Home Essay Competition Creative Essays Gold In The Darkness by Oladejo Victor.

Gold In The Darkness by Oladejo Victor.

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“Where ar……am……l?” Laide asked. Pain swept through his body from his left leg where he was injured. He gnashed his teeth and squeezed his eyes shut.

Darkness. Silence.
He opened his eyes.

” Thank God, he is alive. Closing your eyes won’t help you….” A voice said.
The ambulance jolted and the vehicle made a turn towards the dirt road on the left. The surgical equipments clanked in a tray beside the stretcher Laide was on and some bottles fell off the tray to the ground. The ambulance was smelling of medicines and dried blood.
” like l said, closing your eyes won’t help you. he said he won’t pay for any further treatments if you don’t mention the name of the other guy” The man in the white lab coat said. His coat was stained with bloody finger prints and different stains, they were the colour of sienna.
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฉ ๐˜จ๐˜ถ๐˜บ? ๐˜œ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ซ๐˜ถ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ? ๐˜‘๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ?ย  Segun ?, Laide thought . His heart was beating faster like the drum of a possessed drummer in a new yam festival. He gnashed his teeth. He felt his left leg wasn’t part of him because they torment him now with electrifying pain.
” You don’t know the level of crimeย  you guys committed” he shook his head, Laude stared at him in pain. Laide’s left hand was fastened with a cord to the edge of the stretcher. ” Anyway , you guys saved my life and my profession. I thought the old man was dead , it was a miracle. ” he grinned. His eyes were glassy. “we thought he was dead, but he was in coma. A very bad mistake all my fifty eight years in this profession. How did he survive down there?.That is why one needs to be sure he is not burying his relative alive. One needs to wait, this type of thingย  happened in my village, years ago….You might be wondering where he is, we took him to the hospital where he is receiving treatments now” He wiped his eyes with his gloved hand.
Nothing made sense to Laide. ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข? ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ? ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ. ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข?
” You see, he was suffering for long at the hospital before he went into coma. His son told us that we should alert him if he dies. Everyone had gave up on him. The old man before his….” The doctor walked closer to the stretcher and pushed a box closer to the stretcher, he sat on it and stared at Laide.
” don’t try to move your leg.” the doctor told Laide and sniffed.
” Mr Bayo, the son of Mr Jerome, told us his father instructed that he should be buried an hour after his death. It appears the old man didn’t want his body to be subjected to chemical tortures at the morgue. So we did as he had told his son. ” he stood up and walked to the blue curtain behind the drivers seat. He drew the curtain and peered in between. He held both halves of the curtain with his hands.
” Take us to the hospital. Don’t drive to the policeย  station. Let’s keep him alive”
” Oga , nobi wetin Mr Bayo and the Oga police tell us, he talk say make we carry dem con poliz station”
” Drive to the hospital first, let’s give him blood, he was bleeding when we took him.”
” Okay oo, but how dem fit do that kind thin. Anyway if he no be dem, the old man for die throwaway”
” Adamu that is not my business. drive to the hospital. Take the expressway.”
He closed the curtain and returned to the box and sat on it.
” The black guy, what is his name?”
๐˜ž๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฉ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฌ ๐˜จ๐˜ถ๐˜บ? ๐˜œ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ซ๐˜ถ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ?
” Is he dead?” Laide asked.
” Oh , he took the old man’s place”
Laide closed his eyes and was quiet. The doctor stood up and walked to the blue curtains. Before drawing it, he turned and faced Laide.
” why were you guys so desperate… they would get the other guys soon. Francis would lead the police, he saw every member of your gang” he smiled and Laide frowned , He swallowed the phlegm in his mouth and coughed.
” l don’t know why. just for gold”the doctor said and joined the driver at the front seat.
Laide’s face had lost all expression, but the pastย  like a desolate threshold could be visited again………
The air was cold and damp.Looking at the sky, an hungry toddler would have confused the yellow orb of the sky for an egg York. it was dull, round and yellow behind the clouds around it. Darkness was approaching and the twilight would fade away for night in some minutes. The Potter’s field below had another body buried within her bowels, the leader of the gravediggers โ€”francisโ€” gazed at the offโ€” white gravestones and vaults scattered on the field. Some of the vaults had been there for years , looking at them you could guess who was buried within them by their size. Towards his right was a small vaultย  that had a banquet of withered flowers on it. The epitaph read: “He was a lovely boy”. Francis shook his head . ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ , he thought. Towards his left was the grave he dug with his men, few minutes ago. The corpse of a man was buried six feet below.ย  The graveyard caretaker โ€”Segunโ€” stood by the dwarf gate behind him. Frances wiped his gloved hands on his work Jeans.
” Francis, l want to close the gate, the Local government authority don’t talk say make l dey lock the gatesย  after seven o’clock don nak ”ย  segun said, with his hands on the dwarf iron gate. ” This skull miners and juju men everywhere, make them no come put me for trouble” .
” na truth you talk, dem dey every where, l just dey wonder why we con bury dis man dis evening. He bi Muslim?”
