It’s another hour when he arrived. i grab my bag, with my heart beating within my chest, I set for the market, done with that with an extra bag in my hand, I give the cab man his address.
I wonder, would he be waiting outside expecting me? Would he be thrilled? Would he love what I would prepare?
Am I not doing the craziest thing ever? I bite my lower lip.
I mean, dating Brian, taking this wherever it leads, what’s the worst that could happen. Nothing, absolutely nothing other than two consenting adults who want to date regardless of their class and level and status, even position.
Really, it shouldn’t matter right? It shouldn’t matter. I nod my head. Right now, all I am thinking about would be the huge smile I hope to see on his face when he sees me and when I make him dinner.
It’s going to be a perfect day.
I am giddy with joy as it bubbles within me.
Finally, after years of work work and more work, I get to have a boyfriend who …like a.. like a ..like a mystery on one hand, an annoying pain in the arse once upon a time, a sweet guy of recent and not to forget the guy who has more to him that meets the eye, who would think he is so smart, not just mouth-smart, but head smart.., going to get the temp job for the IT company, must be something, and a very great designer, and of course an amazing kisser, amongst other things I hope to fantasy about.
Yes, its official, I am nervous about today, but..excited too.
John is whistling as he is making noodles, he is in a happy mood, too happy as he whistles making a sunny-side up egg as he places it in a flat plate and turns off the heat and pours the cooked noodles into a plate, he grabs a fork and pulls out a chair and perches on his dining table and begins to eat , a paper and pen infront of him he is drawing circles and stroking a line over numbers …
‘’Oh shit, Arsenal and Totterham just cut my game, shit!! And so fifty thousand gone. ‘’ he sighs squeezing the paper and throwing it into the bin close to him. His phone rings, he reaches for it.
‘’Yo!! Frank, give me good news baby’’ he says with mouth full
‘’So, things got pretty heated last night, ‘’ John listens as Frank’s deep voice is heard over the phone
‘’And, is the fxxker a marsh potato?’’ John chuckles as he takes another slurp of his noodles, he is smiling and shaking his head
‘’Well, with a gaping hole to his chest, bruised face that is barely unrecognizable, I would say more than a marsh Potato John’’ a deep laugh
John drops his fork.. ‘’He..he is dead?’’ he sits up
‘’Yes, he is, comfirmed, signed , sealed and delivered!!’’
‘’Fxxk!!’ he gets up pacing ‘He is dead, like dead, like dead?’’
‘’John, you wanted him out of the way right? He is out of the way’’
‘’Bu-t b—b—but, I didn’t say you should kill him’’
‘’You fxxking kidding me!! What do you think when you say marsh potato, disfiguring and leaving him worse for wear, it literally means run a truck over the fxxker, punch his face in with a sledge hammer and if he survives…heh, if he doesn’t..heh!! so what the fxxk are you saying you didn’t want to kill him, you wanted it, you implied and you made a down payment for it, so what are we not saying’’
John stops pacing and sitts down ‘’And, you are sure, he is dead, like dead?’’
‘’I said he is dead, I would show you prove but the bitch who cleans messed up my phone’’
John is thinking out loud ‘’What if, what if his people come to look for him, his family, anyone?’’
‘’There wasn’t no eye witnesses!!’’
‘’Your men nko, are they not witnesses?’’
‘’Killers are like ghost John, and dead men don’t talk’’
John nods his dead ‘’his body?’’
‘’Dumped in a carnal or something, my boys are discreet and precise, they leave no traces’’
John begins to relax, then a smile begins to curl around his lips ‘’So, the fool, Brian the fool is out of his way, really?’’ he laughs ‘’Well, you fxxked up Brian, you did, you made me do it, you did. You had no idea who you messed with. I was in Keggites in the university, and black Ox and they thought I wouldn’t have the mind to do things but I did, I did’’ he says more to himself than to Frank ‘’if you haven’t been so fxxking annoying, maybe you would have gotten a little beaten but, see..you are six feets deep inside the carnal, no more pretty boy face, sharp mouth and quick fist, no more coming close to Miss Adora, now i can have her all to himself, i would be her right hand, and then Emeka, Mr Emeka would have to make me a superior in any department since people like you wouldn’t be an obstacle. And when you doesn’t show up for work, after a while they would assume you just upped and left, plus I think you are some illegal militant, they can’t alert the police to search for you, no one would. Soon you would be forgotten and life would go back to normal, yes, with me ontop as I have always been, then I can woo Miss Adora, and maybe, just maybe get promoted to a nice looking office, maybe Brian’s office..yes, life would be good’’ he laughs’’ Now life would be awesome now that you are dead Brain’’ he laughs again talking to himself, thinking out loud.
