* Flash back*
I threw my phone against the wall, it bounced back, landing on the floor with a loud crashing sound. I walked out of the room, heading to my gym where i let out all the pent up anger and steam on my punching bag all the while wishing it was Sola’ s face i was pummeling. I punched the bag until my knuckles hurt and my shoulder blades screamed for mercy. I made my way back into my room again, exhausted, i picked up the broken phone and removed my Sim card from it. I peeled off my shorts and had a cold shower, by the time i was done showering i had made my decision.
I borrowed my mother’ s phone and inserted my Sim card into it. I didn’t have to wait for long before the unknown caller from last night called again. He gave me the direction to the place i was to meet them. I drove down to the bank, cashed out the Ransome and i went to the meeting spot. Few minutes after getting there they also arrived in two cars, bringing with them a billow of cloud and dust. The guys jumped down from their vehicles brandishing their guns, they raced to where i was, they commanded me to raise up my hands and they ordered me to slowly get out of my car. I did as i was told, and they searched my body hurriedly before they led me to where their boss was.
” Do you have my money? ” he asked, blowing up a cloud of smoke.A cigarette dangled between his stumpy fingers. He was a big, mean looking man with a big nose perched on his grimy double chin face.
” Where is the girl and my brother? I need to know they are both alive. There’s no way i am paying Ransome for dead bodies”. I said bravely.
” They are alive albeit a bit roughened up. Brytawon, bring them out”.
One of the guys ran to the car behind and opened the door. He roughly pulled them out and led them to us. They were both sporting black eyes, their lips were bruised and blood was oozing out of Sola’ s nose. Brytawon, roughly let go of them and they both fell to the ground groaning in exhaustion.
” Where is the money?” The boss asked.
” In my booth” I replied.
” Iberibe1 go with him to retrieve it.” He commanded.
The hefty, tall guy with a big nose ring and a red bandana round his bald head pushed me forward, towards my car, he retrieved the money from the trunk of my car and he shoved me back to the boss, who opened the bag to confirm if there was money in it.
” Good. You will hear from me, if the money is not complete” He said.
The guys jumped into the cars and they drove away in a fury of dust and smoke. I watched them go until they disappeared from my sight. I turned my gaze to the duo on the floor in disgust, they both scampered to their feet.
” Thank you” Rosa said shyly, her eyes were fixed on the ground in shame.
” I will pay you back as soon as i can. Don’t go thinking that i owe you because of this” Sola said ungratefully.
I ignored them, walking towards my car, they both ran after me and got into the back seat. I drove in silence, seething in anger and wishing i could crash the car just to inflict more pains on their bodies but you can’t cut off your nose just to spite your face. I drove down onto the main room and parked, waiting for them to alight. I didn’t wait for their feets to touch the ground before i zoomed off.
After that day, the subsequent months were filled with one call or the other to bail out Sola, it seemed like he incurred debts just by breathing and trouble seem to trail in his wake. I bailed him out of the police custody on several occasions and i settled his debts each them he got into trouble. He was thrown out of the house he rented, i paid the rent and i was getting fed up of cleaning up after him.
One rainy night, i got lucky with a lady i was trying to hook up with for weeks. We were smooching on the couch when my phone rang.
” Sorry babe. The call might be important ” I stood up, off her, reaching for my phone in my trouser. ” Hello”
” To…..Tosin….” He stuttered, his voice sounded weak and his words were slurred. His jaw quivered like he had a bad case of flu.
” Sola” I snapped in anger, i walked out of the room. ” What do you want this time around? don’t you ever get tired of your useless attitude and life? What do you want this time? Money?”
” Y….yes. P..please just……just this one time. I need to get drugs……i am sick”.
” You know what? I am begining to think you are swindling me! How many times have i bailed your not_so_sorry a$$? how many times have you promised to turn a new leaf and pick yourself up? I am not your father! Neither am i your blood! remember how you ordered guys to beat me up in the past? in case you have forgotten in a haste, let me remind you. You and your father disowned me! You betrayed me! I have had enough of you and your shallow life! Stop ringing my line with different numbers!”
He started crying and pleading at the other end.
” Just……just this one time please! I …..need my d…..drugs and i am not lying this time. I have been so sick and i haven’t had anything to eat all day.”
” I worked hard for my money so i can’t keep giving it to you to waste on some white substance! I won’t allow you run me down like you did your father! You can go to hell for all i care!” I said.
” Baby! What’s keeping you so long!” The lady, whose name i don’t remember now called out in a sultry voice. ” You don’t want me to start without you, do you?” She moaned out, obviously servicing herself in anticipation.
