Your Brief Bio:
Emina Bamiyo, I was born in Lagos, still live there (Eko all the way). I have always loved reading, followed my Abinibi and wrote my very first book.
Tweet-Style Story Summary:
An adventure surrounding some kids battling peer pressure and a village myth.
It was a cool afternoon, the sun was hiding behind clouds like a bride in her veil, the wind raced across the land throwing dirt and bending trees to its whim, the grasses whistled as it sang about the joy of life, rodents scuttered in the underbrush foraging, toads were about their business around the pond close to the big Fruit tree. Sitting on the branches of the The Big Tree were four children around the ages of 10 to 12, three boys and a girl, they sat in a fashion that they were all facing each other across various branches. the leader of the group who happened to be the second oldest Kunle had a mischievous glint in his eye as he recapped how they were going to carry out their mission.
'so we go home first, eat, then meet at Tobi's house. You all know omo mummy Tobi wont be able to leave his house unless we break him free' Tobi groaned at this and they all chuckled. kunle continued 'we walk very fast to Jegede's farm take a look around first to make sure that no one would spot us, then we can pluck the African apple to show that mumu Abass and his ode friends that we are not scared of any juju'.
'Oya let us do quick quick and and finish it before time will go' Shewa the girl amongst them said. 'You know my mum will kill me if i get home late besides Matanmi said he has to go help his mother to pack from the market'. With that they descended from the tree making a game of who would be last to hit the ground.
'Ekasan ma, we are looking for Tobi, is he at home ma?' Matanmi asked Tobi's mother. 'Like you don't know she replied, is it not all of you that used to run around together? Shewa you don't know that you are a woman sef, you should be at home helping your mother but you run around with boys instead, anyway i know that if i dont call him, the lot of you will find a way to get him out. so make sure you are back before the sun goes down.' At that, Tobi ran out from the house laughing to join his friends.
They talked about this and that, joked and wrestled which Matanmi won before they got to the farm which was located in the outskirt of town. Jokes stopped and they stood quiet glancing nervously around when they arrived. 'Well we are here' said shewa, 'we might as well get it over and done with.' They hunched their backs, stuck low to the ground and ran looking out for anyone who might spot them, they found no one in the area, then they made for the apple tree which stood proud in the middle of the farm like a dark idol watching over its subjects. They ran along ridges dug for yam cultivation avoiding beds of waterleaf and efo, stumbling to a halt before the apple tree.
The lone apple tree in the village had always been there, it was old, even Atijo Akanbi who was so old that he could not walk, eat amala and was bed-ridden due to his age said the agba in the village he knew while growing up did not see the tree planted. So it was public opinion that the tree has always been there. It looked like any other local apple tree, it bloomed and fruited at the same period like normal and the fruit seemed normal or so villagers who had been opportuned to travel and see another like it say. Unlike other mountain apple tree though, it was ewo (taboo) to climb, pluck or eat the fruit of the village's own. Parents warn their children about the tree as soon as they are old enough to start playing and wandering about. Stories were told about evil that have befallen people that disobeyed and broke the taboo.
The stories they have heard passed through the minds of the children as they stood staring at the tree, they had seen the tree from afar in the past when they had curiously came to peek at the famed tree but not from this close. It looked normal like any other tree Tobi thought but he noticed the abscence of birds on the tree, even insects were not on it. 'Guys look, no birds, lizard or even ant on the tree' shewa said. 'What they say might be true, i think we should just go back, if Abass askes us about it, we would tell them that we plucked it but Jegede caught us as we were coming back and seized the fruits'. Tobi quickly chirped, 'You are right Shewa, if they call us liars we will just ask them to come along so they can witness us doing it up close. They will chicken out if we go close to the tree and act like we are about to climb'. Matanmi was scared as well, he liked what Shewa and Tobi proposed but as the biggest and oldest in the group, he liked to act tough. 'Hey Tobi', he said, 'cant you be brave for once, Shewa is a girl, we understand if she is a little afraid but must you show that you are a get inside fear fear mommy's boy every time'. 'Ahn ahn Tanmi that is too harsh, you are just jealous because Tobi is still being breastfed' Shewa said, 'you are just forming that you are not scared like us, kunle shey we will do as Tobi said?' Kunle had been silent all through, he had been thinking about the stories he had heard and it all said the fruit was plucked and eaten. He started, 'Tobi your idea is good but what if they come with us next time and dont back down, we will be the losers and be laughing stocks all our lives but if we pluck it,dare them to eat and they chicken off, we will become the coolest and turn everything around on them. Before you guys start saying no, remember the stories we have heard, the people all ate the fruit after plucking. so what if we throw sticks at it then make sure we pick up the fruits with leaves, we dont touch the tree or the fruit,' he gave each of them his michievous smile nodding as he looked at them. 'If you are scared then i will do the throwing, with that he picked up the closest stick and without aiming threw at the tree.' On seeing this the others scrambled to gather sticks around them. Shewa sighted a clump of fruit not so high and she flung her stick at it, the stick connected and some enticing pink fruits rained down. The children looked at themselves and shewa still waiting for a lightening bolt to strike her said 'we have done it, can we leave this place now before before Jegede catches us'. They gathered four fruits with plantain leaves then ducking they ran off to the stream where Abass and his gang usually hang out swimming.