‘’In as much as I would love to listen to you masturbate over your recent achievements of getting what you want, I also want to get my balance within the minute John!!’’
‘’oh no sweat bro!!’’ John takes the phone away from his ears as he puts it on speaker and makes the transfer, his hands is shaking in excitement ‘’He is dead, dead. Oh Brian the fxxker is dead, wasn’t the end product I wanted but I swear the thought is exhilarating ‘’
‘’I am sure it is!! A hundred thousand naira John, I hope that is what you are sending?’’
‘’I thought we settled for half that Frank?’’
‘’No, full that, send it John!!’’
‘’But?’’ he stammers frowning
‘’John, your deed is done, atleast be nice and try not to offend me, you wouldn’t like the outcome’’
‘’Fine!! ‘’ John grudgingly sends it ‘’got it?’’
‘’I have been debited, and this isn’t what we agreed on’’
‘’Got it! For a life of a man, your money is chicken change, stop whining John. Nice to do business with you, enjoy your..whatever it is you intended to enjoy. When you want to kill someone else, you know the code to send. ‘’ the line goes dead
John stares at the phone for a few minutes , so really, Brian is dead?. No more pissy attitudes in the office, Mr Emeka would be too happy not to even have that fool in his face and Miss Adora, well, she hates the guy, whatever it was that had her letting her guard down to think he had changed and wanted to turn a new leaf, she wouldn’t be deceived any more, no more Brian. No more Brian.
On Monday, everything would be like normal, only better.
Ikena parks his car, bringing out his phone and checking the coordinates, his police friend Teka narrowed down the area to Odili road, and the Cords is around the Market square, and the street leading into a close, there is a building there, the one the coordinates is hovering over, and he is parked just down the road. Alighting from his car, he puts his phone in his pocket and adjusts his shirt, hiding the gun tucked in his waist.
He walks down until he gets to the gate, it is open, he walks into the compound, climbing the stairs, he pauses at the door and then he knocks.
I knock on the door, I have been knocking for about thirty minutes.. no answered. The cab that brought me had left, I had to pay him extra because he waited for me, and i didn’t want to leave.
What happened? Did he forget that we were supposed to meet today, did he go out..why isn’t he answering his door? I wish I had his phone number.
I knock again, maybe I should leave, maybe..maybe, all that happened yesterday, the kiss, the asking me out..the dinner plan was just some stupid joke, he obviously didn’t take me seriously.
Stupid ! Stupid!!
I turn away, grabbing my bag and the extra bag that had the things I bought from the market, I should just call the cab company to take me home.
I should have known that Brain was just an asshole, another one of those kind of assholes.
I walk down the stairs, my chest closing in anger, maybe a little bit of pain.
I was leaving, come Monday, I would be back to the old me, and Brian …Brian can be whoever he wants to be, not just in my face and away from my lips.
Liar, pretender, and all shades wrong.
I told you Adora, I told you-
Shut up conscience. I scold myself.
Brian is lying on the bed, blood stain on the bed due to his stomach wound, he bled during the night, the bandaged is soaked, his eyes are closed, and he isn’t moving. He hasn’t moved since he laid on the bed and closed his eyes since Ikena dropped him off.
Ikena knocks again, he looks around, he takes in the area. Outside the gate, the surrounding areas have people coming and going up and down the close, children are playing across, the grass at the entrance of the gate is lawned leaving a foot path to the house, and the house stood at the center. Too open, too obvious for a killer or would he say, the man who pulls the strings between the clients and their targets, the man who gives them what they want. But in his line of career, it wasn’t strange, infact, it was to be expected.
