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Little Hero

Little Hero

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Published by Odejide David
A family has to contend with snakes in their house. The most unlikely member becomes the killer of snakes
A family has to contend with snakes in their house. The most unlikely member becomes the killer of snakes

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Published by: Odejide David on May 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/18/2013

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Little Hero “Ahhhhh!” Betty‟s scream spilled out of the kitchen.

The empty pot in her hand hit the floor with a clatter. She took several quick steps and dashed out through the kitchen door. “Snake!” Another snake. Betty lived in a jungle, thanks to her husband‟s obstinacy. Kayode had made a lump sum from his electronics business, got hold of a plot of land far from town and civilization and quickly threw up a three-bedroom flat. All around were buildings in different stages of completion, many overgrown. Betty pleaded with her husband to postpone moving into the house until their neighbors came but the new „landlord‟ would not be deterred. The result was they took the car everywhere, burning huge quantities of fuel. And contended with snakes. The reptiles were everywhere; slithering through bushes, hiding in crevices or chasing rodents. Sometimes they strayed and ended up in the house where they lost their orientation on the cool tiled floor and wandered from room to room. Immediately Deola heard his sister-in-law‟s cry, he knew he was through with the EPL match he was watching. His brother, Kayode rose too, just as disappointed. The poor woman, Deola thought. It was not a pleasant thing to find a live snake in your kitchen or laundry basket. Another afternoon of snake chasing and blood-stains. With luck, they would locate the animal and put it out of action in time to catch the end of the match. Deola was hoping his Manchester United would beat Manchester City to boost their chances of retaining the trophy. But the City boys were proving to be more than just noisy neighbors this season; they played like they wanted the cup, backed by their new owners‟ mega bucks. His brother wanted the opposite result or a draw for Arsenal to move closer to the two league leaders and remain in the title race. Kayode fetched the sticks and Deola got the children. He had just spent two weeks here but he knew the drill: secure the children and then go after the dangerous intruder. Samuel needed special attention. Like every hyper seven-year-old, he wanted to be involved in everything, including snake hunts. He had to be kept out of harm‟s way and the men‟s way.

Deola bundled the boy to safety in his own room, ignoring his pleas and struggle. Dammy was not adventurous, she was content with her toys so dumping her with her brother was not difficult. Deola double-checked the door and rushed to the kitchen. Through the window, Betty explained she had turned suddenly to find the reptile staring at her. She had gone out to adjust the gas cylinder valve. Since she would be returning the valve to normal she had left the door open, extending an open house to the snake. At her scream the animal made for the dining and that was the last she saw of it. Betty would not step into the house until she was sure the snake had been killed. Whatever was on the stove could burn to ashes. Her children were safely locked up in their uncle‟s room. Deola and his brother quickly worked out the serpent‟s itinerary. The pantry was ruled out since Betty saw the animal exit the kitchen. Kayode‟s bedroom door was ajar hence a likely stopover. The search would begin there. The two brothers marched into the room bearing sticks and closing their ears to the eager cries of soccer fans coming from the sitting room. Under the bed was the only place for the snake, thanks to Kayode‟s dislike for clutter. The door was kicked shut. Kayode cautiously got on his bed and extended one of his sticks under it. He then hit the white tiles several times to frighten their quarry out into the open. Deola positioned himself so that the snake, any direction it came out from would not escape a blow to its head. But nothing came out. The process was repeated before Deola crouched and confirmed there was no snake in the room. No need to check the bathroom because the door was locked. The next port of call was the sitting room. Perhaps it had managed to join them there without announcing its presence, despite Betty‟s scream. The chairs had to be lifted up one by one, with the caution a poisonous snake warranted. Deola was handling the last chair when Samuel started hitting the door of his room. He paused to look at his brother, who gestured that his son should be ignored. They could not even make out what he was saying.

The brothers decided to check the tall bookshelf beside the television. The unwanted guest could be taking cover among the books. Then Deola thought he heard „snake‟ and „killed‟ from his room. He began to run as alarm bells started to ring in his head. Kayode joined him. This would almost certainly turn out to be Samuel‟s trick to be let out and witness some of the action but they were taking no chances. A poisonous snake in the same room with a daring boy like Samuel and a helpless girl must not happen. A snake was right in the room when Deola burst in. It had been killed, by Samuel. Kayode impulsively scooped up his daughter who was playing several feet from the snake. Samuel explained with an uncharacteristic calm that he was on the bed when he saw the snake raising its head out of a shoe where it had been hiding near Deola‟s backpack. Instead of raising an alarm, the daredevil maneuvered to tip the bag over to trap the snake. All that was left was to beat the head of the snake into a pulp that had stained the tiles scarlet with a plastic hanger. Deola shuddered when he realized he had locked his cousins where the snake was hiding. It must have slinked past them in the sitting room and entered his room where he thought was safe. He tried not to think of other possible outcomes. But he still grabbed the boy and examined him for signs of bite or any other injuries. Kayode eventually set his daughter down and shrugged. One snake down, out of many, regardless of who killed it. He returned to the crucial EPL match. Deola took another look at the lad and followed his brother; if Samuel could kill a snake, he could clean up the mess. Betty returned to her kitchen and picked up her pot, wondering who would kill the next snake. She shut the door. Samuel happily went for a mop, it was his snake.

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