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Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Camera 3

AJ was confused. This was not the same picture he had taken in the morning...this was...something else entirely. What did it all mean? He had looked at the photo preview on the tiny screen of the camera in the morning, Aminu had been smiling there and THAT truck was several metres away at that point. He looked at the camera again, suddenly afraid and wary...the scenes from the night before came to his mind. Forcing himself to snap out of the mood he was getting into, he absently waved down a taxi and got in.
"Oga, oya come down. We don reach!" The annoying nasal twang of the driver's voice woke him up. He had been dozing at the back of the cab. AJ looked up with sleepy eyes and saw that they had indeed gotten to his junction. He paid the driver and turned round to see a lot of people gathered on his street. He could recognise some of them. Mama Azeez, the neighbourhood gossip was there, her ample 'chest' straining against a blouse that was once black but now looked like a washed out grey fabric. 'General' too was outside, marching up and down with his bushy moustache and clean-shaven balding head. He was a retired army private who delighted in telling anyone that cared to hear about how he defeated Hitler and Saddam Hussein all by himself. AJ moved closer to the crowd forming a loose circle around something on the floor. Carefully pushing his way through the throng, he got to the front and looked down. What he saw made him cringe and shudder involuntarily. Aminu was lying on the floor, limbs twisted in an unnatural position with his head split open...brain matter splattered all over. The corpse looked obscene on the floor...like a grotesque mannequin that had been smeared with garish rust-brown paint. "W-what happened? Why, who, WHAT HAPPENED!" he screamed. "It was a truck o! One big red truck that came out of nowhere and hit him as he stood by the road a few minutes ago." Mama Azeez volunteered. She continued talking but AJ had stopped listening. His head was reeling, trying to piece it all together. He thought about bringing out the picture to show people and didn't know he spoke aloud. "I saw a red truck this mornin-" then stopped when he saw people looking funnily at him. AJ decided not to say anything and moved away from the front. A solitary tear rolled down his right cheek. Aminu was his friend...he didn't deserve this, nobody did. What was going on really? What was with the camera? He put his hand to feel it through the fabric of his bag and quickly removed it. It was hot! Something about the abrupt way he removed his hand made General to look sharply at him. He would have to be careful not to give anything away. The last thing he needed was for any other person to discover the existence of the damning photo. His shock at seeing the picture of the truck about to hit Aminu had made him forget to look at the other 2 pictures he took with THE camera earlier on in the morning. He thought about his nephews, how they were going to be sad when their friend Aminu was no more. No more lollies, ice cream scoops or friendly smiles whenever they came over again. With all that was happening, his house should be the last place for the boys anyway. General finally noticed his leaking eyes and stopped looking suspiciously at AJ. His face softened and he spoke "I'm sorry my boy, I know you people were friends. It is God's will. The Lord giveth and taketh...who are we to question the time and manner we lose our loved ones?" AJ couldn't help it. He put his hands over his face and sobbed like a baby. Glances of sympathy came his way, people reaching out to comfort him. He gently waved them away and wiped his streaming face. The police had arrived. They were going to take away the body. It was with a heavy heart that AJ trudged towards his house (room).
Once inside, he brought out the envelope, willing the pictures inside to be normal. No such luck. The first one on top was the photo he had seen in the studio...the next showed Aminu under the front tires of the truck, blood already leaking out of it. In the last one, Aminu was exactly as he had been when AJ saw him lying broken and bloody on the street. His hands were shaking like thin reeds and he reached for his phone. After the call, AJ sat down heavily on his bed, stunned. The girl at the studio said she didn't see anything wrong with the pictures...that they all showed a man smiling for the camera. He had asked her if she saw a truck and she answered in the negative. This was serious...he was the only person that saw the truck. There was one last test for him to carry out. With his heart in his mouth, he took the last picture outside to show Mama Azeez. The fat woman took one look at it and said "Ehya, see how he dey smile for here. Kai! God go punish the truck driver o!" AJ had his answer...he WAS the only person that could see what was REALLY in the photo. Him and maybe his nephew...things were going from bad to worse. Inside his room, he looked at the camera again, mortally afraid of the thing...wishing he had never set his eyes on it. This was an evil camera...the embodiment of corruption and decay...he had to get rid of it! With a sudden cry, AJ picked up the camera and smashed it against the wall. It shattered into several pieces. Not satisfied, he used a hammer to break up the larger pieces and threw them as far away from his room as possible. There. It was done. The events of the day robbed him of any form of appetite and he went to bed early. It was a troubled sleep. He tossed and turned all night and woke up around 6:30am. The morning rays were coming through a gap in his curtain...falling on the table. AJ got up to close the tiny space, eyes not fully opened...then they opened up. Wide. Wider than they had ever opened in his entire life. There, lying on the table, looking as though nothing had happened to it, was THE camera...

To be continued
 

6 comments:

  1. Do leave ur comments and keep following for more episodes

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  2. Replies
    1. He should be writing for Africa magic. What about the other two pictures?

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  3. Beautiful!!! Sush keep it up;)

    ReplyDelete