We Went And We Did Not Die

One bright sunny day, as they were going home from school, seven-year-old Mildred and her elder brother, Michael, were reciting a nursery rhyme with Maryam, a friend of theirs.

The cock crows at dawn
telling us it’s morn
that we may rise,
and become wise.
He who lies late,
may wake up late.
For early to bed,
makes one well-bred.

Kim, Mildred’s father, had bought the Saturday Vanguard from a vendor close to his house. All of a sudden, he screamed, “Oh, my God!” He was making the sign of the cross, “Not again! Not after a single day!”

Mark, his five-year-old smart boy, looked at him. “What is it, Daddy?” He asked.

“The Christians and Muslims are fighting again. Many people have lost their properties.”

“I hope they’ve not killed anybody?” Mark asked.

“Many Christians have been killed,” his father responded. “The crisis has also reached Mildred’s school.” He added.

Mark was afraid. “Daddy, won’t the Muslims kill Mildred and Michael?”

“No, they will be safe. Their school has a good security system.”

“Daddy, won’t the Muslims come and kill us here too?” Mark asked further.

“No, they won’t. There are more Christians than Muslims here in Dadin Kowa.”

That afternoon, as Mildred, Michael and Maryam were going home, they saw Muslims on the streets arguing in riotous voices.

“What could they be talking about?” Mildred asked.

“Maybe, they’re discussing what the Imam preached at the mosque today,” Maryam answered.

Unknown to them, the Muslims were planning to attack the Christians. They were already on the streets destroying churches, shops and houses belonging to the Christians. The streets were filled with smoke. Many were crying as they breathed their last. Mildred, Michael and Maryam began shedding tears. “What are we going to do? How shall we get home? Mildred was shouting, “Please God, help us. Holy Mary, pray for us.”

They saw some people running towards the police station. “Let’s follow them,” Michael said. As they were running, Mildred fell down.

“Michael, Maryam, please wait,” she shouted, as she stood up.

By the time they got to the police station, they had to squeeze themselves into the crowd in one of the tiny cells.

A few minutes later, the Christians began fighting back; they were shouting and running after the Muslims with sticks and cutlasses.

Those at the police station began to smile. Some of the youths ran to join those on the streets who had now started burning mosques and properties belonging to Muslims. As people were beginning to find their way home, Mildred, Michael and Maryam began to race home too.

They reached home safely. Maryam was with them because her house was far away. Their parents were happy. “We had looked out for you everywhere, thank God you are safe.” Mrs. Kim said.

Looking at Maryam, “Who is this?” Mr. Kim asked.

“She’s a classmate and a friend.” Mildred replied. “She lives in Rantya, so we thought she could stay here until everything is calm.”

“Is she Christian or Muslim?” Mrs. Kim asked.

“She’s Muslim,” Mildred answered.

“Then she can’t stay here,” Mrs. Kim said.

Mildred said, “She’s a Muslim but a very good girl.”

“I’m sorry, Mildred, she can’t stay here.” Mr. Kim said.

“Mummy, Daddy, please she’s my closest friend.”

“She’s Muslim. If they find her here, they might think we kidnapped her. If other Christians discover that we are protecting any Muslim, our lives will be in danger.” The father said.

Maryam knelt down begging. “I live in Rantya, please allow me stay here.”

Mildred and Michael joined her begging, but to no avail. They all began to cry but their parents ignored them.

As Maryam left, an idea suddenly came to Mildred. She told Michael that she will follow Maryam through the back door. “What! You want to die?” He asked her, “I can’t let her go to the streets alone. She is my best friend.”

She quickly followed the back door, met Maryam and they went to an uncompleted building to stay. It was November and the harmattan wind was blowing. The night was very cold. They slept without food, drinking only water from the tap in the building. And it seemed like a long, long time before daybreak.

The Kims were worried about their daughter. What they did was not Christ-like. Michael had refused to eat since then. Mark had been disturbing his daddy about his sister. Had she died? Had they died? That was what nobody knew. Two days passed and it was the third day.

The city was a bit calm as Mildred and Maryam heard the voices of passers-by discussing and laughing.

“I think the place is a bit calm now.” Mildred said.

