This originally appeared on misteragyeman.blogspot.com on October 14, 2014.
A regular person would say it was a nice town.
The capital city was arranged to make regular people think this. Everything was arranged along the main street from the airport to the economic hub. There were hotels, marts, and strategic splashes of local colour; sitting in the tour bus on the way to your hotel room, according to the plan, you would say this country was on the way to good things.
A bus came softly humming up the highway, wavering in the afternoon heat. There were just eight tourists inside; it was the off-season. Seven of them were regular people. The eighth was called Rest.
Rest had funny eyes. Little dead black things. The others noticed it. It was easy to notice things, with the two long seats fixed against the bus walls, facing each other. There was a young couple, one of those couples who give to charities and go to the shops with their own bags. The lady smiled at Rest and asked him where he came from- they were from Newark- and was this is his first time. To Africa, she meant. She smiled as she explained herself. She had a friendly smile, people noticed. Rest smiled back and nodded. His smile wasn’t like other smiles. The couple suddenly found the windows interesting again.
Rest looked at his watch. It was fifteen minutes past two. The heat was terrible, even worse than normal for him with his hoodie on. He wondered if the others would notice the sweat patches under his arm. He looked around; nobody looked in his direction. He wondered whether to be relieved or worried. From the passenger seat up front, the guy from the hotel mentioned that the presidential palace was nearby. It sat in the middle of a hexagonal phalanx of ugly office blocks, but you could see the Independence memorial looming over everything, with the eternal flame up there. Inside the bronze holder, the flame was dead.
Rest sighed, stuck his hands in his hoodie pockets and leaned back in his seat. From outside, anybody watching the white minivan as it rolled along would have been alarmed to see it gently tipping over on its side, like a sick dog. Inside, the four people on the row facing Rest suddenly found themselves moving backward rapidly. On all fours, with the wall where the roof used to be, seven regular people looked around at each other.
Slinging his backpack over his shoulder, Rest headed toward the dead flame.