The Carcasses in the Desert
By Olatunbosun Adetula (Nigeria)
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THE CARCASSES IN THE DESERT
By Olatunbosun Adetula (Nigeria)
It was a pitch black moonless night. Amun was shocked when the three men attacked him and stole his food immediately he left the queue .The food in the camp was nutritious and Amun couldn’t afford to miss the food.
The three men held him down. They were rough and they were brutes and they prowled the camp after dark. Amun held onto his plate as the men twisted his wrist. There was cacophony of noises as the men pummeled him to the ground and dealt him heavy blows across the face .The refugees in the camp gathered and watched the scenario but there was nothing they could do except wait for the United Nations peace keepers.
The three men tore at him like a lion that feasted on its prey. Amun yelled in agony as the rice scattered to the ground. The men were mad; they wouldn’t leave him alone. When they saw that the rice had poured to the ground, the men continued to beat him. A terrible punch in the chest made him faint and he fell down, all but dead, on the white sandy soil.
As the men wanted to carry him away, the Blue Helmet soldiers rescued him. They shot several times to the sky and the men left him and ran into the darkness where nobody could stop them.
Three of the soldiers took Amun away. He was taken to Doctor George’s emergency tent inside the camp. Amun was badly bruised with disfigured face and weak heart. He wailed in agony as the doctor treated him. Doctor George administered first aid. Soon Goi saw him. He wanted to run away but Amun saw him first. As Goi wanted to dodge and went back to the hut, Amun called out to him.
“Goi, Goi, Goi.” Amun hollered and Doctor George looked at Goi, wondering how the injured person knew his name.
“Did you know him?” Doctor George asked Goi. Goi couldn’t utter a word; he could only nod his head.
“He is my brother, sir,” Amun said before Goi could utter any word.
“Your blood brother, right?” said Doctor George.
“No, we lived in the same village,” Amun smiled and Doctor George looked into Goi’s face.
“I can see,” Doctor George said as he stood up and left the place.
Amun looked at Goi’s face. A smile played across his lips; his smile was like a breath of fresh air in the gloomy camp. Goi was afraid because of what he did to him in the past. Amun had forgotten what Goi did to him. He was just too happy to see him. He looked at Goi in the face and shouted, “Come over here Goi.” Amun opened his hand. Goi was afraid.
Goi walked over to him with fear written all over his face, his guilt tormenting him. Amun held his hand and smiled.
“Look Goi, I have forgiven you long time ago so you have no reason to be afraid of me.” Amun said and they embraced like lost friends .Goi couldn’t utter a word when they embraced.
Later, as they disengaged, Amun looked at Goi’s left leg and saw the bandage wrapped around it.
“What happen to your leg?”
“A truck ran over it,” Goi said in a cool and calm voice.
“You must have gone through a terrible pain.”
“Yes. Thanked to the doctor, for I would have died.”
Goi looked at Amun in the face. He was still afraid of him. It been a long time they had seen each other. He didn’t know what Amun had in mind, for in Darfur many good men had turned into demons, stealing, raping and committing many atrocities. Goi looked at the bruises all over his body.
“What happened to you?” Goi asked.
“Three men attacked me over food,” Amun said and touched his bruised nose.
There was a sound of sporadic gunshots and the two men kept silent. Later, as the sound subsided, they talked again.
“Did you see my grannies at the camp?”
“No I haven’t seen them. The last time I saw them was in the village, and they were terribly looking for you,” Amun said and touched his hurt neck.
When he heard the word that his grandparents were on the lookout for him, it struck Goi like a train that had crashed into an empty Chinese vase. He looked downcast and cried. Amun tried to pacify him but he wept uncontrollably.
“I will never see my grannies again,” Goi sobbed.
“Don’t say that. I believe they will be in the next camp. You can never tell,” Amun said and tried to reassure him that his two grannies were hale and hearty.
Goi cleaned his face. He looked at Amun’s face and knelt down in front of him. As if he had read his mind, Amun touched him on the shoulder and spoke.
“Look I have forgiven you. Mary has gone forever. I don’t remember her now,” Amun said.
“No, it is not about Mary. It is Moi.”
“What happened to Moi?”
“Nothing really; did you see her?” Goi said and Amun breathed deeply.
“I saw her in the village; I haven’t seen her in the camp here,” Amun said and drank the water that the doctor kept by his side. Goi sat down; the knowledge of his guilt tormenting him.
“I have been looking for her. I believe she is carrying my baby,” Goi said and Amun began to laugh.
“She is carrying your baby! You must be joking, right?”
“It is no joke. Long before I left the village she was already pregnant.”
“Are you sure she was really pregnant?”
“I am damned sure. One day she came to grandpa’s hut and began to cry. I knew she was pregnant.”
“How sure are you that she was pregnant?”
“I heard her cry and I ran away.”
“Just her cry. You are such a lily-livered little boy.”
“I was afraid, really afraid Amun.”
“Coward, coward little boy, that’s what you are. Well, I didn’t know anything about the pregnancy but I knew she lost her mother,” Amun said and watched Goi stiffen.
“Oh my God, oh my God, the good woman has died,” Goi shouted in lamentation.
“She goes the way of every flesh.”
“It very painful. She was such a kind gentle woman,” Goi said and sobbed.
As they talked in front of the tent, Doctor George came back and Goi escorted Amun back to his tent .In the night, as Goi went to bed, a black bird flew across the moon and several gunshots vibrated across the camp. The sound of the gunshots woke him. When he couldn’t sleep again, he thought about Moi. Goi was really confused because he didn’t know whether Moi was pregnant or not. The next day was bright and fair with good weather. Amun stood on the queue as the refugees in the camp lined up to collect their breakfast. Unknown to him; he was standing in front of Grandpa Yol.