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Lingo Will Eat Again || by Divine Inyang Titus

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IN MY VILLAGE, WHEN A MAN DIES, people cry, but not too much. You will hear the voices of mourners teetering on the edges of sorrow but never quite falling, for, everywhere in the village, unspoken whispers spread like infected wounds; "At least Lingo will eat again".

Lingo is the grave digger; a brief man, no taller than a bicycle whom people only see when man breathes his last. They say he comes through the Weeping Bushes just outside the village with an old shovel slung over his shoulders, a length of ancient rope around his waist and a face void of expression.

He is quite old; they say it was he who buried our king's grandfather and it is he who will bury our grandchildren. I saw Lingo once—when Papa passed away, at the burial field, digging earth, silently. When he was done, he laid papa's grave inside the hole, sprayed it with dust, picked up his money and left without even stirring the breeze.

Lingo killed Papa. I know because Lingo is death; but nobody knows this. Only I; and I am Papa's first son. That day, at papa's funeral, I'd seen his eyes. They were like stones covered in grey film, soulless; empty, like emptiness emptied even of a name.
I will kill Lingo. I have a gun; a black gun that Papa bought from the lepers. I will wait for Lingo, under the cover of downcast bushes as he will walk to the next compound to nod over the lifeless body of another. I will shoot him, just as Papa taught me; with the sound of death dying rising mightily to the sky!!!!

One morning, I heard the funeral canon, and my feet bounded for my gun. There was no life in the sky for the cocks had not yet called forth the sun. I headed for the Weeping Bushes, walking quickly but not hurting mother earth. I hid among the grasses and held my gun at the ready; Lingo would die today.

Minutes later I saw Lingo, the dwarf of death, sauntering with the shovel on his back. He passed by me and I shot him!
Gbaaa!!!!!!

Death will die! Dust, at last, will spray over the forehead of the sprayer! The grave shall meet its digger! The shovel shall turn on its wielder and the living shall bury death!!
But Lingo was untouched. He turned, looked at me, and for the first time, I saw the suspicion of a smile. He continued walking while I shot him again and again till my bullets too died. I would follow Lingo, I told myself, and cut him down with my machete. Then I observed the path he took led to my compound. Could it be that someone in my house had summoned Lingo?

No! Lingo was entering my compound! My father's house! I could feel my blood raging in my veins and my machete reddening with fury. I ran! I ran! I would cut him down; into pieces like bits of meat! I would feast on his flesh like vultures do carcasses and I would smear his blood over my head in glory!

As I dashed into the compound, there was the sound of wailing, but not too much, for after all, Lingo will eat again. Lingo was in the Obi, about to nod over a body in my house! 

“Lingo!!!” I screamed!! “Leave my house!!!” Then I saw mama crying; but not too much, for Lingo will eat again.

Fear and pity and rage and blood rose to my head and I headed for Lingo, headlong, with the peak of my machete to plunge into his heart of misery; to spew his blood over the sun and to rip away his bowels with the bareness of my teeth. 

But my machete did nothing to hurt Lingo! Lingo! Death! You resist death? Lingo began to nod his head over the body! Indeed now, the body was confirmed dead and the grave digger will begin to dig at once. Weakened by grief and paralyzed by hatred, I slid unto the floor amidst the muffling roars of agony and agony; and as my eyes turned to plead with the soul of whom Lingo had eaten again, I saw eyes that were turning to stones and a face that I had seen a thousand times inside the clearest pools.
It was me.


MEET THE AUTHOR:

DIVINE INYANG TITUS is a writer, performance poet, and songwriter keen on exploring the nuances of the human experience through art. He is the author of the chapbook "A Beautiful Place To Be Born" and his works have appeared or are forthcoming in Brittle Paper, The Kalahari Review, Eye To The Telescope magazine, Seven Flowers of Gratitude Anthology (BPPC, April/May, 2020), Journal Of The Beautiful and elsewhere. He deeply enjoys reading, making music, and observing the rudiments of excellence. 
He is ‘Divine Inyang Titus’ on Facebook, @IcyDEEE on Twitter and @wolfgang_frost on Instagram.

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  1. Brilliant! The story is rich with descriptions as vivid as noon and the writer carries out through the suspenseful quest of killing death, Lingo. Intriguing. I enjoyed every word of it

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