Chapter 4: The Darkest Days Are Always Before the Sun

Edmund Burke once said and I quote, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

We may seem to have acted but we were still the minority in the state.

The morning was serene probably the first time in a long time to have a dawn rise without the soldiers gallivanting our streets, without the blaring of fear lurking around in the corners of the streets.

We were packing our luggages to flee the community on that specific dawn. Everywhere seemed to be peaceful but there was this humongous stench of fear violating the whole geography, this seemed like the right opportunity to flee.

Such degree of calmness was ironic to the real commotion. The villagers were also fleeing the destination like us, we had decided to travel in groups for security and precautionary reasons. Mama placed the huge bag on my head as we trooped out quietly with some of the other villagers. “We will be crossing the border by 3am hopefully,” papa tried to measure everyone when it seemed like our bones were weary.

I was tired, very much sapped out by the huge load hanging on my head. I took continuous steps  which seemed to be sluggish, it was like the sands were tugging at my feet and with with every step, it was harder to lift my legs.

Mama seemed to notice the desolation written all over my face, she tapped me gently on the shoulder, “We are almost there.”

I sighed in relief, this long journey seems to be coming to an end, we would be safe at last. Papa had said that the only problem would be to cross the sea which demarcated our community from the city. He had said that once we got to the then we has crossed a huge problem. Hence , we could at least gain the protection of some eastern soldiers and some foreign bodies who had charged the head of state of being indiscriminate and unjust since our community was cut-off from these areas that seemed to be protected.

The morning dews were slowly transcending, innovating such peaceful solitude, I could view the sea which was about to ferry us out of danger, I could feel a grave smile across my face, a smile which seemed to diminish my fears, dismantle my maxim of dysphoria. I was glad to have survived, to have my family beside me all through this times of turmoil, to have a smile which relinquishes destruction, to be free at last from the domineering weevil of evil always lurking around every step I had taken for a long time. 

I could sense the smile on Papa’s face, we had been victorious, we had escaped this scene. At least, we had taken in a brief oxygen of relief. What would innovate such joy except the feeling of being free at last. For faith that we were secure from the impediments of a civil war even for a mili second.

We stepped closer to the river with joy written all over our faces, the only thing on our minds as to row the canoes to the town. 

A brief cackle of laughter audiated as we prepared to flee. Mama held on Ikem tightly, there as relief in the air, a belief that we were free. A flashlight disrupted our joy, it was a very bright bream of light which laminated our presence “In the name of the head of state, no one is expected to cross this border”

One of the villagers sighed and ran towards the sea but as shot dead by sporadic shots of the soldiers. The congregation as filled with fear,  had come this far only to receive such tragedy.

The light revealed the soldiers holding their guns tightly, a shadow as revealed coming closer to us while we stood rooted to the ground. 

He was the same Man who had taken Papa at the church, he was back again to torment our dreams, he was back again to steal my Papa away from me, a flash of anger and fury crossed my face as he laughed wickedly.

“I can see that you are all trying to escape.” he thundered and met a grave silence “Who is leading the group of terrorists?” he queried but no one dared answer.

“I will get my answer through fair or foul means” he fixed his gaze on our location, smiled wickedly then walked closer to our direction. Papa shivered quizzically. I could sense the fear written all over his face though he tried to shield his underlying phobia “you are all planning to murder the head of sate and have been found to have committed treason which is only punishable by death as codified in the constitution.”

The villagers yelped out in agony but Papa stood firm , I stood firm as my father though my fears were boiling my pants.

The man came closer to my father “I told you that you will get what you deserve” he whispered to Papa in an evil tone that showed he had been victorious “you are supposed to be one of us, how much did they pay you to save your petty soul” papa retorted “To betray your own people!” yelled papa.

“Much to keep me off their targets” he retorted “Kill them all!” he ordered. My heart jumped into my lungs, literally, I was seized with so much fear that I can’t practically describe nor decipher. 

This moment seemed like the last periodicity of air I would inhale, I knew I had to make a way but my legs would not just pull through, they were stamped on that particular spot and would make no motion. Papa immediately disarmed the man then pointed the gun at his skull, it was such a fast moment when nothing could be predicted “Run!” papa yelled at me

“We will fire on the count of ten if you don’t release him” audiated the microphone. Amidst the hubbub, I grabbed my mother and brother as we broke away towards the other side of the bush adamant to the soldiers commands and sporadic shots.

They had opened fire on the villagers, the only way was back, I thought I saw papa fall, my view was really hazy then in connection to our environment commotion. I heard papa’s voice in my mind telling me to keep up the pace, to keep on running, struggling, striving to survive. The sincere truth was, I was tired of this hide and seek life. I really needed it to be over but the heated disagreement was only being exacerbated. The man who had been shot dead lay lifeless on the ground, his blood spilling into the water. The water seemed to camouflage the colour of his blood but its colour still remained the same as the blood simply traveled into the depths of the sea carrying the horrifying message of tragedy.” 

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