Die, Before You Are Dead: A Short Story

Published On: April 26, 2013, 1:12 am
-- (m) at 26-04-2013 01:12AM

(5 | Newbie)

Getting punished for a misdemeanour was often a sour experience. I, a habitual sinner, was often at it again. Childhood offences were not far from me. Neither was I far from committing them. They say that British don't beat their children. I often wished I was British.

Dad; a master of his craft would listen patiently as mum reported my offences. I was always within earshot; trembling at the back of the door. After dinner he grunts and bellows,

Ayo! Bring the cane!

My legs crossed each other as I made for the cane. Often times I prayed the cane broke, but it didn't.

And bring your bible too. He hollered behind my ears.

What does Proverb 13: 24 say?

He who spares the rod hates his son.

The words slurred out of my lips, tumbling out of my mouth with discordant notes.

Whack! Whack!! Whack!!! Whack!!!!

And that was it. Four, hot strokes. It never went past four strokes. I writhed in hateful pains.

But that evening was different.  An acrobatic scissors kick from my jinxed left foot made the inflated pig-skin ricochet against the fence and land in between two louvre blades.

Crank! Crank!!

The smashing sound melted my excitement. I had broken our Landlord's louver blades. My mental copier recopied these words over a thousand times: Why did I play football? I was supposed to be reading my books. My heart thumped heavily under the fear of what dad could do to me.

The irritable Landlord did not let dad drive in. Poor dad, poor tenant; he hurried back to get new louver blades. That evening, I wished the handy-man could exhaust endless hours fixing the blades. But he was done in seconds!

No dinner. Dad's anger was over the top. He dashed in to get the cane. No bible this time. He yanked me out of my room. He descended upon me and flogged me with a reckless abandon.

I cried and begged, but got no mercy. Mum, instead of interceding, fueled dad's anger towards me. With the punishment becoming unbearable for an African child, I chose a way out. A skill I learnt during a school drama performance did it.

Suddenly I flung myself on the ground. The unexpected thud made my father freeze. I threw my limbs aimlessly, catching my breath in short rasps. Suddenly, I became taut. I rolled my pupils inward. I began to salivate over the rug. I smartly watched as the two made a marathon within the four walls of our flat.

Ha! You want to kill my son. Mother exclaimed as she panted.
What are you waiting for, get me some water. Dad fired back.

Hurriedly, they sprinkled water over my face. Calling me and chaffing my limbs. That soothed away my pains. I relaxed and opened my eyes. Dad carried me in his strong arms and laid me on my bed. Mum appeared behind with a cup of milk.

I sipped the drink gently. Dad began to admonish me on becoming an obedient child. And I promised to be. Quietly, the two left and allowed me to rest.

I smiled with a corner of my mouth as the door shut.