The Reapers siege
Copyright ©2016 Apalara Samuel
All rights reserved.
The story is not true, don’t say I didn’t tell. It is a fiction or so they call it.
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Cover design – o_luwasegun
In the darkness you could hear the
Crying of women
The wailing of infants
And the shouting of men
Some prayed for help
Others wished for death
But still more imagined that
There was no God left
And the universe
Was plunged into eternal darkness.
Punt the young
I am the Reaper
All things are heedful hook
silent I gather.
Pale roses touched with the spring,
Tall corn in summer,
Fruits rich with autumn, and frail winter blossoms-
Reaper, still reap-
All things with heedful hook
Timely I gather.
William Ernest Henley
To everyone who believes in me.
March 25th 2004 13:15
“Ah ah ah,” he laughed hard when he talked. “You don’t know what you’re saying” he mouthed amid laughter.
“Of course I didn’t know what I was saying, I don’t even know how I’d managed to come here in the first place..”
The room stank; the smell of all kinds of weird murky concoction that reeked like a mixture of cow dung and rotten orange, huzzed from every part of the small room.
The surrounding was unkept as the grass behind the hut had grown wild from inconstant pruning and it was almost at the same level with the height of the hut where I sat with mother talking with the short-old-man; he was a scraggy old man in his late sixties, I’d think. One could tell from his worn out and wrinkled face, the one that could pass for a goblin, and the few strands of hair on his head, that looked like a sparse vegetation on a desert highland was all grey and heavy stench of locally brewed alcohol huzzed out of his mouth as he spew his gibberish.
“You’ve to listen to me” he said, shouting at me, I wondered if I hadn’t been listening at all.
“You will spend seven days here, eating only locust bean” he pressed, “Your hair will be shaved, he continued as he listed the dos and don’t of what I must do during my intended vacation with him.
“Do you hear me?” he said, when he had finished, stretching his left ear with his hand, the way mother used to do when she passed an important instruction. I had to close my mind to the lecherous words of the old hag and the excruciating stench that hovered through the room.
Mother had made a mistake bringing me here. I thought, as I rose to go. The look on her face hinted disappointment.
“I can’t do this” I managed to mumble. I couldn’t bear the thought of staying there for an hour not to talk more seven days.
The short old man who was sitting on the ground looked up in disbelief.
“What did you say?” he muttered loudly. “I meant what I’ve just said” I replied, irritated.
“You don’t want to appease your ancestors?” he cried as if they were his. “To hell with them” I said. I could feel the old man’s, and mother’s awe-struck stares pierce through my clothes and iced over my skin as I walked out of the room.
My ears pecked faint whispers of words that sounded like threats, when the old man talked to mother, uttering bombastic declamatory words about some damned wretched spirit coming to take me.
Mother feared what was coming, she would have gladly taken the rites in my place, had it been it was plausible, but it wasn’t. It was my burden to bear, which I didn’t see the need.
She had not been happy with what happened earlier, although she’d try hard to hide it, but I could still see it written all over her face.
“Mama, everything will be alright” I said, after a long period of silence.
“This was how your father died, you know?” she shattered amid tears. “He was also stubborn…your father didn’t heed the words of the dibia.”
“Its ok” I tried to console her, “I won’t die.” I said.
Mother used to tell me how father had died in a car crash few days after I was born. He refused to appease his ancestors, and that was why he was taken, she would say, using ‘taken’ instead of ‘died’ as if it can affect the real thing.
“Promise me when you come of age you would appease them for your father” mother would make me promise her then.
That was a long time ago, when I was young, when children still sit at the bosom of their mothers under the moon lit sky, listening to tales we knew were untrue.
Almost always I would think it was somewhat ludicrous how Mother still believed in fetish tales and fall for their pranks and still believe to serve the Jewish Messiah. All this while she went to church on Sundays the one on the way to the market.
She always have the word from her old Bible to defend herself with whenever I confronted her about her fetish beliefs.
“Render therefore unto Caesar things which are Caesar’s” Mother would say, explaining that we were not meant to totally forgo our culture and ways because of the white man’s religion.
“You promised me you would” Mother burst out suddenly.
“Of course I did, when I didn’t know what it meant” I retorted.
Disappointment gloved the stares that fell on me.
“…..but it’s just seven days” Mother said pleadingly.
“Mama I can’t do it” I declared quite irritated.
We were both quiet for a while until I heard Mother quietly sobbing which I didn’t like.
“Mama stop this!”
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It was the best of times, or so I thought. Everything seem to be alright. It was at least. I had thought it was going to continue that way, that time would be unaltered till it was the end, until time crawled and meddled past my vision like the Flash jogging round Central City. The apocalypse came, and events reeled in, in a swoop, which left me dazed. But the deeds I would cremate in my heart till ending is said of the world, the story would still be pending, of the catastrophic witching hour I'd graced and titled the Grim night. No soul remembered is really gone, so was the case of Doris, she'd refuse to leave my heart, and she'd call for help even when she left without saying goodbye, but sometimes love brings us together even as life brings us apart.