.

After something had hit our pate as we fainted, I regained consciousness in a hall where i noticed reverberations. With sight not yet regained, I yelled and my voice was all over the hall. Then I heard Darams’ too. ‘Forgive! Forgive!! Forgive!!!’ A silent underground voice was suddenly heard. The aura of the hall had suddenly changed like an heavenly presence was there. My eyes itches and it hurt so bad I cried. I heard Daram’s lamenting voice too. We sure were both in distress. Suddenly i saw a lady dressed as a Sibyl, welcoming me. I could now see,  ‘Hurray!!!’ I shouted and so did Daram. A Sibyl with a white face she was. She carried light fancy steps towards us. “Luda!” Her sweet voice was alluring, I was most shaken by the name she called. The last time I heard someone call me by the name was thirty years ago before my installation as the crown prince. I was still trying to gain composure when her voice sounded again. “Xenon gods agreed to assist, to restore the pillars of peace already destroyed by your forefathers. A royal blood is however needed to be sacrificed”.

After the princess had been lost to this dark moment, I was only left with a prince who already was part of an envoy to Iotra kingdom, a sign of peace after the ‘salt war’ three years ago. I thought briefly,’I am too young to die now.’ Daram was watching;which option would I go for,he must have wondered.”More than a thousand beaux dwell in Altra kingdom. I can converge some to your chamber to produce another heir”, Daram said. i looked straight into his eyes, though he felt pity for me yet he wanted me to sacrifice my only son. I was not the kind of father that would in lieu of my bloodlines chose glory and honour.

“I am prepared to lay my life!” I replied,unsure if it was what I realy wanted to do. Daram tried to speak but he realised how unwelcoming my gaze was. Two monks approached to lead me into the redemption room. Daram drew out his sword and took his offensive stance. I however insisted I wanted to follow them.”Tell the people of Altra. Good people die young. I do not want to be forgotten in history. Inscribe my name in the legendary frame of fame.” Few drops of tears rolled down Daram’s gloomy face. He sat still as i was accompanied to the take-away room. I was ushered in as i waited patiently.”It’s done”, the sweet voice of sibyl reached me where I was. And the cackly cries of Daram followed. I knew he must have been in anguish and dolor at that moment. Instantly, I started thinking of every bad thing I could think up. perhaps I was already in heaven or about to die. I became so afraid. Then I heard the Sibyl order them in to pack my remains. I stood thinking I was a spirit and would perhaps see my lain body. I saw nothing. I laid down again thinking I was not  properly out of my dead self.

The monks entered while i stood from my lain position again. They must have thought my soul was just about flying upstairs when they saw me still alive. Out of fear, they’d rushed out. The Sibyl walked in, mouthed some spells beyond my scope and ordered me to remain there. A couple minutes later, she called me out. “I saw a royal blood already shed. They agreed to settle for that. You are thus now free of all magical creatures.” She left through the fancy doorway of pergonic structure.  I was so happy. Daram had forgotten I was the king as he held me in a tight embrace. “Good people die young. Still I rise”  was all I said as we journeyed back home. Setting feet on the Altra kingdom;the young, old, aged, able and crippled had all gathered outside to welcome their supposed great king. My legacy lived on ever after.

 

Story By: Abd-Hamid Dent Abd-Afeez

Written By: Muchos Callidad Psychadelic

#Talesmen

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(1)

