The gentle breeze stroked my unwilling body lying lazily in my cosy bed until I’m tickled enough to smile. I took in the air flowing in through every channel in it’s purest form to remind me it’s a fresh day of a fresh week.
I looked out the window and listened to the happy chirping of the delighted birds in the serene and peaceful background.
Everyone is still in their houses and the streets are empty, well-rested and cheerful.
This moment of stillness is glorious. It’s brief but satisfying. Soon the cacophony will swallow every calmness and the sun will initiate it’s eagerness to illuminate the world.
I’m happy in the moment. I’ll soon go to church to sing and dance and praise God.
It was the last day at school – end of second term of my final year. We were all sitted in the school auditorium waiting for the principal to address us when my friend Emeka walked up to me.
Ever since Ukadi manhandled him and cautioned him not to have anything to do with hiswife, he had kept his distance. Nevertheless, I told him that there was nothing to be afraid of since he was my friend, not my lover.
“My father is disturbed.” I began to tell him about the issue at hand.
“The amount of money is huge. How could a subsistent farmer pay such in a limited time? It’s not possible. If I were your father, I wouldn’t accept to pay him.”
“You know, my kingsmen told him to do so or face ostracism.”
“That’s absurd. I don’t know why our people pay so much attention to whatever the elders say. How could they ostracise a man for not paying a debt? I think Ukadi bought them over.”
“Your thought coundn’t be wrong. I think so too.” I said as Our principal Mrs. Okoli walked in with all the teachers, smiling as if the entire world belonged to her. We stood up to welcome her.
Her hair-do looked funnier than the previous ones – left flying in all directions and the students couldn’t control their outburst of laughter. Whoever did her hair must be a clown. Could be she made it herself for the occasion. We had always wondered if there was anything like a mirror in her house. Her make up didn’t look well too. Her face often looked like a careless painter’s board.
But funny thing about Mrs Okoli was that, she didn’t care. She didn’t care if anyone liked what she did with her body or not. She didn’t are if anyone laughed at her. She had always laughed with the students while they laughed at her.
“Good afternoon, students.” She greeted
“Good afternoon, Madam.”
“I’m happy that the term has come to an end and I know that you all are excited to go on your holiday which is unfortunately, very short even shorter for the final year students. They will be resuming next week Thursday by the way.” There was a strong opposition from the final year students.
“If you like shout from today until your last day on earth, you have no option than to resume as planned. Your mock exam will start on the day you’ll resume. If you like, come, if you don’t like, stay in your fathers house and play your head off. Of course you know that without mock result, you won’t be seeing your SSCE results.” She continued with all the announcements amidst the murmuring of the students
I was far gone in thought when my form teacher started the closing prayers and had to force myself to join in the prayers. I didn’t like the change in plans. I wanted to travel to Lagos for my two weeks holiday. It meant I won’t be going anymore. What could be more disappointing than that?
As I was walking to the gate, I saw him again. The man who followed me home one one day and got scared away by my mother. He was standing at the school gate waiting.
I was trying to remember his name when he smiled and walked up to us. His car looked even flashier than I first saw it.
He collected my heavy bag and that of my friend, Emeka and took them to the boot.
I didn’t resist. I wanted to start a relationship with a man to pass a serious message to Ukadi. I hoped for a safe relationship. A serious but sex free relationship.
“I forgot your name.” I said boldly and he smiled and looked out of the window.
“That’s what happens when you don’t want to have anything to do with someone.” He said as he started the car and everyone worked at the seatbelts. “I remember yours because I couldn’t get my mind off you.” He said as he pulled the car out of the school.
“I pray your mother goes out before we reach your home.”
“Are you that fearful?”
“No. I only respect mother’s boundaries.”
“Once more my name is Dozie.”
“You told me you were staying in Malaysia. You haven’t gone back up till now?”
“I’m building a house in the town and I need to be around to make sure it’s going well. I planned staying for three months during which I plan to get a wife. Man is not getting any younger you know.”
“That’s good. I hope you find a good girl.”
“I hope so.” He said and sped off.
