Fiction

THE TOURIST Episode 1

THE TOURIST (I am God series)

If you kill a murderer
The number of murderers
Will not change.
–Winston Churchill

Yeah, well you haven’t tried
Killing hundreds…and more.
–unknown

The youth without beard walked with an uneven gait. It seemed one leg was taller than the other. His hair was well trimmed above bright eyes, and he held a worn-out book in his hand. Intelligence peeped out through those eyes above a broad nose and below a high forehead. He danced around a puddle on the muddy road before he stopped in front of a brown-painted tenement. He compared the address with something in his book. His left hand went in and out of his pocket coming out with a pen with which he marked something on the book. He sucked on the pen and looked around the street. Nobody seemed to have taken any notice of him. He turned and limped towards the building he had been observing.

“Bros, wehdone,” he greeted a young boy he met outside the house. “The road chairman, is he inside?”

“Yes, go in,” the boy responded, chuckling at his phone.

He wobbled in and greeted the woman preparing akamu in the yard.

“Nnoo,” she replied.

“Please, where is the chairman’s house?” he asked.

She pointed at a door covered with mosquito net. He knocked. Three timid taps on the door. No one responded. He looked around the yard and was about limping away when a little boy opened the door.

“Who are you looking for?” the boy asked in Igbo.

“Is your father in?” he counter-asked him.

“Onye?” A deep voice boomed from inside. It was exactly the voice he had imagined.

“It’s me, sir. Oga Inno sent me,” the youth answered, stepping into a plush rug in a space which contrasted strongly with the road outside. The sofas dared him to sit on them, and the flat-screen TV hanging on the wall shooed at him. He could almost hear the furniture shouting “leave, you don’t belong here, poor rat!”

“Inno sent you?” the man asked a tinge of doubt in his voice. “Bia, Emeka, go and see what your mother is doing, I’m hungry,” he addressed his son with that deep voice that covered everywhere the way his bulk covered the seat he sat on.

The youth’s eyes settled on the glass figurines of dancers at the corner before they flirted to the picture of the state governor hanging on the wall.

“When? “the deep voice came at him again.

He discovered he was still standing and the road chairman wasn’t ready to offer him a seat.

“I saw your car,” the youth announced, his voice shaky. “Beautiful, how are you enjoying it?” He was struggling to input a certain amount of control into his voice without any success. It was still as shaky as an amateur’s piano tunes.

“You said Inno sent you?” The big man was looking at him like he was mad, while he stood there fidgeting.

“No.” A gun appeared in his hands. Leaves blown by winds on trees were steadier than his hands.

“What’s that? Ogini?” A note of all crept into the chairman’s voice.

“Afam bu Ugochukwu.” The youth could no longer recognize the cold voice coming from somewhere deep in his mind.

“Ah…”

“If you shout, I’ll shoot out your eyes,” he warned.

“Ogini?”

Ugochukwu bolted the door leading outside through which he had come in, and the one leading to the bedroom. All the time his gun was trained on the man. The limp had disappeared and he moved with purpose. He sat on the seat opposite the man.

“Do you know how Mama Obilo died?” he asked.

“Kedu ihem mere? What did I do?” The big man looked like he was about to cry.

“She died because of generator fumes. Not even her own generator. She had none,” he continued, ignoring the man’s question.

“Who are you?” the man asked, suddenly remembering it was his house and he was older, bigger, probably stronger.

“I am Karma.”

“Get out before I call the police and Bakassi!”

“Do not shout.” Something about the simple way the warning was given sent shivers down the man’s spine.

“Mama Obilo died because you used half of the money contributed for the purchase of a new road transformer to buy a car.”

Hard eyes bored into the man. The rat was scaring the cat.

“Who are you? Do I buy one? What is it?”

“I am Karma.” Again the answer was delivered simply, coldly.

The boy with his phone outside heard the bang. He startled, his phone fell out of his hands. He didn’t bother picking it up. That sound meant unwanted visitors were nearby. He raced through the gate and collided with air. He fell back hard as his mind painted images of what armed robbers would do to him if they caught him outside. The wind brushed past him. Then he heard Mama Emeka shouting

“Ha egbulam o! They have killed my husband!”

It was then he realized that the sound had come from inside and not outside. The unwanted visitors had visited.

IN BROKEN MEMORY

Written by Ogechukwu Emmanuel Samuel

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