fallen leaves click here (i)
“What is your name?”
“Do you remember?”
Those were the words I heard from the outside walls of my memories.
“Keep at it”
So I did, until at last, I saw a door smeared with crimson red. It was a big door plastered with a wicked looking eye which viciously glared at me.
“Open the door,” a crisp and soft voice said. I was certain it had come from behind the door.
“From here on, your name shall be vengeful heart till you find your answers you will find no rest”
I walked closer towards the door and as I did I could hear cringing shrieks and cries. Nearer and nearer and the wailing echoes became clearer. I flung the door wide open, and into the cries I walked. And there my memories lay waiting. Children laying on fallen leaves, all there, their eyes staring deep into me.
TWO YEARS LATER
“Will he make it?”
“I am not certain yet?”
“Na wa, what do you mean you’re not certain yet?”
“That means I have no proper conclusion on when exactly he will awaken, he has been in a deep restive state for a very long time.”
The young woman was clearly impatient. She hated not being in control especially during challenging times. And today she was anxious, very anxious. The doctor had wholeheartedly assured her he would bring him back without fail.
“Stupid man,” she murmured underneath her breath.
“What was that?” The doctor asked and sighed loudly.
“He was too old for all this,” he thought. For four days straight, he had barely blinked, always on his feet working around the clock to complete his promise to the young woman. She was strikingly beautiful but young and you know what they say about young and impatient girls.
“Young one, can you stop pacing about and just sit down, you’re distracting me,” said the doctor.
“Distracting…you…wait can you repeat what you just said,” her eyes blaring ready to devour him.
The doctor now agitated was about to flare up too when a monotonous beep resounded across the room.
“Dia!!” shouted the young woman. She raced with full strength towards the sick bed.
“Diarra, can you hear me, Dia,” she said to which she began sobbing. “Dia…..Dia please wake up,” her hands clutched tightly to Dia’s body.
Dia’s eyes slowly began to open. He looked around the room, his eyes seemly searching for something. His lips moved but the young woman crying did not take notice. The doctor did. “Young one, he seems to be saying something.”
The young woman leaned closer to Dia, her ears perked up hoping to catch Dia’s first words. “Surie, please can you stop hugging me like that, you’re suffoca…..ting me. Abi you want me to die again,” Dia said while managing a grin.
Immediately, Surie let go of Dia’s plastered body like he had Ebola.
“You are very stupid….because I even bothered,” said Surie, hissing.
The doctor shoke his head, he could not believe this young woman’s exuberant temper. Maybe he was getting too old to understand the younger generation. With Dia’s routine check-up complete, he quietly left the room for the both of them. Right now, he badly needed one of Alhaija’s well blended kunu, so off he went.
On the fifth day after I had woken up from coma I immediately went up and around the city. I needed to find that man. As expected, Surie had adamantly disapproved. I knew her concerns, my body was weak and useless but I was a man on a mission. Through my words I tried hard to make her understand, her stubborn ways persisted. We ended up fighting which worked for me. I stormed out of the apartment in a purposeful angry manner. I heard her shout in her always caring but fierce tone, “If you like go and end up dead, see if I care.”
Our relationship was difficult to comprehend, one day we are fighting tooth for tooth, then the next day we are inseparable like glue on paper. Though one thing remained constant, both of us in our complicated ways deeply loved each other.
Mr. Adega, my assigned doctor had told me to take it easy due to the fact that my body had been dormant for two years.
Again, I refused the call for rest or did rest refuse me?
After much questioning and street listening, a tip told me I would find my answers at the house of Cho.
“You know the house of Cho, right?” my purpose driven tip asked, his druggy-infested eyes cautiously glancing back and forth, monitoring every person that passed us by.
“Who doesn’t,” I replied.
The house of Cho was legendary for its illegal ways; drugs, prostitution, trafficking, you name it. How many times had the police raided that place? Still the house of Cho always came back stronger with more drug heads, pimps, and ashwaos with holes wider than the Atlantic Ocean.
Though hidden from the government, I knew who really ran that house. He went by the name Mr. Tee and only a handful had ever come close to him. I was one of those chosen few, and I not only met him but I had saved his life on a very particular day. Then, I remember he had braggingly told me to visit him if I needed any special favors. “Well, today was my lucky day.”
The house of Cho did not look like the usual deprecating drug infested spots that were all scattered and hidden around the city. It was a fine looking building. No paint cracks. No broken windows. Every six months or so, Mr. Tee would pay to get the entire building remodeled. Another way he laundered all of his illegal money.
After cutting through the always busy Jamila market, I finally came upon the house of Cho. Surprisingly, there was no one outside except for a proud strolling stray cat. But as I had anticipated a young man dressed in a white short tee and black cargo trousers suddenly dashed from the shadows. “One of the pros of having security cameras,”
“What are you looking for here…..eh?” asked the young but well-built man, his voice full with the kind of bravery only found deep in this part of an already rotting city. His face was squeezed like crumpled paper, his chest was raised way too high and his brown predator eyes stared intently at me. Clearly, he was one of Mr. Tee’s hired henchmen. Mr. Tee paid them in kobos but they killed like they were high class assassins paid in millions. They were brutal but their jobs were always clean, no finger prints or messy left overs. Unlike the other killers in the city, they did not rape women or kill children; those were the only human attributes they had left in them. They were professionals alright but they were myopically impaired: stupid; stupid enough to waste their small earnings on any over-lashed ashawo and badly brewed beer they could lay their hands on.
“I’m talking to you…abi you don deaf?” He asked. He moved closer to me: his weight balanced accordingly, his stance properly adjusted, his two fists raised like a trained soldier. He was ready to beat me soulless or so he thought.
“Ok. Can I ask a question first?” I asked interrupting his fight-ready concentration.
He stayed rooted to the ground unmoved his piercing eyes like a hawk watched every single movement my body made.
“If I properly beat you, will you take me to Mr. Tee?” My question took him by surprise. He momentarily sized me up, still amazed by my question he let out a loud bewildering laugh his voice filling up the whole street.
“Ok,” he replied. “If you somehow manage to beat me I will take you to boss man”
“On your mama’s grave?”
“No, on ya mama grave,” he confirmed, grinning wildly.
“Alright young man, step forward and receive your first shot.”
Like a raging bull perplexed by the color red, he hurriedly raced towards me ready to pound me with his bare but seasoned knuckles.
“He took you out with three blows!!!”
Mr. Tee could not believe his ears. “Three blows,” Tee bellowed. “This man that is clearly looking like he has not eaten for one year…this is the man that beat you senseless.”
“Wahali Talahi!” He further exclaimed. “What then do I pay you stupid people for….ehn? If only three blows can bring you down,” Mr. Tee said shaking his magnanimous head.