So Bright a Darkness
263 Pages
English
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So Bright a Darkness

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Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more
263 Pages
English

Description

Okafor ran wildly through the jungle, the phantom captain and his ghoulish platoon in hot pursuit. The faster he ran the more they gained on him. The earth suddenly became marshy and slippery under his feet, impeding speed and balance. He came to an intersection where the jungle paths crossed and saw a mound of earth about four feet high. Just beyond the mound stood a giant Iroko tree. Intuitively, he knew that if he jumped over the mound and quickly climbed up the tree, the ghostly captain and his soldiers would lose him. Eons merge in interstellar whirls. Realism, science fiction and fantasy fuse to drive this drama of transition, cross civilisation and self-discovery.

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Published by
Published 29 December 2014
Reads 0
EAN13 9789789182688
Language English
Document size 8 MB

Legal information: rental price per page 0.004€. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

Exrait

FICTION
Kraftgriots Also inthe series(FICTION) Ernest Emenyonu:The Adventures of Ebeleako Ifeoma Nwoye:Endless Search Funmilayo Adegbite:Bonds of Destiny Frank U. Mowah:Eating by the Flesh David Adenaike:The Mystery Child OluObafemi:Wheels Babatunde Omobowale:Seasons of Rage Florence Attamah:Melodies of a Dashed Dream Ifeoma Nwoye:Death by Instalments Uche Nwabunike:Forever She Cried Clement Idegwu:Broken Dreams(2000) Vincent Egbuson:Moniseks Country(2001) Vincent Egbuson:A Poet is a Man(2001) Benedict Ibitokun:Sopaisan: Westing Oodua(2002) Vincent Egbuson:Love is not Dead(2002) Tayo Olafioye:Grandma’s Sun(2004) Ikechukwu Kalikwu:The Voice from the Grave(2005) Wale Okediran:The Weaving Looms(2005) Richard Maduku:Arigo Again!(2006) Vincent Egbuson:Womandela(2006), winner 2006 ANA/NDDC Ken Saro-Wiwa prose prize Abubakar Gimba:Trail of Sacrifice(2006) Abubakar Gimba:Innocent Victims(2006) Richard Ovuorho: My Grandfather(2007) Abubakar Gimba:Witnesses to Tears(2007) Abraham Nnadi:Not by Justification(2008) Majovo Amarie: Suspended Destiny(2008) Abimbola Adelakun:Under the Brown Rusted Roofs(2008) Richard Masagbor:Labyrinths of a Beauty(2008) Kayode Animasaun:A Gift for the Corper(2008) Liwhu Betiang:Beneath the Rubble(2009) Vincent Egbuson:Love My Planet(2009),winner 2008 ANA/NDDC Ken Saro-Wiwa prose prize Richard Maduku:Kokoro Compound(2009) Ted Elemeforo:Child of Destiny(2009) Yahaya Dangana:Blow of Fate(2009) Jonathan E. Ifeanyi:The Campus Genius(2009) Kayode Animasaun:Perambulators(2010) Ozioma Izuora:Dreams Deferred(2010), winner 2009 ANA/NDDC Ken Saro-Wiwa Prose Prize Victor Akande:A Palace for the Slave(2010) E.L. Agukwe:A Tale of Trioubaz(2011) Ozioma Izuora:Scavengers’ Orgy(2011) Ifeoma Chinwuba:Merchants of Flesh(2011) Vincent Egbuson:Zhero (2011) Ibrahim Buhari:A Quiet Revolutionary(2012)
FICTION
Chidubem Iweka
Published by Kraft Books Limited 6A Polytechnic Road, Sango, Ibadan Box 22084, University of Ibadan Post Office Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria +234 803 348 2474, +234 805 129 1191 E-mail: kraftbooks@yahoo.com www.kraftbookslimited.com
© Chidubem Iweka,2014
First published 2014
ISBN 978–978–918–155–1
= KRAFTGRIOTS = (A literary imprint of Kraft Books Limited)
All Rights Reserved
First printing, September 2014
r
Dedication
ForIweka Dada
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Prologue r
Okafor ran wildly through the jungle, the phantom captain and his ghoulish platoon in hot pursuit. The faster he ran the more they gained on him. The earth suddenly became marshy and slippery under his feet, impeding speed and balance. He came to an intersection where the jungle paths crossed and saw a mound of earth about four feet high. Just beyond the mound stood a giant iroko tree. Intuitively, he knew that if he jumped over the mound and quickly climbed up the tree, the ghostly captain and his soldiers would lose him. Much as he tried to leap over the little mound it became as difficult as scaling a prison wall. Suddenly, a large dark object like a scattered mass of hair came down from the sky spinning like a cyclone. It enveloped Okafor’s upper body, forming a cocoon around his head. Okafor struggled to pull the hair off his face as he felt a physical uplift. He was air-borne. When he succeeded in getting rid of the stifling mass of hair, he found himself at the pinnacle of the iroko. The ghostly group had ceased chasing him and turned into normal human beings. They stood at the foot of the iroko tree hailing and cheering Okafor till he woke up from the dream, the nightmare. He got out of the bunker where he had spent the night and rushed out to get ready for his trip to the camp.
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One r
