Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Day The World Ended Episode 24

Mum made me and Sola hide
under the bed then bravely
stepped out.
“Where is your sister?” the
voice said.
There was no answer for a
while followed by the
resounding noise of
somebody being slapped.
Then my mum screamed and
dad shouted out in
indignation.
“Oh, you think we came to
play, abi? Sista, if you no come
out from your hiding place in
3seconds we go blast ya
mama head comot!”
I hurried out of the bed with
Sola coming after me. On
sudden inspiration I pushed
her back under the bed.
“They don’t know you are
here.” I said simply. “Stay
here.”
Before Sola could respond I
straightened myself and
stepped out of the room, into
the corridor and entered the
parlour.
Those three strangers that
had been talking to Ayo were
standing in our parlour. My
family members were all on
their knees, my mom sobbing
quietly and my dad looking
like he would get up at any
moment and murder them.
But they had him at gunpoint.
One of them pointed a crude
looking rifle at Ayo and the
other two were in possession
of Dad’s and Deji’s guns.
“ehen. See the young
princess! Please sit down.”
The first one said, smiling
wickedly. I obeyed and sat at
the dining table.
“No! Come closer na, abi are
you shy?” the second one
said, laughing a little. I got up
and came and sat on the Sofa
while the second one sat next
to me.
“Ehen!” Now you guys are
complete.”
“General Richards abeg no
vex.” The first one said. “We
normally would not have
come to disturb you for any
reason, knowing you are an
army man. But as you know,
everything is upside down.
There is chaos everywhere, no
police station again sef, only
vigilante groups. We need
some form of order in these
difficult times, I’m sure you
will agree?”
My dad said nothing.
The first one went on. “Okay,
everyone knows for order to
be restored, a system has to
be put in place. And there is
no system that runs without
money. Your son has been
made the head of the
vigilantes in this area, and that
in itself is an office. An office
cannot run without money.
Also know that he has to
answer to someone else who
will be controlling his actions
as well as the actions of other
vigilante heads in these trying
times. An Oga at the top so to
speak.”
“We came to ask your son for
a little token from the people
he was protecting in this
neighborhood, some small
part of the appreciation
money people were giving
him. And he treated us like
agberos!” the second one
spat.
The third one watched all this,
saying nothing.
“So you see, we were a little
annoyed. We even begged
him again, telling him it was a
normal thing for vigilante
heads to do, to submit small
money for our overall oga so
that the ministry can be
moving…”
“Who appointed your Oga?”
My Dad asked suddenly.
“THAT IS NONE OF YOUR
BUSINESS!!!” The first guy
barked violently, shaking his
fist and pointing the gun at
dad’s head. “Your business is
to talk to your son to release
some money for us or the
world will end for you and
your family right now!”
“Please put the gun down.”
Ayo said and the second one
walked over and gave him a
hard slap.
“Shut up you!” he screamed,
his spittle spraying my
brother’s face. “Now you
know how to be polite abi?
Where is our money?!”
“I didn’t collect any money
from these people…” Ayo
began and received another
dirty slap.
“But how is that our fault
now? Didn’t we tell you to
arrange money? If you didn’t
collect it that means you have
enough money by yourself to
pay for everybody, yes! I hope
for your sake you can provide
it?”
“How much do you people
want?” Dad asked.
“Small thing oh, general!” The
first one said. “Two hundred
thousand naira oh. That’s all.”
“But we don’t have that kind
of money.” Dad said, “Most of
the banks have been closed
down or destroyed and the
ATMS are not working…”
He received a punch in the
face from the second man and
he almost fell over. His injured
leg meant he could barely
kneel properly as it was. I
screamed and rushed to him
covering him from further
assault as mum covered the
both of us. The second guy
started pulling us from each
other, cursing and swearing.
“You guys should leave my
family alone!” Ayo shouted
even as the second guy came
behind and hit him on the
head. He stood to his feet in
indignation but three guns
immediately pointed at him.
“Oya do something silly na,
abeg.” The first one said. Ayo
stood there, his fists
clenching, but soon went on
his knees again.
“This guy is stubborn sha.”
The first one said. “General,
did you know we approached
your son to join our cult? Did
he tell you?”
Dad looked at Ayo, surprised.
