*When the sun hides, it reappears*
By ONYENEZI CHIKA VICTOR (Nigeria)
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Ikem put on his sandals, walked up to the mirror to see if he still was a “fine boy” like his mother calls him, he didn’t really understood that, but he knew it had to do with his appearance. He put the books he borrowed back into his bag and left for library like usual. The morning seemed beautiful, a big orange hung on the sky, just in front of his way. Ikem wondered if God was such a great artist, because in school they were told that in the beginning God made heaven and earth. The books he reads now really affected his thinking; he now wonders how a gentle man walks, like Pip in Great Expectation. Ikem assumed a gentle man gait and walks as a gentle man. The women that sold food item beside the road looked at him and gave him a smile. The same smile was what the mad man in front of Alliance Française gave him. But his smile seemed weird like the laugh of the made man in the book he read, THE GREAT WALK. The mad man hid under the tent he built beside the little bush that laid adjacent to Alliance Française. For a while Ikem stood there looking at him; he looks exactly like the madman he read about; he hung a red cloth on his shoulders, painted his face with charcoal, and wore no underwear and smiles occasionally. That’s him Ikem thought.
Out of fear he ran away from the man, with his bag tossing back and forth on his side. Soon he was at the library, he saw his friend John, waiting for him at the gate. The both greeted each other,
“Hello Ikem” John said gazing down the road “look!” he said
Ikem turned, it was the prisoners marching towards the prison, and they were singing:
Home again, home again
Home again, home again
When shall I see my home?
When shall I see my…
They wore white shirts and shorts, the shirts with numbers on them. Ikem saw one that look wired among them, his face seemed as though roasted, and his body has the same scary burns on them, tall, huge and looks coot. Walking as though he was going for a fierce was, and singing through his teeth. He looked at them, as though he wants to scare them off. Ikem looked away from him, he looked like someone he knew somewhere. John tapped him on the shoulder and said;
“Let’s go inside,” Ifeanyi followed him.
“Hei! How was the book?” John asked as they were walking.
“Interesting, adventurous, But it’s ended badly. Why do they have to kill the boy?” Ikem asked curiously
“He deserved death” John answered, all the smile disappeared from his face. He looked so mean like a little devil. Ikem ignored him; his mind was busy still trying to figure out why the madman at Alliance Française seemed exactly like the one in the book. Soon they were inside the library, they presented their cards and walked over to the usual seat and sat down.
After the day’s reading and borrowing he walked him with his friend. Today’s walk seemed more adventures; they had to stop at the police station opposite the government house to watch mobile police men match. They held their hands on the short fence, and watched the strict looking eyes and firm feet March, putting on uniform march. Their hands were swinging in uniform, their heads turning at the same time; it was a crisp match. Soon some one was behind them, the person made a little noise that frightened them,
They turned; it was a police man behind them. Ikem recognized, and it was the man the police man who recovered him from the rioters. He still had a round face, round stomach, and round smile on his face.
“Boy how are you doing” he asked Ikem
“Hope so, you better start running civilians are not allowed here.” He smiled
“Ok” the both replied
“I got guns now, I can kill anybody that threatens you, ok” he showed Ikem his gun smiling. Ikem smiled back at him and started to walk away, he knew the man to be a “funny policeman.”
As they got to Alliance Française, Ikem looked into the madman’s house; it was as though a struggle was going on inside the little tent. Ikem went closer towards the little tent, he saw the madman killing a man. The man looked like a mad person also. He hit his elbow on the man’s spinal cord; the man slumped on the floor. Blood trickled out of the tent. He murdered his follow mad man in cold blood Ikem thought. John drew him out of the scene, and they ran as fast as they could. When they got to their house, Ifeanyi felt on the floor panting heavily, he regretted not running toward the police station.
“I would have called the police” Ikem said
“Call what! Don’t think about it one bit. Do you want to die? That man would eat you raw” John said.
Fear gripped Ikem; he laid on the sandy soil, looking into the sky. His mind riveting round the madman and his connection with the book he read.
“You saw nothing you say nothing” john said smiling like a little devil as he left.
Ikem sat on the sand, still gazing into the white cloud that seemed like a human head to him. He knew that something was taking place around him. He remembers reading about this particular incident in the great walk; they disguised mad man had earlier tried to kill a man, but didn’t succeed, but they later stole away the machine. The sun moved slowly towards a dark cloud and hid behind it. Then Ikem realized that darkness was setting in.