BY EBUNOREOFE



The start of the new day in the city of Kolde began, of course, with the rising of the sun. It was such a beautiful sight to behold as the first rays of sunshine emerged from the hidden sleep-nest of the big hot yellow ball. Thus, with this proud emergence of the sun, the day had no choice than to open up its sleepy eyes and the last family member, the country slowly awakened too. The city’s first sign of awakening was the loud sonorous crowing of various cocks in different parts of the city. The cocks were always the first to wake up as if to say that they understood the universe as well as humans too.

Then, the evangelists began their usual morning cry accompanied by the clanging of their big bells and various songs all projecting the message of salvation. Little by little, everyone woke up and prepared for their daily activities; the mothers chased their young ones in a bid to get them ready for school, the fathers sipped their hot coffee or tea while reading the newspaper and some of the “busiest-bee” fathers didn’t even grab any beverage- they just dressed hurriedly and stormed early out of the house almost leaving before the cock crow sometimes. It was a long chain of activities: the canteens had already begun their daily job of enticing passers-by with delightful aromas of local dishes, the loud horn of the train could be heard from the railway stations and the non-stop chatter of the people dissolved perfectly into the day like a well prepared solution.

Somewhere in the city, men within the age bracket of fourty to fifty were seen discussing the happenings in the city and their country at large at the newspaper stand of one Mr Dan. Mr Dan watched with his usual amusement as these men debated and argued repeatedly, each trying to prove that his opinion was the right one. He never involved himself in these arguments except they were getting out of hand and he perceived that his little stand was in danger of destruction. A second-class upper graduate of agricultural science, he was yet to be employed by any company and so, he started the newspaper business with the advice of a friend; at least, he would see little profit to feed and survive till his big breakthrough came one day. He had always imagined it: he would meet a famous C.E.O by chance and then, the C.E.O would come to realize that his ideas were creative and priceless. Boom! He gets employed as a principal officer in the company with allowances, official car, an official house, a nice homey office, a secretary at his beck and call, and maybe, just maybe an official wife. If only dreams come true with a snap of one’s fingers...

One of the topics of the discussion at the newspaper stand was the prospective war between the cities of Sayva and Derebres. There were six cities in the country- Kolde, Omin, Sayva, Nduri, Ersmos and Derebres. All seemed to be going fine until some Sayva bandits attacked a principal Derebresian official and the government of Sayva swept the matter under their dirty carpet apparently because the godfather of the bandits was in the cabal of the president. The matter was quickly becoming messier as both parties had issued out several threats of bloodshed. No one was really agitated because no physical action had been taken and the threats were considered empty. Mr Dan sighed, looking up to the sky and prayed silently that all would be well soon.

In another part of Kolde, a young handsome boy, nine years of age, was putting on his school uniform in a three bedroom bungalow. He was the only child of his parents and he was inevitably entitled to his own room. He was already wearing his socks when he heard the loud voices of his parents. He didn’t show any sign of disturbance mostly because he was used to the noise since he could remember. His parents quarrelled all the time and sometimes, it even resulted into Papa using his hands to scold Mama; those times, he would cry in his room and wish he were born into a better family. He always obeyed his father mostly because he was scared his father would give him strokes of the cane if he failed to carry out given instructions. Papa was a very strict man who was always happy to beat a child if the occasion arose. The boy, Kofi, never really talked to his father because the man was never at home; he was either at his spare parts shop, the beer parlour or other ungodly places. Papa was always drunk when he came back at night and Kofi would make sure he was in bed before Papa entered the house. He could recall one night when Papa had come back late, drunk as usual, and had lashed him with his belt mercilessly because he(Kofi) was drawing stupid things again. Papa never liked him drawing. The memory still haunted him. Mama was always withdrawn into herself. Sometimes, he felt like a burden to them but he never stopped trying to love them.
Days rolled by in the country, and the first item on the war list was the bombing of a stadium in Sayva. The whole country was agog with the news and the aroma of fear became pronounced. Some days later, the son of the Derebresian minister of health was found brutally murdered with a note that said “a little present from Sayva”. From that moment, the battle line had really been drawn. Allies were formed immediately: the cities of Omin and Nduri allied themselves with Sayva and the remaining two cities with Derebres.

The war was getting hotter everyday and death had spread to all the cities. Homes were bombed daily, food was becoming scarce; banks were in commotion as people closed their accounts. It was quite the nightmare for the country. In the city of Kolde, Mr Dan was not too disturbed. He was ready to die, there was nothing good to live for; he already considered a failure.
In another part of Kolde, a boy could be seen crying for help. The boy was none other than Kofi. He went to school only to come back and meet all the houses on his street burnt completely. His parents had died- just like that.

Mr Dan was walking on the street, just to see what was happening. The streets were filled with homeless people who had migrated quickly from other cities. He walked and walked until   he turned into a street that had been bombed recently. He heard crying and he walked towards the sound. He saw a small boy crying and he felt compassion. He tapped him and immediately, the boy hugged him, crying repeatedly. It felt weird but that was the right thing to do at that moment. The boy amidst tears, managed to utter “Mama and Papa are dead”. Dan felt so angry at the war for robbing a young child of his parents and he took the boy to his shop which doubled as his house.
The next day, the United Nations Armed Forces flew in and helped to stop the war. The “purge” lasted for three days and the number of deaths recorded was about a thousand people. After the war stopped, people came out of their homes- for those who still had homes- and for the first time in a long-shorttime( the war didn’t last so long but it seemed like forever), people smiled and began to have some form of hope.

Mr Dan looked at little Kofi sleeping, turning in his sleep at intervals and sometimes frowning in his sleep. He hoped the little boy’s nightmares would end soon for the boy had brought a new dawn to his life. He could see life more clearly and he finally had someone to live for. He had a “son” already. He was ready to awake from his dream of meeting a C.E.O and work towards becoming that C.E.O. He would be better, start something more productive, maybe a farm. He would be better. As he closed his eyes to get some sleep, he thought to himself “a war of a short period like this in one country and look how many lives are lost already, imagine if a world war happened...”. He shuddered at that thought, and with a final yawn, prayed to God for world peace.