t all happened like a dream only that this was and is still real. “No”, Tayo shouted from her sleep as she woke up only to find herself on her bed. It had been a terrible nightmare. “No”, she shouted again out of mixed consciousness and unconsciousness.
Tayo was a girl of fourteen years with a spectacular ability of seeing the future through her dreams and all her dreams happen every time she wakes up and remember them.
She sat up straight on her bed trying to remember the dream that made her scream, secretly wishing that she wouldn’t remember, but it all came back to her just as in the dream only that a little colour have been added to it to give it life.
“Tayo! Temitayo! Are you in there?” was what she heard that finally made her to stand up. “No, not like this, just stop knocking and go away. Oh no, not the beginning of the dream. No not the beginning”. She said silently under her breath, “If only I can just remember what happened after that. Did I answer or not? I guess I didn’t”.
She locked the door before going to bed this afternoon after been tongue lashed by her saucy and ill-mannered sister, trying to barn all her complaints and her memory out of her brain and her mind.
“I’m coming mum”, she finally answered wishing that in her dream, she didn’t answer her mum and even thought of the saying ‘IF YOU CAN SEE THE FUTURE, YOU CAN ALTER IT’. Or was it just a saying from her mind.
She quietly drew out her diary from its hidden place space and put it on her reading table, opened it and wrote the word ‘IF YOU CAN SEE THE FUTURE, YOU CAN ALTER IT’. It was boldly written on it that anybody who opens the page can conveniently see it. This diary has a peculiar story and so does almost everything that finds its abode in Tayo’s room. Only that there are some with great stories and some with not so great a story.
The story of this particular diary was that, when she was little, she understood from her friends and elderly ones that evil people can be recognized, because when one is evil, one will be what they call ‘AS DARK AS CHARCOAL’. She believed this because she was light in complexion and her sister was as black as the bottom of a pot that have been placed on a stove, made of round moulded fire place and firewood.
On the day Tayo got the diary, she was coming home from school alone after avoiding her wicked sister, because she knew that her sister Tolu, would cause havoc and ruin everything she had done on the street before they get home, as she (Tayo) was carrying a clay pot on which she had sweat to mould.
As she was going home on this day, she happened to pass by a book store and peeped inside. What was inside wasn’t really fascinating other than the long stretch of black books with their names written on them.
She was about to go when she saw a book with the title ‘DIARY’ on it. “Well that,” she said “may be the right thing I need now.” She asked for the price, but the owner gave it to her free of charge saying “THIS WORLD MY CHILD IS SO BEAUTIFUL, YOU JUST HAVE TO LIVE IT NO MATTER WHAT.”
What does that even mean, only then it seems to make more sense to her than it does now. Or maybe it was just because she was still a girl then. Not that she still wasn’t a girl, but there was a little difference now, after all it happened two years back.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter now, only the memory of the good old generous lady who gave her the diary. She would forever cherish her loving and caring heart. She opened the door to her room quietly and closed it as quietly and quickly as she opened it, and locked it with a key.
Tiptoeing towards the back door which lays at the end of the kitchen, she prayed to God to not let her meet or even see her sister on the way. But as she approached the kitchen, she saw her sister wearing apron and cooking a delicious meal.
Firstly, her sister doesn’t cook and when she does, the whole of the house is in trouble, big one. For she would shout until her throat becomes as dry as a desert land. But today she didn’t shout because if she did, she (Tayo) would have been woken up by her loud voice.
Though Tayo’s sister Tolu, have a sonorous voice like the voice of beautiful birds perched on the tree but all she could do with her marvelous talent was to scream and shout, blame and kick and make other people responsible for her irresponsibility.
How the memory of what happened to Tayo on the day she begged her sister to cook still remained intact in her brain and has been locked in a secret compartment of the hard disk in her brain so that she would never forget it.
Finally, Tolu left the kitchen dumping the apron on the shelf Tayo was hiding behind to resume her film in the sitting room. How Tolu loves watching seasonal films and listening to music.
Tayo did what was called ‘half crawling, half sliding’ pass the shelf that since she was there have been filled with all her sister’s cooking utensils.
She (Tayo) went outside by opening and closing the door as silently and swiftly as possible doing what seem like a catlike reflex, showing that she was an expert in what she was doing.
Going out like this happen to be the habit she cultivated ever since she learnt what type of perfect ill-mannered uncultured selfish ninny she have for a sister. “A SISTER IS MEANT TO BE LOVING, CARING AND AFFECTIONATE IN ALL THINGS. Not just my sister.” She would tell herself every time she felt like giving her a big bear hug.
