BROTHER RUFUS

Bassey lay on his death bed, he stared at the ceiling. It was empty and looked tattered. He coughed painfully, looking at his wife, he smiled sadly; there seemed to be no hope, indeed there wasn’t

At that same moment, Rufus was at his own house merryingwith friends; they threw bundles of new Naira notes into the air. “LOUDER, LOUDER!!”, one of the party guys shouted to the Disc Jockey (DJ)  who seemed to be engrossed with his music equipments. They all smoked and drank alcohol. The middle aged man continued till late at night.

As the security man ushered the last guest out, he received a phone call and quickly ran to tell Mr. Rufus. Oga Bassey is dead sir”  

“NEVER FORGET  YOUR FAMILY”. These where the last words which Bassey said to his wife and two daughters. He began shivering uncontrollably; then there was this darkness, it was so peaceful that it made him stretch himself so well before embracing it. The last words he heard before losing consciousness were “Please my husband! Please!” And he knew nothing afterwards.

Bassey and Rufus both grew up together in the same compound: it was during the time of war in the country everyone had to scamper for safety at any slightest opportunity. Bassey’s parents were farmers, so were Rufus’. On that faithful day, they both had been instructed not to play outside the house but to remain indoors in case of any mishap or attack. The parents of the two children were at the farm when it all happened. “GBIM!” a gunshot sounded in a neighboringcompound. The two kids came out from their houses to ask each other what had happened. Bassey, being a little bit older tried to compose himself and be brave. He paused a bit, and strained his ear trying to hear if people were running so that he could take off with Rufus, who had already started sweating with fear and was shedding tears also. They were 9 and 7 respectively.

“CHIM OO!” exclaimed Mrs. Agness a neighbor in the next compound. “They have killed him oo!” she exclaimed over her husband’s dead body. Bassey and Rufus looked at each other in fear; they both wished their parents were there at that moment. “GBIM!” another gunshot was heard almost immediately. Mrs.Agness Screamed and no sound was heard from her again. She was gone. Every occupant in the area took to their heels. As the boys raced through the bushes, Rufus kept shouting “Blood of Jesus! Blood of Jesus!

“Will you keep quiet”? Questioned an angry Bassey“Let’s be safe first before we begin to pray”

Well, that was the last they would hear from their parents. “I’m tired” little rufus said, after 2hrs of running. Basseyignored him for some minutes as they kept running and then he spoke. “Let’s see if we can make it to the next village before susnset.” By evening, they arrived. Fortunately, they saw an old man who listened to them and sympathized with them.

Ewooh!, my children please you have to rest” he began. “Yes I heard that there was public massacre and that they planned to wipe out every occupant of that community. I’ll admit that you both are so lucky”

“Yes Papa, they killed a woman and her husband who lived close to us” Bassey said feeling hurt. Ewooh!” the old man exclaimed and then asked them 

What of your parents”? They seemed to be quiet for some time and Bassey spoke. “They left us at home and went to the farm”. Rufus was still sweating in fear. The old man shook his head in pity. “Kai!! It is well with you my children, please come inside” He said, ushering them in. The house was a mud house, but it was quiet and so neat. you both look alike, are you brothers”? The old man asked. Pa John was his name, and that was how Bassey and Rufus came to stay. He seemed to have no kids, and one day when Bassey tried to make inquiries. “No lady agreed to marry me because I always said the truth and shunned evil” he said sadly.

But Pa John was right, he had once looked Rufus in the eyes and said “Be careful not to disappoint I or your new brother in this life”

The old man managed to feed and train them in one of the local schools close by. He trained them up to Secondary school level but couldn’t go further anymore. They resorted to join him in his small scale farming. The little he got from farming couldn’t actualize their dreams of having higher education.

