Death Hides in Shrunken Promises

When finally, the rains came, our mouths hung like cave entrances; only that cave entrances housed more hope than our mouths could ever get. That moment was epic, even our ancestors had seen nothing like it.

The skies had given us a promise of rain. So the clouds gathered in a mass that turned the day into night. Hearts beat again; the sweetest tune it knew how to. After a long season comprising of naked skies and an angry sun, dead seeds and wilting crops, very little water, and the mockery that was our chewing-stick hands lifting farm tools and creating sparks with the hard earth when we let them fall, we were glad the rains had come. We gathered together and watched hungry solicitors; our spirits reaching for the skies, dragging it down to us, begging it to fulfill its promise, so our crops could grow, so our life could have new meanings – better ones. But the skies withdrew its promise with a malicious smile at the edge of its lips. What little drops the sky let fall, the earth drank too greedily, leaving none for our crops, none for us.

Death laughed in the retreating clouds and we shielded our faces because we’d seen its likeness and it looked so much like us: rib cages like curved broomsticks pressing on brittle skin, large skully heads, bloated bellies, and legs that complained bitterly of having to carry us for so long. Silence was the sound of our despair as we moved back to our houses, knowing we may never come out again. The skies had failed us. Perhaps in our next life, if there is any, we’ll look elsewhere other than up for help, for hope.

Miracle Edoziem studies English and Literary Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He doesn’t have much to say about himself, except that, he loves to live in his head.