Fiction

The Voice: A Short Story by Umar Abubakar Sidi

The voice sprang out sharply, like a projectile fired from the barrel of a gun and pierced through the padded walls of my heart; bringing back to ‘awakening’ my consciousness. The thunderiousness of its message detonated right in the middle of my heart. My heart scattered into thin tiny fragments. Blood spattered out of my veins aimlessly, not knowing where to go, as though it were a danfo in ojuelegba without a conductor. Just when I felt I was recovering from the shock, the voice sprang out again. This time, a menacing cobra, hissing and hovering over my eyes. It dangled there for three killing seconds, then it struck; spat out its horrible venom in my eyes. Suddenly a thick fog of unconsciousness clouded my sight. Blackout! Darkness! Blackout! Darkness!

She knelt before me the way an obedient Fulani maiden would, before her master, her hands clutched over my right leg. Despite the thickness of the jean trousers I wore, I could still feel the coldness of her hands, penetrating into my bones. Multiple micro rivers of tears flow down her plum chocolate cheeks. She was sobbing.

“Please forgive me, I know I have wronged you, but please, please accept me back… please” She pleaded.

“It’s okaaay, calm down”.  I said, waved her to a seat and offered her my traditional brown hanky, which, as a matter of habit is always kept perfumed.

She was now seated on the sofa, her tears wiped clean. I took a quick scrutinous glance at her that lasted for only a split second. She was still the same lovely Angel: The smiles, the sways, the curves.

“I know I’ve wronged you, but I am all yours now”, she uttered diffidently.

I was beginning to sympathise with her. Forgive her, don’t forgive her. Forgive her, don’t forgive her. Two strong voices haggled in my mind. It was then, the wind blew, and like the screen of a television, the 25“ mirror in my room began to reveal images, lovely images of the past.

She was sitting on the branch of a mango tree, her face radiating with smiles. She held a mighty card; the words YOU ARE MINE boldly crafted on it. He approached her carrying a plate of fruit salad which they ate together. Sitting as they were, happiness enveloping them, they cut the picture of two blossoming roses or much more lovely; a glistening sky at night.

The wind blew again. The mirror was still revealing images, encapsulating images.

He was sanding on a cliff facing the Rima River. His creative traits struggling, forcefully, each trying to dominate his brain. At one point, he was painting her face on the beautiful flows of the Rima, at another he was composing her a poem, at another singing her a song, each of these, lasting for only a flash moment.

The wind blew again. The mirror was still revealing images, this time, disturbing images.

The visibility was poor, the endearing steps of dusk were already lurking. I could not figure out the faces, but the curves, that figure eight shape, often tagged coca –cola, told me all I needed to know. She leaned on a wall and beside her stood a young man of about 19. The way she posed vibrating, holding her waist, her index finger pointing at him in a threatening gesture, one could tell that the mood was anything but pleasant.

“Please… it is just that, it is, it is… is  … the love”. She mumbled.

The words knocked me hard, like a heavy punch released upon a fragile face; their clarity seized me off my mind. My mind reeled forth and back struggling to balance my consciousness. I could feel my blood rushing up like a rallying crowd pushed forward by the hard knocks of police batons. The images on the mirror   were still there, fresh, like the outline of her smiles in my memory. I could hear the conversation now, there is no mistake about it. It is the voice. Slowly and gently, the thin tiny fragments of my scattered heart assembled. The heart is now pumping blood round my body, I could feel it, the flow…in my arteries…in my veins…oh God! …the circulation…I’m feeling it. The thick fog of unconsciousness which had hitherto clouded my sight vanished. Clarity. Light. Clarity. Light.

Love? She speaks of love, Love? I thought. How dare she? She speaks of love, when love is extinct, dead and long forgotten with. Love is dead and since I’ve sung its elegy:

Love: when next you shed your shirking shadows

over my harem, I’ll grab you by your jugular and toss

your callous face into the pits of hell

She was still sitting on the sofa her two palms playing a comforting chair for her jaw. I walked past her to the window. I released the bolts; a powerful gush of fresh wind embraced my face. I peered thorough the window, apart from the small glare of light from Ashiru’s kiosk, everywhere was dark. I felt my consciousness    jump out of me, out of the window. And like a quill released from an angered porcupine, it raced speedily through the hazy darkness. Trailing right behind it, running, as fast as a cheetah pursuing its prey are: The mighty merciless footsteps of the voice. The voice.

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