A SAD LOVE STORY

The room was brightly lit so that I could see about three silhouettes behind the window blind of our dining cum study. Coupled with the inaudible sounds of wrestlers and their crazy fans that welcomed me into the house was the savoury aroma of well seasoned egusi soup and amala that caught me salivating immediately I entered. This made me forget that my early homecoming from prep at the school hostel was unplanned, because the boarding house mistress had suddenly entered the hall and screamed my name over the public address system to inform me that I was needed at home.

I had ignored dad’s stern look at the table. It was the kind of look that reminded me that something related to doom was awaiting me. However, I couldn’t think of anything bad I did that might have earned me the proper correction that dad’s pankere was believed to make to any erring child. More so, the instructional material wasn’t on the table so I chose to devour the dish awaiting my judgement.

In less than five minutes, what were left of the dish were crushed bones of ogunfe. I looked at the empty plate and wished the food would resurface. Mother was such a good cook. The meal caught each of my five fingers taking its turn under the laundry expertise of my tongue. I was allowing my tongue to explore every corner of my mouth for any remaining taste and particle of the food when my dad’s throat-clearing sound snatched me from my pleasure.

“Tell me Dolapo, who wrote that letter in your bag?” His voice drowned the sound over the TV and panic took over me completely. For once, I prayed under my breath that the chair on which I sat should sink into the floor under it. I shut my eyes so tight hoping that it was a dream from which I would wake up.

“Answer me now!” Dad growled again and I didn’t need to be told of the weight of his lividness, I had experienced it before. I immediately started picturing myself soaking my bed sheet with salty tears and crying my way into dreamland or worse still, a place of nightmare.

In my moment of unspoken litany, dad pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and because my hand was so shivering that I could not take it from him, he flung it across the table and over my head. I had to stand up and pick it where the dining room curtain had terminated its flight.

“Now, sit there”. Dad said, pointing to the chair I had vacated to fetch the paper airborne by the anger-induced force of his hand. He stood and firmly banged his clenched fist on the table so that my empty plate jumped and landed back on the table.

“Read it to me, Read it!” he ordered then brought out the popular instructional material; the pankere from under the table. He had hidden it there so well that even the bright lights from our chandelier couldn’t reveal it to me. Even if it had been revealed, what would I have done? Nothing!

On other occasions, if it was my younger brother who was to be punished for anything, I would have stayed at a corner of the house and be singing “Jeun k’oto j’egba”. “Eat before you receive cane”. It was a song that suggested that it was better to first, eat and then be beaten as this would help you to sleep. Now however, I was the theme victim of the song.

“Dear Love…”

My voice broke into pieces the moment I started to read the letter. I wanted to look up at dad but I dared not, for I may be welcomed by a round of hot slaps. More so, I had the advantage of studying dad’s shadow on the table and monitoring his movement, perhaps, if I calculated well, I would be able to dodge some of his too-many-for-a-fifteen-year-old blows.

“Continue or do you want me to land this on your back? Do you?”

“I pick my golden pen from the basket of love to write this letter…”

My voice faded into a loud wail. I drew back, into my head, the mucus that was already moving down my nose. Few minutes ago, I had been relishing the pleasant taste of food, now, what I was going through made it seem like I last tasted salt over a century ago.

“This is what you do with my money” dad’s voice raised in the same tempo with his cane that would have left my back with a mark like the trace of an earthworm on the ground after rain if it had not been suspended by the fan blade rotating above the two of us. It seemed to weaken dad. I was glad the moment he said we would sort it out the next day and he dashed out of the dining into his room mumbling some inaudible words that faded into the air; something like he would not allow the devil to take over him the same way he (the devil) had made me disobedient. That night, I had the ceiling fan to thank for my escape.

Dad went with me to school the other day and explained everything to the principal who also expressed his disappointment with me. And because I couldn’t tell a lie, I had to produce Segun, my to-be ex boyfriend. We got the beatings of our life that day. I don’t know about Segun, for boys had a way of wearing jeans under their school uniform to reduce the effect of flogging, but I sure had three days before I could sit properly on my buttocks. Segun was suspended for two weeks. His parents were summoned and he had to write “I will never write a love letter again” five hundred times before he was readmitted to school.

