Caleb Nwaizu 1 year ago
@calebchris000 12 min read Write a comment #short-stories

In The Beginning - Chapter 4

Third Person POV. It was already minutes after their jump to 1996; Caleb and Kolade finally left the thick bushes and saw a pathway.

It was slightly dense with people traveling it, but the duo was able to squeeze their way through. Caleb checked his watch and discovered that the date was on May 29, 1967. This was two years before his dad was born. If he ever went back home and told his dad that he was around the time his mother was still pregnant for him, he would assume he was mad.

"Notice anything unusual?" Kolade asked. This made Caleb look around, but apart from the people walking about and the houses around him, nothing appeared out of the ordinary. "I'm talking about the date. You're an Igbo boy; you should know what this date signifies to your tribe", Kolade shook his head at Caleb's ignorance. Did this boy not know his history? "I'm not a historical person. Please fill me in", Caleb begged. From his statement, Caleb reckoned that this year was an event that made a mark in Nigeria's history, but who has time to look at that? It wasn't like his Civic teacher liked teaching history, though.1967 was not the year that many of the Igloo indigenes would easily forget. It was one of the bloodiest times in the history of Nigeria.

It was 1960, and Nigeria had just gotten her independence. It was a grand celebration for its inhabitants. But while many were in full support of this next step to the country's greatness, some were in fierce opposition. Take General Chukwuemeka Ojukwu for example. Being a military governor of the South-eastern part of the country, he has always wanted to break apart the Igbo tribe from the rest of the country. The world came to know of his intentions when he overthrew the current civilian government. Seven years later, the general began the secession and declared the Igbo tribe Independent, which gave birth to the name Biafra. However, this action didn't sit well with the current ruling government, so they attacked, initiating a war that lasted for two years and a half. However, the Biafrans still held their grounds despite the opposition, elongating the war for three years until Ojukwu flew out of the country to the Ivory Coast or Cote d'Ivoire in the later years.

But the damage resulting from the opposition piled up. More than one million victims died in the bloody war. It was the darkest time in Nigeria's history. "So we're a day before the initial attack," Kolade said. Fear immediately gripped Caleb's heart. It was his very first mission, and he was already in danger. Suddenly, the environment felt gloomy. "Why didn't you tell me about this before I followed you?" Caleb asked, already feeling anger in his heart. "You can't be asking me that, Caleb," Kolade chuckled and kept walking. "Take this as an opportunity to learn about the war. Not many people have this opportunity you have". "Kolade, it's not funny na, I might die! I'm Igbo", Caleb felt like crying. "Caleb, remember that unlike these people oblivious that they were going to die, you have a choice. I already know the places the strikes would occur, so we'll just take cover on the safer sides of the states. But the mission is a top priority", Kolade said.

"If this wormhole lands on a densely populated place, say the Igbo immigrants fleeing their hometown and end up in a random timeline, wouldn't it be disastrous? Even I have no idea of what would happen, so wear your big boy panties and follow me", Kolade said and resumed walking without a smile on his face. Caleb couldn't help but follow him. Whether he liked it or not, his life was dependent on his choice of Kolade, so he had to trust him. He suddenly felt guilty for not knowing more about his tribe's history. "If I am lucky to go back home, I swear I would read every aspect of Nigerian history," he sheepishly promised himself. A few hours later, they both arrived at Lagos Island. Compared to what he had seen in his current timeline, Lagos Island appeared ancient. Ancient, the roads they previously transversed was much more developed than the roads there.

"Lucy said the wormhole spawned somewhere here. Let's keep moving", Kolade said and kept moving. Meanwhile, Caleb looked at his watch and noticed that the date was gone, replaced by a compass interface. "My watch is displaying a compass thingy. It's probably directing us on the location of the wormhole shey?" Caleb asked. Kolade nodded without looking up. He was also staring at this watch intermittently. Soon they arrived at a provision store. "Two bottles of water, please," Kolade requested. The woman in charge of the store brought two cold bottles and gave them to him. While Kolade was drinking his bottled water, he noticed that Caleb was a bit silent with a solemn look. "What's the matter, Caleb," Kolade asked. "These people—they have no idea that they would lose their lives. Their families, their children…." Caleb fell silent. Kolade dropped his bottle of water to the floor and faced him directly.

