THE CAVE

cave wound

WRITTEN BY CHIOMA NGAIKEDI

Inside the dark Iteri cave at the foot of the mountain in Ijebu village. A lone figure was dangling from side to side, his arms chained to the two sides of the wall. He was naked; Stark.

Marks of fresh wounds lined his body. It looked like torture—like a ceaseless stabbing of a mad man or like a meat grilled. This figure was a monument of scars.

Moyin was leaning at the far end of the cave as he watched the figure. Tolu,He thought. He didn’t seem so intimidating anymore.

But he wondered if any man could look intimidating naked with his arms in chain. He laughed aloud and he reached for his cigarette from the pocket of his hooded jacket.

Puffing the smoking in and out,he stared at Tolu, anger pumped in him. He remembered the first time he had met Tolu; he was only13yrs old. Tolu was the man in charge of boys scout. But in the pretence of training, Tolu had begun to groom them for cultism.

Rage surged through him, as he picked the long dagger and charged towards Tolu, sinking the blade in his thighs, then ribs.

Tolu screamed. His screams were music to Moyin’s ears; It appeased his rage. He wanted to hear more, so he sank the blade deeper. Blood soiled his palms but Moyin didn’t mind.

Tolu pleaded in the name of God. Moyin spat at his face.
Where was his God 15 years ago when he was initiating little boys?
Where was his God when he had charged him to kill his mother to prove his loyalty to the cult?

Tears flowed from Moyin’s eyes. He remembered exactly how he had killed his own mother. How he had struck her with his hoe at their farm and he had kept hitting until her screams froze in her chest and she lumped between the ridges of maize and cassava plants.

Moyin withdraw the dagger and sank it again into Tolu’s lower neck. Tolu was muttering prayers as he cried but Moyin didn’t mind. Moyin wished Tolu hell. Exactly what he wished him when he saw Tolu preaching at Iyanoba market yesterday. A preacher he had become.

Moyin spat to the floor. Some people were beyond redemption and he and Tolu were among.
Moyin grabbed the gallon of tar by the entrance of the cave. He began to pour the black liquid on the floor of the cave. Tolu was praying desperately now with the last of his strength.

Moyin laughed even harder. For 15 years, Moyin had known no peace. Every night was a nightmare. His mother’s blood would soak at his feet. Her cries, a noose around his neck. He knew that life was over for him just as redemption was far beyond Tolu’s reach.
He lit his lighter and let it drop to the floor.

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