This night was meant to be spent alone at the river bank with one leg in the cold river and after this; she would sit down in the chair under the mango tree, bring out her oil lamp that have been placed near the river earlier that day and write about the story of her life while enjoying the brightness of the full moon.
After she succeeded in leaving the compound by jumping over the fence, she stopped a little behind the fence thinking of how wild she have become only because of her sister’s erring, only because she wants a place to find in solace, rest her head and find peace and comfortability in studying the nature and it good and bad side.
“Who is there?” asked the husky voice of a man whom Tayo knew very well could be very hard to beg to keep secrets such as this. On hearing this, she made the sound of a goat to deceive the man.
“Hm, it better be a goat by the time I get there.” Was the man’s reply, but Tayo only knew too well that he would not carry out his threat because he was more of like a scary cat at heart than he looks in body.
Tayo tiptoed away from the man and disappeared along a path in the bush that serves as a shortcut to her ‘little hideout’, as she often addressed it.
“I shouldn’t go to the hideout tonight, no I shouldn’t” was all that came out of her mouth as she tried to mutter some prayer to ward off all bad things that was going to happen at home.
It was after this that she remembered the reason why she left her room to come to the river bank, because what she was doing wasn’t on her schedule on her schedule that night.
It had been because of that nightmare and now she thought ‘RUNNING AWAY FROM YOUR FATE DOESN’T MAKE IT TO NOT HAPPEN, IT ONLY MAKES IT…..’ Maybe I should add it to my new story she thought as she saw the back of the chair she sits on while meditating on what she should do and happen to her.
Ever since Tayo was a kid, she has always had it in mind that ‘MEN ARE THE ARCHITECT OF THEIR FORTUNE AND THEIR MISFORTUNES’, only she remembered that it was in the good old days when their family was still together, when her father haven’t joined in the politics of the state, only that he refuses to let anybody embezzle the funds of the state.
Now, her father doesn’t even stay at home, only her mother takes care of the family with the money the father (Bojuri) sends to the family. Perhaps that was the reason why her sister behaves like a ‘BEAST ON THE LOOSE’.
Tayo stood to see if anyone was around and saw that the place was as empty as a desert and as silent as a grave yard. She walked briskly to the chair and sat down pulling the table to herself then remembered that she can’t do anything without the oil lamp.
She went to fetch the oil lamp, and when she lifted it up, she found beside it a dead rat that, looking closely enough have been killed by a razor blade. She decided to leave it alone only to look at it the second time to find nothing there, not even the blood of the rat.
She walked briskly back to her position and put on the oil lamp, brought out her small book in which she documented her stories, she took it all out from her front and back pockets as she was wearing trousers and began to write her story starting with, “THIS NIGHT, A GIRL SNEAKED OUT OF HER HOUSE BY JUMPING OVER A FENCE…….” She paused a bit to think again about what she wanted to write. And then she finally wrote “THAT GIRL WAS I, TEMITAYO, THE DAUGHTER OF CHIEF BOJURI.”
Tayo tried to feel remorse for what she had written but didn’t. Then she thought “Wasn’t I the one who wrote on my sister’s wall, over her weekly schedule that ‘LOVE IS LIKE FANTASY, LIKE A FAIRY TALE THAT ONLY EXIST IN OUR IMAGINATION AND DREAMS.’ She wrote because she felt that her sister was already falling ‘head over heels’ for a playboy who will only use and dump her.
Maybe, she liked her better than she ever thought of, maybe a little, but she still wants to believe that she can live without her sister in other to rub her pretended uncared attitude towards her in her face and after this give a shout of “In your face!”
“No”, she have to push that thought away from her mind and turned to the back of her book to write ‘TONIGHT I’M OUTSIDE WRITING THE STORY OF A GIRL WHO HAD A TERRIBLE SISTER AND FINALLY BECAME SUCCESSFUL…, MY STORY.’ She stopped for what seems like hours to gaze intently at the sky, studying the moon and it brightness and imagining how it would be if one should read under it.
“Well, there is only one way to find out… and it wouldn’t hurt to try it.” She said as she blew off the light from her lamp and enjoyed the way the light of the moon bathed everything around her letting them have the amazing colour of silver.
In her mind she recited the first stanza of the nursery rhyme and when she finished reciting it in her she said it aloud ‘TWINKLE, TWINKLE LITTLE STARS’ and recited the poem quietly except for the end when she said ‘LIKE A DIAMOND IN THE SKY.’
Tayo enjoyed the view and the calmness of her hideout that was surrounded with peace and bathed with love. She let her head on the bench and dozed off with a smile on her face thinking of what would have been if she was a mermaid.
She woke up slowly for a start and quickly opened her eyes ensuring that she didn’t scream or shout as she recalled having almost the same dream she had a home only that now, she wasn't in the dream at all.
