Shining Pool

Dariusz Grosa

Madu was lonely at home, he wanted to be around people so he walked to his mother's friend's hamlet. His parents had gone to their yam farm at Mgbidi, a suburb of about three hours walk. They would be back late in the evening. Madu had already prepared dinner at noon.

Okorie, Madu's father, loves to eat fufu to bed. Fufu is made from cassava and it's the most available food in the home of an average villager.

As he walked through the tiny path that leads to Ego's hamlet, a strange sound came from the swamp water that caught his attention. Madu strolled down to the valley to catch a view of what it was. By this time, the rainfall had increased and the swamp had added flesh with the volume of water that flowed and the blackfish was playing joyfully.

Like those tiptoeing ghosts, Madu strolled down the valley and caught a whole view of the black fishes, their hideout and the flow of the stream.

As soon as he was done studying the movement of the fishes, he continued his walk to Ego's to catch up with the household.

Crickets chirping as Madu climbs the hill shows that nightfall is near. So, he quickly walked towards Ego's hamlet.

Nna, hope all is well with you. What brings you to my hamlet this evening?

Ego said crisply as Madu arrived at her hamlet.

Mama and Papa went to Mgbidi. They won't be back till later in the night and I can't stay alone.

Madu replied Ego. She welcomed Madu and asked him to see other children playing drums and dancing to the beat to masquerade dance.

When they saw Madu, they all shouted in excitement as they knew their fun got fuel to be more interesting.

The little girls continued their dance while Madu called Emeh out from among them. He told him his experience with the fish and they both planned how they would go fishing on the market day.

After a while, the big shining moon appeared and the children went to have a night wash before Ego concluded her preparation of ora soup with stockfish. They all ate their food in silence. Mama had told them before a myth about Mgbeke who was eating and talking, then suddenly bone hanged in his morsel. He almost choked to death but for the intervention of the herbalist who gave him a concoction that brought out the bone. Since, the children were made to eat and never to talk.

When Mazi and Lolo Olembe returned from Mgbidi, they came to pick Madu from Ego's, thanking her for keeping their son.

On their way back home, Madu told his father about the fishes in the valley. It was already dark but Mazi Olembe decided to check the black fishes out in the swamp.

One step down the aisle to the swamp, Olembe saw from afar shining liquid in the swamp but he couldn't fathom what it was. He got nearer and looked deeper and found oily content with plenty of fishes in there.

This is a pot of treasure.

Olembe said to his wife and son as they walked back to their hamlet.

Do not say this to anyone yet.

Mazi Olembe asked his son and wife to keep this discovery a secret.

The next morning, with a huge basket, he went to the valley and caught a lot of fish for his wife at home to roast so that they could sell in the market.

Before anyone could know, they have made a lot of money from the fish business. It wasn't long either, so they stopped visiting the yam farm at Mgbidi.

Something was not clear to the people of the community. They want to know how Olembe is getting the fish.

He made a lot of customers from neighbouring villages and towns who came to buy his ware. He goes fishing at night when everyone is asleep.

The fishes are still there in their numbers. But what is the oily content that flows on the stream? That's a task he wanted to know.

However, he kept his secret to himself. His customers kept trooping in.

A new customer who wanted to patronize Olembe saw the fish and asked that he wanted to know the source of the fish because of the laboratory discovery in the town, where it was discovered that the fish has the content of crude oil.

This work is submitted as part one of three part fiction to #scholarandscribe/dreemportchallenge.

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