Yemi opened her eyes slowly. Her head felt as if a heavy weight was tied to it and it throbbed with pain. Shade Phillips came into focus, standing over her like an evil colossus. Why was Shade carrying a big object above her head like a Russian weight lifter, she wondered. ‘What am I doing in this room and why is Shade looking like a psychopath about to commit a heinous crime?’
She watched as Shade opened her mouth and spoke. The words sounded in her ears like a record set to play in slow mode. “Before…you…and…that…bastard…in…your…womb…destroy…me, I…will…destroy…you. This…is…what…happens…to…whores.”
‘Am I dreaming?’ Yemi asked herself. When she saw the object released from Shade’s hands, hurtling towards her head like a guided missile, a weapon which guaranteed certain death, she knew that her time had come, she knew that nothing could stop her from joining her ancestors in the grave. She realised that her plan to become Mrs Phillips had failed. Her plan to take over the home of Shade Phillips had been thwarted. Her plan to double cross Ngozi and steal the man she was after had come to a ruinous end. Shade Phillips had won the battle. Suddenly she felt ill and bile rose to her mouth, making it terribly bitter. A blood curdling scream rose from her throat like the final plea of a deer before being slaughtered by a hungry cheetah.
Shade didn’t remember.
She felt like a voodoo priestess under a strange trance. She didn’t remember that she accidentally shot her husband in an attempt to stop her best friend Ngozi from stealing him away from her. She didn’t remember that she held a vase above her head, about to smash it down on Yemi’s head. But as soon as the vase left her hands, the scales fell from her eyes, she received her sight like the blind man healed by Jesus and saw everything around her with alarming clarity. She saw Gbenga trying to sit up on the bed, with a look of horror and total helplessness on his face. She watched as the object of beauty, now a dangerous weapon of destruction, flew from her hands heading towards Yemi’s head. In that moment of clarity she realised what she had done and tried to stop the vase from reaching its mark. The vase was travelling at an incredible velocity and would smash into Yemi’s head, crushing it like a watermelon, splashing blood, bones and white brain tissue on her body, her face and all over the room.
Fear, real fear, gripped her heart and she shivered. Only one person could stop her from becoming a murderer. Only one being could alter the trajectory of that vase before it brought death into the Phillip’s residence.
For the first time in her Christian experience she reached within her soul for the faith which she once had, the faith which once sustained her, the faith which she had betrayed and abandoned in the last two years. From deep within her heart she called the only name she believed could work a miracle, not just to save her from becoming a murderer but to rescue her from the nightmare in which she was caught up since the morning of the previous day.
“Jesus!” she called the holy name not in faith, because she had none left, but she called it in sheer terror.
Outside in the compound, the dog went completely berserk and started barking wildly in its cage.
Ngozi walked around the club looking out for her contact. Three girls dressed in very short skirts and ridiculously high heels walked past her. They spoke in loud voices trying to hear themselves above the loud music that played inside the club. Ngozi looked at them and remembered doing the same thing in her youth. Those days were past.
One of the girls stopped when she saw Ngozi looking around. “Do you need some help?” she asked.
“No, thanks,” Ngozi said, still trying to adjust to the darkness in the club.
A hand reached out of the darkness and touched her shoulder.
Ngozi turned around. Her eyes adjusted to the darkness and when she recognised who it was a smile broke out on her tired face. A small man in a white shirt and jeans smiled back at her. “I had to make sure you were alone,” he said.
“Kokoro, thank you for coming.” She gave him a hug. “Of course I came alone. What did you expect?”
The diminutive man regarded her for a moment. “Ngozi, you are the only person who can get me out of my house at this time of night, on a Sunday.”
“I am so sorry. It is an emergency and you have the medical equipment I need.”
The doctor shook his head knowingly. “We’ve come a long way, you and I.” As he spoke he led her to a less crowded area of the club. “You know I will do anything within my power to help you.” He signalled with his left hand. A man and a woman appeared beside him. The man held a bag and the woman folded her arms. Ngozi looked at the man curiously because he wore sunglasses in the dark club. Kokoro noticed the way Ngozi’s eyes questioned the man.
“Ngozi, I won’t be able to come with you tonight, but my associates will go with you to help you manage the situation and bring back my equipment.”
The man stepped out of the shadows and removed his glasses. His lips were thick, dark and disfigured.
He waved to his right, “Ngozi, meet my associates, Sugar,” and to his left, “Diana.”
The man smiled revealing two newly acquired gold teeth which glittered like bright stones in the jaws of a snake.
Ngozi hardly felt fear, but something about the man who stood beside Kokoro unnerved her. As she looked at him she had a sinking feeling in her stomach. It was an unsettling feeling of impending disaster.
Sadique walked quickly towards the house as the cold harmattan penetrated his clothes. He stopped when he noticed the car parked in front of the Phillip’s residence. It was highly unusual for a car to be parked outside the gate at that time of night. He looked around and saw nobody. People who lived in the area parked their cars behind closed gates to discourage car thieves from terrorising the neighbourhood. With the moonlight he read the number plate. The car was local. He used the light from his phone to take a peek inside the car but couldn’t see a thing. Tinted glasses. He stepped back and thought for a monent. This could be a getaway car strategically parked outside the gate by thieves. There could be a robbery in progress in one of the houses on the street. He paused for a moment and shook his head. This was going to be a distraction. Even if there were thieves in the area he had other pressing matters to attend to.
He had to check up on how Mr Gbenga Phillips was doing and see what he could do to save his life.
As soon as his hands touched the gate, he heard a blood chilling scream which made his heart beat faster.
“Yemi!” That was the voice of the woman he loved, the woman who had made him believe in love again, the woman he would do absolutely anything for. She sounded like she was in danger. Instantly his military training kicked in, his muscles tensed and he ran into the compound, heading for the main house like a madman with his clothes set on fire. As he ran he swore that if anything happened to Yemi, if anyone hurt her, the person responsible would face the deadly wrath of Sadique.
To be continued.