Sergeant Major Okelue Okafor swaggered out of the Quarter master’s office in his usual pompous manner– the godfather of seventh battalion. He had been in the army very long, long before any member of the seventh infantry. On this hot and humid afternoon, he strode leisurely through the jungle camp; chin up in the air, his massive chest bulged viciously under his sweat-soaked khaki. His carriage always made him seem larger than his six feet, four inches and two hundred pounds. Okafor was tough, mean and arrogant. He had a natural knack for making other people, especially his subordinates, feel uneasy in his presence. As he passed a group of noisy recruits in their spotless green uniforms, a plague of silence swept through them. Their shiny black boots came together in honorary attention. Okafor responded. “You lousy bunch of tenderfoots lounging around with silly smiles on your faces. Don’t you know there’s a war going on? Hey you!” pointing at a tall lanky recruit of about nineteen. “What’s your name and number, boy?” “Private Kosime, 2001 NA/ 1431, Sir,” he replied. “Ok, Private, I hold you responsible for you and your friends here. Report to the C-tent in ten minutes and sign up with Corporal Ngefa. We’ll be leaving for the front in an hour.” “But, sir,” protested Kosime, “we have been assigned on home guard in the village.” Okafor’s eyes flashed red. An instant frown seemed to bind his face into a cold angry mask. “Attention!” he barked. “Are you disobeying my order? Now move it! He-e-a-a! Hup! Hy! Hup! Hy! Hup! Hup!” The men scuttled off in different directions, marching to the military beat of his ‘hups’ and ‘hys.’ Okafor smiled with satisfaction as he watched them go. Having been a bully all his life he enjoyed such privilege which the army provided and he, too often, exploited. Okafor’s parents were banished from their homeland when
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he was a teenager, for an atrocity his father committed. When he joined the army, the soldiers became his tribesmen and the Seventh Battalion his tribe; a tribe in which he accumulated much power and influence over the years. It was long ago that the rumour circulated through the seventh infantry that Okafor had no home. Some said he was an outcast banished for life while others rightly rumoured that it was his father that was. In spite of his hostility and arrogance, Okafor was held in high esteem for his bravery. His reputation had been set when he destroyed two enemy tanks in one day. When the democratic government of President Charles Aguiyi was seriously threatened by militants, General Idris had moved swiftly, sending Captain Chuka and the Seventh Infantry Battalion to the rescue. The ensuing skirmish had at first seemed to be all there was to the conflict. But shortly, the Third Amoured Division had to be called in to combat the superior firepower of their militant allies from across the border. The small-scale skirmish soon escalated into a full battle of attrition, taking fatal tolls on both sides. Sergeant Major Okafor took the war as if it were his own personal battle. He hated how ruthlessly the militants used women and children to shield themselves from the federal troops. He was obsessed with winning the war. It was his war and though he wanted to win it alive and unhurt like everyone else, he was prepared to take the maximum risk. He came to the jungle camp once a week to sign for supplies, enjoy a half decent meal and a cool bath at the paramedic quarters. On this particular day, he was assigned by Captain Chuka to pick up reinforcements of men and ammunition. He took a short walk through a row of palm trees to the paramedic station—two large green tarpaulin tents skilfully nestled under a group of umbrella trees. In the tent, Okafor was greeted by his girl, Miss Chiadi Okolo, who worked with the paramedic team of the seventh battalion. She was a gigantic big-boned woman with a short neck and puffy cheeks. She wrapped her sturdy arms around Okafor who swept her off the ground with ease. As he carried her in his arms and stared into her eyes, Okafor felt an overwhelming surge of emotion through his body. His love
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for her was intense and childlike. Before her, he had not loved another woman and now, wished for no other but her. The feeling that sparked off between them was mutual and spontaneous the day they met. Little did they know that they had one binding factor in common; they were from the same town. After they were introduced by Okafor’s friend who came from army HQ a diligent friendship evolved that same day. Finding out later that Chiadi was also from Obodo Ogwari intensified Okafor’s love for the homely woman. Okafor’s yearning to return to his homeland one day, had become an obsession. Meeting Chiadi and falling in love with her yielded a missing link in his life, a link to his kinsmen. He felt like one who had won a trophy. The strict traditions of Obodo Ogwari from the ancient days discouraged intermarriage even with their close neighbours. With the coming of the Europeans, civilization forged deeper into the hinterland and surrounding towns but never entered their small ancient community. In time, they became socially estranged from their neighbours, interacting with outsiders only in trade and services. Obodo Ogwari women were rarely found abroad. Therefore it was a special omen of good luck for Okafor to find Chiadi Okolo, not only in the army but in the same batallion as he. At first he had wondered if she or her parents were likewise victims of banishment but later found the contrary. Her father had been a chauffeur to an expatriate agriculturist, a whiteman who lived in Jos. Chiadi and her siblings were born and raised there. It was in her adulthood, owing to their father’s death, that pilgrimage and acquaintance with the homeland began. Chiadi never forgot a certain trip she made to Obodo Ogwari wearing her military fatigues, how the villagers made an embarrassing spectacle of her for wearing trousers. Had it not been their dread of the army, the Okoti Age Grade who were the youngest constituted grade at the time would have been ordered to chase her out of town with whipping, slapping and dousing of sand. However, the disdain in their eyes was enough to send the message across: You are not welcome in trousers. It had upset but amused Chiadi when she later found out that her wearing trousers was a stiff indictment on her moral values, with a strong suspicion that she would
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