A #PLAGUE they called it, but I wonder if it was merely that. A #judgement, a #Reckoning, an #Apocalypse, #Armageddon. It doesn't matter what it was called, because it came like wildfire, striking with a cataclysmic impact. This is the Ragnarok.
There was this sinister sense of foreboding I couldn't shake off all day. I had learnt to trust my intuitions and I was certain, something really bad would happen soon. I simply couldn't put a finger on it. I called in sick at work and knelt down all day, praying. My knees were beginning to feel numb and I was so famished. My siblings had already gone to school and my parents had left for work earlier, after dishing out a list of drugs I must buy in the nearby pharmacy. I grabbed my head to shake off the daze swallowing me. I headed to the bathroom. A long, hot soak might do me a world of good. I settled into the bath and released a weary sigh.
Then it happened.
There was a distant roar at first, like the gentle rumble of thunder. The sound drew nearer. Screams were ringing out along the streets and footsteps thudded as people raced. I jumped with fright and darted out of the bath, grabbing a towel to wrap around myself. I made for the curtains overlooking the neighborhood. Hundreds of people poured out into the streets, each clutching a bag and looking completely disheveled. Some had hastily tied a piece of cloth around them.
I stood shell-shocked, my eyes popping from my sockets. For how long, I couldn't remember. Another "boom!" pushed me into action. I threw off the towel and jumped into the nearest clothes I could lay my hands on. I rushed to the family safe and hastily typed in the password, my hands trembling violently. I took out all the money, removed some amount for myself, leaving the rest on the table for whoever came home. Shouts increased as I stuck clothes and toiletries into a school bag with a fevered frenzy.
I grabbed my phone and dialed Mom as I tumbled out of the house. She wasn't picking. I dialed again. Nothing! I was almost crying in fear as I dialed Dad. He picked. I briefed him on the current situation, while struggling to steady the tremors in my voice. He was asking if I was alright when a stream of bullets rained towards my direction. There were heavy thuds as people fell. I stuck my phone in my pockets as a bullet few past my ear, the whine ringing in my head.
I set to race and darted past people. A young man ran with his brother in his arms. The brother had his right leg cut off at the knee. An old woman was struggling to propel herself faster with her walking stick. A little girl stood in the middle of the pandemonium, crying. She was at risk of being trampled. I considered her for a while, debating with myself. Where was her family? Why did they leave her? Did she even have a family anymore? Another boom sent me reeling. There was no way I could save everyone, but I would save this one. I ran to her and hefted her across my shoulder like a sack of beans. She screamed harder as I took off again.
Dust rose and filled my nostrils. A woman struggled to drag her husband with her, as tears poured down her cheeks. He was cut across his midriff, and hyperventilated as he clutched the wound. He held her firmly and made her stop. Tears filled his eyes as he painstakingly kissed her forehead. It felt like a slow motion movie, as he slumped to the ground. She screamed wildly, shaking him and begging him not to leave her. The girl on my shoulder was probably watching over my head because, she had stopped crying.
Somebody bumped into me from behind and screamed curses at me for standing in the way.
A pandemonium rose as more people ran towards us, they were coming closer. The woman let go of her husband and ran off, tears streaming. I felt like I was not there. Like the person in my body was not me.
June 26th 2018
I write from a shelter I will not disclose. My adopted girl is sleeping beside me. My siblings are nowhere to be found. I hear the World Cup match is currently on and Nigeria prays to win, while we lie here forgotten, languishing. There was no remembrance of us. The flags which should be at half mast, are flying at full swing. No show of solidarity. May Nigeria loose. May they spend another 7 years seeking for qualification. I hope they get so disappointed they remember all the ills they have ever experienced. Ills that we are the unfortunate victims of.
Let there be sorrow. Let no joy or laughter be heard in Nigeria tonight. I haven't had a bath since yesterday and I'm grimy with dust. I'm afraid of movement in a country with a constitution. People are littered all around, nursing festering sores. The stench of agony and death fills the air. The gods of Nigeria who decide when to take lives have done it and nobody questions them. We live in slavery in a country we call our own. I'm grateful for life. News reaching us is that churches are being burnt in Yobe state. Pray for us.
Let this message reach as far as it can go. Let the world hear. Let no one rest until something is done.
Adaeze Rosemary Possible.
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