lost, not found

muddy waters

muddy waters

Like pearls at the bottom of a muddy lake
Flowers beneath shrubbery thorns
Like water trapped in rock
Like gods long forgotten

These memories are a muddy brook
Water that goes nowhere

Categories: Poetry | 5 Comments

Envelopes

Pitch Dark by Kume Ozoro

Pitch Dark

It’s dark in here, very dark. I didn’t mind much initially because I slept most of the time. But I’m stronger now, so I stay awake a lot more.

The darkness bothers me. I have to sit head facing the floor, and that too is awkward. The sitting; endless hours of sitting.

Sometimes I turn or move around, but mostly I just sit with my head facing the floor.

This is a cramped space by any standard, and it is all the space I have. This space is too tiny to do much in, so I sit and stare. And sometimes I think; like now.

The fare here is just as bad. The things I’m forced to eat. Whose idea was this anyway? Once in the early days I got drunk. It was such a glorious feeling. This is grub, but don’t let them hear that, they call it food.

All I do in this tiny space is sit upside down, kick around sometimes, eat and stare. I sleep every now and again to refresh myself. For what? I don’t know. There’s so much more I could be doing: body building, educating myself on the ways of the world, giving back to society and other whatnots. But you can’t do any of that in this cramped space. No sir!

I’m tired of being here. I just twiddle my thumb and roll around. I don’t even enjoy the kicking. I have been here for too long. How do I get out?

Think. Think.

I love listening to music. I don’t have any preferences – not much of that around here.

I have to get out.

I am going to be here for a long time if they have any say about it. Have to make sure they don’t. Have to get out.

Must think very hard. Think. It’s the easiest thing to do.

I bump into the sac and it vibrates. That might be because of the fluid in here. I have gotten so used it, my only wonder is how it never gets in my eyes.

Just to be sure, I bump into the sac again. It vibrates and this time I know it wasn’t the fluid. I almost jump for joy. But then, I can’t jump in this space.

I try kicking hard with my foot, it moves so suddenly I pee on myself. I don’t bother with that, they will clean me up.

They seem to be agitated by the movements I’m making, so I sit still for a while. I have  a good feeling that this is my way out.

I poke the sac with my finger but nothing happens.

I wait, biding my time; plotting my escape. I know it’s been a day by my meal times. I give them some time to change their mind about keeping me here. They don’t and I know it’s time to move into action.

I feed again and with renewed vigour I begin bumping and kicking. I bump and kick, only stopping to feed. I lose track of the passage of time. I bump and kick hard as I can because my life depends on it.

When I fall out, I don’t know who is more surprised, them or myself. I actually laugh when I realise I’m free. I have been born.

This is so wonderful. I’m a baby, a human baby. And there are so many faces staring at me.

I want to skip, but they soon have me in a bath, scrubbing away at the muck, preparing me for their world.

I don’t know who thought up a womb for people to grow into babies; I sure could have done without the experience. It doesn’t matter now. I’m on my way to doing those great things I’ve only been hearing about: walking, running, school and so much more 😀

antenatal scans

Antenatal Scans Source: http://assets.babycenter.com/

Categories: Lil Pieces of Fiction, Reads like Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Evil That Men Do

The Daily Beast Source: http://cdn.theweek.co.uk/

The Daily Beast
Source: http://cdn.theweek.co.uk/

“Pssst”

“Tobi” Kareem whispered close to my ear. His foul breath was like a physical slap bringing me back to full consciousness. I tried to turn away, but then a voice in my head whispered mockingly “see the pot calling kettle black”. So I reluctantly grunted  back instead.

“hmmm”

I was pretty sure my sure my breath could wake a dead man. The thought made me smile. Strange how the mind works – to find humour in this dark place.

I could hear Kareem’s laboured breathing beside me as he struggled to somehow adjust his protracted prone position .

“e be like say Wunmi don craze o.”

How did I end up here?

