Challenge Eighteen: ManickaL
****ManickaL the Maniac. First time I read something he wrote, he was talking about how he doesn’t give a multi-pointed cutlery, and I knew I just had to get him to write for me. He did. And I am glad. Ladies and gentlemen, insert your Milo Clap here…! >>>***
“Amadi!Amadi! Abuloma jetty!” screamed the bus-conductor at the top of his very coarse voice as people rushed into the rickety bus. I’d been standing at the bus-stop for over thirty minutes waiting for this bus to show up and just as it did, everyone around me was pushing and shoving at each other for a chance to get in. Nobody knew how long it would take the next bus to show up and none wanted to wait and find out. I managed to push aside an elderly man and a young lady with as much strength as I could muster to get into that bus. I looked at the old man as he stood outside and looked forlornly into the filled up vehicle. Disappointment was on his face, and I felt sorry for him. Cruel world, I told myself.
The traffic jam on the way home was worse than I had ever experienced before. Returning from work every day, I’d always taken the bus because it was cheaper. I didn’t care that it was slower, as long as it got me to my destination for half the price a taxi would charge. The economy wasn’t being easy on ordinary people like us so we had to adjust. So taking the bus had been my usual routine for a long time. I’d gotten used to the slow, steady pace it took me to get home every evening. Ten to fifteen minutes max. On this particular evening though, I had spent over an hour already and we weren’t even half way home. I cursed repeatedly under my breath, wondering what the cause of such a jam could be. Maybe an accident or the damn police people trying to appear like they were doing their job. Twenty minutes later and we hadn’t moved an inch. At that moment one of the passengers tried to get off the bus without intention of paying the fare and got in a small ruckus with the conductor which made the driver get down from the bus and come all the way to the back where passenger and bus-conductor had each other by the scruff of their necks. I observed them go at it for a little before using the opportunity to slip out of the bus and walk briskly away from the situation like I had no idea what was going on.
On very rare occasions, I had walked home from the office. Mostly because I didn’t have any money to pay my fare or I was saving the money for food instead. I usually never enjoyed it. People staring at you from passing vehicles and thinking to themselves… “hey, look at this guy. He’s so broke he can’t ever afford the bus.” I had walked for about five minutes before I reached the ever-busy Amadi round-about junction to find a large crowd gathered there. Such kind of a crowd usually gathered when there was an accident. A ghastly one, with a lot of dead bodies lying around. I usually avoided the sight of such things, but on that night, my curiosity came alive. I walked towards the crowd to find out what it was everyone was staring at. As I approached, I heard someone say something about a “round aeroplane” and another voice among the crowd talking about a “spaceship.” What were these people talking about, I asked myself. Then when I had pushed myself through the crowd until I reached the part where I could actually see what caused the traffic jam, my jaw literally hit the floor.
I stared at it for what seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was huge. And round. And kind of flat. Like a saucer. It was black and shiny. It had strange symbols glowing on it. It was a bloody alien spacecraft. It had crashed all the way through the Evangelic World Crusade church building which used to be just about 30 feet from the round-about and destroyed everything on its path till it got to the rounded pavement which was half gone from the impact. My heart was beating fast. People were speaking but I wasn’t hearing what they were saying. I just stared at the space-craft. Thoughts filled my head then. So all the movies we had been watching all these years, about aliens invading earth were true. All the stories we’d heard about UFOs. I had recently just watched a cinema dubbed copy of Prometheus. And all the others just came to my head at that moment. All of them.CowboysvsAliens. War of the Worlds, Independence Day, Obliv…and just then, the craft came to life.
Its lights glowed brighter until it became blinding and the people shielded their eyes. And then we felt the earth move; like the way it usually felt when road workers were grading the road, but with much more vibrations this time. Like what an earthquake in the city of Port Harcourt would feel like. The craft was trying to lift off. People had started running. I heard sirens then. I couldn’t tell whether it was from ambulances, or the fire service, or even the police. The place was in a state of absolute chaos. People were screaming. I still stood where I was, watching the craft shake the earth that I stood upon. A helicopter had approached and hovered just above the object. Maybe the Governor was in there, trying to have a glimpse of the marvellous sight himself. Amadi round-about had become something else. Like a scene from a blockbuster movie. I felt like I was dreaming. I pinched myself. I slapped myself hard. I felt the pain well enough to know it was real. It was happening. And just when I decided that maybe it was time to leave the scene of such an impending disaster, the craft made a very loud sound and released a force field so powerful that it lifted me into the air. Me and many others, and cars, and various objects and debris. I landed on the top of a shiny new Toyota Camry, breaking the windshield in the process and falling inside. I heard and felt the breaking of my arm, and the sharp excruciating pain was the last thing that came to my mind before passing out.
When I came to, the first thing I realized was that I was still clutching my laptop bag. I was in total darkness. I tried to move and screamed in pain. My left arm and my right leg were broken. I realized I was in a car. One that I had gotten into by crashing through the windshield. I lay there for a while as the memories filled my head. Then I remembered the reason why I was in the car in the first place. An alien space-craft had released a powerful force field. The thought didn’t even make sense to me. An Igbo man like me who believed in God with all my heart and hoped that one day he would make me as rich as AlikoDangote talking about aliens and space crafts and force fields? I tried to move again and pain shot through my body, making me scream. Without thinking, I called out for help. My voice was the only sound I could hear. The night was extremely quiet. Not even the crickets dared to make a sound. I sensed then that I was alone and nobody was coming to help me. I lay there till dawn. And it was at that time that I realized the gravity of my situation.
I was going to die that day.
I should have died that day, but I didn’t, because scavengers found me. And they were not human.