He woke up with a start. He was not sure he was awake. Was that the sound of someone’s cry too? Knock-outs? Knock-outs, bangers were rare in this part and he had to wonder if he had heard right. Then, he heard voices in the outer compound. He opened his window and stared straight but could see nothing. The darkness had eaten the night and the shadows had pushed the moon out, as Baba would say. He wondered who it could be at this time of the night. Perhaps they were Baba’s visitors talking with him.

He closed his eyes, grateful at least for sleep. Then,

KPOAAAAAAAA!!! Severally now.

The sound came again, closer and not a loner like the first. He crept to the window and concentrated his best. He discovered that the noises were not from the compound as he had thought but from the outside, over the low fence. He made out the figures of several people in the distance with lights from something they held in their hands. He noticed the shapes of some other men with hands on their head. He heard the sounds again and heard their shouts. They all fell to the ground and he wondered if it was some joke. He heard his name.

“Baba!” He replied, anxiety in his voice.

“Where are you?” He followed it to his father who grabbed him and ran out into the night.

“Baba, where are we going?” His father was not wasting energy answering that question. His father ran at full speed. There was dust everywhere in the air. The air was stale with dust. He soon discovered that there were several other people joining them. There were others ahead too. What was wrong with all the adults? Why the panic that he now sensed all around? He noticed that the sounds continued as more people fell to the ground. The assailants continued their chase, shouting words he could not understand. The sounds were aggressive and made him shiver. He now knew that something wrong was happening at the moment.

“Baba, what is happening? Why are we taking this path? Why are we running at this time of the night? What is that sound?” He asked, fear and tension in his every syllable.

They reached a building he could not recognize. Baba put him down quickly and tried the doors. They didn’t budge. The father uttered a curse. He had never heard Baba curse before and was left even more shocked. Baba carried him quickly in continuance of his run.


The light appeared and Baba went down like a felled dogon-yaro tree, his body dancing strangely. He heard them shout with glee. Baba shifted a bit as he rolled from under him. The dark clouds gave way at this moment as the light of the moon shone on his father. He saw the hole and the blood. He knew what a wound was and what blood meant.

“Baba!” he shouted “You are wounded!” His father smiled, painfully. The pain was teller enough.

“Run away! Always remember…” his voice failed. Baba looked at his son. There was hope as long as the young ones were left. He started again, “Always remember…” his struggling voice seized in horror as the sound came again –


with the light appearing…

“Baba!!” the boy exclaimed in anguish and intense pain. His tiny frame did the same dance as his father’s. This time he did not need anyone to explain it to him anymore; the encroaching darkness told it all.

22 thoughts on “Puzzles” by Sueddie Agema (@sueddie)

  1. Su’eddie!! why did U let the boy get shot?..so not fair..I wish he wouldn’t die, so U would continue with the story..
    Why were they being killed? Tis a question I want answered..
    The descriptions were vivid..Well done..

  2. I think the story ended abruptly(with the death of the boy), just as I was beginning to adjust in my seat; hoping for one hell of a ride. But then that’s what flash does to people, isn’t it? lol… Your story was well told, no doubt. However, you didn’t go on to unravel the mystery surrounding the shooters as is usually done in flash fiction. Was it a case of robbery? or a raid resulting from an ethnic or religious squabble?… bla bla bla. You get?

  3. End of matter.
    Simple and short. Beautiful. This is what a short story should be.

  4. Something is wrong with the title.

  5. Puzzles? Interesting…
    I wonder though what this is all about. Every story in my opinion must have something to tell not something to confuse.
    What is this all about? Kpooooaaa? Midnight run? death? to what end- Puzzles?
    Even puzzles are worked out…

  6. I thought you write poems. This is good. The kid died without leaving a clue, how am I gonna solve this one?

    Check this ‘there was dust everywhere in the air. The air was stale with dust.’ you should have stick with the latter cuz they seem to portray the same thing. Well done!

  7. I think I feel a lesson in this, though. The little boy was so eager to hear his father explain instead of maintain alertness like everyone. He remained in his ignorance and inquisitiveness even with the sense of danger from the loud noise and panic. He even wanted his father in his dying state to explain; but at last he needed no one to tell him what’s going on when a bullet entered his body. He stupidly got the message the hard way.

    Good tale, nice moral, brotherly! But don’t you think it’s rather uncommon to hear a child call his father “Baba”? Even in the village I can vouch children say “Papa” not “Baba”.

  8. This is really cool. @readers, according to the title, it’s a puzzle. Solve the questions that come to mind.

    Nice one, @sueddie

  9. Nice one here… But did you need to name this pretty piece a puzzle for us to know it’s one… I have one issue with the story though… The link between darkness and dust… Even when dust arises during the night, it should be the last thing to come to the mind…. Cheers man…

  10. oluchi007 (@oluchi007)

    Thanks for such a fantastic story. Well written and engaging. Well done!

  11. Incurable suspense. Dats wat u infected me wit. I want 2 knw mre. Wat happened next?

  12. gooseberry (@gooseberry)

    Just hope this is not some dream o. This one wey you never talk. Very beautiful piece. Hmmmm. Sueddie. Ok o. I’m waiting for you to solve it sha cos me no get solving power.

