If you heard gunshots at midnight…
I wear my sweater on top my long sleeve, pink top. I pick the black trouser I stole from my dad. I search out for my flowery, baby pink, thick socks. Then I wear my pink headwarmer.
It is a cold and quiet night. As we go in for the night, I know and hope it will be a peaceful night. As usual, another peaceful night.
But we never can really tell, can we?
I hear the shots from my dream. It pierced my dreamworld, chased off the people I was moving with, and brought me back to our dark room in Aba.
My heart skips and begins to pound furiously. Gunshots? Close? I hear Chiemela’s whisper. “Onyigirl, Onyigirl, ịna-anụ ụda egbe?” She was apparently on the brink of tears. My other siblings snore away peacefully. Ordinary gunshot cannot tell them when to wake up.
I listen hard to know whether my parents are awake, if they are mumbling, if they will come with bulletproof to cover us.
The sounds come closer. They came in booms, and tatatatas. My other siblings wake up. One of them has courage and checks the time on her phone. 1:23am.
I know the questions running through our minds as we wait in fear for the shots to recede.
What if this shooting is close to our house? What if they are coming here? Where are they robbing? What if it’s our house? What if the bullets stray to this direction? What if they shoot up and a bullet flies from there and blasts my brain?😟what if that boom sound shakes our old building and crumbles it? What if our house falls and a blocks plasters my head on my perfumed pillow? What if my dad gets a heart attack? If he does, what if we carry him out to take him to a hospital and we meet the shooters on the way? What if the shooters are bad people? What if they assassinate us right there with pleas stuck in our mouths? What if it’s now police and robbers’ shootout? What if it’s a cultist attack? What if one of our neighbors is a cultist? What if they don’t find him/her and shoot the parents? What if they’re shooting everyone in the unfortunate building? I mean, why else will they shoot nonstop? Is it a terrorist attack? What if there are people dead already? What if I know this people? What if we come out I the morning and see bodies littered on the streets and houses? What if? What if?
We stay up till 3am when the sounds gradually fade into the distance, but at least we are safe afterall.