I WROTE THIS IN 2005, JUST STUMBLED ACROSS IT AND THOUGHT TO SHARE; THE STORY HAS ITS ORIGINS FROM SCIENCE- THOUGH THAT’S NOT EVIDENT IN THIS INSTALLMENT, PLEASE CRITIC ME AS A ROOKIE WRITER, MANY THANKS…
Tattered skirts of mist shadowed the evening as Loye approached the sleepy hamlet of Nmiri. When Loye left Onu camp that afternoon for his post, he half expected his primary assignment to be in a place that looked almost as good as Onu.
Onu was not really the type of place you would wish on your worst enemy. Electricity was erratic in Onu, few villagers understood English thus communicating was an ordeal. To get service on your mobile phone, you had to be proficient at the tango. Okoro the barber was the proud owner of the only Television in Onu. Water isn’t a colourless liquid, in Onu it was brownish with a hint of green. The weather was cool at night and scorching hot at noon. Everyday items like soap and toothpaste sold at triple their price. No, no place could be worse than Onu. Loye thought.
Little did he know that Onu was a land of milk and honey in comparison to the dim village that lay ahead.
The path that was an excuse for a road which led to Nmiri was strewn with leaves and all sorts of rocks.
The village was dark, Loye prayed silently for them to have electricity. He couldn’t cope without electricity he thought to himself. As he mused over that thought in his mind, something soft and wet leapt on his foot.
“Help!” He exclaimed in fright, he tried to shake whatever it was off and ran without pausing to see what had frightened him. “What a way to be welcomed.” he said aloud.
Why did he have to get here at night, how would he get a place to lay his head for the night? He wondered. It was the fault of that driver, the driver had set off for the journey, knowing that the fuel in his vehicle would not take them far, Loye’s sixth sense had warned him from the moment he read the inscription on the vehicle “perfect motors”. The name triggered off an alarm in Loye’s head, he ignored it because perfect motors was the only available vehicle.
Half way into the journey when the vehicle went kpuf, kpuf… And stopped in the middle of nowhere, Loye’s premonition was confirmed.
The driver hitched a ride back into town to get fuel.
“The driver is a wicked man, how can you not check the fuel in your car.” A lady seated at the third row lamented.
“This is dejavu to me, I experienced this the last time I came here.” a young man on the same seat as the lady complained.
“Careless driver.” someone noted. The voices were getting louder.
“He has no regard for time.” Someone else contributed. Everybody had something to say against the driver, he came back two hours later and it took them another two hours to get to Nmiri village, which was the last bus stop.
Loye was the last passenger to alight, Nmiri village bus stop looked like a dead end at a glance but with a more careful look, Loye discovered a rutted path that led into the village.
After Loye’s scary welcome, during his long walk into the village, he did not encounter anybody, the village looked deserted. Crickets sang in the bushes along the path, while frogs drummed with their croaky voices and electric flies dazzled all around him, Loye wished he was comfortable enough to glory in nature’s night life that bubbled all around him but trepidation ate him. Everywhere was quiet it made the crickets and frogs sound like a performing orchestra, as he finished that thought he almost bumped into a girl that appeared from nowhere, on her head sat a bucket of water.
“Watch where you are going.” the girl called out.
“I am sorry.” Loye apologized to the girl.
“Who are you, did you not see that I was carrying water?” The girl queried as she put her water down.
“My name is Loye, I am a youth corper. I just got into this village now. I am a little confused, and I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I did not see you coming.” He explained to her.
“My name is Chioma, are you sure of what are saying?” Chioma asked.
Yes I am very sure; my place of primary assignment is Onward primary school.
“Why did you come this late?” Chioma wanted to know.
“Please why this twenty questions? I need a place to sleep, tell me where I can get an accommodation.” Loye requested anxiously.
Chioma ignored his question. “Do you know it is not safe to walk about at night in a strange place?” She berated.
“Please will you help or not?” Loye asked calmly.
“You don’t know the type of soup you have landed in. Listen to what I will tell you carefully.” Chioma said in a tone of voice that made the hair on Loye’s back stand.
“The only place you can stay in is the church, but the vicar is not around. You might not be safe there, the other option is Elder Okeke’s house, you will have to pass through the village square and ‘they’ will see you.
“Who are they?” Loye interrupted.
“It seems you don’t know that this is Nmiri village.” Chioma said.
“I know.” Loye answered.
“Let us not waste anymore time, before ‘they’ see you. I am worried about your safety.”
“What has my safety got to do with an accommodation?” Loye asked in frustration.
Chioma picked up her bucket and walked away. Loye followed her, “I know you mean well but please stop scaring me.” Loye implored.
“You are in grave danger is all I can tell you for now, your bag is a tell tale sign that you just arrived this village. You have the cover of the night to shield you but it could also be your deadliest enemy because you might just fall into the hands of a wrong person…”
“Chioma, Chioma, Chioma.” a shout rent the air.
“That’s my mother; I have no time to take you to Elder Okeke’s house. You have to go to the church yourself, its closer. Walk straight down the first path you see on your right, keep to the left I beg you. Avoid light, the church building is very prominent and it is on your left for no reason should you cross the path. Enter the church quietly, if you have a flashlight do not use it. You have to be as quiet as a mouse while in the church. You will be alone in the church; lay on any pew you see and pray for daylight to come fast.” Chioma said solemnly.
“You have scared me enough, please let me just come and spend the night at your house.” Loye requested hopefully.
“My dad will only be too happy to receive you, his long awaited ‘ram’, go before someone sees us together. Chioma said tersely.
“Chioma, Chioma.” her mother called out again.
Loye you are now on your own, remember my instructions. Chioma said and hurried away.