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.