“I think so too.” Maryam concurred.

They agreed and went home together. The house was silent. Mark was happy. “Oh! Mildred is back. Mildred is back. Daddy, Mildred is back.”

The parents were speechless because they had realized what they did. They were really wordless until Mrs. Kim said, “Mildred, Maryam, we’re sincerely sorry for what we did.” Mildred and Maryam remained quiet. They were looking so pale.

Mildred then broke the silence.

“Mummy, Daddy, you take me to Church every Sunday and I’ve learnt from our children Masses to help even my enemies at their most difficult times. My closest friend, Maryam, whom I consider a sister to me, was in a dire need but you refused to help her. I have nothing against you. I only thank God that we are all alive. We went and we did not die.”

The parents were really touched. They looked at themselves, trying to blame each other in silence.

“Mildred, Maryam, we are truly sorry,” Mr. Kim said.

They all hugged each other profusely. Thereafter, Mildred and Maryam showered. They had lunch together and Mr. and Mrs. Kim agreed to take Maryam to Rantya as the environment was now peaceful.

37 thoughts on “We Went And We Did Not Die” by innoalifa (@innoalifa)

  1. Sigh.
    This is ok if you are in JS2 or if your are 12 years old.
    A lot of things are wrong with it, but pointing them out will take about a year.
    If you want to write better, you have to start reading more sophisticated texts and books written by adults. Stop reading story books.

    1. Thanks for stopping by @kaycee… your comment is quite appreciated…

  2. Lemme be nice.

    What is the meaning of “one bright sunny day”?
    Bright days are sunny. Or do you know of any sunny days that are dark?

    ‘One sunny day’ is enough. Or ‘One bright day.’ Although nobody starts a story like that anymore except they are in the 4th grade.

    Let’s forget the poem for those who know about poetry.

    What kinda father goes by the name Kim? Is he like a lesbian? Do you know any Mr Kim? Maybe your neighbour? Ok, maybe he is Chinese. Possible.

    And who is Mark, okay, Kim’s son. Hmmn.

    So Kim went to buy newspaper and then all of a sudden he screamed. Oh my God.

    It is no longer sudden since you told us. Besides all screams are sudden.
    Allow us to hear him scream suddenly.

    “Oh my God!” he exclaimed, would have been sudden and would have shown that you read books without pictures.
    And what do you mean by “he was making the sign of the cross. Not again, not after a single day?” What day? What happened in the other ‘single day’?

    And where did Kim do his screaming? At the vendors or where?

    “Mark his five year old smart boy” hellooo? Is the boy supposed to be an idiot?

    How did he know the fighting had reached Mildred’s school? Was it written in the Saturday vanguard? Are schools even open on Saturday’s

    And what kinda ‘security system’ did he say Midred’s school had. Alarm system or lock key system?

    I will stop here because I have things to do this year.

    1. Your comment strikes me in the heart @kaycee. However, I wanted to create an emphasis when I used “bright sunny.”

      The name “Kim” is not quite uncommon in my environment. In fact, a classmate of mine goes by that name. So I was wondering why criticize the name.

      Concerning the screaming, I should have shown rather than only tell. I appreciate your observations.

      About schools opening on Saturdays, I should have made things clearer…

      Sincere thanks @kaycee, expecting more of your criticisms in my postings for they are quite helpful…

    2. @kaycee has been flaunting his ignorance of literature. Can someone stop him already please?

      1. @Chime221, can you help me tell @kaycee ooh………?

      2. as in ehn, heartbreaking shii

  3. Deremi (@Jessy_deremi)

    Such love…

    1. @Jessy_deremi, thanks for reading…

  4. Its a story alright, one of the few I have read on the Boko Haram menace. still it was honestly flowing like a block of many separate sentences. I also thought The kims would have been familiar with their seven year old daughter’s friend.

    1. @basseyperfecta, I’m glad you read it. Your observations are noted. It’s good having you around…

  5. namdi (@namdi)

    Its ok, but a lot of issues spoilt the flow -Kaycee pointed some of them. Take the corrections. I’m sure it’ll make your art shine.

