Fivusu was startled awake by the howling of wolves. He shot up from the make-shift bed he had made out of palm fronds and looked about him, but his eyes registered little in the darkness. His bonfire was all about dead; only a fading trail of smoke curled its way up from the ashes, stretching as far as it could before disintegrating into nothing. He sat up and dragged his weighty buttocks closer to the tree he had been lying in front of, leaning against its bark. There had to be no more sleeping that evening, he knew it by the thumping in his chest and the sweat on his face. With a loud sigh, he scratched the ground with his palms, gathering up a good number of small stones, and began flicking them into the dark.
Gradually, the howls faded into silence.
It was the third day, and still he had not caught up with his brothers. The water trough next to him had only a little water left inside it, his food pouch had gone empty barely a day after he had lost his comrades and his size did him no favors in the scorching sun. Every few minutes, he had to stop to rest. Fivusu feared that if he did not come across a village soon, he would die there, alone in the middle of nowhere, with vultures feeding on his thick meat. He heard a quiet noise and looked down at the folds of his tummy. Fivusu! Fivusu! Food was his weakness. Everyone had always said it and he had foolishly embraced it for the popularity it brought him. In Mankesim, he had three different meals named after him: Fivusuabrukusu (nwram nam ne koobi), Fivusunkrakra (Aponkye ne prekontwere), Fivuampesi (ampesi ne kontomire – emane, koobi ne adwen.
The thought of food always brought two things to him – salivation and peace of mind. It was perhaps foolhardy then, that in the vulnerable state he found himself in, he would think about savory meals. Nevertheless, he did. Soon, Frivusu had fallen back into a deep slumber.
Peka, the wolf, circled around the sleeping human he had come across, wondering whether to call out to the rest of the pack or feed to his satisfaction first. He was hungry. For days Peki had led them everywhere and nowhere. It was as if the smaller animals had placed a spy amongst them. Every popular place they smelt life at, they arrived only quickly enough to meet the dust of their heels. It had been three moons and they had not caught a tortoise even, much less a fat sultry human like the one in front of him. Peka drew closer to Fivisu and took in a long deep sniff. By god, the man smelt delicious! Drool dripped down his snout unto the floor, even as he inched closer and readied his teeth for the first bite.
“HAI! PEKA! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
The wolf turned sharply to where the voice had come from. Peko, his older brother stared back at him.
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m about to eat”
“That is not how this pack works. You find food, you let us all know, we eat together!”
“You and who eat what? Are you blind? Have you not seen the hollowed stomachs of the wolves you hunt with? If I call them here, I will barely have enough for myself. They will finish it! I found it. It is mine. Now go away, don’t disturb me.”
Peka turned his attention to Fivusu again. He licked his lips and opened his mouth.
“At least give me some erh? Are you not my brother?” Peko pleaded. From behind the two wolves, two more emerged from the darkness, straining their necks to see what was behind Peka and Peko.
“What is going on here? You have found food?” Pela asked, moving past Peko to the sleeping man. Pelo followed suit, so now four wolves circled the fat chunk of meat.
“We are going to share this.” Pela said, sniffing the human’s face. “He smells so delicious!”
A deep snarl broke through the conversation surrounding the body. Out of the shadows, Peki, the alpha, emerged with Pona and Pena, his advisors – making up the rest of the pack.
Peka growled at Peko, “You see what you have caused?”
The wolves made way for their leader as he approached. Majestically, he walked towards the man and smelt at him. His mouth went wet immediately. Never in his 4 years of living had he come across anything that looked and smelt as delicious as the man laying before him did.
“Ahe – Ahem. Who found this?”
Peka inched forward, insolently staring at Peki straight in the face.
“Good job, but you will eat nothing of it. Since you four clearly decided you were not going to share the hunt with the rest of us, I am seizing the meat from you. It will be shared by Pona, Pena and myself.”
Peka stared at Peko, Peko stared at Pela, Pela at Pelo, but it was Peka who spoke.
“You must be joking. 3 moons you lead us into failure and you want to seize my meat!? I am sharing this with no one!”
“HAI! CAREFUL HOW YOU TALK TO THE KING!” Pona interjected, moving threateningly close to Peka.
“You are so selfish Peka, if we share the meat what will happen?” Peko cut in from behind.
“I SAID YOU WILL EAT NOTHING OF IT” gnarled Peki, the alpha.
“BUT WHAT DID WE DO? Pelo and I only came to meet the man here” Pela put in, flustered, his temper rising.
“HE IS ALPHA AND HIS WORD IS LAW. You can try to take him on. See if he doesn’t kill you where you stand.” Pena spoke to Pela, but his eyes delivered the message to all the wolves present. Slowly, they all stepped back. All except Peka. He had had enough. He glared at Peki with flared nostrils and growled.
“PEKI! AS ALPHA IT IS YOUR DUTY TO LEAD US IN HUNT. YOU FAILED. I SUCCEEDED! THE HUMAN IS MINE. I WILL KILL YOU AND BECOME ALPHA!” He scowled at the wolves around him. Pona and Pena immediately shielded Peki.
“I SHARE MY HUMAN WITH WHOEVER HELPS ME!”
Out of nowhere, Pelo, who had been quiet the whole time broke into a run and launched into the air, landing on Peki.
The wolves run into each other.
Fivusu’s eyes opened tentatively to the morning sun. He yawned loudly and stretched his arms, shaking his head to clear the pain in his neck. Lazily, he got to his feet and rubbed at his eyes.
In front of him, the fresh corpses of seven wolves lay cluttered across the ground. He hopped back in shock and immediately began checking himself for scars or tears. There were none.
“OOOONYANKROPON ASAAASE YAAA NANA EIIIIIII ANTOABUSUMAKUTI WO NE HENE AAAAIIIII”
The traveler hopped on one foot and then the other, singing praises to the gods. Whistling and gyrating his pot belly, he began work on reigniting the bonfire. What would they call this one? Those food vendors.
“Ayi de Ͻyԑ amanehunu nnam. Ayi na Ͻyԑ dԑw no. Deԑ entum anku wo. Deԑ ϽbϽadeԑ nankasaw no de chԑ”
God had brought him food.
When he had eaten to his fill, he made a fur pouch and threw in the blobs of meat he had been able to tear out of the wolves. It would sustain him the rest of his journey. He looked about him and finding a large rock, set it where the bonfire had been. On it, he sacrificed the only wolf he had not touched to Onyankropon, for providing for him in his time of need.
The rock is called fivusuahununyame – the god of Fivusu’s suffering. It sits there still today and is worshiped as a deity. Underneath it, the bones of Peka lay buried under a mount of dirt; with it, the guised question of what a revolution really means.
Alvin.Akuamoah.Fivisuhunyame:West.African.Folk.Fiction © 2018
Art Credit: Pinterest Article – Imagenes de lobos by Sirakuza