Everything had died down from the fire. The street was still filled with thick smoke and flakes of ash. Voices wailed from different angles, occasionally their voices screeched and bore through her ears. This was how she woke up. A screeching sound from a particular voice made her fling her eyes open. She blinked thrice and looked around, the faces were blurry, she staggered as she stood up to walk. She blanked out again. Not again… Not again
Behind the walls of the street
She ran quickly to the little hole just below the bridge and hid there. Other little feet ran fast towards her direction. She kept mum, so silent that she could hear only her heart beating.
Shalewa come out! I’ve catch you!
She said as she ran out of the hole giggling, the other little children giggling with her. They were just as scarcely dressed as she was. Most of them with only panties and a little necklace. Their protruding bellies shone in the sun and their bodies vibrated as they laughed. Fadeyi, the youngest of them all put his hand on his mouth as he laughed to hide his missing teeth.
Una don come again abi? You this rubbish pikins
It was Bros, the voice of terror. Nobody really knew his name, but the children were always afraid of him. He made a move towards them and they scattered in all directions. Shalewa ran as fast as she could. She loved the moment. The way the wind rushed through her body as she ran, the whizzing sound, she ran on and on, smiling. A trailer honked…
The Dark Morning
It was 7 am, but the sun was covered by a dark mist. Then, the noises started rising. At first, it was distant, but it began, just like little drops of rain. It began with a ‘‘raaaaahhhhh” The people ran without direction. Some had flakes of fire on their bodies, the flakes gradually danced from their hands to their necks. Nobody stopped, even with the fire on their bodies, burning their clothes and penetrating on their skins. Not even when the fire crawled into the hair on their scalp, not even when they started dying. Nobody stopped to quench the fire on their skins, to think, to decide.
They said that the fire came from hell. It just started blowing up from the earth. It was almost as if God was angry with the people and decided to punish them. The pastors and the Imams also said it was God telling us something. They also said it was the end of time. We were sinners, so we needed to be punished.
The people ran on, the darkness shrouding their faces, to the canals, hoping for water. The fire was there, waiting for them. It was really too late as the leaders tried to push back, the followers kept coming in. As they kept coming in, they kept pushing, and the leaders and the followers started to drown in fire.