Quick Justice I BY Kolapo Samuel Orowole
I knew if he was caught,he would be burnt alive. Orile residents had no patience or mercy for pick pockets. And definitely not for armed robbers. They were simply tired. The police had failed several times to bring the youthful criminals to book. Their minds were geared towards self-preservation. Jungle justice. The law of the streets.
He ran into our compound, one shoe missing from his feet. He was too young, I could see that clearly, even though he was tall, probably taller than i was. He ran into our compound, still clutching the knife he had probably used to scare his latest victim into parting with her phone. The phone he was clutching so tightly as if it was his salvation.
Behind him was the mob. They were yet to come in view, but I could hear them coming, shouting “ole! “, baying for his blood.
I was sitting on the steps. He fell on his knees before me, begging for sanctuary. For a moment, I wanted to scream. I wanted to back away from him. Instead, i found myself gesturing him inside my room.
“Under the bed. Quick! ” I hissed.
I came out of my room. And almost immediately I saw stars. Then darkness.
I came around to voices around me. The man who had hit me with a club was standing over me. His face shadowed. I felt the blood as it trickled from my face like red sweat. I saw sticks and stones surrounding me and with my blurry vision, I saw kids, women, men all jubilating they’ve caught a thief at last…I tried to speak, but there was a hard lump in my throat.
I lifted my head. A kid was approaching. He had a tyre in his hands. They parted as he approached. Like he was Moses. Like they were the red sea. Once again, i tried to speak. Once again, the lump was there in my throat.
To be continued…
BACKGROUND PHOTO CREDIT: @Kola Onifoto
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