Victims – Episode 27
A Story By Rosemary Okafor
Ife was lost in her own isolated world when Issa came in later that same night, with a half-finished stick of cigarette popped out from his mouth and the smoke from the cigarette blurring his face, he banged the door and lean on it.
He staggered further inside the room but couldn’t control his steps, he fell on the only wooden chair in the house with a slouch, belching loudly, he looked at the Unclad girl seated by the window, from his drowsy eyes.
The girl took little or no notice of him, she didn’t even move when he banged the door. Looking at her now she looked smaller than he had ever seen her and yet her face was old and wrinkled.
He had lost interest in her, especially now that she looked more like a ‘zombie’ from the movie ‘the living dead’. Her hair was standing like spikes in a forest, and her eyes looked so blank like death itself, one could see the road to ‘forever land’ in her eyes.
Issa picked an empty bottle of ‘Big Stout’ and hurl it on the wall, aiming at the window where the girl sat close to. The bottle shattered and the splinters scattered on the floor around the girl.
She jerked with the sound closed to her, looked from the shatters to the man that was once her husband though it was difficult for her to hold memories, she wondered how, when and how he got into the house,
Then he chuckled, his chuckling gave way to a mocking laugh and his laughter s£nt ripples of fear and confusion to her, it sounded like a wicked shrill of a wizard, she became hysteric, with her palms closing her ears and her eyes shut tightly, she shook her head vigorously while m0@ning like an Animal.
‘this would do’ he thought
He wouldn’t mind f*cking her for the last time before relieving her from life and granting her what she wished for ‘Death’, she was of no use to anyone now, not to him and not to herself, but first he wanted to get her in the mood.
So he taunted her, dared her to get more hysteric and Angry, and Laughed more when she ran from one corner to the other, screaming at the shadows that followed his mocking laughter.
He was so drunk and consumed by his own lvst that he didn’t see when she picked a huge piece of the broken beer bottle and charged towards him, his eyes were still closed as he imagined the nasty things he would do to her that night, when she gave her first strike.
His eyes opened in shock, she was standing over him while he sat heavily on the chair, too drunk to get himself off the chair and save himself.
She pulled the weapon out of his belly, held it high and aimed again, this time she buried the weapon in his heart, he had no time to scream as every effort to scream brought thick blood from his mouth down his body, the girl was fascinated by the gore, she loved the color Red as a child and had not seen much of it lately.
Issa struggled to stand on his feet but he legs gave way and he crumbled on the floor at the feet of the girl, with his last energy he pulled himself to a seating position, he held the girl by the hand, she squatted down to look at him in the eyes, he coughed and splattered blood all over Ife’s face.
He wanted to call her by her name, then he realized he didn’t even know her name, he had always called her ‘ O Girl ’ he was getting weaker and his vision was getting blurring, with his weak sight, he saw her pull the weapon again, the pain ran like a spasm all over his body, before she could bring her hand down, he gave in to the beckoning of death.
That same night, Ukwuoma ran in pursuit of a car that has her son Ogugua in it. Someone came in the Middle of the night and snatched him from her, with a dagger on her throat, he hauled the boy from the bed where he lay and made for the door.
She had jumped on him, dragging his leg while pleading with tears in her eyes, but she was not any match for his strength, he had kicked her so heard on the face and left her bleeding from the mouth, yet she fought, she had followed him and had caught his arm while he had the boy between his left arm and his rib, with the boy’s legs kicking aggressively;
“Don Allah, Kada ku riki shi (Please don’t take him away)”
“Don Allah ya ne dana (please he is my son)” she said amidst sob, while she tastes her own blood
She heard her neighbors locking their doors and turning off their Keros£ne Lamps, none came out to help, none alerted the security. When the car zoomed off, bathing her with dust and sand, she ran as she had never done before, till she lost sight of the car and could no longer command her legs to continue.
She sat in the middle of a street she knew not and wailed like a barren land. Once again life had cheated her, taken her comfort and her hope, leaving her with nothing.
The car had gone far before he let out a heavy sigh, there was little need for caution as he was identified as an Army officer with his camouflage.
Once again, the fake uniform had come in handy like always, his sect had used it to p@ss through every military checkpoints and security huddles while they carried out their mandate.
He looked at the boy beside him, he was still crying but Yusuf cared little, consumed by Anger and vengeance, he knew it was the only thing he would do to get even with Husayn.
