The lights came on and Fidelia gasped in shock. Her family were kneeling down, tied like tubers of yam, their eyes and mouth covered with cloth. She stepped back and bumped into the wall. Brukeme opened his eyes wide at the sight in front of him, and then he felt a sharp pain on his head as a cold metallic object slammed into his head and he passed out. Fidelia jumped in shock, as a big muscular man wearing a mask, black singlet and black jeans walked from behind her with a gun in his hands, and pushed her towards where her family knelt on the floor, their hands, mouth and eyes tied. She pleaded; her voice a mix of words, moans and gulps, as fear clutched at her heart.
The man ignored her and she was soon tied up like the rest of her family and her mouth covered too. As the cloth covered her eyes, she saw another big man, also wearing a mask, go to the boy that had entered the house with her. Her eyes widened, as the man dragged the boy into the sitting room and tied him too like the rest of them. The cloth covered her eyes and she saw nothing but darkness. Her body shook with terror; “I have brought trouble to my family. God, why did I have to go out? See this innocent stranger now in trouble because of me. I am a fool. God please come to my aid.” She thought to herself.
Footsteps tapped on the tiles as someone walked slowly passed her, going further down the line and the steps stopped.
Friday: “Now that we have an audience worthy of tonight’s performance. i will like to welcome all of you to a great night of awesomeness. Despite my surprise at the presence of extra company, allowances can be made for teenage romance.” He said, frowning at the tied Brukeme, who was yet to wake up from his concussion induced faint. “Dr Fejiro, I am going to remove the rag from your mouth. I know you to be an intelligent man. I would not want to have to kill your beautiful wife or your equally beautiful daughters, just because you felt the need to satisfy your ego as a man. Do we have an understanding?” he asked.
Dr Fejiro nodded his head. One of the men, Orezi, with the yellowing teeth, stepped forward and removed the gag from his mouth.
Dr Fejiro: “please sirs. i will give you anything within my power. Anything, just don’t hurt my daughters or my wife, please.” He immediately started pleading; his voice shaky with strong emotion.
Friday: “Mr man, please. When man finds himself in a tight corner, he makes promises and offers things that he had refused to give when he thought the world was his play ground. Can you give life, Dr Fejiro?” he asked; squatting before the sweating man.
Dr Fejiro: “I am sorry. I have about five million naira in my account. That is all I have. You can have that, please.” He said, moving his head from side to side, trying to identify every sound
Friday: “that is a good start. Kilos, please bring the POS. the man wants to do some banking.” He said, motioning with his hands at Orezi.
Orezi came with the POS and handed it over to Friday. Friday placed it on a stool then he picked a wallet that was on the stool with a novel and an ashtray brimming with cigarette butts. He sorted through the different cards inside it then he separated the ATM cards from the complimentary cards then he sat down before Dr Fejiro. He inserted each card into the POS, asked for the pin and minimum balance then he withdrew from the account. He went on until he had emptied every of Dr Fejiro’s account. He looked at the man then he smiled
Friday: “that went well, don’t you think so?” he asked, crossing his left leg over his right knee and watching Dr Fejiro speculatively.
Dr Fejiro: “please, you have what you came for, let my family go.” He said.
Friday: “but sir, I did not say I wanted your money. You offered it to me. This is the problem with this world, people always assume. People always think they know. Mr man, I have not asked for anything…yet.” He replied; frowning at the surprised look Obaro had given to him. “I have problems with my kidney and i suffer from sickle cell anaemia too. Doctors have lost faith in my chances. At the hospital, they gave me some drugs and a really nice nurse helped me get some others. I want you, Dr Fejiro, and I to carry out an observation of the potency of these drugs. Is your intellectual curiosity not aroused, sir?” he added.
Dr Fejiro’s smoke blackened lips trembled in fear. He could not see the man that had taken his family hostage. He did not know what the man wanted. He had thought that, like other criminals, it was money he wanted, but he was wrong. He was very wrong.
