Posted by Scopeman      94 views  Thriller / Suspense
Apr 172011

This was my entry for the “African Writing Flash Fiction Contest”. I guess I see why I didn’t make the shortlist in hindsight.

The colours red and yellow bring one place readily to my mind- the ancient city of Benin. They remind me of the commercial buses in that city, with their lousy conductors and music playing very loudly that they could damage eardrums.

I have lived and schooled in this city for about four years now, but the prestige that comes with living in the capital city of a state is almost non-existent. I have experienced the people of Edo state on several platforms, yet I still find some aspects of their lives, quite incredible.
I still don’t understand why they have to scream their words when communicating with you, even though they are not in conflict with you. I also can’t explain why the Oba of Benin is less popular but more respected than the governor of Edo state.

Right across the street where I live, on Colon road in Edodosa village; there is a lady in a shack with her three children. They don’t live there; she just cooks and keeps some items there. She has a yellow plastic table surrounded by a few plastic chairs, all under a big green umbrella. She sells airtime vouchers for various phone network providers. Every morning by 6:45am, she is at her spot, sweeping the area around her shack with her youngest child tied to her back, making her look like she has a hunchback. He is still a baby, about six months old. She calls him Nonso; but everyone else calls him Aminu, including Sani, her husband and their two daughters, Rabi and Mariam.

Mama Rabi, as everyone calls her, is from the Igbo speaking part of Delta state in Southern Nigeria. Her husband, Sani is from the Northern part of Nigeria. He rides a motorcycle for a living, transporting people, students mostly, to and fro the village, sometimes beyond. After Mama Rabi is done sweeping and setting up, she sits down to feed herself and her children breakfast. Sani usually joined them later, after he had transported several students to the gate that leads into the University.

A week ago, after Mama Rabi’s usual morning rituals, while she was seated, gossiping with a couple of hugely idle girls from a neighbouring apartment. A black jeep pulled over in front of the apartment beside Mama Rabi’s spot. The occupants of the vehicle stepped out, five young men all dressed in black from top to bottom, carrying firearms, the type you only see in a Sylvester Stallon movie. One gun shot in the air and the whole street ran into frenzy, people scampered in various directions, seeking places to hide. Mama Rabi gathered Aminu and ran into my apartment. Her two daughters had gone to school.

The armed men went into building across mine, besides Mama Rabi’s spot, clutching their guns tightly to their chests. About ninety seconds later, we heard the first gun shot. It was very loud. I had never heard a gunshot from such close range before. Then the other shots followed, four of them in all. There was a brief silence afterwards, and then we heard their footfall as they made their way out of the building, stumping hard against the concrete floor. When they got out into the streets again, they fired a few more shots into the air, perhaps to scare off any brave ‘super-hero-wannabe’ who might want to give them a chase and save the day.

There was an even longer moment of silence after they had gone. Then people started making their way to the scene, creeping out of their tiny holes where they had hidden in fear for their lives. No one was brave enough to enter yet, even though they knew they were people who just got shot in there, who may yet be alive. The other occupants of the apartment started running out, asking no questions and answering none too.

When the police came much later to take the bodies away and ask questions, only one person was willing and able to answer them. She said she got a glimpse of one of the armed men and so on and so forth. Eventually we discovered that four students, suspected to be rival cult members, were shot in a girls room in the hostel.
I haven’t seen Mama Rabi since that day. Her shack has been locked and Colon road has become a dreaded place.

Eventually we discovered that four students, suspected to be rival cult members, were shot in a girls room in the hostel.” - this part was added after sending my entry.

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  1. The Red Road

Scopeman @scopeman60

Avatar of ScopemanUnlike everyone else I have not been writing from my mother's womb. I realised my ability to write pretty well along the course of life. I am working hard to improve and establish myself as a writer. My first book "Dappled Things" will soon be out in a book store near you.

Go to Scopeman's profile, and read more of his/her posts.

  15 Responses to “COLON ROAD.”

Comments (15)
  1. Hehehehe….Ur confession makes me laugh. Well, first of all, let me say, this doesn’t qualify as a Horror story, neither does it qualify as a Thriller. And the beginning of the story i.e. Ur description of Benin, had no part in the story; it was irrelevant. Reading that part, and given the fact that U pegged it as Horror/Thriller, and given the fact that it was Benin (I lived there for about 2 years, so I know), I expected something more, and it wasn’t there. This just felt like a narration of an everyday occurrence, and not very convincing.

    ‘A week ago, after Mama Rabi’s usual morning rituals, while she was seated, gossiping with a couple of hugely idle girls from a neighbouring apartment.[, a] A black jeep pulled over in front of the apartment beside Mama Rabi’s spot. ‘

    Good writing, but the story was weak…Scopey, I know U write better than this…

  2. i liked the story. But i think for a flash fiction, the story could have stood alone on the assasination plotline because many things like the benin description and even mama rabi almost looked like addendums. It could probably have been more touching if a human face had been given to the murdered too. In all,it was still a gud job

  3. @Stan, I’m glad you like the story and be sure that I have realised the several flaws in the story, thank you.

    @Raymond, I have noted your points, thanks.

  4. Just to say that I agree with Stan’s points. At first, I thought the story was about Mama Rabi, but it seems the more important event was the assassination of the cult members. You could have rewritten this to give more focus to the assassination.

    • Thanks Tola, but I wanted to post the piece just the way I sent it in for the contest; like I said earlier, since then I have had enough time to realise many other ways this could have worked better.

  5. I’d use ur name to leave a comment… I’d call u Scope for dis piece, u didn’t work for man. I’ve always called u @Scopeman though, maybe not ur day

  6. @tola has made my point. all the same, glad i read this @scopeman60

  7. Actually thought the story about the woman and her family too. You try shah. Pay attention to what others have said.

  8. Pele Scopeman..I also think you should re-write this focusing on the shooting scene…make that scene elaborate and dramatic, describing Mama Rabi only in passing, and maybe it will make for a more excellent story.

  9. Sure Mercy, I’ll do a rewrite of this piece as soon as II find the time. Thanks.


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