I was beyond dealth and some people said l was lucky. Some people even said l was mad and was in need of those brain-guys. In my opine l wasn’t . But in my assuring voice my thought lingered. ?? ? ????? ????????? ?? ??? ? ???? ????? ?????. How can you call that lucky ehen? All those things l had done. You don’t know me , then you don’t visit the vendors everyday. do you? I was the guy always smiling with a kodak camera hanging down my deck in the front page of ??? ????? ???? newspaper. I was the highest paid newspaper reporter. I was the risk taking reporter who runs through the fleeing crowd towards the destruction and on the next news report every detail would be presented on the front page of the newspaper. I had International recognition too. A very big one at that. I was invited by the Japanese government to make a live coverage of a Tsuami. I went and l did it! So you see am beyond death . Though l was beyond death or l was being lucky, l still had my fears.
When the Nigerian government contacted me, l was beyond Joy. Though my fellow reporters expressed their fears , l accepted the offer. An offer to visit the desert lovers. The hooded and turbanned militants in the Sambissa forest — The Boko Haram. It was plain insanity , it was clear. One of the reasons l accepted the challenge was to see that beautiful girl in their camp — Leah Sharibu. So we made all preparations and l left with my crew and two green men.
The Air was misty when we got to the heart of the forest. It was a dirt road . It was said that the road was used at other times in bringing food supplies into the camp. The ?????? Truck swayed as the vehicle tore deeper into the canopy of trees and mangroves. The darkness was fading and it was close to dawn. My crew nembers kept vigil. They were trapped between fear and excitement, but they couldn’t help it. They were in need of fame to revive their dying Careers as Journalists.
The entrance into the forest camp was placed on guard. Three turbanned Boko Haram militants had Rocket Launchers on their shoulders , ready to roast us in the ?????? . They ordered us to stop and present our entry documents. The oldest of our soldiers spoke with them in Arabic and bits of Hausa thrown inbetween. After a while we entered and my fear returned.
The tents were scattered around a huge one that appeared to be a mosque. They had just finished their early morning prayers and were walking slowly back to their tents. All eyes on us. I avoided the stares of my crew members, l did because l knew they would only add to my growing fear. ???? ?? ? ?????
We stopped at the front of a huge black tent. The militant that led us, went to the entrance and called the tent owner with a loud voice. I signalled to my crew guys and they arranged their equipments. Ade had the rotating microphone and Juwon was in charge of the Camera. The tent cover was loosed from the bar holding it in place. The tent owner came out of the tent. I was about to
Turn to the crew members and commence the coverage when one of the soldiers yelled :
“ Ye eh” and he fell hitting the ground like an uprooted iroko tree. In sychronizing way, my crew guys fled into the bush followed by the second soldier. I was too stunned to move. I stared at the dead soldier and l turned to the black tent. A militant was posed in a shooting position. His rifle in my direction. I yelled and was about to flee when l was shot in the leg. I fell on the hard yellow earth . The pain went through my body. The militant walked closer and raised a spear. I raised my hands to sheild my self and l screamed.
“ Temiyemi, what is wrong?” my brother asked throwing our cloths into the laundry basket by his side.
I was too scared to talk. I surveyed the room to see if l was still in the camp, my heart almost Jumped out of my chest, when l saw a black fold-able fabric wardrobe. “ Jesus!” l shouted. My brother by the wardrobe brought the militant to my memory again.
“ what happened ? “ He asked again, folding a black pyjamas.
“ l had a dream , about those …. give me water” l said, feeling thirsty. My throat was almost dry. I was feeling dizzy.
“ l had a dream . it was at Boko Haram’s camp” l said. My brother grinned.
“ No wonder, you threw your legs wildly on the bed when l came in “ he said, throwing a pair of sucks into the basket.
“ Can you remember the assignment Mr Kunle gave us?”
“ That one , Mr Kunle gave us about emm…” he scratched his head “ see l can not remember”
“ He told us that we should write about ourselves being free from death” l said and took my copy of ??? ???????? by Paulo Coelho.
“ Oh, yes, that assignment it’s too strange. Imagine Abacha still alive and Hitler still conquering. Imagine the pain if they had the ability to live forever. Thank God we are mortals”
He said and sat on a stool.
d” But all the same being mortals proves a very great difference”
“ Anyway, l think l now know the reason we were given the assignment” l said, excited.
“ Mr Kunle told us to lmagine that death and it’s fear is over, how would we live our lifes. Iook at those Boko Haram guys. They reach out for their goals. Though negatively. They go among people and they get blown off. Can’t you see they are never in fear of death “
“ That is true , but imagine we are living our life without the fear of death. We would do extraordinary things.Nothing would hold us back. It’s always the fear of death that holds us back. It’s the fear of assassins that makes the Judge give Justice to the guity. This same fear is the limiting line” l said.
“ Thats true. Ehen lets get it soft. What would you be without death?” He asked smiling.
“ l would be a fearless reporter writing the truth despite all odds. l would be the Dale Giwa of our time. I would cover every detail of the events without taking sides. I would conquer fake news “ l said and grabbed my pen.
“ what would you be ?” l asked him.
“ l would be a soldier conquering thousands.”
“ Napoleon abi”
I laughed and took my notebook, happy that l had found a story to write about.
Oladejo Victor Olayemi is a budding artist and a secondary school
graduate. He lives in Ore, Odigbo, Ondo state and wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org