Nadia was walking very fast, she has never walked that path so late alone! She was a little bit worried but then again she was a brave girl. She walked past everyone on the street and was about taking the bush part that leads to the uncompleted building, when she saw some rough looking boys standing along the path smoking and gisting. She wanted to continue but then she heard her mother’s words clearly.
”Think twice before making a decision” she paused for a while and then she turned back and branched a shop which was already locked. She sat down at a small chair waiting for the boys to leave so that she can continue home. Her food was getting cold.
Nadia waited for close to thirty minutes, before she finally slept off. It was the sound of gunshots that woke her up. Her nylon of food had fallen on the ground. She quickly checked her pocket and her 1200 was still in there, then the gun shots continued, it was on this second time that she realized she was not alone. There was one other girl there sleeping. The girl jumped up and was shouting don’t kill me don’t kill me. Nadia quickly held her mouth and beckoned on her to be quiet. They both laid still and calm.
The gun shots by now have become louder and closer. Nadia was scared but she was very calm, the other girl was shivering so hard, Nadia held her very close like she was a baby even though she was bigger than Nadia.
It wasn’t long before the boys ran and stopped at the same shop where Nadia and the girl were hiding. They sat on top of the table. Nadia could remember them very well. It was same boys she had seen at the entrance to the bush path that leads to her home. They were four in number.
”That was very close , one of them had stated, yes o, if not that I was smart enough to scare that security man with the gun shot he would have dialled the police.”
“Thank God you were able to do that” another one commented. “But you shouldn’t have shot the oga’s hand na?”
” If I didnt shoot his hand maybe one of us would have been dead by now. That man carried a small dagger and was about to dagger you, you should be thanking me not scolding me”.
“Thank you” he muttered, but next time please don’t shoot anyone abeg. We are doing this to make money not to become killers I beg you”.
“I don hear, share the money make we move.”
They brought out a wallet, Nadia watched as they carefully counted the money, one of them quickly grabbed the money from the first guy who was counting it shouting,
”to count money you day do like say na work, give me this thing make I count”, and as he dragged the money the money fell from his hand and scattered on the floor.
” Shay you see wetin you cause now”, the others grumbled as they all bent down to pick up the scattered money. At this point Nadia was really beginning to get scared because some of the money was on top of her legs and the guys were determined to pick every single dime.
Nadia quickly muttered a short prayer.
”God help me please, mother keep me safe please!” The boys gathered the money, they even picked the one on Nadia’s leg without bothering to look at it if it was a leg or wood, they just picked it up and counted the money in a hurry. Nadia heard them say its 37,000 naira. They shared the money and left in a hurry to different directions.
After they left, Nadia laid still on that same spot , there was no aota of sleep in her eyes. She was there until she heard the first c–k crow, then she left the girl who was still obviously very shaken, she picked up her cellophane of food and that was when she noticed the ID card on the floor. Without saying a word, she picked it up, turned and looked at the girl once more before racing inside the bush without looking back. When she got to the building she quickly entered the small foam she shared with her mom. She planned on stealing few minutes of sleep before heading for work.
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That night was a horrifying one for her. Nadia woke up two hours later, and got the biggest shock of her life, she saw that girl lying next to her. Same girl she met at that shop. Nadia was surprised and wondered how she got there.
”Wake up, hey wake up” what are you doing here? Why did you follow me here? Hey get up and leave already!” She stood and looked Nadia straight in the eye.
“Please don’t drive me away please, am sorry I followed you, I was too scared to remain there,I didn’t know if those boys will come back thats why i followed you, please don’t drive me pleaee.”
Nadia felt pity for her, she asked her to sit down, she picked up the nylon food she bought last night, she checked it and found out it was not yet spoilt, so she brought out the small OKs pot that she and her mom managed, she poured the soup in it and gathered some sticks lying around, she made the fire and put the pot on it to warm the food.
From the sky and the upcoming brightness of the day, she could tell that it was almost 7am. She served the food on two old pieces plate and gave one to the girl and she took the other and ate quietly.
“I am Nadia” she said as she introduced herself to the girl,
“my name is Ruth” she replied. After eating she took a bowl of water and went to clean up, she also gave the girl some water to take her bath, she looked at her and discovered that the girl was not too bigger than her Nadia didnt have much clothes but she brought out one of her neatly folded dresses and gave the girl one to wear. With a big grin on her face Ruth told her thank you.
“So tell me Ruth where are your parents? Why were you alone in that place, how old are you?” The questions were just pouring out.
“Well” Ruth started. “I don’t know my parents, I’ve never known my parents, I grew up with my aunty and her family. My aunty was very mean to me, she treated me like a slave, she always insulted and called me names. She said she saw me abandoned on the streets of Lagos and she had mercy on me and that I should be grateful to her. Its not like I was not grateful o but she was not just satisfied. She beat me at any little provocation, she despised me, her children hates me, she finally threw me out of her house about two weeks ago simply because I ate from the food she kept for her kids, I was very hungry o, I would have died o, its just small I ate o, then she chased me away. I don’t, have any where else to go that’s why I hang around the market till evenings and when she closes from her shop I go there to sleep. Until last night when we almost lost our lived. If you had not come, maybe those guys would have caught me and killed me, it’s God that brought you to save me”. Nadia watched her carefully before asking her of her age. And she said she was 15.
Nadia didnt want want to decide in a hurry so she told Ruth to follow her to the market, she rented two coolers, she gave Ruth one and bought one satchet water for her also. They agreed to meet at a spot every one hour, with that they both headed inside the market hawking pure water!
Is helping Ruth a wise decision? Watch out