Quote: "A Coward's Courage is in his tongue"- Edmund Burke.
CW: Contains scene of bloody Elements and gun violence.
Growing up in a town where stories of Heroes are upheld in high esteem, and going forward to telling it to the younger generation was one of the best moment of my childhood life. I used to seat with my dad outside our spacious compound while he made the fire, adding bunches of dried sticks to keep the fire going, while telling me stories of great men and women who by their courageous act have brought a change into their respective countries. He would take a sip of alcohol from his "Vermouth" bottle while saying to me, " You know boy, words only don't make you a hero, but your actions to confront challenges will"- he said ending the story. Little did I know that this words were actually an illustration of how this town works and it wouldn't take a century for me to confirm this.
In the early hours of september 8th 2006, at 6:00a.m. The Morning Silence was interrupted by some indistinct chattering of people bemoaning their "loss". The cool breeze that crept into the town at dawn, flipping anything that comes its way and pushing hard against every windows and roofs seemed to have lost its relevance over the populace, allowing for a hot temperature. The town of GROSBERG was in a state of pandemonium rising from the incident that happened few hours ago. It was a Robbery case this time, and although many other nature of crimes had been committed in the past, this very one seemed primal and dreadful to call the attention of the entire town.
The street was flooded with moving bodies of different families, discussing how their homes had been burgled whilst atsleep.
"I woke up this morning only to find my gold watch and neckless gone".-said a woman in white robe.
"they stole away my laptop and $5.000 cash"-another said.
"I can't find my wife's wedding ring, which I recently purchased for our engagement".- a young man said.
Questions arouse on who this "night ghosts" are.
" Could they be people of this town"-asked a woman.
"They certainly are" -responded a man.
" How many are they?"-asked another man.
With many hours of ongoing discussions. The oldest man in town, Sir. Harry Grey gently fought his way into the midst of the grieving crowd to make his voice heard. He called for silence over the murmuring crowd saying; "Can I have your attentions, please!!"- he urged. And in an instant the whole voices died down like some sort of spell had been cast into them. Addressing them he said.
" Dear people of GROSBERG, it's so unfortunate that we all have to suffer this huge loss at the same time and in an unprecedented manner. On this note, I beg everyone to remain calm and go on about doing their normal activity, the whole issue will be looked into and properly resolved. A meeting will convene in the later hours of today and it will be discussed on how to nab this this suspect. Do well to send representatives from your family to attend the meeting so that contributions will be made on what next to do."
"You all can now return to your respective homes and wait for my signal"- he said ending his speech.
* * * *
By 3:00pm in the Afternoon, the sun had unleashed its radiating power over the streets and houses in the town, causing everywhere to glisten almost to a blinding light. Men and women shaded their heads with caps and headties from the burning ray of the sun as they made their way through the dusty roads and into the "Town's Hall", where the meeting will hold. The hall has been in existence for over 80years now, which is almost a century, and never was anyone surprised at the dilapidated state it was in, by merely looking at the cracked walls, the broken windows and the shady color. It was the meeting point where all serious matters were discussed and resolved for ages to come.
Now everyone assembled and was seated in the hall. Mr. Harry Grey, the oldest man of about 90 years, was supported to the podium with his 48 inch's walking stick, holding so fast to the sweaty hands of a Samaritan man who offered to help him with his balance while walking him up the stairs. " This man's condition must be that of "palmar hyperhidrosis",- I said thoughtfully.
" Greetings my people"- Mr. Harry warmly welcomed.
" Greetings Sir Harry"- all responded in unison.
" Today, we all are gathered here to make our decisions on how to nab this "night crawlers". They have taken away all our valuable stuffs leaving us with nothing, but to suffer with our children. Therefore,now is the time to hear your contributions on what can be done".- he said before taking a seat to listen to the crowd.
A man stood up dressed in his fancy cowboy hat and brown leather shoes. He spoke.
" In my opinion,I suggest we set up traps across every house to pin them down".
"No!!- countered by another man. Setting traps wouldn't do us any good, what if the suspect escapes and runs free,what then will be our fate?- he asked.
A young lady who by appearance turned out to be a lawyer, Suggested.
"If setting a trap wouldn't be possible, let's then involve the cops, atleast it's their primary duty to the secure lives and properties of citizen".
" Yes, that's a nice suggestion"- a young man said rising from his seat to demonstrate his support for the lady.
Hours passed while deliberations were still ongoing. Everyone finally came to a common ground on involving the cops in this matter. The young man was appointed to speak with the officers on arrival into the town.
" Good day officer"-he said
" Good day young man"- the cop replied
" What has been going on lately?"- he asked.
" just this early morning,we woke up to find our stuffs missing and up till now we don't know where they're or probably if the thief will come after us next".- he narrated fidgeting.
" I need you to stay calm"- the officer consoled. " We' re carrying out our investigations, also be positive that everything will be okay".- he said while penning down some details.
"thanks officer"- the man said before leaving.
* * * *
On September 22, barely two weeks after the incident. The authorities seemed to have napped on the case. The crime still persisted, this time, five family homes were invaded by the intruders, making away with bundles of cash, two Honda trucks and some valuable antique objects.
An Emergency meeting was called by 8:00a.m. Representatives from each family assembled and sat orderly in the hall. Mr. Harry began.