The question had been reverberating in my head since the moment I’d regained consciousness and found myself lying helpless in this cold, damp cell, surrounded by the stench of fresh and decaying faeces, mixed in with the whimpering moans of my fellow captives, and the constant shuffling of feet by our captors above.

I can still remember closing from work sometime around 10:00 pm, and boarding a bus heading to  Sango-Ota at the Oshodi Bus Stop. Traffic was light and I’d projected I would be home before 11:00 pm. I remember staring at the towering neon street lights glowing along the length of the bridge all the way to Bolade, and thinking to myself “Fashola has really transformed this place”. The only other thing I remember is feeling drowsy.

One moment I was in a bus hurrying home to my family and the next moment I’m lying here trapped in the den of ritual murderers. Living with the realisation that I will never see my family again.

The year is 2014. The last time I checked, it was June. I have no idea what day it is. Time is no longer measured in minutes and hours. It is measured only in heartbeats – here one moment and gone the next.

At first there were fourteen of us in the cell. We must have been charmed, because even though we were unbound and sometimes unguarded, we couldn’t move. We just lay there in the dirt waiting for them to return from wherever they went.

Our captors were six in number, at least those were the ones I’d seen – five men and a woman. Sometimes two of the men would enter our cell dressed somewhat like mad men. Laughing, they preyed on the women lying there helpless while we watched. It must have been another occult ritual, because once they were through, the woman slowly lost her mind. Or maybe it was the trauma of the absolute helplessness that drove the women insane – as was now happening with Wunmi.

The other three men – even now that it’s over, I still have nightmares of them, their hideous twisted grinning faces smeared with blood. They were the butchers.

I sighed.

Why did  Kareem have to tell me of Wunmi’s breakdown? This was not out of pity. In a way, I felt it was an easier way out of this hell into which we had been drawn. At this moment, to me, she was the lucky one.

From time to time the butchers would enter the cellar accompanied by a smallish man with crossed eyes, dressed with large beads around his neck and ankles, a long white cloth around his waist. They called him Eru-iku.

Eru-iku would mutter some incantations as he looked around, then suddenly point at one of us. Swiftly, the butchers would descend upon him or her, dragging the helpless body out of the cell. And then came the screams punctuated by the dull thumping sound of iron against concrete. In the case of a woman, the screams went on longer. I can still hear them.

This was our life. The blood curling screams became the songs of birds at sunrise; the ever-present scent of faeces and decaying flesh, our garden of roses; the faces of our captors and the knowledge that when we were dragged out of our cell, we would not be coming back, this was our reality.

We were fed little, left over scraps of chicken tossed on the dirt floor beside our waste. The butchers would make us eat those bones, flogging us with canes until we swallowed the scraps to escape the pain. And then they would laugh at our broken bodies, lying trembling in the dirt.

And then freedom came. There we were, lying in our own mixture of blood and faeces. Myself, Kareem and Wunmi – barely human, the last three.

“Did you hear that?” Kareem whispered suddenly

“What?” I groaned wearily.

“Sssh…”

It suddenly hit me that Wunmi had stopped laughing, and there was a strange stillness in the air above us. And then I heard it. The crack of a gunshot echoed in the distance, and then there was another, and another and then I heard shouting.

“They are coming” Wunmi cooed in a sing-song voice.

I could hear the thumping sound of feet moving above us. Then Kareem started laughing.

“Help!” I tried to call out, but my voice was hoarse and weak.

“Help!” Kareem joined in. “We are here o!” Together we cried and cried with all our strength, even Wunmi joined in. Until finally the door opened.

They say it was the townspeople who rescued us, after one of their okada riders got abducted by the two mad men. A phone call from his cellphone led them to the place. Wunmi died on our way to the hospital. According to the police, the butchers were burnt alive, screaming until they died. Only the woman, the one they called “Aunty”, escaped.

We were in the cell for over three months before our freedom came. And now that it has, I feel nothing.