Makay approached with  exasperating exertion as he stormed into the palace panting. I was seated on my royal chair watching him dare an act of abject lack of manners. Before I could open my mouth for chiding, he had started to talk in-between his forced breathing.
‘We were returning from a hunt when a chorduo showed up, Your Highness. We……’
‘Wait a minute! You mean the real chorduo or something else?’ I replied.
‘The real one, Your Highness.’ He had regained his breath and the initial cackle in him had subsided.
‘God! I thought they were extinct. Go on!’
‘We were four, just as we regularly do our hunting.
The chorduo came from a dense morji mesh, it then gave cadence that wavered between the high shriek and the low squeak. We were frightened. I drew out my dane gun, Bolke his arrow, Mathieu also his gun and Dundee his matchet. The chorduo hopped into the air, tilted and swiveled acrobatically, it then surged down revealing its sharp pout. It was just so fast and fierce that our aim were all shaky and useless. It reached Mathieu first and plunged its pout into his heart. With its hard tubular pout, it gulped Mathieu’s blood. I made a nice aim and it caught it on its back. It screamed and squeaked in its usual cadence. It afterwards did another acrobatic and this time it caught Dundee. I and Bolke started to run, we had almost reached the kingdom’s main gate before it caught Bolke. Your Highness the Chorduo is heading our way.’
‘You mean the palace?’
‘Yes my lord!’
I stood up pacing around.
‘This is my grandfather’s unfinished business, he could have made sure he finished them then. He caused this, making us believe they were all gone. Damn him!’ I cursed. ‘I hope it is only one else we are doomed.’
‘Now we must finish this creature once and for all.’ ‘Guards! I want you to go to my war lord and tell him I need his attention here.’
‘Yes Your Highness!’ They echoed.
As they were about leaving the palace, it was to the face of the Chorduo. It plunged into their heart and sucked their warm bloods. Two of the four guards made it inside. They were totally soaked in blood. The Chorduo, re-ignited fear and unrest into Altra kingdom where they’d sworn peace would reign forever.
I sat on my royal chair wary of ideas. ‘How on earth can we get rid of this Chorduo. Now I am a prisoner in my own palace.’

The kingdom of Altra have had previous dark times, majority of which had seen the palace held in siege. This had led to the constructions of emergency exit tunnels through which an escape can be made. I, Makay and some guards escaped from the palace using the tunnel. The horrid tunnel was wall-lined by slimy cuds of mosses and dark patches of dirts, we went through it and instantly headed for the house of our war lord. Daram the war lord was a sturdy man with black dense mustache around his chin. He was at his study going through the famous Damila war stories his father wrote when I bursted into his house. He was quick to react with a sudden flush of annoyance upon his face. However, the annoyance was short lived as he forced a needed hospitality for my royal presence.
“Your Highness, what brings you here on such short notice?”
“Its the Chorduo, Daram. It just attacked my palace and killed my guards.”
“The Chorduo, how come?”
“Are you asking me? You should rather ask Makay, he found them.”
Makay moved forward with his blood-tainted war gear,
“the Chorduo was just there in the forest and it attacked us with the most outrageous fury I’ve seen in years.”
“Your Highness, our troops trained for such assault are presently on a mission in the Southern province, they combat the surge of the werewolves.”
“Daram, what are you now insinuating? That we shall hide till the chorduo feed on all the innocent men of our kingdom?”
“Your Highness, I shall arrange some men to help slow down the monster, however Your Highness, we can only buy small time because of their incompetence. I suggest you should call on the Zola to consult the oracle, he might find a spiritual end to this ordeal. As far as I know, the chorduo is originally of a dark origin.”
“Well said Daram, get the men set and get me two men to Summon Zola for me.”
“I will do just that Your Highness.”
Daram left the room and returned few minutes later with a palace guard closely behind him.
“Your Highness, I did your bidding. And as I was, I…”
“Gollu, what are you doing here. Where is Princess Tella, where’s my daughter?”
“Your Highness, she lies stranded by the entrance of the new market, we fear for her safety as that monster tears down the market, staining it with the blood of the unfortunate one’s in its path. The princess then sent me a message to inform you to arrange for her rescue. However I met the palace empty and in ruin with the very colour of blood and its stench all over it. Your Highness I was already thinking the unthinkable before I saw Daram’s men. They informed me of your seeking refuge over here. I had begged them to help us save the Princess, I knew delay might be dangerous. Your Highness, I pray they can get the Princess back here safely.”
I watched him talk all those while shuddering with a tight-gripping sense of fear. The terror of fleeing the palace was nothing compared to the gory picture of the Chorduo gulping the Princess’ untainted royal blood.
“Your Highness! Your Highness!!”
“Daram! Where is Zola. where is he, what’s keeping your men at bay? I must not lose my daughter to that monster. Arrange some more men to reinforce the men attempting  her rescue.”
“As your highness pleases.” He left the room afterwards.