    1. @namdi, I’m happy you stopped by… I accept my limitations and I’m going to try harder to come up with something better. @kaycee, @Jessy_deremi, @basseyperfecta, thank you all for your helpful comments, I really appreciate your literary minds…

  6. Kaycee has pointed it all out..nothing to,add..

    B for effort

    1. That’s good to know @schatzilein. Thanks for stopping by…

  7. Nalongo (@Nalongo)

    It reads like tales by moonlight.

    1. @Nalongo, I sincerely appreciate you.
      @namdi, @kaycee, @Jessy_deremi, @basseyperfecta, @schatzilein & @Nalongo, I must confess that your comments and criticisms are valuable, I accept them and I’m working on them. kindly check out my poem at http://www.naijastories.com/2014/03/elove-poetry-peeling-back-the-mask/ and make your remarks. I would really be grateful…

  8. Wow Terrific Kiddies Time Story. Although Kacee Is Right, I Think Writing For Children Is A Rare Talent And @innolifa Should Be Given A Credit For Trying, Who Knows That Area Might Be His Speciality And Its Alright If He Discovers Now.

    1. @sarah, thanks a great deal for stopping by… writing for children could really be a beautiful thing, I’ll see to that…

  9. Dee's hive (@dees-hive)

    @sarah thank you. i seriously was beginning to think that writing for children has become such a bad thing. of all the great observations, most of which i concur with by the way, the part i don’t understand is that it reads like a kiddies story…its for children…if the writing is right, i really dont see that as a bad thing cos many of us grew up reading enid blyton sturvs, it stoked our interest in writing and storytelling. @innoalifa if writing a children’s story is what you set out to do, then the story is a great piece…easy to understand…great expression of the innocence children have in them…but as for the writing in itself…kaycee has pointed a lot of sturvs i believe will better your art. but i will also like to add, that reading story books is not such a bad stuff especially if you plan writing one yourself…there’s a viable market and they will help you hone your writing style. afterall 2 year olds dont write the books 2 year olds read..adults do.

    1. @dees-hive, I take your comments happily, I’ll work towards improving my art… even if it’s for kiddies… thanks…

  10. I totally agree with @dees-hive. Some people wrote the stories we read as kids so why can’t we do the same?

    1. @mcsnol, your comment inspires me… many thanks fellow…

  11. Honeywrites (@Rachel_Williams)

    Oh well, this was a good attempt…but I quite agree with some of the comments posted. I thought @Kaycee ‘s comment was funny but a tad over critical…but I guess every writer needs that once in a while to get better because people out there aren’t so nice. Take them in good stride, work on them, practice.
    I liked the idea behind the story, by the way. Love. Because after all is said and done, all that is needed from a writer is their message and I’m sure we all got it…even Kaycee.

    1. @Rachel_Williams, thanks dear for liking the idea behind the story. As for the comments, my heart has accepted them and is working towards improvement…

  12. Ajenifuja Adetokunbo (@Ajenifuja-Adetokunbo)

    Hmmmmm. Mistakes had been pointed out already. I have read this piece since the day you sent the link. I’m sorry my phone was unable to post comment. Keep writing, sir. I like it.

    1. Many thanks for your support @Ajenifuja-Adetokunbo

  13. I believe that there’s a targetted audience for any works of art. While this one is disjunctled, it does not mean it’s meaningless. And while it could go for children literature, it’s interesting and didactic.

    1. @Chime221, thanks a lot for stopping by………………..

  14. s'am (@samenyuch)

    well as for me , i enjoyed the story

    1. @samenyuch Thanks for reading and commenting………………

  15. Levuz (@Levuz)

    No need to say anything further I guess, the comments above are just balanced enough.

    But, to be sincere, I would have been soo mesmerized reading the story some decades ago, and so I’m sure many kids would find this a good constitution for their life.

    Get the kudos and learn your errors.
    Keep writing!

    1. @Levuz I’m still learning and always willing to correct my errors. Thanks a lot for your encouraging words; they are well-received in my heart. Cheers!

  16. far too pedestrian even for a children story

    1. @damilareoso, thanks a million for reading and commenting. Your words inspire me to do better…

  17. Omena (@menoveg)

    The message was passed across. Corrections would be taken … I believe.

    1. @menoveg, thanks for reading and commenting. :)

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