Written by Chibuzor Iwobi
The calmness in the room only lasted for a few seconds; Angie began yelling at the top of her lungs. Immediately, the concern was to avoid causing a ruckus that would invite the neighbours, so Ahmed jumped on her and closed her mouth with his hands. The veins on her forehead and neck were glaring; the redness of her face became more defined. The rush from telling a story I held for over a decade got to me. I got up and yelled in pain, totally forgetting the bullet wound I had gained from all the previous drama. And then just like that, I felt nothing. I looked around and limped to the opposite side of the room to get something and returned back to the couch. I placed a cigarette in my mouth without caring about the implications: Angie ‘s wrath and my daughters seeing me smoke; but then again, that was the least of my many, complicated problems. After a few more seconds of pondering on what to do, I brought out a lighter. I lit the cigarette and gradually, I could feel myself calm down. My nerves were less intense with every drag and puff I took. Nobody said a word. I could clearly still hear Angie’s heavy breathing.
“James was absolutely petrified seeing Efe had so suddenly disappeared that he began to hallucinate,” I continued.
“Alfred, how did we get to this? A couple of hours ago we were just hanging out, now this? Alfred! Alfred! Alfred! We are going to jail! Alfred!” He was ranting, pacing, and now shirtless. He sounded like a scared little boy who had just broken his mother’s favorite vase.
I couldn’t take it anymore; I hit him as hard as I could.
“Snap out of it James,” I screamed at him. “She couldn’t have gotten far.”
“James, a bit calmer now was pacing back and forth mumbling some words I couldn’t understand. I left him in his state of mind and went in search of Efe, but I never found her. I went to work the next day and all the days that followed, just incase she reported to my station or any other station. The longer it was without a word being heard, the better I felt. I was still guilt ridden, but I would rather that, than be living in jail. The Chief noticed a change in me and got me to open up to him. He punished me severely but still gave me a shoulder to lean on. He helped by keeping an ear on the ground for me. A week passed, nothing, two weeks, a month, five months, still nothing. I thought she died that night and never bothered myself about it. That…that night was the turning point in our lives,” I narrated to them.
I took a long drag from my cigarette and blew the smoke to the ceiling. Abisola was sobbing again, Angie was still fuming and Ahmed was quiet.
“I made a mistake and you are paying for it Abisola. I am so sorry. He will come back home safely, I promise you.” I said, trying to be as convincing as possible.
I moved closer to Angie and held her hand.
“I have always wanted to tell you about that night but I felt so ashamed of what I had done.”
Angie pulled her hand away and said nothing.
“Baby…P-p-p-please say something.”
I tried holding her hand again but she wouldn’t allow it and at my next attempt she flared up.
“Get away from me, Alfred,” She screamed. “Get away you killer!”
She pushed me away, got up and went into the house. I heard her crying afterwards. Her cries felt like a blade through my heart; sharp and precise. Ahmed placed a hand on my shoulder to comfort me.
“Are you happy now?” I asked. “This is what you wanted to hear. You have destroyed me.”
“The truth was going to come out anyway.” He replied me. “It was bound, destined, to come out.”
“What is wrong with you today, bro?” I asked.
“What is wrong with me? Today? Really?” He asked back.
“Yes! You have been acting weird.”
He laughed which caught me by surprise.
“Finally, I am free. Finally, you can see the real me, the true me.” There was a grin on his face so malicious that for a second I froze.
“What is going on with you, Ahmed?”
“I have harbored so much anger and hatred for you, bro,” He spat out the word ‘bro’,as if it were a slur.
“Ahmed!” I was shocked. “What are you saying? You have been my partner for years, we have been like brothers, my daughters call you Uncle, they look up to you.”
“Forget that bullshit! Is that my business? Fuck no!” He unholstered his gun.
He got up from his seat and looked at Abisola.
“I want to say I am sorry, but I am not. You are James’ sister, you will have to pay for his sins,” He said to her.
He refocused his attention at me.
“Do you know how many years I have waited for you to confess? Everyday, I hoped and prayed that you would one day admit to your crimes and that has finally happened. For your information, Efe is alive and well.”
I kept shaking my head and mouthing the word, “No.”“
“Angie, get out here and bring the girls with you,” he sneered, swinging his gun around like it was a toy.
“Keep them out of this; they did nothing wrong!” I begged.
“Just like my sister did nothing wrong when you silenced her that night,” He said at the top of his voice. “You killed my sister for nothing, to save your fucking skin! You, my miserable bastard of a friend, will pay for it. ALL OF YOU WILL PAY! I…I have waited so long for this day. I cannot believe it is finally happening.”
“Please, leave them and take me. Please,” I continued pleading with him as I watched Angie and the kids run out into the living room and into my arms.
“When Efe came back home and told us everything, we knew we could not report the police to the police without proof. Yes, she knew you were a police officer. She said she overheard you tell Halima that night. I spent the last eight years of my life trying to get my revenge. I guess we aren’t that much different but in this case, I am going to pull the trigger.”
What followed next were two loud bangs.
Edited by; Gbadebo (@Oaa148 ) / Angel (@angelokwuosa ) / Olamide (@Miss_Ola_D)
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