Written by Chibuzor Iwobi
Nothing else mattered but watching Efe take her last breath. She had to go down this time and for good. I fantasized of ways to take her life: choke her till she died? torture her slowly? put a bullet in her skull? An evil grin was on my face as the thoughts ran through my mind. With the way my eyes shown bright with evil intent, I could have been easily mistaken for the devil but all that was left were two little horns on my head. I was so fuelled by my desire to kill Efe that I forgot what Ahmed had told me about Abisola’s Father.
Unfortunately, being the usual Lagos, I was stuck in traffic for thirty minutes. Worse, my lane was the slowest one and every driver who passed me looked at me with worries but I would smile at them, which I think made matters even worse. I turned on the radio to distract myself. It was 7pm, so most radio stations were reporting the news. Ahmed’s phone rang, the caller id read Efe. I resisted the temptation to pick up and instead, I texted her; “Home in a couple of minutes, wait for me.” A couple of seconds after, she replied, “Have you taken care of it?” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Is she referring to me as it? The audacity!” I shouted, in the car. “Oh yes, I will take of it.”
I smiled as I replied her, “Done.”
I looked up to see everyone staring at me. I waved them off and waited patiently as the traffic wasn’t easing up.
A phone rang again, but this time it was mine. It was my wife. I hesitated before answering the call.
“‘Angie-” I answered but she interrupted me.
“Oh My God! Alfred! Baby! Where are you? I was so worried!” She cried.
“I’m fine, no need to worry,”‘ I replied.
“Where are you? What happened with Ahmed?”
A flashback of me shooting Ahmed in the head twice played in my head.
“Alfred?” Angie called as I didn’t answer her questions.
“Why are you back home?” I asked, dodging her question.
“I-I-I brought the police back with me,” She said.
“Why? Why would you do that?” I asked, furiously.
“What do you mean why? He almost killed us,” She yelled through the phone.
“I had it under contr-”
“Where are you, son?” The Chief asked, interrupting me.
“Chief?” I asked, surprised.
“Alfred, what’s going on? Where are you?” He asked, camly.
My mind, again, went back to how I hard I struggled after I had killed Halima and how the Chief observed and noticed changes in my behaviour. It was the tone at which the Chief asked me those questions that triggered the flashback. My face wore a depressing look as I relived those moments in my head. Luckily for me, I was woken up from my deep thoughts by the insistent horning from other drivers behind. The traffic had cleared up. One of the infuriated drivers from behind me cursed me when he found his way out. I was indifferent. I didn’t apologize neither did I frown. Completing my objective was of utmost importance, nothing could distract me.
“Alfred!” I heard a voice yell.
To my surprise, I was still on the phone. I was talking to the Chief and had totally forgotten.
“I’ll call you later, Chief,” I cut the call.
Once I got to my destination, I parked outside the compound and waited a while. A dark presence covered me and I tasted nothing but death. It was pleasing. Ahmed’s apartment was in a five story building. This was only my third time being here because with the nature of my job and having a family, there was barely enough time to pay visits to anybody. I brought out my stash from the glove compartment – a flask and a pack of cigs. Being under the influence felt right at the moment. A cig smoked and one two many sips of whisky from my flask and I was ready to go. My phone rang again, at the perfect moment, like a sign from God warning me not to continue. It was my wife. I ignored the call, stepped out of my car and walked into the compound. I smiled at the security guard and went into the building to locate Ahmed’s apartment. I stood at his door for a minute because for some reasons, I could feel it in my gut to abort mission. My feet were cold as the north pole and a warm feeling as hot as a dragon’s breath flowed within my body. I placed the knuckles of my right hand on the door, about to knock, when a resident stepped out his door twenty feet down the hall. It unnerved me. His curious eyes were investigating me and I gave him a wide smile. As he went away down the stairs to his right, I saw him dip his hand into his pocket.
“Here we go again,” I whispered to myself.
He was probably going to call the police and there was nothing I could do about it. I had to kill Efe and leave immediately. Three knocks on the door and I waited for a reply. Meanwhile, the resident had come back to get a quick look at me and ran down the stairs. I had every intention to show him my badge but that would only link me to the scene of the crime.
