Now frowning harder, Seki knocked harder on the door impatiently for the third time before hearing the key unlock from inside. Mike was not fully done opening the door when she attempted pushing her way in.
“Hey!” A surprised Mike called as he instantly shove her back in annoyance and then he blocked her way. “Are you high? What do you think you’re doing?
“I want to see Usman!” Seki demanded.
“Who?” Mike frowned.
“Wura!” Seki retorted attempting one of her dry sarcasms. “I know he is here. His car is still outside the compound.”
Damn it! Mike mentally kicked himself for forgetting about the car. “I know he’s here,”
“He’s not,”Mike responded, also stunned at this girl’s audacity.
“Liar!” Seki fired back with both hands on her thin hips. “I know what you are doing. You don’t want me to see him, abi?”
“I swear to God, Seki…” Mike blurted out in a fit. “Don’t make me lose it here.” But Mike was just done with his sentence when Seki’s eyes fell on his bandaged left arm behind the doorway.
“Ahan, Mike?” She called out pointing. “Who did that to you? Look at your arm!”
At that, Mike paused.
“It… it’s nothing,” he tried getting himself back and then he took his arm out of view.
“Nothing keh?” Seki was not buying that as she threw him a disapproving look. “Mike, what happened to you? Or did somebody…”
“Seki, just get lost!” Mike finally lost it, slamming the door in her face and then locking it. He leaned back against the door sighing out when he heard the landlady’s daughter hiss loudly on the other side before hearing her walk off, dragging her feet in the process. The angst of fear and anger crept up on Mike at the same time.
“Close call,” he muttered.
The guts of that girl!
Now stepping forward into the living room, the sight of Usman’s body presented itself before him again. It had remained untouched all night with the blade still embedded in his chest. Mike had stayed awake all night staring at it in shock, somehow hoping time would reverse itself – just for his sake. But he knew that would never happen.
Somewhere way across town, Ify had also endured her own share of a sleepless night and was yet to get out of bed that Friday morning. She was still drained from all of yesterday’s drama and dealing with consoling the deceased family. But right now, Ify was relieved that her parents had left for work already so she could have the house to herself. Then her phone rang out on the bed beside her and she slowly picked it up and frowned.
Speaking of disturbances.
“I told you I don’t feel like talking to…..”
“Ify, please, don’t drop!” Mike sounded desperate on over the phone. “Something just hap….”
“Go to hell!” Ify called in anguish before dropping the phone. Hearing Mike’s voice again only brought more pain, just like last night. In her fit, Ify switched off her phone and curled back up in bed – then commenced the tears again. She would never forgive Mike for this, no matter how crazy in love she was with him.
Spotting the name on his caller ID, Patrick’s mood suddenly turned more sour than he felt earlier that morning, then he glanced at his wife, Amaka all sound asleep and snoring. He had gone against her physician’s prescription, doubling up the dose of her tranquilizers, and not wanting to risk the terror of his dear wife regaining consciousness; Patrick instantly cut the call and quietly got off the bed. The shut curtains cloaked the bedroom in darkness, and despite the morning Sun’s radiance outside, Patrick was not willing to let that disturb either. Approaching the window, he took a peek through them and saw Ejike washing the third vehicle downstairs – two had already been washed. The teenager seemed to be grieving in his own way.
Patrick could only suck it all in and sigh quietly, knowing it would take some time before the air in this house would ever get back to normal. If that was ever possible again.
Adjusting his robe, Patrick raised his phone and began typing a message. He would ask Ejike to make him coffee after that before leaving for work later that day. He had to keep busy with his own life – it was Patrick’s way of dealing too!
Frowning, Patrick pushed the SEND button.
Mike read the message for the second time without blinking and every word pierced him, especially because it had come from the one person Mike always raced to whenever he found himself in a rut of any kind. His dad had always been there for him. They were friends. Well, that was the way it was.
“YOU ARE THE LAST PERSON WE WISH TO SEE RIGHT NOW! YOU HAVE BECOME AN ARCHETYPE OF SORROW FOR THIS FAMILY! KEEP AT BAY & ALLOW US GRIEVE IN PEACE!”
Mike knew his life was over now as he buried his face in one hand and sank to the floor against the wall. His father was the most forgiving person he knew. Well… until now.
No Ify, no friends and no family.
Mike was alone now.
At that moment, he badly wished Usman would miraculously resurrect himself – so he could stab him for real this time!
Now fighting back tears, Mike stared at the corpse on the living room floor, and then he sighed deeply.
What a fine mess you’ve put me in, Usman.