    Once again, cool piece.

  13. @tosinosha, @adaobiokwy, I tend to wonder what this is all about too! I had an idea for this and was writing but somehow the story just
    came out this way on its own!! In some stories, I just discover myself over there observing…so, I tend to ask what is happening too…
    It could be this or that but whatever the reader decides to make of it becomes more exciting…When I had the inspiration and in a longer
    piece, it was some raid but now, I don’t know what this one is about…Hey, I have an idea! Let’s ask the boy – I only hope, and for
    @sibbylwhyte‘s sake: that he has only fainted!

  14. I should say…’Many thanks everyone’…The puzzles here really puzzle me too and I like everyone else would love to know what’s up…
    @Kaycee, thanks man…but what do you think the topic should be? I think you got me smiling with your summary of the stuff – thanks, again.
    @francis, thanks, we dey manage short story ma…
    – that one slipped me in the post but I got it. Seriously, why does this ‘Poet’ tag keep following me everywhere?
    in the original script…ha! E wan spoil ma market…hee hee hee…@dowell, hmm, e be like say you no really study TR proper o…
    We have lots of ‘Baba’ stuff going on o…e plenti well well…especially in the Northern parts of this country and maybe I should
    add a few other countries that I happen to have first hand knowledge of :) Thanks…
    @julemyles: Noted…when you dey run fully, at any time, you go know…:) Noted bro…noted. @clemency: ouch! Maybe you should think the end
    And of course, to the great @oluchi007: aww! Na gode sosai = thanks, that is. Even badt guys need that often…:)
    Whatever else questions would be asked of the plot, I can only say that the story is left to the thoughts of anyone reading but
    a follow up would be cool…I personally wonder what happened. One person answers it all for me perfectly and I salute her for the
    good thoughts once more: @babyada: Biko, remind them of the title…:) Thanks…I do wonder about what happened though…

  15. To drop links to the other short stories on NS for friends like @francis and co (among others) – 5 of the tales are…:

    COLD http://www.naijastories.com/2010/12/cold/
    AT A GO http://www.naijastories.com/2011/03/at-a-go/ (which reads something similar to this…)
    CHURCH http://www.naijastories.com/2010/11/church/ – which I am deeply fond of….
    THE MEETING http://www.naijastories.com/2011/08/the-meeting/
    A TALE OF ANOTHER’S CRIME http://www.naijastories.com/2011/12/a-tale-of-anothers-crime/

    And don’t shoot me for dropping these ones here jor…Shei @Yejide-kilanko said we should market ourselves plenti…
    Don’t forget the blog o! http://sueddie.wordpress.com – and leave comments! :) Hee hee hee, what would we have done without that post?

  16. So what is puzzling about it? That people were getting killed at night? Why were people being killed? That’s no puzzle. People can even get killed for nothing. If u used “Puzzles”, you can also use “Riddles”, same thing to me.
    Something should always explain a story, even a word in the story can. But story titles ά̲̣яε usually the best bet.
    Let’s assume this is WAEC question. “Give a suitable title for the story above”. Would you choose Puzzle as ur answer? Hope you understand me? So let’s come up with a title..
    Night Raid
    Night of Death (or sumfin)
    You get the idea?
    You could even give a title to depict the story as a tribal war or ethnic…

    Puzzle no make sense. Change am. That’s an order!

    1. Hmmm…@Mr Kaycee and his habit of ordering people around shaaa! lol

  17. “outer compound”

    Were there two compounds there? If its just one…then its ‘compound’. No need for the ‘outer’ prefix.

    I like the story. Well written and intense.

    I think ‘Puzzles’ works as a title. @Kaycee, maybe it won’t be the obvious title but it works. There are several ‘puzzles’ in the story –

    1) What was happening? What was the mysterious sound (easily answered though)?

    2) Who was the ‘Baba’ and why did they want him dead?

    3) What happened to the boy?


  18. @Seun: thanks jare…chop knuckle … :)
    @kaycee: as you be Oga, we would consider title change still esp as we have been ORDERED! Hee heeh ee…
    IF na WAEC, you think say na dis kain grammar we for put? You would have seen ‘NIGHT CHASE’ for sure…and inside the tale:
    lots of proverbs and the rest ala Achebe and Soyinka…
    @Seun: Yes, this should be a bore but I should mention that in the area where the story is set (which I was allowed to envision in my
    thoughts :) ) , there was something like two compounds…an immediate one outside the house, and then also, one on the outer but as you
    can see putting all that into this short piece would have made it largely uncalled for…so summary! I do appreciate the comments man. Thanks.

  19. I liked this story, @sueddie. I don’t need to know who was shooting, and why they were shooting – for me, the point of the story was how violence against a person can wreak havoc in a familyf, and how this is perceived from a child’s point of view.

    Not so sure about the title, though…

  20. Intense… I like the pacing, and the imagery. But U funny sha oh! ‘Kpoa.’ Hehehe…
    I saw this more as a snippet, a slice cut from the pie that is Time…

  21. yinkus (@yinkus101)

    I don’t get it what has the title got to do with the story

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