A STORY WRITTEN BY BRIGHT DANIEL
Darkness covered everywhere in the land of Obioha. Not even a single star could be seen in the sky talk more of the moon. The screeching of bats from a nearby bush could be heard at this very late hour-12:00am.
Daria, the only daughter of Mr and Mrs Alfred stretched awake on her bed to the noise coming from a distant. Due to the darkness of the room, she located where the electric switch is and put it on. Light shone all over the room. One could see a typical local girl’s room; clothes hung on a rope while some on hanger. At another corner was a locker full of books and papers. Her bed was nothing to write home about. Obviously, the room indicated the poor background of her parents.
Daria quietly moved towards the door, she wore a gown without a bra. She plate her hair in a local fashion but that didn’t remove an atom of her beauty rather it improved it to molecule added to the attractive fair body complexion. She could hear the noise and shout of a familiar voice then she held her chest. “Austine?” she soliloquized as she went back to her bed. Sooner did she hear the voice again loud and clear, “Please, don’t kill me!”
“Austine!” Daria stood up with a speed. She quietly opened the door to avoid waking her parents up. When she got outside, she couldn’t believe the darkness of the atmosphere.
Nevertheless, she hurried up into the darkness. Dogs barked, crickets chirp, frogs croaked and most of all, cats purred but Daria kept going. She hastened up and began to run because she couldn’t bear the cry of Austin. As she ran like a blind woman, she stumbled and fell seriously. “My God!” she exclaimed…
On the other hand at the very resident of Austin, he laid flat on the floor wearing only a boxer and singlet. Before him was a man on mask and black. On his feet were Timber-land boots and on his palms were thick black hand-gloves. He had a sharp sward which he had used on Austin already. One could see blood gushing out from Austin’s arms.
“They call me Red” Ebube, the man on mask began. “I guess you must have heard about me coz my fame bread like a bedshirt. Your stubbornness let you into this. You should have cooperated with me peacefully. Now, look at what you’ve done to yourself” he shuffled the sward into it’s shelf and turned. He had a power motorcycle which he climbed heroically and put the key in the ignition. The tyres of the motorcycle is as big as that of vehicles but had wider area. “Crooom, croom” it set on motion and blasted out.
Daria struggled up without minding the injuries she sustained, so she began to run again. As she ran, she heard the hoot of Owls and croak of toads but these sounds suddenly overcame by the sound of Ebube’s power motorcycle. Hearing that, she hid beside a nearby bush. She could see the ray of light coming from the opposite direction. It drew closer and closer until it passed, then she began to run again.
At the resident of Austin, as Austin staggered inside with his hands full of blood, Daria arrived. “Austin?” she called in a low voice standing few meters away.
“Daria, what are you doing here?” Austin asked holding his arm.
“I heard you shouting that’s why i came” Daria sighted the blood then rushed him. “Oh my God! You are bleeding! What happened?”
“I was attacked but Red”
“Red? Who’s Red?”
“A criminal i guess”
“Thank God he didn’t take your life. Let me clean you up” Daria sighted a bucket of water. Austin stared at her as she came back with the bucket and told him to sit down but he refused.
“Austin, why? Let me clean you up” Daria stared into his eyes with a clean cloth in her hand.
“No, Daria” Austin replied.
“I’m worried why you came all the way from your house to this place. Have you thought of what your parents will say if they get to know you left your house to my house at this hour of the night?”
“But i came to save a life, especially for the person i love. I couldn’t bear hearing your shout then keep quiet. Please, allow me to clean the blood. You’re bleeding furiously” Daria concluded then both stared at each other silently…
Mr Alfred, Daria’s father woke up to the sound of the motorcycle. He stood up toward the parlour door and found it open. With the same gesture, he checked on Daria but couldn’t find her. “Elizabeth!” he shouted his wife’s name. “Mama Daria!” he added before the wife came out adjusting her wrapper.
“My husband, what is it?”
“Where is your daughter?”
“You mean Daria?”
“Do we have another one?”
“Hehy..” the wife entered Daria’s room but couldn’t find her. “My husband, where is she?”
“I’m asking you and you are asking me back. Ihia anyi biara o gwam gwam gwam?” the husband spoke in igbo language.
“I don’t know where she is”
“If i don’t kill that girl with my hands, she won’t disappear by this time of the night!”
“Heh! Chim oh!” the wife adjusted her wrapper again. Just then, Daria came back with blood stain on her gown..
