BETRAYED 


"Nke a ga - eme ka ụwa gbaa gburugburu na m agwa gị." Charles said, as he shared a glance with Emeka;  the man who sat close to the reach of his walking stick. His face was pale, with wrinkles stealing the smoothness on his face. 

"Nwa okorobịa, you can't fight this people. You don't have the support." 

"Ike m." The other man on other hand, had his face puckered into a frown; he was younger than the man who was being addressed by Charles. He knew the old man was going to talk his brother out his decision, and he was never going to like that. 

"Nna! This is what the people want. Nke a bụ ọgụ maka nnwere onwe anyị. No one can take this away from us. Nna! you might not understand this." 

The younger brother sighed, as he shrugged. 

"Nwa m, talk your brother out of this. You all will be betrayed. Ana m agwa gị. It had happened and it will happen again. Look, Ndị aka ha dị ọcha ga-ata ahụhụ. The innocent will not forgive you." 

Ikem casted his ears far away, acting like he wasn't being talked to. 

When the two brothers were long gone to see the king of the community, Charles called his last son, Francis. 

They both stood by the window, opposite a large table, that hosted his chiefly possessions. One elephant horn and few skin coats were outstanding. 

Francis knew it was a moment of advice, so he was ready to listen to his old father. His dark moustache stood strong against his lips, opposing his fair skin color.

"Soon they will meet the king, and talk him into taking sides with them. Soon, you will be left to join or they tag you a rebel." Charles sniffed, he rubbed his nose vigorously, as his son offered him a white handkerchief, which he collected and sneezed into, then continued. 

"If you are scared of not being shamed or tagged a rebel, join them. But, be wise. Mara nwa m. Ha niile ga-arara ibe ha nye mgbe ọ na-esiri ike. They all are motivated by money. They can't face war." Francis nodded in acknowledgement. 

"Thank you Papa." He said. 

"Welcome my son. Emmm" Charles pointed at the doorway leading to the hallway. "Let me get going. I need to see my friend, down the street. Lock up..  Emm.. Ọ bụrụ na ị na-aga ebe ọ bụla, I have my spare key." 

Francis smiled, then moved with his father, as they started another conversation, approaching the doorway. 


****

It was a yes from the King. Emeka and Ikem had over 50 youths gathered in the square the same evening, to begin the freedom campaign. 

He had the passion, fully supported by his brother who had started the whole movement at first. Few men followed them from Aba, committed to the movement. 

Emeka knew he was good at talking and but for Ikem, who wanted the movement so bad, he wouldn't have joined. Those nights, Ikem would sit him down and tell him about history. How they'd been a part of the country they wanted to separate from. How people had died, to birth this movement. How war, triggered from the heartless government, had kept them down. How they had been cheated and how a share of what their land sourced, had been taken out of their bowl. 

A moment to the end of Emeka's talk, there was a gunfire in the square. People got displaced and soon, everywhere was dry. 

Emeka grunted from where he was stuck. He was eaten up to the middle, with his legs fixed into the ditch he had fallen into. The stage he climbed was made of wood and was too weak to hold the struggle, that it cracked up and had him in while everyone was on the rush to save their lives. 

Even Ikem, was long gone. Emeka was left to help himself out. This was impossible, because his legs were now broken, and he also had a deep cut on his hip.

The gunfire had already stopped and no one came forth to pose a threat. 

Just in the blink of an eye, trouble came and betrayal set in. Those who had mouthed support were long gone, leaving him stuck with a broken leg in a ditch. 


©Godwin Okhuoya