WINDS OF CHANGE: CHAPTER FIFTEEN

By Okolo Chinua 3 months ago

CHAPTER 15

Dike arrived at the central building. He stood few paces away, watching and observing how things were. He saw the soldiers dragging the bodies of his fallen comrades. They seemed to be vigilant but not over vigilant as they believed their job was done. Seeing the way the soldiers were carelessly rough handling the bodies of his comrades made him feel like attacking them head on. ‘That would be senseless suicide’ he though and kept himself calm. He could not fall without achieving that which he had come there for. He looked at the explosives in his right hip, took out one and looked at it. He was not totally aware of how it was used. Nzeogwu had explained earlier to him that the explosive was to be unhooked and thrown far as he had seen the whites do a certain time. However he had never tried it and there was not time for Nzeogwu to properly teach him. ‘Who would have thought things would end up like this’ he thought. He drew a deep breath, reassuring himself. The elders were still upstairs, probably told to remain there for their own safety. He had to get past the new guards which had stationed themselves there. He looked to the ground, picked up a stone, not too large but big enough to cause a noise. He moved backwards and threw the stone into the bushes by the side of the building. The armoury was close to the building so it alerted the troops as he had intended. “Go check it out” one of the soldiers who appeared to be the commander said to the soldiers with him. The commander was heavily armed so he could not sneak up to him in that time to harm him.at that split moment, the attention of the guards and the commander had been drawn away from the building to the area of the noise so he used the opportunity to sneak into the building. He heard one of the soldiers say, “nothing here sir”. He crept upstairs stealthily. The whole place was lit up again and the elders were feasting. He heard one of the foreign elders, Riabu, say, ”Damn that Okoro, who   so would have thought that he would carry out a coup. Look how he instigated those boys to turn against us….they came here prepared to take our lives. I knew he was up to something but I never knew it was something this sinister, anyway, I’m glad he falls tonight” they all laughed. Elumelu raised his cup and toasted to Okoro’s death and they all kept drinking. Luckily for Dike, there were just two soldiers up there.as he was contemplating on what to do, he heard footsteps coming up. He heard a deep voice saying, “If nothing was there, it could have probably been a distraction, go up and check on the elders”. Dike had hidden himself in between two pillars. That made it difficult for the guards in the room to spot him, however whoever was coming up was going to spot him the moment he reached the end of the stairs and he will be caught. There was no time to think again as the noise of the guard’s footsteps got louder and closer. He unhooked the explosives and rolled them towards the Centre of the elders. The elders and the guards saw it immediately. Dike closed his eyes knowing it was over for him too. ‘Let’s die together, greedy fools’ he thought to himself’. “Get down…!”The guard was shouting but it was too late. The grenades exploded at once. The glasses of the windows were shattered and the pieces fell outside the building. The building with everyone in it went up in flames. Screams and curses could be heard upstairs as the people burnt. The soldiers in the armoury had jumped to safety when they heard the explosion. The whole building was enveloped in flames.

 

Kosisochukwu and Okoro’s family got to Umuebido. They had been far away from the village so they had not heard the explosion. When they arrived at the house of Odum, Chizitere’s father, the house was as silent as a grave yard.it was customary for every visitor to see the head of the house before entering the hut but the situation did not permit that. Kosiso went straight to Nwanyiorie’s hut and called out to her. He had been there too when Okoro had come to ask for his wife’s hand in marriage so locating the hut was no problem. Nwanyiorie was perplexed, seeing her daughter with her in-law in hut at that hour of the night. Her thoughts raced to many things. She told them to sit while she went to wake Odum. Odum came out and saw his daughter, her children and her belongings with his in-law standing by her side. He was utterly confused too. He immediately rushed back inside his obi and brought out a machete, prepared to cut off Kosiso’s head. He had done this because he thought Okoro had sent his daughter packing at such late hour in the night.it was because Nwanyiorie stepped in front of Chizitere and Kosiso that he stopped in his tracks. Kosiso explained to Odum that they had not come because Okoro had sent his wife away cruelly but to protect her. Odum dropped his machete and asked Kosiso to come into his obi and explain to him while Nwanyiorie took his daughter and grandchildren to her hut. Nwaanyiorie had three daughters, Uchenna, Chinwe and Chizitere and all three had married and were in their husband’s houses.it pleased her to see her last daughter again after such a long time.in the Obi, Kosiso explained the reason for his presence in Odum’s house to him. Odum was shocked that Okoro had been courageous enough to try to overthrow the white man. He accepted to take care of Chizitere and her children as they were his family after all. He also made the offer to Kosiso to sleep over and return the next day but Kosiso blatantly refused saying he had to rush back immediately due to an emergency. “Go well, I wish your brother well. He is a fighter, he will survive” said Odum when he could not persuade Kosiso. Kosiso bowed and moved out immediately. He had to hurry back to Umuoba before his absence was noticed. Odum watched as his image disappeared into the darkness before he retired to bed.

 

“Amadi, you believe you have me at your mercy” Okoro said as he laughed out loud. “What is that supposed to mean” Amadi asked, shocked. At hat exact moment, they all heard the explosion from the central building. Amadi looked toward the direction of the explosion and exclaimed, ”Noooo!!!”.The troops he had deployed to Okoro’s house arrived immediately and informed him that Okoro’s house was empty, with no one in. ”The house was empty and cleaned up.it was as if they knew we were coming” said the commander. “Well find them. They can’t have gotten far. Search the entire village!” Amadi commanded and they headed out at once. Amadi looked at Okoro fiercely, his face burning with anger, and said, “You dare play smart with me, Okoro, when I find your family, I’ll make you watch as they are beheaded. Take him to the armoury!” .The soldiers lifted Okoro at once and headed for the armoury, with Amadi trailing behind. Okoro was still in pain but he still smiled.in his mind, he gave his brother his greatest thanks.

 

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