“Who is it?” Efe asked.
It’s really her, I thought to myself. No way in hell could I forget that voice.
“It’s me,” I replied, in my best Ahmed impression.
There was no peephole for her to confirm, so she opened the door, welcoming the cold hands of death with her arms wide open. The joy on her face died immediately she saw it was me.
“Oh no!” She cried.
But before she could let another word out, I kicked the door wide open, rushed to sweep her off her feet and in mid-air, I covered her mouth with my hand, slamming her on the ground hard.
“Miss me, bitch?” I asked, sarcastically.
She tried to scream but all I heard were muffled noises. I lifted her up as I went to close the door. When that was done, I dragged her to the kitchen and brought out a knife from the kitchen cabinet. I placed her back against the wall with my right hand gripping her throat.
“I asked if you missed me, Efe.”
“Go to hell,” She replied and spat on my face.
“I’ll see you there,” I replied. “In the meantime, say hello to Ahmed for me and keep him cozy.”
Her eyes widened with fear and surprise at my reply. I couldn’t help but replicate my best joker smile. Without much ado, I stabbed her twice in the stomach, let go of her neck and slit her throat. She fell to the ground. Delightfully, I watched as she gave up the ghost. There wasn’t much time left anymore for me so I washed my hands and had a change a clothes from Ahmed’s wardrobe. I put my clothes in a nylon bag and left his apartment. I decided to use a different flight of stairs, other than the one initially used, to the ground floor. I got out of the compound, into my car and sped off. Five minutes after, I parked the car and relaxed, drank from the flask and smoked a cigarette. I looked at the time.
“8:30pm,” I whispered to myself.
I managed to suck out some petrol from my fuel tank with a hose from my boot, poured it on the blood stained clothes and set them on fire. My mind calmed down. I had been careful all along, but now, I couldn’t care anymore. I had gotten rid of the most important evidence: Efe. I burned the clothes by the roadside. People passed me without any care in the world. A couple stared for a bit and went on with their business. But there was that one person who wouldn’t just mind his damn business.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
I went on with my business without a word to him.
“I just asked you a question,” He continued. “Are you deaf?”
My continued silence infuriated him.
“Are you mad?” He asked. “I am talking to you.”
Pulling me by the shoulder.
“Do I look mad to you?” I replied and pushed him away violently.
”I’m going to call the police,” He said.
He brought out his phone and turned his side to me while I brought out my gun and pointed it at him. Other people who were around cleared the area almost immediately. He was unmoved.
“You should reconsider doing that,” I warned him.
Unaware there was a gun pointed at him, he kept his stance.
“You really do not want to be doing that,” I continued.
“You’ll rot in a cell tonight.” He said.
Thinking he had won the battle, he turned his front to me and was absolutely terrified when he saw I had the gun pointed at him.
“Bros, abeg, no vex. I no mean,” He pleaded.
“Someone has found his manners.”
“I’m sorry. I bin no mean am. Abeg. Abeg,” he continued pleading, falling on his knees.
“Get the hell out of here this instance.”
He ran off, dropping his phone in the process.
“Hello? Hello?” A voice whispered from the receiver. “Who be this idiot now?”
I laughed and stomped the phone repeatedly. I refocused my attention on the burning clothes and when the deed was done, I got in my car and drove off. It’s done, It’s done. You are fine now.
Thirty minutes later, I got home to see a swarm of police cars waiting at the gate. I wasn’t surprised, it was expected. I was allowed to drive into my compound and as I stepped out of my car, Angie rushed out of the house and into my arms. The Chief and Abisola followed behind her.
“I was so worried,” She voiced. “Thank God. I thought he got you.”
“Where are the girls?” I asked.
“At my sister’s,” She replied. “You were so brave, Alfred. I love you.”
She placed her lips in between mine and gave me hearty kiss which I reciprocated. The Chief cut us short like a jealous prison guard at a conjugal visit, but before he could say a word, Abisola blurted out,
“Where’s my father?”
