The sawing and spraying of dust was punctuated by the laughter of the boys sitting at a corner, heads bent down in gossip. The Master had just left with an irate customer whose gesticulation made me giggle internally as I watched the sharp-tongued tyrant reduced to mumbling and apologies.
“Haaay! I saw one that his head was just open yakata!” one of the boys at the corner shouted, spreading his arms to buttress his point. I frowned. What were they talking about today? The clique always had a topic of discussion; the last one being the voluptuous girl that sold oranges along the street. Lade, the oldest of the bunch had managed to successfully convince the boys that he had licked her orange most vigorously, several times. The other boys had looked at him with admiration so undisguised, i snorted with laughter.
“Wetin?” Lade had asked me, as they all turned to regard me, the odd, silent apprentice
Memories of seeing the particular orange girl slap the lust out of Lade because of his attempted buttocks grabbing flashed in my head and for a second I had toyed with exposing him for the liar that he was.
“Nothing” I had murmured as an afterthought, facing my work, the small smile never leaving my lips.
“Blood just full everywhere yakpaaaaa!”
Another exclamation brought me out of my reverie.
Curiosity getting the better of me, I sidled up to them, temporarily abandoning my work.
“Ah! E get one man wey Army shoot for my front! Him belle burst open! All him stomach just commot, dey drag for floor. He no die o. He just dey pack all him belle back inside!”
I saw the fascination written boldly on the faces of the listeners; eyes glinting bright, bodies quivering with an almost erotic feeling of anticipation. I could have sworn I saw one of the new boys lick his dry lips, as if waiting to eat a particularly appetizing dish.
Repulsion and fascination held me to my position, as the story teller continued to recount of the man he saw who died by disembowelment.
“Ah! Hin get one wey i see for Warri when i still small!” quipped another boy, a wide grin on his face, glad to be the sudden center of attention. “He just tie rope for ceiling tie rope for hin neck come dey do like fish wey dem don commot for wata! If you see him face ehn! E come swell like bread wey dem put inside tea! Tongue come turn black like snake. Blood just dey everywhere”
The boys all snapped their fingers, Lade spitting out on the sandy floor and roughly covering it up with sawdust.
“Na wa o…”
“People fit die anyhow”
Although they murmured platitudes, I saw the secret shine of enjoyment in their eyes; their morbid curiosity egged on by the mystery of Death. I cleared my throat.
“I don see person die”
Suddenly all attention turned to me and for a second, i regretted opening my mouth. I was silent suddenly repulsed by the hungry look in their eyes as they collectively looked at me like the Messiah.
“Talk na!” one of the urged and I swallowed.
Taking my hesitation as a sign of the heaviness and morbidity of my disclosure, they drew even closer, necks craning like vultures waiting for a dying animal to give up its final breath before swooping in for a feast.
“For Aba where I dey stay I see one man wey just fall for road…” I paused
“Ehen ehen…wetin come happen?” One of them urged, gesticulating wildly, his fingers slightly trembling with the need to know.
I looked at them in confusion. “He fall. Hin come die. Dem talk say na heart attack. Just like that o”
There was a sudden change of atmosphere, like air being let out of a balloon. A look of what would have best been described as utter disgust marred their faces and for a second, I felt the need to be in fear for my life,their anger translating to bunched fists and sneering mouths.
Lade let out a loud hiss, diffusing the sudden tension, prompting other boys to turn away from me.
“I think say na beta tin he wan talk sef” I heard one of them mutter.
“Idiot pikin”
“Didirin”
“Omo Igbo. Olodo nonsense. Omo ale jati jati”
They sniggered while I watched their backs in amusement.
Without another word, I went back to work, musing on just what they found so exciting about Death’s mysteries.
I guess it’s ‘sweeter’ when you’re looking in from the outside.
Sometimes, I imagine taking a saw to Lade’s neck ever so slowly while they watch, drenched to the bone in his blood, incapable of doing anything else.
Would they find Death so exciting then? Probably not.
A small smile pulls at the corners of my lips as I saw another piece of wood.
I just may. I chuckle softly to myself.
After all, I’m no stranger to Death.
I’ve administered it before.

 

———————————————-

So, I haven’t been here in what feels like A MILLENIUM!
A lot of things really… but no excuses. GOMEN!
Although my schedule is unforgiving i’ll be trying my best to write one a week (or two weeks)
No promises. 😦

Till then,

JANA!

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