League Day 9, Round 3 – LOW18
Welcome to the final round of league Day 9.
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, Iteoluwa Adesina, Nwaezuoke Chisom, and Anoemuah Pelumi slugging things out for the prize.
Theme For This Round is: Missing Missiles, Missing Minds RULES:
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 poems 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.
MISSING MISSILES, MISSING MINDS
We were sitting around the dying fire. The same fire where we cooked our soup and meat. The soup long finished, but the bones of the bush meat still danced in and out of our mouths. Nobody spoke; each person, either too frightened to speak or lost in his own world. It wasn’t unusual; we, the younger ones, barely spoke. I’ve been here for three years, which is a very long time compared to the months my counterparts spent before they were sent off. I know I don’t have much time now.
From the corner of my eye, I steal glances at the youngest boy in our group. His small mouth eagerly sucking on the bone of the bush rat, his eyes filled with unshed tears. I was once that boy. One day he will become me. One day, he would come to understand that as those missiles were forced into our hands, our minds were ripped from us. One day, he would acknowledge that we are the missing minds that find and fire the missing missiles.
A wise man once said; when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. I guess you could relate that to my life.
I’m the last of 3 children. I’m also the smartest. I’ve topped my class ever since I attended school. I’ve always been the best at everything. You’d think I’d grow up to be very successful.
It all started when I was in year 2 of the senior secondary class. I met this girl. Sola, by name. She was by far the prettiest girl I’d ever seen. They say smart boys don’t know how to talk to girls. They were right. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get her to like me. I couldn’t even speak coherently around her.
Then I met Kunle. He was a classmate. He’d seen that I liked Sola, and decided to help. He told me there was this group of guys, that helped with such. He said they gave each other moral support and assistance with such things. I was foolish. I believed him. Turns out it was a cult. I was already in too deep, before I fully understood.
We did everything you could think of. Drank, smoked, stole and even occasionally, tortured people. I was smart. I was good at hacking. I became their asset. We hacked tons of accounts and became loaded. Did I mention we all ran away from home a while ago? I didn’t want to. I’d been trying to tell them I wanted out, since 3 months ago. They said I’d have to die if I left.
I miss home. I miss everyone. I cry myself to sleep every night. How did I get here? I was supposed to be an engineer. A successful one. I had a great future planned out. And I ruined everything. Now I’m trapped. I wish I hadn’t let myself be brainwashed by Kunle. This whole cult thing was just an invisible missile launched at me. I could have dodged and missed it. Instead, we collided and it left me with a missing mind.
“You had one job for God’s sake!” Chief Yemi banged his fist on the table, the vein on his forehead bulging like an ugly worm.
“Oga make I explain” Scorpion said, exposing his brown teeth.
“Traffic too much. We arrive there at 7pm even though na 6 we plan. By that time, the party don finish and Chief Akin wan comot. But we know say this matter urgent, so I aim for him head and fire two shots. But by the time bullet dey reach am, e don enter car finish and the bullet miss am go hit one woman wey dey for back. People begin scream so we comot”
Exasperated, Chief Yemi sat in his overpriced cushion and held his head in his hands. With his attempt to take out his opposition proven futile, he resigned himself to fate.
4 MONTHS LATER
Everybody knew the mad woman. She sat in her ‘space’ most times, conversing with stones she picked off the streets. Once in a while she laughed loudly as if the stone had said something funny. It was rumored that she was once the wife of a politician but ran mad after a bullet pierced her brain during an attempted political assassination. One day, some men came to carry her. They looked suspicious. But she was a mad woman.
Chief Yemi walked into the ‘apartment’ . His boys had told him they had found a woman who looked like his missing wife but had warned him that she was ‘not stable’. It had been 4 months since he saw his Kemi. That day, she’d said she was going for a party and never returned. Now, It was a month to the elections and his forced bachelorhood was becoming a concern.
He knew immediately he saw the woman. Despite the dirt and the rags. He knew this was his Kemi. Not stable? His Kemi was mad! A mad woman! He thought of the elections and swallowed.
He turned to his men.
“I have never seen this woman in my entire life”.
The last troupe.
Colonel Garki and his troupe laid beneath the dilapidated armour tanks in camouflage as they all became as silent as the grave. If not for the scout who had been on patrol and informed them quickly of hostiles approaching their hideout, they would have been killed in the arms of the Boko Haram.
He wished he and what remained of his troupes had enough bullets to fight them off. But their bullets were so few and they had to save it till backup arrived. Still, Colonel Garki had his Beretta 12 ready, just in case. He was tired of the situation. They had been stranded in the Sambisa for weeks now. Their supplies were already exhausted, their camps destroyed and they were lost.
Before their camp was blown up three days ago, he had managed to send for backup on his radio to the Headquarters and the possible coordinates of their location. There had been no sign of a rescue mission helicopter or even as much as a search troupe. They just had to wait out the storm.
If they were attacked, the Colonel knew there was no way out for them but death. The Boko Haram members had advanced weapons and were not technically deficient like the Nigerian army. Their battle tactics, strategies and weapons were more than the Nigerian army ever had.
“How many troupes were sent out of the headquarters?” General Aliyu asked grimly.
“Over twenty troupes with more than a hundred soldiers” the lieutenant answered with a straight face.
“Has there been any word from them?” the General asked again.
“They radioed us asking for help, Sir. We need your authorisation before embarking on a rescue mission.”
General Aliyu’s only reply was a sigh. “As much as I can. We cannot help them. We are still waiting for the new shipment of arms, that is if it will ever arrive. The President has been reassuring me it will arrive for months now. Even with that, I will not risk sending out more troupes with the meagre arms we have. Our battle weapons don’t match up to that of Boko Haram’s”
“Are you saying that we cannot send for aid? But Colonel Garki leads the troupes” The Lieutenant said in disbelief.
“We can’t give what we don’t have. We don’t have the machinery to fight and I won’t risk any more troupes dying.”
General Aliyu’s face held nothing but indifference.