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Home  ›  Science/Fiction  ›  The World Has Eyes
The World Has Eyes
by Nathaniel Simon Bivan   (Author)
Read First Three Chapters

CHAPTER ONE
THE ENCOUNTER

It was seven on a promising Monday morning on the first of February when Shinkut manoeuvred his way along a narrow and shrubby path with snake-like curves dribbling all the way to his newly acquired point of duty. The air was humid, smelling of wilting vegetation barely surviving the endless human stampede.
Although extremely intelligent Shinkut’s inconsistency, lack of prioritization and focus, saw him rounding off as an average student from the College of Education. The quick motion of his short legs, hard breathing, coupled with his perspiring forehead created a picture that was out-rightly tense and anxious. An invisible banner on him seems to say ‘In a bid to impress the principal.’ But the day was significant and his state of mind understandably so because it was to be his first official morning at Mitcha Government Day Secondary School.
He had met the principal and even before had heard of him; a very strict, disciplined and principled African man. “I am not a gentleman,” he will say. Roughly about fifty years of age, with an imposing giant-like personality, an unusually wide head, and a surprisingly non-masculine voice that was at once funny and scary. A well known legend of him was that he never wore clothes other than traditional African attires. Shinkut’s predecessor called him secretly “The symbol of Pan-Africanism”; a saying that stuck to the tongues of the school staff. A female teacher once told the tale of how she noticed his lips twitch in a rare smile when he learnt of the legend.
The principal was known and respected by every family in Mitcha. He made a habit of visiting the homes of most of his students who resided within the locality to talk with their parents about their academic performance and the parent’s responsibility to make sure their children attended school regularly and on time. This was dreaded by most of the students who sometimes skipped school to rendezvous with their peers at the Bangouza Fruit Farm owned by the famous Jose Bangouza, a fruit merchant who migrated from neighbouring Chouza more than a decade ago.
Mitcha was a small settlement that boasted of only one major tarred road linked by several dirt roads leading to houses mostly made of mud. Although water pipes had been sunk of late, its occasional flow caused a mad rush. On the chizom-valley – usually used on market days – was a small stream running all the way to the left-wing of the open field of the school. This valley was rarely used by the staff that preferred to use the longer tarred road. At the slightest hint of dawn young girls of marriage-able years would converge at the stream to fetch some water, bath and gossip. On that fateful morning, some of them stayed a little longer. Amongst them wasAzizi.
Climbing up the steep valley the three girls looked what they were: Ripe for marriage; their heads adorned with beautiful braids, wearing wrappers of varying designs, drawn up, shielding mature breasts.
Shinkut was coming down the valley dressed in a neat white long-sleeve shirt, black trousers, a black tie and a pair of odd, old, brown shoes with half chewed-off soles when he met them.
“Hello ladies,” he greeted, stepping aside to let them by, his eyes admiring Azizi openly. For a moment her eyes met he’s shyly, and then she hurried after her friends who had left her in their wake.
Azizi was the last and only female child of Ovey Anza, a respected native of Mitcha. He was a short, Stocky and bald-headed man in his sixties, an uneducated but successful farmer who owned one of the largest farms in the village.
Anza was a good father to his six children; with three married and living several houses away. A good husband to his wife, he possessed none of the vices of drinking, smoking or womanizing; said to be common to most men.
He sat this morning as usual on his favourite bamboo chair under a tall mango tree in the compound, a long chewing stick dangling from his mouth and an old wrapper around his waist.
He looked to the skies imploringly, remembering the tale his father told him as a child about the ancient Mumbi clan; their ancestors who were known to possess powers that controlled rainfall.
“How Baba…?’’ He had asked curiously, his eyes fixed on his father’s face from his position on the floor. The old man had laughed pleasantly and continued; ‘’Babies born to the Mumbi clan in the month of August were blessed with the gift of commanding rain to cease or fall. Like when rain is about to ruin an important occasion, they can use their powers to stop it from falling.”
The sound of his daughter’s goodbye to her friends forced him back to the present. He watched her come into the compound; a semi-circle of low mud buildings, plastered in cement and covered by an old zinc-roof supported at the front by several wooden sticks to form the front porch.
“Good morning Baba!” She greeted in the local dialect, making her way to the outdoor kitchen, her hips swaying like a calabash as she walked. He smiled at her distractedly, mumbling an inaudible response.
Anza was thinking of the bulk of her bride price and what it could do to his present financial state. “The marriage comes immediately after her secondary school education,” he thought resignedly, “At least I have tried.”