"Caleb, we are in the past. I should not be reminding you of it. Some things are meant to be for the proper continuation of time flow. Yes, I feel bad that they will die in the relative future, but these are already written off in the sands of history. We have no business in interfering with that", Kolade said. Caleb gulped another water from the bottle, lost in his thought. "All my life, I've always fancied seeing my grandfather or my late aunt. I thought going back was going to be as beautiful as I thought it was, but I was wrong", Caleb muttered. "Many people have the same mindset. Let this be an eye opener", Kolade said and paused for a moment. "How are you doing?" He added. "What do you mean?"

"The attack incident in your room? You said you were having daymares", Kolade said. Caleb shook his head slowly and took another gulp of water. "I'm still terrified by the ordeal, but with my current crisis at hand, this feels insignificant," Caleb said. "Jesus, this guy," Kolade burst out laughing loudly. It took all his will for him to calm himself. "So you are behaving like this because you think you are going to die? Haha", Kolade kept laughing. While Kolade was laughing, a stir began to rise among the people inside the restaurants. Someone approached the radio mounted above a stand and increased the volume. "…. collectively as Biafra. Tension is rising between the senators in the states as the Eastern region of Nigeria persists as General Chukwuemeka Ojukwu rejects the letter of dismissal of the ideology of separation. Political stability is being threatened of collapse..." the newscaster voiced on the radio.

Caleb knew that no doubt the war was about to begin. Although he had no idea how bad the war was going to be, the term "bloody time of Nigerian history" was enough detail for Caleb's imagination to paint. Then, his wristwatch beeped. He looked at it and noticed that the compass interface was blinking. "We're here," Kolade said. "Listen to me, Caleb," Kolade began. "With your pathetically little info about Nigeria, you should know that the Igbo were the ones that received the full brunt of the attacks. Food resources would be cut off in Lagos, so life would be difficult for us.

"Until the mission is complete, I need you to stay low profile. Since you look like a Yoruba person, you'll have no problem blending in. Do you understand Yoruba?" Kolade asked. "No, I don't. But I know 'Ekaro, Jo, Gbese, Ekujo Meta", Caleb said. "Terrible disadvantage for you," Kolade shook his head bitterly. Then, a Peugeot 507 vehicle drove past them and parked just ahead of them, and the driver, who appeared to be a man in his thirties, alighted. "Hold on a sec," Kolade said and walked towards the car, and began speaking to the driver. "How much for the car?" He asked. The Yoruba man looked at him like he was crazy. He began ranting in the Yoruba dialect. Kolade smirked and showed him a wad of money, which the cat-stripped man stared with mouth agape.

Seconds later, Kolade held the keys with his middle finger. Caleb immediately entered the car. They soon drove towards the south for an hour until Kolade stopped. "We are here," Kolade said and alighted. "Stay inside, don't come outside for any reason," Kolade poked his head from the window and warned Caleb with a visible frown before leaving. So Caleb could only stay and wait, but he wasn't too bored. He watched as the sun set on the horizon, causing the sky to emit an orange-red glow. The clouds took this golden color and absorbed it, causing a small internal reflection. This phenomenon caused it to look like there was a superior entity cradling from behind that cloud. It was an overwhelmingly beautiful view. It was sad that no one had the time to absorb such beauty.

It was two hours later, and there was no news about Kolade. Caleb was beginning to worry. It wasn't about him, no, but about himself. It was already getting dark, and tomorrow was going to be May 30. What was even wrong with that Ojukwu sef? He should have just left Nigeria as it was. Now millions of lives were going to be lost because of this foolish act. Not in his wildest imagination would Caleb think that his death would be a result of the Biafra war. Two hours had passed, and his worry grew more intense. He shifted to the car's door, but he remembered Kolade's warning, don't get out of the car. From a distance, he could hear a stir building up, and the people were restless. It was like a movie to him, a horror movie at that. After counting up to thirty minutes, Caleb decided that he wasn't going to be sitting duck in the Peugeot 507 and waiting for the dreaded day to arrive. It was already two hours before midnight, and who knows when they would attack?

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