“Dad, Ayo told us he didn’t
join!” Deji said and received a
hard knock on the head by
the first guy.
“Don’t worry, he didn’t join. He
no get liver for that kain tin.”
The second one said and they
both laughed. The third guy
managed a smile but
that was it.
“Yes oh. We told him we
would take care of him, he
would be popular, have any
girl he wanted, but he refused
oh. He even agreed to go
through punishment if that
was what it took to keep
away.” The first one said. “I
won’t be surprised if he came
home everyday crying.”
The second stranger
guffawed with laughter.
“And now, just because he
went to show himself when
these juju people from
underground attacked, our
oga said we should leave him.
Can you imagine?” the first
one spat.
“Is that your problem?” Ayo
gasped. “Jealousy? I had no
choice, I was going to protect
my sister. I wasn’t trying to
show myself. Your vexation is
unfounded!”
“Shut up, Mista big words!”
the second said, threatening
him with his gun. “Everybody
heard of your daring rescue
and started to ridicule us, that
it was the person we called a
weakling that did all that. Can
you imagine how oga insulted
us?”
“We are talking too much, let’s
do what we came to do and
go.” The third one finally
spoke.
“This one General is saying he
doesn’t have our money with
him, we must enjoy
something oh. We can’t just
have come here for nothing
o.” the second said. Then he
looked at me evilly.
“Shebi this is the sister you
went to save?”
He approached me, grinning.
Dad got to his feet.
“Touch her and you will die!”
he shouted.
In reply the first one smashed
the rifle on his bad leg. Dad
shouted and fell to the floor,
moaning in pain. Mum
screamed and got to her feet
and the second one slapped
her while the third guy held a
gun to Deji’s head and looked
menacingly at Ayo.
“I don’t see all of you
surviving this if you continue
to remain uncooperative.” He
said.
At that moment I caught a
glimpse of Sola. She had
sneaked out to the corridor
and was watching quietly
from behind the door. She
moved her hand slightly and I
saw that she was holding a
pistol in her hand!
Of course! Dad kept all his
weapons under the bed. She
must have felt it when she
was hiding under the bed. But
what could she use it to do?
We were only secondary
school kids after all, not
hitmen.
“What are you looking at?”
The first guy said. He
obviously wasn’t expecting
anyone else to be around so
he barely glanced in the
direction I was looking. I
quickly turned my attention
back to him.
“Leave my parents alone,” I
said, standing to my feet.
I don’t know where the
strength came from. Maybe it
was because of all the stress I
had been through, or maybe it
was the desperateness of the
situation, seeing my family
manhandled so violently. But
suddenly I felt very calm. There
was no fear left in my body,
no fright, no trembling. My
heart became quiet and
stopped pounding against my
chest. I boldly walked up to
the first stranger and asked
“So, what do you want from
me?”
He stopped grinning. He
looked uncertainly at the
second guy who shrugged
and gave him the thumbs up.
“Just a little sugar to calm me
down baby.” He said, turning
his gaze back to me and
grinning slyly.
“There’s sixty four thousand
naira under my bed.” Dad
groaned, “It’s all I have in the
house. Take it and go.”
“No thanks sir.” The first one
said and grabbing me roughly
he threw me on the sofa. “I
prefer sugar!”
He pounced on me and I
began to struggle. From the
corner of my eye I saw Deji
rise angrily to his feet and the
third stranger pulled a
machete from his face and
flogged him on the face with
it. Ayo reached for Deji as he
fell and was hit hard on the
head with the same machete.
I saw a spray of blood.
My brothers were going to kill
themselves trying to help me.
“Deji, Ayo, Stop!” I shouted,
and everyone stopped to look
at me. The first stranger was
still on top of me but I no
longer struggled.
“Don’t harm them, I won’t
struggle.” I told him. I felt his
fetid breath on my cheeks as
he opened his mouth in
surprise and glee.
“No wahala, just cooperate.
My guys won’t touch them I
swear.”
“Okay but let us go into the
room.” I said. “It will be too
much for them if you do ti
here.”
“How that one take consain
us?!” The second one said but
the first shushed him.
“Our princess has decided to
cooperate. It is better like this.
Boys we are gonna enjoy
ourselves before morning!”