The kitchen was a tiny structure; containing a variety of utensils, with a slanting zinc roof at the façade supported by four thick and crooked sticks buried in the ground. It was here that Azizi let out a flood of the water she carried into a large water drum.
The picture of her encounter with the stranger earlier flashed through her mind. She had no doubt of her effect on men. The uncountable visits her father got from interested men when she turned sixteen attested to that fact. Her beautiful oval features, wide hips and full breasts had haunted many men than she could recall. He is just another man, she concluded, shrugging off the memory as she hurried to prepare for school.
Shinkut felt a wash of disappointment for the second time at what he saw, as his dusty brown shoes carried him towards the school premises.
The school comprised of four large and lengthy dilapidated blocks of buildings facing each other with enough space between them for a mini football field, the blue and white paint barely hanging unto the wall littered with cartoon characters. The zinc roofs were tattered and hanging at the edges but for the heavy large stones, while the metal doors and windows stood weakly on their hinges with others in mid-air supported by large stones like a foot losing balance.
Inside the quiet classroom that would in a moment be polluted by high pitched delinquent noise-making were un-polished chalk boards with wooden pairs of tables and chairs in uniform disarray.
Shinkut strolled towards the administrative block - the glass doors and windows remained intact here - which housed the office of the principal and teachers staff room. High above the building stood the blue-white school flag and green-white-green national flag moving to the silent nudge of the early morning breeze. Directly below it was the assembly ground.
The office of the principal was furnished with a big wooden desk and chair--cushioned by worn soft and old black leather--a shelf loaded with books, a cheap brown carpet on the floor and two visitor’s chairs standing a few inches away from the desk.
The staff room was large, rectangular, with hard wooden desks and straight backed chairs on all four corners of the room.
As Shinkut ascended the two stair cases unto the corridor he came face-to-face with the principal who appeared momentarily surprised.
“Ehem…good morning sir”! Shinkut blurted out, scratching the back of his head uncomfortably.
“Good morning to you too Mr. …’’
“Joseph sir…Joseph Shinkut...’’
“Oh yes… You are quite early I must say. I do hope you’ll make it a habit’’.
“I’ll do my best sir!’’Shinkut replied.
Suddenly a group of chattering students in blue and white uniforms arrived and began assembling themselves in straight line formations.
Shinkut’s first day at work had begun.
Shinkut’s back was turned to the students of A--Class [form five]. The class was extremely quiet. He could almost feel their hostility and rude scrutiny, but it did not bother him.
Scraping quietly against the board, he wrote his name in full before turning. It was then he noticed how over-crowded the class was. There were three rows of desks and chairs with three students sitting on sits meant for two.
Seeing the way they stared back at him Shinkut gave them his disarming teacher-to- student smile. But their faces remained expressionless.
“So….that is my name’’, he said sweeping his hand in a wide arc across the board.
“You can call me Mr. Joseph,’’ he added, searching their faces as though looking for an ally.
Almost at ones the students began to mumble among themselves. It was then he saw her: She was sited at the first row on the left, her eyes down-cast, pretending to pore over an open note book. How could I ever forget that beautiful face? He thought.
“Okay class’’, he said, clapping his hands twice to draw their attention. “Who can give me a brief summary of the last class?’’
A deafening quiet suddenly settled over the classroom, every face seeming to say’’ no idea’’!
“You there’’ he said, pointing to the girl of his obsession.” Yes…? The first girl on the left row,’’ he added when Azizi looked up uncertainly.
She stood up from her seat self-consciously, her slim tall and curved physique hardly hidden by the long, checked, blue and white gown.
“In the…ehm…last class, we were taught about the Fulani jihad of 1804 led by Usman Danfodio’’, She began slowly, her voice faltering. “The jihad was a holy war to reform Islam in Hausa land’’ she continued boldly.’’ As a result the area formally known as Northern Nigeria with the exception of Borno, parts of Kebbi, Gobir and the hilly areas of the Middle belt came under the rule of the Fulani.
She fell silent, looking inquiringly at Shinkut, uncertain if she was to continue.
“Very good….” Shinkut said, impressed with her response. Then on impulse he quickly asked,’’ what is your name?’
“Azizi sir…”
“Your full name…?”
“Azizi Anza sir…!”
“You may sit!”
Shinkut’s gaze swept the classroom inquiringly. “Who has something more to add to what she has said? What was said to be the primary motives for the jihad?”
Several hands flew up in unison. An amused smile played at Shinkut’s lips. “I’ll pick a male this time,” he said pleasantly, pointing at a smallish boy in the back.
“It was religious,” the boy quickly said.
“Yes…that is one of the reasons….”Another hand came up quickly.
“Yes…Azizi go on.”
“Apart from the school of thought that says the primary motive is religious, others claim it was ethnic as well as political.” Azizi said.
‘’Good! ’’ Shinkut said, a satisfied smile on his face.

