Granpa's Secret

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
When the ignorant villagers kill twins, a young boy decides to take matters into his hands ...

Submitted: August 31, 2012

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Submitted: August 31, 2012




I watched from my safe hiding place behind a copse of trees as the old man fumbled with the rope that held the canoe in place. The cords in his arms flexed mechanically as he struggled with the knot, his moth-eaten singlet almost as brown as the murky waters in the rapidly descending twilight. He released the canoe from the stick to which it was tied, and furtively glancing around, leapt with surprising agility which defied his old age into the wobbling canoe. I waited a few moments till he had paddled well out of sight before following.

My grandfather was an eccentric man. He was referred to as “will of the gods” and for good reason: he so strongly upheld the ancient traditional beliefs that he volunteered himself as a vessel for dealing justice, much to the approval of the elders. When the blacksmith’s son had stolen a sculpture from the shrine, it was grandpa who had escorted him to the forest when he was banished; when the missionaries from the city had come talking about an invisible ‘God’, it was grandpa who set their camp on fire at night; and when, most recently, word came out that a couple of the king’s closest advisors had been planning a regicide, it was grandpa who had drowned all of them in the river upon which I now furiously paddled after him. Yes, indeed, my grandfather was the “will of the gods” – or so he thought he was.

I still heard the cries of the many innocent children whom my grandpa, under the delusion that he was fighting a just cause, had left to die in the forest. “Humans and multiple births are like pigs eating grass!” the elders would say, “It should never happen!” And so the “will of the gods” was responsible for the deaths of numerous twins. But I knew they were wrong. The twins were every inch as human as we were. However, I dare not speak against the elders, much less the “will of the gods” and so merely stood back and shook my head like the rest of the villagers as they watched my grandpa carry away another set of twins. However, the matter became personal when three years ago, my grandfather took my younger siblings to their death.

‘But … they’re your grandchildren!’ my mother had wailed, clutching at her bawling twins as grandpa, his face set stonily, wrestled them out of her hands.

‘I’m sorry child; it’s my duty’

Rage and hatred consumed me in that instant as I battled against my grandfather, wondering how he could be so cold-hearted and indifferent. My father and the older boys had restrained me to keep from mauling him. Little did they know that they were merely postponing his day of judgment. I swore to myself that my siblings would be the last twins he would take away. I intended to keep that promise.

I leapt out of the canoe even before I arrived at the river bank. Dusk had set in and by the pale moonlight I could see grandpa’s canoe dragged up the bank. He couldn’t be far ahead. Grabbing my club from the canoe, I walked tentatively into the darkness of the forest. The eeriness and darkness of the bushes which would normally have frightened me didn’t deter me from my goal: I would sneak up on my grandfather and plow him on the head and leave him lying on the forest floor. The plan was simple and perfect, except that it didn’t look quite as appealing when I had wandered around the forest for well over two hours without so much as getting a glimpse of my grandpa. As I turned to retrace my steps back to the bank, I saw something: a flickering light to my left. Adrenaline pulsed in my veins as I moved, with great trepidation toward the light, club held high. Light in the middle of the forest struck me as incredibly odd, but the shed I saw utterly flabbergasted me. I was now close enough to peep inside. I saw two beds roughly made of straw, something that looked like a stove, my grandfather feeding two little children who looked exactly alike!

The club in my hands clattered loudly to the floor.

My grandfather jerked his head up and he was just as surprised as I was when he saw me.

‘What are you doing here?’ he asked. I couldn’t reply. I was dumbfounded. My grandfather, the “will of the gods”, had defied the gods. He had saved these twins. He stood up suddenly and gripped me, ‘you can’t tell anyone about this. Do you hear me?’

‘No,’ I said hoarsely, ‘you will receive your punishment –‘

‘No!’ grandpa shouted, ‘these are your siblings!’

I was stunned; the world seemed to spin fast around me. Grandpa had saved my siblings. He wasn’t cold-hearted after all.

‘I … I just couldn’t bring myself to leave them in the forest,’ he explained, ‘there is nothing wrong with twins. You can’t tell anyone about this, do you understand?’

Yes, I understood. Everything was now alright. My siblings were alive and safe. This was grandpa’s secret. This was our secret.

© Copyright 2018 tobi ogundiran. All rights reserved.

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