"Rekindling forklores, forging letters into golden words" -TALESMEN
Friday, 1 March 2013
MOSES LAW 2
BEFORE THE SHOT
There was a shivering in his heart that afternoon. The marine brought,
with its wave, a lone music and riding upon it a callous breeze of heat
but the lagoon and his hut had only become a mirror of hurt and strand,
mirroring his fear and anger to his very eye. He walked out of his
stead and stormed into his barn. He knew his matchet would be lying on
some marked yam seeds by the corner, so he went straight for it. He
stormed back out and closed the dwarf-door behind him. Outside his farm, a shotgun had burrowed into shallow earth. He picked it too and dug it by the rim of his sagging trousers.
A petty farmer of petty contentment, he could have simply relished
strength in the little he could own as he always ever did but today was a
different mark, a different loss and the shivering had to calm. He had
jumped the Corpers’ fence and successfully eluded the Hausa mayguard
that dealt his whiplash on the tall walls now and again. Somnambulist,
he held the matchet with precise fury; he walked a few yards round the
short buildings. One or two Youth Corpers would inspect him walking,
eyes to the grass and pass flattening suspicion but nobody stopped to
study this man, they only ruminated on their own uncertainties and
passed it to friends in reticent voices.
He had walked round a bush
of brown wildflowers and reached an open field where few friends still
loved to lie under the sun before an evening drill; but in the cold gaze
of the farmer, the next few hours was to pass away into a pulling feast
of tears. He pulled his matchet now and narrowed his eye from the
dark eaves of his hat. He must have picked his prey from the little
crowd and, mechanically, the blade swung away from his fingers…like
floating jelly, and crept closer to a group of three in mid-air until it
ate into one. The matchet pierced through his left chest. A blood-bath. A woken scream. Chaos.
The confusion was a brief shock. The screaming still swelled but he had
quickly walked off to another edge of the next building and waited for
another face. A scattered crowd surged towards the open field. Another
rifle-shot pulled off from nowhere but it fell upon the shouting pack.
Now, there was a different wail from within, spellbinding and sore. Some
people had flown into nearest buildings and hedges; the little
remainder shook up in the trembling and searched for the wail.
scream encircled the path but this one was better hoarse and miserable. A
young man was in the dust, his head split by a bullet and flowing blood
scattered the mob like chickens. He had done it so quick, like an
assassin. The youths were still scuttling like kites. Yet, no one
stopped to look to his way and so again, he walked away, leaving behind a
stench of horror. He broke out too easily. His shivering was fading;
it soon took him to the town church.
The church was a bamboo house
with small windows, a white flag fluttered in the frontage. The street
was silent but the priest’s prayer was the only sound piercing the ear.
He moved nearer to one window and, for a minute, inspected the kneeling
priest. ‘Fowl!’ he thought Still fuming, he caught glimpse of a
matchet nudged halfway into a cassava in the mud. His eyes drew on the
kneeling priest again but now, with large intention. He went for the
matchet and stormed into the church. Before the priest could turn back
and pick a word, the matchet fell on his left shoulder and spurted warm
blood. His bible slipped off his already-shaking hand; he squirmed
gently in drifting horror as he fixed ghostly gaze on his slayer. But he
could not sustain a breath any longer; he simply dropped dead upon the
altar, without a word, one side of his face buried in blood and cassava
‘Die, you hypocrite––fowl’, he spat on the lying corpse and wiped the edge of his blade with its white robe.
He walked out with reframed ease and enjoyed the new feeling spreading
through his body like soapy water, a shivering sinking and it was
subtler than a moment ago. He held the matchet like a child of his and
stared to the yellow sun but his heart knew no ease, a sudden thirst
defeated his mind. That evening, he was slow; his matchet swung lazily
in his taut right hand. In the market, the roaring horde of angry women,
he was just in his own sleeping world, minutes falling apart in the
flap-flap-flap of wearied mud-spattered feet.