Her question set me aback. I had no way to tell her he was dead and I had no idea who his killer was. Ahmed had no reason to lie, he didn’t kill the man which made me think of only one suspect; Idris Kazeem, but, could he have been in good shape to have gotten him after all the battering he received from me? I was going to lie about her father and just as I looked into her pitiful eyes, I froze with a tear rolling down my left eye.
“Alfred? No, No!” She cried, pulling my shirt violently.
I didn’t move or push her away as she was hitting me in the chest, crying for her father.
”You promised me, Alfred,” She screamed. ”You promised me!”
I pulled her close and held her tight. Her outburst was extremely loud. The Chief was agitated by it all and was desperate to get to the bottom of things.
“What happened? Where is Ahmed?” He asked.
Angie took Abisola away who was still crying. I looked into the Chief’s eyes, he knew what I had done.
“He ran away,” He replied.
The Chief sighed and said,”I’m sorry, Alfred.”
As he walked away, two police offers walked towards me holding handcuffs.
“Mr Olusegun, you’re under arrest. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.”
I said nothing and went with them.
“Why? What did he do? What has he done?” Angie cried.
She ran to the Chief, gripping his clothes, crying.
“Why are you arresting my husband He is a good man and has done nothing,” She cried. “NOTHING!”
The Chief said nothing but pulled her into his embrace. To my surprise, she held him tight, being that we used to laugh at how putrid the Chief smelled, but this time she didn’t care. I begged the Chief to give me a minute with her which was granted. We stepped away from everyone.
“Everything will be fine, Angie,” I assured her.
“How will I survive without you if you go to jail?” She asked.
“Do you trust me?” I asked.
She nodded her head.
“I love you, Angie,” I kissed her.
“One question,” She said.
“Where are your clothes?” She asked.
“What do you mean?” I replied. “These are my clothes.”
“Don’t play me for a fool. I have been doing your laundry for years. I know what you own. This isn’t yours,” She said.
I froze. She came closer and took a whiff.
“Smells like….” She continued. Took another whiff. “Ahmed?”
“Keep quiet woman,” I blurted out.
“Jesus!” She said out loud. “What have you done?”
“Alfred!” The Chief called.
“One minute, Chief,” I begged.
“Don’t say anything to anyone,” I whispered to Angie.
“Why do you smell like smoke like you burnt something?” She asked.
“I said quiet!”
“What have you done, Alfred?”
“I did what was necessary. I’ll die for my family.”
She stared at me with Judging eyes.
“Do I know you anymore?”
“I’m still the man you fell in love with. The same man you said yes to. The father of our beautiful kids.”
My hand was on her face. She held it and was in deep thought. The two officers came to me and yanked me away.
“I love you, Alfred,” She shouted.
“I will always love you my Angel,” I replied.
She stood still, hands over her mouth, in tears, watching as I walked away in cuffs. It wasn’t going to be fine, I knew that but I couldn’t have her panicking. I was seated at the back of the van and we drove off to the police station.
There was an immediate silence that followed my appearance in the station. The expressions on the faces of every officer showed how they truly cared. The ones who had hated me looked extremely satisfied and happy. I was directed to the holding room for questions. How ironic the tables had turned. Usually, I did the questioning, now I was going to be interrogated.
The Chief walked into the room and took his seat. He stroked his mustache for a minute and watched my body movements.
“Tell me the truth, son, maybe I can help you,” He said.
“What truth?” I asked.
“You do know you’re already charged with murder,” He responded.
I nodded my head, “I’ll plead guilty, get my sentence shortened.”
“What will happen to your family?”
“In our line of duty, we put our lives at risk. I had set up something for them incase of something like this.”
”Once you are an inmate, you can never wear the badge again.”
I took in a deep breath. That was the only pain about all of this.
“Tell the D.A’s office I want to plead guilty,” I replied.
“You have made your mind up. It will be pointless trying to change it,” He said.
“Thank You for everything, Chief.”
He nodded, smiled and walked out of the room only to return twenty minutes later.
