Loko (Part VII)
Following the discovery of the headless corpse of his mother, Loko was not seen. Days rolled into months and months into a season, life dragged on its wheels. Then he returned one bright afternoon but this time he did not come back driving a posh car into town; he came trekking on foot. He looked shell-shock like a sparrow which suddenly just discovered a scarecrow on a cornfield where it had been stealing throat-full of grains. He had trekked a long distance for his feet were swollen, the soles had broken at the edges. His clothes were well worn and torn in places. His face was covered with hairs unshaved for months. He had been battered and beaten by all the weather kinds.
He did not go home rather he promptly took his place by the foot of the stairwell at the school. He was full of paranoia and looked like he would soonest jump out of his skin. Whenever people came within the close range of him he cringed and charged at them, desperate to be left alone. He was caught, bound and bundled off by his kinsmen to the native psychiatric home lest he entered the market place and his madness would become permanent.
But Loko who had become agoraphobic jumped the fence and ran off the healer home. He was not seen for more than a month; then some traders had come back to town with the news that Loko was seen in Ijaye town in the hands of the mendicants who herded madmen about the streets to beg for alms. His kinsmen went to Ijaye and retrieved him. He was again taken to the healer home. There he spent many months but his broken mind would hold no more.
No one had known for certain the ill wind that hit Loko but people were certain that it was the result of the curse placed by Ajala. Ajala had told no one what he knew but somehow people stringed together their own story.
Like the proverbial broken pot that lost its pride of place amongst the household utensils to end up a cast-off on the community dunghill, Loko, once a beacon of Dagbolu, became a lizard that fed in the cracks of the wall. His father had died and his wife had gone away and Loko was alone in the world to which he was now dead.
I was standing by the house, my face pressed on the bars of the iron gate, imagining what a glorious place it had been and my heart filling with sobriety at what it was now in the ashes and rubbles of its dimmed glory. Tears welled in the corners of my eyes. And when I thought I had had enough and turned around to leave I discovered him; he had been standing with sedate patience watching me while I watched the house. Though his face was blank and he did not look dangerous, it scared me so much to suddenly discover him so. Then I realized the club dangling loosely by his side. I began to back away slowly. He did not move, he only watched me. I had gotten clear of the gate now and my slow movement were now hurried, almost a trot as I tried to get away quickly. He came after me then. I felt a surge of adrenaline and I began to run. I ran into the crowd at the market place hoping to mingle and get lost but Loko did not lose sight of me. I cried aloud in hope that the people of the market would stand in his was and prevent him from coming at me, but once Loko came they only moved out of the way. Everyone looked on, doing nothing to rescue me. We were both running round and round now, moving into and out of the crowd and people stood watching as if it was a drama. Suddenly I got angry but I was not sure what my anger was targeted at. I capitulated and waited for him; I was ready now to take the blow. Soon he approached grimacing in my face, his hand raised to club me down. I closed my eyes, cringed and shrieked in anticipation of the great pain. I was shaken awake then. My pajamas were drenched with sweat just as my bed spread. There had been a power outage and the fan had stopped working.
Previous Posts in the Series – Loko:
- Loko (Intro): Life on the Street of Dagbolu
- Loko (Part II): The Day Loko Chased Abraham
- Loko (Part III): Loko’s Blessed Night in Iya-Osu’s Shop
- Loko (Part IV): Loko’s Sudden Rise From Grass to Grace
- Loko (Part V): Suspicion About Loko’s Business Travels
- Loko (Part VI): The Headless Corpse of His Mother