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Monday, 8 February 2016

TOOFAN



"Toofaaaan aiya aiya"

 A voice boomed from an old fashioned black and white TV displaying a motion picture of a figure pulling unbelievable feats of stunts in the air. Kabiru glued his small eyes on the onscreen figure prancing like a horse in the air, his small hands moved rhythmically trying to mimic the crushing blow the figure landed on his assailant. Kabiru's small mind exploded in awe as his hero flushed his assailants with a sweeping move.

"I wan be Toofan"

He squealed in delight to his younger brother, Hassan, who yawned tiredly at the screen reflecting brightly before his sleepy eyes.

“I go protect Aisha from badt-badt boys" Kabiru rattled on like a gramophone.

Hassan fluttered his eyes open trying to subdue the sleep that was stealing over him; Kabiru had spat
the impossible to his ears clearing the fog that clouded his little mind:

"Aisha nor know you, her papa na rish-man" Hassan replied mockingly.

Kabiru ignored him and returned his attention to his hero on TV who had dusted his villain and saved his heartrob. He.He sighed sadly as the screen rolled out "The end" in bold fonts, the movie had been too abrupt for him and his Papa was already on his feet to turn off the TV

"Kabiru, Hassan, go to bed. You have school tomorrow" His father ordered them.

 Kabiru reluctantly stood up and trailed behind Hassan who was too glad to accede to his father's order, Toofan was not his hero after all, his good night sleep was all that mattered to him. “I be Toofan, i go protect Aisha from badt-badt boys" Kabiru mouthed confidently to his brother who was already snoring loudly in his sleep. He sprawled awkwardly on his tiny bed and muttered sleepily

 "I be Toofan, I...Aisha...”

 *******************

The memories of Kabiru's childhood fantasies flashed through his mind as clearly as crystals, He was now a young teenager of sixteen. He swept it away quickly and continued down the path that lead to his house, Toofan had declared his heart for Meena protecting her from villains  against all odds but Kabiru had barely spoken to Aisha, a girl he admire and longed for, he was a coward and a weakling, he was not Toofan.

"Tell her your heart Kabiru" Hassan hurried to catch up with his brother "Toofan was bold to declare his heart for Meena" Hassan continued.

 "It’s no use Hassan, I am not Toofan" Kabiru replied bitterly, he recalled the failed exploit he had attempted back at school. Kabiru had scribbled something on a piece of paper and then waited impatiently for break period.

Let me your Toofan were the words Kabiru had penned hurriedly.
  
Break came slowly and Kabiru hurried out of his class to wait for a beautiful girl that sat ahead of him; Aisha would soon come out he convinced himself from his concealed position.

Kabiru’s mind thumped loudly in his ears, she was actually heading towards Kabiru's hiding position; Toofan was too smart to be caught. He changed his position swiftly yet Aisha's eagle eyes followed. There was only one thing that remained, He simply walked towards her and squeezed the note into her hands and walked away without uttering a word. These were not the exploits of Toofan.


The sun rays battled to filter through the dark clouds that were forming in the sky. Kabiru looked at the storm that was threatening to pour down; He yelled at his brother who had fallen behind and then hurried on with his steps without looking back, he didn't want to be caught in the downpour. He was nearing a path that branched off in two directions, one leading straight to his house and then he saw her a few distances from him. She was not alone. Three bulky figure wearing the same outfit as Kabiru stood menacingly before her. Kabiru recognized the baldy one among them who was obviously the leader.

 It was Samir and his goons, the most troublesome trios in school never up to anything good, she must be in trouble. Kabiru’s mind raced as he approached them slowly, his mind flashed back to a scene from his favorite movie; Akush had troubled Meena like Samir did, for Aisha’s sake he was Toofan again.

"Let her go" Kabiru ordered loudly trying to mimic a commanding voice of a hero. The trio turned their attention towards Kabiru who stood at their shoulders. “You say wetin?" Samir roared loudly.

 "I said let her go" Kabiru replied confidently; Toofan never cowed from villains.

Kabiru ducked from the blow that Samir had aimed at him and swiftly returned one at him with all the strength he could muster. The blow took Samir off-balance causing him to stagger backwards, he hurriedly steadied himself. “That was your lucky punch" he snarled rubbing at his nostrils that were already running with blood.

Kabiru dodged again from the retaliating blow that was directed at him, He found himself relaxing, carefully waiting to deliver a deadly blow; He was Toofan. He made a three-sixty turn to land the killer blow only for him to miss, that cost him his undoing as Samir quickly aimed a kick with his leg that crushed the wind out of Kabiru's ribs, another followed immediately that sent him sprawling on the ground. The trio bounced on Kabiru pummeling him like a punching bag, Kabiru struggled to break free but his hands was pinioned by Samir's hefty goons paving way for their leader to feast on his bounty.