***

That was about fourteen years ago. And I should go home to thank my parents for many reasons. One, I was not the girl who got impregnated by Segun six months after the incident. Two, I have become a practising medical doctor and owner of a specialist hospital in Abuja. Three, this man on his knees, holding a ring will get a ‘yes’ from me and I would be a woman, married, untouched and undefiled. This should not be a sad love story. It should be a happy one.

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GHOSTS

It wasn’t surprising how people gathered with the speed of light whenever an alarm was raised on our street. Usually, the first group of spectators, or rather gossips consisted women. You would see one tying her wrapper as it fell flying while she ran to the scene, and another holding her cut, worn out slippers. It was yet another of such days when an issue attracted public opinion. I had helped myself to a space of comfort on the second floor of my father’s uncompleted storey building.

“I saw him”, Mama Risi said assuredly, as if to prompt someone to disagree with her. “Who saw him?” another woman asked. I adjusted my stool upstairs listening intently and smiling when there was need to.

“What is it?” Iya Kabira voice arrived at the scene earlier than she, barefooted like many others while her five year old Kabira ran after her, mucus dripping her nose; she used her tongue to do the cleaning. I spat in disgust, sending to oblivion, the fact that I was worse even when I was much older than she.

“It is Baba, it is Baba” another woman answered Iya Kabira, panting heavily, unclear if she was reciting a psalm or chanting a spell. My eyes drifted to Iya Kabira, now at the fore of the whole crowd, throwing her hands into the air as if the matter had more to do with her than others. “What if she had even seen the ghost?” I thought.

If I had not seen Baba myself, I would never have agreed that such thing existed. I however was unaware that it was Baba whom I was leading to the house beside ours, his house. An old, frail man had stopped me on my way from school and demanded that I lead him to Baba Ewe’s house, a request to which I consented.

I had taken him to the house entrance when one of Baba’s children, an eight year old Aina had shouted, “Baba Ewe”. I looked up to his face and immediately, a blanket of cold seemed to encircle me, causing me to shiver and draining all the courage I had. I released a scream that seemed to deafen even me and cut through the street to summon all the women.

Iya Risi continued her explanation of what she hadn’t seen. I smiled upstairs, wondering if I would also grow to become another gossip of a woman in the future. I wanted to tell the horde that Baba Ewe didn’t put on white garment as against Iya Risi’s claim. She couldn’t have seen him, I thought, Baba had disappeared the moment I yelled, almost as immediately as our eyes met. Not even Aina’s explanation could save the crowd the mendacious information that Iya Risi had begun to propagate on the street.

I encircled my hands around my knees then placed my head on them. I reminisced on the incidents around me. Yesterday made it exactly seven months after Baba joined his ancestors and seven years, two weeks after my own father died. I raised my head and surveyed my father’s uncompleted building, if only he had not died when I was ten, I would be living in one of the rooms closest to the kitchen, where I could easily sneak my way inside and eat enough of the fruit that would be in our white chest freezer, one like those I usually saw in movies.

Gone were the days when my father had just died, for three consecutive months, I had sat beside his grave late in the evening and wept my eyes out hoping he would appear, so I may do, one; challenge him on why he had to die, leaving my unemployed mum to take care of me and my three siblings; two, give him two options, whether to take me with him, or find a way money would always be available each time we were in need, then I would report Mama Risi, how she rained invectives on mummy each time she could not pay up her debt  for gari as agreed. But father never appeared, the poor man, I later concluded that he had been the one sending crickets to chirp and frogs to croak so I might be scared away from his grave.

“Ghosts do not exist…it is the work of demons. Demons put on the image of the dead and make men believe in reincarnation”. Pastor Biodun had said in his glorious, all-knowing voice that drowned the noise of the crowd. This made the people pay him enough attention as the most revered man of God on the street. His opinion provoked counter opinions. Whiles some agreed, others disagreed. Whatever the case was, I remained indifferent, for to me, it wasn’t a matter of weather ghosts existed, but rather that I had led a dead man to his house in the image of the living.