There was a total tranquility in the parlour after Daria came back standing beside the door.
“Daria, where are you coming from by this time of the night?” the father asked.
“Father, i.. i went to save a life” Daria replied adjusting backword then the father glanced at his wife who began to dance in a bitter feelings. One could her fallen breats flinging up and down.
“You went to save a life” the father repeated. “When did you become James Bond? Whose Life did you go to save by the way?”
“Austin’s life” Daria replied again in fear.
“You see your daughter?” Mr Alfred turned to his wife. “Just listen to what she’s saying. That same boy that nearly put her into trouble the other day is who she went to save tonight”
“Hey, Daria!” the mother exclaimed.
“Now listen to me Daria or Dairy, whatever you call yourself” the father began. “Any day you leave this house again at this time, I’ll send you packing. Now get inside!” Daria ran into her room immediately. “Life saver! James Bond! You have suddenly become actor!” Mr Alfred turned to his wife. “Warn your daughter” he concluded and went into his room while the wife met Daria in her room changing her cloth.
“Daria, what has come over you?!” the mother moved closer.
“Mother, I’m sorry, but i had to know Austin’s condition” Daria replied holding the cloth in her hand. One could see her in pant only.
“This Austin will put u into trouble one day! Don’t say i didn’t warn you!”
“I’m sorry, mother”
“Sorry for yourself” the mother concluded as she left the room.
THE NEXT DAY
The news of what happened the previous night spread all over the land. It was in the lips of both young and old. One of the two men at a local joint playing draft suddenly folded his hands. “God, let it not be true” he said.
“What is it?” the other partner asked.
“Are you the only one who didn’t hear the motorcycle that drove last night?”
“I heard it! It seems Red visited our land last night because only his motorcycle has that powerful sound”
“That’s my fear! If at all Red has come into our land, there must be a big trouble!”
“I fear the consequences”
“Both of you shut up your mouths!” Odem, popularly known as the Wine interrupted them. He was the most drunkard in the village. One could see him with a bottle of wine and his trouser properly dragged up to his stomach. “You boys are bunch of lazy fools!” he added as he staggered towards the two men.
“The Wine, what brought this insult this morning?” Kenneth, one of the men asked.
“Close your trap! So you people heard everything that happened last night but never went to check! Heeii.. wicked people!”
“Who would have come out that night to face Red?” Fred, the next guy asked.
“You see your selfish life” Odem staggered forward again. “But someone came out that night to save life! Oh..!” he stared into the sky.
“Who came out that night?” Kenneth asked curiously.
“The one who love has eaten deep into her heart. Chai…” Odem replied.
“The Wine, you are confusing us the more”
“I never said anything” Odem concluded.
“Don’t mind this man, let’s play our game” Fred told Kenneth.
Prisca had a dark charming complexion. She dresses classic and sexy which explains the wealthy background of her parents. She walked briskly to Austin’s in jean trouser and a top which she tied with a bold belt across her stomach thereby giving her ‘A figure eight shape.’ She met Austin outside his house amending his wound.
“Hey, Austin!” Prisca shouted and hurried up. “What happened to you?”
“Hi, Prisca” Austin gently replied. “I was attacked by a criminal last night” he added.
“I thought as much coz i heard you shouting but i couldn’t come out to help you”
“Is okay, thanks anyway” Austin brought her a seat grinning widely and happily.
“I heard is Red” Prisca sat down.
“Yes, how did you know?”
“Who doesn’t know the almighty Red who has done disastrous things in nearby towns and villages? Of course the sound of his motorcycle made his identify obvious”
“I was surprise when he mentioned his name” Austin looked at her. “Thanks for coming” he added.
“Welcome. Let me help you dress the wound” Prisca suggested.
“No, don’t” Austin insisted.
“I don’t want you to stain your beautiful hands” Austin grinned again. The smiles on his face sent a signal to Prisca who smiled too. Just then, Daria walked in with her friend, Lana. Both in skirts. Seeing them, the smiles on Austin’s face stopped while that of Prisca lingered.
“Good morning, Austin” Daria greeted as she walked briskly to him. She totally ignored Prisca’s presence. “How’s the wound?”
“It’s getting better” Austin replied and glanced at Prisca while Lana stood aside observing them with her hands folded.
“Sorry, you will get better” Daria stood up then look at Prisca. “Hi Prisca, what are u doing here?”
“The same thing u are doing here” Prisca replied..