Bassey and Rufus were on their way to the farm one morning; the old man had left before them in the early hours of the morning. He would be expecting them by sunrise. As they walked the 2km journey through a little forest, they discussed about their future. “Once I make money, I’ll buy myself a brand new car and build a magnificent house. I’ll eat and eat and drink to stupor, I’ll make sure that I enjoy life to the fullest” Said Rufus the younger one. It was Bassey’s turn to speak. “I’ll come back and take good care of Pa John;hopefully he lives longer and then see if I can train some of the children in the village in school.

Rufus was quiet for a while, and then he continued “My bro, enjoy your life o, enjoy it while it lasts; if you have money, spend it on yourself and forget about the people you have mentioned” While he was still speaking, a stone landed on his head: one of the young boys of his age hunting squirrels had missed a target, and his head seemed to compensate for it. “AAHH!” he exclaimed in pains. He fell to the floor, the pains were unbearable. “Are you not a man? Rufus will you get up from the floor? Said Bassey. Rufus remained on the floor boiling in anger; drops of tears were forming in his eyes already. “Rufus we’ll be late for the farm, Pa John is expecting us already” said Bassey.

Then one of the boys, whom Rufus suspected to have done it, approached the two. “I’m so sorry for what happened, I didn’t see you two passing by, and we missed our target” He tried apologizing. He hadn’t finished the sentence when Rufus rushed him; he hit him hard on the stomach. The hunter boy happened to be a skilled fighter, and managed to restrain Rufus from further actions. He lifted him up and threw him heavily beside a broken tree trunk. All happened within the snap of a finger. ”STOP!!” Bassey shouted and went to separate them.

“Leave me to show this Monkey pepper” Rufus said amidst the blood gushing out from his back.

Pa John seemed to be a bit angry with them for coming late. “What kept you boys!” he asked, raising his frail voice, and then he looked at Rufus and his soiled clothes. “Ah, Rufus you’re bleeding” the two boys were quiet for some time and then Bassey spoke. “We’re Sorry for arriving late papa, he fell down while we were coming, but it’s a little injury, he’ll be fine.”

It wasn’t long and luck shone their way. Rufus came across a construction engineer who happened to be carrying out a project in their area. The site Engineer saw how keen the young boy was, in learning and knowing more about the field of study. Not long, Rufus was employed to work with the laborers while the site Engineer taught him theoretically on the ethics and nature of the job. Rufus soon became the Engineer’s favorite and was taken to the city under the approval of Pa John to stay and live with the Engineer. In few years time he was swimming in money.

Time was really telling on Pa John, for the old man fell into an incurable illness. Bassey had gotten lots of herbs and medications, hoping that they would cure the old man but to no avail, and Rufus hadn’t visited since he left. “PA JOHN IS VERY SICK, PLEASE COME BACK” was the content of the letter which Bassey sent to Rufus in the city. He had no phone to call Rufus, but the worst was yet to come, for they never heard from Rufus again. Some weeks later, a neighbor had come to tell Bassey and Pa John on his findings. “ Pa john I saw Brother Rufus in the city o, he is now a big boy, he was in a club with his friends he seemed to not even recognize me when I went to greet him.” Pa John coughed painfully and said nothing. “Pa John you should warn your son oo!” the neighbor continued. The old man coughed again, his health was deteriorating rapidly. “I’ve heard you Mike, please tell Basseyto get me drinking water”. He preferred not to say much on Rufus’ case.

Bassey was in the kitchen area when he heard a shout. It was Oga Mike shouting; he became alarmed, he stood still a bit;only one thing could have happened. He raced into the house. ALAS! It had happened; Pa John had given up the ghost. 

Rufus didn’t attend the burial ceremony either; instead he only sent two tubers of yam through one of his friends coming to the village when he heard that Pa john had died. He had already built himself a house and had a wife with two kids. “Tell him to manage the yams” he said.

With the little Bassey had, he renovated the mud house to a concrete one. He finally found Miriam a undergraduate from a institution close by. She worked in a little hospital, for she had studied pharmacy. God blessed the family with two kids. With the increasing cost of things, life was becoming unbearable. He had to train the kids and also provide food daily for the family. He decided to go in search of Rufus. One fateful morning, he left the village after getting directions from Oga Mike on the place where he clubbed. “I don’t know his house, I heard he lives in a big mansion, but the club where I met him is called NEW HAVEN’S AVENUE”.

