Mr Okunola: “And why exactly do you think he will be giving you any money this night or any other night?” he asked coolly, stepping out from the shadows of a side street.
The boys turned around at the sound of his voice and looked at him. The leader smiled,
Leader: “well two is better than one.” He said, motioning two of the boys forward.
The boys encircled Mr Nzeribe and Mr Okunola slowly, brandishing their weapons. Mr Okunola yawned and brought out a pistol and with an unwavering hand pointed the it at the chest of the leader. The boys immediately stopped moving, all eyes riveted on the gun. Mr Nzeribe stared at the gun in surprise. He had been at the point of bringing out the few coins he had clinking in his pocket; “after all, it is he who is alive that makes money” he had thought to himself calmly then.
Mr Okunola: “I would really love to play with you guys, but I am tired and I need to get home to my wife. So why don’t you gentlemen run back to your mothers like good little boys, wash your feet, say your prayers and go to bed?” he said casually, his eyes lazily flicking from one assailant to the other.
The boys dropped their clubs and melted into the darkness of the night. Mr Okunola heaved a sigh of relief and turned to Mr Nzeribe
Mr Okunola: “that went well, if I may say so myself.” He said, smiling.
Mr Nzeribe: “thank you, sir. God… the way they appeared…my heart nearly gave out.” He replied, smiling tentatively.
Mr Okunola: “it was nothing. In my younger days, I used to be in the military and I just love guns. Anytime I go out late at night, I always take one along. The roads are no longer safe these days. Everything is going to hell.” He replied, sticking the gun back into the space between his trouser and his waist.
Mr Nzeribe: “well your timely appearance saved my pocket and maybe my life. I am indeed grateful.” He replied, going to Mr Okunola and shaking his hands.
The men smiled and proceeded to walk home, talking about the society and its myriad problems.
Mr Okunola: “how is that your beautiful daughter?” he asked.
Mr Nzeribe: “oh…Chidinma? She is fine. Getting ready to go to the University College at Ibadan or Teacher Training Colllege, or Yaba Tech…You never know with these children. Today they want to be a doctor, tomorrow it is historian.” He replied, smiling.
Mr Okunola: “that’s nice. You are a lucky man to have such a beautiful and well brought up daughter.” He replied, quietly.
Mr Nzeribe noticed the tone of his voice and turned to look at him.
Mr Nzeribe: “what about your son?” he asked, curious.
Mr Okunola: “I took the principal’s advice and sent him to the the Defence Academy.” He replied, slowly.
Mr Nzeribe nodded his head sadly. “do not worry, the boy will do well. Just give him time to grow. Sometimes at their age, they are confused and scared but it will get better, I guarantee you.” He replied, patting Mr Okunola on the arm.
Mr Okunola: “well I have to take my leave here. My place is along this street. You can get home from here safely, I believe.” He said, stopping before a street.
Mr Nzeribe: “it is okay. I will find my way. Once again, thanks for your help.” He replied, once again shaking the hands of the big bear of a man.
Mr Okunola nodded his head and turned into the street, soon disappearing from view. Mr Nzeribe walked on and soon got home.
Biodun stood with some other men, women and boys. They travelled for days to get to this place. he had no clue on his location but he guessed they were in the delta area of Nigeria. he had not paid too much attention to geography class. It was night and very dark, very dark. Not a single star or moon was in the sky. They all stood hidden behind trees, watching the sea in its restless slumber. Biodun slapped at his arm; the mosquitoes here were ferocious bloodsuckers. He had killed several but more kept coming. He heard someone moan behind him and he turned. It was a young girl of about his age. She was dressed as all of them were dressed; in black khaki trousers tucked into boots, black long sleeved shirts with pads sewed into the shoulders. He looked at her closely, her eyes were dilated with fear. She was shaking. He shook his head and turned back to watch the sea.
Biodun: “if you want to live long, madam you better steel your nerves o. all this moaning will not help you or anyone beside you o.” he said gruffly.
The girl looked at him, her lips trembling. She moved to speak but suddenly a hoot filled the darkness. That was the signal. Six of them moved out on a run to the sea, they waded to a point and met the prow of a boat. A small torch flickered twice and they heard the splash of something falling into the water. More splashes and the silence. Biodun quickly waded to where he had seen the quick flashes of light and came against a gallon. Another of the team joined him and together they lifted the heavy gallon on his head and then he waded back to land.
They trudged deep into the forest followed by the other gallons carried by the other members of his team. Before the beach disappeared completely from sight, they heard gunshots. Biodun turned and his eyes met that of the girl. Her eyes were wide with terror, sweat beading her lips. She stared at him, her fear painful to see. Biodun made a move to speak then he saw a glint of metal in the dark. He dove to the ground and immediately started crawling away as bullets peppered the area were they stood.
He crawled to a spot where a stream flowed, mumbling into the sea. He waded across the river, his eyes roving all over the dark forest and hid himself under the roots of a big mangrove tree. He was cold, terrified but he was alive.
Tope stood looking at himself in the mirror, smiled. He was dressed neatly in his Sunday best. His hair was well groomed and he had on a black leather shoe, his mother had gotten for him recently. He looked great and he knew it. “I hope all these efforts is not wasted o. I hope Chidinma likes what she sees…” he thought to himself as he admired himself in the mirror.
He left to his mother’s room and knocked before opening the door and entering. His mother had never fully recovered from the loss of the pregnancy due to his father’s pummeling of her like a punching bag. Most days, she just sits and stares through the window at people going about their business. She rarely smiles and her beautiful smile only comes out when he came to her. He was sad for her but she had chosen her father over common sense so she had to deal with it. She was on her bed now, her pillow propped behind her to rest her back. A novel on the bed beside her.
