Boseda clutched his belly tight; he could feel the fullness. But can anyone blame him? being the only child of a food seller had habitually turned him into a glutton. The rumbling in his stomach was now clamouring for expression by all means.
The day had begun like any other day. Elder Bem, Boseda’s father had traveled some few kilometres away from their village for an urgent farmers’ meeting.
‘We are going to discuss a very critical issue,’ elder Bem had emphasized repeatedly to his household the previous day.
‘Papa, please buy something for me o,’ Boseda had reminded his father as he mounted his motorcycle.
‘Anything for my boy,’ elder Bem flashed him a smile.
Boseda reached out his hand for the plastic kettle and hurriedly ran towards the toilet. Thankfully, the usual queue was absent.
‘That is what you get for consuming the meal meant for three!’ Iverem’s teasing trailed after her son as he shut the door behind him.
Harvest is coming very soon! Boseda pondered as he expelled the unwanted matter from his bowel. The harvest period is a season he always anticipated. No village within the neighbourhood can beat Zaki Ibiam village in terms of harvest of large-sized yams.
The harvest season in his village were usually accompanied with much feasting and other forms of fun-filled activities. The highpoint for him usually was the Aninge soup and Ruam Kumen his mother prepared.
‘I’m afraid of the outcome of this year’s harvest…’Boseda overheard a snippet of his mother’s conversation just as he was leaving the toilet.
Curious to hear more, Boseda positioned himself very close to the window. In his sixteen years of his existence, he had never heard Iverem, his mother spoken with so much fear.
‘I just hope the Tor intervenes before…’ Iverem paused suddenly.
Boseda, froze where he was. It was too late to change the position of his head; he feared Iverem had already seen him.
‘Come on, stop eavesdropping!’
Boseda ran off immediately even though he knew his poor mother in her present heavy, condition could not even run after a cockroach! It was only a matter of few weeks, and the Hembadoon family would welcome another baby sixteen years after he was born.
The effect of the news gradually took his toll on Boseda. However, the news from elder Bem on his return, calmed him down.
‘This year’s harvest is going to be a bumper harvest,’ elder Bem announced, ‘the Tor, is solidly behind us.’
Boseda smiled. If there was anything he looked forward to in the coming harvest, it was the usual Aninge soup.
I would enjoy this year’s delicacy as the only pampered child before another baby takes over my attention!’ he soliloquised as went to bed that night.
‘Everybody run for your life!’ Boseda heard the town crier warning the villagers.
Then in a twinkling of an eye, he heard the sound of the villagers, old and young scampering for safety to nowhere in particular.
Suddenly, Boseda awoke with a start.
It was just a dream!’ he heaved a sigh of relief.
‘Somebody save us!’ he heard the voice of a neighbour.
‘What is the matter with Mama Limber this night?’ Boseda heard the voice of his father.
‘Somebody save us o!’ the voice grew louder, and then followed by more agonising voices.
Elder Bem, peered through the window.
‘Oh, my God! What is this?’
‘Papa, what’s the matter?’ Boseda asked panic-stricken.
‘What..is…happening?’ Ivorem stirred from her sleep and then continued sleeping.
Boseda felt sorry for his poor mother who seemed oblivious of what was happening around her. What if the present situation compelled them to run for their dear lives, how would she survive?
The agonising sounds however grew. Boseda and elder Bem peered through the window and saw the entire villagers running.
‘Ivorem, wake up!’ elder Bem tapped his wife gently.
Mama, please wake up!’ Boseda lent his voice.
‘Elder Bem!’ someone banged at the door.
‘Please, you people should run for your life o!’
‘My God, Ivorem, please get up!’ elder Bem shook his wife.
‘The hunters are here!
Boseda glanced at the watery meal set before him and a handful of other children at the IDP camp. The scars were just too painful for him to contain.
‘I don’t feel like eating,’ he shook his head.
The other kids scrambled over the meal while poor Boseda watched with tear-filled eyes.
But why would he eat? The aftermath of the hunters’ attack had left his village a ghost land, as harvests of dead bodies littered all over the place. How he escaped was still a mystery to him.
Every day, he listened in bleak as the IDP camp commandant assured them of a better tomorrow.
Of what use is a better tomorrow without my papa, mama and the little ‘angel’ I never met? Boseda pondered.
‘Everything is under control,’ the Tor, assured the refugees, ‘the hunters would soon be brought to books.’
‘I expected that this year’s harvest to be abundant as usual; but I never imagined the harvest would be bloody!’Boseda lamented.
Final Remarks: Just like Boseda in our story, many families have been thrown into inconsolable grief owing to the frequent killings of innocent Nigerians by armed herdsmen in cold blood in some affected states in Nigeria. Many Nigerians are deeply concerned and jointly calling for a timely intervention to assuage the spread of these senseless killings.
You can stay up to date with the herdsmen menace in Nigeria here on Concise News.