My friend dropped off at the junction leading to my house. Lo and behold, as my friend was walking away and Dozie was about to open the door, my mother was returning from the market. I told Dozie to speed up so that my mother won’t see us. But I saw Emeka standing with my mother pointing at us and my mother looking in our direction as the car sped off.
Sarah’s neighbour stood at her bedroom window to check if her brother had arrived at the premise but was surprised to see Sarah moving into a car – with the guy.
Her fears was confirmed. Sarah was seeing someone behind her back. A bad guy – someone she didn’t want her to know abou. How could Sarah do such a thing? She was a good girl. She had changed all of a sudden? She was sure she was going to his place to pass the night.
“Shame on you Sarah!” She said in a low tone. “How could you?” She sighed as the car went off.
The car came to a.halt some few meters away from Mr Adam’s residence and they watched the two uniformed security men talking and laughing.
“Listen, when you enter Mr Adams residence, try and be in your best behaviour. Let’s see how much you love your mother.” He said and the driver looked back at Sarah wearing a surprise look.
“All you need to do is bring him out. We’re being very careful tonight. We don’t want to lose anyone.”
As Sarah waited for more instruction, she kept looking at the driver, wondering if he was sitting on a ‘hot seat’ too. He looked nervous and didn’t utter a word until-
“Can I go now?” The driver asked
“Try not to speak.” He said casually. And moved closer to whisper something into his ears.
“Can’t do this. My wife is lying sick in the hospital and my attention is needed. I explained this to you and you promised to let me and my daughter go once my mission is over.”
“Why do you like to talk too much? I like it more when you’re mute. I love your daughter and I believe you love her more than I do. Keep quiet and do whatever I tell you.” Sarah looked at the driver vibrate in anger and was shocked to know that his daughter was held in ransom.
“This is highly unprofessional. Why are you getting the whole town involved in your crime? If you want to be bad, be bad. It’s wrong to get everyone involved in it.” He continued to nag and Sarah was so much afraid for him. He probably had forgotten the man had a gun but a gunshot had flown past the driver’s cheekbone, hit the line between the dashboard and the windscreen and got lost somewhere before Sarah could finish her thought and she realised the pistol got a silencer.
“You don’t talk to me that way. Be warned. Move Sarah. You have less than five minutes to bring him into this car.” Sarah felt sorry for the man and tried to make a suggestion still shaken by the shot.
“This is a private car. My boss knows I don’t have a car and it will be difficult to convince him to enter it. Let’s use a cab. It will be more realistic.”
He looked thoughtfully at Sarah, ” You’re right but Mr Adam will find a taxi humiliating. Remember he’s a multi-billionaire. Tell him you brought a client. Tell him it’s emergency. Mr….what’s your name Mr?
“Mr James here is a client who desperately needs to see Mr Adams. Go! Good luck.” He said.
Sarah arrived at the door of Mr Adams family house and three more security personnels allowed her in after a thorough search and a call to Mr, Adam to confirm her visist. She entered the living room and met Mr Adams sitting with his younger son playing video game. When he saw her, he stood up with smiles.
“What brings you to my house- at this odd hour? Hope there’s no problem?
“No. No problem at all. It’s just that-.” she paused and walked closer to him. “There’s this man downstairs, he came to my house and said he–
Sarah’s phone rang and she stopped to listen, the voice startled her. It was the same man.
“Excuse me sir.” She said to Mr Adams and stood aside to answer the call.
“Go straight to the point, ” she heard him say and wondered how he got her number and how he knew what she was about to do. “If you don’t want tonight to be bloody, do what I asked you to do. I’ll blow up everyone in that house in the next three minutes if your boss isn’t here with you, starting from now.”
Sarah tried hard to remain calm. The situation was more complicated than she thought.
“What is wrong Sarah? What is it?”
“There’s this man downstairs, a client waiting to see you,” Sarah said with smiles trying very hard to control herself. “I don’t know if you would like to meet him now or tomorrow. He’s so impatient. I’ve explained to him severally that you’re a family man and the night is the only time you have to give some attention to….
“I’ll see him.”
“Yes let’s go.”
Sarah felt so terrible as they walked towards the lift. Mr Adams last son looked on as if saying that his precious time with his father was ruined. She avoided asking for where Mrs Adams was.