Omonigho heard the explosion and saw the camp brighten with the flame. He looked at the boy he held in his arms. He had grown cold. He was dead. He stared at the child sadly then gently laid him on the ground. He got up and struggled along the fence – hiding among the trees, to avoid being seen by the soldiers. He kept on moving until he got to the area of the blast. He knew this was where Wale had come. This was where Sergeant Obuka had targeted. He stood among the trees watching the soldiers moving around, evidently hunting for survivors. He noticed bodies laid in a neat row near the hole in the fence. He could see that sergeant Obuka and some the boys were dead but he could not see Wale among them. The shooting had died down and it was obvious that there had been heavy casualties on both sides.
He watched for a while then he turned to go. As he entered the forest, he heard a whimper and stopped. He moved slowly towards the direction of the sound, his boots crunching in the dried leaves on the forest floor. He got to a rotting log of wood. He walked round it and he saw Wale curled tightly, his eyes closed. He walked to him and stood in front of him;
Omonigho: “what are you doing?” he asked gruffly hiding his joy at seeing the boy again.
Wale opened his eyes, and on seeing Omonigho, he quickly hugged him. Omonigho stood stiffly for some minutes then he raised the Wale’s hand from his waist.
Omonigho: “let’s go.” He said, turning back to the forest.
Wale: “are we going back to the camp?” he asked fearfully.
Omonigho: “no. I am going home.” He said softly as they walked into the forest.
Wale: “where is your home?” he asked.
Omonigho: “how did you escape the soldiers?” he suddenly asked.
Wale: “the big bomb. It distracted the soldiers that killed sergeant Obuka and the others. I ran. I even forgot my gun.” He replied.
Omonigho looked at the boy quietly
Omonigho: “Warri.” He said
Omonigho: “my family lives in Warri. That is where home is.” He replied.
Wale: “will I see my mummy there?” he asked.
Omonigho: “I don’t know but we will look for her.” He replied
He turned in surprise when he felt Wale’s small hand grabbed his as they walked briskly into the forest.
Okereke came back to the Foundation as quietly as he had left. Several women were in a room talking to a doctor, who comes once every week to check on the children and the mothers too. He was turning away when he saw Mamus running towards him. He stood until the boy got him.
Mamus: “Come and meet my mommy and my sister. They just got back from Sapele. I am going home.” He said excitedly, grabbing Okereke’s hand.
Okereke smiled and followed the boy to where a woman stood talking with Temisan. He greeted them politely and stood to the side. Mamus shook his mother’s gown to draw her attention. When she looked at him, he introduced Okereke to her.
Mrs Akalaba: “thank you for saving my son’s life. I am in your debt.” She said.
Okereke: “no problem. Your pikin dey very nice.” He replied.
Mamus’ face brightened at the compliment. He tugged Okereke away from the women. Okereke watched the woman as he walked away, a small smile on his face.
Major Okirika heard the news of the failed raid and the death of sergeant Obuka, one of his loyal men in silence. After the man had finished giving his report, he sat quietly staring at the roof for several minutes;
Major Okirika: “what about Omonigho? Did he make it?” he asked, still staring at the roof.
Man: “some of the men claim to have seen someone like him run into the forest but they are not too sure.” He replied.
Major Okirika: “you go and rest. You will be going to Umuahia to deliver a message to Don Papi for me.” He said, turning to look at the man.
The man nodded his head and left the office. Major Okirika watched the closed door – “so Omonigho, you want to go home to your family ehn? Okay, we shall see.” He thought to himself.
The wedding was a quiet affair. Okereke stood in as Temisan’s father and one of the children in the foundation premises was the ring bearer. The wedding was done at a registry and they quickly sign the marriage certificate and were done with it. Temisan left the wedding and went straight to the office. The news of the bombing of the war office some days ago, got her edgy. She had not received any information from her friend at the office. The investigation into the bombing was being closely guarded.“These people do not want this country to find peace and rebuild and heal. Why can’t they get it into their heads that the revolution failed?” she thought to herself as she sat in her office, her hand rubbing the wedding band on her finger.
Some few minutes later, her office door burst open and several soldiers entered the office. Temisan stood, tensed and ready to scream at the person who had violated her peace.
Temisan: “what is the meaning of this?” she asked.
A soldier stepped forward and threw a piece of paper on the table –
Soldier: “do you recognize it?” he asked.
Temisan: “yes it is a leaflet my Foundation intends to share on Sunday at different churches in the town. Why do you ask?” she asked, staring at the soldier in curiosity.
Soldier:”these leaflets were found among the debris of the bomb explosion at the war office. No one had shared such leaflets there that day. We consider you to be an agent of the revolution and as such, an enemy of the state. You are going with us.” He replied, as two soldiers grabbed Temisan and placed cuffs on her hands.
Temisan: “please I know nothing about this. I am not a part of any revolution. I just got married today.” She pleaded, drawing back from the door.
The soldiers lifted her from the ground and carried her outside. Okiemute who stood laughing with some other men, rushed forward but was stopped with a look from one of the soldiers.
Okiemute: “please that is my wife. What is going on?” he asked.
The soldiers ignored him and bundled Temisan into the truck and drove off, spilling dust in the air. Okiemute turned around to watch everybody watching him.
Okiemute: “darling, don’t worry, I will find out what is going on!” he shouted after the moving truck. Then he turned around – “Okereke come with me.” He added on seeing him close by.
Okereke followed him back into the office and closed the door. Okiemute adjusted the chairs that had fallen in the struggle then he took his seat on the chair that Temisan had just vacated. He looked at Okereke for some minutes then he nodded his head –
Okiemute: “I saw you carry those leaflets.” He said softly.
Okereke’s eyes widened then he frowned
Okereke: “if na so why you no tell d soldiers?” he asked.
Okiemute: “I am not interested in your stupid revolution. i want you out of here by this evening.” he replied.
Okereke: “I see. She no go like am o.” He replied, realizing what was happening.
Okiemute: “that is my concern not yours. Goodbye.” He said.
Okereke smiled and shook his head.
Question: what do you think Okiemute is up to? Why is Okereke so close to Mamus?
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