He knocks again, hearing someone come to the door, it opens up slightly to reveal a girl, who didn’t look more than eighteen, and she peeps from the door.
The message that fool sent to him was delivered and read, that meant one of two things, the Frank must be on the run, cut off any form of coms and maybe alerted the client, and the other, he might not be able to clean out totally if he figures they are on to him, which means that, there might be something he would find, anything at all.
All he wants is to gain access into his house, search it for any clue, then maybe he can find out who this Frank is and when he does, he find out who wanted Brian dead.
”Goodmorning Sir?” she stares at him curiously
”Goodmorning, I am so sorry but…I don’t know if Mr Frank is around?”
”Mr Frank?”‘ she asks
‘Yes, I am supposed to meet with him, but I tried his number and it isn’t reachable and we have a meeting and it is really important that I get to him, he stays here right? He gave me the address and I am not sure if I am in the place, this is Odili road right, close to market square, close 4, house number 67? I mean I have been walking down the streets and this is the only house that fits that description since it’s the only one at the middle, the others are attaches scattered around…” he trails off as the girls stares at him
”I do not know a Frank” She states,
He expected that
”But, this is the address I have of him, how can you not know a Frank , I mean he must live here, works here, he gave me this address surely this is the place, this must be his house, he is home right, he wouldn’t give me an address that isnt his home because what we have to meet for is very important, life threatening”
”Sir, this is a church, a home cell church, and there is no Frank here.”
”And there is no Frank that stays here, and we don’t have cell fellowship meetings on Saturdays, it is Sundays and Mondays and Thursdays, and for private meetings with the pastor you would have to book an appointments because the pastor is always busy and if any is booked I am aware of it because I take care of the house and the church cell with the cleaning and he didn’t tell me anyone is coming sir.. but, there is no one who works here and his name is Frank”
”this must be a mistake then”
”Yes sir” she made to close the door, he puts his leg
”But wait please, you say this is a church, a cell home for fellowship, maybe you can help me, maybe I can speak to someone, the pastor maybe, my daughter, she is sick and this Frank was supposed to help me with some funds to take her to the hospital, but…now I can’t reach him and this isn’t the place, maybe, maybe your pastor can help me, he is a man of God right, a man of God, he would pray to him and my child would be healed or, he can help me , with anything at all. Please, my daughter would die, she would die”
She is shaking her head ”See, I am sorry but, Pastor doesn’t like strangers coming to see him without an appointment, come tomorrow Sunday, he would see you after the service”’ she made to close the door again, he stops it with his hands
”I don’t have tomorrow, my daughter has a few hours please I beg you, Frank, he was my only chance sister, help me, she is your age, she has a bright future, she is so beautiful and she is lying at home barely breathing, I have spent all that I have, sold all that I have and I only need a little more fund to get her to the clinic, please, he is a pastor surely he wouldn’t turn me away, please sister, don’t let my daughter die” he pleads, his eyes pooling
”Sir, I cannot help you” she says forcing the door shut, he doesn’t let her
”Please, I can’t go anywhere, my daughter, she would die” he wails ”she will die please !!”
”Come back tomorrow, pastor will see you, please sir you leave now please” she begs
”No, help me, help me!!”
He walks out of his room, coming down the stairs and heads to the prayer room, he grabs his rosary and puts it round his neck, takes his collar and adjusts it to his neck, he takes his glasses and wears it, grabbing his keys he picks up his bible and goes out to the living room when he sees her, her frowns
”Juliet, what are you doing, who is there?”
She turns ”Sir, someone is at the door, he is looking for someone but I told him the person doesn’t stay here, he says he wants to see you, that his daughter is dying”
His frown deepens, he walks to the door and tells her to move, she does, he opens it wide to see a man standing there, his eyes in pain, ..
”Goodmorning Son, speak, what is bothering you, why is your heart troubled?”
”Sir, you are a Pastor yes, a Pastor?”
”A Reverend father , I am Rev Cosmos Ijorla”
Ikena nods , ”Father, help me.”
