The Day the World Stood Still


My name is Adele, I was born in Onabra state. I'm a kid; A very tender kid.

Mama has been sick for a few days now. She barely eats, nor drinks water. Yesterday, her sickness worsened. Mama started to vomit blood. Her coughs were dry, and her body felt cold; very cold, just like papa's body, felt the day he died at home, because Mavric- hospital refused to give him drugs due to lack of money.

"Take care of your sister," was all Mama kept saying.

There was no food in the house, not even a grain of corn. Few nights ago, I gave the last bread that I had to Olamilekan.

The sick boy, crawled to our house. He was so thin, that I wondered if he was the Olamilekan I knew. That night, Mama refused to eat, while my sister had just thrown the last piece of her own bread, into her mouth, when he came in. Tears rolled down my check, as I saw him. My
body kept vibrating. His words were so real…

"Ah…ah… Adele, please give me some bread." He cried out.

I looked him in the face, and his eyes were a vivid proof, that he was very hungry. I saw it, in his face.

Slowly, I turned to Mama, and she signaled me to share my bread with him. I tried to break the bread into two, but my conscience didn't allow me. My heart struggled to find a way, out of my chest, while my body sweated profusely.

"Adele, are you really going to share this little bread, with that dying kid? You still have many years to live, but that boy may not really last the next few seconds"

Gently, I bent down, and gave the whole bread to him..

Before I could open my mouth, to tell him that we had no water in the house, he had already eaten half of the bread. He ate hurriedly, with a glimpse of smile on his young face.

After some minutes, Olamilekan was through. "Thank you, for…for saving me, he muttered in a low tone, and quietly crawled out of the door.

Then, the bombshell fell!

Mama started vomiting again. In her vomit, were those drops of blood, which I have always been afraid of. Her eyes turned pale, as she struggled to free herself from the cold hands of death that tried to take her away from the realm of the living.

My younger sister, Latifah was crying. She just turned 4, on June, 2015. But incessant hardship and suffering have forcefully dried her skin, making her look 13. Latifah cried bitterly. She kept telling
mama to stop vomiting, that she has lost enough blood already. But Mama couldn't stop herself, All she could do, was, open her weak mouth, and let the blood, flow out from it.

I held Latifah with my left hand, and with my other hand, I cuddled Mama's fragile body. This time around, Mama's body was no longer cold. It was hot.

Balls of tears, rolled down from my eyes, "Why is Mama's body temperature changing?" I asked rhetorically as I felt her body again.

The whole vomit fell on me. I saw it… I saw those drops of blood on my skin. Mama's own blood was sprinkled on me.

Suddenly, Latifah stood up and hurriedly walked into the kitchen. From where I was, I heard her searching for something. Then, after few minutes, she ran out of the kitchen, but something was wrong!

"Why is your hand bleeding?" I queried in confusion.

She signed dejectedly, "Can't you see? Can't you see that Mama has lost much blood? I cut myself, so that she can take some of my blood. I rather lose blood, than lost my mother, were the words that came out from her mouth.

Truly, she was selfless. Her body, no more scar less. Her gown was stained, and her blood, drained.
I hugged my little sister tightly, then I told her that it won't be good, for mama to drink from her blood.

"It may kill her", I groaned.

Like the shot, from a last arrow, something struck my mind. I'm the father of the house, but here I am, while my mother is dying,and only sister has been starving for days.

I stood up, and walked towards the door. My sister tried to draw me back, but her hands were too weak. I looked at mama's face, she was silent, with blood stains on her cloth. But I knew that she had one burning wish…. "Adele, please don't leave me".

I heard heavily, "I'm coming, please take care of mama"

Latifah nodded, and then I walked out of the door.


Dressed in rags, I walked through the street, but no one seemed to care about the poor little boy.
My legs were so heavy. I struggled to survive, without falling apart. The journey finally ended in Uche's house. He was the only one at home. His dad has gone to work, while his mum just left for market, few minutes before I came.

He was silent, as I narrated my ordeal to him. I told him, mama was sick, and Latifah was hungry. Uche looked me straight in the eyes. He hurriedly went into the house, and after few minutes, he was back.

" Adele, this is all I can offer. I'm sorry", he uttered in a touching tone.

My joy, knew no bound. A grain of garri, was something I least expected. But, in front of me was half cup of it. I fell on my knees, and held his hands. I wanted to let the world know, that I was grateful for what he gave me, but I couldn't find words to express myself. All I was able to say, was, "Thank you".

I stood still for some moment, then with my eyes closed, I pleaded with him for one thing- "Uche please take this garri to mama and Latifah. Tell them that I will be back, soon."

Uche starred at me, "Where are you going?" he asked.

"I will be back. I promise"

He nodded, took the garri from me, and left.

I watched him, until his figure gradually faded away, like smokes from a burning twig.

I spoke in whispers, "May God bless him". Then, I stood up, and dabbed off the tears in my eyes, with the edge of my torned T-shirt. My next mission was to visit Mama Emeka's shop. When the cord was still tied, and things were together, she was my mother's close friend. Most people thought she was mama's biological sister, because you hardly see her, without seeing mama. Their similar
structure, close look, and height, truly taught me, that twins from different parents, still exists.

Then the cord was broken, and things fell apart. Mama Emeka stopped visiting my mother. I have often seen her walk past our house, yet, she never comes in, to at least see how mama was doing.

It didn't take me long, to get to her shop, because it was just a stone thrown from Uche's house.

"Good afternoon ma," I greeted, with a bow. She was still putting on her apron. She watched me closely, before she replied, "Ade, I hope all is well?"

