BROOM

BROOM – By Raphaelmary Chukwudi

I remember asking Ekwe my friend what happens to a broom after is been swept with, “It’s tucked safely behind a door,” he had answered nonchalantly. Never did I think then that I will ever be likened to a broom.

I was never good with the sword as I never had a swordmaster. Neither was I known for wrestling prowess as I lack the build for it.

I never killed a lion or a hyena with my bare hands as I was never courageous enough to face one yet, I am regarded as the bravest man in my community. I showed bravery in its simplest form that saved the fate of my village. I displayed bravery without an axe or a sword. I showed bravery and stamped the freedom of my villagers with mere words.

Our village used to be very peaceful; women managing the house chores and sharing gossips with enthusiasm, children gallivanting and playing boisterously, men discussing and planning with seriousness and kegs of palm wine, till the serenity was distorted by the arrival  of two canoe loaded with pale colored foreigners.

Our offered hand of hospitality was thrown back at us with disdain when they arrogantly declared themselves slave masters through an interpreter and demanded the vacation of the residents of the Obi Igwe. They further drove their point home as merciless when Ekwe dropped dead without being touched as blood leaked from his punctured chest just for asking their identity and mission.

Storried Broom

 

”Abomination!” Igweaka had fumed as the elders gathered secretly under the Oji.

“They can’t subdue us, they are sickly!” Njoku added with fury.

“My father and the father before him served no one; hence I refuse to be a slave!” I burned with anger.

“I have been thrown out of my palace,” the Igwe mumbled with despair, “palace that was built by Ochokolo himself and has served our line of kings.”

“We can’t settle this by being bellicose. They are obviously superior and have strange weapons. I suggest we submit quietly to them,” Umeadi pleaded with fear.

“Coward!”

“Fool!”

“He has a point!”

“Halfling!”

“There is nothing superior about them. They didn’t appear from thin air like Ajikuku or flew from the sky like Egbeukwu, instead they came with our type of canoe, looking inferior with their bloodless body and bushy hair,” Njoku glowed with pride.

“Gbam!”

“But they have white magic, Ekwe was killed without contact,” Ojioke added with fright.

“Magic or no magic, we must defend our land. We have Ochokolo by our side!” I bellowed with courage.

“They asked to gather all the young men and women at the village square within the next market day,” the Igwe added dejectedly.

 

Sighs and Gasps

 

“We have to tell them our mind!”

“We say no to slavery!”

“We need a spokesman!”

“Yes! An orator!”

“But who will go?” the Igwe asked hopefully.

 

Silence

 

Grave Silence

 

Deafening Silence

I then though of my only son, my father’s land, the honor of my village and I made a decision.

“I will go,” I said softly

 

Dead Silence

 

“I will go,” I repeated

25 pairs of eyes turned in my direction.

 

Whisperings

 

“I will speak for us!” I shouted.

 

Loud Cheers and Roars

 

“I will teach them to respect the black man notwithstanding their magic!”

 

More Cheers

 

“I will…”

My statement was punctuated by the arrival of the foreigners as they stopped our meeting declaring private meetings prohibited.

Furious at their impetus, I exclaimed;

“No!

We are a free race!

We serve no man!

We can’t be forced into slavery!

Ochokolo our chi has blessed us!

People of Umuoji, we can’t allow this!

This is inhuman!

Is an abomination to our clan!

We’ve faced mightier foes before;

Our ancestors wrestled the sun god and drove him to the sky when he threatened to scorch our land!

Our fore father Ajakwuru raced the wind and defeated it, cementing this territory as ours!

Nneora our ancestral queen bravely fought Ajansuruoku and lost her left breast in the fight for our salvation!

We can’t let the labor of our ancestors be in vain!

We must…!”

Two booming sounds stilled me as I fell to the ground and couldn’t feel my right hand.

 

Eerie Silence

 

“We chent huel bse cuewuld,” I mumbled as I felt life ebbing out of me.

“We are warriors, we are…”

The uproar that followed was deafening. The noise was unlike anything. The fury in my villagers eyes were like a furnace.

I fell into delirium as I lost a reasonable amount of blood.

I woke to see our village peaceful again but in a sad way. Though we lost many of our villagers but we managed to defeat the foreigners. I was named the bravest man in the village.

As I watched the repair activities from where I was hospitalized, I felt like a broom whose work of sweeping out intruders has been done and is now tucked safely behind a door.

 

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BROOM

By Raphaelmary Chukwudi

I remember asking Ekwe my friend what happens to a broom after is been swept with, “It’s tucked safely behind a door,” he had answered nonchalantly. Never did I think then that I will ever be likened to a broom.

I was never good with the sword as I never had a swordmaster. Neither was I known for wrestling prowess as I lack the build for it.

I never killed a lion or a hyena with my bare hands as I was never courageous enough to face one yet, I am regarded as the bravest man in my community. I showed bravery in its simplest form that saved the fate of my village. I displayed bravery without an axe or a sword. I showed bravery and stamped the freedom of my villagers with mere words.

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