*When the sun hides, it reappears*
By ONYENEZI CHIKA VICTOR (Nigeria)
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Children, have you had? It was a holiday in Owerri. Ikem was now on holiday. Holiday period at Mr. Oduka’s house wasn’t a time for play. As a man who believes education is all and all, it was a time for academic improvement. That’s why he sent Ikem to the library every day. The events of yesterday taught him great lessons; he now walks on the right side of the road, and doesn’t follow short cuts any more. As a disciplinarian Mr. Oduka was, two days after he returned from the hands of kidnappers, he went and bought fruits for Ikem to lick. The fruits were so plentiful that he couldn’t finish them. After that day he never went close to the Woods and never saw EYES OF THE WOOD; their carcass rotted away. So Ikem had to walk from the house to the library; where he reads and borrow books. He likes to read THE FAMOUS FIVE; it was to him as if he was one of the five, and his dead dog Sammy to play the role of their dog. Jumping into the world of adventure has been his dream; worlds were everything is magnified like in ALICE IN WONDERLAND, a world were animals talk like in ANIMAL FARM. This week he has virtually drowned himself in many adventure books that filled the library; ranging from Charles Dickens’ OLIVER TWIST to our own Chinua Achebe’s CHIKE AND THE RIVER. Its fun to read, Ikem would tell you. He no longer sees it as a thing of punishment from his father, but as an activity that he enjoys. Walking on the streets of Owerri formed his own adventures; watching the policemen parade at the shell camp police station, giving a few coins to the beggar at the front of Alliance Française, watching heavily armed men guide the state government house, watch prisoners march across the gate of Imo state library with song on their lips.
Soon he made a friend whom he walks back home with, he was John; a tall lanky boy, with a wide smile on his lips and always putting on brim hat as though he was grown. But facially he was a young lad. But when you see him from afar you would think he was a grownup. John was a boy of 18 years; in mind. Ikem sat on his own desk reading a book by Charles Dickens when this young man walked up to him, with a book in his hand titled, THE GREAT WALK.
“Have you read this?” He held up the book for Ikem to see.
“No, never seen it” Ikem said
“You should like adventures; it’s just a book of adventures and wired characters.” The stranger said, Ikem took the book from him, and glanced through it. The front cover seems glossy and a long road was drawn on the front page.
“Anyway I am John” his face had this perfect smile on it.
“I am Ikem.” That was how they became friends, that day Ikem borrowed a copy of THE GREAT WALK and started reading.
It was a book about a land, were people are burned at stake for stealing. The protagonist in the book was a white boy of nine years working at a paper company in a strange country. His name was Mike, he found out that a particular man wants to steal the company machine and use it as a money making machine. He set out to investigate the case, there was also this beggar, that begs at their company gate, later he found out that he wasn’t a beggar but a collaborator with the thief. He reported the case to the security of that fairy land. A death judgment was pronounced upon the thief and the beggar. They were burned at stake, later the boy found out that what they burned at stake was just dolls and that the thief and the beggar were alive. But he didn’t find out in time, the thief and the beggar caught him and took him through the GREAT WALK. It was adventurous walks of making the boy go crazy; they devised all tricky steps like throwing him into the river and rescuing him. Later the boy went mad and died. But the security later caught them and killed them.
Of all the books he has been reading none has the protagonist died. The Great Walk, showed the worst type of tricks he has ever had of, like in page 55, when the thief tied Mikes waist with a rope, and dragged him through the great walk. The author of the book is not a popular one, they wrote just one word on it “PHOENIX.” Ikem imagined who this writer might be; he has never had about him.
This is really another holiday of fun, at least with his strangest friend beside him.