Ansa…The End

13 Feb

Chapter 2

Ansa tried to concentrate all his attention on recongnising the face of the two men who were after him. Ashanteman was a large kingdom with several chiefdoms. It would therefore not be impossible that he would not know this man. But how come this total stranger knows him. Could it be because of how his father had died? The tale of his father’s death had reached far and wide and had been distorted in some quarters. But all the same did this man know him through his father’s demise?

From the corner of his eyes, Ansa noticed a movement on the tree next to his. He ignored it at first but when it appeared that the movement persisted he decided to pay it more attention. He lay transfixed on the tree as he beheld an endless snake making its way across to his own tree. The two trees stood side by side and their branches were somehow intertwined making it easy for the snake to make the crossover so easily.

Ansa was transported back to where he stood looking at the snake that swallowed his father. He was not going to suffer the same fate as his father; he had to take a decisive action.

Without giving it a second thought and caring less about the repercussions of his actions, Ansa rose to crouching position and shook the branch he was on. The snake slipped and its tail hung down from the tree. Ansa continued to shake the tree until the snake lost its grip and fell all the way to the bottom of the tree.

The snake was enraged as the two men under the tree were startled.

The snake—a cobra—adopted a warring stance. The bearded man drew his gun and shot without aiming.

The sound of the gun sent the evening creatures scurrying for safety and some birds took to flight from nearby trees. The recoil of the gun sent the man flying backwards as the snake lifted itself, menacing, ready for attack.

Another gunshot tore through the air and this time the snake fell dead to the ground.

Two more men appeared as the bearded man was helped up by his friend Tome.

“You arrived right on time, Mensah” the bearded man said.

“You would have become history Kwame,” Mensah answered as he examined the snake. “Nyame must really like you.”

Kwame stared at the snake keeping a good distance from it. Tome dusted some dust from his khaki shorts and he jumped.

“Easy Kwame you are too jumpy” Akan observed.

“You almost shot me you know” Tome told him.

“I know…and I am sorry” Mensah apologised and looking up the tree, “I wonder what caused it to fall”.

Ansa hurriedly flattened himself on the branch and offered a silent prayer that he had not done that too late.

Activities down below continued as the men skinned the snake and distributed the leather equally amongst themselves.

The men spoke in low tones and Ansa could not catch what they were saying, but from their earlier excited discussion he had noted their names: Mensah, Tome, Kwame and Akan. He was very interested in Tome for it was Tome that had mentioned his name earlier, but try as he may, he could not place his name.

It was under the cover of darkness that the men dispersed from under the tree. They left in twos just as they came. Ansa waited till almost dawn before he made his way down the tree. He adjusted his kente, another inheritance from his father. All the time he spent on the tree he had considered his father and his affluence. Could his father have had so much simply from his hunting expeditions? Or could his father have…? He did not even want to contemplate that.

He stepped gingerly away from the tree. His mother and his sister must have been beside themselves with worry through the night, and the in-laws….

He adjusted the strap of his gun as he hung it across his back, listened attentively to his surroundings and started towards the direction from which he came yesterday.

He progressed without incidence for a good part of the morning, and with the progress he grew more relaxed. He was initially listening for any human movements but gradually he started listening to the wilds, as his hunting instincts resurfaced. He was no longer the hunted, he was the hunter.

He should have noticed it before now, the stillness of the forest. It was as if something was waiting to happen. It must have been his weariness from sleeping on a tree that dulled his senses, because suddenly he heard the sound of a cocked gun, no, not one but two, three, four…. He whirled to find he was surrounded by four men dressed in khakis. He didn’t run. He didn’t have to; there was no point to it.

He had been captured.

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