The Last thing Kabiru saw was His heart rob crying and running away, leaving him to the mercies of his assailants; Meena didn't run away leaving Toofan to Akush's torture. Maybe Aisha saw him as a weakling; he was not Toofan after all.

 ******************

A fine young man of about Twenty six strolled casually into an enormous building teeming with people. He allowed his eyes to roam about through the crowd milling up and down the shopping mall engaged in whatever business that claimed their attention. Kabiru walked aimlessly through the mall, occasionally bumping into someone by mistake. “Watch your steps ","are you crazy?" vile epithets were thrown at him. He never seemed to bother, what worried him was a figure he had earlier seen outside the building.

 Kabiru had been waiting patiently at the bus stop when he caught a glimpse of a figure he thought he recognized. The figure had gotten out of a car and sauntered into a mall at the other end of the road. Kabiru’s heart hammered in his chest as he crossed the road after the figure that had sparked memories he thought he had forgotten. He thought that being a man would erase his childish fantasies and cause him to face the reality of life, he was mistaken after all; there was no getting over Aisha.

The innocence of Kabiru's younger days replayed before him like a Cinema screen, Toofan was still his hero after all. He had only been a coward who could not muster the courage of his childhood hero. Well, he was a grown man now, Aisha would be his, and he was willing to sacrifice anything. He was almost giving up his eagle-eye search when he saw her again; she was heading towards a cashier apparently finished with her shopping. Kabiru discovered he would look like a fool approaching her, perhaps an old-fashioned ruse would be his smoke screen; Toofan had did this too.

He quickly grabbed stacks of magazines that was close to him and headed after her. The cashier seemed to be slow with her work and Kabiru could observe the look in the eyes of those who stood impatiently on the queue.

"Madam, do quick, we don’t have all day" A heavily built man dressed shabbily bellowed at the petite looking cashier.

He was standing behind Aisha and Kabiru noted how jumpy he was. Perhaps he was in hurry considering the heavy polythene bag he was struggling with. An old woman ahead of the beautiful Aisha placed her basket before the cashier and then a loud voice thundered all of a sudden.

Everybody on the floor!

 It was the heavily built; a Glock was already gleaming in his right hand

 I say everybody on the floor!

He roared again and grabbed Aisha pointing the gun at her head. Kabiru’s heart almost stopped as he obeyed reluctantly.

"Oya empty all your pockets everybody, if you try anything funny? I go blow this fine girl head" the man ordered glaring at the minions before him who obeyed without hesitation.

 “Very good, now cashier empty every naira for your drawer or i go shoot this girl".

Kabiru's mind rolled back in confusion as he remembered the promise he had sworn to himself:

 I go protect Aisha from badt-badt boys

The words echoed loudly in his head but he was a child then he tried to convince himself.

You are running from the truth a voice replied, that had been what Hassan his brother had told him after swallowing doses of beating from Samir and his goons. Kabiru had sworn never to involve himself with Aisha who had left him to his fate on that fateful day.

 “Toofan was rejected by Meena initially" Hassan had tried to convince him "but Toofan did not give up, don’t give up on Aisha"

Kabiru heaved a sigh, His mind was made up. He was Toofan again. He calculated the distance between himself and the heavily built man who focused on the Cashier forcing stacks of money into a black polythene bag. That was enough for Kabiru as he launched himself on the man from behind, the duo fell to the floor dragging Aisha along who was still caught in the grip of the stealer .The man struggled to break free losing his grip on Aisha, Kabiru held him from behind with his might just as Aisha leapt to her feet and ran.

The man finally overpowered Kabiru and dashed for his pistol that had clattered to the floor; He was aiming for Aisha who had been the last to run from the scene. Kabiru struggled to his feet in time diving for the man; a shot rang from the pistol as the man was dislodged from his standing position. The man turned and fired at Kabiru just as another shot rang in the air.

The man cried loudly in pain, the police had been in time to save the day. Kabiru lay flat on the floor staring above; a bullet had found his way into his stomach. The world was spinning around him and then he heard a voice crying loudly among the people that had surrounded him. Aisha was crying for him and then he succumbed to unconsciousness.

Kabiru adjusted his eyes to the bright light flooding the room where he found himself laid on a bed. His mind swirled in circles as he tried to get hold of his bearings, the aches that cried through his body caused his blurry memories to become pellucid as crystals, there was only one place where one can be adorned with bandages; the hospital was his abode for the time being. He whimpered as he tried to adjust himself, the excruciating pains were more than he could handle.

 “The doctor said not to move, my Toofan’’

She was sitting close to him with a worried expression on her oval face. Kabiru turned his head to see Aisha examining the bandaged wound at his side; perhaps his eyes played tricks on him, his doubts were cleared when Aisha held his left hand tenderly.

“Are you okay my Toofan?”

“Yes my Meena”


THE END.


© The pen.





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