Hunted – The diary of the corper across the Benue River | Episode 10

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Hunted

Last Updated on August 1, 2018 by Memorila

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


February, 16.

“Come on, let me give you a ride to your lodge,” said Imoter, my colleague. We had just closed from work and we were the last to leave the premises. I stood still, staring at him. I needed that ride because it would be of financial aid to me but I found out that I couldn’t bring my body to respond to the command I was giving it to move to respond to the invitation.

“What’s up?” he asked looking at me with suspicion; a smile was coiled around his lips.

I didn’t answer him instead; I let my mind travelled back to the fatal accident I witnessed last weekend when I went into town the previous week.

The guy I later came to know as Mansir was on his bike with a fifty litre gallon of fuel he bought from the filling station. I could imagine his happiness at securing that amount of fuel he would sell at black market price; and with the current fuel scarcity, he would make a fortune out of it. That must have been the thought that was running across his mind as he rode his bike to his destination.

Then unexpectedly, he collided with another bike that came out of nowhere. Nobody could have predicted that because he was on the right lane. But the other bike was at fault because he didn’t follow his lane. The bike didn’t wait; it sped away at a high speed. It happened so quick that not even the traffic warden could figure out what happened until Mansir was lying sprawled in the centre of the road where traffic met, no one could explain how he covered such distance in the short space of seconds.

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The traffic came to a sudden halt as everyone found something to feed their eyes with. A young man of some heavy built like Mansir walked straight to him and lifted him off the ground. Immediately Mansir was off the ground, he took control of himself and lifted his bike off the ground in order to save his fuel that was dripping out of the gallon at a fast rate. That was a fatal mistake, once he did that, the bike went up in flames. It wasn’t the bike alone that was aflame; he too was engulfed in a consuming fire.

He did something that it was only then I knew was possible; he summersaulted in the air, making about three turns before he landed on his feet, firmly rooted to the ground. He was screaming and shouting in a loud voice. When he tried to reach out to people, they make way for him and stood at a distance, paralyzed as they watched him fight for his dear life with a trail of fire around him. “If only he could lie on the ground still, sand would have been poured on him with water mixed with detergent,” said a man that was standing close to me.

He tried to off his clothes but the satin overall he had on was melting on his skin. It was a young boy hawking fire extinguisher that opened the way for help: others who were selling the same equipment joined in the rescue as they sprayed it lavishly over the restless Mansir who couldn’t remain still even for a split second.

He was rushed to the nearest private hospital. I followed behind never giving any support but in order to satisfy my curiosity as I dragged my feet. I watched as strangers battled to save a life they did not know. Mansir’s body was shaking and he couldn’t even stay calm as he was rushed straight into the emergency unit.

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The nurse on duty didn’t allow him to be taken into the theatre unless the sum of five thousand naira was deposited.

I stood there watching and wondering how they would go under the ordeal of narrating to her that none of the people in there know the man. But a man out of the crowd handed the money to her. That wasn’t enough, she needed more and this time she requested for a whopping thirty thousand naira. When asked for what her replied had been, “It’s for the treatment.”

“What about the five thousand naira?” an angry man asked.

“That was for emergency fees,” she replied in a flat voice.

“We need a doctor here,” another man demanded.

“He is not on seat but this is something that we can handle, all we need to do while we wait for his arrival is to wash the wounds and peel the skin off,” she answered in a business-like voice.

I cringed at the thought of peeling his skin. I couldn’t even create an image in my head to depict the process of peeling of his skin.

“Someone’s life is at stake here,” the man who gave the five thousand naira lamented.

“Let us take him to a government hospital,” another suggested.

“I am afraid he won’t make it,” the nurse insisted.

“As if you care,” a man snarled.

Mansir gnashed as though to say something that drew attention to his self. He was placed on a stretcher and his body was filled with patches of the melted clothe that was now a rag on his body; a remainder of what used to be an overall. He is a young man in his early twenties. Traces of his youth vigour were clearly visible. He is tall and lanky and keeps beards that used to be long and full. His dark eyes were flung open revealing his fear and uncertainty. He lain lazily where he lay without moving any part of his body. Looking at him alone made me wished I read medicine; I could have given him my service in order to save his life.

“I have two thousand naira here with me…” a man who was dressed in the Tiv’s cultural regalia spoke for the first time. He was one of the men that held Mansir because his clothes were soiled with blood stain.

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As if that was on clue, each person gathered there began to make contributions. I withdrew because I didn’t have enough money on me although no amount of money was too small but I needed to get home.

From where I stood, I watched with tears filled eyes at the show of humanity that these people possessed. It was one that tore through ethnicity and religion in order to save a life… a life of a Muslim.

I thought I would only be a spectator in watching others redeem a life but that changed when the money that was contributed was short of one hundred naira. I dipped my hand in my pocket and gave the only money I had with me; one hundred naira not certain of how I will get back to my lodge. I felt I gave the highest amount of money because it was my money that made the contributions worthwhile. I don’t know if that was pride, but I tried not to see it as such and I uttered a silent prayer asking Allah for forgiveness.

Quickly, the nurses sprang into action and while his file was being prepared, he spoke in a coherent voice that surprised everyone. “My name is Mansir,” he said in answer to the nurse’s question.

I laughed with the crowd as they began to disperse in little groups; feeling fulfilled at having a hand in saving a life.But at the back of my mind was that nagging voice that said clearly that some private hospitals are more concerned with making money than saving lives.

“Aren’t you coming?” Imoter asked for the last time I guess.

“I am.But promise me that when I alight from this bike it will be in one piece,” I said as I boarded the bike.

Series Navigation<< Hunted – The diary of the corper across the Benue River | Episode 8Hunted – The diary of the corper across the Benue River | Episode 11 >>

Gwa Doohemba

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.

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