That morning, I woke up a dazed man. I was lying on the bed bare-chested inside my one room apartment thinking out loud.
‘You see, life have not treated me kindly’
My name is Jude, I am the only surviving child of my parents. I grew up in the village with my parents who gave birth to five of us. Two were girls and three boys. Papa and Mama did nothing except small scale farming and that meant we had nothing much to eat because life was a hard nut to crack.
I am grown now, with many dark memories and so much hatred bottled up inside me. It has followed me everywhere I went and is about to eclipse my downfall.
‘I can’t believe my younger brother is this unreasonable, callous and evil’ Papa shouted from the impoverished room he shared with Mama.
It was late at night. The lamp light was blazing in the parlor for illumination. Everywhere was silent except the whistling of the cricket and the croaking sound of frogs. Darkness enveloped the outside that you may think it is midnight already.
‘What is it again, Nna anyi?’ Mama asked in a concerned voice.
Her eyes were red almost shedding tears after Papa had finished telling her the crux of the matter. As she walked out from the room, she threw her wrinkled body on the old sofa which has kept us company for over 10years now. Even though it is overdue for change, but money was a big constraint. Mama’s leg rested on the carpet which has taken a new color and some parts peeled off.
‘Where are you, God’ she shouted in tears and slumped to the floor.
Her eyes in tears and the wrapper half undone on her upper waist. I wanted to talk but words failed to come out from my mouth even though my mouth was open.
As I paced round the parlor in anxiety and total confusion nothing but anger consoled me.
‘Even in this 21st Century, we are still dancing around the house of poverty’ I quizzed my angry mind
There is a big Radio set on the wooden room divider in the parlor two yards away from me. It is the only electrical appliance found in our home. A dirty curtain hung on two window rails and just two old sofas decorate our parlor.
‘A bleeding heart can only describe what my heart feels’ I murmured within myself.
Now, I am all alone with no family, no brother and no sister. Papa died some years back after a mysterious illness and Mama followed afterwards. All my siblings died in yet another mysterious incident leaving I alone.
The beginning of my life has held sad memories, sorrows and pain.
The day Papa died is still fresh on my mind. Papa’s younger brother Dee Ebo lived in the village just some meters away from our house. A short, dark and bald-headed man who frowned his face even while eating. He was very different from Papa who was tall, huge and fair. Dee Ebo and Papa were the only sons of Mazi Uzoka of Umunna village; with other five beautiful daughters. It was indeed a happy family until the death of grand-Pa.
Papa took over the responsibility of the family as the first-born son. But this did not augor well with his younger brother. Trouble started when GrandPa’s inheritance was shared between the two sons according to seniority and African traditional ethics.
That was when the devil in Dee Ebo resurrected and he began to torment Papa with unfounded accusations. He accused Papa of conniving with the village elders and clans men to give Papa the best of their dead father’s land while he got the smallest portion.
Papa called him to our house to resolve matters amicably. He was an easy going man and never garrulous by any standard. In fact, he was reserved in action and deeds, a lover of peace and it showed all through his life. But when Dee Ebo brought these accusations to tarnish Papa’s image, he became a worried man.
‘You must give me the land near the village square because I have concluded plans with a big Oil company who are willing to pay big money to buy it or prepare for fire’ Dee Ebo threatened Papa as he stormed out of our house that saturday night.
Papa was calm, he begged his brother to take things easy as it has not reached that extent. But that was Papa’s greatest undoing. He never took his brother’s threats serious. That became his weakness.
‘I will show you what the spirits do with the human head’ De Ebo boasted as he stormed out of our house the second time Papa invited him for peace talks.
Papa called the elders and laid his complaint. When the elders summoned De Ebo, he denied ‘intoto’. He even swore by ‘Amadioha’ that he never mentioned anything like that, that he was just joking. Since there was no evidence except what we heard, the elders dismissed the case.
‘You are brothers by blood, what you two are doing is unheard of. Let the spirit of your father rest in peace and quit making unnecessary trouble.’ One of the elders summarized.
From that day onward, Dee Ebo changed like a man possessed with a good spirit. He practically turned a new leaf and became friendly with us again. But we knew he was just covering up. Everything seemed right until a mysterious sickness struck Papa. A wound out of nowhere appeared on his chest and was eating up his flesh.
It started like a dot but within 6months it has covered almost all over his chest. He became fragile, wrinkled, old, weak and even lost his voice. His eyes had dark brown threads and his hands were thin almost leaving his bone visible. Eating became the biggest obstacle.
Each hospital we visited told us same story!
‘Madam, the result of the test shows nothing is wrong with your husband. It seems like his body is medically okay. I’d advice you look for alternative help’ the bearded Doctor at the Government Specialist Hospital had advised my tearful mother.
I was left alone with my Mother. My other siblings died in a mysterious accident while coming home from the farm. It was raining that day I was told. The four of them and Mother were coming back from the farm many miles away from our house when a ‘thunder-struck’ tree fell and killed them all, only my mother escaped by the whiskers to tell the tale.
‘I am tired of life’ I shouted after the Doctor had finished with Mama. Disturbed, confused, helpless and hopeless, depression became our only consolation. It was a hard and trying period in our lives.
Papa died that night after complaining of struggling with an unseen force in his dream. He told my Mother when he woke up sweating and panting like a race-runner. On his neck were marks as if he had been strangled and on his back was a deep cut. That night, we wailed endlessly and cursed the earth.
I was the only one left when Mama died in her sleep some weeks later. She suffered from stroke and hypertension, was lonely and never recovered from Papa’s death.
Cast upon with all these tragedies, I searched for answers but found none. I roamed around the village aimlessly out of frustration and sometimes talking to myself to the amazement of people. I was losing my senses so they thought but I knew what my game plan was.
