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Namicit Nanshall: Pandemonium

Nammy

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It was some time in September; my siblings and I had just had our breakfast and were engaging in all manner of childhood shenanigans while the plates and cups were left unattended to on the table, when we heard it. It sounded like thunder to me. I looked out the window and the sun was still smiling down at me.

My mum came out of the kitchen screaming to my dad while simultaneously wiping her hand on her wrapper, EN! EN! EN!!! “It is gunshots that I am hearing oh!” My dad stood up and walked out to the verandah. We all filed behind him, thick black smoke rose lazily in the distance, incoherent voices sounded from afar. My mum asked my dad, “EN, What do we do?” My dad stood, deep in thought before he replied, it is probably nothing, just the vigilante trying to scare intruders away, almost immediately, the sound of “Allahu AhK’bar” pierced the air drowning my dad’s words.
It was quickly followed by the sound of iron being scraped across stone. I gnashed my teeth together as I always did when I hear such sounds. I was really confused, why is prayer been called in the mid-morning? Why did the local vigilante now need guns to operate? What could possibly be burning that caused such thick black smoke? My thoughts were interrupted by my father’s voice, he instructed as he clapped his palms together:

“Run, run, run to Baba Dimeji’s house”
“Why?” My brother questioned.
“so that we adults can secure the area” he replied.
“what about you?” My elder sister asked.
“we would be right behind you” my mum replied. We’ll just get a few things and join you children.

My mum disappeared into the house while my dad ushered us out of the gate. There was a look on his face that I couldn’t place: fear? Confusion? Confidence that all would be well?

“Let’s go, let’s go” my elder sister said, as she immediately assumed the role of our mother. She placed my kid sister on her back and we began running/walking down the street. We saw a lot of people: some leaving the neighborhood like ourselves; some directionless; others standing in front of their houses. My brother saw his friend and stopped to chat but my sister-turned-mummy kept urging us on.

We trudged along till we got to the main road which was devoid of vehicular traffic, whereas human traffic was not in short supply. We held hands, looked left, right and left again then we ran across the road together and began descending the hills. Our neighborhood was so hilly that it was named ‘stone area’.

A beautiful white cat with black spots meowed and being the ailurophile that I am, I called out to it and it came running. I bent down, stroked it a little, spoke to it in cat language picked it up, and cradled it in my arms. It warmed up to me – maybe it could also feel the tension. When I raised my eyes, my siblings were lost in the crowd. I called and searched among the many heads but I couldn’t spot them in the crowd. Suddenly, I spotted a girl wearing a flowery purple dress that swayed with the wind, she had a baby on her back, I ran to her, calling out my sister’s name but alas…She was not the one.

Still cradling my new found companion firmly in my arms I decided to make my way to Baba Dimeji’s house on my own. It was a familiar path. Before I continued my descent down the hill, I turned back once again to see if I could spot my parents but there was no sign of them. Instead, the smoke had grown thicker and gathered more energy. I ran down the hill, crossed the little stream, up the hill and through the stones till I got to Baba Dimeji’s house panting.

The back door swung open and Mama Dimeji came out, she took one look at me and took me into her large bosom, after a while, I untangled myself from her embrace and saw her husband and kids standing beside her. I searched to see if my siblings made it there before me but there was no sign of them.

I wasn’t bothered, I was confident that they’ll soon join us, my parents inclusive, they’ll come carrying our clothes and my favorite toy.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Sam74100 

Namicit Nanshall is a Computer Scientist who is still trying to find her feet in the profession, she works as a Data Processing Officer in an establishment that has little or no Data to process. She loves reading and sleeping but unfortunately she is yet to grow fat. [email protected]

15 Comments

  1. The real D

    December 17, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Ok so many unknowns left unsaid with this article, my tatafo side wants to know, first, WTH was going on, wetin una hear? secondly, why the heck did your parents stay behind, which leads me back to question 1. Lastly, what happened to your siblings. I hope this is fictional, I had to go back and read author’s other articles (none of them were fictional), so i hope this is not a HONY 1/11 series kinda runs.

  2. Marvel

    December 17, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Never have I read any BN article as quickly as I read this.. That said, erm, ok. If you wrote a book, I’d buy it! Puts me in an awkward position really… I cant say its interesting or intriguing if your family members were chopped so help my conscience by letting me in on boya it is fictional or true.

  3. Honeycrown

    December 17, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Hmmm…..This is why many Nigerians are superstitious about cats! When you stopped to pick the cat, the story changed. ??

  4. omg!!!

    December 17, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    My heart raced as I read this. Maybe because it reminds me of a situation I’ve been in.
    Great write up Namicit!

  5. Bobonkiti

    December 17, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Sounds ,like a crisis situation baecause i have experienced so many crisis situation. Hope your siblings and parents made it. You left us in the dark as to their safety.

  6. bunmi

    December 17, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Hnm

  7. lije

    December 17, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Scary! hope your family made it safely. Went back to read your other articles and they were brilliant.
    BN why is there a difference in the writer’s name? “Namicit” in others and “Namcit” in this one.

  8. chi-e-z

    December 18, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Suspense !!!! this is not BN prose so I have no clue if it’s fictional or not. You’re most definitely a writer. I basically went on that journey of tension, innocence, aloof, hopefulness, relieve with the main girl [guess younger you]. hope it’s fictional.

  9. Diary of a naija mom.

    December 18, 2015 at 7:19 am

    I just hope your siblings made it safely to dimeji’s. House. I wish you conclude the story.

  10. on the plateau

    December 18, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Reminds me of the reality I once lived in Jos…you could feel your heart racing in your throat and your pulse sky high. Real terror. But I do hope this story is fictional

  11. elsa

    December 18, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I’m sensing it was a religious crisis in the North and people were killed, including the child’s parents and siblings. Sad, but many people in Jos and Kaduna may have the same kind of experience.

  12. ada

    December 18, 2015 at 11:14 am

    ahh, namcit, you have come again. just complete the story. I just left editing my work to read this, I really want to know what the role your brother played in this story. *conspiratorial wink*

  13. Nammy

    Nammy

    December 18, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    @marvel, now that I know I have a fan i’ll start working on my book.
    The story is nonfiction,the siblings made it safe, they wasted time because they were searching for her, the parents also made it after two days of hiding in a muslim neighbours house.
    @The real D, I do not know why the dad stayed behind but I guess he believed that nothing could disrupt the peace of their interreligious neighborhood.
    Many people lost their lives though, and the days of Muslim and Christians living peacefully in the same neighborhood are over.
    @Ada, he didn’t play any special role, he was just a good and caring big brother.
    She didn’t get her clothes and favorite toy though.

  14. Ides of March

    December 19, 2015 at 3:22 am

    Ah my beloved Jos, the sadness in my heart for the way things used to be knows no bound. My sister was lost for three days in one of those uprisings. My parents feared she was dead and started checking the morgue :(((

  15. OG Green

    December 19, 2015 at 6:52 am

    Hmm.. a J-town piece, there people here who have not recovered since that day (7/11/2001) and J-town has seen the horrors of other crisis. Peace

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