I lived with death for three months. The land of the living feels strange.

Categories: Lil Pieces of Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Befuddled

1000 Naira
Rain drops were splashing all around, caressing her skin into goose bumps, with slivers of a shiver darting about her insides. She had hurried to the safety of the rusty shed with its muddy floor, and now wondered if the shed’s leaking roof wasn’t just as bad as being out in the rain. A gust of wind blew the rain straight at her with an impertinent fury which she could not understand. If only she hadn’t come out this morning. She hugged herself for warmth, thankful that she was clad in a blazer and a pair of jeans . At least, her health wasn’t at risk. Then again, there was her hair to worry about. The waist-long braids were newly made and would definitely be soaked by the time she made it to her appointment. Keeping them from getting smelly was another task by itself.

She gritted her teeth in anger at her “employer-to be” for rescheduling her second interview from a date which most likely would have been rain free; then at the elements for picking today of all days; and then at herself for not being one of those women who drove the big cars and never bothered to offer a hapless younger woman a ride, even in the pouring rain. It was hard stifling the temptation to hurl insults at such women. Continue reading

Categories: Lil Pieces of Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

once upon a time

 

broken_hearts_bleed_music_by_chrysstaI looked at my wristwatch for the umpteenth time. Women keeping men waiting is a norm, true. Still, I couldn’t for the life of me now phantom how I had tolerated the extent to which she took liberty with this tradition. And for six good months. No doubt, those six months had been good, really good. Recently however, I had the feel of  a man who’d been rudely awakened from bliss. Couldn’t deny to myself that I hadn’t always suspected it to be just what it was – a dream.

An average of twenty-five minutes. That was about how long it usually took her to get from her dorm room on the second floor to our rendezvous – the closest mini-park; even when I’d called her an hour before hand. It really was barely a stone throw away, and yet she’d now kept me waiting for forty-five minutes. In the old days, when I was still head over heels in love, I would have by now grown frantically worried.

“Had she tripped while coming down the staircase?”

“Had one of my ex-girlfriends finally given in to jealousy and accosted her at just this moment?”

“Or had one of those idiot drivers who buzzed around campus at unbelievable speeds buzzed into her and she was right now writhing in pain at the health center, unable to communicate to me her distress?”

Continue reading

Categories: Lil Pieces of Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

In The Face Of Terror (III)

Sahara by Night Photograph by Thomas Young

Sahara by Night
Photograph by Thomas Young

The splash of cold water stung my face. My eyelids fluttered open in shock, and I gasped for air. I don’t know how long I was out, but I was lying on the floor and my left hand had been bandaged. The masked man was back. He stared down at me, arms folded behind him.

“My friend, are you ready to continue our discussion?”

“Sir, please, I’ve told you the truth.”

“Maybe.”

“And maybe I believe you”

He tossed a bundle of clothes on the floor, and left the room. The men barked orders at me as they stripped me of my own clothing. I smelled like a goat. One of them disappeared into a corner of the room and returned holding a bucket of water. The cold water stung me like a thousand needles. I washed what I could but I knew I would not be clean. Hastily, I put on my new clothes. A bag was dropped over my head. I heard the door open, and I was led out once again. Continue reading

Categories: In Series, Lil Pieces of Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

In The Face of Terror (II)

“Please don’t kill me”

“Please don’t kill me”

I kept mumbling this to myself like it were a prayer.

I no longer had any idea how long we had been driving when we suddenly stopped. One of the men grabbed my arms, shouting impatiently and none too gently dragged me out of the vehicle. I could feel the trail of hot piss flowing over my thighs as they began dragging me along the ground, again. I heard a door swing open just ahead and the floor no longer felt so rough and the voices of my captors seemed to echo as we moved along, as though we were in a corridor.

We stopped moving. I tried to raise my head, to listen, but I was suddenly slammed against a wall.

“Down!” the voice of my captor was a harsh bark. Continue reading

Categories: In Series, Lil Pieces of Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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