When Bashir, a corper serving in Benue state, employed tricks to ensnare a female colleague, Khadija, he ended up being the one that was trapped. Hunted has lessons to be learnt and anecdotes to be connected with. The story shows Gwa Doohemba at his best: suspense
I woke up feeling beautiful from within me. It was a feeling that brought me fulfilment. I smiled as I stretched my arms with the blanket covering half part of my body, from the waist to the sole of my feet. It felt so beautiful that I for a moment thought it was a special day. The thought gave me a strong feeling that it must be a special day to someone I know in a way or another.
I tried to think of someone close to me; I began with my immediate family. I picked up my phone and scrolled straight to the calendar but I couldn’t find anything. It made me restless because I couldn’t pin point what could be so special on a Friday the twenty second of December. I frowned as I tried to amass my thoughts. The image of my face when I looked into my mirror made me want to push the thought away so it couldn’t spoil the feeling I was feeling within me. But the frown did nothing to disperse the feeling that was coiled within me and I realized that not even my external environment could spoil what I was feeling; the beautiful feeling I couldn’t explain.
I pushed the door open and stood staring round the compound. I was thinking of the first day I stepped into it. I couldn’t believe it has been three months that I have been away from my state and the comfort that surrounded me. Lessons could be learnt in different ways; I had sat before teachers, scholars and Imams, and each one of them taught me different things no doubt. But I realized that nothing had I learned over the years as simple and will remain evergreen in my mind like learning the culture of the Tiv man – his hospitality that at first stroke me as odd only recently but had come to identify it as the way of the people.
All my fears have been driven away, the fear of stepping on another land apart from mine. It has broaden my horizon and made me learn to be accommodating; religion and ethnic group aside. There was lot of things we have in common that even outweighs the religion and ethnic differences. I have met with youths who believe in the future of Nigeria and share my own vision. They are brothers – brothers under the skin. True, I was not only falling in love with these people that adorn their selves with the zebra colour but I was having thought of making my home around them. It was this same thought that ran across my mind while I prepared for work.
When I got to the staffroom, I met a little crowd gathered around Khadija’s table. I walked in fervent steps towards them to behold Khadija on the verge of cutting a cake. She looked at me, flashing her dazzling teeth as though for the cameras and said, “It’s my birthday”.
That revelation confided in me the reason why I felt so beautiful within me. And I wasn’t surprise as I knew that she shared a connection more than I have thought. It’s only a shame I didn’t include her among those close to me. It was her happiness that had succeeded in invading me –she is indeed the other me, the other portion of my heart – my semiheart and if my semiheart is happy, so should I.
“I know,” I answered, my face mirroring hers.
Doohemba Gwa is a young writer. He writes mostly novels and short stories and once in a while dives into poetry. His work has been published in ‘Telling our Stories’, an anthology of new Nigerian short stories published by ANA Kano. He was also published in Daily Stream newspaper as poet of the week on Friday, November 20, 2015 issue.