Heading: Swallowing Ground.
It was late evening, the weather had become cool due to exchange in temperature between the sea and the terrestrial habitat. Joyful people could be seen by the side of the road, waving the country flag and casting their garments on the road where a convoy, carrying the president were passing. It was like the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on a colt.
As the cars were passing slowly, the president, a young seventeen years old boy called Murphy, from one of the parado watched through a tinted glass of the car how people were screaming by the side of the road and wanting to see him as if he was a celebrity.
The car stopped before a building, a guard briskly opened the door for the president to step out. Already, flash of light from camera had circulated the place, trying to capture the teenage president who had stepped out on a coperat attire; longsleeve shirt, tocked-in in a black plain trouser. His shiny shoes reflected the light from cameras, even the transparent eyeglasses on his eyes as he began to wave at people happily.
“I love you, teacher Murphy!!” a female voice came from the crowd.
“I’ve heard about your story. You’re a genius!!” another shouted.
Nevertheless, Murphy kept moving towards the house, listening to each comment made by any of the citizens.
“The ground which you’ll stand to put your teacher will not swallow you!! I love you!!” Another female voice said.
Hearing that, Murphy stopped at the door without looking back. His huge guards also stopped wondering what came over him. One of them walked closer to his ears.
“Sir, what’s wrong?” he asked him.
Murphy slowly turned to the crowd thereby enhancing their joyful clamour. He wished he could see the person that made the statement, but it was impossible due to population. Therefore, he turned around again, finally entered into the building.
The noise subsidized immediately he entered into the house to see his fellow orphans already seated. It was a large living room with golden chairs, tables and other furniture. The walls had the colour of the tiles and energy bulbs, giving it a magnificent view. The temperature continuously reduced the room by an air conditioner
The seven teenagers stood up for him as a sign of respect, even strong headed Daniella. All wore black still mourning teacher Nwachukwu whose burial was the next day. Murphy looked at them from Obi to Ada, Dave, Judith, Daniella, Cynthia and Vivian who twisted her fingers nervously due to how charming Murphy appeared to her. Obviously, she wanted to be to him more than someone she grew up with. Unfortunately, Murphy noticed her restlessness.
“Vivian.” He called her.
The girl’s heart skipped when she heard him. “Yes.. umm.. teacher Murphy.” she stuttered.
“Are you okay?”
“She’s not fine, Murphy.” Ada did not only interrupt but also interfered.
“Don’t mind her, I’m fine.” Vivian disdained Ada amusingly. Only both understood each other coz Vivian had once confessed her lover for Murphy to her.
“Please, sit down.” Murphy sat opposite them and crossed his legs. “You all summoned me here. What for?” he asked.
“We are like a family, Murphy.” Dave began. “One of the common characteristics of a family is love and transparency. Teacher Nwachukwu will be buried tomorrow, and we know that before he died, he called you privately. We will like to know what he said to you.” he concluded.
Murphy gave them a long stretch of silence, putting together the statement he heard outside with part of Dave’s to make a meaning. “..the ground that will swallow your teacher… teacher’s burial… the ground will not swallow me… tomorrow is…”
“Murphy?” Ella brought him back from hallucination. He looked up at them.
“You have all you want; jobs, houses, money and even a family in the person of Cynthia and Ada. Why do you so much want to also know what teacher told me?” he asked them.
“We feel is okay you let us know coz we’re one.” Daniella replied unabashedly.
Murphy stood up. As he walked towards them, the sound of his shoes echoed like that of teacher Nwachukwu. He stopped at a close range with hands inside his pockets. “Teacher told me to take care of you all. He told me to love you too and that’s exactly what I’m doing. You’re the only family I know. Trust me, I love you guys more than you can imagine.”
Vivian took the last statement personal. It was as if it was meant for her alone. It could be seen on her smiling face.
“I only want one thing from you guys.” Murphy pointed a finger up. “I want you to be smart.”
“Smart?” Judith looked at others. “Aren’t we smart enough? What do you even mean?”
Murphy exhaled. “The seat I sit on is not for merriment. It’s for battle. So if I’m not gotten, they’ll come after the people I love which is you.” he elaborated while they became speechless. After a a couple of seconds, Obi stood up and hugged him.
“We love you too, man!” he tapped his back.
Others followed suit; hugged and told him the same thing.
“But when are you getting married?” Ada asked him. The question brightened the place with smiles and chuckle.
“Do you wonder why reverend fathers live longer. It’s because they have no wives.” Murphy jokingly said.
“I doubt.” Cynthia disagreed. “Women even prolong men’s lives.” she added thereby causing more laughter…
On the same time, old men from the same cabinet plotted on how to take the life of the teenage president the next day. There were five seated on a roll like a family taking dinner on a dining table. One could see each of them having gray beards and moustache.
“We can’t allow a small boy to keep ruling us.” Mr Odili, the one that serves as their leader began from the end of the table. “Giving him the presidency after the revolution was based on agreement. Now that he has gotten it, it’s time we take it back.”
“How?” one of them asked.
“He has to be killed”
“But I heard that boy is too smart!” Another confessed. “Someone who challenged his master and won!’
“But he cannot outsmart a flying bullet, can he?” he asked.
Everybody kept quiet.
“We’re sending an assassin to him at the burial ground tomorrow.” they concluded.
Twelve in the midnight, Murphy walked around his room with a glass cup of wine, still thinking about the statement. He wore his night wears which made him look younger. Suddenly, his personal phone rang. He looked at the caller to be Vivian. He glanced at a wall clock before picking it.
“You’re still awake?” he asked on the phone.
“I should be asking you, Mr president.” Vivian replied. Murphy could imagine her smiling face after calling him that.
“If you wanted me to sleep, then why did you call?”
“I didn’t expect you to pick.”
They remained silence for a while. Murphy sipped his drink that moment.
“So why are you still awake?” Vivian broke the silence.
“What do you understand by this statement: The ground which you’ll stand to put your teacher will not swallow you!!”
“It’s a good wish.” Vivian replied thoughtfully. “Where did you hear it?”
“From a citizen. I think is more than a good wish.” He kept the glass cup on a glass table to the hearing of Vivian. “Listen, Vivian, the statement has in-depth meaning. The ground which I’ll stand… definitely I’ll be standing on a burial ground to put teacher…”
“Yes, and it won’t swallow you. It’s a good wish!” Vivian interrupted.
“No, the ground swallows only the dead, but I’ll still be alive when I get there.”
“You have to die first before the ground swallows you.”
“What if what will kill me is on the same ground that will swallow me?”
The question rendered Vivian speechless. She fully understood where Murphy was driving at. “Please, be careful, Murphy.” she sounded very sad…..
TO BE CONTINUED