Our house became overgrown with weeds and finding food became a constant battle. My once handsome face became the home of long stretching beards and my hair unkempt and bushy. I wore rags and dirty clothes as if I was a mad man. Then it happened!
One fateful evening, I was coming back from the village square in one of my aimless wanderings when I saw some men clearing my father’s land. I was surprised because I didn’t sell any land to nobody. With anger and vexation, I hushed them to disappear from my father’s inheritance or they will see fire. That was when one of them told me that Chief Obike of Nnaka village bought the land for 7million Naira from Dee Ebo my father’s younger brother. That was the latest news in town. Then the mystery surrounding the death of my family members which I have been searching for became obvious. Then, my evil instinct kicked in.
That night, I swore to revenge the death of my family especially my father.
I was already in their house before they entered the compound in a new Camry 2010 model. My eyes nearly popped out when I checked out the room in their absence, the sleek LG 52″ flat screen Television almost killed me with envy not only that, there was a decked marble floor, 2horse power split A/C, 4big leather seats, a glass standing table, 4-speaker home Theatre set and an astonishing painting worth 150, 000 naira. I was marveled, surprised and enraged.
‘So this man has been busy using my father’s money to accumulate exotic material wealth?’ I nearly shouted inside my hideout on top of the walled-wardrobe. There I schemed my revenge clutching a .29mm handgun waiting for my enemies.
It was exactly 11:15PM when I struck. In the thick dense of night. Everywhere looked calm and quite but for Dee Ebo’s room. He was busy fulfilling his marital duties to the wife when I crept out of the blues. Silently from the dark I crawled out to light and caught his sweaty face. He was lying on his back while the wife danced around his hip in a slow motion. I watched for a second but I was happy when his gaze met mine. Frantically, he made to rise but the wife’s weight was big enough. You see evil people always have a pricky conscience and Dee Ebo was not an exemption.
‘What are you doing here? How did you get inside this house? He asked in a most worried voice filled with fear and anxiety.
The wife crawled to the other side of the bed clutching the bedspread to cover her naked bosom. Dee Ebo was busy trying to find out how I got into the house, his nakedness obvious by the illuminating colored light near the bed. Even the wife was speechless and surprised. She was young, maybe around 35years and thick dark with an imposing gap teeth and a pointed nose. She looked exactly like one of those movie stars I see on the Television.
Hearing Dee Ebo’s stupid questions hyped my adrenaline level that I rushed him in anger and struck his face with the edge of the gun. He let out a loud shout and became silent. As I watched the protruding mound that formed on his forehead when the gun made contact with his head, I praised my guts.
‘Oya, quickly tie yourself and if I hear any ‘phim’, I will empty this cartridge on your bodies’ I commanded
Fidgeting and in fear, he swung to action and tied the two legs with the rope I gave him, and so did the wife.
Naked like Adam and Eve, they looked pitiful. In order to be sure, I tied the rope again.
‘What about your two young daughters’ I demanded.
‘E-e-e-e-e-e-h they are still in the campus’ the wife stammered out of fear.
‘I would have loved to end your family history so fast but I will take it easy. Only if you answer my questions’ I said in a harsh tone as if scolding them.
Even if the daughters were around, I knew killing them was not an option.
‘They are innocent and have done me nothing bad’ I debated with my conscience.
‘Now tell me sincerely, why did you kill my Father and my siblings?’
I asked him calmly
After a long pause, Dee Ebo gave out a mock-laughter and said ‘You don’t know the kind of mess you are in son. When this is all over, you will be a dead man’ he retorted.
Struck by anger, I rushed his naked body on the floor and kicked his jaws fiercely. He was about to say something when my black boot landed on his head as blood gushed out of his nose. I pummeled his stomach with blows. He was writhing in pain but I cared not.
‘He called for it, I will give it to him’ I said to myself
Blood was rushing out of his mouth as his teeth became blood stained. He lay with his bum on the floor and his back was resting on the wall near the bed. He was breathing hard and fast. I looked at the wife, she was crying profusely with her hands over her mouth.
I rushed her in my incensed mood and gave her a knock that sent her crashing from the bed to the floor. She was crying like a baby and her face covered with tears. I found a log of wood near the laptop in the bedroom. Dee Ebo’s wife let out a loud cry when the log left a big mark on her body as she nearly fainted grasping for air. Another fisted blow landed on her jaws as her eyes zipped to a close. She fell flat on the floor and became silent. I was about using the edge of the gun on her head when Dee Ebo began pleading and begging me to stop and stop I did.
‘Please, don’t hurt her again. I did everything myself. She didn’t do anything. It was the devil and greed that made me do it. I am so sorry’ he begged with his blood stained teeth, bloody mouth and bleeding head.
That night, I shot them both with the silencer gun. But Dee Ebo’s story was full of lies. He later told me how under his wife’s persuasion and the enticing lifestyle he craved to live lured him into killing his own brother.
‘I regret everything. Even after acquiring all these wealth, my brother’s blood still haunt me. I knew I would end up like this one day. Please forgive me’ He begged me.
He revealed how his wife took him to a witch Doctor who plotted the death of my father and siblings when my father’s stubbornness became irreversible.
I left the village that night with no trace but a bag which had 500,000 naira I found under Dee Ebo’s bed.
The Newspapers even carried the News that ‘Man kills wife after discovering lover’s secret love letters.
Since then, I have lived a low profile life. But for once, I am happy that I took the laws into my own hands and had my great revenge.
One day, I will return to the village to claim what rightfully belongs to my family.
But for now, I ᵃm still in this one room apartment waiting for the next step. My thoughts are deep but inside me I have peace of mind knowing that my family have been avenged.
A piece of creative writing by Ubani Alexander Thandi
All RIGHTS RESERVED!