Iya Risi was the first to leave the scene, after it was reported that a goat had made its way into her supermarket, a shed made of joined planks, and helped itself into a lunch of dry gari. The population reduced just the same way it had been made up and everyone left with these erroneous stories that Iya Risi had cooked up. This only intensified my fear, for it had been three weeks of uninterrupted power failure and mum would not allow me use candle while sleeping, plus, the thought of ghosts had successfully found its abode on my mind.

Two weeks later…

Pastor Biodun sat in front of his house, enjoying the fresh air that power failure had denied him. He had been reading his Bible with a torch whose battery had been drained of energy but charged enough to create his silhouette in the dark night.

“Who is that?” he had asked when a figure in pure white went past him in what seemed like a calculated ghostly movement without speaking. Another figure followed, but with a humming, frightening sound. By this time, Pastor Biodun raised his torch which could not even create the wanted picture. He stood up and raised his Bible but was forced to retreat when another white figure charged towards him with a chirp. The fourth figure, in the same colour from head to toe moved swiftly towards him with an eerie laughter that caught Pastor Biodun throwing his torch against the scary figure, reciting or rather chanting “the Lord is my shepherd…” and running frantically to the entrance of his house with a wail that condescended his age.

I quickly ran away, avoiding being caught by the crowd who later rushed out of the house to see the ghosts that had come to attack Pastor Biodun. I went upstairs our house to join my three other friends, looking through a window and listening to how Pastor Biodun relayed his ghost experience to the people two houses away. Good job, I thought, even Mama Risi’s make up story could inspire much.

We silently began to remove our pyjamas and clean ourselves of the white paint. We really had a long time doing that, thanks that mum wasn’t at home. I smiled; wondering what would have happened if Pastor Biodun’s torch had hit me. “Even Pastors are afraid of ghosts” I thought.

A NIGHT OF BAPTISM

A NIGHT OF BAPTISM
We were all out in the veranda. Some of us unclad save for shorts and signets. We were there, at about 9.30pm, each of us holding anything, anything from parker to book covers and hand fans to blow air to ourselves, for the heat was there in the room like a terrorist, posing a death threat to anyone who dared enter the room without first staying outside for the cool breeze and then bathing with the water, laid outside in bowls to get cooler, calm enough to mirror the full moon up in the sky.

The hostel had been interesting and uninteresting of late, especially because our exams had been concluded and despite the fact that we got food that was inversely proportional to the number of days we had spent in school, we were allowed to go out and source for feeding from our day student friends or from the canteen when we were lucky enough to get money, even when we ended up eating more toothpicks than pieces of meat.

“My dad will come on Wednesday”, Kunle said, while his face beamed a smile with a gesture that showed how happy he was about this development. His father had called the boarding house master earlier in the day and informed him of his imminent coming for Kunle.

“I am happy for you”, I told Kunle, envious of what it meant to get out of school earlier than others. You would have the comfort of your parents to run to and be fed like a baby at home. But Kunle was luckier; his parents usually came for him as soon as the exams were finished. We finished on Monday and his parents would come two days after. This meant he would not have to serve seniors who seemed to get their last days enjoyment from only one thing; oppressing the juniors.

“When will your dad come?” Kunle asked and I blew a measure of air to myself before answering him that my dad was not to come until the following week. The man seemed to enjoy my absence more than my presence at home.

In the time I spent thinking of another thing to say, a tall SS2 boy walked up to us and stood menacingly above us, JSS 3 students.

“I need a bucket of water”, he said with a voice that carried the determination to get what he wanted at any cost, to be paid by us.

“Senior, the hostel well is locked. It is past nine already, and the taps are not running” Kunle replied.

“I have not asked you about the well. I said I need a bucket of water. And for speaking, I need your water”

“But Senior, but…” Kunle muttered his defence against what was something he had little or no control on. The guy cut him off.

“I said I need water. Which one is your bucket there?”
By this time, all JSS3 students in the veranda had stood, unable to say anything for the fear of being punished by the angry senior.

“It is not fair senior. I have kept my water in the open so that it will be cool and here you are, wanting it by any means…”

“Do you want me to slap you? Go and put that water in SS2 bathroom for me now” the senior said and went away with an authority that could only be practised when there was no superior one.

