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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Lagos, God, attacker, the night, bless, please, company car.



She was on her way back home a little late than usual. She had to walk some distance on foot because the money she had on her was not enough to get her home and she did not want to beg. In Lagos it is very easy to be mistaken for a con artist for begging even when one was in dire need of help. Her husband who provided for her and her baby had been thrown into prison without trial for having an accident with his company car. She had been visiting friends and relatives to help her raise money to hire a lawyer and get her husband out of illegal incarceration.  On her back her baby peacefully slept. She was happy for that. If the baby were to wake up it would most likely begin to cry for food, and there was no way she would feed her baby on the road. She did some math and figured out she had covered half the distance to home on foot and so she meandered through some streets and wound up on Cele Express road, by a bus stop she stood and waited for a bus. God please bless our mama dem! (God please bless our mothers!)

When the bus came she hustled to get on it. There was little care for her having a baby on her back and she knew it. Her city was Lagos after all, a city which devoured the weak and favoured the strong and ruthless. Having grown accustomed to the way and manner of the city, she muscled her way into the bus and sat down. As soon as she sat down she checked her purse to know if her money was still in her purse, in Lagos not every passenger is really a passenger; some are hardened pick-pockets. Thankfully it was there. If she were to lose that one hundred Naira, she would have to walk home, and already she had had enough of walking. As the bus sped off, hurrying to go on a couple of trips before retiring for the night, Karen began to doze. She was tired to the bones and wished the bus would drop her off at her door step. In-between her sleep she would dart her eyes about to make sure she had not been driven beyond her bus stop. Close to the bus stop where she would alight, the bus conductor tapped her rudely on the shoulder and demanded she pay him. Karen was not in the mood to start a fight with the conductor, she grudgingly let him have the hundred Naira she had on her. God please bless our mama dem!

At her bus stop the bus driver applied the brakes momentarily while his conductor jumped down from the bus shouting for new passengers at the top of his voice, “Oshood! Oshood! Oshood!” Karen alighted from the bus and braved herself to walk the rest of the way home. Commercial motorcycle riders stopped for her but she waved them off. She had spent the last dime on her.  As she walked away from the bus stop, the night grew darker and lonelier. Most people made their way home in taxis, on tricycles and motorcycles. Those who walked alongside her were those who lived near the bus stop. As she walked beside the road, she hoped that someone she knew would stop for her and save her the ordeal of walking home on foot. Just when she thought she had seen the worst, her baby woke up with a cry. It must have been hungry while it slept and so woke with a harsh demand for food. There was no way she would feed her on that road and instead she tried to sing her baby a lullaby, but her baby would have none of it. It wanted food and food it would have. The cry tore Karen’s heart and so she quickened her pace hoping to get away from the dark and lonely street to a collection houses ahead, which seemed safe enough to stop and feed her baby. When she got to the houses, thankfully there was a group of men and women there discussing the crunch state of the economy. She went to a corner, sat down and began to feed her baby. God please bless our mama dem!

She wasn’t going to let the baby have a full meal; she was minded to let her baby get just enough to keep quiet until they get home. Unfortunately for her, the group of people nearby began to disperse. She didn’t want to be left alone in that corner of the street, so she stood to her feet, tied her baby on her back and headed home. Somehow her baby understood that all was not well that night and shut up. Karen thanked God and quickened her pace much more. When she glanced at her watch and saw what time it was, she felt a bit concerned. In the past her husband would drive her home with the company car he drove. But since he had been unjustly locked away for being involved in an accident, she had to learn to make do with what she had. Far away from the houses, the night seemed to darken some what and held a foreboding aura. Karen didn’t like the look of the night; somehow her hunch told her all was not going to end well that night. So she decided to do what she had not done before – board a tricycle home and plead with the rider not to collect money from her. She stood by the by road and flagged at every tricycle which passed by. None stopped for her. They were all loaded with passengers. God please bless our mama dem!

Her eyes were on the road, she did not see two young men crawl out of darkness. Just when they had reached her, a tricycle slowed down to stop for her and suddenly sped off. The passengers in the tricycle shouted at her, “Madam! Madam! Your back! Look at your back!” Karen turned to see what it was and a slap crashed into her face. She staggered backward unto the road and almost got hit by a taxi. The two young men dragged her away from the road and  darkness swallowed them all. Only Karen’s voice could be heard from the dark angle of the street calling for help as her baby’s cry followed. As loud as Karen cried, sadly no help came. The two men were beating her and demanding that she give up her baby. She held unto her baby refusing to give it up. The two men were surprised by how strong she was, so they decided to break a bottle on her head and attacked her further with it. In spite of that gruesome attack Karen refused to let them take her baby. Then it occurred to her that she might die there and still lose her baby. With the idea playing on her head, she decided to fight back. She lifted her right leg and aimed a fierce kick at the groin of one of the boys and sent him flying backward with a heart wrenching cry. God please bless our mama dem!

The other guy standing to her left and holding her baby with two hands was shocked and so let go of the baby and retreated. In a jiffy he was back with a bottle. Aiming at Karen’s head he swung the bottle, Karen ducked and the bottle went over her head with a swooshing sound. Karen picked an iron rod on the ground and sprang up, bleeding from all over, she swung it toward her attacker and he shouted and fell back. Karen dropped her baby which was almost falling out of her hand, took a step forward and plunged the rod into the part of her attacker she saw moving in the dark. The part was his head and the rod went through his left eye. Karen had no knowledge of the sort of injury she had inflicted on the young man. She was feeling light headed and was beginning to feel cold. Her feet hardly stood firm on the ground and her baby was yelling. She tried to pull at the rod but her attacker held it shouting madly. Her other attacker whom she kicked on the groin moved and Karen swung around, bumping into a wooden bench, she lifted it and crashed into the man who tried to get up from the ground. She wasn’t sure she caused him much pain, so she managed to lift the bench once again; almost falling in the process, and with a brutal force crashed it into the man’s head. The cry from him jolted Karen; she picked up her baby and bolted from the scene. God please bless our mama dem!
She did not make it far when she collapsed to the ground. She had lost much blood. All she could do was roll over her baby with her body to make sure no one took it from her. Almost immediately a police van pulled up beside where she fell and some police men lifted her and her baby and whisked them off to a hospital. A taxi driver had heard Karen’s voice and could not bear to ignore her ordeal and went to a police station to get help. Thankfully by morning, Karen was still alive, though in critical condition and her baby was fine. The two men who attacked her were picked up that night by the police. The one Karen hit with a bench died before morning and the other whose eye she attacked with a rod, miraculously survived, but lost an eye. God please bless our mama dem!


Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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