On getting to the stream they heard shouting and sounds of play in the surrounding forest. Matanmi bellowed, 'Abass, Abass where are you? Kehinde! you people should come oo, we have the thing here'. Someone from the bush replied 'if i hear, matanmi is that you? we are coming to see for ourselves'. Abass, Kehinde and six other boys emerged from the bush on the other side of the stream laughing. They swam over to meet matanmi who was in front of his own friends, holding out the fruits wrapped in plantain leaves. One of Abass's friend Otirin on seeing this guffawed, 'they cant pluck the fruit so they came to bribe us with agidi, even if we take the agidi we wont still tell others that you guys plucked it, besides matanmi move back a little, your leg is touching the water and you know until we confirm it the stream is ours'. Tobi who was getting angry took the package from Matanmi, placed it on the ground then unwrapped it shouting 'See, see, see, have you seen it?' His eyes met theirs as he said so. Abass was stunned, the look on Kehinde was priceless and the only thing that passed through one of the boys mouth was 'You plucked it, you plucked it, we didnt think that you would. its Ewo!' Kunle beaming all the while spoke out, 'Yes we plucked it and we can now play in the stream again, no more name calling from now on and you call us sir and ma for a month as agreed, am i right Abass?' The pained look on Abass face was answer enough but he went on, 'we are generous and good people, we know what this would do to your reputation at the end of the stipulated e sir and e ma one month, so we will give you guys a way out when we meet at night for stories'. Abass immediately took it up, 'yeah, tell us what you want so we can do it sharp sharp'. 'Why dont you want to wait till evening?' shewa asked, 'its our call to do it in the evening, we want everyone to witness it besides i didnt hear sir when you addressed Kunle, better start putting our title'. With that they turned and left picking up their fruit.
Night came not so quickly for Abass, after kunle and his friends had dropped the bomb, all thought of play had fled. He had been thinking of how he would be made to stoop and scrape to that sorry lot. Those women wrapper that even played with a girl, the mumu Kunle had gone to give him a lifeline. Whatever they said, he would do and do it well that people will remember that he is the lion here. Let them bring it, oo they should bring it on. He thought about this as he headed to the village square, his mother had made him go late because she insisted that he ate before he left the house. The food had taken ages to be prepared because the wood they had in the house was a bit wet. He looked at the moon and sighed, Baba Ayo would be telling stories now.
When he got to the square, he saw Kehinde and Otirin sitting together, they adjusted to make space on the mat beside them for him. Otirin name was actually Deji but they called him Otirin because he was small but he is not to be crossed, the guy was fierce. 'What kept you so long?' asked Otirin, 'the other kids know about what Kunle and his gang did so they were making fun of us. the oshi Kunle did not want to tell us what to do to make it even until you got here, anyway stories would end soon and we will get it over and done with. all i know is i cannot say yes sir and yes ma to those yeye people'. The stories dragged on like it wouldnt end, Abass was a fan of them normally but today it was just disturbance, all he wanted was for Baba Ayo to round up. Like Baba Ayo read his mind, the stories ended and children clapped for the old story teller. Its about time said Kehinde, now we can hear what they have to say. Their friends had come to flank them at this point and their rivals led by kunle came towards them. Other children formed a circle around them to listen to the challenge because they had heard word of it. 'Good evening Sirs and Ma' said Abass to Kunle's group, 'if you all would be so kind to drop the gauntlet, i find myself in serious need of going home on equal footing, so stop dallying and shoot.' His friends laughed at this and Otirin ever the boisterous one shouted 'Oya talk'. Tobi with all smiles on his face passed something to Kunle who held it out to Abass. 'This is the challenge, we dare you and your friends to eat the fruit', unravelling the leaves as he said so. there were gasps from the children watching, with some urging them on and the rest saying they shouldnt. Otirin in one smooth motion grabbed a fruit and bit into it, he chewed, took another bite and swallowed, the children stood still, blinking became difficult for all as their eyes followed the chewing motion. Abass broke the spell by taking a second and biting into it after a brief pause. Otirin who had finish his was smiling and playfully asked, 'can i have another?' With that there was loud cheering from the children and Abass who was done with his started waving regally and posing. The look of horror on Kunle's face was evident and Abass ever one to take advantage said 'Kunle you look like you have seen a ghost? are you okay, otirin and i ate the apple but on seeing your face, one would think you did. People, they planned to shame us in front of you all but look at how it turned out, we have crushed this set of get inside children. anyone can pluck the fruit but not everyone can eat it so with this i wish you all goodnight and to you smellos, shoe get size, winners will always be winners, just as gold will still remain gold even if you rub it in dirt, scratch it or burn it'. Otirin and the others chanted 'tell them, tell them' as they went home.
A week had passed since Abass and Otirin ate the Apple, Kunle and his friends had from looking to be the coolest to being bottom dwellers because equanimity with Abass meant being treated poorly. it was night and Kunle lay sleeping, he was dreaming about playing pito with his friends and some other kids. He usually finds the hidden sticks faster than others but Matanmi tends to stick close to him when he searches so he has to run really fast so as not to be over taken by Matanmi. while playing Abass walked up to him, all smiles and hands him an apple, 'Eat'. He declined but Abass insisted, 'Eat!'. As he was about to take the fruit so he would not appear rude, he saw Abass's eyes, it was all white and there was no black. He withdrew and turned to run but Abass appeared before him screaming 'Eat, Eat, Eat, You must Eeeeaaattttt'. He woke up whimpering and across the village he heard screams from various directions then crying. From the corner of his eye, he saw something move but when he faced it he saw nothing, the image remained around the periphery of his vision and he kept jerking kis head hoping to get a proper look but scared of what he might see. He thought about Abass, Otirin and the other children that ate the fruit on a dare after nothing happened to Abass on the third day. 'We are dead' he said.