“Have you lost your mind, young man?” An outraged Patrick let out at Usman. Such audacity. “Have you no respect?”
“My apologies, sir,” Usman called back before pointing to Mike. “But that guy standing there knows what I’m talking about.” Then all eyes turned to Mike at once, and if he had the ability to disappear at that very moment, he just might had taken that option.
“Usman….are you high?” Mike retorted now stepping forward. “This is my sister’s..”
“Why did you tell Princess her mother was dead?” Usman blurted out to everyone’s shock. “You are the reason she ran in front of that car.” The gasps were heard now.
“What?” Patrick called still holding his wife close. She was as stunned as he was; their minds trying to process what was going on.
Usman stepped up to them with his fists clenched and his eyes blazing with rage at Mike.
“It was your stupid idea of a joke, wasn’t it?” he demanded. “April fool’s day?” More gasps from the curious crowd. Mike was dumbstruck.
“Usman….” He muttered.
“I heard Princess in that hospital ward. It was why she kept calling for her mother.” Then Usman faced the shocked Amaka. “Your daughter thought you were dead…and she wanted to die with you that day.” At that, the grieving mother’s eyes shot open. But Usman was not done as he faced Mike. “Even Seki heard her that day too!” Usman went on, and the gasps from the shocked crowd kept coming. “You did this!” Then his teary eyes befell the coffin still hoisted in the air. “You did this to my girl,”
“Mike!” Amaka called stepping forward and grabbing hold of his wrist. “What nonsense is he saying? Tell me they are all lies!” But Mike could not look her in the eyes as he swallowed hard.
“It….it was supposed to be a joke,”
“AAAH!” The horrified spectators cried out in disbelief.
At that, Patrick’s eyes flew open while Amaka began shaking her head in horror.
“No! No! What have you done?” She cried out pounding on Mike’s chest with her fists. “You’ve killed my daughter!” Then Patrick began pulling her away while the tears began trickling down Mike’s face.
“I’m sorry,” he called in tears.
“You’re sorry?” Patrick spat back restraining his wife. “Will “sorry” bring Princess back? Really, Michael? April fool’s? I thought you’d outgrown these your childish antics. I know what you are capable of…but this? You are twenty-one years of age, for heaven’s sake!” All Mike could do was shake his head in tears now.
“My baby girl is gone because of you!” Amaka espostulated as more hands joined in restraining her before she could lay her hands on her step-son. “It is you who should be lying in that box! Not my girl. You are a murderer, Michael! Criminal! Because of this pain you have caused me today, you will feel your’s in double fold!”
“You are a disgrace!” Patrick was also beyond furious now. “Do you realize the magnitude of what you’ve done? Princess’ blood is forever on your hands.” Mike felt punched in the guts with every word fired at him. “I can’t fathom the fact you are my son at this moment. You shame me, Michael Odimba!”
“Dad…” Mike choked in tears, raising both hands pleadingly.
“Leave my sight at once!” Patrick blurted out turning to his wife. “I never want to set my eyes on you!” That was the final blow for Mike. He tearfully looked around him only to be replied with scornful stares – even Ify, his girlfriend had stepped away from him to where Ejike stood. And his baby brother now stared at him like he was a total stranger.
Tears gushing down his face, Usman also glared at Mike like he could put him in a coffin too, if given the chance. But he was the least of Mike’s worries.
Mike’s presence here sickened everyone now and he knew it, then he turned and fled the church grounds without looking back. His life was over now as far as he was concerned.
“Seeing those obituary posters on campus today almost made me cry, Seki,” Bimbo said to her friend all doleful, whom sat on the chair opposite hers in the shop. “Princess and I weren’t friends like that, but she always had a smile for everyone she talked too. She was so nice and…”
“Did I tell you I was the one who pasted many of them around school? Those posters,” Seki interjected feeling quite accomplished with herself, but Bimbo simply chose to ignore her friend’s callousness. “Anyhow, they’ve buried her already, but that’s not the main gist now. Bimbo, there’s serious fire on the mountain!” Then she jumped to her feet in hysterics. “Did you know Usman scattered the burial and almost killed Mike!”
“What?” Bimbo’s jaw dropped. “Seki, I don’t understand,” she said shaking her head. “But..”
“My dear, close your mouth and let me complete my gist,” Seki interrupted again raising a hand. “As I was saying, Mike’s father disowned him there and then!” Bimbo was aghast now.
“It’s a lie!” She let out and Seki eyed her.
“Biliki was there, and she always has correct gist for me,” she said.
“But what did Mike do?” Bimbo asked shaking her head with questions in her eyes, and then Seki leaned over the table in the shop.
“There is something I haven’t told you,” she whispered. “Mike killed Princess,” she stated to Bimbo’s shock.
“Stay there!” Seki retorting rolling her eyes and throwing a hand. “Bimbo, I didn’t give you the full gist, if you saw what I saw that Monday morning, you will understand, and you should have seen Usman’s face when I told him everything on campus this morning,”
“Seki Amodu!” Bimbo called with raised brows. “What did you do this time?” Seki then sat back, clapping her hands in excitement before crossing her legs.
“My dear, sit back, listen well and let me flow you the full gist.”
“Mike, your parents are here, and they’ll be very angry if they know I’m talking to you,” Ify spoke on the other end of the line. “What you did was mean, Mike, and I really can’t look at you right now.” Her voice was starting to break.
“How could you? Princess was my friend!” Mike was too weak to speak as he sat and listened.
“Ify,” he called. “Please…”
“You really crossed the line this time, Mike!” Ify continued. “Please, don’t call me again. I don’t want to talk to you!” Then the line went dead.
Ify had always been that one person Mike could count on at any time; their close friendship since their secondary school years had blossomed into a romantic one as soon as they gained admission into their various higher institutions, and despite the distance, Mike and Ify had never been this detached – until now, and could he blame her after what he had done?
Most of his life, Mike was well known for his pranks and jokes. He was that guy who always brought life into a boring place and that always endeared him to many. But not anymore it seemed.
Mike was alone now and it hurt almost as any physical pain would. The flat was very quiet, especially without Princess; she was gone now and Mike was still trying hard to take it all in. He buried his face into his palms as he sighed a very deep one. Then the soft knock on the door drew him back and he raised his head, wondering whom it could be this evening. Mike was in no mood for visitors but he got to his feet; all his joints ached badly from hours of sitting on the same spot doing nothing.
Dragging himself to the door without the slightest clue whom it was, Mike speculated over how far the news of his silly prank must have circulated around campus by now. No wonder none of his friends had called nor dropped by all day, and he could not blame them for that. He unlocked the door and slowly opened it.
The heavy punch landed Mike on the floor in a second.
“Usman!” He called sitting up in shock holding his now bruised cheek while his attacker stepped into the apartment and shut the door behind him. His glaring eyes were sore from endless crying, and there was something else. Mike noticed it. “What’s the meaning of this?”
“You killed her,” he retorted glaring down in hate. “You killed my Princess!” And that was when Mike spotted the dagger in his left hand,then he froze with his mouth agape. “You’re a dead man.”
To be continued…