Written by Chibuzor Iwobi
The gun jammed again. I couldn’t believe my luck, only a few minutes ago it seemed like the odds were in his favour. He repeatedly kept pulling the trigger in hope that it would eventually fire. Suddenly my body became energised by the sudden rush of adrenaline and the need to survive. I slowly stood up and tried to balance all my weight on my only good leg. He still had the gun pointed at my head so I used my left arm to hit his arm thereby disarming him. Next, I thrust my fist into his face and he staggered backwards. With my left leg hurt, the fight was already made to be difficult for me, so the only way I could emerge the victor was to fight dirty. Packing a handful of dirt in my hand, I threw it at his face blinding him.
“Ahhhh! Son of a bitch,” He cried, with his hands covering his face.
With all that I had, I kicked my right leg against his leading leg and again and again till he hit the ground; surprisingly, I was still on two feet. Immediately, I climbed on top of him punching him thrice and I wrapped my hands around his neck applying as much pressure as my palms could. He was surprisingly strong for a skinny man. Coughing and choking, he stretched his arms towards my neck and missed, then he directed his fingers at my face. They were long sharp nails clawing at my cheeks like an attack dog. This only made me only apply more pressure at his throat. My blood ran down my cheeks and unto his face.
They quietly landed on his face. The cuts on my face stung like hell but his death was sure to ease the pain. He moved his hands to my wrists trying as much as possible to get free. By the second, his struggle for freedom reduced, his eyes were slowly closing and his grip on my wrists was loosening. Soon after, he wasn’t moving a muscle.
“Is he dead?” I asked myself.
It seemed so but I wasn’t certain. To avoid making a costly mistake, I applied more pressure on his neck continuously banging his head against the ground until I was satisfied.
Breathing faster and heavily, I fell flat beside him like I had just climaxed. I laid there still for a while, trying to catch my breath. He still wasn’t moving and although I felt happy, I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not upholding the law.
“Nobody must know about this,” I whispered to myself.
I called Ahmed right after.
“Alfred! Where have you-“
“I need your help. I need you to come here fast, please,” I interrupted him.
“Are you okay? Where are you?” He asked.
“Back of west end, in the compound of an uncompleted building behind the church at the end of the street,” I replied. “Come alone, Ahmed.”
Ahmed showed up twenty minutes after. I was sitting outside the compound waiting for him.
“What are you doing here?” He asked, curiously. He then noticed the blood dripping form my leg and freaked out. “Your leg! What happened?”
I laughed. “I got him.”
“You got him?” He asked, still confused.
I clapped my hands and nodded my head with excitement.
“Yes, I got him,” I replied, smiling graciously.
“Wait, you mean him?”
“YES! YES! YES!” I replied. pointing into the compound. “His corpse is over there.”
“Tell me you’re joking,” He replied, sounding shocked.
“I’m not, Ahmed. I’m not.”
“Wow. Just, wow,’ He replied.
“What?” I asked, angrily. “You convinced me this morning, didn’t you?”
“But what?” I asked, my temper suddenly rising.
“I didn’t think you would actually go through with it,” He replied.
“Best believe I did.”
He said nothing, with a surprised look on his face and went into the compound to confirm what I had told him.
“Alfred!” He called.
“What is it now, Ahmed?” I asked. “I didn’t kill him properly?”
“There’s nobody here and I mean that literally,” He replied.
“You’re joking!” I replied, jumping to my feet. I limped to where Ahmed was.
“NO! NO! How’s this possible?”
I looked at the compressed sand where he had laid, puzzled, “This is where he was, I swear! He was…. he was dead.”
Ahmed said nothing and crouched right beside where Idris had lain, investigating the surroundings.
“Alfred, come closer,” He said.
And I did as I was told.
“Look at this,’ He said.
“His Footprints,” I replied.
The footprints were disorganized, moving forward, thereby indicating he was unstable. We followed them and were led to the fence of the compound.
“Could he have gotten over?”
“The prints lead here, don’t they?” He replied wittily.
“Give me a boost,” I said.
Ahmed interlaced his fingers and squatted. Still hurting from the bullet wound, I winced as I climbed onto his hands.
“Argh!” I cried, with a muffled voice.
“We should get that checked out, bro.”
“When we get him, we will,” I replied, as I pulled myself to the top.
Taking my precious time, I scanned the area.
“Do you see him?” He asked
“No,” I replied, sounding dissatisfied.
It was dark so I could barely see a thing.
“Fuck!” I shouted, frustrated. “He’s gone.”
Ahmed sighed. “Let’s get that leg checked out.”
“He couldn’t have gotten too far. If we stop dillydallying, we can get him.”
“Alfred,” He called. “Come down-“
“To hell with my leg. I’m not leaving till I kill him.”
“Stop acting like a child. He’s gone! Nothing you can do about it.”
