“Run! Faster! Run for your life!” were the words of my relative, shattering the peace of the night as we raced through the cold night.

I was thirsty and exhausted, but had to keep on running. I increased my momentum striding throughout the woods of the tropical part of the country with a reckless speed. Cold air breeze against my face, my legs were weak and feeble, but I dared not stop or look back, they were after our lives. Those blood thirsty cultists, who knew no mercy, not even on a newborn child. I increased my speed as I tried catching up with my relative, who was some meters ahead of me.

My name is Lucky Thompson, the first son of my parents. I am from the southern part of Nigeria, Niger Delta precisely. It was during my final year in high school that a distant relative of mine (from my maternal home) invited me to come over for the holiday. Well, excited was an understatement. l was overwhelmed with joy cause I’ve been praying for such an invitation. Like Jacob in the Bible, whose seven years were like seven days because of his love for Laban’s daughter Rachael, that was how the remaining four months before the holiday felt to me.

The holiday finally came, I packed some clothes and other personal belongings that might be needed and my wallet was healthy all thanks to my mum and my networking business investment. After bidding my parents and siblings goodbye, I set out on my journey to Sapele in Delta state.

The journey from Port Harcourt to Sapele was cool as I was busy admiring some nice scenery, coupled with the lively air in the bus. Finally, we arrived in Sapele. I’d like to give you a brief history about Sapele. By the mid-19th century, Sapele was established as a trading village, occasionally visited by Europeans. In 1891, the British government established a vice-consulate in Sapele.

Today, the city has one of Nigeria’s major ports. Its industries include the processing of timber, rubber, and palm oil, as well as furniture, tamarind balm and footwear manufacturing. As of 2005/2006, the population of this advancing city was 142,652. Sapele was one of Africa’s biggest timber producers.

When I arrived, I called my relative who later came to pick me up. Yeah, this was my new hood. We continued our journey, but soon came to a halt when we got into traffic. People were running helter-skelter. My relative knew what it was and dragged me out of the car. We needed to run for our dear lives.

We continued running and were soon out of the woods, running towards the federal high way. We were still running when three police (Special Anti-cultism Squad) Toyota Hilux vans screeched to a halt in front of us. We were told to get behind the van for safety of course. We quickly obliged, without thinking twice.

Just then the cultists came into view and a heavy gun combat that lasted for hours ensued. The cultists were forced to retreat at last, but some of the unfortunate ones were either killed or captured. The police gave us a lift to our vehicle and bid us safe journey.

My relative got behind the wheel smiling and finally chuckled out “Boy, welcome to Sapele, your new hood.”

I smiled inwardly, my new hood indeed, and a dangerous one at that. I closed my eyes and exhaled deeply as my relative stepped on the accelerator and speed off.