I look at the man screaming at my feet, my prisoner. I grin as he groans in pain. You might wonder why he groans in pain. I have just chopped off his errant legs, his hands will be next. He is bleeding profusely because I have purged the evil out of him with my late mother’s pestle. Yes, let him groan, my people did not even have the luxury of a final groan.
Can you say I’m not justified? Who can say what I have done and what I will do again is wrong? Let him come and I’ll show him that the timid tortoise was not created without teeth. How can any right thinking man ever convince my angry conscience that it has erred?
I still remember it all like it happened yesterday. Yes I remember the night of darkness when they were all taken away.
The crickets were composing a ragged tune that moonless night. I was there still awake, waiting for Tina to come online on 2go so that we could chat. Little Gyang was sleeping right beside me, talking as he slept. The words he spoke were senseless to me then, but how was I to know that they would be the last words I’ll hear from him?
The tears are welling up in my eyes again. Well, a man is a man. Lami was in the other room with Simi, everywhere was quiet and only the snoring from Baba’s room bothered the peace. I remembered I was wondering how Mama ever got to sleep through all that raucous snoring. Well back to the day, I was typing a reply to Tina’s message, she had just come online. I was smiling because of her funny comment, she had asked if I was man enough to go out in the day time without fear of being killed, I told her nobody was man enough to attack me. It was then that the knocks came on the front door.
I looked at my time; it was a quarter to 12 midnight. Who would be here at this time of the night, I wondered.
“Who is at the door”, I asked.
“Dalop”, a gruff voice replied, “open the door. It’s me”.
At first, I never wanted to open the door but then the knock became more insistent, I got up, took the keys and opened the door. What occurred next you can only imagine. As I eased the door open, an object struck me squarely on the forehead; it was the blunt edge of an axe. I stumbled back into the room dazed and collapsed. It dawned on me then that these must be hoodlums.
My mind was telling me to get up, but alas, I was paralyzed. Three men walked into the room carrying clubs and machetes. The men were wearing kaftans and their faces were masked. I could see, I wanted to speak and cry for help but the words failed me, they stuck to my throat like eba swallowed without soup.
“A kasha su duka”, one of them cried.
I was there watching, yes I was watching as a club was smashed on the head of Gyang, my little brother. Blood spattered all around the room. He died instantly, he never even could scream. It was then that my throat gave way.
“aaaaghhh! Baba, ahhhhgghh”, I groaned, still unable to stand. I began to creep to my brother’s corpse. My screams must have woken everyone; they all ran into the room. Baba came first. He never had a chance to speak. As he entered the room, one of the men slashed at his head with a cutlass, I saw my father’s head fall as my mother walked in screaming. I watched as blood spurted from his neck, I groaned again.
Simi and Lami were screaming off the roof of the house. Mama was much too dazed to speak and so she stood as they hacked off her head with two strikes of the machete. I wanted to scream again but as I opened my mouth, it was shut by a debilitating blow on the thick of my skull and I fainted. Like a dream I heard the screams of my sisters in my subconscious mind as I lay there.
When I woke up, I was on a gurney with bandages all over my body, blood still flowing from my head. I was in hospital, how I got there, I did not know. Well I heard two days later as I identified the corpses one by one, my family was history. Lami was stabbed to death while Simi was raped and hacked to death too, she was just 8. The hoodlums had set our house on fire with all of us inside. What an evil world.
When I returned home, ugly and scarred from the burns I suffered, I learnt that our family was not the only one attacked, several families had attacked and over 20 people, all friends and family, were killed. Anger welled up within me.
I said nothing to the police, nothing to the Pastor and nothing to the family even after the burials. My mind was made up, if these strangers in Jos could erase my family, I would do my bit to revenge, I am a son of the soil.
So here I stand with my friend, AVENGERS we call ourselves, this man groans before me. His cries are wild almost animal, I feel nothing for him. Yes, why should I? It’s his people who killed our people like rams. Did they not set the bombs?
I am doing nothing wrong. If I do not avenge my folks, who will? Is it the government, incompetent fools that they are or the army who are part of the massacre. No I’ll do it for me.
“Uuuhhmm, aaaahhh”, the man screams again, “please help me. I am a Muslim but I do not kill, please”.
He is beginning to get on my nerves so I get up and pick up my machete to put an end to his misery. As I walk towards him, I hear the sirens from the JTF vehicles approaching from afar. Someone must have tipped them off. He looked at me, eyes speaking volumes, almost moving me but it didn’t. He was no different from the previous 10 I have killed.
I lift up my machete and, with all the anger in me, I strike off his head. No one can blame me….its war and there are always victims.
No man is justified enough to take another’s life!