AGONY OF THE DEAF
Written by Author Nath
A hut, spherical and obviously small rested in the woods. A smoke dose out from it’s thatch roof like a burning cigarette. Inside it was a burning firewood which did not only illuminate it but also kept it warm. A mud relaxation spot could be found at a corner with some crude tools and untensiles. Claude seated on the edge of the mud-bed, staring into the fire that reflected on his face to enable any eyes see his dropping tears like a visible image from a projector. He had cut his hair during his stay with the Ayomide’s family. The young teenage boy wept furiously for leaving them behind especially Eniola, but it was a decision he had made even before going to their house at the first place.
Notwithstanding, an old man entered into the hut with a staff in his hand. He used it as a walking stick to support his movement regarding his old age. He wore a tattered cloth, seated on the edge of another mud-bed opposite the little boy. He used his staff to shuffle the burning firewood, burgeoning its intensity that reflected on his grey hair and beards. He laid the staff in between his thighs and cleared his throat.
“Claude.” he began as an afterthought. “A bird that flies off the Earth and lands on an anthill is still on the ground. If you want to know the end, look at the begining.” he paused for the proverb to sink down into the boy’s mind then continued. “Long ago, you ran into this hut with a bleeding ankle. You told me that a deaf and dumb girl helped you reduce the blood flow and you needed to return the favor by restoring her hearing and speaking abilities. Qu’est-ce que je t’avais dit?” He asked him in French what his reply was that day.
Claude swallowed hard. “You say you give me something to help her.” Claude replied with an amateur English language. “In one condition.” he added.
“In a condition I will never see her again in the coming five years. If I do, I run mad.”
“Then why do you shed tears when you knew the end from the beginning?” The old man asked bitterly.
Claude stood up bitterly too. “She looks so beautifully good, papa! She charmed me with her beautiful face. Her heart is kind and loving.” The little boy kept substantiating, walking to and fro beside the fire. “Je ne pouvais plus la quitter!” He concluded in French which means, “I couldn’t leave her anymore!”
The old man exhaled in the silence. “This shows why you wasted time with her. You developed feelings for her, didn’t you?”
The boy didn’t reply.
“What has been done, has been done.” He clutched his staff, pinned it on the floor and stood up. “I’ve prepared the camel. We should cross the desert by nightfall.” He walked out through the door, while Claude stared into the fire, contemplating critically. Like one who just received an inspiration, he zoomed off from the hut to the exterior where he saw the old man knotting the camel. He stopped immediately after the door of the hut, breathing hastily and gazing at the man who began to whistle all of a sudden. He suddenly stopped whistling and looked at the boy with a hand on the camel’s rope.
“I love her.” Claude proclaimed.
“Did you tell her that?” the man asked him.
“I’m sorry, Claude, it’s too late. I must deliver you to Demili before nightfall tomorrow. Your eyes are blue and your blood is so costly. You know who you are and those who are after you for your blood which you used to heal the deaf. We are running out of time. Come, let’s begin our journey for even the lion pretects itself from flies.” He climbed on the camel. Claude reluctantly walked to him, he pulled him up on the animal, in the front precisely and the journey began with a step of the camel. As they were leaving, everything they left behind vanished to the thin air.
The sun had begun to radiate the desert non stop. Nothing could be found but dust and distant mountains. Viewing from above, one could see the camel like a dot on a map, sluggishly taking a step at a time. Its movement was like the dance of an old woman who struggles to see her buttocks shaking.
“I know you’re thinking about her.” The old man broke the silence between both of them. “Love is tricky, Claude. The one you love might not actually be the one for you. If she isn’t meant for you, five years is too much for her to meet the one whom she is meant for regardless whatever sacrifice you must have made for her.”
“But I make her hear and speak again.” Claude chipped in.
“If you heal the leg of a person, do not be surprised if they use it to run away.” the old man spoke wisely.
“All I know is that after five years, I go back to her.”
“A man’s five years can be a woman’s two and a half years.”
“What are you meaning?”
The old man exhaled. “It’s ‘what do you mean’? not…”
“Allez-y et répondez-moi si vous comprenez mon mauvais anglais!” Claude interrupted him angrily which means, “Just go ahead and answer me if you understand my bad English!”
The old man became mute for a moment. Only the sound of the dusty hooves of the camel beat the drums of their ears. Even the eyes saw the dust they polluted around the environment.
“Women’s time is shorter than men’s. As you grow studying the universe, a woman is another universe you need to study too. But I have a good news for you which, at the same time is a bad news; the good news is that the little girl will always be drawn to the people that will come in contact with you. It is a bad news because if she is drawn to them, she might use them to locate you, and you know the consequences if she does before the exhaustion of five years.”
