LOST - Episode 4

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - woman, door, reed door, hut, lamp, English, older woman, clothes, younger woman, shed, elderly men, rested on her breasts, elderly, praying in my heart, lamp lights, run back into the hut.

As the sound of the voices grew louder and the light brighter, we sprang to our feet and moved toward the door and hid beside it. The idea was to have the door cover us if someone pushed it open. To give the impression that no one was inside, I quietly unlocked the reed door. We waited. As if on cue someone pushed the door open and entered the hut. To our dismay, it was a woman. She was holding a kerosene lamp. She went for one of the bags in the hut and took what she was looking for. On her way out, she stopped and took a good look at the things in the hut which we had scattered. She mumbled some words to herself, dropped her lamp to the floor and began to pack the clothes which I had spread on the floor for a mat. Thankfully, I had hidden our wet clothes a bag. I was hoping we would take them on our way out.

The woman picked up her lamp and headed out. When she got to the door, she stopped and looked at our shoes which were behind the door. If she saw us, there was no telling. I did not care what Maya thought of me by this time, I was shaking with fear as much as she was. Through the reed door, I peeped at the woman as she walked away with her lamp. She was walking hastily. “Do you think she saw us?” Maya asked. “I think she did. She looked at our shoes. She may have gone to fetch some people to capture us. I think we should run now,” I replied. “Oh God, I am tired of running; kill me yourself,” Maya moaned. I was about to open the door for us to bolt from the hut when I saw two lamp lights headed toward our way. We had to run back into the hut. I found the stick I dropped earlier and poised to fight. To my surprise, Maya found herself a weapon amongst the loads in the hut and stood beside me. It was a long broken cooking spoon. Though she was shedding tears and afraid, I saw in her eyes that she would kill whoever made it through that door to hurt us.

When the door slowly creaked open, a female voice said, “Don’t be afraid, we mean you no harm. You should not be here.” I and Maya held back our attack. Two women entered the hut. One was the woman we saw earlier and the second one was a bit older. We could see fear in their eyes. “How did you people come here? This is not a good place for strangers,” said the older woman. “Our driver deceived us and brought us to a place where we almost got killed. He was meant to take us to Egberi,” I said. The two women were shocked and looked at each other in disbelief when I mentioned Egberi. “You are very lost. There is no such place around here. I have heard of the land Egberi, it is very far from here. You have to be on your way now. If they find you here, they will kill you,” the older woman said, strangely expressing herself in good English. Then it occurred to me that perhaps the younger woman could not speak English. The older woman turned to the younger one and said something to her in their dialect. She ran to one of the bags in the hut, emptied it and brought it to where we stood. “Remove your clothes and put them into this bag,” the older woman said and dashed out of the hut.

I looked at Maya, she looked at me and shook her head saying she won’t do it. The younger woman read her meaning. “Clothes, here. If come, death!” she barked pointing at the bag. “I think she wants to help us Maya, let us obey them,” I said and began to remove my clothes. Maya grudgingly began to remove her clothes. When we were done I was wearing only a boxer shot and Maya was in a bra and pant. The younger woman shook her head, signaling she wasn’t pleased. “Clothes here. Death see you go!” she said, while watching the door. I removed my boxer shot and covered my private part with bare hands. Maya removed her bra and pant and tried to cover her nakedness with bare hands. The younger woman took our clothes and personal effects shoved them into the bag and zipped it.

While we waited, the older woman returned with an earthen pot and some pieces of black dirty cloths under her arm. As soon as she entered the hut, the younger woman locked the hut and rested her body on it. The way they acted, we could tell they were about to do something which could cost them their lives. “Now, scoop the content of this pot and cover yourselves with it,” the older woman instructed. I was first to try it out. It was a locally made black paint. Satisfied it was nothing which could harm us, I asked Maya to join me. In minutes we were covered from face to toes with the black paint. The older woman handed us the black cloths and we covered our nakedness. “Follow me,” said the older woman as she left the hut. Outside, the rain had reduced to a mere light shower. The sky was still dark, but one could tell it would be dawn before long. “When I speak, say nothing; and when asked questions say nothing. Just look like a fool,” the older woman whispered to us as she led us to an unknown destination.

We walked probably for fifteen minutes before we came to a large shed, bounded with a mud wall. Inside the shed were six broad-chested men and two elderly men. They were armed with machetes. There were lamp lights everywhere in the shed. The men did not look friendly by the least bit. On the floor of the shed were freshly decapitated human heads, arms and legs. In a plastic basin, next to one of the two elderly men, were male organs, breasts and vagina. Then it dawned on us that we were right inside the den of ritual killers. I almost threw up at the sight of mutilated human body parts. I was expecting Maya to collapse and give us away, amazingly she did not. However, both of us were quaking with fear. One of the elderly men stood up and circled I and Maya, smelling our bodies. Like a rabid dog, he barked some words at the older woman who led us to them, his eyes flaming with demonic desire for blood. We had no clue what he said to her. It was the same language we heard some men speaking in the bush. The older woman responded to his enquiry with a bold, shrill voice.

The elderly man hissed and spit on the ground in front of us. Out of the blue, he slapped his palm on my chest. I felt like I was going to have cardiac arrest. I felt my breath cut off and my heart felt like it would implode. I swallowed hard and held my nerves. He hissed again, took a step and stood in front of Maya. His gaze rested on her breasts. He pointed at her vagina and said something to the older woman. She replied him shaking her head vigorously. The pain in my chest was relieving fast. I was hoping he won’t slap Maya, but just like he slapped me, the elderly man slapped Maya on the chest. I died. I could imagine the pain she was going through. I watched her breathe heavily as tears dropped from her eyes. I feared the worst. The elderly man seemed to like the way Maya responded. He turned to the older woman and said something to her. She yelled back words at him like a mad woman. The elderly man stepped back in shock. Seconds later he stepped closer and asked me, “Who are you? What is your name? Do you know where you are?” His words repeated themselves in my ears, seeming to command me to give the man the answers he sought. I resisted the urge, praying in my heart.

Satisfied I was out of my mind, the man stood before Maya and asked the same questions. Maya stood still and gave him no answers. However, I saw the veins on her neck vibrating and her lips shaking. The elderly man repeated the questions and this time, Maya firmed up. She must have read the man was not impressed by how she reacted when she was asked those questions. With no answers from Maya, the elderly man smiled and said to the woman in English, “They are yours now, take them away.” The older woman grabbed us by our hands and led us away. One of the men picked up her lamp and followed us, holding his machete. Some distance away from the shed, the woman stopped and said something to the young man. The young man dropped the lamp and bolted away in the dark. The woman took the lamp and held it toward Maya and said, “Take it. How do you feel now?” Maya looked at me, wondering if to answer her a word. I nodded to her, she turned and whispered to the woman, “My chest is in pain.” “Don’t worry, it will soon be gone. Follow me,” she said.

We followed her, walking for a very long time. There were no words said between us and the woman. In my heart I prayed for dawn. As though she read my thoughts, the woman said, “You don’t want the day to break yet. For your good, it must remain dark till we get to where we are going.”


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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: LOST - Episode 4
LOST - Episode 4
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - woman, door, reed door, hut, lamp, English, older woman, clothes, younger woman, shed, elderly men, rested on her breasts, elderly, praying in my heart, lamp lights, run back into the hut.
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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