I lie here. My hair covered with dirts, my eyes are sore, my left rib aches and my body covered with my own blood. The smell of a warm blood and the stinking aroma of the wet dirts in a semi-mud state discomforts my nose. The leaves are wet from the night’s dew. All these, joined together, results to a dystopian place of rest. This is not how I’ve always thought my final resting place would be. I’ve always imagined a luxurious casket, coupled with a nice grave. But there is nothing I can do about my present situation.
I wish I could arrange a final sending-off that befits a capon. Where I could have all my boys around. They would shoot guns and give me my last respect. Now I lie here helpless like a little rat confined to one corner. How could he do this to me? Why didn’t he take it upon himself to kill me instead of sending his boys to do it? This is certainly not how to treat a capon of a rival group. If it was me, I would have given him the honour of killing him by myself. I would have saved him this shame. But Ekpenyong doesn’t reason like me.
How I know it was Ekpeyong’s boys? I’ve seen one or two of the boys who did this to me, with him. I know he sent them. I can hear a movement of a bush creature. I think it’s a snake. I’m afraid. The feeling of horror grips me. My heart is fainting. Then I remember that a snake can’t be moving by this time. It’s still early in the morning. The bush is still wet. I once heard that snakes don’t like wet bushes. Underneath this weak body that is now gripped with fear, lies a heart that used to be brave. It still reminds me of what kind of capon I used to be. The great leader of a dreaded gang.
Our gang had been the envy of other gangs in campus. We were twelve in number -all boys. Before we came to prominence, Ekpenyong’s gang held sway around the campus. It took several clashes between my gang and his, inorder to finally subdue them. We killed three of his members. Including his deputy capon. This demoralised his boys, and drove fear into their marrows. In one of those clashes, our capon was arrested by the Police. Based on my predatory instincts -I killed Ekpenyong’s second-in-command -the boys trusted me with the leadership role within four months of being a member. It was an unprecedented rise. Under my leadership, we waxed stronger.
For two years, we were the kings of this campus. We commanded respect through fear. This was one of the reasons I loved the varsity -the gang. We sent fears into the very lives of anyone and everyone who dared to cross our path -arousing envy among other gangs.
But the repercussion of being on the wrong side of the law quickly took its toll on us. Even on the most feared and united brotherhood in campus. Two of the boys got killed during clashes with other gangs. One got shot by the Police, and the other, I killed him!
The idiot had come to our gathering spot to announce that he would no longer be a member of the gang. He said he had given his life to Christ. But the moron forgot that ‘a member is a member forever!’ He turned to leave. Unfortunately for him, it was on a day I had my gun on me. I aim at his back and release a bang into his spinal cord. Execution style. Part with that, you traitor! I enjoy killing people like him -people who renege on their commitments. Inspite of this, I always knew that nemesis was going to catch up with me. And it did!
It was yesterday’s evening. I, and four of my boys were walking through the pedastrian path that connects the university with the main road. We like using this path instead of the main entrance to the campus. The school is located on the suburbs of the city. So, we have our fair share of bush around. We were walking through the path chatting loudly when we saw three members of Ekpenyong’s gang approaching us. They were supposed to standby while we passed but they held their lines defiantly and refused to give way. Didn’t they see me? The leader of the most dreaded gang on campus? I moved a little ahead of my boys and decided to recluse one of them and make him a living example to the rest. That was a mistake I regret to this moment.
As I advanced towards the nearest one, the group surround me and began to bash me with noxious stabs with their daggers. My boys reacted quickly and tore into the group, and a bloody battle ensued.
I had wrongly underestimated them. I was not prepard for this fight too. I had no wapon on me. I don’t know if it was the case of the gods making a man blind inorder to kill him.
As the fight grew fiercer, I received a deadly stab into my left rib amidst other minor stabs. I also noticed that they had increased in number. Other members came out of the bush. They were about eight or nine. We were outnumbered -we were five. This was a clear ambush. They planned this, and we fell for it. In the heat of the fight, I noticed two of my boys lying motionless on the ground -dead. The fear of death gripped me. I was becoming weak and needed an escape. I landed a strong sucker punch on one of the boys charging at me and he fell helplessly to the ground. Chop that one, you faggot! Then I ran into the bush, to preserve my dear life.
I have been bleeding all night. I decided to rest here when my strength could no longer carry me. Now this place has been messed up with my blood. I have decided to shake off yesterday’s incident out of my mind and think of the task ahead -how to survive. I can hear some people chatting from a distance away from me. They seem to be drawing closer. Maybe they are those women who farm around here. There are few farms here. They are very close now. I will call out for help. This is the right moment. I want to call. I can’t get the words out. I’m very weak. My voice has disappeared. My voice has failed. I can hear them chatting further as their voices continue to move farer away from my hearing.
I have failed to call. They are gone. Gone with them is my hope for survival. Now my death is certain. But I believe I can still survive. What a believe I have. I shake it off and decide to invest my remaining strength into imaginations.
I imagine what must have happened to the other boys. Two were already dead before I ran for my life. What about the other two? Have they been killed too? I don’t want to think about how. I’m thinking of Anna now. Has she tried to call my number? I lost my phone during the course of fighting. Is she worried about me by now?
I, and Anna were supposed to be married when I turn 27. By then, I would have graduated and worked for two years. I would have bought us a mercedes by then. Maybe a tokumbo, for a start. Then a brand new one when God blesses my hustle. By then I would have been a civil engineer, working for one of these construction companies. I have always hoped for a job that would give me time to write. I have always wanted to be a prominent Afrikan writah.
I’m thinking of who would now be Anna’s new lover. I wonder if the idiot will be as good as I am. I automatically don’t like him. I don’t ever want to see him -I’m dying anyway.
I really don’t like the feeling of regrets I’m having now. I can hear my father’s voice echoeing in my head; the warnings about the dangers of joining varsity gangs. The endless sermons by most pastors, condemning varsity gangs. I’m trying to shake off the guilt of neglecting all the advises and sermons. Don’t they know that joining gangs is fun in a country where university education has all it takes to frustrate anyone? You feeling of guilt, get thee behind me!
I’m extremely weak now. My feets are cold. I’m cold. I can’t feel my limbs anymore. I’m struggling to breath. My lungs are stiff. My eyes are forcing itself to a close. I’m trying to keep them open. I can’t. My eyes are closed.
I see an image. It’s Anna.I see her fair bright face. I want to call her but I can’t. Her face is fading away into the dark. I can’t see her anymore. I’m afraid. It‘s getting darker. I see…I see darkness…….