Bisi woke up with a start and checked her bedside clock; it was 7:50 am. She jumped up. When did she sleep? It felt like 30 minutes ago when she slept; how come it’s morning already. She had come in late last night and had gone straight to bed. She hurriedly brushed her teeth, had a quick bath and dashed out.
The first strange thing she noticed was that the gate was still locked. How come? Mr Jamiu, the tenant in the front flat was a bus driver who leaves as early as 4 am. She dashed back in, took her keys from the shelf and ran back out.
As she opened the gate, she was hit with the second shock of the day; the street was empty. There was no okada passing, no keke napep and no shop was open. She walked very quickly to the corner of the street; even Adamu, the Hausa man who sold provisions and cigarette in his kiosk, who closed as late as 11 pm and opened as early as 4:30 am, had not yet opened.
She became alarmed. She lifted her hand to check the time, then remembered that she had left her wristwatch in the office the day before. She stayed at the bus stop for about five minutes, but no car showed up. She began to panic.
She removed her phone to check the time. The date on the phone said Feb-12-2008 and the time read 8:34 pm. She sighed. She had never been one to pay attention to the date and time of her phone; she actually couldn’t remember ever setting the date and time. Why would she bother when she had a wristwatch.
When after 20 minutes the street was still empty, her panic grew. Could it be that the rapture that those Christians were always shouting about had happened? She remembered that two days ago, the S.U woman who lived in the house next to hers had been shouted down because she woke them up with her bell, screaming, “Jesus is coming soon.” She shuddered at the thought. Or had the military hijacked power again and ordered everyone to remain inside?
She dialled her best friend’s number; it rang, but she did not pick. She dialled her fiance’s number; he didn’t pick too. She was shaking vigorously now.
She ran back in, locked the gate behind her and ran to her flat. When she entered, she bolted the door firmly behind her and switched on her television set to know what’s going on and to see if she would hear anything from the news. As she was about to tune it, the light went out.
She knelt down and brought out her radio set from under the bed. Frank, her fiance had got her the radio almost a year ago, but she had never used it. She hated listening to the news; she called it time wasting. She dug out some batteries from the store and finally got one that fit the radio. She tuned the radio and finally got a station with clear reception.
She heard the presenter saying, “….the longest solar eclipse in the history of the earth started more than two hours ago and will soon will be over. If you haven’t seen it, go out now and witness nature in its amazing form. We may never experience an eclipse this long again.”
Her eyes jumped to her bedside clock; the time still read 7:50 am. She shone the light from her phone at the wall clock; it said 2:35 am. She stormed to her bedside, picked up the clock and smashed it on the ground.