I boarded a bus home from Charity, the same way I’ve been doing the past three months I started working around that area.
Today was an unusual day; this I could tell because it quickly fell dark. I didn’t bother to check my wristwatch for the time because my inner clock had already supplied it – 18:00 – Two hours later than the time it was meant to be, still I didn’t bother. Unlike my usual self, I wasn’t yet fazed, the outer plain of my being didn’t quiver. My many selves and consciousness may never know why even till the last day. It was getting dark fast, and I still laughed, I strolled with my colleagues without a care in the world on the damning consequence associated with travelling about Lagos late. By the time I leisurely arrived Charity, it was 18:35.
I had been in the bus for thirty minutes now and it still hadn’t moved. I knew it wasn’t thirty minutes yet, but I didn’t know. Maybe it was this part of me that didn’t care, I never can tell; or because of my inner clock that gave me a false sense of comfort and security. I was still awfully quiet and calm, relaxed with my feet stretched out comfortably in the front seat beside the danfo-driver and his motor gear; my earpiece plugged in appropriately, and my head nodding to the music and the bus’s jingle each time the Driver tried to maneuver the ever busy Lagos-road.
I still didn’t care: I owned the pace, it was mine, so I wrongly felt.
Soon my body began to shiver; cold was beginning to hit and I could feel it, yet I couldn’t feel it; the driver had just announced that we pay, and I handed over my One Hundred Naira regular fee. He smiled and nodded at me, perhaps happy for the change I just gave to him, I couldn’t really tell: My ears were blocked from the sounds of the world.
Suddenly I hissed. It was as though the scales had fallen off my eyes. I realized the distance moved so far was, for more than thirty minutes was very negligible, and far insignificant than what my leg would have carried me. My body cringed some more on the bed, the cold pierced my skin harder, and I fought terribly within for my warmth. My brain began to get the message, and started to tweak its story.
My reality suddenly changed. The traffic-bound, car-clustered bridge suddenly got spacious; so wide that the same numbers of cars since the beginning of my gridlocked-journey had enough space to chill.
I still did not care much.
We kept moving, slowly and steadily, just the way I like it: In tune with the soft music banging in my head, the type that opened my doors and windows of creativity. I looked forward and noticed the car before us, a blue car of a not recognized model with a very extended boot moving unusually to the right. Fast, faster and with fury it moved till it leapt through the bridge side without a railing. It crashed with its head first.
Our driver didn’t stop, he was only suspended in the micro seconds of the moment, long enough for me to fully observe the car swerve beautifully into its doom.
I was almost shocked.
Then my body shook heavily, my forehead lines tightened and loosened at its will, my cold persisted. Now, I cared heavily.
The timing went back to normal and the driver swerved, full left, also from the point of fall. He kept the steering left till a narrow passage appeared out of nowhere. Now, we were away from the bridge, into a rough road where we had to first wait for a water tanker pass before we could enter. This was where the real fun began.
I don’t think I have ever been that impatient and on edge my entire life.
My music didn’t seem pleasant to me anymore, so I put it off. I looked up, my eyes were heavy, sad, and pained. I couldn’t observe my former clear view anymore; all I could see was the head of the driver before me swerving from one side to the other. I moved right a bit and read the speed meter, “160!” I remembered exclaiming with joy, until I looked outside the window and could still see the objects as clearly and slowly as I had viewed that falling car. I turned to the other passengers; everyone was still; Zombified, I immediately presumed. Mr. Driver seemed more confused than he seemed to me moments ago.
Now I cared deeply. The day hadn’t gotten any darker than when I first boarded this bus, and the fear made me worry, and in my worry I cared.
The bus. Yes, the bus. It was nowhere to be found within the twinkle of an eye. All the passengers had suddenly been replaced with my course mates I hadn’t seen in ages. Now, I was scared. I tried to distance myself from them, but I couldn’t because there was a force tagging us all together.
The apocalypse behind finally caught up with us.
I ran. Or rather, we ran. To nowhere in particular; we just kept running and dodging falling skyscrapers and exploding buildings debris, all around the Oshodi adjoining bride between DHL bus-stop and Charity bus-stop.
I couldn’t explain it, but somehow we had ended back again at the bridge.
We were beneath the bridge now. Everywhere around was in chaos – fire burned bright, smoke puffed all around, debris rained like the heavenly rain; the bridge seemed to be the only place inexplicably safe from the heavy effect of the apocalypse. The wider version had taken a more complicated turn and become wider, it looked like those highly-networked interconnecting bridges depicted in foreign movies, and we were the ‘bridge runners’ waiting to save the day.
We walked in mini groups, but everyone stayed close to everyone. I was with my bestie, it was him, even though he wasn’t wearing his face, I could still tell he was the one with the same soul. We trailed the side of the bridge, we wanted to catch a glimpse of the world’s horror and yet be safe to hide under the haven created by The bridge. My head caught sight of something – A human hand dangling from its body on the top of the bridge. We hurried to see him well. He was alive, but soon he died, I was face to face with my first corpse. That should go into the history books, but that was only possible if we had a tomorrow.
We formed mini circles and looked round the mighty and ever busy Oshodi. Everywhere was in flames, rubbles and chaos.
The day of reckoning had just played out before our eyes.
I felt nothing anymore, no care, no fear, no worry, just peace, then they came flooding in, with the cold, again.
I woke up.
By the time I had finished casting and binding in prayer, my time announced my day was just starting, at 06:30 a.m.
– Talius Dike
FF on Twitter @taliusdike, @LSbyTalius, @YoungCcStories
PS: The above is fiction as described from my dream at the dawn of Wed, July 27, 2016.