Stories, Photos, Faith…. Life as I see it

The Scars Within

That night had been a cold one. The weather felt cooler than usual and there were no stars in the sky. My elder brother Phil was crouched in-between the twins. After playing a long game of football all evening, the twins had tired him out by making him play the donkey ride. My mother was equally exhausted from separating them all day; they seemed to fight over everything even who owns Phil and Mama at what point in time. They hardly fought over me; as a matter of fact I seemed to be the only issue they agreed on. I was used to their taunting by now, I was used to the villagers treating me differently too. My mother told me I had fallen off her back while I was a child into a big pot of steaming pap. How that happened I still cannot explain but the relics are engraved on my scary face and my heart. I could never fit in.

I stretched out my legs outside, carefully covering them with one of mama’s wrappers. It was dark and I should be asleep but I had not taken a bath because there was no match stick left. We were poor, but we could afford to buy a match box it had just eluded me when I went to the market earlier that day. I would have gone to borrow form one of the neighbors but it was already so dark and Mama hated it when we go begging although sometimes we were left with no other choice. I looked towards Mama Boy’s house to see if there was any light on. There seemed to be movement in her house but I couldn’t make out the figure. Her hut was the first hut to be encountered once you came into the village ours was the second.

I felt the urge to pee when I saw a number of silhouettes walking through the village. I ran into Mama’s little farm by reflex before I remembered Mama, Phil and the Twins. I made to run into the house to wake them up but I saw that men were every where. A number of them had machetes in their hands while the rest of them began lighting touches. The light made me see them more clearly some of them were uniformed police men. They held on to their guns and served as the watch guards as the men of the night set Mama Boy’s house on fire. I could hear the voices of the boys as they screamed for help. Their voices woke the villagers up causing people to run out of their huts to help put the fire out. Phil ran out from the back of the hut towards the fire. His movement however slowed down for a moment as I saw him go down on his knees and then finally he lay on the floor headless. I put my two hands over my face to prevent myself from screaming. The infidels barged into our home, I could hear mama begging them amidst tears. Her tears turned on deaf ears as the twins were each halved right in her face. She went silent for a moment before she demanded to be killed too. I could picture the tears and hatred in her eyes, the raw pain in her voice as the machete cut through her to expose her insides.

For the next few minutes, I watched without emotion as women were dragged out and butchered, children were thrown into the fire and men were forced to rape their own children before burning them.

Long after the men of the night had gone, another set of uniformed men came in. They walked all over the village dragging out the few who like me had survived. Papa Boys and a few of the men put out the fire. It was still too dark and to see anything but I made my way to where my hut had once sat and sat within Mama and the Twins. I tried to cry but no tear drops fell. I tried to scream but no sound came out. So I just sat there with them believing it was all a dream. By morning, our little village had become the town of the moment in Nigeria. Camera men flooded our once irrelevant village. They reported that it was an ethnic difference with religious coloring. Whatever that meant. I made the front of the papers the next day seated next to my mother and the twins with my scary face. What the papers could not tell however were the deep scars within.

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