Saving Bitrus (Flash Fiction)

Eko

Saving Bitrus

By Veronica Nkwocha

Bitrus answered; “When all these arguments fade as time does its thing and we all pass on handing our baton to the next generation, it is posterity that will judge what strides each one of our elected leaders have made. It has a way of washing away all the dross and only the gold will remain. The yardstick that will be used will by many; how do they compare to others in their same situation, have they taken the cause for which they were elected as their primary duty or have they become distracted, aflush with the wealth of the masses and pissing in the wind? We are but a cacophony of voices eager to be heard but only the truth will remain; we turn their actions this way and that and some fiddle with the dross and hold it up in triumph, mediocrity reigns. From where she seats, posterity shakes her head, you can white wash a sepulchre but the inside will still be full of remains. May those who are working circumspect and leaving a legacy for the next generation be blessed.”

James laughed heartily, “Tori, all na story my brother, wetin all dis ya grammar come mean na?”

Okoro interjected, “Abi, no mind am, too much grammar mtcheww”, he concluded with a long drawn hiss.

James continued agreeing whole heartedly with Okoro, “Na too much book naim come be im problem, abeg give me food chop, make my pickin go school naim be my own”.

Bitrus perplexed that he could not reach them, supposing them intellectually incompetent ranted even louder.

“You must remove your gaze from your bellies and your wants and seek out the common good. Of what use is it to you if you are fed to the brim and your neighbour starves? What good is it if only your own children have an education and the rest wallow in government induced ignorance due to a lack of funding for good schools?”

They looked at him worried, both Okoro and James.

“This man don sick finish”, Okoro said and they both shook their heads with pity.

They walked away, they had only gone a few meters when they looked back and beheld a sight that had them nodding in understanding. Bitrus stood facing a wall, his book tucked tightly under his armpit, a discreet air about him. He was peeing, its trajectory directed at the base of the wall where it splattered against the dull and faded painting.

James said out loud in wonder, “This one naim be the ‘pissing in the wind’ wey im dey talk?”

Okoro shouted, “Hey, hey you dere, abi you no fit see the tin wey dem write for wall?”

Bitrus looked up at the bold and bright red lettering; DO NOT URINATE HERE.

The Lone Elephant

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The Lone Elephant
By Veronica Nkwocha

A certain family of Elephants were on a long journey across vast plains, deserts in search of water. The journey would take them weeks upon weeks.

The Matriarch was strong, she was wise and above all, she had the fire of ten thousand men. She led them, walking alone. Apart and slightly ahead, a lone powerful beacon; through the hills she triumphed, through the valleys, she inspired. And the elephants all followed her. They were tired, they were growing weaker by the day but they had the fire of mama’s leading to urge them on. To the hope of water for everyone, to life.

As the sun set one terrible day, a lion found them. It sniffed for the weakest and trailed the broken. Those who had undergone the journey over the years had the experience to carry on; they were at the fore of the journey, right behind the Matriarch, each one eager for the oasis that was nearly within sight. They could smell it in the air, and most importantly, they saw their old faded footprints from a distant past to show them the way.

At the far end limping along though, were the calves. They tried with all their waning strength to keep up with the herd but their small legs betrayed them.

The lion was getting closer and closer. It gnawed at the heels of the last of them all, a lone yearling, the smallest calf, drawing blood. She limped along frightened and yelping in pain.

Then something strange happened. The stronger, older and wiser elephants surrounded their lone kin to protect her from the lion.

They bellowed and trumpeted, they stomped running around wildly, their large frames covered in a canopy of dust wafting from their terrible anger at the prowling lion.

They formed a bulwark against the rampaging hunter and provided a secure refuge for…
their lone beacon, the Matriarch,
closing their ears to the bitter cry of the lone yearling even as the lion took her away,
the smallest of them all.

*It is easy to be strong for the strong, the true test of humanity is whether we can be as strong for the weak.

Iyeji and Ikinabo (An Adaptation of an old Idoma Folk Tale)

Tortoise

Iyeji and Ikinabo (An Adaptation)

By Veronica Nkwocha

 

“Grandpa, Grandpa, tell us a story! Tell us a story please?” the chirpy group of children yelled out all at once.

Grandpa Ediga was tired but it was a cool evening and the gentle breeze grazed against his moustache tickling him into a genial mood. He was curved against his Ukonobo, the curved elongated chair made out of polished dark wood old men relaxed in. He toyed with the chewing stick almost permanently attached to his mouth; he only removed it when he was talking or eating. He smiled beckoning the happy group and a few of them called out to the others who were not around. Then they sat in a neat half circle at his feet on mats spread out, the older ones cradled the toddlers who were being lulled to sleep after the evening meal. The full moon sat high up the sky lending some light to the otherwise dark village, candles and lanterns dotting the area, their pale tongues flickering here and there. The evening meal was over and the compound was nice and tidy in readiness for another day. Older women lay sated on mats here and there tired from carrying out the day’s chores and content at having some time to themselves.

Grandpa began the story as he always had and they all listened intently.

“Once Upon a Time, a very long time ago, Iyeji, the hare and Ikinabo, the tortoise were on one of their many fabled long journeys once again. Ikinabo had been promised a feast like never before in the village of his in-laws; mountainous white and fluffy pounded yam, Ohupi garnished with delicious spicy abahi and chunks of the goat meat fattened on the choicest and freshest grass. The never ending flow of fresh palm wine was a given and Iyeji massaged (more…)