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The next day, after Patience was given herbs she felt better. It was Zakoyi that administered the herbs to her. He was the oldest in Knayigbana and he knew the right herbs for every illness. There was no clinic or a dispensary in the village as of that time.
Zakoyi: “let her take the herbs as I’ve instructed,” he said as she laid on the mat.
Clement stood as the old man gave instructions. Patience was yet to tell him what happened to her. She had just woken up. When she passed out he rushed her to Zakoyi’s place he remained with her until morning.
Patience: “what about the child?”
The old smiled as the face divided into segments because of the wrinkles,
Zakoyi: “the baby is doing great!”
She smiled as tears stood in her eyes,” what happened to you?” the old man asked that was the part Clement has been waiting for,
Patience: “I fell on my way to the farm and at night I started running temperature!”
Zakoyi looked at Clement; they both knew it was a lie. Zakoyi sighed he couldn’t explain why it was Clement that brought her when she fell ill instead of the man that was supposed to be her husband to be- the father of her unborn child. It was solely their business not his, he thought.
Zakoyi: “let her rest for an hour then you can take her!”
The old man took his leave; she was kept in the chamber where he attended to patient. Immediately he left, Clement sat on the stool he was on and touched Patience’s face,
Clement: “how are you feeling?”
She smiled at him,
Patience: “Thank you for saving my life!” she smiled again, he smiled back.
Clement: “My promises towards you haven’t changed. I’m ready to put my life on the line for you!”
She felt much better as she asked for food to eat; Shedarach’s(his younger brother) wife had brought food for them . Clement served her and she rushed the food, “You’re really hungry!” they smiled.
After allowing her to rest for about thirty minutes, he asked,
“so what happened?”
Patience looked away as tears gathered in her eyes,
Patience: “I fell!”
Clement sighed and held her hand,
Clement: “You know if there’s anyone you would lie to, it isn’t me. Look at me, “she looked at him as tears trickled down her eyes, “Henry did this to you right?”
Sobbing, she nodded,
“that bastard!” he ran out!
Patience: “Clay! Clay!! Come back!! Please!” he was gone already. She broke down in tears.
He ran into a barn where his father kept hunting guns. He loaded one and ran out with the gun on his shoulders. Henry was in the village drinking spot, Clement knew he would find him there. He was also a customer.
It was an open hut with no roof. When Henry saw Clement running towards the hut with a gun he took to heels others followed. Clement had warned him weeks back that whenever he heard that he beat Patience he’d kill him. Clement chased him with vigour Henry ran like his life depended on it,ran towards the market. Henry was a good runner when Clement saw that he couldn’t match up to his speed, he aimed at him with a gun and when he shot, Henry jumped and screamed.
Henry: “I’m dead! I’m dead oo!” he increased his pace. It was a near miss.
Clement stood up and left the house
Clement: “You won’t be lucky next time!” he said in an angry tone.
Bala managed to get up with from the bed, he sat by the edge. Sitting up was a burden for his body ached especially his back. Soldiers are mean, he said to himself. He had overheard all that had transpired earlier.
The drama between Mairo and his father; he wondered if Diana had followed her mother home. How was he going to face his father? He was too ashamed of himself,
Bala: “what have I gotten myself into? Diana I swear it shall not be well with you!”
How was he going to explain to Kyauta that the pregnancy wasn’t faked but very real, “Oh my God, what kind of thing is this eh?”
Sighed, his mind ran back to the day’s protest,
Bala: “I cannot disappoint the people! Nope! I’ve come a long way already!”
Forced himself out of the bed, he needed to be ready for it was thirty minutes to the scheduled time. He yawned and screamed as he stretched, “Ooh!” he held his stomach, looked like the main pain had settled there. The red scarlet eyes became bulgy. He was sick as a dog. As he opened the door, he was shocked to see someone at his doorstep. It was Diana, she was curled up at a corner. Cold had grasped her. Before he could attempt to shut the door she ran in and hopped on the bed covering herself up with his wrapper. She felt so comfortable. Akimbo, he stood very angry, it was as if he should choke life out of her. Looking at her,
Shivering she said,
Diana: “What are you doing staring at me like one who doesn’t know what to do? Can’t you see that the mother of your baby is dying of cold come and warm me,please!”
What kind of person was Diana? He was puzzled. Did she have mental illness? He asked.
