Victims – Episode 3
A Story By Rosemary Okafor
With the boy now soundly sleeping on the mat, she was left alone curling at the edge of the mat and her legs folded in front of her.
Her body felt so strange, as if it belong to another, sleep was a punishment for every moment sleep tried to steal her away, the horrible pictures of her dead children and husband came calling.
She allowed her eyes to roam around the tent, which is
over populated with people, and the air, too stuffy and hot.
The snores of sleeping men, producing some cacophonous, frog like rhythm filled her ears, and she wonders how people could be so far from what they once called home and easily adapt to the sudden pitiable change that fate suddenly throws at them.
‘‘kpam!! ” her neighbor slapped her left arm trying to kill a mosquito that was feasting on her blood.
“what ‘s the use” Ukwuoma said to herself,
mosquitoes sang choruses in her ears as if to tell her something, where will she start from in shoving them off, and to think that these little insects are so bold, daring her for a fight
‘‘mtcheeeewwwww” she hissed.
She could hear the crying of a baby from the other end of the tent and the angry scold of the mother,
‘‘Surely ugly situations like this has a way of robbing people of love and care, leaving them with anger, resentment and frustration”. She thought
She looked at her son Ogugua again, now covered with sweats that had already soaked the cloths he was putting on, one of the cloths giving to him by an organization of Muslim women in the barrack.
She removed his cloth and wiped the sweat streaming down his body like water.
‘‘What was his life before this unrest? Was he living like a prince or were they managing life? Who was his father? Was his father prominent and well to do? ” she couldn’t tell,
‘‘Religion has succeeded in striping us of all we had and hold dear and
has pushed us in the cold, Unclad and half dead, wondering like dead men with their eyes sunk inside their heads filled with emptiness like zombies”. It doesn’t matter now who he was
before, what matter is that he is now her son.
Even though he may not make up for the family she lost, but she was going to love him and nurture him as if he is a thousand sons.
Tomorrow, they would be leaving this place, or so she thought.
One of the women from the organization had told her in confidence that a lorry would be arriving with supplies and if she is lucky, she could follow the lorry back to Lagos.
She knew she didn’t need a supply, what she needed was to move on, and she could do anything to
achieve that, even if it meant squeezing herself and this boy inside a sack at the back of the lorry.
She looked around the tent, to be sure nobody was watching, she untied the end of her wrapper and looked at the money the good woman gave her.
Thoughts of her once beautiful life kept flashing through her mind. The Man she loved as a husband for nine years,
The Children that consumed her life and filled her days with laughter.
“If only Kunle had listened to her, if only he had
stayed home instead of going back to the hospital after that phone call, he would have been alive now, they would have all been
alive” she thought.
kunle would have known that death was
coming, like in 1998, when they all escaped death on their way coming back from church, he would have gotten them all out before the blood sucking vampires came down on them
Not wanting to remember the ill and the cruelty life has treated her with, she was determined to look ahead, calling every abuse and emotional turmoil she has as a sacrifices for the only thing she now has, the only child left for her now to call son.
She looked once again at him she knew that her life now centers on him, fate has brought him to her and she won’t let go.
‘‘We leave at the wake of dawn my child, away from this place that has brought sorrow to us, there the memory of the past will be erased from you and you will only see me as the only mother you know. I will see my children in you and will give you the
best i can get.”
The boy made a sound as if in agreement while
she patted him softly with her right hand, wiping a drop of tear with the other.
Her gaze fall upon an Ant balancing a load on its head, the weight so heavy, yet the ant carries it tactfully, moving without stumbling, as she watched the ant keenly, it changes to a vision of herself, walking on a lonely forest, carrying a
basket filled with dead bodies, blood sipping out from the basket openings, down to her body, Vultures formed dark clouds on the dark sky above her, she heard the frightful hooting of a night Owl.
Her feet were sore, the neck stiff yet she saw
herself drifting deeper and deeper in the forest. Her vision shifted from the horror to reality, the Ant was no longer at the place she spotted it, she was panting and was covered with sweat
To be continued