”What troubles you my son”
”My daughter , she is dying, she is dying, help me” Ikena falls on his knees and holds on to his legs, sobbing
Cosmos turns to the girl, he is frowning , then he turns away ”Get up Sir, don’t please, a man should be a man no matter what, what do you want me to do, pray for you? I will, God will heal her” he pulls Ikena up
”I know, I believe, pray for me but please help me”
”there is nothing prayer cannot do son”
”I know but please, I need just five thousand naira to add to complete to take her to the hospital”
”Just that!” Ikena sniffs ”But you will pray for me father won’t you? You will pray for me too?”
Cosmos is staring at him, he nods his head , ”Come inside, then, Juliet give the man some water. I was going to pray for some souls, but God wants me to help you son and I will, but only for a few minutes, others shouldn’t suffer a minute more too”
”thank you, God bless you!!” Ikena follows him into the house.
Cosmos tells him to sit down as they enter the prayer room, he said he would be back, Juliet had gone to bring water for him.
He brings out the phone and runs the coordinates of the place, it matches the one his friend Teca had sent to him, he was definitely in the right house.
And there was one thing that made sense; Frank was here, maybe he already cleared out, on the run or whatever, but..this was where he chatted with the fool he was with last night.
But one thing he wasn’t sure off, is either the girl and the Pastor are aware of this or they are his accomplices or for obvious reasons, they are unaware and maybe just maybe it’s going on somewhere within this church and they have no idea of it. Maybe this Frank might be a worker, a servant, a driver, or maybe ..a son. Who knows.
He looks around, whoever this Frank was, he did his things and carried out plans in the most unlikeliest of places, a church, a cell home for fellowships and worshipping God, the irony of it all.
The girl named Juliet brings him a glass of water, he studies her as she comes, there was something wrong with this picture, she seemed uneasy, nervous too.
”Sir, take your water, father would be with you!” she gives him the glass of water, he takes it and thanks her, she was leaving, he drops the glass on the table..
”Juliet is it?” he calls out
He gets up walking to her ‘For this show of kindness, I hope God blesses you” he says staring down at her..
She nods walking away, then he saw it, he saw it, the mark at the back of her neck, it was fresh, the wound was fresh. He turns away and goes back to sit. His eyes scanning the room. He could see three doors, one must lead to the kitchen from where Juliet comes out from, the other must be the father’s room, aside the one that ushered them from the parlor to the prayer one, it leaves just one door remaining. He looks around, there was a bible table, the cross of Jesus at the center of the room, a pulpit, a piano stand, indeed it looked like a small church within the house. Nothing amiss.
But then again, nothing is usually as it seems, the door opens and Cosmos comes towards him with an envelope, a smile on his face ”shall we pray to God now?”
Ikena smiles getting up ”God, yes!!” he says going on his knees ”God has used you to help me, help my daughter, yes let us pray’.
My phone begins to ring, I look at the caller, I frown. I had called the taxi company, they were sending someone to me , I stand there waiting for them, where the first one dropped me, which was infront of Brian’s house within the estate , and I knew before he gets here it might take a while, plus the security check points at the gate too.
Sighing I shift the weight from one knee to the other, I stare back at his house, anger feels me, I turn away.
Stupid me having high hopes, what do I get? Nothing!.
My phone rings again, I look at the caller again, my frown deepens, I ignore it. I didn’t have time for him, not today. But it keeps ringing, and I knew if I don’t pick, he wouldn’t stop calling.
”What is it John?” I snap
”Goodmorning Ma’am, how was your night, how is your weekend going Ma?”
He sounded excited.
How my weekend was going? One word. HORRIBLE!!
”Great John! Yours?”
”Super Madam, Super. So have you had breakfast, lunch?”
”yes I have John” I wasn’t in the mood for small talks, where the hell was the cab man I called? Seeing I drop my bag and shift the weight to another leg,
”So what did you eat?” I could hear him smile
”John, now is not a good time, is there a particular reason you called me on a weekend John?”
