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African American Fiction Suspense

THE ANTIQUE PLEASURE

Now there are many ways of revoking the inert nature that the young men of my village have indulged themselves in. This was the surest way of ensuring the community remained rooted and transfixed in the field of Hard work, integrity and totally neutralize torpid characters among the young generation. The group has gathered and now it is time to leave for the dangers of the adventurous livelihood. The protocols are not encrypted in the form of a manuscript but due to the acute nature of zero tolerance to indolence, people have pasted the laws and rules on the tablet of their hearts and it could make one think that it was part of the communial manuscript curriculum. The head of the Zealotry of livelihood, Sulfika Lando himself has organized all sets and parameters. The following day would be the day to display and exhibit the prowess and herculean skills embedded in the systems of my fellow villagers.

Early before the first owl and the hornbills provoked their vestiges of inertia to cry out their voices in welcome of the new dawn. Before the cows which had recently calved down disturbed and perturbed the ambience of the morning tranquility, then boom!!

Sulfika Lando and his team met early before the cock crow and made some rituals before they finally went to the expedition that could last them six-to-seven days. “Quickly let all people gather here quickly, if you understand that you are not a woman, come out, and be the one you were born to be!” came the voice of the Fearful Sulfika Lando. It was such a happy moment for the women, for they knew on the grand return, their houses could be full of much succulent meat, both from the smaller animals like the gnawing rodents that included, moles, guinea pig and squirrels to the middle ones like the hare, porcupine, antelope family, some ritually important snakes and wild pigs and even some of the mammoth animals like giraffes, zebras, rhinos, hippopotami and occasionally elephants.

Another thing that fascinated us was the big rifle that Sulfika Lando possessed. He was the only one who was allowed to have it. No one was properly trained to use it. As for me he taught me to fire and guess what, I was such a good sharp shooter and I think that was why he liked me. He told me that he was awarded that gun for being the chief of the hunting. “But you are not the first chief of hunting, and you are the first chief to have the gun,” I tried to reason. “I understand, but remember nowadays if you need something you will get it, as for this gun I have it by law of the leaders of this country,” he said and I kept my calm. But all words, I always keep them at my heart, and I think I kept even those.

The group of hunters came holding different tools and each had a leather bag that held their diet until they came back, however, from the third day they would all gather around a fire and roast some meat caught, this had to be large mammal. The children, some of them cried seeing their fathers depart. Some of the wives also cried thinking their soulmateswon’t come back for assuredly, it was very difficult for all of them to come back. Death sometimes occurred, either by one missing target and injecting another with the spear or poisoned arrow, sometimes fierce bedeviled animals like the leopard, lion, and elephant would attack them. The most feared animal was the rhino, for this beast could gaze at one person, and won’t rest until he sees the man pulped and thinned under its feet, I also fear it. In fact, there is a tale that says that once a honey comber had once beenkilled by a rhino, for his fate, he fell down the tree on which he was harvesting some of the most delicious wild honey. In fact, the rhino tore him apart on the parting of his behinds towards his spinal column that made his cervical vertebrae and thoracic with the atlas and the axis be split open and one could think the diseased was a suicide bomber who had implanted on himself the most vicious miniaturized nuclear weapon on his stomach. Now, hunting in short was not everyone’s game even though people loved the delicious games that came out of the expedition.

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The group left early before dawn, each chanting much ritual songs in praise of the ancient hunting heroes. They carried different weapons which were not only locally made but also autonomously resourced. One could carry a knobkerrie, a bow and a pack of arrows clinging to his back like a weaver bird’s nest held against a poplar tree. Another hand would be clutching to a spear sharpened and polished that a poorly sighted fellow could block his eyes due to its powerful luster against the sun rays. What I mean is that the spears were always sharp that if the hand of a refined fellow would attempt to touch its lips, the hand would immediately be oozing a good amount of blood plasma and if the guy suffered from Down Syndrome, he would be a long gone being.