Mrs Adepoju: “hmmm…somebody is looking like a prince from a fairytale.” She said, her eyes lighting up with pride.
Tope: “hmmm…where is he? Don’t want any fairytale prince hanging around you o, lest he kidnaps you and takes you to fairyland.” He replied, laughing.
Mrs Adepoju chuckled and patted the side of her bed and motioned for him to join her. Tope walked to her and sat down beside her.
Mrs Adepoju: “so where are you going to, spruced up so nice.” She asked, looking at him from the corner of her eyes
Tope: “I am going to see a beautiful princess from a fairytale.” He replied smiling.
Mrs Adepoju: “that is good. I hope she is from a good home and is educated?” she asked.
Tope: “of course. Chidinma is beautiful as well as smart and she is well brought up.” He replied, his eyes remembering Chidinma’s beautiful face and music playing from her house.
Mrs Adepoju: “she is Ibo?” she asked, a frown on her face.
Mr Adepoju: “who is she and what is wrong with her being an Ibo?” he asked, entering the room on silent feet.
Tope got up from the bed and started walking out of the room.
Mrs Adepoju: “darling, Tope wants to get involved with an Ibo girl.” She said sharply.
Mr Adepoju: “over my dead body. What will you be doing with those thieves?” he asked, vehemently
Tope stopped and turned to his parents.
Tope: “those thieves have the most loving homes I have seen in my life. Besides, I don’t need your permission to get into a relationship. You and I have nothing to discuss. Mother, I am off.” He replied and walked briskly out of the room.
Mr Adepoju felt rage sweep all over him. He squeezed his hands into fists as he stared at the closed door. He turned on hearing the crackle of paper; his wife was opening the book before her with a smile on her face. His face grew dark with anger
Mr Adepoju: “your son disrespects me and you seat there, reading and smiling? You think i am a fool right?” he asked, veins popping around his head in a wreath.
Mrs Adepoju: “what…I…dis…I was not smiling…” the slap rocked her world. Flashes of light swarm into her view.
She moaned in pain, holding her cheek, tears welling in her eyes.
Mrs Adepoju: “Dayo, you promised…please, don’t…” She whispered as another blow pushed the air out of her lungs.
Before visiting his mother, Peterson decided to visit the babalawo one more time to seek for a better way to live his life protected from evil than sleeping with the goddess. When he got there, he explained to the old man his reasons for coming. The Babalawo looked at him intensely and shook his head,
Babalawo: “I’m not in support of what you are trying to do because, if you break the covenant you made at the graveyard, you will be destroyed by your enemies. The goddess is the only one protecting you right now. Come on tell me, why do you find it difficult to have sex with the goddess at the graveyard? Since you’ve been doing it, can’t you see how wealthy you have become? Earlier you were a low income earner, staying at a “face me-i face you” house but now you are in a lucrative position in big company. You are also getting contracts left, right, centre.” he said.
Peterson: “Baba, since I’ve been sleeping with this Orisha, I’ve not had the peace i begged for.” He replied sadly.
Babalawo: “How do you mean?”
Peterson: “It’s true that I’m wealthy. Several times I’ve been paid more than once for one contract, I’ve been called upon to receive money for the work i didn’t do several times but i can’t explain why deep inside of me, i am not at peace.” He complained
Babalawo: “Why are you this restless?” he asked, irritated by Peterson’s complaint.
Peterson: “Do you know i have not been able to spend a complete 7 months, each time i travel abroad since I’ve been initiated into this cult? Several times i have had to rush back from USA or London just to come and sleep with this devilish goddess.” he replied, angrily.
Babalawo: “Do not ever spill out such word again! You call the goddess the devilish? How dare you? Why traveling about? Can’t you stay put at home and enjoy yourself with the goddess? That’s the mother of your child, remember?” he retorted, hotly.
Peterson: “So you mean i should lock myself so as not to lose my protection and riches? Who knows if this is a setup? Who knows if the woman that keeps threatening in my dreams is not the same goddess that claims to be my saviour? Baba, please save me, I’m tired of sleeping with the devil.” he begged. “Besides, each time we are having sex at the graveyard, i feel something unusual around me, as if an unseen crowd is watching us like a movie and i hear noises as if it’s a market place. Sincerely Baba, I’m fed up sleeping with the devil. Why can’t you try something else for me? Pleeease Baba!” He continued.
Babalawo: “I’m sorry Son. I don’t know anything else to do. I don’t think you are in your right senses by the way.” he said quietly.
Peterson: “How do you mean Baba?” he asked, surprised.
Babalawo: “You must be stupid for asking me that. What sort of lame excuses are you giving me? Don’t you know unseen crowd are always at the graveyard watching movies like we do at Cinemas too?” he replied, in a mockery.
Peterson: “Seriously Baba? You didn’t tell me all these before na?” he asked, worried.
Babalawo: “Did you ask me before? Mtchew… Once you’ve made a covenant with the goddess, that’s all. There is no going back and no one can save you. It is irrevocable. Look here son, you still have 11 more children to bear for goddess for your information.”
Peterson: “11 more what?” he shouted and he fainted…
Question: Gbese ree ooo! What can you say about Peterson situation? will Biodun escape safely? But why does certain men resort to violence to prove their manhood? Mrs Adepoju is in a fight for her life, do you think she will survive this?
See Episode 10 Below (You don’t wanna miss this!)…AdeLove Stories…Premier Naija Inspirational Blog!
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