March 3, 2017

CHRISTMAS MOSQUITOES

BY PRUDENCE ERUETEMU O. 
     “Bobbai! Bobby. Wake up”
   I opened my eyes a little. It could not have been wider because of the harsh rays that passed through the window of my room which was ajar. I turned my head it was Ndip. She flicked on the light using the switch around the door, walked across the room and closed the window.
   “Wake up. Basan is in the parlour.” She said tapping me.
   “Ohh!” I hissed “Okay.”
   I slipped out of my blanket and sat up scratching my head.
   “Look!” She said pointing at my left palm. I looked at the blood and crushed mosquitoes on it. I checked my right palm, the same thing. 
   “I can’t even remember killing them.”
   “That’s what happens when you come back home late, drunk and slept without closing your window.”
   “It was Christmas vigil. What did you expect?”
   “Even with the curfew?” She asked and sat beside me.
   “I didn’t go out of Ungwan Maigizo. Was at Bossan’s crib.”
   “Anyway. Let me go back to the kitchen.” She walked towards the door and turned to face me “Ehen. Expect harsh questions from Mummy.”
   “As usual.” Shrugging my shoulders. 
   “No, double of it. You got drunk” She smiled “plus you missed Mass on Christmas morning.” 
   “Thank you Mummy’s P.A.”
   “You are welcome”
   We both laughed as she left the room. I followed her shortly after putting on a Jean short and a T-Shirt.  At the parlour I was greeted with the scent of spiced stew, fried meat and chin-chin. Bossan wore a sad face, I was petrified, but I was more petrified by my mother’s angry face. She was about chiding me when Bassan came to my aid. 
   “Yakubu is dead!”
   “How comes?” I sat on the sofa, next to Bossan.
   “He was in church yesterday. What killed him?” My mother asked.
   “He was killed by Fulani men.”
   “Did Fulani men attack Garaje?”
   “He went to Goska to help them resist a Fulani attack.”
   “Who?” Ndip asked as she entered the parlour from the kitchen adjoining it.
   “Yakubu. He’s dead.”
   “Yakubu is dead?” She sat on the tilled floor crying with her hands on her head. “No! No! No!”. My mother stood up and pulled Ndip to her side on the sofa. She cuddled her,soothingly.
   I was sad; my friend, Yakubu was dead and my sister lost a prospective husband.
   “There’s curfew. Jama’a is crowded with soldiers. How then did the Fulani people get there?” Ndip asked.
    “I don’t know. This Fulani people are becoming a threat to us.”I said shaking my legs.
    “And their sponsors” Bossan said.
   I looked at my palms. If I was able to kill the mosquitoes that threatened to suck my blood and infect me with malaria, why can’t the government consciously stop the people that threaten the lives of the people they vowed to protect? If one should consciously allow mosquitoes to bite any part of his body continually, it will imply two things; either the bite does not affect me or I love mosquito bites. 
   “This is injustice.” My mother said.
   “God will surely revenge for us.” Ndip said. Still resting her head on mother’s chest.
   My eyes went to my palms again. A mosquito will never stop fellow mosquitoes from sucking human blood. Humans have to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
    “We have to do something.” I said.
    “Yes we have to.” Bossan replied.
    “Please don’t go and have yourselves killed” Ndip said.
    “Don’t worry.” Bossan said.
    I looked intently at my right palm till my vision got blurred and tears fell on it. The tears mixed with the blood and fell on the white tilled floor like blood on a specimen tile in a lab. It was a test too. A test of will.  
   

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