” no o, if he bi Muslim, dem for dey say dat their Arabic things before dem bury am” Segun said. Francis walked to him and faced the road. The moon like a silver bow was shining in the sky. He switched on his torch.The rays illuminated the grassy dirt road that connected to rest of the world.
”ย  Thank you ” he said, facing Segun who was locking the gate. “make l dey go, l fit see cab for main road” Francis turned to leave. He kept walking as fast as he could. Birds were twittering from the trees by his left. Heย  ย stopped and switched off his torch to urinate . As he was about to urinate , a vehicle sped past . It was a van.
๐˜ž๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜บ, Francis thought. He gazed at the vehicle as it sped to the gate that lead into the local government cemetery. From his position now, he was too far to the gate , but he could see what was going on.
The door of the caretaker’s lodge, metres to the gate was opened, the caretaker came out with a torch. The van’s door towards the left swung open and a tall man with a spade came out.
ย Francis was alarmed. He took his phone from his pocket and dialed : 119.
” we are late segun” Uncle Jude said, and held out his hand. Segun shook it.
” No na” he walked closer, shey una no see any man waka pass una?” Segun asked.
” we no see anybody.” Uncle Jude turned towards the van.” boys oya naw, we don’t have all day” .
The side door was opened two men came out. Both held diggers, one of them had a bag.
” Laide, you carry the Gold Tester?”ย  A yellow guy nodded.” Type 1?”
” Yes, Uncle ” Laide replied. Laide turned to his left. “Joseph wey your glove?”Laide asked.
Segun and Uncle Jude lead the party towards the gate. Segun took a key from his pocket and opened the gate.
” which place dem bury am put” Uncle asked and switched on his torch.
” dat place wey elephant grass full” Segun said and pointed to his left.
” dat place?” Uncle Jude asked.
” no, after dat small pikin grave, ehen, na there” Segun said.
” you no follow us?” Uncle Jude asked.
Segun shook his head. ” if anytin hapun, who go tell una”
” you sure say, the gold dey there?” Uncle Jude asked.
” Yes na, no be my eye, Francis and him boys bury am. I see the medals and the shield… all of dem be gold..” Segun coughed. ” Mr Bayo, di man pikin talk say, di man talk say make dem bury am quick quick . so Mr Bayo talk say , he wan bury am with the gold medals and the shield to honour am”
Laide wondered if the son was foolish.๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜บ! He shook his head and Joseph adjusted his trousers. Uncle Jude smiled and they walked towards the off-white gravestones and vaults.
ย When they got to the spot. They could see thin lines by the edge of the grave. Laide dropped his digger.
” On the tester, make you put am for ground” Uncle Jude said and turned to the other two. ” l will dig this place, you go start from….. Joseph! since morning you dey silent, you no one walk. I tell you say make you drink ogogoro dat time you no answer, abeg carry digger joor”
Laude fixed his gaze on his astute Uncle. ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ’๐˜ต ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ , ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ฉ๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ’๐˜ด ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฑ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ!
ย Both men started digging and Laide held Uncle Jude’s Torch. They were all silent except the clattering of the blades of the spade and digger against stones. Laide didn’t know what was on their mind, deep in him, he was scared. The off-white gravestones and vaults around them painted nothing more than Macabre scenes in his mind. Laide wondered if they would succeed, he was in need of the money. The only thing standing between him and his mother in Senegal was money.
ย ” You no wetin disย  thin remind me of?” Uncle Jude said. He dropped the spade and adjusted his trouser.
Joseph paused and gazed at Uncle Jude.
” if we dey dig Rabbit hole for village, hei get as hei dey, we go block everywhere till we dig reach where di Rabbit dey hide” Uncle Jude said. Joseph smiled. Laideย  wondered what Rabbit hunt had to do with what they where doing. He wanted to hiss, but his lips won’t let him. He turned and faced the direction of the gate. Segun stood behind the gate with his torch.
“๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ” Laide thought. They kept digging, carving out a slope. After a while, the slope went deeper and the edges got round . Nothing was seen of the men except shovelful of dirt and sand.
ย After some minutes, they dug to the coffin. It was polished and brown and tinged with yellow at the edges. Joseph dropped his digger and yawned out of fatigue. The inside was hot. They were both sweating.ย  Uncle Jude’s mind was racing , not for fear or claustrophobia butย  excitement. he looked up the slope.
” Bring the Gold tester! ” Uncle Jude shouted. Laide dropped the torch and walked to the bag. He took the gold tester and pressed : “MOTION”
The yellow bulbs turned green. Laide walked back to the grave and dropped the tester. He knelt by the edge and fixed his gaze on the men. Uncle Jude took the tester, Joseph bent over the edge of the coffin and opened. What happened next was the scene that would torment Laide for the rest of his years on earth.
ย Inside the coffin was a man who jerked his hands immediately Joseph opened the cover.
” o to ji ooo!*” Uncle Jude shouted, Joseph screamed. Both men struggled to climb the edge of the slope , pushing pebbles to the coffin below with their legs. Laide was too scared, he staggered and fell on his back.
” wetin happen !” Segun called from the gate .
” O ti gi !” Laide screamed. Almost immediately, the sirens of the police patrol van was heard. Laide stood and tried to run. He fell again, and his leg was pierced by an object. He couldn’t see because his eyes were shut.
Darkness,ย  Screams , Gun shots and then silence.
Meaning: 1. ” O ti gi ooo! “andย  ” O to gi”{it [he or she ]is awake}
Oladejo Victor Olayemi is a budding artist and a secondary school
graduate. He lives in Ore, Odigbo, Ondo state and wrote in via victoroladejo95@gmail.com