The author loves writing and learning from his seniors. He has written several short stories. Besides, he is a teacher.
In ancient times, there was a country known as Wonderland. Endowed with many resources, many people settled there. It is believed that this country once had its own leaders. Her people led a tranquil life before it was rudely disturbed by the foreigners from a more civilized country. I don't mean that the earliest inhabitants of Wonderland were barbaric, but it is true that they were illiterate. There were no schools. They practised what we call traditional education. Apprenticeship was the way to go. Being in the dark continent, many people knew little about it.
After they were conquered by the foreigners, they moved away from the capital ( Vanity) and settled in the interior of the country. The foreigners took over the city and the entire country of Wonderland. The foreigners were said to be brutal. They arrested the local leaders of that country and forced them to work for them. For easy control, they had to divide the country into three states to know who lived where.
The State of Blue Men
Many foreigners lived here. These people had a fair complexion and hair that formed curls. They were so tall. Their blue eyes instilled fear on the natives of that country. I suppose the state must have got its name from the colour of the eyes of these strange people. They spoke a language that natives understood not. They wore beautiful clothes that made them look different from the natives.
The State of Pastoralists
Most people in this state were as poor as church mouse. They lived from hand to mouth. They had a dark complexion and short tuft hair. They were less concerned about fighting for freedom. Most of them were friendly to the foreigners. They had once fought with their neighbours from the Deep State and had been defeated. They had lost many woriors. Many of them had succumbed to wounds sustained during the war. Whenever they saw men from the Deep State they would run away. Many of them were pastoralists. Few practised farming for their area experienced inadequate rains. Despite the fact that they hated men from the Deep State, there was a need to unite and fight the common enemy— Foreigners. They had lived together, helped each other and even intermarried. Together they fought and the Foreigners had to go back to their country.
The Deep State
Like the Pastoralists, they were dark- skinned. These people were believed to be the descendants of freedom fighters. They had inherited a lot of wealth from their forefathers. Besides, they had amassed gold and other valuable minerals from their neighbours in exchange for food. Their area experienced two rainy seasons. Most of them were farmers. On the slopes of Mount Wonderland, folks grew both coffee and tea. But all was not well. There was a constant fight between them and the Foreigners over the fertile lands. Armed to the teeth, they would hide themselves in the forest at the foot of Mount Wonderland. They would attack the Foreigners and kill a few of them. In retaliation, the Foreigners would attack them using their crude weapons and kill many of them. The guerilla warfare seemed to be ineffective. They resorted to a peace treaty that saw them benefit from it. Their leader, Warthog, was elevated to a very powerful position of a paramount chief, by the Foreigners. This was short-lived for they later started fighting them together with the Southerners ( The Pastoralists).
At the State of Pastoralists
"What do you make of these stories going round?" Mud asked. "Well, I'm not certain what literally killed Bastard but the rumour has it that he was killed by the Northerners," Freak responded.
"That's a hearsay, but we need to be quick about our plan. We won't sit and watch our people murdered in a cold blood like this. No, not all! Never again are we going to entertain any form of discrimination. Never again! We are not going to tolerate these beasts again! They have taken our land. Our people are dying like flies. For how long?" Mud concluded. The Pastoralists had fought fearlessly and fiercely alongside Northerners(People from the Deep State) to keep the Foreigners at bay. That was their common enemy. Now the Foreigners had returned to their country. But the liberation they had fought for, for years was nowhere to be seen. The Northerners had betrayed the Pastoralists. Killing their leaders and taking their land was something intolerable to the Pastoralists.
It turned out that Bastard had been killed by the unknown men who attacked him while he was fast asleep. He had been the Pastoralists' Chief just for two years. The Northerners were suspected to have killed him for they feared he would lead his people to prosperity, and eventually take control over the Wonderland.
A descent burial was conducted. As usual, the immediate family members of the diseased sat at the front row. The elders were in traditional attires and village women sat on three - legged stools donned in black dresses. The elders drew near the corpse and bowed their heads in unison as an indication of the last respect to the diseased. Then a small girl stepped forward. She put a lighted match to the firewood where the corpse lay.
After a few seconds, It had been reduced to ashes. The weather at that time was calm as people left Bastard's home and dispersed into different directions whispering.
" I thought life here would be back to normal after the departure of the Foreigners, but it is becoming more and more complicated," Peter said to his friends. " It seems that we are not yet out of the woods." His friend replied.
General elections were just in twelve – week's time. Pastoralists had suffered a major blow for the person they had looked up to to be their condidate for the presidency was no more.
At the Deep State
There was a beehive of activities here. They already had their candidate for the presidency. They blew their own trumpets as they walked around their magnificent homes. They were certain that their candidate would win the elections hands down for the Pastoralists were not famous.
Warthog was their election's candidate. He was as tall as a giraffe. He had a broad face, missing the front teeth. Whenever he smiled, his face would expose ugly wrinkles. Nevertheless, he was highly esteemed man who was ever confident in everything he did.
Wonderland Election body was more prepared than ever for that year's general elections. They would use ' Mulolongo' system. Unlike the secret ballot system used in many civilized countries, they preferred this system. People would queue in a straight line behind their candidates. Then the presiding officer would count people in each queue and finally declare the winner depending on the numbers of the people behind each candidate.
As a matter of fact, the one who had the highest number of people behind him would be the president. I'm using pronoun 'him' because ladies were not allowed to vie for any post. Does it sound peculiar? Women were supposed to be seen, not to be heard.
The morning was calm except for a few noises from the birds and and cattle being driven to the grazing fields. People from far and wide had attended this unique function.
The election officers were dressed to kill. Male officers were in red ties while females wore elegant dresses that almost touched the ground. They were indeed spick and span.
The voters on their side were ready to exercise their constitutional rights. From far, you could see men in their bell-bottoms walking majestically. These were people especially from the the Deep State.
I could not help laughing when I set my eyes on Warthog. He walked confidently towards the hall where the elections would be conducted. His baggy pair of trousers swept the floor as it swayed side to side as if it were a dress.
Since I was from the Pastoralists' State, I was supporting Hope. She had been selected to replace Bastard who had met his demise weeks before the general elections.
" Ladies and gentlemen," one of the officers started." "The function is about to commence. Prepare yourselves. Ensure you have your own national Identity Card." She concluded.
Abruptly, the sound of gunshots rent the air. I was befuddled at first and before I came to, the body of Hope lay still bleeding profusely. What was going on? (To be continued)