With that Kunle made for the water, banging his legs on the ground and repeatedly dangling his head to both sides in protest to the order of the senior who had already gone into the room to get his toiletries. Kunle returned after putting the water in the bathroom. I consoled him by offering to share my bucket of water with him.

It wasn’t long before the senior ran out of the bathroom, clad only in his towel that he loosely tied around his waist. He screamed and writhed in pain like a salted earthworm. First we had thought he had been stung by a scorpion for there were many of those arachnids in the school hostel. However, the school had just be fumigated few weeks ago.

The senior was muttering, menacingly, though in pain that whatever guts Kunle had to have peppered the water would lead Kunle to trouble that night. But I trusted Kunle, he couldn’t have done such bad thing because someone forcefully used his water. Besides, he had taken the water straight to the bathroom and returned almost immediately.

But what could I say? Here was the senior squirming in pain and dashing for the buckets of water and emptying the contents on himself in the open, screaming pepper. It looked funny, though we dared not laugh, that someone who had threatened to slap my friend few minutes ago had returned, almost crying and displaying to the delight of his juniors.

“Senior, I didn’t put pepper in the water” Kunle pleaded feebly, rubbing and showing his palms to the space as if in supplication to the Almighty. By this time, the senior shot him a deadly look, one that could dry up the blood in the person at its receiving end of it was sustained more than ten seconds.

A heavy slap landed on Kunle in the same tempo with how fast the senior furiously uttered his “You did not do what?” “Ah!” We screamed as we watched Kunle gasp for air like a fish taken out of water.

“This is the last time you will ever do such thing in your life”.

“I said I didn’t do it, Senior”. Kunle said sobbing, yet we could feel the usual insolence that always accompanied the excuse of a junior who felt oppressed.

“If you say anything again…” the senior warned, and continued, “Your punishment begins tonight. Every morning and evening, you will sweep my dorm and get bath water for everyone sleeping there, including your juniors”. The senior then left, his tall, tiny frame fading to the darkness in his room.

I drew Kunle closer and wiped his face with my palm.

“Don’t worry, we will serve that punishment together” I promised.

“But I didn’t do it Ayo. I didn’t…” and his voice broke into another round of sob.

Just then, Samuel, the notorious boy in JSS 3B walked up to us and whispered to Kunle “You escaped this right?” I didn’t understand but I suspected he must have been the one who peppered the water. I could remember he had a bet with Kunle to make him cry. And if my memory served me well, he had been out earlier in the day with some other guys. This could explain how he might have come across grinded pepper. Besides, he was one of those last set of students who set their buckets out in the open.

“So you did it Samuel” Kunle asked, “you put pepper in my water just because of a bet to make me cry? I am going to tell the senior” he turned to leave before Samuel dragged him by his hand and said in a whisper how stupid Kunle sounded, a tyrannical senior just got served a piece of his own cake and Kunle was still trying to inform him the source of his reward.

“Just serve the punishment, and I even offer to help you. At least I have made you cry and that yeye senior has learnt his lessons the hard way. Sorry Kunle, sometimes the righteous get punished for the sinful.” He offered his hand for a shake; Kunle hesitantly took it and managed a smile.

I looked at the evil planning Samuel, how he had made a friend out of someone whose misfortune he had architected. I also looked at Kunle and wondered at his large heart, so how he found it easy to forgive never ceased to amaze me. He usually said that someone who never forgave could not live long. I thought about the senior, how he had used Kunle’s water and stormed back to beat him up for a crime Kunle knew nothing about. I wondered if Kunle would also forgive him after serving the punishment. But I didn’t have to worry much, for Kunle wouldn’t even have to forgive him, in two days time, his dad would be coming for him and serving the punishment with the help of Samuel and me could as well account to a last day in school fun.

THURSDAY FART MASTER

It was a hot Thursday afternoon. 12.35pm to be precise. We had just finished a paper and still had about 20 minutes before the next would begin. The paper we just concluded was generally enjoyed and everyone was high on something, or so it seemed. Chairs were turned to face one another to form groups in the class. Each group talked nineteen to the dozen about different topics. Some guys discussed  football while others discussed movie, fashion and the likes.