”Er ” he laughs ”No Ma, I just wanted to check on you and make sure you are okay, that is all. And I remember I told you that will take you round the town so you can be able to see round Port Harcourt, so I was thinking I can come take you out this weekend Ma, there are nice places you can see and chill, like in Gra there are like lovely lounges, clubs, there is a karaoke bar named Kusina and also the Office somewhere in Gra too, and ofcourse nice spots you can chill also like Kode9 , they have nice burgers there and if you like shawarma there are places you can get, even suya , you know we have nice Suya spots in Ph, plus, like today it is bright and sunny, we can go and see the new park , pleasure park it is called, it was just recently commissioned by the Governor a few weeks ago, nice beautiful place, oh.. There is also-”
”No John, but thank you for the thought, I would be home for the weekend”
”But it would be boring, but it is okay, I can come over and ..well you know they say when the mountain doesn’t come to Mohammed, Mohammed will go to the mountain” he laughs again. Yes, he was definitely in a good mood today, really good mood. ”I can come over and maybe I can stop by and get you something, you know since you came to PH, no one has done a proper home welcoming for you, I wonder if you have had time to settle in properly. I will bring you a welcoming take out , anything you like, maybe, would you like a movie too, I can bring any movie you like too, we can watch and eat and talk and you know, feel happy. This is just my own way of welcoming you Ma”
Maybe he was high, and it was getting into his head and he forgets his place ”John?” I rub my temple ” I wonder, did I give you the impression that we are hanging buddies?”
”So why do you just assume we are that, and you want to stop by and bring me food and movie and we sit and do what? Discuss about work or what?”
”Well if that is what you want to discuss Ma, that is fine by me” he laughs again
I sigh ” John!! Thank you for calling and just for the next time, try not to call me outside work hours and on weekends unless it is absolutely necessary and work related and don’t make suggestions like this anymore. I am sure you are a nice guy but try not to over step your boundaries, I am technically your Boss, although in different departments and as long as you are in my team..i am your Boss, and we both don’t have that sort of relationship that oversteps, we won’t ever. So, when you call me, it should be work related and centered okay? Anything other than that should be the normal, how are you doing , how was your weekend and that should be at work, not on my free time and days okay?”
”Okay Ma” he sounded disappointed.
Good!! I don’t need another Brian in my life, the one I thought I had was an asshole.
I mean, we had a date, an actual dinner date in his house which I was supposed to cook for, I went to the market, I got some nice things and I was going to make something nice, but where is he? Nowhere, probably some club or with some other girl he forgot we were supposed to see.
No!! he didn’t forget, it was his plan. Get my guards down, make me come rushing to him and he would be like he is…an asshole more like.
”I am sorry Ma if I offended you, I didn’t mean to”‘ John’s voice breaks into my thoughts
”Its fine, take care John, see you Monday”
”You too Madam”
I stare back at Brian’s house, or the house he is squatting in, I turn away.
”Where is the damn Taxi?” I dial them again, I couldn’t wait to be far away from here, where I can safely tuck back my dignity or whatever shred of it I have left and forget this stupid day and maybe him. Come Monday, back to my life..back to me. I should have known nothing will come out of this stupid Kiss and whatnot.
You will Brian, you will.
But there wouldn’t be a next time.
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Brian is still on his bed, unmoving; the blood stained had increased, dripping to the floor.
”Thank you Sir, God bless you Sir, my daughter would be healed, she would be healed amen”‘ Ikena says thanking the Pastor as he ushers him outside.
”God be with you and your daughter, I hope you take her to the hospital, but God has healed her already, praise God Hallelujah!!” Father Cosmos says
”Halleluiah!!” Ikena returns as he leaves, jogging ”Let me go, thank you Pastor, this money you have given me, God will replenish, Amen!!” Ikena waves happily and jogs away, away from his sight and the house..
Father Cosmos turns and goes back into his house ”Juliet?” he calls
”Yes Father!!” she comes slowly to him, her hands clasps together and her eyes lowered
”So, a stranger walks up to my door and you let him in, do you know who he is, have you seen him before that you let him in?” He takes a step closer; she takes two backwards shaking her head
”No Father, I didn’t let him in, you- you told me to, when you came you saw me sending him away Father, please!!”