“I have to get home quick.” She said as she stood up and glanced at her wrist watch, it was already twelve O’ Clock. “Must have slept longer than I thought” she muttered to herself while running towards her house.
All the way home, she could hear the whisper that nearly deafens her or was it just the hissing of the wind saying ‘I AM THE CHILD OF THE MORN.’ Tayo tried all she could to barn this all from her brain. Perhaps if she gets home on time and tomorrow finds her alive, she would write about the story titled ‘THE CHILD OF THE MORN.’
She stopped abruptly as she approached the entrance seriously blaming herself for forgetting to pass her normal route into the house. “It doesn’t matter now” said she as she entered the opened gate with a million, nine hundred and ninety nine reasons why the gate shouldn’t be open.
She (Tayo) tried to sneak inside the house through the kitchen door and found it under lock and went for the normal route to get inside the building but to her dismay founded the door opened and the bulb switched off. With the same reflex that can be likened to that of cat, she switched on the bulb.
“No way, she shouted that her scream could have woken up ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY.’
What she could see on the floor was the throat of mother sliced open to reveal her thin throat and her new white dress, the one she just bought smeared blood, her own blood and not far away from her lie the body of Tayo’s small brother and Tayo saw this as the light rested on him as she shifted her eyes to him to reveal the blood streaming down from underneath his black hair and taking a closer look, she saw that something have been smashed against his head resulting in a crack in his small developing skull. She saw that on a wooden stool, there was a blood stain on it and found out about her father….
Her father she gasped. So that was the reason her mother came to wake her up, so she could announce to her the arrival of her father. “I should have known better” she said as she closed her eyes to remove from her memory the ugly picture of seeing her father shot in several places. If not for the fact that it was her father that was on the floor, she could have laughed to see the man shot in his big fat stomach.
She stood up quickly as she saw a trail of blood beside the door, leading to the inner rooms. It was at this point that she noticed that her sister’s body wasn’t there and therefore braved herself for the worst.
The trail led to her sister’s room. As she approached the room, she tried to re-assure herself that whatever lies at the end couldn’t have been worse than what she saw in the sitting room. She turned the door knob and found out that it was locked from inside.
“Thank God I have the spare key to my sister’s room.” She said as she reached for the key in her back pocket. She let the key into the keyhole to open the door when she felt someone watching her. She turned around several times to confirm this but saw nobody. She entered into the room after fumbling with the lock and dropping the key ten times.
She ran to the other side of the room where her sister was lying to pull her into a sitting position, and when she succeeded in doing this, she called her sister’s name and thought she was dead when she didn’t answered her call.
She was about to leave the room when she remembered about the trail and frowned, “She isn’t dead” she said as she hissed and turned back to her (Tolu) to see what part of her body was shot and found out that it was the leg. “She must have fainted after reaching the room.” Tayo said to herself.
To make sister wake up quickly, she gave her a big fat slap and it worked like a charm. She slowly opened her eyes to see Tayo kneeling down beside her and was about to rebuke her for slapping her when she moved her left leg which have been shot and found out that she felt pain in the leg.
“Remember what happened?” Tayo asked as her sister sat up and flashes of pain like she had never seen before came to rest on her sister’s face.
Tolu opened her mouth to and said “Of course I do, and why are you just standing there asking questions, find someone now and take me to a hospital.” She said rudely.
Tayo stood up to accuse her sister of been rude to her but decided against it. She got up and drew up her sister flipping her over her (Tayo) shoulder as if she weighed next to nothing and said, “The neighbors are asleep and I don’t think they will come out if woken up. I think………”
Tolu managed to complete it for her through her clenched teeth saying “IT’S JUST I ANDYOU NOW. Right?” she asked Tayo who nodded in approval
Tayo walked as fast as she could out of the house carrying Tolu (the heavy load she was carrying over her shoulder. When she got of the gate, she saw a figure in the dark night and she could complain about the figure, her sister demanded that she be put down and they should run like never before.
Tayo wanted to ask her sister the reason why they should run but decided t save the question for later, at least when they are out of this mess. She put her sister’s leg (the one that wasn’t shot) on the ground and wounded her arm around her waist to help in running or doing what as far as she was concerned called leaping.
The man in black suit as seen by Tayo as he stepped into the light when glanced back to see if he was still pursuing them which he was.
While they were running, they bumped into a boy of about Tolu’s age who tried to stop them but failed. The boy ran after them asking them questions that the duo refused to answer. Tayo answered his questions saying “What are you doing on the street by this time of the day.”
The boy was pleased but said with what anybody could have misplaced as a frown, “I got into a couple of trouble and fled from home. You?” he said gesticulating with his head towards her.
