they will soon forget
photo credit: Cercelusii Marrei

I feel her hot breath across my face before she whispers. I don’t know what she is talking about. I don’t want to wake up. I just want to go home. I move out of her reach, but she grabs me by the arms. She is saying that we are going to be filmed. I should cheer up because Mama would see me. But I don’t want Mama to see me, not like this. I want to be strong but my limbs are trembling, and I can’t stop crying.

Elizabeth won’t console me. I am inconsolable and pathetic. I struggle into the  outfit. I don’t mind being a Muslim again. The girls are all excited. Maybe the military will be able to guess our hiding place. The filming is surprisingly brief. I look closely at my surroundings. We are in the middle of nowhere. I don’t recognise anything. Maybe we have really crossed the border.

One of the men nudge me. I sigh resignedly. We are moving again. I don’t understand how they were able to transport us out of Chibok. There were supposed to be soldiers everywhere. Our Government teacher said it was a state of emergency. If we are still in the country, why have we not been found? Normally, we move at night. This time, we are moving during the day. It doesn’t seem right. The new guard is grumpy. Up until then, they have not been exactly wicked to us. They have not been too nice either. They have not touched any of us. But the fear that things will go wrong is there. But I am banking on their indifference.

So, when I break out of the group and begin to run, I realise my mistake. My timing is wrong and this is confirmed by a whizzing sound just by my right ear. I am being stoned. It is hard to keep my legs from being tangled in this long hijab. With my quarter to last breath, I say goodbye. I hope Mama won’t forget me. I hope Nigerians won’t forget us. Yet, I know that this is too much to ask, because life must go on. My absence would never prevent the world from rotating. So, I say goodbye to my friends and Mama and everything. Then my left leg suddenly gives way and I am falling to the ground. I have been shot, more than once. I can’t feel that leg anymore. Then it hit me – we never left Borno State after all. We were not far from home and I was headed in the right direction. But, I would never see Mama again, and Elizabeth too. I lie still as the cold spreads evenly, and I gather enough spit in my mouth with the last of my strength. So when the Shekau man hovers over me, I spit into his unmasked face. Then it is over as I welcome the darkness.





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