Two armed men were found dead in Bik’s house. It became a surprise that the pitiable weak couple could defend themselves and kill the bastards. There had been arson in midnights and many couldn’t escape death. The people said gods were angry. They thought since no prince or noble person had come to town, even the rain must mean gods’ anger. Now, people are being slaughtered every night. It’s the gods, though gods denied responsibility for the funeral and burial seasons.
Bik’s very short and too heavy for himself. He could never outrun a toddler. His neck also had sunken into his shoulders, almost invisible. His hands barely got beyond his head if he raised them and he would always squint. His wife’s tall and most pitiable. She’s too thin and was under the control of the wind. Even a gentle breeze could make her bend. And both of them claimed to have killed the gaints. People wondered how. Iya Abiye looked to the sky and blessed the gods. “Olodumare, iba Re o. I bow. If Doctor and his wife are here we’d think they killed these devils. We
know, for certain, don’t we? We know those two are not just at all, at all, at all, ordinary! They’re strong and young and … gods’ messengers-
powerful. But Bik?”
It could be true that Bikupayi used magic because the men were killed without any weapon used on them. The devils’ guns were placed beside them by the time Atewo and other people got there that morning. People had heard scream but none came out to help. It was gathered that the ten vigilantes that the King of Bejide deployed to protect Aramade had been missing or captured.
Bik’s house was near doctor’s house but doctor, as expected, did not come to the scene. They were known to be too proud or unfriendly such that they only relate with people when there’s a community
meeting. The last meeting had also created a problem because many people nominated Atewo for Baale. Few people thought doctor was also
good to lead. And the meeting ended in confusion as doctor seemed to be committed to a united Aramade. He wanted the people to inform the
King-General from the upper region before choosing a Baale. It was Ipa who told the people that a coward could never lead and anyone so
unsure of his ability to stand on his own feet is not fit to live. But many stiil believed doctor was right
that safety and peace are contained in love and unity and in avoidance of war.
Now, there’s no more talk of safety. Two days before Bik’s house was toured it had been six people dead. The killers, as Bik reported, claimed
to be patriotic and they would kill anyone who opposed self-rule.
“Let’s not be dismayed. If we must overcome this threat,” Atewo stopped to look at the people and
he coughed. “We need to be strong. Of course some of our people are dead. That’s why we need to discuss how to stop the killers and be safe.” “Yes,” many echoed and clapped for him.
“Thank you my people. Actually, I didn’t say that so that you could clap for me but because I value
lives of everyone and we must not sit and watch our loved ones slaughtered as goats every night.
So, we meet this evening.
“Oh yes I have a question.” A feminine voice was heard from the crowd. The people were surprised. “How dare you Toyosi?” a woman thundered, “when elders are talking?”
“Leave him be,” Atewo waved to the people. They were all quite as if ordered with a wand. Atewo continued, “Even the children are part of our world and we cannot always keep them out or shut them
up. What’s your question, brave boy?” “Baba Atewo, I cannot remember when you became the commander of this country. You didn’t ask when we would have meeting but you just dictated it to us and gave us no choice. It seemed
the meeting would be a coronation meeting.” That was insolence. The boy was about twelve years old. Ipa wanted to ask who brought him to
the scene but he remembered it’s a dirty and emotional scene and people were too emotional.
But he managed to ask him some questions to sustain the people’s mind. “Toyosi, you’re very bright. A leader, I mean an elder must know the difference between urgency
and celebration. The truth is that children take all things for fun. Atewo hasn’t spoken as a … he
spoke well. This is no time to debate and if your mother had died…”
“Old man!” Toyosi’s eyes were wide. “Don’t dare bring my mother into this. I only asked a question.”
“No, you didn’t ask a question. What’s your point? “Well, my point is my question or questions.
Number one, ‘How many killers are tormenting us?’ Baba Atewo should answer us”
“Well, I don’t know. If you know, you can tell us.” “I don’t know too. But you spoke… okay, number
two, ‘How are you so sure they are more than two? If you’re not sure then you know we must start to celebrate that Bik and his wife have killed the murders. Am I wrong?”
Ipa quickly controlled the murmur of the people before Atewo interrupted him “You ask more than…”
“No, Ipa, leave him. He’s right. He wants to fight me. Boy, why are you fighting me?” Atewo himself was trying to control his anger and fear. He didn’t know the next thing to do. But he was feeling the heat of the desire to strangle Toyosi. He wished he could just stab a knife into the boy’s chest. Toyosi was a mystery. He turned everything around again.
He controlled the people’s mind. And Atewo knew he mustn’t underrate the boy, not anybody else. He listened to the boy and his wisdom and power around words scared the old man. The people were happy with Atewo again. Toyosi told them that he asked the question because he loved Atewo. He believed Atewo’s right to have called for a meeting. “The reason why I asked the
question is because I love to hear Baba speak. I wished to be at the meeting but I would go to work this evening that is why I was … wished I
could be there but it’s an urgent matter. It’s a matter of our entire village and not about one stupid boy.” He clapped and cheered the people to clap. “Baba Atewo’s very passionate about our safety. That’s good for our land.”
Everybody loved Toyosi. They clapped for him more and shouted his name to the awakening of Jealoisy in Atewo who became ignored almost immediately. The old woman reassured herself that the boy’s not stupid. “He’s a wise boy after all.”
She knew from the beginning that all the victims of all attacks were those who opposed Atewo as a leader. She’s indifferent because it’s hard to think Atewo could have any connection with the murders. She’s afraid for Toyosi and that’s why she tried to make him be stopped by age-defendants. And she acted to gain Atewo’s attention. “Now, I must warn doctor” she told herself as people watch the assassins being burnt, “that they must be more careful not to be seen with Toyosi in daylight. Mama Abiye was the
midwife during Toyosi’s birth and she knew what she saw and heard. She’d be happy that it’s happening while she still lived and she’d help,