“Alfred, what have you done?” He asked angrily.
“Nothing, Chief.” I replied.
“Nothing? Ahmed who was last seen in your house after assaulting your family has mysteriously vanished,” He said.
“Like I said, Chief,” I replied. “He took to his heels.”
“Stop with the games,” He responded. “Tell me the truth.”
“Truth? What games, Chief?” I replied, casually. “Stop with the accusations if there are no facts.”
“A Jane doe was found dead in his apartment.” He said. “What do you know about that?”
“Disclose today’s events,” He said. “Your wife says you lunged at Alfred and that’s when everyone was able to make a break for it.”
“Yes,” I replied, nodding my head.
“What happened next?”
“Is this an interrogation, Chief?”
“Do you want a lawyer?’
I shook my head. “I am happy and willing to help.” I smiled.
“So, once your family was in the clear what happened next,” He asked.
“He ran away.”
“Just like that?”
I nodded my head.
“Alfred, why are you doing this?” He remorsefully asked.
“If he ran away, where did you go?” He continued with his questions.
“Where did I go?” I asked rhetorically. “I went to find him.”
“A Jane Doe was found dead in his apartment.” He repeated. “Know anything about that?”
I shook my head. “No, sir, I do not.”
He threw pictures of the crime scene and Efe’s corpse on the table. I tried so hard to suppress myself from smiling.
“Never seen her in my life.”
“A mysterious man fitting your description was seen going into and leaving the building.”
“There are about 9 million people in Lagos if I’m correct,” I replied. “Imagine the amount of mysterious looking men that will fit my description – Tall, slim, and muscular – That’s a lot,” I replied.
“Being a smartass now, boy?” He replied, sounding fed up.
“Have you reached the D.A’s office, Chief?”
“How about Mr Jones – Abisola’s Father – is he really dead?” He asked.
I looked down at the floor and back at the Chief’s face.
“Chief…” I whispered.
He walked over to the recording camera and put it off.
“I know that’s Efe.” He said.
I shook my head, disagreeing with his claim.
“I recognize her from the pictures you showed me back then.” He replied. “Remember?”
“What would you have me do? Confess?” I asked.
“But what Chief?”
“Why did you not say anything to me? I could have helped you out, again.”
“I did not feel the need to. I am not a child anymore, Chief.”
“Of course you are not but I am still responsible for you. You are the son I never had.” He fought back the tears.
“I only just found out, Chief, and I had to do something immediately about it. I could not let her escape again, Chief. I had to silence her.”
He took in a deep breath.
“Where is Ahmed?”
A man walked into the holding room, interrupting me before I could complete the word.
“What are you doing talking to my client without my permission and presence?” He asked the Chief. “You should leave.”
Chief did as instructed.
“I don’t need a lawyer.” I said.
“Mr Olusegun,” He called. “My name is….”
“I don’t care to know.”
My appointed lawyer tried talking to me but I paid no attention to him. My eyes were fixated on the door, like I could see through it.
“Mr Olusegun?” He called.
“I already said I don’t need a lawyer.” I replied. “I’m pleading guilty.”
“They will make a scapegoat out of you.” He said, trying to instill fear in me.
“Don’t you think I already know that?” I replied.
“I don’t think you do, Mr Olusegun.” He responded.
“Get out.” I said to him, politely.
“Get the fuck out!” I yelled
Shocked, he packed his things back into his briefcase and walked out of the holding room. Two officers came into the room after his exit and ushered me into station’s jail.
Two weeks after, I was arraigned in court.
“Where’s your counsel?” The Judge asked.
“I am my counsel.” I replied.
“And what does the defence plead?” The Judge asked.
“Guilty, your honour,” I replied.
The crowd in the court gasped and Angie burst out crying, “Don’t do this, Alfred, we can fight it.”
“The defendant having shown remorse for his actions on the 28 August, 2013, along Costain road, Surulere, Lagos by driving recklessly which resulted in the death of one Mrs Chioma Muna, who was heavily pregnant, and her son, hereby pleads guilty to the offence of involuntary manslaughter contrary to section 222 of the criminal law of Lagos State, 2011. The defendant is hereby sentenced to six years imprisonment to take effect from the date of his remand in prison custody,” The judge said.