Friday stood up and then, he staggered and fell back on the chair. His breath came out slowly as he struggled to clear his eyes. His eyes had turned him suddenly as he stood up. After some minutes, he slowly stood up and smiled at Dr Fejiro. He then brought out a small bottle containing a transparent liquid from his pocket. From another pocket, he brought out a pack of syringes. He drew the liquid into the syringe and started administering it on each of the women. When he got to Fidelia, he stopped, looked at her then smiled. He motioned to Orezi to remove the rag on her mouth.
Friday: “young lady what do you think about our discussion so far?” he asked.
Fidelia: “Please sir, take the money and go. Please, we have done nothing to deserve this.” She said; turning her head from left to right in panic.
Friday: “and that is the crux of the matter. Why do you think you have done nothing to deserve this?” he asked; his sad eyes on Dr Fejiro.
Ashley sat quietly on the drain, staring at her clothes and shoes scattered all over the place. She sat naked and uncaring, her thoughts going back to the past. To a time, now forgotten, when she had everything; wealth, connections and beauty, especially beauty. Men had wanted her then. She had love then and she had dreams, then she had met Tega. Tega had come into her life with his smooth words, his big hands and stamina. Tega had been her ruin but she had walked into it with her eyes wide open. She had seen the signs but she had ignored it because that is what she was good at; lying to herself. Well she was at the last stages of a ruined life. “What do I have to lose? Nobody even knows or cares that I exist.” She thought to herself.
She got up and the girls staring at her from a distance moved away like flies swatted from the lip of a bottle of beer. She opened a Ghana-must-go bag that had seen better days, and brought out a lacy pant. She put it on then found a torn bra and forced her loose breasts into it. She picked a skirt from the grass at her feet and stepped into it then she lit the last stick of cigarette in the pack and took a deep drag. She felt the smoke curl in her throat down to her lungs, and then she sighed and watched the smoke stream out of her nostrils like a dragon breathing fire. She chuckled, “A dying dragon on her last hunt. Yes, that is what I am. An old wounded dragon. Watch out!” she thought as her chuckle turned to laughter. She laughed hard, tears streaming down her face.
Tega’s house was in an estate along the D.S.C expressway. It was one of those new style estates, where all you have to do was buy the land and build your house according to the specification the estate management will give to you. It was exclusive. They had light, water and most importantly, they had security. Ashley entered the estate and greeted the security man on duty. He looked her over and waved her in. she was known to all the security men. She had off course been to Tega’s place several times in the past and she was still thought of as his woman. “If only they knew.” She thought as she began the long trek to his duplex.
She rang the bell at the gate and the gateman came to peek through a peephole at the gate, created for that purpose
Gateman: “madam, good evening. Your eye dear o.” he said.
Ashley: “open gate for me. i wan see your oga.” She ordered.
Gateman: “Madam, I no go fit o. Oga specifically tell me say make I no open gate for you o. Abeg no vex for me.” He replied, his eyes shining like a torch through the peephole.
Ashley: “Tega say make you no open for me?” she asked, her voice rising in anger. “Go tell am say if he no come outside now, I go cause problem for here, he neighbours go know say na pimp he be. Go tell am.” She added.
The gateman looked at her, his eyes opened wide with fear. He closed the peephole then after a minute, he reopened it and looked out.
Gateman: “oga be say make nobody tell you o but the truth na say, e wife and two sons just return from America. Abeg go come back when she done go.” He whispered to her.
Ashley: “wife? Which wife? When Tega take marry? Open this door for me joor, which kain yeye story be that?” she shouted.
The gateman shut the peephole and his footsteps could be heard running inside. Some few minutes later, he returned and stretched his hands through the peephole. In his hand was a picture. Ashley snatched the picture from his hand and stared at Tega with a woman and two small kids, smiling. They were dressed in winter clothing and snow could be seen on the roofs of houses caught in the picture. She gasped in shock
Ashley: where you for get this picture?” she asked.
Gateman: “na Philip, oga first son na give me. He sign am for back. Say na otograf.” He replied.
Ashley handed the picture quietly to the gateman, then she turned and started her trek back. The wings of the dragon were broken.
Question: Do yo feel sympathy for Friday or do you hate him already? what do you think brought Friday to rob Dr Fejiro? What do you think Ashley will do now?
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