A Raging Fever
I’m feeling very cold, please cover me up” Alero pleaded in a trembling voice. The two men closest to her exchanged worried glances. She was shaking violently and it was clear she was in a bad way. Her body was burning up and they had been sponging her almost nonstop for the past two hours. The fever did not seem to be abating at all. They had used up the last of the balm they had on her without any apparent relief.
“Maybe we should go outside for a bit of fresh air,” Gbaja suggested worriedly. The leader glanced at him without comment.
“Gbaja you must be joking!” Alero hissed weakly. “Go outside to where?”
It was clear the young man was no longer thinking coherently. There was no going outside this night or indeed anytime soon.
Their days of going outside had ended abruptly a few days before when they had heard movement and the distant sound of a whistle had told them in no uncertain terms that their little hideout was in danger of discovery. Luckily the sounds had started long after the “boss” had come back in from foraging for herbs to bring down Alero’s fever.
She had suddenly grown worse since that night three days ago and the herbs had seemed useless. They had been boiling them for her to drink but since then had been too afraid to light a fire for fear of being found out. They had been forced to chew on dry biscuits and warm up a little water with a cigarette lighter for Alero.
It was a pretty miserable existence at the moment, but it was the girl’s fever that had the little band of fugitives worried till they were almost sick themselves. All, that is, except for one.
Timmy appeared totally unmoved and kept reassuring them that the girl would be alright and they had nothing to worry about. He had left them alone several hours ago after laying his big yet gentle hands on the girl and praying fervently. He had retreated to his corner and had been in what appeared to be in an agony ever since. They knew better than to disturb him when he was like that. In fact, he usually appeared not able to hear and they had learned to leave him alone after the last incident when they had almost incinerated themselves…
They left Timmy well alone and focused on the girl who seemed to be slipping away from them. They were afraid she could begin to convulse if the fever did not break soon
“I feel very feverish and uncomfortable”
Alero complained for the umpteenth time. She had a raging fever and all attempts to bring down the fever had so far failed
“Maybe we should risk it and go for a walk to help clear your head a little bit”.
Soje suggested desperately.
“Yes, that’s a good idea, the night air will definitely do her good”, Gbaja agreed excitedly,
‘let’s get moving’.
You are both insane if you think I’m going anywhere at 2.am!” Alero retorted. How can you even suggest that! “I’m beginning to think you guys are the ones with the fever.” She had been nothing but polite and impeccably-mannered
since they found her two weeks earlier and the man did not take any offence at her harsh tone; if anything, it only added to their concern for her welfare. This was not the Alero they had become so used to. She had become a beloved little sister, an object of their collective dreams, and they would have done anything to save her.
She tried to laugh but it came out weakly.
It was just a few minutes past 10pm but no one cared to correct Alero. It did not matter anyhow. It may well have been 2am. They had been holed up for what seemed like forever and the danger and the hunger combined was threatening their collective sanity.
“I will go outside to gather some herbs.”
Everyone turned in the direction of the usually taciturn Timmy. They could barely make out each other’s features in the almost complete darkness but it was clear from his tone that his mind was made up.
“Timmy, that would be a crazy action to take right now.”
Alero tried to protest through teeth that shook so badly it sounded as if they would tumble out of her mouth any minute.
“Oga Jide please let me go. I promise I will be careful. I was the person that plucked the last set of herbs and I know just where to go.” No one bothered to correct him that Jide had actually picked the last set.
Jide was torn. Timmy made a lot of sense but as the leader of the rapidly dwindling group he was reluctant to give any approval that could lead to the loss of another man. They had already lost three men within a few days and he was trying very hard to shove down the guilt he felt over their deaths.
The men had been killed within hours of each other while trying to get help for some of the few remaining villagers in Yemowei. They had paid the ultimate price for humanity and hopefully for the greater good of their country. Recently Jide had found himself almost questioning his beliefs in the future of his country.
Stuck in a hole in the ground far from home and any semblance of comfort, he had allowed his mind to wander sometimes to the futility of the cause for which they believed and gave their precious lives. But was it really futile? Young men like Timmy who constantly stepped up to the plate to do what needed to be done often gave him hope that all would be well one day.
Right now, he was torn between watching the young girl die and allowing one of his best men risk his life to save her. It was a hard choice.
“Tim, we appreciate your concern; we are all concerned for Alero but we both know what’s likely out there and how do you intend to make your way in the dark?”
“Sir, let me go. I won’t need light. Once my eyes adjust to the darkness outside I can make my way to the spot where I picked the last set.”
“And if you get caught?”
“Tell my mother I love her.”
And with that he was gone. He crawled very quickly and silently from the hole in the ground that had been their home for the past few days. It was one of the numerous burrowed b u r r o w e d p i t s t h a t v a r i o u s p e t r o l e u m exploration companies had dug in the area several years earlier.
The large pits were never filled in when they were no longer useful and they dotted the landscape in the entire region. In the rainy season, they were a haven for mosquitoes as they filled with rainwater which was useless for anything because of the pollution from the crude oil. Thankfully, this was the dry season and the only danger was from animals that sometimes fell into the pits. This one had been naturally covered at one end by foliage and debris from the forest around and had provided perfect cover for Jide and his band of fugitives so far. They had even managed to make it little bit more hospital by digging it in a little further when they had sensed the danger lurking outside.
It had begun to feel like their home in the jungle, and now it was in danger. How long would it be before Timmy was caught and they were exposed? It seemed like a long night lay ahead.
This is chapter one from the Book “God Is not Here” by Elsie Dennis. It is an awesome thriller that is sure to keep you awake till you finish the last page.
It is on sale in our bookstore for N1000. Click here to pay.
Once you pay, you can download the complete story in pdf to your device and enjoy at your leisure.