Daria smiled unwillingly as she stared at Prisca. She had no negative mind but thought Prisca came for a good purpose. She looked at Austin again and said, “I guess i have to go so that you can entertain your guest”
“Alright” Austin replied without looking up.
“Daria, let’s get out of here!” Lana spoke up harshly. Daria couldn’t leave because the attention she needed from Austin wasn’t given to her. Therefore, she turned and glanced at Prisca and Austin again.
“Let’s go!” Lana dragged her by the hand.
After they left, Prisca asked Austin, “Why did you do that?”
“Did what?” Austin finally looked up grinning broadly.
“Why did you allow Daria to go just like that?”
“She wanted to go, i didn’t force her”
“Hmm…” Prisca averted her eyes from him.
“May i offer you something?” Austin asked.
“What do you have?” Prisca returned her eyes smiling.
“Just wait and see” Austin stood up.
Still on the road where Lana was still dragging Daria home.
“Wait nah! Stop dragging me, what?!” Daria exclaimed before Lana disengaged her hand.
“Can’t you see? Don’t you have eyes?!” Lana placed her hands on her waist.
“What are you talking about?”
“I saw how Austin was looking Prisca, it’s not ordinary. Now listen, did Austin give you his attention?”
Daria shook her head negatively in reply, “He didn’t even ask me whether i went home successfully last night?” she added bitterly then her heartbeat increased thereby stimulating tears in her eyes.
“That’s what I’m saying, Austin doesn’t love u. It’s obvious he’s interested in Prisca”
“Please, stop saying that” Daria voice began to break.
“I’m only telling u the truth. Someone you sustained an injury for last night and got shouted by your parents doesn’t even care or give you a little attention. He doesn’t love you!” Lana concluded. Her words finally brought tears in Daria’s eyes.
“No, i can’t allow Austin do this to me. I’m going back to him” Daria said in tears and wanted to proceed but Lana held her hand.
“Over my dead body! You can’t go back there, not while I’m here! Please, let’s go home”
“I said no!”
Daria went home with Lana broken hearted.
At a nearby bank, away from the land of Obioha, one could see both security men and policemen with guns. They monitored every movement within and outside the bank. Of course banking was taking place. Sooner did they hear the sound of Ebube’s motorcycle and got ready.
“Everybody get down!” the policemen shouted. Even before they gave the command, many people who heard the motorcycle laid down already.
Finally, Ebube arrived in front of the bank still in a mask and heroic attire. He jumped down from the motorcycle and stared at the policemen and security men who pointed guns at him.
“Not a step forward! Go back!” one of the policemen shouted.
Ebube smiled as he touched his sword gently. “Have you not heard about me?” he asked. “They call me Red while I’m black. Imaging!” he smiled again and moved forward. Then the policemen began to shoot him, yet he kept going. It was obvious the bullets touched him but non hurt him. As he reached the gate, he jumped over it and brought out his sword. However, the policemen got tired of shooting. They only watched him grabbed one of the security men on the ear into the bank and collected a huge amount of money. They all watched him return to his motorcycle and said, “I guess you all know who Red is now. Continue your transaction” he put the key in the ignition. “Crooom, Crooom” the motorcycle blasted out.
Before Lana and Daria could get to their resident, they heard the sound of Ebube’s motorcycle. Others who heard it, either ran into a bush or totally laid flat on the ground.
“I heard the same sound last night” Daria spoke up.
“That must be Red” Lana said fearfully.
“Who’s he and what does he want?”
“He’s a known criminal”
“Why can’t the police arrest him” Daria asked seriously.
“He cannot be arrested. He’s even more powerful than the soldiers. I guess he’s heading to the village square” Lana replied and dragged Daria by the hand again to take another road to their house but she insisted. “Daria, what’s wrong with you?!”
“I want to see this Red” Daria replied.
“You must be crazy! This person is not a human being”
“Do you think so?”
“Please, let’s flee!” Lana held her hand and they began to run.
Odem was staggering on the road when Ebube passed him with a speed thereby making him fall into a bush. “Hey! The gods of palm wine!” he shouted as he struggled up again. Nobody reminded him to run to his house instead of staggering because the air created by the motorcycle blew off the drunkenness from his eyes.
On the other hand, Austin took cover when he also heard the motorcycle. He stood up and told Prisca to get inside the house.
“Why should i enter into the house?” Prisca asked.
“Because i don’t want you to be hurt” Austin replied.
