Before dawn came, Nori was off in search of the unknown abductors. Since his ears learned of Nimisola ‘s plight, he never stopped to beat himself for her misfortune. He knew the island like no one else and if for some reason Nimisola deserved a change, he pledged to himself to go every mile to get her a dash of happiness.
As he journeyed, he felt the cold dew of the night drip on him. The moon was still up and he didn’t hope it would go away in some hours time. He had left before they woke up, his father, was the only person who knew he would be gone for as long as he could find her child. When morning dawns, his mother would ask and he would tell her he, her son had gone in search of Nimisola ‘s child.
He pictured her face forming a smile. Did she ever smile, he paused at a mound of Earth covered with green plants. Last night was one night he wouldn’t forget too soon. Still, he couldn’t get his mind to how her face would lit up when she hears his father declare to them the adventure behind his untold disappearance.
The island was vast, it was a stretch between five eastern states of the future. For centuries it served as the dumping ground of the rejects of the earth. The ancestors of the surrounding villages called it an accused land and there they made the home for the dwarfs, the forbidden twins, the hunchback, the albino, and every other deformity in the society.
His father’s father was left to die there too but rescued by some good voyagers, he trained in the martial arts far away in the West. Years later, he would take leave to start a life on the island.
That was before his father was born. The island was home, it was the peace life offered and just rather not too sweet, it became known as the forbidden Island. The five villages still abhor it even though their children now rode in birds that fly, even though now, they knew albino’s aren’t abominations and twins more of blessings than curse.
And that was why few days ago, he would wonder how the girl had found her way here. That was something he needed to know as soon as he returned.
Nimisola tried scolding herself for her thoughts, since the early hours of the day when she heard Nori left for to rescue her child, she had mixed feelings. She was eclectic that he thought so of her, happy that someone thought her worthy of something beautiful as happiness. But she felt empty and filthy altogether.
Her thoughts rammed back and forth like an ancient typewriter. Stop it, her mind chided her. She leaned on the rails as the sun was beginning to set, it’s golden and red rays creating a dazzling canvas of colorful splash on the horizon.
She smiled, nature was here upon her, then her thoughts went back to the child. Did it deserves such right from birth, such separation and maybe a life worse than hers. Did it? Droplets of sweet tears trickled down her brown cheek. She felt good about it, her heart felt like someone had begun to roll some huge boulder off it.
Just then, Marachi walked out from the house, in her hands were yellowish oranges in a ceramic tray and a kitchen knife by it.
“Take a sit,” she called to Nimisola. She was startled by the intrusion and left the rails and walked towards the door, she sat beside Marachi.
“Take, you need to eat more. These will make you hungry.” She expected her to protest but Nimisola smiled and took the peeled orange from her. Marachi scanned her face, “you’ve been crying again?”
“No nne,” she said and tossed the word around in her head. She remembered how her own mother taught her and Nnamdi how to call elderly women nne.
They had revolted the idea, why call someone else’s mother mother but their mother was headstrong, she won. Nne became the word for them and even when her father’s family visited, they addressed them as Nne, not Iya, not Mama. This created squabbles in the house, they accused her mother of teaching their son’s and brother’s children foreign culture, her mother only said it was their choice what they wanted to learn.
“For the first time after mother died, I feel hope is a reality.” She said thoughtfully, Marachi paused halfway through her peeling. She wriggled her face and nodded, “Your child will be back.”
Nori was spent, he had spent several nights dodging wild reptiles and monkeys, pitching his makeshift bed of a backpack for his head in the open near shallow streams and when he can, by the sea shore or near it. He roasted stale corn in the fire he made at night.
When he had exhausted those, he picked wild fruits and edible herbs and leaves, still only his stomach knew how much he craved a good homemade soup and some solid meal.
His body felt rough from sleeping in the wild with no other covering except his khaki shorts and gray shirt. He had no weapon but trusted his martial prowess to help if need be.
He needed a bath so bad it made him think of turning one hundred and eighty degree north to his mother’s waiting embrace. But what about Nimisola, what about her child and what about a dash of happiness?
He was almost giving up on the futile search as he climbed down a little island mountain when his right leg kicked something, “ah, ” he murmured under his breath.
He was about to walk away when he noticed it was no case of an accident, it was a fresh fire, quenched not too long as the ashes felt warm between his palms. The island God must be alive, he whispered and found new hope for the rescue. The abductors were nearby.
Nori began to trail the signs of human patches on the grass, his heart choruses with laughter. If his instincts were to go by, they shouldn’t have journeyed far. One other thing his instinct told him was to be careful and careful was a word he was familiar with.
Life as a soldier is not easy, Nori knew the deprivation that came with laying down one’s life all the time for another. He was ten, when his grandfather enrolled him in the academy.
That morning in autumn, he remembered how he had wanted to cry, scream and run back to his mother but couldn’t as the other boys welcomed him. His grandfather said it takes a brave step to manhood, his father had little to say – he was not to be the type to speak too often but when he did, he did so even with grave cautiousness.
Few years later when his grandfather passed away, his father decided it was time to quit his professional work and start the journey towards reforming the forbidden island in the memory of his grandfather and all the innocent souls that were left to die there. He got the news by letter and wondered why his father had not deemed it right to visit him in the academy but he never asked.
Now, that he was an officer of the highest force in the States, he owed his life to save others. And that he did but one incident plagued his heart, one incident that would throw him into regrets when the thought greased through his heart. It was a story for a future time because his attention was drawn to some noise in a shrub not far away.
At first, they were low whispers and then silence. He started walking towards them, crouching as low as he could go to avoid them seeing him first. As he took a step, a twig fell off a tree branch and a rabbit ran across the opposite direction.
“Wetin be that,” he heard one of them say.
“Ogbeni, I don’t know. No be me and you follow dey here. Abeg do the girl shit fast make we commot here. Dem go don dey wait for us by the harbor.” The other replied in hushed tone.
He could not make them out yet, but knew they were struggling to clean up a child. One of them told the other he needed to wash his hands, the voice resembled the first to have spoken. The other told him to make that quick and started talking with the child.
“Small girl, see as you fine. Oh, you don’t understand pidgin, okay, I said you are beautiful just like your mother but it’s unfortunate that your father, prophet Jehu thinks you’ll be more useful in the ministry. Oh, don’t cry, don’t cry. We won’t harm, we’re just here to help you. Your father wants you to be a prophetess so that when he is old, you can feed him. And us, well, we can’t wait to taste you, so shut up damsel and grow up fast.” He chuckled and tweeted a wicked laugh that pierced Nori’s heart.
He looked down at the twig, took it up and advanced menacingly at the devil with the child.
Note: This is an unedited work, please pardon any grammatical potholes.
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