By Nonso Uzozie
The first time a tried to run away from the torments of Maka’s blood I found myself lying on the mountain of garbage. The second time, I was knocked down by a car. I was lucky to survive it, but it would had been better I did for I began to see more horrible things. I heard strange voices, too. But when I began to smell blood I knew I was in a big trouble. Everything I saw and felt was blood. Sometimes there was a deathly feeling, but death refused to come. I always saw myself in the eeriness of what I could not explain, I felt like picking the rubbish around me to deposit them nowhere. I called it madness. That was what it was. There was no other name for it.
Maka’s blood was strong; it was like sharpest weapon. It pierced me badly, nothing could stop it. I was only waiting and crying; waiting for it to strike; to strike me with a well-deserved calamity. Calamity was the only I deserved for shedding her innocent blood. Every night I woke up to cry for the blood of Maka. It would have been better I was crying for her soul. I did not know if she had a soul, all I knew was that she had blood; that blood that gush out of her wounded head and disappeared into the sand, weeping, and pointing accusing finger at me. At first I did not that I was guilty.
But I was living like a guilty man. Every time I heard a noise I knew it was the blood. I felt it; it was everywhere, in everything; in the curtain, in the light, in the gentle breeze, whispering with haunting voice in the ground, in the chirping of midnight birds, in the cry of the midnight owl and in the falling rain. It happened every day, every night, but I could not get used it. It got used to me. It occupied me, it taunted me like a creditor, counting days for me, warning me about my end; just like the early morning preacher calling out for all to repent for the coming of Christ, warning all how real heaven and earth were.
Sometimes there were heavy weights on it that I wondered how great; how thick her blood could be, how immortal it could be even when it had sank and dried up under the tasty sand. It was never silent. It could speak even from the last deeps, calling out for vengeance for generations, for justice for generations. I knew Maka’s blood would not wait for my generation or it would not torment me day and night. It would torment me until I was down to dust, until I join it below, until I join Maka in the unseen world. There, maybe, we would continue our union, which we could not complete in this life, because of my stupidity: Because I blindly refused to accept that I was addicted to crack, because I refused to listen to Maka’s plea to quit the crack.
I remembered that morning, at the backyard, when I was palpitating and shivering, and needed nothing but my crack, I was on my knees, begging Maka to tell me where, as usual, she hid my crack. I needed it even more than the air I breathed. I needed to be complete again. I had never been complete without it running in my veins.
‘Jerry, you promised to stop taking it,’ she had said.
I did not need a prophet to tell me she was angry. I had sold her last box of gold to Aboki at Yaba to buy the last wrap. She knew it, and from her red eyes, I figured she could not forgive that. She valued her jewelries more than any other thing. The piece of jewelries was the only thing that made her look good. She had forgive me three times for selling three boxes; for selling her point of beauty – the only thing that made jobless and lazy men like me admire and worship her.
‘Baby, this would be the last. I will stop it today,’ I had said.
She said nothing. Her eyes were furious!
‘Alright, I have stopped! But just let me have it back.’
‘It’s in the toilet.’
I made to go but stopped as the word toilet sank into my head.
‘What did you say?’ I asked with a clenched fist.
‘I flushed it.’
‘You did what?’
I held myself. I held my breath. I tried so hard to control the sudden anger in me. I ignored the voice that was telling me to squeeze the hell out her. I ignored the brick beside her that chose itself as a good punisher, a good silencer. I took a deep breath. It was not enough. Shutting my eyes was not enough too, because in a few seconds the voices had told me many ways to make Maka pay for my precious, my most cherished, – crack; my eyes; my baby, my voice, my greatest companion!
That swift slap that threw her to the ground was not enough. The kicks were not enough. I did not know how I lay my hand on the spiky brick; that heartless bricks that could not ask why I raised it against Maka. I landed so fast, twice, on her head. She writhed. I watched the blood gush out from her head, permeating into the dry sand, weeping and cursing me. Just then the voice called me a fool, and left me standing over the still body of a woman who had clothed and fed me for years. And right there when the urge for the crack stopped, I remembered that that she promised to give me a million naira the next day to start a new life. Two weeks ago she had bought a car for me. It was on my birthday; exactly six months luck brought her to me. She had changed my life within six months. My ugly story of penury was rewritten by her overwhelming, extravagant love and kindness.
Later I hide her body in a well at the back of her house. Nobody saw me. Nobody caught me. But her blood did. It judged and imprisoned my heart. I had no choice. Dying was the best choice. I had always waited impatiently for death. It seemed to be the only freedom. It seemed to be coming with the lowest speed until I was fully tortured by madness.