At 6:00 p.m., as the evening prayer approached, a group of gang members returned from their day’s work. In the early hours of the morning, they had set out for a hunt and now returned, carrying ample meat from their successful venture.

About twenty of them made their way back, raising dust as they walked, their voices resonating with songs and chants in homage to their leader, the formidable *Ali Gadanga* from the village of Marina. Dressed in the attire of hunters and fighters, some carried sharp, gleaming knives, while others wielded sturdy sticks, evidence of their prowess and readiness for any encounter.

Upon their arrival, they exchanged greetings, displaying a camaraderie that had been forged through shared experiences and the bond of their gang. Two individuals, Wawurau and Hangamau, the eldest among them, followed closely, completing the line leading to their dwelling.

In the courtyard, Inna Kulu, Ali’s grandmother, sat tending to a bubbling pot of soup, occasionally struggling to blow the horn. Despite her frailty, she expressed gratitude to the Almighty for the safe return of Gadanga. Her heart trembled at the thought of him venturing into the forests or engaging in combative acts, despite being aware of his skill in combat. She knew his valor surpassed that of any mere man or beast, making her fear for his safety all the more profound.

Inna Kulu couldn’t help but worry about his wayward tendencies, unsure of how to rein in his wild spirit. Her love for him was unwavering, and she fervently prayed for his well-being, her ultimate hope being to see him settled, perhaps with the girl Zainabu, whom he had professed to love since they were young. He often visited their house, seeking moments to converse with Zainabu.

Saida escorted him to the doorway, exchanging pleasantries with Ms. Bangirma, before turning and making their way to their own abode. Despite their warm greetings, there lingered an air of trepidation, a sense of apprehension that veiled their interactions.

“Ali, my brave boy! Ali, the warrior! Ali fights fiercely! Yet they cannot vanquish him! Ali fears nothing!” Their chants echoed in the air, their pride for their leader resounding through the evening air.

He paused, a smile gracing his face, “Hey, hey, grandmother, may God bless you!”

“Grandmother, the bathwater scalds me, it’s too hot,” he complained.

Inna Kulu sighed, “The heat has spread everywhere, my son.”

He nodded, a solemn expression passing over his features, “I know my body is weary today. We faced many formidable foes.”

Yawuse peered from his room, shaking his head, silently praying for an end to this perpetual struggle.

Saida handed him the water, teasing him gently. Shedding his worn clothes and letting go of the tension of the day, he made his way to the bath, ready to wash away the weariness and battles of the day.

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