Long Black Train. (Hysteria IV)

When I was a little boy, my siblings and I, we walked miles to school. Secondary school.

Wearing the green uniform and brown sandals (or barefoot if your sandals tore on the road), we walked to and fro, on a road tarred in the early sixties and now overused and descrated by potholes.

We loved the walks, we would engage in walking and jogging contests some mornings,with me starting out too fast and ending up lagging behind Joe and Jeremiah when I ran out of breath.

It was on one of such walks that we stumbled on the baby.

A thrown-away child.

She was dumped by the side of the road. In a little refuse dump by the bushes. She had no arms and no legs from the elbows and knees. Just stumps where growth should have been.

Her mother had thrown her away. She didn’t belong. She was a part of the MOMs class. Mutants, Orphans and Misfits.

Something about that helpless and bawling child tugged at my heart. Other school children crowded around us as we stared impotently at her naked frame.

For the first time, I was grateful I couldn’t hear. I was grateful because I knew if I could hear the baby’s bawlings, I would keep hearing the sound in my head like an echo. I would never forget.

My siblings and my friends walked away and I followed suit. The next morning when we passed, the child was still there, she was no longer crying but she moved her stumps and stared at us with unseeing eyes. I tried not to let my mind think of the vipers, mambas and cobras we sometimes saw scurrying from the bush.

I tried not to think of the armies of soldier ants that sometimes frequented the dump, drawn by spoilt food and oily waste.

I walked to school and made myself forget. At least I tried to. It was that day that I started to think of death and the long black train.

And when I passed there a third time, I was relieved to see she had died.

Growing up, despite being heavily protected by my parents and siblings, I had my share of death-would-be-a-mercy moments. Lots of them.

And more narrow escapes than Cobra fucking Joe.

I don’t know, I guess I have the curse of wrong-place-wrong-time. I remember running across the road to fetch a football for throw-in, not hearing the squeal of brakes, feeling something heavy press against me, losing sensation, seeing faces crowd around me. Seeing a red car.

I remember fetching water from the well behind Mama’s shop at Ogun state, not looking at what I was doing, just pouring and pulling, pour-dip-pull-pour. I don’t even know what made me look at like the sixth try, but I did just in time to see the snake with head upraised, forked tongue flicking out….the striking posture.

I had already put forth my hand to grip the rubber pail and pour out the water. The creepy thing was just inches from my hand!

I gave a shierk and dropped the pail. And I fled from the well. Joe never let me forget that act of ‘cowardice’ for a long time.

There was also the time we moved to a new house in another part of Ogun. There was this building behind our house. One morning, fresh from secondary school at fifteen and looking for adventure, I waded through the bushes, pretending stupidly I was an explorer of some sorts, looking for strange plants.

I came upon a clearing I had never seen before. The clearing had maize and beans.

I walked right through it.

And into the metal trap hidden underneath.

My mama would later say she had never heard my voice boom louder than when I screamed then. And that badmouth Joe would tease me mercilessly for a while.

Well, I walked into one of those really mean traps with pincer-like edges. The kind that if it catches an animal, trash, trash, trash all it wants, there just isn’t any hope. The trap my Yoruba friends call Opari. ‘It is over’.

But not for me.

At first I thought a viper had fastened its fangs on my ankles. I jumped and tried to get out but the shock was paralyzing, it was when I looked down that the truth hit me and I started to scream, ”Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!”

it was pure miracle the pointed double hooks of the trap went through a hole at the back of my left ankle, narrowly missing the bone.

Still, like the car issh, it took me a very long time before walking become easier. It took even longer to get rid of my limp.

My sister laughs when we talk about it now. About the blackouts and tortuous eyes. I laugh along with her and agree God must love me a lot. I agree about the narrow escapes and the near dark trips on the long black train.

But my sister doesn’t know everything. I never talk to her about the scariest and closest shaves of all. October 2014’s early morning electric death dance.

Maybe one day, I will.

You never know



16 thoughts on “Long Black Train. (Hysteria IV)” by Hymar (@Hymar)

  1. ‘And when I passed there a third time, I was relieved to see she had died’ funny how I actually experienced that feeling too, when I got to that line. Nice read.

  2. Nalongo (@Nalongo)

    Your guardian angel really word hard!!!

    1. Nalongo (@Nalongo)

      This phone will not put me in to trouble oh! I meant to write that ” Your guardian angel really works very hard!”

  3. @Ibagere, y am I not surprised? Death is sometimes a mercy. Thanks for reading

  4. bunmiril (@bunmiril)

    God is really merciful to you o. You suppose do die tay tay.
    Nice one.

  5. bunmiril (@bunmiril)

    I mean you suppose don die tay tay.

  6. Lols, @bunmiril, like @Nalongo said, my guardian angel dey work hard. Thanks for reading.

    We bless God

  7. Lol…
    “If your sandals tore on the road”
    …tore-ish…poor you.
    People have seen worst!

    You have perhaps, unconsciously explored the technique known as ‘Stream of Consciousness’, which only seasoned writers have been able to use successfully.
    But that is not to say that the narration is not a bore. It almost bored me to death. My only solace is that it’s well edited.
    Well done.

  8. I guess we need to take stock sometimes of the near death experiences we’ve faced and thank God for keeping us.

    I bet there are the ones we don’t even know about that.

    Dearie, the October 2014 should be October 2013.

    Thought you were gonna put it in here? Oh well…

    @Chime221 I bet that’s just you. I didn’t find it boring one bit.
    Besides these are non-fiction experiences,you don’t expect the narration to read like fiction. Just saying.

    1. Ouch! I never said it is a fiction @mimiadebayo, unless you are forcing it on me…
      By †ђξ way, I know they are non-fiction experiences, that’s why I made mention of ‘stream of consciousness’.

  9. Thanks @Mimiadebayo. Lols, i didnt notice I jumped a year ahead. Thanks, beau.

    *Thirty Loaves of Bread….winks

  10. ronaldbellaz (@RonaldBellaz)

    Nice story, good write-up. I had every word draw a perfect picture of your experience in my head.

    The best part is when you got knocked over by the red car. I had a similar experience, when i sleep walked into the Road on my way back from my mums shop years back.

  11. @RonaldBellaz, that wasn’t a good part let alone the best part. Hehehe, abi u enjoy d pain shea?

    Thanks for your good words. Am glad you didn’t think it was a bore unlike some crackpot doubletalk who said it was funny then said it was boring.

    *Laughing.

    P.S- welcome to NS.

  12. Hymar. Your head is unripe for death, that’s what your guardian angel knows too well. May God keep us all.
    It was the reality of Hysteria that pulled me in from day1. I still marvel at the courage you’ve got in you that makes you to put the story of your life out here for the good, bad, ugly, stupid people to peruse alike. Keep staying strong.
    Well done. $ß.

  13. Dear, dear @Sibbylwhyte,thanks for being part of that journey. There are still miles and miles to go. And definitely I will get there cus like I love to say, ‘God Kips me better than Ama Kip Kip’

    As for the good, bad, ugly and of course, the ever present stupid(and insensitive) clowns, I guess some things just have to give. Glad to inspire. Honoured at yo thots towards me.

    Thankyhu. Loads.

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