Gleams by Ayokunnu Melody
It was a Friday, and we had woken up to a really bright morning and I wasn’t up to any activity. I felt all dull and a tingling in my spirit but I wasn’t sure what it was, the excitement was nowhere to be found even if I had it forced out. Can we just postpone this trip? I wanted to ask her but I didn’t want to ruin the whole fun for her and besides, it was planned for my sake so, may I not mess up. I remembered John was going to visit me this weekend, I thought of calling to tell him where to find us in case he came earlier than we would.
We were set to go for our fun trip to the pool. My friends had planned it all to make me feel good and be happy. Good idea they came up with as friends…
Bolade and I left without Daniel and Uzo, Daniel took an excuse when we were at the school gate to sort out something he left behind. He told us he and Uzo were going to meet us right there at the pool.
“Well okay, shall we Precious?”
We signed out of school at the security post and we were out of the school gate.
“Let’s board a bike to the car park”
Bolade flagged down a motorcycle. We hopped on it and we were off to the park. We got to the park and we had no idea hell was gonna let loose on that very day. We entered a bus which would convey us along the road leading to PEARLS HOTEL where we would make use of the pool, buy pizza and drinks and enjoy our selves, well that’s to Bolade and Daniel. I wasn’t sure it was going to be awesome enough to make me feel good. I would only feel normal and that was just by the way. Bolade was only concerned with taking pictures in her bikini, standing next to Precious who’s wearing a red bikini and blah blah blah, so she could fill up her social media pages.
I stuck my ear plugs into my ears and played Johnny Drille’s Wait For Me as we went on with journey. I sat close to the bus door and I leaned my head on the window, the glass was sealed so I felt calm placing my head there.
Thirty minutes later, commotion set in. Something we least expected, if we had known, we would have just stayed back or even go some other time.
“Driver! Speed! The fulani herdsmen are here!” A passenger exclaimed. I heard this and pulled out the plugs in my ears. Other passengers were fidgeting and speaking in a local language I didn’t really understand. Fulani herdsmen! I guess I didn’t hear that right.
A crew that has been causing terror in the whole of Nigeria, and the government had found it so difficult to curb them. I have seen repugnant videos and pictures of horror containing people massacred by the road side. This is not going to happen to us… I muttered.
“They are stopping the vehicles behind us!”
“They are shooting cars now! Driver please lets escape!”
“I cannot run faster than this o, the brake is not strong!”
The driver fumbled on the steering wheel, I could see
“Someone should please call the police! Driver please speed!” A woman who dressed in corporate shouted. She was sitting right in front of me and her gaze was fixed to the back.
I was scared to my bones. It didn’t seem we would escape this fulani herdsmen, they shot at all the vehicles, burst out their tires and there was a hold up already, there was no way our bus could swerve and find its way.
A short black man carrying a gun I have never seen in real life but only seen in American war movies yelled and
Though, sometimes I had thought I could just die and forget this painful world but never have I wanted to die like this. A horrible death! To be massacred by some terrorists from the pit of hell!
Bolade and I stared at each other, her eyes were filled with tears and I saw in her eyes that she had given up. She caught my hand, I could feel her heart shiver through her shaking hands.
“We will get through this Bolade” I whispered.
The shooting man had left our vehicle for the ones at the front. Some men holding cutlasses, knives and a weapon that looks like a pruning knife bolted towards our vehicle. This time I saw death approaching us. The men looked heartless and evil, their weapons dripping with blood of people they had butchered before us.
They shouted with their twisted tongues, only God knows where these people came from. I only hear the Fulanis are refugees, not so sure where exactly they are from. Why would they then lend spaces in our country and make our lives miserable for us?. Everyone was shaking as they alighted from the vehicle, Bolade and I still held hands as we dropped from the vehicle. Fifteen passengers were going down at this moment including myself.
The driver was butchered, everyone screamed. They started cutting people mercilessly and brutally, everything I had been taught by my lecturer on the state of nature according to Thomas Hobbes was made practical-
“the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.
“Bolade!” I screamed
Sirens were blaring, the police arrived and they started shooting at the herdsmen, the herdsmen shot back and they tried to take cover and they escaped. Rescue crews surrounded the scene to get this horror off the road, spectators came around placing their hands over their heads crying and capturing pictures and taking videos.
I hurried towards Bolade and I sat on the ground and placed Bolade on my legs, she had her chest cut open and blood was gushing out. I stared into her eyes, waiting to hear something from her. She tried to speak and there was blood coming out of her mouth and she managed to speak.
“Hang in there Bolade! Do not die! Don’t leave me please!”
“Pre-shh-ious…take…care…of…your…self…I…love…you…tell…Dan…I….” She ended it.
Her life was gone. My only backup and support died, an experience I never imagined. When my grandma died, I claimed my world collapsed.
Life was so mean to me, I saw no reason to be alive anymore when the only person left to make me feel so much alive is gone. I wanted the herdsmen to come kill me as well. I jumped up to my feet and ran towards the police men who were seeing into the situation.
“Have they gone please? Have they gone?” I held one of them in the hand tightly.
“Madam, calm down. Everything is under control”. Another policeman answered me
“Please tell me they haven’t gone… tell them to come back and kill me… Tell them to come back and kill me! I want to die too…please call them back…”
I fondled with the policeman’s cloth I was initially holding his hand and others tried to pull me away from him. This time, I pulled out the gun he clasped to the pocket by his trousers.
“Please, I want to die too! Shoot me please…my friend is dead…what am I waiting for? I can’t live this life alone…please shoot me”
I fumbled with the gun and unquestionably, they tried to get the gun from me. I became a case at hand, all eyes were on me because I was making a scene but I didn’t care since I had given up already, they could stare if they want to, I needed death. I wished it could just come and take me too. I never imagined I would be able to survive if Bolade didn’t come my way. That moment was a struggle between the policemen and I, all my strength was infused into seeking death, they succeeded in pulling me out of my strife, then I blacked out- I fainted.