*When the sun hides, it reappears*
By ONYENEZI CHIKA VICTOR (Nigeria)
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A GIFT FROM INDIA
This Saturday was Ikem’s birthday; children from the neighborhood came to celebrate with him. Each brought present with him. At one “o” clock in the afternoon; music had started playing at the house of Mr. Oduka. It later turned into a dance hall. Ikem displayed all the dance steps he sees on the television especially those of P-Square. Like every child he was very happy, his father bought him a bicycle as birthday gift; he happily rode on it with his neighbors till evening.
The party was now over, a lot of work left to do. From the kitchen you could hear Ikem aunt calling,
“Yes aunty” Ikem answered
“You better tidy that parlor” she said, instructing him.
Ikem hated when she shouts his name like that; as if he was a spoilt child that does nothing but have parties celebrated for him by his parents. The first statement his aunty made when she arrived was, “must Ikem always get a party on his birthday.” Well you wouldn’t blame her; she was one of those people who believed that doing such thing was extravagancy. But Ikem didn’t see it like that, he saw it like every other person, he saw her as “busy body.” With his paper cap still on his head, he ran to tidy the parlor.
A soft knock came on the front door, Ikem ran to see who the person was. Behold it was a mail man, he had a package on his hand - he wore a cap that looked like a police cap; but his was inferior to theirs. His bicycle was parked beside the gate.
“I have a package for Ikem Oduka.” The postman said
“I am Ikem Oduka.”
“Ok you sign here” the post man said, held out a pen and gave him the papers to sign on. Delightfully, Ikem signed his package. Out of curiosity he ran to his room and tore the package, he brought out a round chalice filled with ashes. Quickly he dropped it and ran, fear gripped him. He doesn’t know anyone in India not to talk of receiving a package from there. On the second thought he took the package and hid it, he doesn’t want his parents to see it. The chalice reminds him of a sub title in the book THE GREAT WALK called A PACKAGE FROM INDIA, it was the chapter after when they were burned at stake, and mike the protagonist received a package from India with ashes in it. Then Ikem realized that someone somewhere was playing with him.
The next day Ikem dressed up, and hurried to the library. He met John on way to the library. He knew that John wasn’t his friend, he knew John was somehow in the mist of all this. Why should he give me the great walk at first? Ikem thought. As they shook hands, he didn’t look into his face like before, he stared at soil and asked; “Why did you give me that book?”
“What book?” John answered him as if he never gave him any book
“The great walk…” Ikem said
“Ah, that… I just found on the shelves.” John said smiling
Ikem got up and hooked his shirt so tight that he could barely breathe. John was surprised at Ikem’s attack. John’s eyelashes got up at the attack; goose bumps appeared on his face.
“Now tell me why you gave me that book at first? Who was that madman beside shell camp? Who was the prisoner you were staring at? Who are you? Why did I receive a package from India? Why is everything in that book happening to me?” Ikem barked at John
“Ok boy, little boy. Don’t get angry with me. I am just a messenger, I don’t know any thing. Just come down there tomorrow.” John pointed at the end of the road. Beside the library there was a road that entered inside; that was the location. Ifeanyi was determined to know who the person was. He released his neck.
“I am not afraid of you and any player along with you.” Ikem said and pushed his chest, johns brim hat fell off. John lit back the glittering smile on his face again and picked up his brim hat, dusted it and put it back on.