By: Abd-Hamid Dent Abd-Afeez

#Talesmen

ECLIPSE PRIME (ACT 2, SCENE 1)

Posted: May 12, 2014 in Drama
Tags: , , ,

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ACT 2, Scene 1

(Curtain lifted)
Light falls on…

*****A seat away at a corner on a long huge log of palm tree, a gouge of palm wine sits like an idol on the floor before Shodimu who was seating on the log as he sip drink from a small calabash in his hand. Three or more logs where seen around, heap of small calabash unwashed lie at a side as flies merry about around it, and at a far end, closer to where Shodimu sat was a busy lady in a rafia tent, she must be the owner of the inn*****

SHODIMU: (sips and belch out loud) what a good day to challenge the god of wine to a duo, sure me to win (sips) are there better palm wine in the world than that of this inn, Moroyin is known also not for her beauty and precious gems, but also for wine and pretty maidens (laugh sarcastically) bring more pal…pa…palm wi…win…(Belch) palm wine

INN OWNER: (from within the tent) will you seize from belching so loud, don’t you think its so disgusting? (Hiss) on such a sunny afternoon, must you add the irritating tremor from the stinking  small round hole in your shapeless head to it, even my nose can perceive how it stinks (spit out from inside the tent)

SHODIMU: (laugh) your beauty and wine compliments each other so much that not even your hordes of insult haul at me will matter (belch again) I belch so loud that I even disturb the gods, but what will they do? (Laugh) I can’t die now, no, not yet, even death knows that for sure (sips) enough dying for today, am here to drain my bitterness in this gouge of wine, so your whip of insult can be tolerated (sips, turn towards the inn) Moroyin needs no death to pay us a visit by itself, Dikudi has chosen to do its bidden (turn head away and sip some more, driving flies away from perching on his calabash) not even the King is safe anymore (sigh)

(Entering is the proverbial’s drunkard, staggering here and there, hardly can he maintain a steady balance. A gouge in his hand from which he drinks his palm wine. Tattered and smelling, flies follow from behind and he careless what they gossip behind him as they buzz about)

TOMORI: (wave his hand behind him) why are my entourage so noisy today? Can’t you all gossip silently anymore? (Turn towards the tent) my bethroted, will I still your suitor be today or perhaps you might consider me for a spouse? (Smiles)

INN OWNER: (smile) definitely not today, may be you should try your luck again tomorrow (mocks him)

TOMORI: (sips) A man who seeks a treasure from the rock most be heedless to the wailing sound of the anguished looking axe. I’ll try more persuasion tomorrow (sips) heyy! You (pointing at Shodimu) I heard you mention that the King is not safe because of Diku…diku… (Peep in the direction of the four cardinal point) let me be sure am safe before calling the name of fear (sips and sat beside Shodimu) you know who I mean. Tell your plight, a little drop of water in turn, makes a mighty ocean, will you do me the honour of telling me what’s happening? (stare at him)

SHODIMU: (turn to look at who disturbs his moment of enjoyment) ah! Its you Tomori, useless drunk ever to live (squeeze his face) be gone from here and let peace stain the troubled ground (sip his drink)

TOMORI: aw! Its really you my friend (tries to hug him)

SHODIMU: (shove him away) get away from me you rejected piece of stinking rag (slaps his hand away) who in Moroyin’s pride is your friend? Are you so losing your mind to wine that you really don’t recognize or have respect for a royal person?

TOMORI: (looks around in a fearful gesture) I hope you are not referring to yourself as been royal? (Burst into laughter) Errand fool like you, the wine must have made you start day-dreaming, its true that when a leaf stays long in the bossom of a bleach; it ultimately becomes a bleach, Shodimu! Its a shame to see you behaving like the blurry-white coloured liquid in your hand (drinks his wine) I am better than you oh messenger! Atleast am free to roam where I chose, is it same for you? Is it not from an errand you so return? (Laugh)

INN OWNER: Can you both stop behaving like ladies and talk like men, I count my earnings and I need full concentration to do so (hiss) trouble no trouble else you get it double

TOMORI: What news have you of the Okuta mountain and its saga? (Sits to face Shodimu) What has Dikudi done this time again?

