My phone alarm woke me up at six again, reminding me of the five year old routine that I had to continue today. I was still hopeful that life would become better but until then, hawking pure water will do. I was an extremely poor fellow and I lived in the rural part of the city. Realising I had no kerosene to prepare food that morning, I hurried to my neighbours house, madam Nnkechi, the owner of a local food joint to borrow some. Unfortunately, we were in the same shoes as she claimed not having money to purchase any, stating that she had resulted in using tree parts to cook. I was already running late for work as the earlier I started selling, the better for me so I rushed off to work. Morning had turned into early afternoon, and as I moved about selling my water, I came across a ghastly scene. A heavy-duty truck had fallen off the bridge and landed on some people. From what I could gather, fourteen people were injured and two people were dead due to lack of response of calls from the public hospitals as the staff were on strike. The two people that died were of different gender and I could see the food stuff they were hawking, scattered across the floor. With tears in my eyes and disgust at the crowd who were taking videos, I screamed to one in particular ‘why ! Why! Why?’ I was deeply saddened as that was all I could shout. Calming down, I picked up my tray and made to move back to the direction I came. I just wanted to go home and cry, when I heard a scream of ‘mami! Papa! They are dead oh!’ From who seemed to be a young boy of about sixteen years. Since no one bothered to comfort him, and went on with their videos, I went up to him to see how I could be of help. As I reached out to touch him, he coiled back, screaming and refusing to be consoled, cuddling the dead bodies. After a while, I had gotten him to calm down, and he told me he was an only child who lived with his parents and dying grandma on the next street, not too far from my street and with What had happened, he was lost. Moved by this, I gave him all my earnings for that day and bade him goodbye. In a foul mood, I sulked back home, thinking of the day’s disastrous events and how they could have been better handled. Hungry, as I hadn’t eaten,I decided to cook when I remembered I had no kerosene and so I went over to madam Nkechi to see if she had bought kerosene or if she could let me cook over her fire for a while, but as expected, the answer to the both was no. As I was leaving her compound, I heard shouts of ’ thief! Catch that thief!’ from the street next to mine . I rushed towards where the gathered crowd and to my surprise, the said thief was the young boy who had lost his parents earlier. I then pleaded with the angry mob to let me speak to him. After throwing rounds of angry comments, they resentfully let me speak to him only for me to find out that thugs had stolen the money I gave him earlier which had resulted to him begging. He was then begging in front of Iya Tobi’s provision store when she noticed that some ‘valuables’ which were not mentioned were missing as she went into the store to bring out money to give to him. As I turned to the crowd to plead on his behalf, they turned more angry and they began to hit me too. It was as if everyone, even the people in office attire were under control to become animalistic as they cried for blood. Managing to escape, they let me go as I was not the one they wanted and so I watched from a distance as they hit him for about five more minutes. At this point, I tried calling the police but they didn’t pick up. Thinking it was over, I started to move forward to render help to the boy because they had stopped hitting him when I saw someone put a tyre over his neck. I knew what was coming, I had seen it before with my own brother who was wrongly accused. Just as I reached forward to stop what was about to happen, I saw madam Nnkechi swinging a keg of kerosene, shouting 'here! Use this, I have enough to spare! Burn him! Teach everyone a lesson! While the boy screamed ‘I no be thief oh I no be thief’ I became speechless and unable to move as I saw my brother in him again and before I knew It, they had set him ablaze. His screams of agony seemed to minister pleasure to their ears as they watched on so eagerly as if the burning of his flesh was feeding their souls just by the sight of it. I was heartbroken, it had happend again and I was unable to help. All of a sudden, Iya Tobi cried out stating for them to stop the fire, that she had found the ‘valuables’ which turned out to be three individual satchets of Indomie. To my utter surprise, everyone scattered more swiftly than they gathered. The local police, choosing such a fine time, eventually arrived although I do not know who alerted them. Being the only one around, they grabbed and arrested me saying that if I did not identify my ‘co-criminals’, I would bear the full brunt of the court . I knew they were just looking for someone to blame and I knew that I was that person. As we hit the highway I made my decision, nothing was worth hoping for anymore so I jumped out the back of the pickup they put me in. A truck hit me and as I sailed up the air, I smiled. I will finally be free from a life of suffering with no gain and I closed my eyes for the last time as I felt my body hit the hard concrete road.
Yet , while all these happened, a dying grandmother had a coughing fit and choked on her own saliva to death.