" Enough is enough!!.- he roared. This nonsense is getting out of hand and if we don't act fast our families and children will suffer the consequences. We all have to take matters into our hands since the authorities has decided to go mute on our predicament".
" So from now, we are gonna catch those bastards ourselves!!!- he gave a loud cry.
" Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Vengeance is ours!!!" - the crowd cheered with voices vigourously reasonating in the hall.
" Before that"- he continues. We need one or two volunteer to be on the lookout. Who will volunteer?- he asked.
Silence suddenly drowned itself inside the circular walls of the hall. Every eyes begin to rotate in different directions as if it's in search of something lost. Strong gaze fixed on another, so to say to his neighbor " You're the selected one". The heart beats becomes so intense and loud that its rhythms could be felt in the cracked walls of the building. Still on the staring contest, Mr. Harry decided to intervene, breaking the good of the silence to all the Cowards. "There's got to be someone now"- I muttered concluding so soon.
" Impossible!! No one wants to be a volunteer!!?"- Mr. Harry screamed in utmost surprise. " Where's the spirit of courage"- he asked knowing full well he wouldn't get a response.
He pointed at a man named "thomas".
"You there,help out".- he said.
"I can't, my wife just put to bed for our first child and I cannot afford to risk my life at this moment".
He turned to another man.
" You should help us out"- he said stretching out his long and tiny finger.
" I...I...I can't"- he said stuttering.
" And why can't you?- Mr. Harry asked.
" I'm the only child of my parent, and they're still living and healthy. I don't have a wife neither do I have a child. I can't risk my life for such a task, for fear that my parent will lose me".- he said.
He searched through again, and pointing to the young man ( who gave his support for the lady). He said.
"I have a health condition",- he replied quickly.
This continued for a few minutes without a volunteer. I was so displeased to be convinced that all my life, growing up in this town, I had dwelt amongst "Cowards" who have the courage to speak, but scared to act.- I said to myself.
I shook my head in disgrace remembering the stories my father once told me as a young boy of this town. " So they make all the mouth in this world, claiming to be tough and courageous people, only to shy away when it's time to act",- I said repugnantly.
I thought of those moments before saying aloud.
" I will be a volunteer".- I arose from my seat. This is to save you Cowards the troubles of arguing amongst yourselves. "I thought".
All eyes fell on me, perhaps I was the only teenage boy in the hall.
"You must be out of your mind!!- my father yelled rebuking me.
" How old are you, young man?- Mr. Harry asked. Ignoring my father's repulsive comment.
" 17 years Sir".- I said.
"And what makes you think you are fit for such a task?".- he asked.
" I ain't got no choice, isn't it obvious that I'm the only "man" in this gathering". - I responded sarcastically.
Mr. Harry gazed at me, shaking his head in agreement.
" Bring me the shot gun and box of bullets, you're going to resume by night. You'll be stationed at the Town' s gate".- he said handing me the 22 inch rifle and box of bullets before saying me a prayer, " Lord, pls lead your son safely".
* * * *
It was 11:00 p.m, I was in position in the dead of night. I couldn't see or hear anything, only but my inner thoughts and my heart beat. The fireflies made a captivating display of green and yellow colours as they circled in mid- air buzzing into my ear with their light wings. The night breeze hugged me tight so I could feel my blood congealing on the inside. My hair ducts formed some tiny- pointy boils that covered my entire body.
" What if the thief doesn't show up?, will I just die in this cold for nothing?"- I thought.
Still seated with my loaded shot gun and touch light. I suddenly heard movements in the bushes, it sounded like many footsteps were made at such a quick pace.
" Who's there!!? Come out of your hiding now!!"- I ordered, pointing my big LED touchlight towards the directon as I reached for my gun.
" You' ve got your last warning"- I said cocking the 22 inch barrell rifle while I made faint steps into the bush.
My heart was beating twice as fast than normal. Thoughts began to fill my head. But I wasn't all too scared to break down and drop in an instant. I have been trained for such a task in my scouting school and I believed that by "divine Providence" I am where I am at the moment to redeem this " cowardly town" of their plight.
" Bang! Bang! Bang! - shots fired.
Bullets casing hits hard against the grass, fog of gun powder sweeps through the air, so I could perceive a strong blend of metallic and sulfuric content.
I got to the man who layed flat on the ground like a dead meat. His left arm was tattooed with the face of a fierce Tiger, and he wore a black hoodie to hide his face.
" who are you!!?
" where are the rest!!?- I asked.
His blue jean shorts was soaked in sticky red liquid that pumped out a substantial amount every second from his right leg.
" You're loosing a lot of blood"- I said while pressing against the open spot of the wound with a black napkin to stop the bleeding.
* * * *
Hours later, 7:00 a.m prompt, the blaring of sirens filled the air. The cops have arrived together with the Emergency Medical unit on the scene in a swift seconds. The officers came out of their patrol van and handcuffed the thief after he was treated for his wounds. The average black man, probably into his thirties. " I guessed", was escorted into the back seat of the barricaded van by officers. The people of GROSBERG watched in awe as the man was taken away. My father turned and said to me " You know chap, I wouldn't have underestimated you, after all you are a "Hero" I know, and am very proud of". Then he held me by my shoulders as we set off to a bar.