“Simbi! Simbi!! Wake up!”
I woke up startled to see mother bent beside my mat with that weary look she always have.
“Ahnahn Maami kilo shele? It’s still mid…”
“I am not your Maami and its time for you to leave this village now.”
“Leave this village?” Streams of questions went through my mind.
What? Why? How? To where? What is Maami talking about? I was so puzzled.
“You’d better listen to me. The villagers are on their way here and you know what they would do to you as a daughter of Bayero.”
”No more questions!” She said.
I was the most confused human on earth. By the time I heard the angry mob getting close, my heart skipped a beat.
“Oya oya oya dide. You have to leave now. I will help you jump over the fence.”
”Simbi go…go…go…Take the short cut behind Iya Segun’s farm. The villagers won’t go that way.” She said with frightening urgency in her voice.
By the time we got to the fence Maami handed me a folded piece of paper. There was no time to think.
“Hold on to this. Make sure you don’t lose it.” She warned. ”I will find you someday.”
By this time the villagers were already too close. I could hear them shouting “Where is that bastard daughter of Bayero?!”
With adrenaline pumping madly into my brain, I hurriedly jumped down the fence and started running into the bleak night under the watch of the ink blue sky.
So many thoughts crossed my mind. What if these villagers catch up with me and have my head beheaded in front of all the villagers? The people of Atimolade were known for being violent.
I kept on running and running. I didn’t even know when tears rolled down my eyes. My legs quaked and my mind kept spinning. I could not see where I was going to. The mob seemed close. My head kept on spinning. I kept the folded safe between my fists.
Suddenly I stumbled and fell as tears blinded my eyes. My head hurt so badly as it hit a tree. Blood gushed out from my knee and elbow. I could hear the the toads and frogs croaking as if my mocking my fall. My head kept on spinning as my whole body felt weak from running without a purpose.
“Who is there?” A man called out.
My heart beat so fast that I was scared he might hear.
“I said, who is there?” The man said coming closer.
I knew I had to run then or the villagers would make sure I never run again.
I started to run as I heard the mob behind me shouting “Ole! Ole! Ole!” with torch lit sticks and machete and angry looks.
I ran, stumbled and fell.
How would I explain to them that I wasn’t a thief but just a trespasser? Before I knew it, the angry mob was close at my heels. I just wished the earth would crumble there and then. Before long my shaky legs gave way to my body and fell giving up.
The angry mob caught up with me and with the blink of an eye. I was tied to a stake. Shouts of”Ole! Ole!” filled my head.
I knew I was going to be burnt to death. I badly wished it was a dream. I only heard of this kind of punishment in grandma’s stories, little did I know it was written in my destiny.
Fire caught the rope very quickly. I closed my eyes trying to say my last prayers. I couldn’t do away with the hot tears streaming down my eyes. I managed to see Maami who was weeping and rolling on the floor begging the angry villagers.
“A daughter of Atimolade should not be found on our soil. It’s an abomination.” They kept on saying.
I didn’t know what I was going to die for.
So Maami wasn’t my mother. Who then was my mother? It shattered my heart. It didn’t matter again since I knew I was going to die.
I felt the heat of the fire near my thighs and then to my chest. I could still see the angry villagers shouting, chanting and cursing as I began to scream with tears rolling uncontrollable. I closed my eyes resigning to fate then it was all suddenly gone.
“Simbi Simbi wake up, wake up. Calm down” Maami said holding me tight as sweat covered up my body.
“You just had another nightmare”.