The Desperate Souls

That morning, she was awoken by her husband’s loud snores. She checked her nokia torch, the time was 5:07am. She looked over to the floor and heaved a sigh of relief; the kids were still asleep. She was wondering what she was going to do for their breakfast, there was a small wrap of akamu remaining, she could prepare it and beg mama Ogechi to give her some wraps of Okpa on credit. School was out of the equation today as they were sent out the previous day because of unpaid fees after a week of warning. This was already January 20th and she was yet to receive her december wages of N10,000. As the day broke, she hurried over to mama Ogechi’s kiosk to borrow breakfast, on her way back she could feel the eyes of the Landlord’s wife although she kept her face straight knowing they had arrears of rent.

He woke up that morning wondering when things were going to change for him. He had done all and even more than his mates; he served his master faithfully who settled him by giving him some money to start up his own business. Unfortunately, he wasn’t making any headway. He was among the first to open shop and the last to leave, he always smiles at customers not minding the fact that he was frustrated most times, he had even reduced the price of his wares so now he sells at almost zero profit, he goes for night vigil every friday night and fasts three times a week, yet it all seemed like o na-eti aka na tipper bu aja. Add the fact that last night he saw the girl he had propositioned severally and she had always rejected him in the front seat of a Toyota Venza after she told him that she just wasn’t ready for a relationship. He did his morning routine, starched and ironed his shirt, admired himself in the mirror and off to work he went.

The woman arrived at the compond that morning, she picked her broom, mop and bucket ready for work. But first, she went looking for the care-taker who told her that her december wage was still not complete as some tenants were yet to get their sanitation contributions that she should exercise a little more patience. She was wondering what to tell Mama Ogechi as she promised her to pay all outstanding debts that evening, the electricity bill was yet to be paid because of them and her husband needed to make the weekly remittance to the owner of the motorcycle he drives. She begged him that she needed the money to which he said he would try to get the remaining that evening when people returned from work. That afternoon, she sent her kids to play with Mama Buchi’s kids knowing fully well that they had to eat lunch and it would be wicked not to share with thier playmates.

That evening he was fed up. He didn’t sell a single good that day, his younger brother called to say that their parent’s roof caved in and to top it all, he saw the girl in the front seat of a highlander. He craved alcohol but he realized he had to choose between that or dinner. NEPA decided to be their normal self so there was no light and his room was stuffy, he was sweating like a christmas goat. He was handfanning himself when he heard the commotion just outside his door.

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That evening, she was tired and very hungry, she raised the mattress and took swigs out the dry gin her husband always hid underneath. Then she decided that she was going to collect her money that night. She marched off with her kids to the compound and there started shouting at the occupants to pay her, no one paid her attention till she spied  a lady who was coming out of her room. She ran and dragged her by her shirt and threatened to throw her over the railing if the occupants didnt pay her.

The man came out and asked her to release the woman which she refused. Her kids were crying “Mummy, bia ka anyi naa biko!!!” “Mummy rapuzie ya’ Then the man explained that her using violence wasn’t going to make people pay and that the police could be called in. At that point, her stomach rumbled reminding her that she was yet to have a proper meal that day. She released the lady and started insulting the man, called him all gutter names imaginable and even said his parents were cursed. The man lost it then and made to drag her out roughly, she gave him a rough slap and a fight ensued. The man beat her and pushed her towards the stairs at which point she rushed and broke a bottle on his head. Other occupants then rushed to separate them as the man was about beating her to death. Her kids were wailing at this point ‘Mummy!!! Mummy!!!!!

She was given N4000 that night and asked to come back the next day for her balance. The next day she came crying begging the man’s forgiveness as she didn’t even have the funds to pay for his medical treatment. Ironically, the man spent N4000 to suture the cut on his head at the chemist.

Hello everyone. Its been a long while. Adaezenwa sorry i took soo long


12 thoughts on “The Desperate Souls”

  1. Hi Chidi,

    This well-written story really broke my heart. It’s fiction that’s sadly based on the reality of many people living in a country with so much promise, but with the wealth concentrated in the hands of very few.

    Living daily from hand to mouth…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Nedoux, im really glad that the story touched you deeply.
      These days when im walking on the street, i try to guess the story behind every face and then be able to empathize with the emotion thrown my way

      Liked by 1 person

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