Shodimu: I saw it with my own two naked eyes how he tear through them like a raging storm, none of the royal guards could withstand him and his cohorts (sip wine) they were swift and fast, with just wooden clubs against spears and swords. All the royal treasure diggers ran for their dear lives (a man run pass where they sat) see! See! That should be one of the workers, I know them from the way they dress

TOMORI: Oh! The gods bless your sight, yet I hope some day like treasure they won’t demand the same (sip wine) you alone unlike most of us who dwell in Moroyin is priviledge enough to see the mountain, except for Dikudi who is violating the royal decree all in the name of ancestral heritage. I envy you Shodimu, you must have seen enough precious stones to build an empire of fortune (move closer to him and whisper) or have you been able to take some while you visit the end of the rainbow? (Smiles)

SHODIMU: Are you out of your senses? What if someone over heard your implicating accusation, don’t you know my head may lose its neck for it? (Push him away)

TOMORI: Haba! It was just but a sincere question. It is only a killer who quickly hide himself away at the sight of a cutlass, it is only he who have tasted sleeping that can describe the sweetness of death, why feel guilty of the crime you did not commit? (Clears throat mockingly)

SHODIMU: May all this your proverb not put you to trouble someday, let me be! I come here to ease my sight and heart of the horror I saw today, and yet you’ve come here with your own war of proverbs (drinks all that’s left of the palm wine in his bowl) my time to leave this hell for my paradise is come atlast (stand but staggered back in his seat)

INN OWNER: Shodimu! I heard that o. My own inn has suddenly become your hell after you’ve exhausted your miserable moment on my sweet palm wine, thought you said there’s no better inn in Moroyin aside this one? Indeed you are a double mouthed man so very unstable, its better you take your leave now

SHODIMU: You don’t have to tell or chase me, I’ll leave your inn for you (drop some cowries inside the bowl) here is your payment for service, am leaving for my paradise, to the palace my feet may now come to (stands again and struggle to maintain balance) to my home I go, onward to my haven of rest

TOMORI: Pitiful person like you know not grave from bed. (Shakes head) between the King and Dikudi we will see how it will all end, and am so sure that we will hear the tales from your mouth (laugh)

(Shodimu staggers out as Tomori mockingly laugh him)

*****Light Fades*****
CURTAINS FALL

Image

Ije pulled into her suburb with an accustomed ‘near-speedy’ driving along a pale feeling of difference, deciding whether or not it was wise to make home timely at such a Monday. It has been substantial months since her return from work came in hand with twilight contrary to her usual nightly arrival.
 
“Earnestly I need words with Tony . . . . Only if this pride of mine can be swallowed;” were the thoughts that revved her mind.
 
A few blocks to her residence sauntered an elderly man with a young lady supposedly his daughter, sharing exhilarating chats along the subway of the suburb. Approaching from behind, ije’s attention was captured by their lively demonstrations, the man nodded with interest and both laughing at intervals. Picturing herself as the lady and Tony her husband, the man, reassured a seeming auspicious outcome in her crumbled marital happiness. At that moment she resolved to unclad every weight of pride and come to terms with her man. Her soul thumped with increasing tempo as she sped across, speculating on the possible scenario.
 
“This in real sense was your fault Ije,” she silently re-admonished herself.
 
She is an ambitious woman who aspired the greatest height of career. Working hard and smart amassed her with the company of elites whereupon she achieved an abiding connection with the CEO of her Multi National Organization. Things worked fine, promotions stormed her with travel privileges and all that anyone could wish for at the expense of her time with Tony. Returning late night and leaving far before dawn, spending weekends and months outside town gradually nibbled all her marriage once shared in common.
 