Bassey was determined to see his younger brother. Of course, Rufus hadn’t acted well; he had been so disappointed on how and why Rufus didn’t attend Pa John’s burial ceremony, not to talk of the yam tubers he sent which was nothing to write home about. He felt talking to him directly would have an impact. But the worst was yet to come.

He managed to find his way in the city. Bassey was a bit excited when he arrived the exact building which bore the name NEW HAVEN. The sun was still out, he decided to wait till evening. He sat at a corner for hours; a lot of people passing by kept staring at him in a confused manner. An hour later, a fleet of cars pulled up and the occupants made their way into the building which had already began producing loud music. He scanned the men as they walked past where he sat. YES! He had sighted Rufus; the young man was on dark shades and he hadn’t changed his high hairstyle which he always carried from the time they were teenagers. He smiled as he walked towardsRufus; the one whom he had held his hands and led him to safety when they were kids; the one who he had protected always; the one whom he always made jest of because of not being brave. 

Is that Bassey”? Rufus asked. Bassey tried to read the expression on his face; Rufus wasn’t looking excited at all. “Please what are you doing here” Rufus continued.  Bassey tried to speak but was speechless. “I sent you two tubers of yam, wasn’t that enough”? 

“You’ve not done well brother, you didn’t attend Pa John’s burial, you have never even visited since the Engineer took you with him” Bassey summoned courage and said.

Rufus was silent for a while. He told the other guys to go in. “I’ll meet you in a jiffy he assured them, He faced Bassey and continued. “I told you that in this life you have to enjoy it to the fullest if you have the opportunity, and that what I am doing currently, Please go back to the village that’s where you belong”

Rufus said and walked into the building.

________________________________________________________________________________

Many years had passed since the incident happened. Basseyhad learnt to trust no one, not even close ones. Life wasn’t a bed of roses at all. He was ageing rapidly, and the farm work he did was earning him little. He swore to himself that he would make sure his children had higher education and didn’t end up like him no matter what the situation would be. But his dreams and expectations were cut short for the man fell into a terrible sickness which grew worse as the days went by. “My husband you’re not going to die oo! I won’t let that happen” Miriam said, weeping loudly. if you leave me with the kids, who will assist me in taking care of them”? she had once asked. Miriamhad tried every medication which she knew, but the worst was yet to come, for the man was diagnosed of a deadly disease at the hospital where she worked. For his life to be saved, an operation had to be carried out on a specific part of his body. “Where do we see money for Operation o?!” she asked rhetorically, wailing loudly. There was no need writing Rufusfor help; it was just a waste of pen and paper. Instead, Basseysent him a warning message.

“I HOPE YOU COME TO REALIZE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO THIS LITTLE FAMILY OF YOURS THAT FED AND BROUGHT YOU UP” 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Bassey lay on his death bed, he stared at the ceiling. It was empty and looked tattered. He coughed painfully, looking at his wife and kids who sat on the bed beside him, he smiled sadly; there seemed to be no hope, indeed there wasn’t.

At that same moment, Rufus was at his own house merrying with friends; they threw bundles of new Naira notes into the air. “LOUDER, LOUDER!!”, one of the party guys shouted to the Disc Jockey (DJ)  who seemed to be engrossed with his music equipments. They all smoked and drank alcohol. The middle aged man continued till late at night.

As the security man ushered the last guest out, he received a phone call and quickly ran to tell Mr. Rufus. Oga Bassey is dead sir”  

_______________________________________________________________________________

As he read the letter from Bassey, it dawned on him, that he had killed the very ones who had taken care of him because of his greed and cravings for pleasure. The death of Bassey hit him so hard.

Rufus hung himself.

Comments

  1. It's nice
    You can become a director of a movie from this

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nikesh you are good.
    Couldn't predict what's going to happen next

    ReplyDelete

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