Surely even as I continue with the story of the sharpness of the spear, allow me to give you also a tale told about a man who had been killed by a stray spear, lest I be over economical with the information. In the case of this guy I want to speak about, he was running after an antelope at such a terrific speed, like a supersonic jet or rather the Concord crafts. In the midst of this running, he was passed the fastest dog even, Okendi Sounder was the name of the dog. It is said that the man was almost catching the antelope by its hind legs when suddenly, a stray spear flew passed Okendi, missing the now mourning dog by a whisker, it intercepted the way of the man, I think if my memory remains faithful to my conscience, his name was Awendo. No sooner had Awendo brought down the prey than the spear struck his back and passed through his full lungs through the bowels of the prey. To cut the story brief, the duo died. The predator and the prey had all lost. Some thought the predator deserved not to die while others were just silent.

Now to educate you persons more on hunting, it is important I mention that in many occasions the predator or the hunter is always praised if he catches his prey in a heroic manner. This instances included, like when the hunter jumped about six handbreadths and caught the prey leaving the dogs behind, or when the hunter shot an arrow through many people and only managed to strike the wanted target even the animal under pursuit. The third one was even more interesting, if a hunter could throw a spear past two or more river valleys like a projectile and the person on the other end could receive the spear, and throw it full strength towards the animal. This third historic way of hunting was only allowed to few people, that possessed some local spells of curses called sepe or juogi.If the prey was killed, they could be given the ham each and the hide or skin and the internal paraphernalia like the liver and the heart which were and still are valid as the dhoklochin.

The biggest question I still ask myself when am humbled by my memory on the ancient hunting stories is still unanswered. This is the question, perhaps by predisposing you to the same sense, the solution will be propounded, for surely, a problem shared is half solved. Why do they only praise the hunter’s or hunters’ prowess but do not and in fact never praise or give credit the attempt of the prey to evade or escape from the snares laid thereof by the foes? Why do they never praise the prey even a single moment. This was when I parted ways with the hunting group and I left the hunting group at an early age, it was not because I am lazy as they call me. Anyway, I still mourn over the death of Awendo today and will continue to cry over the long gone master of the craft and art. But why should I cry, it is because even after the death, they took and went and ate happily the meat of the antelope during Awendo’s funereal celebration. Why couldn’t they equally bury the antelope. Aiii! But do I say, a rolling stone gathers no moss.

I remember after that the leaders meeting convened by the entire tribunal and presided over by the legendary Giuseppe Burra, agreed that the river where Awendo died was to be called KudAwendo. And so until today we still call it by that name including some of the alienated onlookers. Anyway, am torn apart by the fact that people’s death leads to them being nomenclated different physical features in proximity with their dead points ranging from rivers, valleys, mountains and sometimes even some portion of lakes. “They all walked away, nothing to say, they just lost their dearest friend, now he was gone wasted before his time,” said an old man to me. “I will write against it,” said me with tears overwhelming my now bloodshot eyes the old man thought that my eyes would puke blood, a sign of bad omen and ran away, making me cry more bitterly.

However, I have not left hunting as I am speaking. But a time to leave will come, this maybe my last appearance in the scene. Now am seated there pondering upon the trivial mundane of worries that have to continue following me and me following them.

It has become like a hobby to me and I don't know who feels better, some formal learning are mushrooming in my village of Kalande City and I am torn apart between going to school and learn how to shout words in English as my younger villagers know. If I could no how to write my nomenclature. Hunting has become my hobby, that has made my peers call me a backward individual, yet they buy the game I have sought for in the butcheries. They went to school and they call the game the most delicious meal they have ever encountered. Here I am languishing in abject poverty lacking front or backside, but at least I know how to proceed between the blocked and obscured pathways of the forests in order to get my learned peers who are also wealthy their most delicious meal. Sometimes they provide some handouts.

Certainly, the fruits of independence and self rule, we consume them second hand.

January 28, 2021 13:09

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2 comments

Jerrie Agunya
04:40 May 05, 2021

Nice piece

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Lenox Ndeda
13:12 Jan 28, 2021

The story focuses on the forgotten ways of life. It demands reading at a sitting while deliberating over a goblet of hot arabica coffee. Keep tuned for me and rejoice.

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