CHAPTER TWO
THE BATTLE OF BOTTLES

It was 3 pm in Mitcha, a time when the sun bared its fangs to torment its helpless victims. Although luxurious trees loomed high above its School’s staff quarters, the sun’s ray’s cut deep like an avenging knife.
The staff quarters was large and well planned with wide dirt roads and trees; A small distance behind each house were twin rooms [boy’s quarters] sometimes occupied by new single teachers. It was in one of such rooms that Shinkut lived.
He was in one of the rooms behind flat twelve, sharing a small shower room and toilet with a neighbour. His room was humbly furnished with a black leather carpet, a small book shelf against the wall, a chair and reading table, a wooden clothes hanger and an old deck giving out a blast of calypso music. Scattered on the table were a load of test scripts.Shinkut lay sprawled atop a mattress on the floor blowing a ring of cigarette smoke towards the ceiling.
Although the two windows and door were open Shinkut was hot without a fan, his bare chest matted with sweat. Lying totally still and deep in thought he looked like a voodoo practitioner in a trance. His whole mind was besieged by thoughts of Azizi so much that he found it hard to concentrate on the scripts he was marking.
Was it love or pure lust? He wondered. But he already knew the answer.
His thoughts took him to his teenage years and the battle of bottles.
Many years ago in the big town of Kure -when he was still an adolescent- he and his mother had discovered his father unconscious below the bathroom sink in a pool of blood.
Later the doctor confirmed he had died vomiting blood.’’ A weird case,’’ he admitted. But Shinkut and his mother had noticed no sign of illness before then.
“Sorry madam…there was nothing I could do’’, Shinkut heard the doctor say, in professional sympathy. But he had noticed the puzzled expression. And he never forgot.
At the burial ceremony he saw the same look on the faces of some sympathizers. He overheard a careless tongue whisper to another,’’ they did it to him’’.
A year later his mother died.’’ Of a broken heart’’ many sadly said. But he knew better. She had known no peace since his father’s relatives -including those he never knew- surfaced. It was after his death that Shinkut first became conscious of his father’s material worth. But his father had been careless-He had left no will behind!
An uncle took him in. Being an only child it was then he discovered life could be hard. His polygamous uncle spent neither time nor money on him. After so much neglect and hunger in his uncles house a rebel grew within him. It started with a puff at a casually passed cigarette, a swig from a beer bottle then the drugs.
When he was nineteen and fresh out of secondary school he took a daring step that ruled his future. It was a time when boys his age felt they needed to prove to the town that they had undergone the transition from boyhood to manhood. Shinkut longed to be accepted into the fold of the young and independent men of Kure; this group of independent men made a habit of gathering at ‘Dolle’, a place flooded with beer and prostitutes. His fetish for older girls –and his so-called cute baby face which attracted them- led to a confrontation between him and a much older man who got jealous of Shinkut’s closeness to his girl friend. A game called ‘’the battle of bottle’s was quickly scheduled at Dolle by its members to put Shinkut in his place. Going against his peer’s advice he obliged.
Dolle was a small building with a thatched fence. A creaking waist-level zinc door covered by a light dirty curtain led into a rowdy parlour reeking of cigarette smoke and alcohol. The floor was bare with long wooden benches and tables where young shabbily dressed men sat fondling clinging prostitutes. Tucked to a corner was a short bar with two poker faced men behind it-The smaller man was in charge of the drinks while the other held the large keys to two tiny rooms used by desiring couples.
The arrival of Shinkut brought a sudden hush as many heads turned in the parlour. Across a table fully loaded with beer bottles, his rival, a broad shouldered hunk of a man, glared at him. A lanky man with long braided beard stood over them. Shinkut guessed he was to be a sort of referee. As they lifted their bottles to their lips, a small crowd of men gathered round cheering Biggie!!! Biggie overwhelmed by the support accorded him raised a hand to the bartender who scurried to fill every table with beer bottles. An hour later Biggie and Shinkut were drunk and already talking like old school buddies.
Shinkut jerked to the present at the sound of his neighbour’s bemused voice, ‘’ol boy, wetin dey do you now! I have been knocking on your door for eternity! Kozah said, walking into the room.
“Oh…sorry, I didn’t hear you,’’ Shinkut replied guiltily.
Kozah pulled the chair and sat, his arms folded atop its straight back. So…what’s on your wandering mind, he said adjusting his big buttocks on the chair.
Shinkut smiled uncomfortably. It was just about a week since he moved in and Kozah’s jovial face had already won its way to his heart. His plump physique gave him an older look but Shinkut believed he was not more than twenty three. This made Shinkut two years older.
“It’s a girl I like that’s all,’’ Shinkut confessed off-handed, sitting up against the wall.
“Ha! If she’s as unimportant as you make it sound, I’m sure we wouldn’t be talking about her right now, Kozah said with a twinkle in his eyes.” So whose this girl that’s making you lose sleep?’’
“That’s exactly the point. She’s my student.’’
“Hmmm…sensitive case…’’
“That’s it.’’
“So…do you love her…?’’
“No! Come on…’’
“Okay…do you intend to be serious with her?’’
“What do you mean?’’
“Okay, I’ll put it bluntly. Do you see yourself getting married to her?’’
“I haven’t considered that’’, Shinkut replied dryly.
“Maybe you should. I have been here a year now, and believe me, it’s the only language these people understand,’’ Kozah said.
Noticing Shinkut’s suddenly brooding mood he stood and parted him jovially on the shoulder. “Cheer up man! Say I take you out for a beer or two this evening. What do you think?’’
Shinkut brightened. He had longed for a drink and more since he arrived. It’s about time, he thought.