“How she will know the people that meet me?” Claude fumbled again.
“Your blood, Claude which she tasted on her lips. You’re the last descendant of your kind. People will kill to have you.” Just as the old man concluded, two cars sped from afar. The tyres rotated very fast that it had the dust of the desert saturated each place they passed. The old man looked back to see them. He jumped down from the Camel and said, “Run and never look back!”
Terrifyingly, Claude rode the camel faster than initial, he occasionally looked back to see the old man surrounded by the cars with strange men coming out of it. One of them opened the back door of a car, a woman stepped down. She walked closer to the old man and smiled.
“Finally, we’ve found you old wizard.” She kept smiling. “You told him to run. How fast can a camel run? You know who Hugo is, instead of delivery him to Demili to terminate the ability of his blood, why don’t you sell him to us and nobody will be harmed.”
“I promised his parents that I will protect him. Moreover, his name isn’t Hugo, it is Claude. You want to exploit his blood which will eventually kill him. I won’t allow you take him. He must be like other normal human beings.” The old man positioned his staff for a fight like an old kungfu master.
The men brought out their guns. You must be thinking what I’m thinking; how can an old man with a staff defeat young able men with guns? That is a question that only the witness can fathom and answer . So the woman smiled and said to one of the men, “Go get the boy.”
When the young man wanted to enter into one of the cars to run after the boy, the old man jumped on him, crossed the staff on his neck. Others tried to shoot him, but he used the young man as a defense mechanism. Therefore the bullets ended up killing him instead. Quickly, he stretched his staff to another man, pulled him from his neck while dodging several bullets. He paralyzed his hands by hitting the staff on them and eventually possessed his gun which he used to fight others. Unluckily, a bullet from the woman put him to a stop. Meanwhile all the men were already lying dead on the floor except the woman. She pulled the trigger again on the old man and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of him.”
The old man had started bleeding from the mouth when the last bullet from the woman set him to his late grave. She entered into one of the cars and pursued the boy. Of course she caught him, tied and put him inside the trunk of her car.
Inside a warehouse, Claude was blindfolded, hung in the air with a rope like the second Jesus to be crusified. He was beaten and tortured severely that even his body suddenly knew no pain anymore. Though he couldn’t see anything but he could hear the laughing and chattering of people as if he was about to be used as a fist. Attentively, he heard the woman’s voice saying, “Raphael, you need to travel to the west, Olupona precisely, locate the man called Abosede. Tell him that i sent you and Hugo has been found. He will know what to give you.”
“Yes, mama.” The young Raphael responded.
Claude could hear his footsteps as he was living the premises….
Olupona was the very village of Eniola who had not left her room for over twenty four hours. She folded herself on her bed with a pillow that covered her face. She wore a bumshort and a pink top with spaghetti hands. However, in the living room, Ayomide her mother relentlessly looked for a way to make her daughter happy again which, of course would be by providing Claude for her. She was with Gbenga, the old neighbor.
“I’ve done everything I can. I’ve even reported to the Police, lying that Claude is my son, yet Eniola has refused to step an inch from her bed nether has she eaten anything.” Ayomide lamented.
Gbenga cleared his throat. “Let me go talk to Eniola. Having a good discussion is like having riches. Moreover, you said the boy speaks French. Why don’t you use your phone and search for French speaking countries in Africa. Let’s start from there.” Gbenga began, walking into the girl’s room. He knocked and opened then sat on the edge of her bed. He exhaled before waking her up. The poor girl sat beside him with a worried face.
“Eniola, there’s nothing the eyes see and shed blood. Maybe the young boy was an angel sent by God to heal you!” Gbenga paused.
“He’s not an angel, papa. I’m sure of that.” She replied.
“Then how do you explain his strange disappearance? I know you’re only sick by the love you have for him. But you have to understand that you’re still tender for this! Be patient, he will come back to you. If love is a sickness, patience is the remedy. Though I know when one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow. Try and…”
Eniola stood up from the bed which interrupted Gbenga. It was as a result of the sound of a vehicle she heard outside. She walked to the window, looked through it to see a young man inside a black Lexus, asking a girl for direction. That was actually Raphael asking about Abosede. Eniola heartbeat increased.
“Eniola, what is it?” Gbenga asked her.
“That man inside the car knows where Claude is.” She replied without averting her eyes from the window. Gbenga stood up, called her mother who rushed into the room.
“Your daughter said the man inside the car knows where Claude is.” Gbenga announced.
Ayomide also looked through the window and asked her daughter, “How do you know this?”
“I don’t know, I just know.” She replied, then all began to look at one another in the silence that lingered among them….
TO BE CONTINUED