”So you are calling me a liar?” He takes more steps towards her
”No Sir!!” she says
”Yes you are. Money I don’t have you made me give to that He Goat, how did he get here, who sent him here, who did he say he was looking for eh? Did I not tell you that during weekends no church activities unless I tell you, what if I was busy with other visitors, you want people to see? Is that your plan eh?”
”No no please?” she begs going to her knees, he is pulling out his belt
”It is like the beating I gave you last night for spoiling my phone isn’t enough, maybe I should give you another one, next time when you see a stranger at the door you don’t fraternize but send them away, see that five thousand naira I gave to him, you will get it back, your punani will be on fire tonight, go to that club before I come back, tell them to find you one papa to sleep with, he will pay you for this afternoon and get my money.”
”Please Sir, I beg you, i…am sore, last night..i am sore please I beg you with the name of God, I will not open the door again, I swear it”
”You are made. Other girls I have do you know how much they bring to me daily? Do you? Because I brought you to my house so you can be working for me here you think you will escape this business? You lie. I picked you from the gutter and gave you a roof over your head, food to eat, you work for me whenever and however I want and when you disobey me or do anything that annoys me, the belt is your friend, and it is like you love the belt because it loves you, and because I haven’t yet forgiven you for ruining my phone, come here Juliet, remove your cloth and lie down here”
”Sir I beg you please”
She screams holding her face as the belt head makes contact with her face
”I said Remove your cloths and lie on my prayer table Now” he rolls the belt, his trouser drops from his waist
”Please Father I beg you, I won’t do it again”
She wails falling to the ground,
”’ Get up before I tear more flesh Juliet!!” he threatens, the crying girl struggles up, her face bears a cut, the belt head has a sharp edge to it, and he knows it. She is bleeding slightly, tears flowing
”Please Sir, no more, anything else, no more” she goes on her knees
”Come here and knee before me, maybe if you treat him nice, worship him well, I may forgive you” he says to her, She quickly goes to her knees, close to him, she pulls down his boxers with tears staining her cheeks, mingling with the blood as it treks to her neck, her hands shaking she takes his member , she stares at him
”Don’t even think about it, I would snap your neck in two, worship him Juliet, anything else would be at your own detriment , but if you make him pour, just maybe I will forgive you for today, ”
She nods , she rubs him, massages him and then, with more tears leaving her eyes she takes him into her mouth, in and out and sucks on it, he moans throwing his head back, pushing her head closer he moans again, a smile breaking out on his face.
Ikena is seated in the car, waiting. He needs to get into the house, comb the area, look for anything suspicious.
That was the house, the Frank person must have left a clue, anything as fickle as a dust…anything at all.
He would wait till that Father Cosmos leaves, there was something about that Juliet girl, now he realizes what he was seeing, and she had fear written all over. He would wait, once he leave she would go back there and try and talk to her, maybe she could tell him how she got that wound behind her neck…something sharp, big had done that.. and at the back of her neck, it definitely wasn’t self inflicted nor an accident. It looked deliberate, and her eyes speaks a different language especially in a place of sanctuary where one ought to be safe and protected…all he sees behind her eyes were fear, especially when he , father Cosmos came out.
Yes, he would wait.
He relaxes in his car, and then he remembers. Brian, he should check on him, that stubborn brat refused to go to the hospital. He grabs his phone and dials his number. By the tenth ring and no answer, Ikena’s frown deepens by the second..
”Pick up boy, pick the hell up!” he dials again, he had given him the torch-light phone that belonged to Gesto that Brian has been using since they seized his Iphone at the club which he picked from the ground when he realized that he had been napped, he remember Brian slipping it into his pocket, so why the hell wasn’t he picking his call.
”Fxxk!!!” he swears
Something was wrong, why wasn’t Brain picking. Last night he was pretty messed up, the constant hit to his head, slice to his stomach, it was sort of deep, and he felt dizzy and the fool said he was fine, just rest.
What if, what if!!
He dials his number again, Pick up Brian, pickup..
TO BE CONTINUED.