• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Kamara- The escape

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have always known that I am more intelligent than the average 10-year-old. Growing up in the palace with my grandparents, I had been allowed to sit in during the resolution of disputes where I would pay rapt attention to the arguments of both parties and once they concluded, I would whisper my verdict into grandpa’s ear. More often than not, his decision tallied with my verdict and he would say to me after everyone was gone, ‘’with your father’s constant absence, I believe the kingdom would be safe in your little hands’’.

His words echoed and re-echoed in my head repeatedly as I sat shivering in the corner of the room. Without his son and granddaughter, heaven only knows what he must be going through. Then I thought of my father who lay badly injured on the floor in the other room after his daily dose of beatings. Day after day, I had listened to my father’s cries as he was tortured. Knowing may father, he did not let the extent of the pain he felt reflect in his voice because he was aware that I was listening. I had to do something to save my father and myself, but I couldn’t seem to come up with a plan. I thought long and hard, but I saw no way out. The only person I ever saw was the little boy who had refused to speak to me when he came daily to drop my meals. Then I sat in my corner and devised my plan.

I already knew the time of day he came in with my meal so that is when my plan would come to play. When I heard the door open, I looked up and smiled at him, something I had never done before. His face wore no expression as usual. As he bent to drop the tray on the ground, I recognised my cue. Immediately I threw my back hard on the ground behind me and started to convulse. During my little episode, I heard the tray of food fall from his grasp and then he ran out without shutting the door.  As I continued my episode with my eyes closed, I heard sounds as more feet shuffled into the room. There was a scream; a woman’s scream which sounded so familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. It was her, my mother. How dare she scream when she had kidnapped my father and me? I wondered how she could live with herself after placing an order that my father be beaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I wasn’t done seething when I heard another woman’s unfamiliar sharp voice bark, ‘Do not touch the girl’.

‘But she’s going to die,’ said my mother.

‘Then so be it, after all she is just collateral damage,’ said the unfamiliar voice.

‘No, she is my daughter! This was not the plan. You said she was only needed to lure her father to you. Now you have him and she does not have to die.’

‘Get her out of my sight before I change my mind.’

‘Come help me carry her into the main house.’

I felt large hands carry me. At this time I had decided to let the seizure subside. It seemed like forever until finally I felt myself being placed on a soft surface.

‘Thank you Jamal,’ I heard my mother say with a tight voice and the door was shut.

‘You can open up your eyes now my love.’

I was shocked at what I heard. How could she know that I had faked the seizure all this while?’

I felt her hand caress my forehead, ‘Kamara, please open up your eyes’.

All I had of her in the past five years was nothing but a memory which could not have prepared me for what I saw when I opened my eyes.

My once unhappy yet beautiful and robust woman was nothing but a shadow of herself. She was thin and gaunt with a face so hollow and the palest of skin. She looked like life had been sucked out of her.

‘I’m sorry Kamara.’

I was hurt. Why did she kidnap my father and I? How come she never loved me?

Like she was reading my mind, she began to speak…

‘I was put under a spell by the village witch who is of wizard ancestry. She wanted to marry your father, but he had eyes for only me so upon our union she cast a spell that I would be a terrible wife and mother. I knew my actions were wrong but I could not seem to control myself until you and your father left the house and I sat and cried for days on end going without food; I could not understand my actions. Then she came under the disguise of a nice old lady wanting to help me get you and your father back. Ignorantly I followed her. She constantly asked for details on you and your father and I gave until I slept one night and it was revealed to me in a dream that she was a witch. When I woke up and wanted to escape, I found myself in a cage, but by then I had already given her your father’s travel schedule. It was on that premise that she planned the kidnap of both you and your father. She thought together we could do nothing which was why she has left us but I have a plan, let’s go save your father.’

Oluwaseyi Lawal