CHAPTER THREE
THE TEACHER AND HIS STUDENT

It was almost 12 noon and the weather was getting hotter, encouraging the increasing number of flies roaming the classroom. The atmosphere was still but for the noisy whine of the two fans that failed to dispel the lingering odour of sweat streaked bodies.
The end of yet another interesting history class drew closer and the attentiveness and vibrancy of the students of A-Class spoke a silent hope that their teacher would lose track of time and exceed his class period. Chief among these hopeful’s was Azizi.
Sited at her usual spot on the left row she missed nothing. Overnight history had become her favourite subject. She admired the way the teacher coordinated the class; even those classified as the dull and mute were beginning to speak-up boldly because he kept urging them to ask questions.
Azizi never passed up an opportunity to speak in his class. She gladly discovered he took special notice of her by asking her to carry after him a load of books to the staff room even when the class captain was available. She hoped today would be one of such days.
Today her attention was divided; her eyes rode down his neatly pressed clothes down to his old shoes. Each time his handsome face turned her way her heart seemed to leap against her chest.
“That is all for today.’’ Azizi heard him say. “Any question?’’ Several hands too many sprang up. “Ehm…due to time factor I’ll answer all your questions in the next class, Shinkut said, Checkmating them amidst a general chorus of; “no!!!’’
As he left Azizi quickly ran after him along the corridor. “Excuse me sir!’’ she said breathlessly behind him..
“Yes…?’’ Shinkut said, turning in surprise.
“Sir…ehem…I was…’’, Azizi began haltingly, a hand playing uncomfortably with her braided hair.
“Go on Azizi…’’, he encouraged, wondering what it was.
‘’Sir! I was just wondering…since our SSCE exams comes up next year…..would you be so kind as to start giving us some extra lessons anytime soon?’’
“Of course I’ll’’, Shinkut answered enthusiastically.’’ I admire your seriousness Azizi’’.
“Thank you, sir’’, she said, curtsying shyly, her face to the ground.
Later Shinkut sat at his desk in the staff room pondering his earlier discussion with Azizi. My resolution to cease any fantasies of her is failing, he thought in frustration. Time and time again he found his concentration slipping when in the classroom. Somehow he always found his gaze resting on her; her beauty intoxicating him, leaving him panting like a lapping dog. What was more, she tormented him the more by habitually showing off in class to impress him. She was his best student for crying out loud!
The sudden jingle of the school bell startled him. It was closing time. Grabbing a couple of books hurriedly off his desk he whisked out of the staff room without exchanging the usual goodbye’s with his colleagues. He needed a beer terribly. The urge to always get ‘’high’’ lately was becoming too great for him. He had thought he could push his addictions away in a place like Mitcha and be more responsible. Be somebody! Make those that thought him a failure suck their words! He remembered the words his uncle’s second wife had spat in his hungry face:’’ Am I your mother? Useless boy! Nothing good will ever come out of you!’’ He had vowed to prove them wrong. But how long could this life he had built in Mitcha last? His caged self was calling. Reality was fast losing its steam. He needed his very own sanctuary where he could lose himself. Or he would explode!

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Product Details
Author: Nathaniel Simon Bivan
Publication date: 7/17/2014
Pages: 77
Product dimensions: 1196 x 1600
More About This eBook
Overview
It took eighteen years to build her life, but it took a day for Azizi’s promising life story to change for the worse. For her teacher, Shinkut, who was the major player to that change, it was just another phase, a sign for him to move on. And so a son was born and raised
Editorial Reviews
About Author
Nathaniel Bivan is a journalist. He lives in Abuja, Nigeria.
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