Short Story: Mama Tayo

The thundering and splattering of the noise baptized her in a familiar fear. The women held themselves as they saw the thick black circle of smoke rise from the village square miles away. 

She made the sign of the cross and clutched the white beaded crucifix hanging from her neck. She knew what it was; it was the people of Okoko land, a neighbouring village, waging war against them for the death of their prince. 

The two royal families used to be inseparable friends that visited each other often. Especially the princes, Kolade and Falani. They were closer friends than green on leaves. It so happened that Falani, the prince of Okuku land, came visiting his friend on a chill friday morning and his lifeless body was returned home. 

The story had been told that the queen had prepared a meal for them and Falani after a few hours started to cough and gasp desperately for his very life. In less than an hour, he was dead. Everyone was in grieving shock as songs of woo were chanted by the town crier as he led the way to the deceased’s home. 

King Faderanti did not take the news of his only son’s death well, this was evident in the dead bodies that were returned to Prince Kolade the next day and the successive killings and burning of homes that has been occurring since then. 

It has been three weeks of constant brutal attacks; hundreds of men and women have been killed. The royal family had gone into hiding and now the people were left to fend for themselves. 

Mama Tayo had lost her husband and the last of five sons to one of the fires and she was now the sole breadwinner of her family. It is unbelievable how fast things change.

The few of the women that still found themselves alive had agreed to clear a new piece of land farther than usual from the village so that their new source of food and livelihood would be speared. It was here that Mama Tayo found herself this evening when the monstrous explosion coloured the skies in colours of pain and doom. It would take more than two hours for her to return to her home just by the village’s border. She had warned the children to stay inside. She had locked them in their small bungalow and taken the keys with her. 

She quickly dropped her hoe and climbed on her already worn out bicycle, heading for the village, paddling hard. All the while praying for the safety of her children. 

Her gratitude knew no boundaries when she saw that the yellow bulb in their veranda still shone like a lighthouse on a stormy night. And as she came closer to see Sibi, their family dog, wagging his tailing in welcoming of her, she knew that all was well but there was no promise of tomorrow and they must soon come to bid this place they call home goodbye.

PS: this story is practice for the @farabaleafrica contest I want to enter this week. Wish me luck. Lol. Money is involved. 

Photo: @farabaleafrica

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