Suki woke up that morning feeling sad and happy: sad because his National Youth Service days were finally over and happy because after a long time he was going to see his mother again and taste her delicious meals. The clock beside his bed read 4:30am. He got up from his bed with only his underwear and opened the door to his room. He felt elated as the cold morning breeze rushed in.
Standing on the balcony of the house he looked afar into the half-baked night as a sense of nostalgia hit him hard in the chest. Couple of months ago, he had come into this small village to serve his father land. From the first day, he had fallen in love with her language and the people. Everything there including the kids that he taught in his place of primary assignment had come to form a profound oasis in his heart. But he had to go. He had bought his travelling ticket yesterday to avoid any delay. He has said his goodbyes amidst joyous tears and some laughs. He would surely miss this little town where hope shines bright like a star.
He turned to go inside to begin his preparation but something stopped him in tracks. Four strange eyes were staring at him from the huge mango tree in the middle of the compound. He looked closely and discovered that they were cats. Four of them were standing on limbs of the tree staring at him as if trying to give him an infallible message which made an uncomfortable feeling creeep into his thoughts. He hates cats. He shrugged off the feeling and went into his bathroom. “It is going to be a long journey.” he thought to himself
At the park it was like a bee hive. It was as if the whole world had finally decided to travel that day. Among the howling of bus conductors for passengers and the sweet aroma of frying akara balls he found his bus. He showed the driver his ticket and found a seat close to the window. Soon the bus was full with a host of other ex-corps members in their rugged jungle boots and well ironed khaki wears. Shouts of “copa we and copa wa” rendered the air a few times as fellow ex-corps members shook hands and familiarized themselves with one another. Suki’s seat mate was a beautiful damsel with long luxuriant hair. She brought out a black and white covered book from her handbag. It was time to Suki to strike!
“What’s your favorite law?” Suki asked.
“Excuse me.?” she answered taken by surprise
“48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. “That’s the book you are reading. I have read it and I would love to know what your favorite law is among his self aligned 48 laws.” Suki kept talking
“Well I recently bought the book and I am yet to read all the laws so I cannot tell you my favorite one yet.”, she continued
“Okay. I am Suki by the way.” He stretched out his hand for a handshake.
“Lucy” she said without much interest as she took his hand.
“It is a beautiful…” Suki started.
“I really don’t like talking when trying to read a book.” she snapped and Suki felt embarrassed. It was as if someone had just poured gravel in his pot of soup. He felt angry and so he did the only thing that calms him down in such situations; he plugged his earpiece and Fela’s ‘army arrangement’ flowed through his system. Fela’s songs are his only trusted therapist in times of turbulence.
Their journey started at around 6am and soon they were gliding smoothly past small villages and little towns. The sun was up early and was beginning to stare harshly on the humans under her. The bus made a few stops after a couple of hours for passengers to buy food and stretch their legs. Suki soon slept off after he got tired of counting every big tree that they zoomed past. His mother taught him the game.
Suki woke up to a strange weight on his right shoulder. It was Lucy’s head resting on his shoulder as she took a nap. Suki was afraid to move a muscle. He looked sideways and his gaze met the strange looking guy sitting not too far from his seat. He was muttering something under his breath as he fiddled with the rosary in his hand. They locked stares for a moment before Suki gave up and decided to fix his eyes on the pretty damsel sleeping on his shoulder. Her pointed nose and round beautiful face reminded him of a Greek goddess from one of his literature books. Her luxuriant hair cascade in thick tempting strands over the side of her face. He was tempted to push away a disturbing strand from her face and as if on cue she opened her eyes gently.
“Hello beautiful,” Suki mused.
“Hi. Sorry about that” she said shyly.
She gave a huge smile that almost tore Suki’s heart apart. “God she is so damn beautiful” he admired her in silence.
“What says the time?” Lucy asked.
“Quarter past six. We should be arriving at Azikami village in the next one hour. From there onward our journey will be less bumpy.”
“Okay. Hey, I am sorry for my harsh introduction the other time. It is very unlike me.” she said apologetically
“No problem. I totally understand” Suki said with a smile.
Lucy turned to look at the other passengers and saw the mumbling boy holding tightly to his rosary.
“What is he saying?”
“I don’t know. I woke up and found him wide awake mumbling under his breath.”
Looking through the window Suki could see that dusk was beginning to set as evident by the birds in the air trying to locate their way home from their weary journeys. They soon where zooming past the village of Azikami. It was almost 8pm. They still had five to six hours to cover before they got to Komodo Park from whence they will board a final bus to their various destinations. The driver was enjoying himself with the music blaring from his stereo.
Suki looked back and noticed for the first time that there was no other car coming behind them and they have not passed any car either. “That’s strange” he thought. The boy was still mumbling under his breath. It was getting louder now and other passengers became really concerned. The boy stood up and gave a loud shriek that tore into the dark night. At that same moment their bus came to an abrupt stop.
What could have stopped the car? What is the fate of these passengers? Find out next week.
BY UMUKORO ISAAC