“Why do care so much about me?” Prisca looked into his eyes…
Austin neglected Prisca’s question. He tried to go out but Prisca asked, “Where do you think you are going to?”
“To know what Red is up to?” Austin replied.
“You should be running away from Red not the other way round”
Austin ran out without listening to her.
Ebube turned the motorcycle in spherical shape thereby generating and polluting the environment with dust. He finally jumped down from it heroically then looked around. One could see a bag of money in his hand but non of his skin could be seen. All from head to toe was covered. Opposite him was a popular palm wine shop where people like Odem, youths and few elders were mostly seen. But when Ebube arrived, all flee except two elders in red caps. Seeing them, Ebube began to move forward.
“He’s coming towards this direction” Thomas, an elder whispered to Ben, another elder who sat beside him.
Meanwhile, the woman who sells palm wine there popularly known as Mama wine hid herself inside the shop.
“Let him come, he will not do anything to us elders” elder Ben replied.
“How sure are…”
“Hey, both of you lie down!” Ebube interrupted elder Thomas who looked at elder Ben in a way that says: I TOLD YOU.
“My son, we are elders…” elder Ben said but was interrupted by Ebube who took off their red caps and kicked their buttocks hardly before they finally laid flat on the ground.
“Abomination!” elder Ben examined.
“Quiet!” Ebube shouted and sat down. “I need both of you to do something for me urgently. Go tell your king that Red needs a good building in this land. I’ll go and return in the next twelve hours to stay under the roof which i have just requested for. But if i come back here without my request being granted, consider both you and your king dead. I hope I’ve made myself clear”
“Yes sir” the two elders responded semutanuoisly.
“Now go!” Ebube commanded. They stood up, pickled their caps and staffs then began to run slowly with the help of the staffs like old men they are.
However, Mama wine nearly fainted inside the shop where she hid quietly.
Ebube stood up again towards his motorcycle, he looked around without seeing anybody then climbed the motorcycle, put the key in the ignition. “Crooom, Crooom” he sped off.
After he left, all the people who ran away or hid under one thing or the other began to come out from their hiding places, then a total soliloquy began. Some elders who were there ran to the king’s palace.
“Chei…!!” one of the youths shouted. “Our land is in trouble!” he added.
Suddenly, Odem returned with his hand on his trouser trying to drag it up to his chest. They could see him rushing to Mama wine’s shop without a bottle of wine or in a staggering posture.
“The Wine, what happened?” one of the youths asked him. “Why are you not staggering again? Or are you not drunk anymore?” he added.
“Chei..!!” Odem began looking at the young youth. “Are you not aware that condition is what made a crayfish to bend? Seeing me in this abnormal condition simply means that something bigger than the cricket has entered the cricket’s hole. Please, let me go and set my body back to normal with some palm wine” Odem hurried up again dragging his trouser up. “Mama wine!” he shouted as he entered the shop.
The king’s palace was overwhelmed with muttering from elders. All were discussing nothing but the recent event that just happened. Of course elder Thomas and Ben were there to deliver their message. Suddenly, the king entered and all greeted him. He had a big stomach and healthy body. He was obviously rich and regarded as the richest king that ever reigned in the land of Obioha.
“What is the cause of all this noise and impromptu meeting?” King Lucas asked then everywhere became quiet.
“My king” elder Thomas began. “Can you imaging i and elder Ben were made to lie down flat on the ground?!”
“Heeey!!” some elders shouted.
“Abomination!!” others added.
“And who is responsible for that abominable act?” the king asked again.
“I don’t know what he called his name, whether Red, White or Black”
“It’s Red!” elder Ben corrected.
“Yes, he’s name is Red my King” elder Thomas said.
“Red?” the king repeated.
“Yes, my king. He even said that we should tell you to provide a house for him in the next twelve hours otherwis we all will die including you”
“Heey! What a sacrilege?!” one of the elders shouted.
King Lucas totally became quiet with his face down because he knew there is nothing he could do but to provide the house in the next twelve hours.
Few hours later, darkness began to take over the day again. Austin had a successful suppermarket. As he sat in front of it, Roland and Henry walked in. They sagged their jean trousers in a way their dirty boxers could be seen.
“Austin, the boy!” Roland shook hands with Austin, likewise Henry as they took a seat. He brought out a cigarette, light it up, smoked it and blew it out from his nose. “How about Daria ur babe?” he asked..