The scene of a faithful day when before her eyes, Tony was utterly humiliated at her cost, hunted the life out of her. It happened that her CEO along with his driver had dropped her home some minutes past 11 o’clock in what she claimed was an official trip, unbeknown to her that Tony failed to embark on their earlier agreed journey. The CEO lavished kisses on her neck while she chuckled and giggled like a newly betrothed maiden. Upon entering the house, she was astonished to behold Tony’s presence and she half concluded, “Perhaps he has taken notice of my endearment with the CEO.” Confirmation to that speculation unveiled abruptly as Tony fronted her with heated questions which earnestly heightened into argument and for the first time in her life, a slap from Tony pounced hot upon her cheek. That was the height of embarrassment she would tolerate from a man she believe, feeds from her purse. She returned the offensive in kind and got the beating of her life. Nothing was left of her little strength except the ranting of words – despicable words of abuse to Tony.
 
“Yes am his lapdog.” She screamed opinionatedly. “He has my thighs at his wish because he worth it. Far unlike a riffraff like you who cannot afford half of what it takes to make your woman sound.” “I feed you Tony, I feed you,” her voice bawled …. “And do you know what? He pays me that money. Your flight tickets are from his damn pocket, even the food on your table after your days of fruitless work.”
 
The beating increased as she vomited all the unhearables till Tony had a sudden sweep of weakness at a particular word of hers. “He is your fellow man,” she lamented, “I married you to help me achieve my dreams but he did. I don’t regret saying he deserves your wife more than you do.”
 
This dropped Tony cold against the wall and he began weeping with head buried in his both palms, presenting Ije an opportunity of revenge. She rammed a mortar into his skull and got a break of a phone call while he yelled in pains. The fight commenced as she countlessly pounded the disoriented Tony with every object her hands could find until he mustered some balance and took hold of the prime.  At this time Ije’s CEO barged into the apartment with a handful of fierce looking bodyguards. The phone call was to him and his response was timely. At the end Tony ended up in the hospital and return home on wheelchair.
 
“Give it time, he may still walk again,” said the doctor. “Though his spines were excessively cracked.”
 
The couples though dwelling beneath the same roof, neither spoke to one another nor observed whatever conjugal involvement as married people till a full year went by. Ije prided on the fact of her strength and connection, enough to drop her husband on wheelchair for laying hands on her. She however subtly wished for the months to run by till he gets back on his feet. Her anxiety was full blown when after a full year, no development was recorded and the doctor announced that hopes of Tony leaving the wheelchair was bleak. At this moment, she sort ways to mend the rift which have grown too wide to be bridged. She cried all day at work and thought of how she have sent her life to a steep voyage with no lesser end than destruction. All the “I DO” when at the altar now contains more patches than cloth. The continued affair with her CEO has become more obligation than pleasure and aspiration.
 
These rattled through her mind on the twilight of that Monday as she headed home, resolute on an apology, though unsure of the possibility of Tony’s instant acceptance. She would break the news of her intention to quit her job thus, distancing from the CEO – a thing she believed Tony would relish. With that, she would regain the time to rebuild her home.
 
“I have decided to be a good and humble woman,” she kept mumbling as she neared her residence. Suddenly a vehicle swerved into her path and she quickly notice a man at the rear, point a gun at her windscreen. She once had seen the man in the entourage of her CEO’s wife whom she supposed must have grown resentful of the affair between her and her husband. It happened so fast. All she recalled was the loud bang that cranked a bullet into her brains. Next was blurred faces of crowded sympathizers who were pulling her off her vehicle and then emerged a fellow on wheelchair who looked close to Tony. She managed to hold dying breath as he held her, fuzzing with tears and remonstrating words that sounded vague. This was the moment she ever longed for – a moment buried in Tony’s arms, feeling his warmth. For those seconds, nothing mattered, neither the past, present nor future; not even the death before her. In his arms was a touch of heaven.
 
“Am sorry baby, I love you,” she muttered with a weary smile as her breath drew the last.
 

Nnaemeka Kezie (eN)

Talesmen