Click here to read the previous chapter Walk In The Dark, Walk In The Dark: Episode 2, Walk In The Dark: Episode 3, Walk In The Dark: Episode 4, Walk In The Dark: Episode 5, Walk In The Dark: Episode 6 and Walk In The Dark: Episode 7
Recap: After Emeka’s death, the group must march on.
The fierce looking dog sniffed the ground in front of it, its pointy ear at alert, waiting to catch anything out of the ordinary, then all of a sudden dashed off into the thick foliage, two others behind it. The barking of the dogs drew the men to their position. Causing their owners to run after them.
“Wetin dey make them shout?!”
“I no know,” Bello said to the fellow and to the dog he asked rubbing its head,”wetin be that?”
The dogs continued barking, their gaze focused down river, Bello followed it and saw something sticking out of the mass body of water. He could not make out what it was and motioned his fellow guards towards it, their weapons at a ready.
“Kini ni yen?” (what is that?) Slaughter asked looking at the flash of yellow sticking out slightly out of the surface of the water.
One of the guards went to fetch a long pole with which he proceeded to prod the item till it reached them at the bank, then Bello reached in and grabbed hold and almost screamed when the lifeless, whitened face of Emeka appeared, his dead eyes bloodshot and staring into nothingness.
He skin was cold when they dragged him out of the water and rigor mortis was beginning to set in but was in its early stages.
Bello examined the terrain before them, he knew these bushes like the back of his hands, as he had called it home for the longest time. As a boy he had lived therein as a farmer and it was there that the boss had found him and hired him as one of the guards.
“The boy no drown for here, e be like na water carry am and if you look the water, e no get as those children fit pass through this place and I don look around na only this one body dey, so that means say na only am drown. The only place wey them fit cross from na for front before the mango trees.” and as an after thought, added, “Dayo and Akin make una hide the body for bush, make we waka go front, I promise you say we go see them. We need hurry because na loss market dey loss so. Already this one don waste and Oga no go happy.”
A couple of minutes later they were standing at the exact spot Ade and the others had crossed from, Bello examined the footprints, they were still very fresh. They were on track.
“Awon omo wewe wa ni onigboya!!’ (those kids are courageous) Slaughter exclaimed, “their mind strong ghan!! Even as I grow like this, the water sef dey fear me!” He took back a step as he said that.
“Fear go make you do anything.” Bello replied him. “Na here we go cross, the water no get force again. Make una carry the dogs for body, those children still near, make we hurry.”
Without another word, they set off after the kids wading slowly through the now calm water.
The moment they saw the mango trees, the kids ran to them and started plucking some of the lush, oblong shaped fruit, they had to climb to fetch those they could not reach. They ate till they could not eat anymore and then lay down on the grass covered grass to catch a little nap. It had been a long night and their bodies were beginning to protest.
Ade reached home to find his mom cooking in the kitchen, the smell of his favorite Efo riro wafted through the air, he began to salivate at the thought of eating it with his mother’s usually extra smooth pounded yam.
His mother screamed with joy on seeing him, she took him in her arm not minding that her oil soiled hands were all over him. Her cheeks were wet with tears of joy as were Ade’s. His mother held him so close to her chest he was out of breath but he did not care. He had longed for this for a very long time.
Chucky the family dog soon joined in the celebration, yelping and jumping about but it soon started to bark, much to his irritation. The barking became louder and louder, causing Ade to lash out at him.
“Chucky shut up!!'”He sprang up and found that he was still in the God damned forest but the barking was as real as the mango stains on his shirt. The barking dogs drew ever close to where they were lying. “Everybody stand up!!! They are here!!!” He screamed as he went about waking the rest.
“What is it?” Kemi asked groggy as Ade shook her awake. He just pointed to the horizon at the menacing figures closing in slowly on them.
Ade was certain they had not being made but that would change if they continued to waste more time here.
“Hurry up, we have to leave!!” Ade’s voice dripped with fear he could no longer hide; a fear that sent chills spiraling down his spines.
“See them there, see them!!! Catch them!!!” If they weren’t scared before, those words made very sure they were, immediately setting them on their heels, the pounding of heavy human feet heavy in their ears and much to their consternation, accompanying those steps were light but sprightly steps of fast approaching canines.
As fast as they ran, it seemed they could not outrun the dogs.
A scream resounded in the forest and Ade looked back to find one of the dogs on one of them, soon another was driven down into the grass by yet another dog. He had counted the dogs, they were four of them and right now two were occupied and the remaining two were about to prey on the slowest ones on the group, Ade picked up little Faith and ran as hard as could into the bushes. The group were now running in all directions; all man to himself.
He ran as hard and as far as he could with the little girl’s arms clenched tightly around his neck. Shrubs tore at his face and exposed arms but he was too preoccupied to care. He ran until he could not hear any sounds and stopped in the middle of some switchgrass. He waited and listened, no sound. He set Faith down and sat down in the grass, his chest heaving as he tried to catch some breath. His sweat soaked shirt clung to him, his face riddled with it. His lungs hurt with all the running he had had to do, his eyes stung with all the sweat that got into it, wiping seemed to get more in there.
He lay on his back, utterly spent, he shut his eyes to escape the world but was awakened by rustling behind him, he shot up right, ready to run, when Kemi, Musa and two others burst into the scene.
“you’re alive!” Ade ran into Kemi’s waiting arms. He hugged others too, genuinely happy to see them all.
“Where are the others?”
“If those men never catch them, then they done follow another road.” Musa said, hunched over.
“What do me do now?” Faith asked.
“Keep moving on.” Ade said