The Boy with Flowers in his Hair- Chapter 3

I look back on some moments, some periods in my life and I wonder if maybe I had seen things earlier, if I had maybe been more observant, maybe I would have prevented some things. If I had been smarter, or maybe quicker.

Time seemed to slow down as my father leapt off the floor, dagger in his hands and I only had a few seconds to realise something — actually two things. His eyes, they had this light brown tint that I had never seen before, my father had dark brown eyes. And more importantly, he was wearing different clothes. The new outfit wasn’t what bothered me but what did was the gold I saw peeking from under his shirt.

My father didn’t wear jewellery.

I dodged to the right, my side hitting the fall as he looked at me with manic eyes, slashing again. I grunted as the knife almost slashed my forearm but I was trying to be careful, if Eno woke up and saw our father like this…I didn’t even want to think about it, it would break him.

“Daddy!” I said, hissing between my teeth after I had enough distance between us. “It’s me, Uyai, what are you doing?”

He just smiled and stalked towards me. His facial features were contorted now as if he were experiencing two emotions at once and wasn’t sure how to express them. I took steps back as he approached, the fear on my face was obvious and he could see it, even with the dim lights.

“Daddy,” I said, pleading. “Stop, I don’t know but…this isn’t you.”

He snarled. He actually snarled. “Don’t call me that, don’t call me daddy.” And then he gave a wicked smile again, though this time I could see a pang of sadness in his eyes. “I only have one child.”

His words hit me harder than a train ever could. It stung as they hit my ears and I stumbled back as if he hit me. He might as well have.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “What?”

He waved the hand with the dagger in it, dismissing the question. “No matter, it’ll be over soon. I’ll finally do what I always wanted to, finishing what your mother started all those years ago.”

I backed up until I could feel the coldness of the wall behind me. “I don’t understand.” I said, the tears falling out of my eyes.

“It was all your fault, you stupid bastard!” he spat. “You killed her! She was trying to save you!”

I couldn’t talk and I suddenly couldn’t breathe.

What was he saying but more than that, why did I feel so horrible?

He held the blade in front of him and walked with no care in the world. “Say your last prayers, child. Your time is up.”

I closed my eyes as I shook in place, paralysed by fear eve I couldn’t understand. There was a sharp sound, a grunt and then a thud.

I opened my eyes and there was a bald man, dressed in a green suit, standing over my father’s body. He wiped his hands and regarded me with his cold green eyes.

“Well, this is awkward.” He said. At which point, I promptly collapsed.

Anthony Azekwoh is a Nigerian-based author and artist. He has written five books so far, and is now working on the sequel to his fourth book Ṣàngó, Oya.

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