Bala: “If the cold would just kill you right away I’d be the happiest human right now!”
Diana: “Ah,ah, Bally, that’s a very wicked thing to say to someone who loves you and is carrying your baby!”
It was really annoying, he thought. The way she said, “carrying your baby,” with an aura of pride like one who had just won a prized asset. It irked him. if he had responded to her craziness he sure would have murdered her. He turned and left,
‘Ahah, where are you going now? Come and do your duty oooo! Hah!”
He whispered as he carried a bucket of water to the bathroom,
Bala: “You’re mad!”
His father was filing his hoe preparing to go to the farm,
Bala’s Father: “ Good morning,my son. I hear your protest is today!”
Bala’s Father: “Then why didn’t you mention it to me earlier?”
Bala: “It came unplanned. We held the meeting in this compound two days ago when you were away!”
Bala’s Father: “Okay. Just be careful. Get going the people might be waiting for you!”
Bala smiled. Those words from his father meant the whole world to him, “I’m proud of you,son!”
Bala: “Thank you, sir!” he felt like a child who had just gotten a fatherly hug. He was ecstatic. Bala was surprised that his father never mentioned Diana’s case. That was somewhat mystical.
Maigari entered into Captain Nwanze’s office,
Captain Nwanze: “Ah,Maigari you’re welcome!”
They shook hands as they both sit.
Captain Nwanze: “What can I offer you?”
Maigari: “my favourite aii,” they both smiled.
Captain Nwanze ordered for Maigari to be served with Snap. They chatted as they drank,
“Ehen, my friend how did it go with Bala?”
Captain Nwanze: “Ah, that pauper. I put him at his place!”
Maigari: “Good! Very rude boy! He thinks I am his mate. Nonsense!”
Captain Nwanze: “he is just mere maggot to me. Somebody I’ll just squash life out of within seconds!”
Maigari: “He is as stubborn as his father aii!”
Captain Nwanze: “ I See! I hear rumour of the protest still holding! I’m prepared for them. More men are on their way from the state capital!”
Maigari: “more men?”
Captain Nwanze nodded,
Captain Nwanze: “yes!”
Maigari: “But I hope there wouldn’t be blood shed?”
Captain Nwanze: “Nooo! It’s just to scare them!”
Maigari seemed so happy, “Next week, I’ll bring a buyer for one of the farmlands!”
Maigari: “Yauwa, that is what I want to hear aii!”
The people were gathered as they waited for the arrival of Bala. They had converged at the village square.
Diana was lying down when Bala was set to go out,
Bala: “Before I come back I want you out of my house!”
She hissed and turned herself to the wall,
Diana: “Come and carry me on your head now!” she shot back.
Bala: “I’m late I don’t have time to exchange words with you!” He ran out.
The faces of the people glowed when they saw him. They all came together,
Bala: “I’m sorry for coming late. I’m sure most of you have heard of what they did to me last night. For those who don’t know lemme tell you. Last night I was taken by force to the office of the administrator and he asked that this protest be cancelled but I refused he even offered me money and I turned it down. He got angry and I was beaten up. But I have decided that no matter what happens we will never give up!” he raised his hands up.
The people yelled, “never!”
They all held leaves and some people held placards with different inscriptions on them, “Say no to tyranny!” “No To over taxation!” “we want leaders not flesh eaters!” “give us back our lands!”
“We will match to the office of the administrator we wouldn’t need to go to Maigari’s palace again for we have been informed that he is at Captain Nwanze’s office!”
They sang as they matched to the office.
The soldiers from the state capital had arrived in many trucks. Captain Nwanze had told Maku what to do so they had the men scattered around.
As the crowd approached the office singing, the fury looking soldiers positioned themselves as they were close to the office bugle was blared as soldiers charged towards them. A few of the protesters ran but Bala and the rest stood their grounds.
The soldiers acting on instruction pounced on them, kicking and using the edge of the guns on them. A number of the protesters were thrown to the ground.
With cries polluting the air, blood spluttered on the ground, Bala who was identified as the leader was dragged in between seven soldiers as they stamped and kicked him using edge of their guns. Blood covered his body.
The last thing Bala could say before passing out was, “I love you,Kyuata!”
Would Bala die? What would become of Diana? How would Kyuata handle it?
To be continued…
Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.
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