EYES IN THE WOOD
By CHIKA VICTOR ONYENEZI (Nigeria)
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NEW SCHOOL NEW FRIENDS
Quickly Ikem adjusted to his new environment. Shell Camp Primary School was not all that far. He walks back home. Although it is a little bit far, he doesn’t feel it. He now has friends. He walks back with to the same area. Chijioke is one of his closest friends, they walk back together. Chijioke enjoys adventure; he is a little bit stubborn and too inquisitive. At times Emmanuel follows them. Emmanuel is also his new friend. Emmanuel could be described as the gentle one among them, small and handsome; at times they annoy him by saying: I will play you like football, because of his smallish nature but he will only prove himself a coward by ignoring them. They enjoyed their friendship. Before they get home, they would pick bottle crowns, fight, tell stories, laugh, throw stones, catch grasshoppers, and pluck flowers. All these made their walk more adventurous.
After school Ikem and Chijioke walked down to Emmanuel’s classroom. From there they trekked back home. As usual, they first branched to a kiosk, along the main road, to pick bottle crowns. Ikem picked ten, Chijioke picked fourteen and Emmanuel picked the highest twenty. They would use them for their table soccer game. The Coke drink crowns are Nigerian, and the Fanta drink crowns are Brazilian. They constructed their post with paper. A button served as the football; with their fingers they pushed the crowns to play the button, till it entered the paper post. All this added to their joy. As they were coming back, they saw two other school boys. They were eating fruits. Ikem and Chijioke walked up to them and begged them for their fruit. It was so plentiful in their bag, that they willingly gave them two guavas each, and a handful of cherries and mangos. They shared it with Emmanuel. After that, James and Ugonna, the boys that gave them fruits became their friends. They stay in the same area with them.
“Where did you get all this fruit?” Ikem asked.
Ugonna wanted to say, but James quickly closed his mouth with his cherry juicy hand.
"Ah! We won’t tell you," James said.
"Please now. Ok, if you tell us, we will give you our grasshoppers” Chijioke said, he showed him a milk tin full of life grasshoppers. Deep his hand into the tin and brought out a grasshopper.
“Also my gun,” Ikem said as he opened his bag, and brought out three paper guns he had made. James and Ugonna couldn’t let all these gifts pass them by. They can’t make guns; neither could they catch a grasshopper. They had tried, and realized that it was not easy. Ugonna spoke up.
“We get our fruits at the little forest down there”, he pointed towards the wood.
“From there, we walk back home. The road is shorter. That is why we meet you people always. “James laughed. Ikem had been wondering why they follow a different route every time, and still see them.
“Can we go with you?" Chijioke Asked.
“Yes, as long as you keep giving us paper guns and grasshoppers” James said.
"No I won’t go with you people!” Emmanuel cried out. They became angry with Emmanuel; Ikem took back the fruits he had given. Emmanuel went home leaving them. They mocked him, poked fingers at his face saying: you are a coward and want to eat our fruit. These words made him to cry as he went home. Ikem and Chijioke walked with their new pals back home.