League Day 6, Round 2 – LOW18
Welcome to the Second round of league Day 6.
League Of Wordsmiths is an initiative of Whyke Anthology which began last year. Serving as a means of promoting poetry, story writing…and art as a whole, across Africa, whilst also serving as an aid for young, budding, aspiring…writers in the African diaspora.
This round is for the Short story category, and would see Adeniran Simisoluwa, Anoemuah Pelumi, & Nwaezuoke Chisom slugging things out for the prize.
Theme For This Round is: Concept Of Leaving
1) Judges Decision takes 80% of the total decision, while votes recorded from voters takes 20% of the total decision.
2) Under no circumstance should you guess the owner of the individual stories.
3) Voting lasts for 24hours.
4) Only Votes recorded in the comment section of this post remains valid.
5) Vote using “I Vote Story 1”, or “I Vote Story 2” or “I Vote Story 3”…
6) A voter is allowed to vote maximum of 2 stories out of the 3 contesting stories.
7) The contestants are urged to invite friends to vote for them. No rule exempts you from canvassing for votes.
Let The Game Begin!… May the best story win.
CONCEPT OF LEAVING
Temi’s heart raced as she searched for the old milk tin that was permanently hidden underneath her side of their matrimonial bed. It was where all her money was stashed away. Her eyes, one swollen shut, darted to the wall clock. She had 20 minutes left. Stretching her left hand further, her fingertips brushed against the coolness of the tin. Without counting the money in it, she stuffed it into her small bag.
The concept of leaving wasn’t strange to Temi. This was something Temi had been planning for a 3 months now. The last 2 times she attempted leaving, the monster attacked more furiously than before and then locked her cage tighter.
This time, she planned it to perfection, knowing she had no option left if she wanted to live. Her heart continued to race until she found and boarded the bus going out of town. It was when the bus began to move that she let go of the breath she had been holding for years.
A SHORT STORY
He was a drunk. Always seen with a bottle of beer. People often wondered how he could afford the luxury of always being drunk. He was an ex soldier and while fighting the civil war, had taken a bullet to his right thigh. Although he had received good treatment from military hospital, he was confined to a walking stick for the rest of his life. He had been released from the army and received a monthly stipend for his upkeep. He lived in a one room apartment on the edge of town owning nothing but his stick, a beat-up mattress and the dog.
It was a brown Alsatian breed. It had been the man’s service dog in the military and now after the military, the dog remained loyal, staying around the drunken man and sometimes saved him from himself. Every morning, the dog went to the local butler and picked up discarded pieces of meat and bone. After this, he returned to the side of his master who neither knew nor cared that it existed.
One night, the old man drank more than his liver could handle and wandered far away to the train station. He had lain on the rail tracks, shamelessly pissing his pants and unaware of his surroundings. The dog had followed behind him whimpering for his master to go home. By 9pm, the dog heard the train approaching ; he kicked, barked and howled but the man did not wake. Determined, the dog laboriously pushed the man using the power of its two front legs. The train was fast approaching but the dog pushed and kicked its master off the track. The man was saved by a few seconds. The dog was not. The train ran over it’s body, killing it instantly.
The next morning, the people of the town woke up to find the body of the dog by the track and the body of the man by the gutter. They said he had fallen and broken his neck.
To leave and let them live.
‘Two roads diverged in a wood’. I remembered vividly the first line of Robert Frost’s poem. Except this time I knew where I was going.
I watched as my family cried and wailed loudly in my hospital room. The very first time I knew I was gone, I felt a lightness. Then I felt myself floating, till I saw my body laid below and covered with white sheets. I was not scared of seeing my body.
When I took the road I wanted, I knew what awaited me at the end of the road. It was death. And I embraced it. There was no future I wanted more than it. More than the certainty of death.
I had lived life well. At least my last three years were spent in the wealth I had craved for all my life.
Who would blame me really? I was born into an impoverished family where three healthy meals a day was a myth. Life was a struggle and I hated it. I did all I could to attain wealth. I went to school, I had good grades, I came out top of my class, I came out with a First Class degree.
I never found a good job. For two years I struggled and struggled to give my family the life they truly deserved. When I finally got tired of struggling, I took the only way I knew out.
My first operation had been out of sheer desperation. My boss happened to be a rich man and I was close enough to him that he trusted me. I only exposed when he had money in his house to some of my ghetto friends who were interested and that was how our first operation was carried out successfully and we became a team.
Greed became a living thing in me that constantly needed to be fed and was never satisfied. When business seemed slow in that aspect of robbing, we graduated to other sinister means. From selling drugs, to illegal arms deal to the infamous yahoo. We dabbled in every field and became a force to be reckoned with.
But the death of the innocents weighed heavily on my conscience and I got tired of my lavish lifestyle built on the blood and sweat of other people. There was no way out of the business but death. The only option I was willing to take. My family thought I had provided for them like a good firstborn son shoud, but little did they know of the atrocities I committed.
It was during our next operation that I had orchestrated my own death and the downfall of all my teammates. A coward I may have been but I chose to burn it all than risk my family paying for my crimes.
I looked back again to my family weeping bitterly and gave them a wave they would not see. They would not know it, but my leaving was the only way they would live.