"All is well, ma. Its just that, I came to know if you will give me some food. Please, mama is dying, and Latifah is hungry.. We.. We..,"

I couldn't continue. I tried to talk, but I just couldn't. Only tears, rolled down from my eyes.
I guess, its because, sometimes, the eyes speaks louder than the mouth, ever could.

Mama Emeka patted me on the back, "Son, you know that things are very difficult, these days. I hardly sell anything."

I kept sobbing, as she explained how tough, it is, to sell a plate of pap. Talk more of her fried yams and plantains.

"Aunty, what of sugar?", I cried out.

She took her hands off me, and gave me a slight push, "Go away, I have nothing to offer you. I just don't have anything!".

I walked away in pains. That was the same woman, whom mama paid her daughter's school fees, when she had an accident. Now, mama is lying on a sick bed, and she could do, was to send me away.

This world is such a lonely place. But you will only realize this, the moment you fall to the dust.
I remembered Abdul. He was a mechanic, and was the only one, papa allowed to work on his car any time it developed faults.

"Maybe he will help me", I soliloquized, as I stopped in front of his mechanic work-shop.
Abdul saw me, even before I walked in. He hugged me tightly, and asked me about mama, and Latifah. I told him everything he needed to know, then I pleaded with him, to help save, my dying family.

Abdul was shocked, "You should have come yesterday", he said in the calmest voice.

He told me that recession, and the inflation in fuel price, greatly affected his business.

"Most people have stopped driving their vehicles. Sincerely, I have not had any work, for the past 6 days", he explained.

I understood his point. I knew that things were difficult. I knew that he had nothing to give me. But, I didn't know that, I will go home without getting any help.

That was when I made the greatest mistake of my life!
I went back to mama Emeka's shop, and begged her once again. This time, she didn't take it lightly with me. She went in, and brought out a long cane. Then, with a stern voice, she ordered me to get out.

I remembered mama, I remembered Latifah, then I remembered Papa's corpse.

Swiftly, I dipped my hand into mama Emeka's tray of fried plantains and took out one piece.
She lashed her cane at me, "


I never really wanted to run. But when I saw that she was determined to hurt me, I took to my heels.

"Catch am, catch am! Ole, Oloshi oo!", Screamed mama Emeka, as she ran after me.

Before I understood what was happening, someone grabbed me by the hand. Suddenly, a young man came close to me, and hit a heavy stick on my legs. His reason was, "I wan break him bones, so him no fit escape".

Truly, he was right.

My bones cracked, and I felt a sharp pain. The pain was too much for a 10 years old kid.
Truth be told. They gave me a chance to defend myself. But I was short of words. I looked at mama Emeka and tears escaped from my tender eyes.

Why did she do this? Why?

People kept whispering to one another, until one man spoke up from behind, "Since he has nothing to say. I think he is guilty. Make we burn am!"

I turned around, and looked at the man…behold it was Abdul.

My mouth turned sore. I tried to say a word, but I couldn't. I kept breathing heavily. The pain on my legs, didn't make things, any easier.

After long minutes of silence, they all agreed to set me ablaze. They decided to put fire on me, and burn my poor body to ashes.

Mama Emeka threw some money on my body. "I no get money ooh, but mek una use this one, buy small small petrol", she said softly.

I groaned in pains. Tears rolled down from my tender eyes.

I know I'm not innocent, but do I truly deserve this? The same woman who gave me no kobo, donated her money, to see that another woman's child, will be murdered in cold blood; Oh life!

One man, at about 50 years of age, took the money from my body, and left. About 6 or 7 minutes later, he came back. Gently, he dropped a half filled gallon of petrol beside me.

"I added my own money to her own, nah im mek the petrol big like this", he said, as he received handshakes from different people.

Abdul, and one other mechanic, brought two tires. I looked him straight in the eye, and I saw the guilt in them. I knew he was struggling with his inner self, but why would he assist in the murder of a child? Why did he let his anger, defeat his conscience?

To the people who broke my bones, and were ready to put my skin on fire; Will you kill your son, if you catch him stealing a piece of fried plantain, from your store? If you see another man, hit your son
with a stick, because he was caught stealing, will you just stand there, and watch his blood drain away from him?

I fearfully stood up, when someone walked up to me with a lighter, but one man hit a large stone on my fore-head.

I fell back on the ground. My skin tore, and I could touch the flesh, from my inner body. Thick blood oozed out from my broken head.

I screamed in pain, and I had one dying wish
"Please do not tell mama that I exchanged my life, for a piece of plantain. Do not tell Latifa, that I died when I was struggling to find the food she will eat. Tell my mother, that… that… that I will no longer be able to build the house I promised her, nor the cars I said that I will buy for her…. Someone, please, tell Uche that he is the last good man".

With broken legs, and a bleeding head, I prayed that God will cleanse their hearts, and forgive their sins.

Everywhere, looked blur, and darkness covered my eyes. Only the glints from God's right eye, kept me awake. I lived, until the very last hour, they poured the fuel on my bloody body, and burnt me to ashes. It was painful; Very very painful.

Gently, the cold hands of death, took me away. Onabra was strong, but I was stronger...

About Onyekwelu Chiwenite Kingsley

Onyekwelu Chiwenite Kingsley is a rising writer, who currently have no published book to his credit. The seventeen-year-old, graduated from St. Charles' College, Onitsha, and is currently seeking admission in a Nigerian University. His desire for writing is propelled by his participation in groups such as, "Where Authors Begin", and "The United States of Africa", Just to name a few. Chiwenite writes, not because he earns from it. But because, there is a voice in him, which refuses to keep still.

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