“Hnnnn, hnnn”. It was the angry grunt of some students that jolted me from my chair. I had held my PASS, studying my data on it as if it had just been handed to me. I looked around to see the injured expression on the faces of my classmates. Someone had farted of what smelt of decayed cooked beans and egg.

Everyone started throwing tantrums. I sat on my chair, indifferent. I had never reacted to the smell of farts in the class, not even for once had my facial expression showed discomfort. This made people wonder if my nostrils were functional. I would just sit on my chair and run my fingers on some book page.

“This is mercilessly terrible. It is absolutely unbearable” John, the grammar guru in my class angrily ejaculated. “Whoever did this is dead. They just have not buried him” Someone else lamented, and the rants seemed like eternity.

“You will eat everything that comes your way, how won’t you be farting like someone whose stomach needs fumigation? How?” a girl asked, as if she would behead the farting culprit if she found out who it was.

“It is beans”. Someone said convincingly. “And rotten egg” Another person added in the analysis of what could smell so bad. I didn’t smile, though I wanted to; for I concluded that it was plain dumb to debate the makeup of a fart instead of avoiding the smell itself by any means possible.

“Bosun will not even say anything”, someone referred to me. I placed the voice as Juliet’s. I didn’t respond, for the girl didn’t fear anybody, and she could beat up anyone who defied her. She was the record notorious girl in our class. Once, she had been suspended for fighting and twice for disrespecting a teacher.

“Leave him alone o” another girl seconded Juliet. “Does he even have a working nose? Let him be romancing his PASS as if it is American Green Card” Still, I didn’t talk, neither did I raise my head. The class burst into a laughter that lasted a while until a teacher’s cane banged a table three times to get our attention. It was time for the next paper. Everyone adjusted their chair and silence resumed its reign in the class. I assumed the smell had escaped the class through the windows but I doubted my judgement because I could see the clean-cut supervisor expand and contract his nostrils like a rabbit smelling its feed, this in turn raised and lowered the silver rimmed spectacles that sat on them.

“Did any of you fart?” he asked, menacingly. His nose twitched and written on his face was the determination to make a scapegoat of anyone he was led to believe was the culprit. Everyone in the class looked around, as if the topic in the man’s question was alien to them.

“I will forgive you for this. If anyone tries this nonsense again before I leave this class, I promise to make him rue the day he was born. Understood?”

“Yes sir” We chorused.

“Now keep away all books and get ready for the next paper”.

Hell was let loose towards the end of the paper as the pungent smell of fart filled the class. I was calm; knowing that there was no way the culprit would be fished out. The supervisor allowed us finish the paper before he dealt with everyone but me and two other gentlemanly looking boys, because, in his words, it couldn’t have been cool boys like us who never talked since he had entered the class.

***

It was a cool evening, a warm one rather, but its temperature was mild, compared to the one earlier today in school. The full blown golden yellow light of the sun radiated on the windscreen of a car that went past me and the rays directly hit my eyes. The passengers of the car couldn’t have experienced what it felt like to be out under the glorious effect of Mother Nature. I drew this conclusion from the fact that, as I perceived, the car was a brand new one, two months old or there about. It moved slowly in a silent sound, almost unheard and no smokes came out of its exhaust pipe. So I looked at the car and willingly lured myself, in few seconds, into a world of reverie. I envisaged a day when I would be in a better car, possibly with my wife and a beautiful daughter as a first child.

This daydreaming had made my aimless journey worthwhile. I only wanted to be out because nobody was at home and our dear brothers – PHCN, had held their belonging; power. So there I was, on a street in Ibadan, dawdling and looking out for anything interesting that could happen – just anything.

“Dear brother”. It was the voice of an old woman that snatched my attention from the moving car, and my imaginations. From what I inferred, it wouldn’t be too rude to say that the woman would not have been considered if she had entered an audition for a beauty pageant in her youthful days. A black beret perfectly sat on her head, the revealed part of her head was covered by rough gray hair that placed her above fifty. She was clothed in a pleated gown that must have served her for some years.

