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BN Prose: In Loving Memory of Sacrifice by Grace Ogor

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A lone scream pierced through the stillness of the night, jolting me out of my reverie. It was accompanied in quick successions by others, bringing me into consciousness. The hairs on my body pricked in fright and anticipation. Those screams were bloodcurdling and filled with terror and agony. It could only mean one thing; the marauders were here again.

I looked at the door and made a mad dash for it. Only to halt few feet away from death. A fiery arrow pierced through the door and would have gone through me had I not stopped, just in time. I coiled back in fright and watched, as the flames licked the wooden door like some sumptuous meal.

We were going to be burnt alive! I saw Mama get up quickly, began running around, searching frantically for something.

“Hadiza, get out of the house!” She said raising her voice above the crackling of the flames and hiss of the burning rafters.

“Mama, I can’t. We are trapped inside.” The heat and burning raffia floating across the small room made it become unbearable. I swatted my right shoulder in pain as a burning raffia landed on my shoulder, burrowing through my blouse, into my skin, scotching me. Large chunks of the fiery rafters began to drop and I knew it was only a matter of minutes before everything came crashing in.

“Come!” Mama ordered. “Come this way.” She led me to the opening at the back of the hut that acted as a window. She pulled an empty paint bucket, turned it upside down and stood on it. She turned to me with her hands outstretched, silently giving me orders. I ran into her outstretched arms and she lifted me precariously with strength I didn’t know she possessed.

“Go through it Hadiza!” She shouted. I placed my hands on the window and used my elbows for balance as I pulled my body through the opening.

“Hurry! Hadiza! Run to Baba Sani’s house. It’s on the way to the next village. If you don’t see him or anybody you know, keep running where everyone else is running!”

With that she gave me a rough nudge and I fell palms first. A sharp pain shot through my wrists but that was swallowed almost immediately up by the ordeal in front of us.

I stood up and removed a pebble that had burrowed deep into my right palm as Mama’s hands quickly disappeared inside. I turned around and saw people running helter-skelter. Houses and livestock being engulfed in flames. I watched as three doors burst open simultaneously and two men and a woman came running out all engulfed in flames as they cried for help. Everyone whose paths crossed their way, avoided them. The marauders had planned us this time. The acrid smell of burning flesh hung heavily as people struggled in vain to live. Another barrage of arrows came flying, picking people at random. I ducked to the ground and watched as an arrow picked Mama Rasheed, passed through three month old Rasheed and wedged them by the cane sugar bush.

“Mama!” I called out in panic. I stood up and tried to place myself on my toes so the wind could carry my voice above the din. Not minding if that was logical or not. Her hands passed through the window again and dropped a bundle wrapped in her favourite wrapper.

“It’s a few of your clothes, Hadiza.” Her voice came through the opening. “There’s money also tied in the handkerchief inside. Run, Hadiza run!”

“Mama, come with me.”

“The window is too small, Hadiza. I cannot pass through it.”

“Mama!” I cried out as reality suddenly dawned on me. The picture of the people who just burst through their houses in flames flitted through my mind.

“Mama!” I screamed as my lungs and heart constricted in pain and agony. Tears ran freely down my cheeks.

“Hadiza, run!” Mama voice boomed with authority even though it sounded as if she was crying.

“I will not leave you here.” I screamed in defiance. It was the first time I openly disobeyed her and I couldn’t care less what’d she’d do to me.

“Okay, stand by the mango tree.”

I turned and grabbed my bundle and made for the mango tree as she continued speaking

“I’ll meet you……”

And with a mighty thud, the roof came down. I turned in shock as I heard her screams. I dropped my bundle and lurched forward to go rescue her but fear from my very core gripped me. I just stood there in shock. Someone running knocked me to the ground but I barely felt it. An arrow whizzed past me, but I just watched on. I heard her stop screaming and I knew the inevitable had happened.

The flames hissed as if in mockery of my helplessness.

Run Hadiza, run!!! Her voice echoed in my head. With everything moving in a slow dreamlike state, I got up from the ground, wincing in pain as my left wrist throbbed painfully but my brain barely registered it.

I could hear chants from the terrorists as they proclaimed victory over another town. I looked all around me, the pandemonium, the stampede, charred bodies of men, women and children. Screams of terror as people ran past me. Everything was just surreal. I picked up the bundle and looked again, for the last time, at what used to be my home. We had just moved here three months ago after Dada and Musa were captured and killed in the raid that occurred in the neighbouring village; our place of origin.