I took the phone away from my ear, my hand covering the mouth piece. ” Just a minute love!” I placed the phone against my ear.” I don’t have time for this. Call up your wicked a$$ granny or your father to give you the money you need for your so called ‘ drugs’” I said, before disconnecting and switching off my phone.
I went back to the lady, we had our fun and i settled her at the break of dawn before she left. Thst was when i put on my phone and a call came in immediately. I thought it was Sola calling with another number so i let it ring. The caller persisted so i snatched up the phone in anger.
” Sola! Haven’t i warned you not to call me again!” I shouted, i heard the person at the other end drew in breath sharply.
” Hello…..” A feminine voice said shakily, i could hear loud voices all talking at once in the background.
” Yes.” I snapped, thinking it was Rosa, Sola’ s accomplice and lover, calling to plead on his behalf.
” We found a young man lying in a ditch and your number was the last dialed number on his phone. He’s in a terrible condition and nobody wants to lift a finger to help him. Are you in anyway related to him?”
” D–n! Where? Where are you?” I asked, wondering what mess Sola had gotten himself into. She described where they were and i hurried out of the house. My mother had gone to camp ground to pray, i wondered if i should call her to remember to say a prayer for her son. I blamed myself for keeping her in the darkness, i should have told her of the wasteful life he was living but I didn’t want to make her think. I only hoped he hadn’t done serious harm to himself.
When i got to the said place i saw a crowd, i dialed the number and the lady, made her way towards me. Her eyes were puffy from crying. I wondered if she would have wasted even a drop of her tears if she knew how Sola was. We both walked to where the crowd was without a word. We forced our way through the crowd, and i felt tears well up in my eyes at the sore sight before me. His body was on the ground, his skin had turned so black and his face was puffed up like he had been severely beaten. There were some bottles of medicine beside him on the ground.
” I didn’t want to tell you over the phone. He died before the night guards discovered his body this morning.” The lady explained. ” Their guess was he died before midnight”
” Tosin ” Linda said, wiping the blood on her hands, on her flowing wedding gown. ” Do you think he stands a chance of survival? My father?”
I was glad of the distraction, we had been in the hospital reception over an hour. Mr Nwosu was wheeled to the theater as soon as the ambulance got to the hospital. The nurses and doctors kept going up and down without saying a word to us. We were brushed aside when we approached them. I knew Mr.Nwosu, being a wealthy man must have stepped on some toes in the past but that shot which brought him down was clearly meant for me. I wondered who wanted me dead, the only person that comes to mind was my father.
My mind went back to the scene of the shot, it happened in a blur, one minute i was talking to Mr.Nwosu, the next minute he had shoved me aside and instinctively i covered my body with Linda’ s. I was surprised when i felt no pain, at first i thought the blood flowing on the ground was mine but Linda’ s look of horror as she gazed at the floor proved me wrong. So many questions were going through my mind, why did the man fire a shot at me? who paid him to take my life? Why did Mr.Nwosu who supposedly murdered his wife shield me from being hit?.
” He was hit in the chest…….let’s just keep our hopes up. ” i replied her, not wanting to give her false hope and at the same time not being pessimistic.
She nodded her head. ” Auntie Maggie called me, they are being bugged by the media so she can’t come to the hospital.”
” When did she call you? how are they holding up?”
” You were so deep in thought so i excused myself to receive the call. She does not want to lead the media here. Tosin……” Her voice shook.” I lied. I lied to you all”.
” What did you lie about? I don’t think i can survive yet another bad news”.
She wiped away the tears on her cheeks. ” I didn’t see my dad killing my mom. I only heard them arguing and when she was found dead the next morning i assumed he had killed her.”
” What makes you think that assumption was wrong?”
” He ‘fessed’ up at the church. He explained everything to me, my mom threatened to cut him off because of Auntie Maggie. It is a long story but my father is innocent.”
I sighed loudly. ” You owe your father a long apology. I only hope that he will forgive you for soiling his name.”
” We made our peace. He knows that i was only a child, like i said we have made our peace” she replied stubbornly.
A doctor walked towards us and we got up, walking towards him. He stopped in front of us, his eyes were sad and there was sweat on his forehead.
” How’s my father? Will he be alright?” She asked, worriedly. ” Is he out of danger now? is he out of the theater now?”.
I held her hand. Willing her to let the doctor speak, she got the message and kept quiet.
” I’ m sorry. I’ m sorry” was all he said.
Linda sat down on the hard cold floor, her eyes vacant, in shock.
” How’s he?” I asked, hoping he would reassure me and he would prove that we heard him wrong the first time he spoke.
” We did our best. Time of death was 3.45 pm” he said.
To be continued..