*
So saying he got up and
dragged me along to the
room. As we entered the
corridor I saw Sola still
trembling behind the door. I
pretended to trip and fall to
further draw his attention
away from the door. He
picked me up by the wait and
threw me on the bed. Then he
began to loosen his belt and
take off his trousers.
“Baby I hope you are ready
for me!” He said, taking off his
jean trousers to reveal dirty
brown boxers. “I took enough
stout and powerhorse this
night as well as some good
drugs before we came on this
mission. Cooperate and I
swear na you go enjoy am
pass!”
I said nothing, my heart in my
throat as I saw Sola slowly
come out from behind the
door, her hands trembling
violently. She could barely hold
the pistol straight and I
doubted she would be able to
use it. As he fumbled with his
shirt Sola suddenly dropped
the gun and dashed out of
sight.
I was devastated! She hadn’t
been able to go through with
it! I was left alone with this
beast of a man, what was I
going to do? As I racked my
brain to come up with a
solution that didn’t involve me
losing my dignity or
endangering my family, I saw
Sola appear behind him again.
In her hands was the pot I
had stumbled over in the
corridor earlier. A heavy iron
pot.
It glistened dully in the night
light as she raised it high
above her head, approaching
him at the same time. I was
sure he was going to hear her
but he was either too
occupied with what he was
doing or he couldn’t care less
what was going on behind
him but he didn’t turn around.
He pulled off his shirt, leaving
a dirty brown singlet soaked
with sweat.
“Am ready for you.” He said.
And Sola brought the Pot
crashing down on his head.
She must have been very
frightened because she used
all her strength. There was a
dull thud as the pot connected
with the back of hi head and
he fell down as if someone
had turned off his power
supply. He was still for a
moment then started
convulsing, his hands and legs
making dull thumping noises
on the ground.
“Hmm, ol boy take am easy oh,
leave small for us!” The
second laughed from the
parlour and then his laugh
turned to a surprised yell.
There was a crash of metal
and then a loud bang as a gun
went off.
I screamed and jumped to my
feet, running out of the room
with Sola running along
behind me. I grabbed the gun
she had dropped and dashed
into the parlour.
Ayo was struggling for the
gun with the third guy and I
was shocked to see a knife in
the stranger’s belly. Deji was
on the floor in a pool of blood
and Dad was also on the floor,
pulling on the rifle with the
second stranger for all he was
worth. He kept moving the
nozzle away from him and the
second guy was raining
curses as he tried to point it at
Dad’s stomach. Mom was
nowhere to be seen.
I pointed the gun at the
second person but couldn’t
find it in me to pull the trigger.
I had watched it many times
in the movies where the
heroine was with the gun but
kept hesitating to use it and I
had screamed indignantly at
each scene. But now I
understood why they
hesitated. If I pulled this
trigger I would become a
killer, a murderer, there would
be no going back.
Ayo saw the look on my face
and screamed at me to go
back into the room. Then he
grabbed the knife and pushed
it deeper into the third guy’s
belly. I stayed put and
watched in macabre
fascination as the third guy
didn’t even budge but instead
yanked the gun away from
Ayo’s grasp and point it at him
to fire. Ayo lunged at him and
attempted knocking the gun
from his hand but he didn’t let
go and instead fired off a shot
which lodged a bullet in the
wall close to Ayo. As he took
aim again Ayo rushed at him
and they both tumbled to the
floor. Ayo grabbed the knife
again and this time pushed up
wildly in a wide arc. Suddenly
the air was filled with a
strange smell as the third
guy’s intestines fell out. He
screamed then and Ayo
brought out the knife and
stabbed him again and he
was still.
The second stranger fired off
a shot and dad let go of the
nozzle. He took a few steps
back, the gun pointed at Dad
and shouting for his
colleague. When none of them
answered he turned back to
dad, his eyes wild.
“Bastard! All of una go die
today!”
He pointed the gun at Dad and
was about to shoot when
Mum rushed out of the
kitchen, her mittened hands
holding a pot of hot oil. He
tried to aim the gun at her but
she was quicker and threw
the contents of the oil on him.
