Chidi stepped into the room and glimpsed his brother playing with his favourite toy – a small wooden soldier – which he had carved out for himself and which he held dear to his heart. His brother looked up startled and anything he wanted to say before froze on the tip of his tongue.
“Are you mad?” Chidi asked.
Only then did Ebuka’s tongue loose. “I-I-I am sorry brother.”
“Sorry my foot!” Chidi said and before his brother could reply he had given him a backhand slap which sent Ebuka rolling on the floor. He picked up the wooden soldier and began hitting his brother several times while poor Ebuka could only scream and shield his face with his hands.
“Chidi, sorry, sorry, I will not do it again.” Ebuka wailed pitifully but Chidi seemed to hardly hear and continued beating him.
“Chidi leave that boy this instant!”
He stopped on recognising his mother’s voice. He stopped and turned slowly to face his mum who looked at him like he was insane.
“Why were you hitting him?” She asked him.
“He was playing with my toy.” Chidi said.
“Toy? That was why you hit him so?” And before she knew it herself, she had given Chidi two hot slaps. “Who at your age keeps a toy to begin with? Ehn? That hasn’t shamed you enough. You saw your brother playing with it and the next thing that comes to mind is to beat him senseless with it abi? Let me even see the toy.”
That was when Chidi saw that the toy had even broken while he used it to beat his brother.
“You see yourself? It has even broken. Good for you. This anger will put you in trouble one day. Don’t ever beat your brother again, you hear? Ana m ado gi aka na nti! Ehen! Ebuka let’s go.” She stormed out of the room.
Chidi sat on the bed muttering “I’ll teach him a lesson” several times.
A week later…
Ebuka ran into the room trying to lock it before his brother followed him in but then he wasn’t strong to close the door on his brother who was ten years his elder. Eventually he burst in and he was so angry, Ebuka knew he would be given a thorough beating
“Why did you tell mum what happened? You couldn’t keep your mouth shut abi?” Chidi asked. Without waiting for an answer, he pulled his belt off his trousers and began hitting Ebuka whose screams could wake the dead.
At some point Ebuka tried to fight back and then a struggle ensued. Ebuka bit Chidi’s hand and the pain maddened Chidi so much that all that he could think of was hurting Ebuka terribly. Chidi grabbed Ebuka and slammed him on the wall once. He proceeded to do it again but then he saw red colour on the wall. Where did it come from? He heard a rasping sound and looked down. Ebuka was gasping for breath and his head bled. For the first time panic took hold of Chidi.
“No Ebuka, no I’m sorry. O di m nwute, biko.” He begged loudly and before he knew it, he began to scream for help as he felt life slipping from Ebuka. His mum rushed in alongside their gateman and well as usual, a scream announced her entrance.
“Heu!!! Chidi, egbuola m, egbuola m o…Heu!!!” She rushed to her son Ebuka and grabbed him from Chidi’s arms. She then ran outside so as to rush him to a hospital. As she was just getting to the car she felt Ebuka gasp one more time and he was dead. “Ebuka, Ebuka, Ebuka!”. It was too late. She fainted while the other neighbours in the compound rushed out.
All Chidi could see around him was chaos but all he could think was that he had been warned about his anger and that it would someday get him into trouble. It was too late to be sorry. If only he had listened, he could have avoided the trouble. Suddenly he saw policemen from nowhere and people were pointing at him. He tried to run away but the policemen were fast and they knocked him down. “My own don finish!”, he said. Then he lost consciousness.
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