“She’s my sister’ she said, choosing to misinterpret the boy “And she’s wounded. What about carrying her and she might tell us the story while running.” The boy nodded in affirmation and carried Tolu like a baby, putting her on his back.
“So what happened?” he asked Tolu but instead of her to answer his question, she pointed to an uncompleted building saying “There, let us hide there for a while.” She said as they raced into the building panting wildly.
“So?” it was the boy that broke the silence. The sisters eyed him and it was Tolu who volunteered to talk. “And your name is?” The boy takes the cue and said “Wole, Oluwole.” Tolu began her story saying;
“Wole and Tayo, you see, my mother, father and brother were all sitting in the sitting room discussing when they heard a hard knock on the door and my brother was told to get the door. He came back frightened because he never liked any man dressed in all black at night.
The man came in and greeted my parents and sat down not stating what he wanted with them. He sat down studying the room and when he finally talked, he said something to my father who I heard from my room, he asked, “So you are chief Bojuri” and my father answered with a “Yes”. He said some things to my father and brought out his pocket knife, when my mother wanted to scream, he took hold of the knife and cut open my mother’s throat and because my brother was shouting, he took hold of the stool and smashed his head so many times that you could hear the crack of his skull. As he let the blood flow from their body, he took out his gun and shot my father several times in the stomach and chest.
As my father fell, he saw me by the door staring with fear and surprise. I saw him raise up his gun and ran to my room but he shot me and fortunately for me he thought I died after locking my door, well until now. It was an ugly episode” she said as she let her tears flow freely.
Someone shot into the uncompleted building and they scrambled out of the building with Wole carrying Tolu and Tayo running behind them. “We better get to the nearest police station” he said as he took a quick glance at Tayo’s wristwatch “It’s just four in the morning. Must have spent a lot of time in that uncompleted building.” He said this casually expecting someone to answer but no one did.
Finally, Tayo nodded and said “If we keep up this speed, in another three hours we should get to the nearest police station.”
Three hours later, they saw the police station building from afar but as they turned to go around the bend, they saw the man in black dress making towards them saying something that sounds like a curse under his breath.
Wole quickly put Tolu down to make his way to the police station leaving the sisters to come behind him. After Wole left, Tayo heard the click of a gun, the man have pulled the trigger and the shot. She didn’t feel any bullet enter into her body but could hear her sister gasp.
She faced her sister as they stepped into the police station compound. She tried to pull her who in turn refused to move an inch as she said “I have been shot, again. I have to tell this, the man said that he was sent to kill our father and destroy our family; he said the sender’s name is chief…….” She gasped again and reached for the back of her neck and pulled out a knife, she fell down and died allowing Tayo to see the man very well.
She swallowed hard to push away the lump in her throat and succeeded in facing the man and saw him pull the trigger the trigger of his gun and shot her. She watched as the blood streamed down from her chest and brought out her book and pen to scribble something in the book. She wrote “RUNNING AWAY FROM YOUR FATE DOESN’T MAKE IT TO NOT HAPPEN, IT ONLY MAKE IT TO HAPPEN LONGER.”
She let the book fell into her sister’s pool of blood and realized that her thought that night were the only memory of her sister which she holds. “What a shame” she thought.
The man pulled at his trigger again but didn’t shoot even though she heard a shot, it was the man. Wole had grabbed the gun from a police officer who was already shaking and shot the man.
The man shot at Tayo again and again and fell on his knees as Wole shot him again and he (the man) died. Tayo fell down saying “I AM THE CHILD OF THE MORN, BORN IN THE MORN AND KILLED IN THE MORN.” as she died.
“What a waste” said a man from the crowd as people took pictures of the scene. Wole bent down to pick up the book that fell from Tayo’s hand into Tolu’s blood up.
The next day, a man picked up a newspaper and saw boldly written on it;
By Ajayi Yemi
Yesterday was a terrible day for the nation as two sisters that were later discovered to be Tayo and Tolu by name were killed just outside the police building which happened to be inside the unfenced compound of the station.
Earlier, the young man, Wole Akinkumbi by name ran into the police station to inform the police that the girls
were been chased by an assassin who killed their family and wanted them dead.
On entering the police station, the assassin shot Tolu and even threw at her knife which penetrated into the back of head, leading to her death.
The man later shot Tayo, the younger one who wrote something in a book that was later picked up by……...
TO BE CONTINUED ON PG.24.
“The press again” said the man reading it, “They never stop cooking up stories” he said as he threw aside the newspaper not believing the tragic story of the sisters.
Thus the people didn’t know the real story of sisters till this day except the young man and the sender.
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