It was two twenty-four in the morning and he was feeling sleepy, he knew he could not risk sleeping in the car or lodging in a hotel in Jos, Husayn may have men who would trace him, so he drove on.
His mind drift back to when he used to be a principality in the sect, his uncle had bestowed on him the most powerful rank in the sect, he was formidable, ruthless and unforgiving. His men feared him and he commanded their respects.
They had gotten the Army Uniforms earlier that years to help them blend and carry out attacks without alerting the community members, that was a suggestion given to the Boss by his ally in the Army.
Yusuf deep his hand inside his br£@st pocket and brought out one Bitter-Kola that was almost dried, he threw it in his mouth, spitting out the brown flimsy stuff that covered the Kola before he chewed.
It was going to be a long Journey back to Abuja and he needed not to sleep, at least he should be able to get out of Jos before he would stop and sleep.
It was five am when the loud voice of the ‘muezzin’ called for ‘ adhan’ the ‘ Salat al-fajr ’ Muslim’s call to worship at Dawn. Husayn’s young wife sneaked out after her husband had gone to the mosque, she walked briskly while looking backwards at interval to make sure she wasn’t followed.
She was p@nting heavily when she got to the Issa’s House, she hesitated, not knowing if she would meet Issa in the house, that would spell doom for her, Issa would alert Husayn that she had left the house unguarded.
On the other hand, she concluded that Issa must have gone to the mosque like her husband, so he raised her hand to knock, but the door gave way on it’s own.
The girl had her palm covering her mouth as the urge to vomit came so strong to her, she was engulfed with fear and chill. The vision before her was nothing she had seen only in horror movies (that was when she was able to watch few scenes from their neighbor’s window as a child)
“Me Kuka yi ? (What have you done?)” the girl whispered
Ife has been looking at her since she opened the door indifferently, she had nothing on her, and with the way she shivered, it was obvious she was cold and her l!ps were dry.
The other girl carefully made her way towards Ife, who turned sharply in readiness to either run or attack. But when the other girl held Ife, both girls started crying.
Both were confused, Husayn’s young bride was in a deep trouble though she knew not.
Imam Husayn was worried when he couldn’t see Issa during and after ‘ Salat al-fajr ’. He knew Issa was not yet dedicated in performing his prayers, but the former Officer would always show his face every morning after the morning prayers.
He has equally refused picking his calls and that was unusual, Issa was always at his bet-and-call, especially now that the Imam had fallen out with his nephew.
There had been a secret meeting in his office after prayers and Issa was supposed to be pres£nt.
The Imam walked briskly from the mosque towards his car;
“When last did you see Issa?” he asked his Mumuni, one of the faithful. A graduate of Medical science from the University of Jos, Mumuni has been converted into Islam just last month and was going through tutelage under the Imam, he would be introduced into the sect once the
Imam is convinced that he was ready and he would not betray the group
“I saw him yesterday evening” the boy said increasing his pace to meet up with the Imam
“Do you think he left his house this morning?”
With Yusuf gone without a trace, the Imam feared the worst thing that could happen, he couldn’t bear Issa leaving unannounced like Yusuf. He has never been taken of guard, few times he had s£nsed his sect members trying to leave or planning against him, he had invited them for a banquet and had poisoned the four of them. Yusuf had played him when he wasn’t looking and he was not ready to make that mistake again, not that he had let Yusuf off the hook.
“I don’t know, none of the boys at watch last night reported seeing him leave, we all saw him entered his house.
The Imam nodded and sat inside his car, he would s£nd some of his men to go to Issa’s house to make sure nothing was going wrong.
She g@sped and looked over her shoulder, she could do two things now, either walk away leaving the men to bundle Ife back to the Imam who would see to her death, or she would protect her, but the question was how?
How far would they go before they would be caught, Husayn wasn’t a man to toil with, any threat on any member of the sect posed a threat on him and he would do anything to close that threat.
Without thinking, she pulled a cloth and helped Ife into it, voices and footsteps were getting closer, the girl pulled Ife towards the back door, forced the door open and pushed Ife out into the cold Morning
“Tafi…gudu! (Go…Run!)” she commanded Ife, giving Ife a little push, Ife bolted off blindly, and the girl prayed Ife would be far off before anyone would thing of going after her
She standing close to the bed, gazing at the dead man when the men pushed the door open and came in. the would drag her back to the Imam who would condemn her to isolation until the Sharia court would decide her fate.
To be continued
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