“May I have some minutes with you brother?” She asked. I gave a consenting nod. She continued her speech but not before she handed me a handbill. I had gone through this before and readily understood what her message would be. I could only pray that she was not as boring as the ones I had met before, you know, those ones who would argue and argue with you until you give them a noncommittal ‘yes’.

“My brother, do you know there is another world apart from this?” I nodded, focussing my eyes on the pit in her shoulders. It seemed someone had attempted to dig a well on both sides of her neck. The pit there could hold two eggs each.

“For everyone to enjoy the luxury of this new world, they must give their lives to Christ”. Hadn’t I guessed right? Hadn’t I?” She continued her admonitions. It was an encounter that would have been nothing short of boredom if she had spoken longer than I could cope with.

When we departed, I started to read the bill she had given me. It talked about sins and related vices; stealing, lying, fornicating, mischief, wickedness, malice etc etc. I was forced to stay by a corner to digest the content of the tract. I found myself strangely affected by the tract, for I had indeed been guilty of every sin stated in it. It ended my adventures for the evening. I went home, sank myself into a couch in our sitting room, drew my knees to my chest, and then started a playback on my life…
***
What could I have done anyway? Our meals at home consisted of beans, eggs and other variations of beans for Wednesday nights. We had been gifted a sack of beans by grandfather and mom considered it a personal calling that we must consume the sack by Christmas. With this development, who was I to control the effect of the carbon in beans? I could not bear the disgrace that would follow confessing to being the Thursday Farting Master in the class. I knew my classmates; it wouldn’t be long before someone would coined a nickname for me, something like “BOSUN THE FART MASTER”. I knew what to do. I knelt down and followed the instruction on the handbill, asking God for forgiveness.

I am @me_ablad on twitter.

RIDING HOME

Dr. John, pot bellied, dark, loquacious sixty-year old civil servant in the Ministry of Information, or Misinformation as people always said, sat in a cane chair, his favourite spot behind the new cottage he acquired for Lara, his new catch. There, across Lara, he drank and chatted, but did the former with more care and the latter as a corollary to the former. Though rich, he was selfish with money as he was with forgiveness. He never gave too much, except to beer and beautiful women and he only forgave when it was almost useless.

“I shall not remember my own name after our night together”. He said.

Lara laughed and the bulge of her mammary gland made Dr. John smile, soon, he would bury his head in between her cleavage and forget the flapping pieces on the chest of his wife whose only work included growing fatter and making children.

“It won’t be bad”, Lara said, “after all, I can remind you”.

She blew an air of kiss across the table between them and Dr. felt that, this newly acquired woman with her dark skin glowing in the warm rays of the setting sun, would take him to the heavens, and back hopefully.

And she did. For during their night together, Dr. John had coughed and gasped for air, his body twitching as he withdrew from Lara. She had quickly gone for a glass of water and on returning, dropped the glass at the sight of the man’s body, as it lay silently, lifeless with a manhood without its earlier glory.

“I shall not remember my own name”. She remembered his words and her own promise to remind him. But she would not have to, for now she looked again, after two weeks, at his body being lowered into the grave, amidst wails from co-workers at the Ministry, family members and his housewife, whose only hope of sexual fulfilment was being covered in bleak darkness, by every measure of sand, every movement of the shovel and every word of the cleric in black: “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”.

WAITING FOREVER

The first time he saw her – two months and some days ago, he knew there was something special about his attraction to her, something about a guy’s heart skipping a beat, something that he had always dismissed as clichéd. But it didn’t end there; he had continued to think about her, about what it would be like to talk to her, to be her friend.

Every morning afterwards, he stayed by the balcony, waiting for her to walk past so that he would ogle her curves, his beloved curves. He wondered how he had caught himself in such web, pining for a girl whose name he didn’t even know, but he didn’t care because he seemed consoled and healed of the loneliness that had consumed him. If looking at her could heal him so much, what would it mean to hold her close, to have her breathe life into him, to taste of the living water in her mouth? But he was iffy about being ready for her, or maybe he was not good enough, not mature enough. Once he had gone to the mirror by his bed and fiddled with his beard, it was not long enough, not bushy enough but he hoped it would score him high, a hope that made him forget his usual fear, his thought that mature guys have spot on their face, pimples – and he had none, he wished he could conjure some up…

Today again, he stayed by the balcony and waited for her, when she came – if she came, he taught, he would walk up to her and ask her what her name was, what her phone number was and if they could be friends, then something more.

