Short Story Excerpt: Untitled
The crickets have begun to sing and the clouds are now a thick blanket of darkness. It would have been a perfectly peaceful and quiet night if not for the loud snoring of my father. Whenever my father began to snore, nothing in the world could wake him up from his slumber; it was time, it was now or never!
It had taken me a very long time to come up with the courage to do what I was about to do. It had taken months to convince myself that it was the right thing to do. But, now that the hour had arrived, I wasn’t so sure anymore. What if we got caught? What if we couldn’t… No, I had had an entire six months for what ifs, now was time for action.
It had been two years since mother died, she had always been sick and tired but, she’d kept pushing on, until she just couldn’t push anymore and expired right in front of the cooking hearth; taking all the kindness and happiness in the world with her.
Leaving me to become a mother to my younger sisters. Speaking of my sisters, they were both sleeping fitfully beside me on the mattress inside our small hut.
“Shekinah, Hadiza.” I whispered as I tapped each of them lightly. They weren’t deeply asleep, so it didn’t take much to rouse them. “It is time.” I said
“Are you sure, he’s asleep?” Shekinah asked scratching her eyes and yawning away the remnants of sleep.
“Can you not hear his loud snoring from his hut?” I whispered back. “We still have to be very careful; I don’t need to explain to you what would happen to us if he catches us. Have you packed everything?”
“I packed very little like you told me to.” Shekinah answered.
“Good.” I answered. I got up and put my seven year old sister, Hadiza on my back and secured her with a wrapper. This was no small task, we had to do everything in the dark because we could not risk the light of a lamp giving us away. I could tell Hadiza had put her thumb in her mouth because, I could hear her sucking lightly on it.
Shekinah had all our clothes wrapped in her sleeping wrapper and balanced it on her head and slowly we opened the door, we both froze at the creaking sound the door made as we opened it. But, my father’s snoring did not cease and I let out a breath I hadn’t even realize that I was holding. I closed the door, risking the noise again. But, we had to make sure the door was closed because, father could wander out of his hut to pee; he would know something was wrong if he found the door of our hut open. And, we would be caught before we even had the chance to run.
My father’s compound wasn’t a very large one; he only had a total of four huts in his compound, two living quarters, one served as a kitchen while the fourth one served as the outhouse. We walked on the tip of our toes, both of us, unconsciously holding our breaths. Just as we got to my father’s hut, his door opened and he came staggering out.
We paused and went rigid all over, he was walking towards us. We had been so careful and yet we still got caught. All the hopes and dreams I had of taking care of my sisters and giving them a better life than the one mother had, had just washed down the gutters. The only dreams I would be having now are the nightmares of how we got the beatings of our lives and how we would be given the final and ultimate punishment.
But, instead of stopping in front of us father walked right pass us, the pungent odour of alcohol engulfed us as he walked pass and went into the outhouse. He hadn’t seen us! I almost jumped out happiness. Instead, immediately I heard the door of the outhouse close I grabbed Shekinah’s hand and together we ran out of my father’s compound and out of the tiny little village we lived in, never for once looking back.
So, I was going through my archives and I found this story that I had been writing sometime last year but for some reason I honestly can’t remember, I abandoned it. Anyways, I have picked up this dusty manuscript again and I’ll try to see what I can do with it. Although it doesn’t even have a working title yet, I hope you like this piece and want to read more of it.
Accepting Love, sequel to Remembering Love will be out on Okadabooks on the 25th of this month. If you haven’t read the first book, you can click the okadabooks link to read. It’s free!
Hope you all have a stress-free weekend.