FIRE AND ROCKS 1(short story)
It was a few minutes past 1pm and the weather was severely hot and humid. I removed the thick sweater i had on and tieid it about my waist. I could already see my destination from afar off, so I heaved a sigh of relief. My legs could barely and I felt like throwing up. The sea sickness had reduced but my stomach growled as I was unable to eat anything throughout the 2 nights trip on the boat.
I entered the only visible structure before me on the tiny island. It stood proudly, fenced with rocks and a big gray gate that had not the slightest touch of beauty. It screamedof defense than welcpme. I rubbed my elbows to wipe the beads of sweat clamping my forehead and with faltering steps I approached the gate. There were soldiers at the gate and none said a word to me aside from the mechanical way they opened and closed the gate. I guessed they were expecting me. Inside, I walked quite a long distance before I saw a house ‘the dispensary’ , its sign clear enough on the stone billboard. I couldn’t muster enough courage to ask anyone for directions as they all stared at me like I was some alien fallen from sky.
After perambulating for a while, I asked a young lady, should be in her teens maybe, her skin was a deep but shiny black and her eyes were beady. She said nothing and only pointed to the direction of the dispensary that was right before. I wanted to tell her no, I had to see the village head or king (whatever they called him) first. But I decided against it not wanting to further confuse the innocent young lady.
I walked in and immediately everywhere went quiet.
“Hi” I said slightly smiling to no one in particular.
“”You are the doctor from Nigeria?” an elderly voice said from behind. I turned. Startled by the fluent, mildly accented English. So they do understand English afterall. She tilted her head when she looked at me. I noticed the look of contempt immediately.
“Yes …ma” I said hesitantly. Run away immediately.
She said nothing. No welcome, no damn thing! She just, like the others, kept watching me like I was some statue. My palms were turning sweaty by now so I wiped them on my jean trousers. It suddenly occurred to me how different I looked. A quick glance around and I noticed for the first time no one was fully dressed up, if not for a piece of rag that didn’t much to cover their nakedness. The guards on the other hand, they were three of them in the room. They stood like robots. They on the other hand wore full uniforms, a light brown plain khaki.
I heard foots approaching, it sounded like they hoofs of horses. Then it stopped. I expected to hear horses whine so I would finally know it was all a dream. But I heard none.
About three guards or soldiers now rushed in. a huge man walked in after them, closely followed by a younger, fine looking man. The latter duo were dressed in some funny looking costume. Everyone except me bowed to me. I didn’t need a sorcerer to tell me who he was. He looked towards an impaired man who was still seated, jis eyes shooting daggers at him and instantly the man got to his feet and almost fell back before another person took his hands and assisted him. His gaze turned back to me and my mouth went dry.
“Welcome to Bende hills Dr. Kate. A land of fire and rocks. We hope you’ll like it here?”
Run away now. The voice came back again.
“Thank you” I replied confidently, trying my best to sound confident.
My gaze shifted from the beast infront of me to the young man beside him. And I can swear I saw him smirk. What was that supposed to mean? I should have listened to my guts and ran away when I could. I looked at the guards. None of them smiled.
A bell rang loudly, and stopped.
What was this? A school or something.
“Just in time for lunch” his hoarse voice announced loudly. “Dr. Kate, we’ll be honored to have you join us for lunch”.
“thank you sir” I muttered. Not sure how to react to everything. It however, still baffled me how good their spoken English was.
He nodded and they exited as dramatically as they had entered.
The remaining people (I had thought were sick) started scrambling out, pushing and squeezing their way out. Outside, they filed up into a line and began marching! They looked so thin, they could fall and die.
I joined at the end of the line, more out of curiosity than the growl rising in my stomach.
As I followed gently behind. A guard marched right to me and pointed to where the king stood on a balcony a little afar off, he was beckoning on me with his hands. I nodded and followed.
To be continued..