But he never dared talk to her. The moment he sighted her from afar, there was usually this beat on his chest, something like a pestle being pounded against the mortar. It usually killed his confidence. This is not my first time of asking someone out, he would think, why am I afraid? Or am I not a man? Yet, he never talked to her. He had forgotten that his last relationship, the one he had in high school, ended over three years ago. He would just watch her walk past, and then he would turn his head and look at her as she faded into the corner of the street and to the next day when he would wait again.
…hello, he rehearsed, I am Bosun, no, my name is Bosun, no. He taught of his pick up lines and reframed…standing before you is Bosun, three hundred level Mass Communication student who cannot ask a girl out, his instincts corrected him.

He played with the collar of his shirt and hoped it was okay – whether he could go meet her. Just then, he sighted her again, she appeared from afar, a place where her head became a silhouette that occasionally blocked the evening sun as she moved. His heart beat faster the nearer she came.

…standing before you is Bosun, he rehearsed again before remembering his taunting thought once more…three hundred level Mass Communication student who cannot ask a girl out, but even before he could call her, she had walked past him.

Another day gone, he would wait till tomorrow – or maybe forever.

I’m @me_ablad on twitter.

When Julius came round, he found himself tied in strong ropes that it would be pointless to attempt to break loose, even if he summoned all the strength he had. About an hour ago, he had been caught far beyond the bamboo forest after the Caroline lake, the boundary between Albion and Sathaneu. The outcome of the brawl between him and Harputh’s army was that he passed out. And when he woke up, he realised that he had enjoyed a free ride on one of the army’s horses to Harputh’s palace.
Julius looked up to see King Harputh’s angry eyes; the contempt in them only merged the height of the smoke that wreathed behind the King’s castle. The soldiers who caught Julius had been around the fire for warmth. The only knight with the king was Putith, the army commander, armed with a sword that shone with death and destruction. The sight of the king’s seal on Putith’s belt nauseated Julius, hadn’t he sworn never to have anything to do with it again?
King Harputh spat on the ground before Julius. It made Julius look up and shoot the king a deadly look. He would not respect such kings as Harputh whose taxes only burdened the people of the kingdom. His hatred for Harputh not only bordered around the King’s heavy taxes, but also on his horrifying corruption.
“I will make you pay for others, you thief” Harputh said, moving behind his throne and placing his head on his clenched fists.
“I will watch you do it” Julius dared the king. He would have none of Harputh’s threat. He would rather have his tongue cut than keep quiet. He spat towards the king.
“You will not disrespect the king, you…” Putith furiously charged towards Julius before the king stopped him with a wave of his hand.
Harputh felt defied. A suspended thief had just spat in his palace. It meant only one thing; Julius didn’t fear death. Harputh would make him curse the day he was born.
“How dare you spit in my palace?” Harputh growled and took a threatening move towards Julius. When he got to him, he delivered a heavy blow on Julius’ face. Julius fell flat on his face, hands tied behind him. He struggled hard to turn himself but he failed.
***
Two months ago, Julius’ banishment from Albion resulted from an accident. On one of his aimless frolicking around the castle, in a time when Putith had led the knights in the hunt against an enemy, he had caught Harputh with Putith’s wife and much as he would have wanted to gain the king’s trust and confidence, he failed, for should Putith know, Harputh’s reign would be a history told in agony. Putith’s wife had advised the king against killing Julius. She would set Julius up and his banishment was sure to come. How she would do it, the king never understood but even the king was dumbfounded when his golden goblet was found in Julius’s hut.
***
Julius recovered from the effect of the king’s lethal blow and looked at his side to see Putith who had already whistled in his knights to take Julius to the dungeon. Julius pitied Putith, betrayed by Putith’s palpable oblivion to the king’s betrayal and his need and power, rather than right, to overthrow the king.

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