Light from Austine’s supermarket shone all over the vicinity where Roland’s mouth was smoking light a burning bush. He handed another cigarette to his friend, Henry still waiting for Austine to answer his question.
“Guy, Daria is fine” Austine replied with a smile.
“The girl really gave me a hard time!” Roland said bitterly and stretched a cigarette to Austine who refused.
“How many times have i told you that i don’t smoke?” Austine asked.
“But you do the one worse than smoking” Henry backfired him then they giggled.
“Back to what i was saying” Roland blew out a smoke and shook his head as if he was about to get mad. “Daria gave me a tough time! And i must get her!”
“Guy, remember you’re talking to my girlfriend” Austine said.
“Fuck you! You think i don’t know you are eying Prisca too after you have gotten what you wanted from Daria. Now, you wouldn’t want me to take my own share, abi? Guy, you are wicked!”
“Watch your mouth. Don’t say i didn’t warn you” Austine concluded and ordered a drink for them.
Still on that very evening at Mr Alfred’s resident, Daria could be seen in the kitchen with her mother. She handled a pot she was holding carefully while her mind wandered to Austine and eventually to what Lana told her earlier that day. Therefore, her mood changed. The mother noticed it from aside, so she asked, “What’s troubling you?”
“Nothing, mother” Daria replied without looking at her.
“I know you’ve gone to see Austine today coz no day passes-by without you seeing him” the mother added but Daria kept quiet. “Did you hear about what Red did to two elders today?” the mother changed the topic.
“Yes” Daria seemed interested on the topic. “I heard he’s not a human being. Mother, is that true?”
“Nobody knows my daughter. Even his face has not been seen by anyone due to the mask he normally wears”
“Who is he?”
“A popular criminal. Even though you shoot him with a gun, it won’t enter. And now, the latest news is that he wants to reside in our land by telling King Lucas to secure a house for him before tomorrow”
“Hmm… Mother, that means our land is in trouble”
“Big one” both remained quiet.
“Mother?” Daria broke the silence. “Why can’t the police or soldiers arrest him?”
“How can someone who resist bullets be arrested. He cannot be arrested!” the mother concluded.
At Mama wine’s shop, only Odem remained there. Before him was ten empty bottles of palm wine which he has consumed. Though, Mama wine wanted to close for the day but Odem’s presence couldn’t allow her. So she came out with a sore face. Her physical typology was totally endomorphy.
“The Wine!” she shouted.
“Yes, Mama wine” Odem replied.
“Please, start going i want to close my shop”
“Are you okay? Can’t you take advantage of our names?”
“What do you mean?”
“I am the Wine and you are Mama Wine! Or should i call you madam Wine? Our names should tell you that we suppose live like husband and wine.. sorry, i mean wife. And the gods of palm wine will bless our marriage”
“Over my dead body! Better stand oh, i want to close” Mama Wine went inside.
Daria was ready to sleep. She laid on the bed staring at the ceiling hoping Austine would call her on the phone but he didn’t. So she called him herself.
“Good evening, Austine”
“Good evening, how are u?”
“What do you think? You never care to know until now i called you. Austine, what’s going on?” Austine kept quiet. “You are really hurting me, what’s going on? Please, talk to me” she added.
“Nothing is going on” Austine finally replied.
“Should i be worried about Prisca?” Daria asked but Austine kept quiet again. “You are not talking” her voice began to break remembering what Lana told her. “Austin, please, talk to me” she added but the line went off, so the tears finally dropped.
Though, Daria couldn’t sleep that night but finally did at the very late hour of the night. Darkness covered the land once again. The chirping of crickets could be heard from a nearby bush. Suddenly, Daria’s legs began to move which indicated that she was dreaming..
Daria saw herself face to face with Ebube. She stood a bit far from him but began to walk closer when she saw tears dropping from the mask he wore. “Red?” she called as she moved closer. Yet Ebube stood still without saying anything but the tears continued dropping.
“Why do u shed tears?” Daria was still asking standing very close to him. “Please, stop crying” she raised her hand to take off the mask.
“Don’t come close to me” Ebube interrupted her. “Leave!” he commanded but Daria insisted. “I said leave me alone!” he shouted and brought out his sword to cut her but Daria shouted and woke up..
Daria sat up on the bed breathing heavily. Her mind wandered to and fro to deduce the meaning of the dream but she couldn’t get it, then she went on her knees and began to pray. Just after she finished praying, she heard the sound of Ebube’s motorcycle…
To be continued Tomorrow.
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