He yelled and dropped the
gun, clawing at his skin. It
took him a while to realize the
oil wasn’t as hot as he
thought (mum had turned off
the gas by midnight and the
oil had cooled somewhat) but
by then Dad had grabbed the
gun.
He stood there for a while,
dripping oil all over and
clenching his fists. He raised
his hands slowly and stepped
back, almost falling over Deji’s
body. He steadied himself,
absent mindedly kicking Deji’s
head out of the way in
annoyance.
Dad shot him through the
chest.
The force of the bullet threw
him back against the door
and out of the house, Just as
some vigilante men appeared
at the door.
“General, wetin happen? We
heard gunshots…”
Dad ignored them and
crawled to where Deji was
and carried him in his arms.
We all stood and held our
breath as dad called out to
him. Finally he stirred and
moved a little and we ran to
them as dad examined his
wound. The bullet had gone
through his shoulder at the
deltoid muscle which was
bleeding profusely.
“That was very silly of you my
boy!” Dad said and smiled.
“I’m very proud of you.”
"Did that bastard..." Ayo
shouted, approaching me.
"No," I breathed. "Sola
stopped him in time. I'm fine."
Ayo went over and hugged
Sola who collapsed in his arms
like a rag doll.
"Thank you. Thank you." He
said.
The Vigilantes came in and
helped clean up the mess. The
bodies of the second and
third strangers were carried
off and the first guy was
revived and taken away for
interrogation. Dad and Ayo
briefed them on what had
happened.
“How can people be thinking
of robbing others at this
trying time?” The head
vigilante said. “It is beyond
comprehension.” He turned to
Ayo,
“Oga, I hope you are alright?”
“I’m fine.” Ayo said. “Please
check on my father’s leg and
my brother.”
“One of our people has gone
to call the doctor.” He replied.
We will keep a guard here till
morning. You people should
go and sleep. Sorry General.”
Dad nodded and the vigilantes
left the house. Soon the
doctor arrived, a dark
complexioned, bustling fellow
who swiftly went to work.
Dad and
Deji were soon taken care of
and pain relievers given. I
looked at the time, it was 4am.
Sola was sitting on the chair
beside Deji as he rested his
head against her shoulder,
stealing secret grins at Ayo
who sighed in exasperation.
“It’s almost dawn, let us try
and get some sleep.” Dad said.
“We don’t know how the
morning will be like. Deji, I
know you are injured and
need tender loving care but
allow Sola to go and rest so
she can have chance to take
care of you tomorrow.”
“Haba, dad…” Deji gasped,
embarrassed. Sola smiled and
got up and followed me to the
room. I saw Mum sit beside
dad, fussing over him like a
mother hen. Ayo stood
staunchly by the door and
watched Sola go. He caught
my eye and smiled as I shook
my head disapprovingly.
“Your brothers are very
brave,” Sola said as we lay
down to sleep. “And a little
mischievous.”
“Don’t mind them; they are
just looking for your mouth.” I
said.
Sola shivered. “I don’t think I
will be able to sleep after
everything that happened”
“Trust me, you will.” I said,
covering myself with the
blanket. “I didn’t think I would
sleep after…after what Dare
did back there in the farm but
I
slept right off.”
“Did he…what you said…I
hope he didn’t…”
“No he didn’t.” I replied, “HE
was very…brutal…but he
didn’t have the chance to go
that far before you guys
interrupted…”
We were silent for a while.
“I hope the world ends
tomorrow.” Sola said, quietly.
“Why?” I asked, sitting up
from the bed to stare at her.
She continued to lie down, not
meeting my eyes.
“We have been through so
much…lost so many people…
how do we go on?” She
sniffed. “Wont it be better if
everything ends tomorrow?”
“NO it won’t.” I replied
fervently. “As long as there is
life, there is hope. We will find
a way to go on if we survive
tomorrow. Don’t despair now
Sola, you are the only friend I
have left.”
I squeezed her hand and she
returned the squeeze and
turned over to sleep. I lay
down too, trying to blank my
mind from thinking about this
early morning’s adventure,
trying to think positively about
tomorrow and what it might
bring. I was lucky, my family
was still together and that
gave me hope that no matter
how bad tomorrow turned
out, we would go through it
together. I kept that hopeful
thought in my mind and
drifted off to sleep.
Tbc

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