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A DUSTY CREATURE - Fictional Story by Abdul-Azeez Muhammed

A DUSTY CREATURE – Fictional Story by Abdulazeez Muhammed, 2023

A DUSTY CREATURE: I winced once more as one of the children playing in the neighbourhood kicked me high into the air.

At that moment, I realised how much I missed my whole self, feeling my lightness in the air compared to my once heavy and curved body with some beautiful patterns all over the surface. Then, I was a stunning piece of skilled craftwork.

The landing was no good either. The impact left the last surviving part of my cherished bowl-shaped bottom broken into two pieces.

A DUSTY CREATURE – Fictional Story by Abdul-Azeez Muhammed : Featured Image

What have I done to be slowly ripped apart as the days went by? What are my sins oh you earthly creature?

I was about to resign myself to fate, hoping that I have had enough of the kids’ trouble for the day when I heard the blaring horn of Akowe’s truck. Akowe, who transports farm produce from a neighbouring farm settlement to the city, ten kilometres away from my town, was known for his reckless driving. He would speed through the bad and winding road connecting my town to the city as though he was chased by the police.

I had quivered in fright when I realized that it was Akowe’s horn that was sounding his warning loud into the air for any straying goat or sheep to stay clear of the road. But there I was, right in the middle of the road. I only prayed Akowe’s tyres would miss me. Only if fate would be nice to me this time.

The front wheels of the truck missed me by a wide margin. I sighed in relief hoping the back wheels would also pass by safely.

 How wrong was I!

Akowe in his usual reckless style swerved hard to the right to dodge a pothole he had sighted far off but chose to do nothing about it until then. The manoeuvre sent the crushing weight of the left back tyre over my two broken pieces, squeezing the life out of them.

Just then my mind drifted to how it all began; 15 years ago, when the first spark of life showed through my clay mass in the fierce heat of the potter’s kiln. Ajala had inherited the craft work from his father and had been running the business since his father’s demise.

I had started to curse the moment life was breathed into me, regretting ever having to begin my life this way. The heat was unbearable. The red-hot coals burned with renewed vigour as Ajala blew more air into the kiln.

I had lost all hope of surviving the ordeal when suddenly, the doors of the kiln flung open. I sighed in relief drawing the cooler air of the outside into my overheated body.

It was a moment I will never forget!

I was removed from the kiln and placed among other earthen pots on the floor of Ajala’s workshop where I spent the night.

I had overheard an older pot, brought to the workshop for repair, telling the new ones that we would be sold to any buyer who found us attractive, strong and good enough for her kitchen. It went on to tell how we will spend the rest of the good and bad days of our lives in the kitchen of our would-be owners.

It was about to start to recount its own days at its owner’s kitchen but was stopped abruptly by the creaking sound of the opening doors of the shop.

The rays of the Sun shone brightly through the wide openings. The perfectly round disc of the Sun sat in its full glory at the Eastern horizon of the sky, making me to wonder what bliss filled the outside world.

I was lost in the moment, relishing the warm heat of the Sun’s ray on my cold clay skin when a gentle prod from Ajala far from soft hands brought me back to reality. He had come with a woman.

“One of us will be bought by this woman “, I thought.

Iya Risi owned a cafeteria at the heart of the town. She sold local dishes; mostly “amala, iyan, fufu, rice and beans”. She also stocked mineral drinks for interested buyers.

Ajala and Iya Risi haggled for a while before Ajala later gestured towards me.

“ I made it from the finest soil available, it will serve you well” , Ajala boasted.

The price was agreed on and I became Iya Risi’s new pot. She took me to her cafeteria and added me to her collection of pots. I easily stood out, being the new member of the group.

“Make sure to give that new pot I just bought from Ajala a really good scrub. I intend to cook “ogufe” soup with it tomorrow.”

she instructed Ada, one of her maids.

“And be careful with it; you can’t afford a new pot with your wages for the year.”

I was washed and cleaned as instructed and made ready for the next day.

The day broke and the fireplace was prepared by maids, while they wait for Iya Risi to come. She arrived in no time and started to issue instructions to start cooking for the day.

“Bring me the new pot”.

I heard her calling aloud to no one in particular.

 I was lifted from my resting place where I spent the night and brought before Iya Risk who placed me on the already made fire. Instantly,  I remembered the bad moments the old pot referred to when I was in the workshop.

” so this was what it meant ” I thought amidst groans while trying to adjust to the heat coming from beneath.

 Iya Risi poured the ingredients for the soup into my bowel. She stirred the content of my bowel to distribute the flavour across, adjusted some firewood and closed me with my cover. The soup began to steam in no time.

I started to feel less pain from the heat. Having a pot-full of “ogufe” soup to myself compensated for the heat. I savoured the aroma into my whole being. It was worth the pain and heat after all.

Right there, I made up my mind to bear any heat in exchange for the soup. Being the new pot earned me the job to cook her “ogufe” soup every day. And I served her well.

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The soup was ready. Iya Risi started to serve her customers the much-awaited “ogufe” soup.

The customers commended her culinary skills which she appreciated well. She also did well to acknowledge my part in the cooking.

“Oga Ojo, it was my new pot that did the magic o”, she replied him when he commented that the soup tasted better than before.

A DUSTY CREATURE - Fictional Story by Abdul-Azeez Muhammed
A DUSTY CREATURE – Fictional Story by Abdul-Azeez Muhammed : Delicious food inside a local dusty container

I become Iya Risi’s favourite. I was accorded some special privileges over other pots: I had a fireplace of my own, a shelf to myself where I  spend the night after the tedious day work, and only Ada was allowed to wash me.

The days went by pretty fast I spent nine years serving Iya Risi without even realising it. However, the good days turned sour when Ada accidentally dropped me while trying to pick me up for the day’s job.

The drop left with me a deep scar on my body; a crack that ran all the way from my mouth to my round bottom. I was practically useless.

Iya Risi had vented her anger on Ada for the whole day. She cursed and even threatened her with her job for the rest of the day. Ada had brought a new stainless pot the next day to replace me. And the matter was laid to rest.

A DUSTY CREATURE - Fictional Story by Abdul-Azeez Muhammed
A DUSTY CREATURE – Fictional Story by Abdul-Azeez Muhammed; Featured image of a car hitting a local dish

The stainless pot cook faster and better than I did and the customers started to appreciate the soup more. Gradually, Iya Risi began to change her earthen pots to the stainless ones, until she replaced us all.

 Iya Risi instructed her maids to store the earthen pots away. However,  I was thrown away since I could serve no use anymore.

What a sad end of “one of a kind”!

I had since then been at the mercy of the neighbourhood kids, kicking and throwing me around at the slightest opportunity.

Reality dawned on me as the tyre ripped my last breath violently away from me. The memories of my past slipped away with my soul and I became the dust I had once been.


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Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.