He shifted his gaze to the girl. She was quiet, still, and noiseless. Her eyes were restful as the unstirring calmness of the moon. No, not the moon, he thought. The dead will be a better analogy. But she was dead, no analogy. Her body lay in the safe embrace of the sands. Flecks of sands crept over her mouth. She had a nice smile, her smile could charm the dead to life
You should know, it started with the hack of flesh then the spurt of blood. He sat watching, calmly, the fountain of skins splayed over the Butcher’s table like petals on a conjugal bed. There was silence. There was noise as the cleaver came down. Then there was silence. And there was a rendezvous of both as if to form a rhythm. He dipped a slice of flesh in his blood-filled cup, grinned, then opened his mouth to scrunch the girl’s ear. Whether it was the right or the left, he didn’t know. Though he was sure it was fried. He felt dull and dowdy as he swallowed. But the sweet taste of human flesh is always rewarding.
He raised his face to look at his boys. Shovels digging into the earth. He could hear them gasp as they plunged into the sands. A sudden calmness washed all over him, he sighed. Her torso was being buried now. The rustling of trees interrupted the rites. Gentle breeze blew the trees as they danced as if to clink. The sky was furrowed with bunches of clouds imitating human slowness. The air seasoned with a feast. He stood up. He could now see the rippling surface of the earth being shovelled into a small hill. From where he stood to the mole hill extended like a map beneath him. He heard the birds perching and something in him turned. He felt watched. By who? By what? He wasn’t sure. They were at least three miles from the road, they should have heard something.
The Butcher offered him the other ear. He saw blood dripping down the curvy part attached to the head. He turned it down with a wave of hand. The Butcher threw it in his mouth and gulped it down. He looked at the butcher and there was surprise written all over his face. He shook his head and thought, Savage.
He shifted his gaze to the girl. She was quiet, still, and noiseless. Her eyes were restful as the unstirring calmness of the moon. No, not the moon, he thought. The dead will be a better analogy. But she was dead, no analogy. Her body lay in the safe embrace of the sands. Flecks of sands crept over her mouth. She had a nice smile, her smile could charm the dead to life, he thought. Ah ah, see it work for you now? He chuckled as he felt a tinge of his own dark humour. He called one of his boys, told him to dust off the sands on her mouth.
“Why can’t we call a cargo a shipment and a shipment a cargo?” he asked the Butcher. The Butcher looked at him strangely like a bewildered zoologist seeing an animal for the first time. The Butcher thought for awhile then shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. The Butcher confirmed his doubt, he was dumb. But he was worried that there were many things that don’t add up in life. Why do we call goods transported by cars shipment? And those transported by ships cargo? He pondered over it too then hissed it off. Ultimately, he was satisfied with the distraction. When you’ve a girl like that in front of you, with her essentials sliced off, you need to go away, even for some seconds. The essentials will fetch some real money, though.
The boys were rounding up the burial. The shovels made scratching sounds that irked him with each passing excavation. He tried to remember her name. Victory? Victoria? There was no way of knowing now. No, he remembered. It was Victory. The other girl, with Chief, is Victoria. He sighed again, Victory huh?
The boys used their shovels to level the earth. The girl now completely buried without the niceties of funerals. No black clothes. No flowers. No tears. No condolences. The lofty forest protected her from the burden of humanity that came with such occasion. The boys spat on her grave and wiped beads of sweat off their faces, imprinting themselves.
“Boss, wetin may we do with the cloth,” one of the boys asked as they placed palm fronds on her grave.
“Burn am. Bring the pants, that one na bonus,” he said as he approached his car.
Anifowoshe Ibrahim is a law student at the University of Lagos. His works have appeared or forthcoming in the Lex Observer, The WRICON Review, The New Ink, Imbube Short story Collection, Kalahari Review, etc. When he isn’t writing Cases and sections, he is working on his next piece.