I looked at the pile of rubble and heard her voice echo in my head.

“Run, Hadiza run!!!”

Then with all the strength left in me, I turned toward the direction the general populace was running to, and I ran. As fast as my seven year old legs could carry me.

Photo Credit: DiversityStudio1 | Dreamstime

Grace Ogor would love to call herself an art enthusiast as her interests run through an array of different arts; music, fashion, writing, you name it! And yes, she loves to travel and hopes to inspire people.

32 Comments

  1. Cos.I.Say.So

    August 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    My God… May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace
    Amen

  2. Rubby

    August 1, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Grim Reality…

    • chrisyinks

      August 2, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      The very sad (unnecessary) reality for many…..may the souls of the lost rest in peace.

  3. Damilola

    August 1, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    This is well written! Well done Grace!

  4. Ruhamah

    August 1, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Good piece. I felt omnipresent while reading this. like I relieved the scenario in my mind and the hairs on my body really stood.

  5. Nammy

    August 2, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Nice write up sadly a lot of people have gone through this

  6. Chu

    August 2, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    We need more of this, to remind us of other people’s reality right now.

  7. Ngozi

    August 13, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    The sad reality of some.

  8. Adebimpe

    September 12, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    hmmmmmmm……..nice one

  9. vicky

    September 18, 2017 at 10:12 am

    very sad

  10. vicky

    September 18, 2017 at 10:13 am

    the memories of war still in my head too many dead pple all around

  11. Emeka

    September 24, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Well-written piece. Unfortunately, it is the sad but true story of some. May all ‘Hadizas’ regain their hope in humanity and live to see their dreams fulfilled.

  12. Noelle

    October 2, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    So touching. The reality of many in my dear country yet…but We shall overcome. Through it all, we shall.

  13. Ogbodu blessing

    October 2, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    May d would of d departednones rest in peace ..nice one dear can’t wait to finish this book..

  14. Ogbodu blessing

    October 2, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    May the souls of the departed ones rest in pece .nice one dear can’t wait to finish this book….

  15. Clem

    October 2, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    My heart weeps. A perfect narration.
    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Victoria Chukwuanyi

    October 2, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    The purpose of every good writer is to make sure the picture of the story is captured by the reader. You did just that Grace… Well done

  17. Victoria Chukwuanyi

    October 2, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    The purpose of every Writer is to make sure the picture of the story is captured by the reader. You did just that Grace.. Well done

  18. Victoria Chukwuanyi

    October 2, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Amazing

  19. Tochi

    October 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Beautiful write up Grace! Wow… This is some people’s pathetic reality. God help us.

  20. Cartier

    October 2, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Grace
    This is a Wow! A wow! Graces, you are indeed a writer in the near future. I feel it, I hear it & I think, I know it. Saw myself in the schene & felt the blood rushing tru me, like a million gallons of adrenaline poured into my system. Reminds me of Tom Sawyer & James H Chase…! My Tumb’s up????C

  21. Joy Auta

    October 2, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Very piece you got there!!! Well written and touching! Well done Grace.

  22. Afoma

    October 2, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Nice piece and well articulated…
    Well done Grace!

  23. Ashinedu

    October 3, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Wow, intriguing, well done Grace.

  24. Zulkifilu

    October 3, 2017 at 8:55 am

    This is a nicee piece, had alot of imagination/thoughts going thru me as I read through. And you know this happens in reality.

  25. Wallace Ogor

    October 4, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    A fictional tale of reality… A clarion call for Nigerians to join hands irrespective of religion and ethnic background and fight terrorism. It couldn’t have been written better…

  26. Maduako Emmanuel

    October 4, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    In as much as it sounds fictitious, its reality also can’t be overemphasized. Heart droping though but truth reveling.

  27. Micah Festus

    October 6, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    I feel like i was there! It felt so real….please write some more!

  28. Favour

    October 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    such a good writer! one good literally see the event unfolding.

  29. Cassidy

    October 11, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Wa ooooo, 1datful literal, very emotional. Sounds as if, u r referring to my little friend Praise. Waiting for More write up Pls

  30. Dan

    October 11, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Great write up

  31. Irene Bangwell

    October 20, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Brilliant write up! Great to see how beautifully you are able to bring us into the reality of some of us. My heart breaks as I learn that this is a story of a seven year old.

    Well done Gracie!

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