Hey Fam! Happy New Year guys- I know it’s been a while since we’ve come together, but I hope the new year has been productive for everyone so far. In my hiatus, I was featured on one of my favorite blogs, The Naked Convos, on this post right HERE. (Just in case you didn’t see it) And so I decided to kick off #Niran2016 by doing something a little different. Please take the time to read my first official short story below, and don’t forget to share your thoughts. NEVER FORGET!!!!
Amongst other things, Bimpe questioned why she had to be in the market that afternoon. It was as if the universe conspired against her, until she found herself in this exact spot, unable to look away, yet afraid of what was going to happen if she chose to look. One thing she was sure of was madam’s fury; one like none other, that would await her upon her tardy return to the house. Yet, here she was, watching, waiting like the rest of the people in the crowd. She wasn’t sure who the boy being dragged through the mud was, but she was sure of one thing; he wasn’t the culprit they were looking for.
She wouldn’t have noticed him if she hadn’t at the very last minute wandered into Mama Tobi’s small wooden shop, beating herself up for forgetting that madam requested four tomatoes instead of the three she mistakenly purchased. She was particularly fond of Mama Tobi, and often went into her shop, even if nothing on Madam’s meticulous list could be found there. She took an unexplainable comfort in the woman’s welcoming smile and honest demeanor. She was the only vendor that cared enough to ask how she was doing, and she often thought that in another world, Mama Tobi could have been her mother.
But today was different than any other day, and while shuffling through the small used purse Aunty Toyin (madam’s younger sister) ‘dashed’ her, she dropped the Hundred Naira note she intended to give to her vendor. As she rushed to pick up the money, she noticed him in the shop across the street, quickly stuffing various ‘provisions’ into his black nylon bag. Shortly after, the young man in his bright orange shirt and faded khaki shorts hurried of out the shop, just before the owner, a tiny older lady came out. At the same time a nervous looking boy, who looked like he might have been around the same age as her was exiting the shop when the woman suddenly began shouting.
Bimpe thought she recognized the boy from her neighborhood, but she wasn’t too sure. Before she could think any further, the shop owner’s son already had the young boy in his grips, landing him multiple slaps, and asking him to admit to stealing the provisions. Soon, the boy managed to release himself, and emptied the contents of his black nylon bag in an effort to prove his innocence.
While none of the missing items were found, a can of peak milk he previously purchased was more than enough for a public trial. The shop owner and her son declared that he must have dumped the rest of the stolen items somewhere close. She mistook his bright red shirt as the real culprit’s bright orange, and screamed loud enough that people in the neighboring shops began to come out and form a crowd. In an unfortunate moment of fear, the young boy tried to run, but was soon apprehended by the shop owner’s son and some of the other men that were present. If anything, this desperate attempt to escape death only sealed his fate as people mistook his fear as guilt.
As Bimpe moved to the entrance of Mama Tobi’s shop and slowly towards the crowd, a small group of men had already started to drag him through the mud and stopped to leave him in the center of the crowd. Now bloodied and weakened, his pleas got fainter with each blow he received to the face, and kick to the chest. He curled up in a fetal position in a bid to protect himself, but as his eyes met Bimpe’s, it was clear that he had already accepted defeat. In the brief moment that their eyes met, she not only confirmed that she recognized him, but she realized that he was just like her- a young house help from the neighborhood, sent on an errand that he wouldn’t have the luxury of returning from.
Her heart beat at a more rapid pace, and she began thinking about how things could have gone differently. How perhaps she, or Mama Tobi could have said something. But then she thought, it all happened so fast. Besides, who would have believed her, and how could she be sure that Mama Tobi even knew?
When she saw the rusty car tyre being placed around his neck, with him too weakened and downtrodden to fight back, she was crippled with fear. And when through the blur of fire and her silent tears, she glanced and saw the man in his bright orange shirt and faded khaki shorts also watching with a repressed smile, she quivered with guilt and anger. But when her eyes met Mama Tobi’s, who abruptly lowered her gaze and hurried away from the crowd, she was overcome with shame- a feeling she’d become too familiar with.