Back of Beyond -| The Ink Well Fiction Prompt #145

Growing up in the heart of Akanu village was Mary. Growing up in the interior part of Ebonyi state exposed me to the real rhythm of life. I enjoyed nature to the fullest, the loving sweet melodies of the bird, flowing rivers and the splashes of water that comes from diving in the stream.

Village life was a thorough definition of simplicity. Freedom is so fun that no one wishes for the opposite. Growing up with other kids from the same village clouded our thinking to a shallow level. Our mentality reflected on nothing but the everyday streams and the never ending ancient tales of the animal kingdom and superstitious stories of the past generations, ones that got us all very scared and never wanted to sleep in a room alone or walk in the dark.

In the patched mud house I laid on a wooden constructed bed. The rustling noise from the market won't let me catch a sleep in the hot afternoon. Who dares miss Eke market for any reason.

"Ify, make sure you prepare the yam for dinner o," my grandma instructed as she arranged her wrapper and left for the market.

"Alright mama, buy me market goodies," I shouted happily from the top of my voice in excitement. Any time mama goes to the market, there is always a good thing to expect even without her being told. The thought of sleep left my eyes immediately. I saw her getting some items ready for the market.


There was my grandfather, a man who made every night look like a cinema. He never got tired of sharing with me stories of the wise animals and the tales of spirits and how they dominate the night once man sleeps. This story scared me at night. Crying like a four year old baby is what I do once I'm asked to do anything in the dark alone. My mind was clouded with spirits being agents of darkness.

One day, my cousin returned from the city. My cousin was a lucky girl, being a city girl and enjoying all the life city gives, a kind of life I wished for after Oluchi filled me with lots of stories about the city. The beautiful and serene environment, beautiful cars and lots of captivating scenes.

The interesting stories got me curious about the beautiful nature of the unknown. I was desirous to explore the new world my cousin, Oluchi presented before me.

While I enjoyed the beautiful nature of the village, I was eager to taste what it looks like being a city girl.

It was a beautiful experience having Oluchi in the village for the period of three weeks. She never got tired of feeling my ears with the exact stories I wanted to hear and that gave me joy.

My grandfather's stories began cliches, I stopped running to grandfather for stories. Oluchi filled my heart with hopes of going to the city with her. I saw myself as the happiest person ever. Even before Oluchi announced her departure, my dresses were already packed.

It was one beautiful evening after dinner that Oluchi broke the sad news to us.

"Mama and papa. I will be returning to the city soon," I was excited and scared at the same time.

"Will mama listen to Oluchi?" This was a question I couldn't answer.

"You have done very nicely by coming to spend your holiday with us. Don't worry, I will begin now to gather all you need, " my grandma said.

"mama, papa. Mary said she would want to travel with me."

"She said that? What's wrong with where you are ?"

"Nothing mama, I just want to go there with her and witness things for myself."

"You are still in your primary level, by the time you are done and write your last examination, then you can travel to the city. But for now, Oluchi can always come and visit during holidays," those were the final words of grandma in the discussion.

"If you travel to the city with Oluchi, have you thought of how grandpa would feel? Besides, your uncle never phoned to say such to us. So, it's very abnormal for you to visit someone without their approval," grandpa added.

I accepted my faith and waited till I finished my primary education. The hope of going to the city after my primary education was forthcoming. No one cared to ask my grandparents if they could take me to the city. Finally, I wrote my first school leaving examination, the wish I thought would come hand in hand didn't, the first trimester passed and all I thought was that my secondary education would be in the village too.

That holiday was a long one, I had one week left to enjoy the one month holiday and grandma was already discussing my secondary education. Asking me which school I would want to attend, a question I had no answers to because of the pain and anger of schooling in the village.

The holiday was still ongoing successfully. It was on Sunday when my elder brother arrived at the village to check up on us. It was unexpected news but the happiest news ever. He announced he would be taking me to the city to further my education. I was so happy and felt we should leave that day before he had a change of mind. My back of beyond experience was one I lived to weigh and feel the two worlds in comparison.

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