Sade was afraid that night on her bed, after news of the bombing that hit Maduguiri. The world is at war, she thought. She concluded trouble may reach them, and wanted to leave, but Issa her colleague told her the Nigeria/Cameroun border was close to Bama where they lived, for escape.
She was told the insurgents kill everything they meet alive. When she was posted to Bama to serve through the NYSC project, her mother kicked against her serving there. She told her divinity had a hand in her going to serve her father’s land in that place. The insurgency wasn’t so bad when she arrived. It grew worse two months after she lived in Bama.
She looked at the time, it was 11pm. Her greatest fear was being caught unawares by those men looking like the pawns of Satan. Will they kill every blade of grass, or destroy the world with their bombs, she thought. Issa had promised to be alert if the trouble reached them anytime, but he was only human, and that made her courage shook sometimes. Since Maduguiri had suffered so much, she believed the insurgents may want to stretch terror to other towns like Bama and the rest to get a taste of anguish.
She sat up to pray, still on her night-dress, suddenly there was a heavy knock on her door,
“Sade, come out immediately,” Issa told her with a very frightened voice.
“Issa, what is it?” she asked, with her heart pumping very fast.
“The insurgents are here.” She opened the door quickly and rushed out in her night dress. Issa held her tightly on her left wrist and straight to the road that led to Cameroun. They ran for minutes, until minutes went into hours. The bushes were unfriendly that night, only that the crescent moon lent its light to help them avoid the most dangerous parts of the bush, where venomous snakes and other dangerous animals lurked nocturnally. Issa noticed the steps that followed them were catching up with them.
“Sade, run faster they are after us” he told her fearfully to help her never give up. They kept running, knowing death was behind. Issa got injured, so his speed decreased. The terrorists not giving up, like wolves too hungry for blood didn’t return from chasing them. Sade heard gun-shots, and had run few seconds when she realized he wasn’t coming.
He deliberately allowed her run in front to protect her against bullets after he was injured. He saw his chance of making it to the border too slim to hope. He was bleeding profusely! She encouraged herself and went to see where he was.
“Run, you naughty girl…run” he told her as death was on his voice. Sade couldn’t help him, and knowing those men were approaching, she ran. As she ran, tears made the harmattan breeze too cold on her face.
She passed the border, and noticed morning was coming with the light she saw in front, like a white shadow emanating from the horizon… The morning gave her relief, as light flooded the place she found herself. She later found out they shot him at the border. She wanted to call his name, but her mouth was too heavy to say anything. So, she closed her eyes and tried to think about such kindness…only his sacrifice was worth remembering after she regained peace!
From the manuscript ‘The Climbing Waters and other stories’.
(c). Dike Dyke Williams