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When the sun hides, it reappears. It was in Owerri, during the days of kidnappers, when Otokoto made his famous pepper soup with the head of innocent child.

Ikem parents heard all about the story. It was a horrific one. To make it worst, their new house is at the back of Otokoto Hotel Amakohia. Ikem
s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oduka warned him about these kidnappers. Events were still fresh, Owerri citizens has just finished their massive campaign against these kidnappers. Some houses where burnt down. Some kidnappers were killed. Most took to their heels, to nearby cities. The citizens of Owerri suddenly went mad. Otokoto was apprehended for beheading Ikechukwu Okonkwo, a boy who hawks groundnuts. From Odukas house, you could still see people visiting the bereaved family of Okonkwo, whose son was beheaded. It is just a stone throw from their house. From the window Ikem watched the first tiny wisp escape from Otokoto Hotel where Ikechukwu was killed. An angry mob burnt down the hotel when they discovered the dehumanizing act being committed at the hotel; several human heads where exhumed at the hotel back yard. Mr. Oduka had only moved in a few days before. Mr. Oduka is a civil servant. He was transferred to Owerri from Abuja. He had to move with all his family. Ikem is his only son. He was in Primary four when they left. His father was still making plans to send him back to school. Ikem is nine years old and a very brilliant boy. He is a blessing to his family. His performance showed his destiny clearly. He once won a National Mathematics Competition at Abuja. He had participated in many TV debates and also did very well. He was good boy, so to say. His parents and teachers say well about him.

Ikem missed his friends so much. At Abuja he used to have many friends; Sammy, Tony and Arinze. He left them all and followed his parents to Owerri. During their journey, he saw broken hills, mud houses, people, forest, green fields, strangers, rocks, corn fields. He so much loved those sights. After their journey, he realized that all his friends were gone.

Ikem was playing with his dog Sammy, inside the house, when his father returned. He came back very early today. His Father had many items with him including a school bag and many polythene bags. Ikem welcomed him with a book in his hand. Mr. Oduka always wanted to see a book in his hand. He was one of those parents who believe solely on academic success. He also brought toys for him. But Ikem only used them during the weekends. Little Sammy was wagging his tail, running round Ikem
s legs. His Father could tell he had been playing. But for the fact that he saw him holding a book, he did not scold him.

"You will be going to school tomorrow!
his father told him. Ikem rejoiced all through the day. He was so excited that he couldnt eat that night. Maybe he would meet new friends. Also he would work hard to maintain his first position. His father gave him a new school bag, books and school uniform. He would be attending Shell Camp Primary School. He saw it on the badge of the school uniform. He prayed that tomorrow would arrive quickly.

After night meal, his parents called him to the sitting room. Their new sitting room was more spacious than before. Decorated with; pictures of his mother and father, their family pictures, and paintings by several artist; a leather cushion, and an Arabian rug laid on the floor, while one big mask hung at the door. Mrs. Oduka was very happy. Anything that would make her son happy also made her happy. She knew that Ikem loved school so much. Ikem was a boy who wouldn’t miss classes even when he was sick. Unlike many other children, he had the zeal to read and make it in life. Mrs. Oduka was a loving mother, and also very kind. People always say that her good looks could be attributed to her constant happiness. But the real source of her happiness was her only son. Since the day Ikem came into the world, he had been the magic behind her happiness. Ikem also ask his mum for a sister, and his mum promised him. She advised him to tell God. She always sang a song to him:

Why worry when you can pray♪
Trust in Jesus, and he will lead the way

Dont be like a doubting Thomas,
Put your trust in Jesus
Why worry! Worry! Worry! ♫
when you can pray♫

Ikem listened carefully and prayed to God for a sister. Mr. and Mrs. Oduka called their son to advise him of his new school. Ikem sat in the armchair, looking very happy. Although electricity was out, with lantern they could see their sons happy face. Mr. Oduka cleared his throat and said, “Ikem, my son. You will be going back to school tomorrow. I want you to read your book, dont play away your time. I dont want to get any bad report about you. You have always been a good boy."

"Yes dad,
Ikem said.

"I will drop you tomorrow. Due to my work and your mum
s work, you will walk back after school. Your school is not far from here. Mr. Oduka said. "Now hold your ears, Mr. Oduka said looking strict. Ikem held his ears with his two hands, and listened to his father, Mr. Oduka continued, “Don't follow any other road apart from the main road. Dont walk where cars run. Walk beside the gutter, where pedestrians walk. Follow the fly over, if you want to cross main road. If someone calls you, dont answer. Walk straight home, do you understand, His father said in a very authoritative voice.

"Yes dad
said Ikem

Mrs. Oduka drew closer to her son. The melting heart of a mother spoke gently.

"My son, you have heard about these kidnappers. With your own eyes you saw Otokoto house razed down. Please walk back home straight. I know you have always been obedient to your parents.

That night Ikem promised to walk on the right part. The parents believed their son, a lovely son indeed.


Continued ....

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