Two guards lifted me from my seat and escorted me out of the courtroom.
Six years huh, I thought to myself.
There was a swarm of reporters outside of the court eager to interview me. Before I was put inside the vehicle, one reporter managed to get my attention.
“What happens to your family?” He repeated his question.
I turned my back to answer him.
“What do you mean?” I asked back.
“They’re going to be vulnerable,” He replied.
“Vulnerable to who?” I asked.
“Those you have offended,” He replied, with a straight face.
“Let’s go.” A guard said, pulling me away.
“Please hold on.” I begged. I turned to the reporter. “Don’t bring up my family.”
He knew he was getting under my skin.
“It must have come across your mind at least,” He continued getting under my nerves. “What happens to them when you are in prison?”
As fast as possible, I grabbed him and screamed, “Leave my family out of this. Mention them again and I’ll fucking kill you.”
The crowed screamed out of fear and ran back.
The guards got a hold on me and put an end to my display but I resumed again once I saw the reporters surround my wife and daughters once they stepped. My daughters were crying. I felt awful. They couldn’t handle it.
“Leave them alone!” I screamed. “Fucking leave them alone. Please!”
I tried fighting the guards but I failed as they overpowered me and tranquilized me. Last thing I was Ayo calling out for me.
“Daddy!” She cried.
A few hours later, I woke up feeling groggy. It took a while before I could realize where I was, which was supposed to be on a bus transported to prison. It still took me a couple of minutes before I could put myself together.
“Argh!” I moaned.
“Finally! You’re awake,” A voice from the front said.
As my sight cleared, I jumped, horrified by what I had seen.
“Jesus fucking Christ….” I cried.
There was blood everywhere. Everyone but me was dead. The others inmates, the guards, all dead. My body trembled with fear.
“Idris?” I called, in fear. “Is…that you?”
The man at the front laughed.
“Idris?” He asked. “Expecting someone?”
I heaved a sigh of relief but I didn’t relax all too suddenly. I had no idea who he was and what he wanted.
“Who are you then?” I asked. “What do you want?”
“Too many questions you’re asking,” He replied. “Take a breather.”
“Why don’t you kill me and get it over with?” I asked.
“No, son.” He replied. “I am not here to do that.”
Confused, I sat there anxious. I couldn’t help but wonder what his objective was.
“You don’t recognize my voice, boy?” He said.
“Who the fuck are you?” I roared.
“That’s no way to talk to your father.” He calmly replied.
My eyes shot wide. It took me a while to process those words. That’s no way to talk to your father. My breathing quickened as I felt a load of pressure on my chest.
“I was not expecting silence.” He continued. “Thought you’d have thrown thousands of questions at me already.”
“My father.” I whispered to myself.
“It’s a long story, son.” He said. “I have a lot to explain to you.”
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
“To save you, of course,” He replied.
“Where were you all those fucking years when we needed you?” I screamed.
I heard him take a deep breath.
“When we get to our destination I will let you know all you need to.”
“I am not going anywhere with you.”
“I am not your son,” I interrupted him. “Do not ever call me that. Now let me go.”
“No can do, son.” He replied.
I got up from my seat and walked steadily to him when the bus came to an abrupt halt. I fell down into the bath of blood on the floor of the bus.
“What the fuck?” I groaned.
“Who the fuck is that?” My dad asked.
He repeatedly honked the car horn.
“What is going on?” I asked, rising to my feet.
“There is a man in the middle of the road who won’t move.”
“A man?” I rose immediately, walking to my dad. “Is he …. skinny, tall?”
My dad said no word. There was a strange vibe I was getting as I walked to the front of the bus.
“Please, don’t let it be him,” I prayed.
And there he was, standing with a grin on his face and with a bazooka aimed at the bus.
“Fuck me.” My dad and I said in Unison.
Gbadebo (@Oaa148 )
Angel (@angelokwuosa )