“You put me up to this and now you’re discouraging me? Who does that? What’s wrong with you?”
“I will not get into a fight with you,” He replied. “Sit here and wait all you want as your leg rots away.”
Ahmed walked away but only got twenty steps ahead before I had to stop him.
“Are you going to leave me alone up here?” I asked, admitting defeat.
He said nothing, walked back and helped me down. The walk back to the car was awkward with Ahmed eyeing me with wary eyes. I could tell he disapproved of my actions but I didn’t care. We got into his car and he drove me to the hospital.
“I got his name,” I said. “Idris Kazeem.”
“We’ll get that done tomorrow, rather, I’ll get that done tomorrow,” He replied.
The nurses attended to my bullet wound, the doctor handed me some pain killers and antibacterials and instructed I had a good night’s rest. Ahmed dropped me at home.
“We’ll get him, bro,” He said, smiled and drove off.
It was pretty late when I got home so the whole family was asleep. I went to the girls room and sat there for twenty minutes watching them sleep. They looked so peaceful. I kissed them on their heads and went to mine. Just as I climbed my bed to sleep, Angie whispered,
“Thank God you’re home safely.”
“Me too,” I replied. “Me too.”
I woke up the next morning fresh and reenergised although my leg still hurt like crazy. The doctor also recommended I stay in bad all day. Impossible, I thought. Angie left a note on the night stand.
“Your breakfast is in the microwave, baby. I love and miss you, Alfred. I saw your leg and couldn’t stop crying. I can’t get over my fears of you getting hurt when you’re out there. I do not know what I will do without you. Please stay alive for us. Love you bebe.”
Tears ran down my cheeks. If she knew of my car chase, she would skin me, I thought. Looking at the ceiling, I put my palms together and closed my eyes.
“Lord, I thank you for everything you have done for me. I am truly ashamed of myself for not showing enough gratitude and instead I ask for more and more favours. Everyday, I get onto those streets and I come back; but it’s not by my power, not my partner’s but yours, Lord. There isn’t a time I am not scared. And Lord, please forgive me. Yesterday, I claimed the lives of innocents. I beg for your forgiveness. I allowed myself to be blinded and motivated by revenge. Please, please, forgive me, Lord.”
I wiped off tears from my eyes, made the sign of the cross on my body, kissed my thumb and raised it to the ceiling. It was my sign of good faith. My personal way of communication with God.
Breakfast was light; bread, fried eggs and tea. After eating, I went to the girls empty room and couldn’t help but cry because I was missing so much of their lives. I hadn’t been as involved as I promised I would be. When I was a kid, I promised myself my kids would have a better father than I had and I was failing miserably. I had thought about quitting a couple of times but never discussed it with my wife. Knowing her well, she wouldn’t sit well with the idea but the desire, urge, willingness and love of the job wasn’t there, not anymore. I suddenly had a heavy heart at the thought of Idris Kazeem and how he almost killed me.
Back in my bedroom and on my bed, I took my drugs and watched football. There was a whole lot I had missed and just like James, I too was a Chelsea fan. It saddened me to see them struggle but only bad things happen to the best. It was only a matter of time before they picked up again. I fell asleep and was woken up by the overjoyed screams of my daughters.
“Daddy is home! Daddy is home!” They shouted in unison.
“Come here my little munchkins,” I called for them, trying to be cute.
They jumped on the beg and hugged me tight.
“Take it easy girls,” Angie said. “Daddy isn’t feeling too good.”
“Daddy’s a policeman, he can handle anything,” Rebecca replied her mother and Ayo, her younger sister, nodded in agreement.
I burst out laughing. Rebecca was my first born, eight years of age and Ayo was six years old. They both looked nothing like me, inheriting their mother’s ravaging beauty. Both of them were my everything, my world. I watched them with so much admiration and pride. I caught Angie staring at me with the same face.
“I love you,” She said, just moving her lips and emitting no sound.
“I love you too,” I replied, in the same manner.
Suddenly, there was a loud bang that came from the front of the house and it startled me. I immediately reached for my gun but was quick to realise it wasn’t with me. Angie ran to my side and the girls clutched onto me.
“Be quiet. None of you should make a sound,” I instructed.
I was scared. Is Idris making his move already? I thought.
The banging continued and it frightened Angie and the girls more.
“Alfred! Alfred!” A feminine voice called.
“Abisola?” I asked, surprised.
Angie too was surprised. She helped me out of bed and to the front door. Abisola was James’ sister. We talked a lot more often after James’ death but this wasn’t like her at all. Angie opened the front door and we saw an agitated and unsettled Abisola.
“What’s wrong, Abisola?” I asked.
“My father’s been kidnapped,” She replied.
Written by Chibuzor Iwobi
Edited By Olamide (@Miss_Ola_D) & Gbadebo (@Oaa148)
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