Fiction: Blood Spiral–Chioma Ngaikedi

By Ikenga Chronicles February 6, 2018

Fiction: Blood Spiral–Chioma Ngaikedi

January 31st, 2018.
Gboko, Benue State.

You arrive at Gboko park by 7:30am. A fat woman is hawking cashew. You signal her.

“Mallam, how much own you want?” she asks, dropping her tray and adjusting the baby on her back.

“Fut 300naira own.” You say. You watch her pile three layers of fat yellow cashew fruits into a nylon bag. You love Benue fruits, they are always big and juicy. You dip your hand into your white kaftan pocket and count five pieces of mint 100naira notes. You give her. She counts. Her eyes widens.

“Oga, na 500 naira dey here.” she says, returning 200naira to you.

“Take am,” you say. You stare at the child behind her back. Mucus drips down his nose.

“Oga! Nagode. God go bless you,” she says.

You smile. She pronounced nagode with a Tiv accent. It sounded more like negadee.

You put the cashew in your bag and head over to meet with your brothers.

“Fast, Ahmed, Taraba bus don come,” you hear Mohammed call out to you.

You hurry. Your feet dig in the red dusty soil. A white bus drives and parks in front of you.

“Oga, you dey go, Maiduguri? ” the driver bellow. You shake your head and walk past.

Mohammed and your brothers are already seated in the bus. A fat woman with her two daughters are sitting beside you. A young boy with a Sony earphone in his ears is in front of you.

“Abeg, make una no vex, e remain two persons. Taraba! Taraba! Taraba!” the conductor bellows while hanging at the edge of the door.

Yahuza is sitting by the window. He is chewing dabino nuts. You stretch out your hand and he passes the dabino to Mohammed to pass to you. You count out four of the honey coloured nuts and return the rest.

You begin to chew. Zayanu is already sleeping behind you. You could hear his snores. You adjust your bag on your lap to create space to lay your head but your eyes catch strange movements outside. A crowd of youths emerging. Some carrying sticks, others wielding cutlasses. They are pointing at your bus. No, No! They are pointing at you!

You see the woman with a tray of cashew nuts running towards your bus.

“Run! Oga, run!,” she screams. “They go kill you. Run!” Fear shines in her eyes; her eyes moisten.

She hasn’t finished when a big stick flies pass her and lands on the bus, shattering the left window.

Yahuza’s jaw is bleeding. In two quick steps, you jump down the bus. Mohammed and your brothers are right behind you. You run.

The crowd dashes after you. A circle of mob surround you and your brothers. A loud chant echoes in the air resonating with your pounding heart.

“Justice! Justice!” the crowd chants.

“Please!” You hear Mohammed say.

“Shut up!” A voice counters from the crowd.

“Fulani people must die!” Another person says. It’s the fat woman who was seating beside you in the bus.

You stare at her.

“Na your people kill my elder sister with her unborn child in her womb!” she says, glaring at you with disgust.

You wanted to talk. To tell her that it wasn’t you. You wanted to tell her that you cried when you read about the Benue New Year massacre. But who would believe you? A dying man would say anything. So, you keep mute.

“Bring fuel,” one old man shouts.

A big stick lands on your head. The world swings around you. You drop on your knees. Someone kicked your head. A stone lands on your ear. Blood sips out. Mohammed is already drenched in blood. You and your brothers become landing pads for sticks and stones.

“Take fuel!” a teenage boy extends the blue gallon of fuel to the tall black man with a yellow shirt with the inscription “I’m my brother’s keeper”

He poured the fuel on your head. It races down your jaw and sips into your mouth. It tastes like rusty metal.

“Justice! Justice!” the crowd screams.

“We are innocent.” You hear Yahuza scream. A black boot lands on his mouth. The fuel rains down on him.

“Matches! Give me matches!” the tall black guy screams.

“Take my lighter!” another answers, extracting a lighter from his breast pocket. He throws it. The tall black guy catches and with a click, puts it on.

Fire sings in your ears.

*Author’s Note:
I wrote this story in memory of those seven Fulani men that lost their lives at Gboko park. My heart bleeds at their death. This cycle of evil must not continue. We were humans before we became tribes. For every soul that dies, a part of us dies. True love cannot exist if we still cradle hate. Rest your oars and let love reign.

  • Chioma Ngaikedi is a writer, filmmaker, blogger and CARPENTER. Check out her personal blog; www.chiomangaikedi.com
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