LIVING IN FEAR
(Dust to Gold)
Written by Nathaniel Anuma
It took a month for Nath and Andra to build the raft. They carried it to the seashore ready to sail across the ocean. They stood before the raft looking at it and occasionally glancing at each other for a work well done.
Bernard stood behind them to see how they gonna sail out. Nath’s hair had grown without a single comb on it. He was still in his boxers and singlet without footwear. He tried to push the raft into the water but Andra shouted, “Wait!”
“Any problem?” Nath held back.
“We have not done ‘check’”
“What do you mean by that?”
“‘Check’ like what they do whenever something is newly produced. Checking the break, the fuel tank, the not, etc..”
Nath smiled. “Andra, there is nothing to check here. This is just a raft not some kind of vehicle”
“Of course i know. Was just kidding” Andra pushed the raft into the water and climbed on it. He wasn’t surprise that it carried him floating on the water.
“You are not sailing on that raft Andra?” Bernard warned.
“What?” the son moop at him.
“You heard me right so come down from that thing!”
“Dad, you must be kidding me. How can you..”
“Is okay” Nath interrupted him and turned old Bernard. “You can’t stop your son. You need to follow us too. If you don’t make an attempt or take a risk, you won’t achieve anything and you’ll remain here forever.
We need to find a way out of this place!”
Bernard stared at him without saying a word.
He turned back going to the forest while Nath followed him to see him sitting on the stick chair weeping. He sat down beside him.
“Why the tears?”
“Andra is all i have left in this world. I don’t want anything to happen to him. That’s my fear, not that i don’t want to get out of here” Bernard explained in tears.
“Listen,” Nath placed a hand on his shoulder. “I am the only son of my mother just like Andra to you. Nothing gonna happen to us” he was able to convinced him thereby making all to sail on the raft carrying all their valuable materials especially foods like fish and coconuts even cutlass and a gun which they were hunting with before they disappeared to the island.
They were all on the large raft which had a long stick standing at the centre. On top of it was Bernard’s cloth hanging like a flag but served as a wind-vain.
All seated quietly. Only Nath and Bernard paddled the raft. After moving to a far distance, they looked back to see their island looking smaller. Other sides of the ocean were nothing but water even at the point where their eyes could reach.
That reminded Nath what Bernard told him. Suddenly, he quit paddling and deep his hand inside the water but brought it out. “Why did you do that?” Andra asked him.
“To check the temperate of the water”
“When the current is warm, it indicates that we are going the right direction. It becomes the opposite if it is cold”
“Wow!” Andra also touched the water. “It’s warm!” exclaimed while Nath smiled at him. He looked at his father to see him seriously staring at the water but averted his eyes from him…
Back home, Favour remained inside the room without coming out. Suddenly, she heard her father making a phone call. The conversation was more like it concerned her, so she went closer to the door and placed her ear on it.
“..she rejects her suitors and doesn’t want to do anything. Pause. What do you mean? Pause. Taking her abroad? Pause. Oh, thank you so much! Pause. When? Pause. I’m so grateful.
Favour left the door after the call. Within few seconds, the father knocked on her door and she opened it instantly having an idea what he wanted to tell her. Therefore, even before the father could say anything, she said, “I’m not going to any abroad”
“Chineke!” the father opened his mouth surprisingly. “Are you a witch? Though I’m not surprise coz your mother was”
“I’m not a witch. I overheard you on the phone”
“It’s one of my extended family member that wants to take you out to UK”
“I don’t want to go”
“Are you crazy! What has come over you?”
“Father, I’m going nowhere until i see Nath”
“Nath? Someone you don’t even know if you’ll see again? You are leaving my house whether you like it or not!” the father left the room angrily while Favour turned to the window again with tears.
“Please, come back to me, Nath” she murmured.
At this time, Nath and co were still in the middle of the ocean. Everywhere had become dark. They looked as far as their eyes could reach, both front and back but to see nothing but the ocean.
They weren’t paddling the raft anymore hoping to spend the night there.
“This journey has became something else” Bernard began. “How can we spend the night in the middle of an ocean?”
Without replying, all heard a mighty wave of water coming with force. They looked at it knowing very well they wouldn’t survive it.
“Oh, my God!” Nath exclaimed..