“This guy don jump I swear”, I heard one of them say. “Make we rush down before im go escape”.
With the heart of a lion, I stood on my sprained foot and the pain was excrutiating, but my life was at stake. I reached for my pistol behind me, but i couldn’t find it anymore. Probably i had dropped it while i landed on the refuse dump, and there was no time to search for it. Suddenly I felt the adrenalin rush into my bloodstream as I climbed over the fence and exited the hostel compound.
There was no place for me to run to that very night as I struggled with my sprained ankle on the lonely Choba road. I was beginning to sweat profusely while panting and enduring the sharp pain in my leg. From afar I heard a shot ring out, and I knew they were trying to make their way out of the hostel. Luckily for me, a cab came driving down the road and stopped beside me and two skimpily dressed ladies peered at me.
“What’s the problem?” they asked simultaneously. They had probably noticed my disheveled looks and limping leg. I made to answer them when another shot came up and the fairer of the ladies opened the door for me to get in (which I did) and the cab driver zoomed off.
From the look of the ladies, they seemed to be ladies of easy virtues who were on their usual night crawling for potential customers, and had hired the services of the cab driver to take them to their destination. They told the driver to drive faster then they turned to me.
“Wetin happen for back there?” the darker one asked.
“Thank you for saving me” I said
“Ehh….we don hear”, she said. “So tell us wetin happen. Abi you be thief?”
That was when I smiled and responded : “No I’m not a thief. Those guys back there wanted to kill me, so I had to run for my life”.
“That means you be bad boy”, the fair one said. “Wetin go make dem wan kill you if na say you no get business with them?”
“My sister no be so” I replied. “You no go understand”
All the while we talked, one thing bothered me. I didn’t know where I was headed to that night, nor where i would pass the remaining hours of the night. I hadn’t made up my mind to show up at any of my frat member’s house. Then a thought came into me. I could still go back to my Aunty’s house. But what if she rejected me, I thought. How could I just turn up at her doorstep by this ungodly hour. I was still contemplating when one of the ladies asked: So where are you heading to now?”. The question came like a surprise, and out of impulse my mouth voiced the words: “My Aunty’s house”, to my utter amazement.
“Your aunty’s house?” the fair one said (I nodded). “Na where be that?”
I told them the address, and out of their benevolence, they decided to drop me. My mind was still warped with guilt when we pulled over in front of the familiar gate, and I stepped out of the cab and thanked them, before they waved at me and zoomed off. Turning towers the gate, I couldn’t help but recount how how long it had been since i last saw my aunt and little Victor. So i mustered the courage and knocked on the gate.
The knocks came repeatedly on the gate till I heard the gate man ask “Na who be that”?
“Alhaji na me oo”, I replied. “Na Goodheart”.
“Which Goodheart?” he demanded coming closer to the gate.
“Na madam Stephanie brother” I said.
I could sense a hint of awe in the gateman and some excited shuffling of feet before the peep lid slid open and he peeped out to confirm.
“Kai…oga na you?”
“Abeg open gate”.
Without wasting time, the gate swung open and I limped into the compound. And noticed the gateman staring at my leg.
“Oga na wetin happen”, he asked
I smiled, “Oh, na accident”, I lied. “My sister dey?”
“Walahi, all of them dey. Na only madam husband wey no dey?” (as usual).
Weakly, i strutted to the front door and pressed the door bell, but there was no response from inside. It was already few minutes to 3am, and I guessed they would be deep in sleep. So I persisted and continued pressing the bell. It was after some minutes that I heard footsteps (from inside) coming down the stairs, and noticed (through the window) the lights to the sitting room turned on as the footstep approached the door.
“Who’s that?” the female voice asked but I kept mute.
I believed the person had peeped through the peep hole and I heard the keys turning and the door creaked open as Adaora came into view. Her face creased in shock instantly the moment she saw me.
“Oh my God…..Goodheart!? she exclaimed
I couldn’t hold back the tears that flowed down my eyes as I stood in the doorway like the biblical prodigal son.
To Be Continued…