BEAUTY IS A BURDEN (A Novel) (33) by Godwin Inyang

BEAUTY IS A BURDEN (A Novel) (33) by Godwin Inyang

‘We’ve been finding it since morning and night is closing in on us,’ Okon said.
‘Then get on your feet and let’s go get that baboon,’ Itakwa replied.
‘They say we’d need another three hours or so to get it,’ Okon said.
‘Then your guide is wrong.’ Itakwa turned to look at Ayara with his bushy hair, inhaling and expelling smoke thoughtfully. ‘Weed has a way of making short distances long and the long ones short. We need clear eyes to get this baboon. We can do it in one quarter of that time. Let’s go,’ the hunter said and briskly walked off.
Everyone, before picking his or her load, gave a hearty laugh.
Ayara coughed and drawled: ‘I know, even in the scene of theft, the saint weed smoker becomes the culprit.’
‘That reminds me, would the cockroach (as people are fond of saying) ever find justice in the midst of fowls?’ Ete Edem asked rhetorically, laughing. ‘These people won’t let me see where I’m going!’
‘We are following a track I last walked on ten years ago in between the gmelina plantation.’ Itakwa laughed. ‘We must quickened our pace or else the culprit becomes a saint. We must get our baboon before it’s dark.’
For minutes laughter lit up the gloom.
Hearing they could get home soon, a new kind of energy was released and steps quickened in the hope of an early arrival. Give it to them, in the jungle hunters remain the most reliable and favoured guides. It is said every single village here was first a spot cleared by an hunter for his tent.
Shortly along the tractor path, Itakwa branched off into an indistinct track. It was a track that had not been used for a long time and now narrowed by weeds. Only a very familiar user could still trace it.
Further down the track, it became slippery. There was slipping and balancing of feet, forcing those who still had their slippers on to take them off so they could grip the ground well with their bare feet.

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