“The poor boy,” Alhaja Aisha called shaking her head from the dining table, where she sat by calculating her week’s profits, while Seki swept the sitting room. “I want to know if he will be paying for the two rooms now. Or do I get a new tenant to take Princess’ room next month? Many students are looking for accommodation now.”
“Yes, that’s true, Maami,” Seki replied taking a pause from her chore. “I can quickly run upstairs and ask him now,”
“I can see you don’t have any sense in that excuse for your head,” her mother called at her. “The poor boy just buried his sister two days ago and you want to disturb him with this. Seki, I beg you in the name of Allah – please! Don’t give these people reasons to give me a name in this compound. Or do you want my tenants to see me as one money….”
“Haba, Mummy!” Seki called shaking her head. “I did not say that o!”
“You had better not say anything to Mike if you know what is good for you!” Her mother retorted, and then she got up and began gathering her items. “Go and open up the shop, it’s almost ten!” Then Seki watched her mother walk off towards her bedroom and hoped she would leave the house, taking her temper along.
“Na wa o,” she muttered with a shrug before resuming sweeping the living room.
Pacing his own living room helped in no way and Mike knew that, but he preferred that to sitting still Fresh blood of two human beings was yet to dry off his hands and there was no one to turn to – neither family, nor friends.
Since Princess’ funeral, friends had stopped calling nor visit to show condolences; most especially because word of his supposed idle April fool’s prank on his dear sister had spread around campus. And Mike wouldn’t dare tread on Twitter territory, where endless loads of curses and insults upon his generation awaited him.
But Mike had bigger problems now. Then he paused.
Something had caught his ears.
Frowning, Mike slowly approached the door on tiptoes and leaned closer; and then he quietly turned the key and swung it open.
Mike’s eyes flew open in both shock and instant anger as the skinny figure stumbled forward through the doorway.
“Do you want to injure me? What is your problem?” Mike could not believe this girl!
“Seki!!” He called out. “What the hell is the meaning of this? Are you spying on me now?”
“I want to see Usman!” Seki retorted struggling to regain her balance. But Mike was quick and blocked her way which made her step back out. “Mike, why are you hiding him from….”
“He’s not here!” Mike snapped to her face. “How many times do I have to say it? Or do you want me to speak it in Yoruba before you can understand?” At that, Seki took offence and eyed him.
“Then tell me why his car is still parked outside our gate,” Seki stated. Mike took a deep breath and stepped forward frowning. Princess had always been the patient one. She had always tolerated Seki’s histrionics. But Mike could not. Not now.
“Look here,” he glared clenching his fist. “I’m not Princess,”
“I know,” Seki scoffed cocking her head and making a face.
“I just lost my sister,” Mike said. “Don’t push me or…”
“Abeg! Abeg! Don’t try to change the subject!” Seki raised a hand. “What if Princess has died? Is it not your fault? Ehn? Everybody knows what you did and that….”
“That’s it! I’ve had it with you!” Mike snapped, then he grabbed Seki tight by the back of her and dragged her into the flat.
“YEH!” She cried out wincing. “Mike! My hair, oh!” But Mike began shaking her head violently.
“Look!” He yelled showing her the entire space of the living room. “Do you see anyone here?”
“Mike, you are hurting….” Seki let out wincing as she helplessly struggled. “Stop! Let me…”
“Shut up!” Mike bellowed into her face. “Answer me! Do you see Usman here?”
“No, no!” She called out in anguish. “No Usman! There is nobody here, Mike. Now leave my hair!”
“Good!” Mike called dragging her towards the door now. “Now get out!” She cried out as he shoved her out into the doorway and Seki fell to the floor hard, groaning out as she scraped an elbow and a knee. “I swear to God, if I see your ugly face here again, I’ll break it for you! Don’t push me, Seki!” Then Mike slammed the door shut and Seki heard the key turn in the lock. Mike was really infuriated and Seki knew she had crossed a line this time.
“You’re just a beast!” Mike heard her call from outside before storming off down the staircase. “Wild animal!” Mike had never mistreated the opposite sex this way before; his father had taught him never to in anyway. But Seki was nothing of the sort. She was something else!
Mike glanced at the spot where Usman’s body laid just a few hours ago and then sighed as he held his forehead. He had moved it at the perfect timing, but Mike knew he was far from out of the pit yet.
That Friday flew by so quickly, but for Mike, it was almost an eternity staying indoors all through. It was almost seven-thirty in the evening when Alhaja Aisha drove into the compound in her Minivan. It had been a long day at her Așo Oke store, and now, she was so famished. Hopefully, Seki had made dinner already, or someone would surely die tonight.
“Good evening, Alhaja.”
Turning, Aisha was surprised to see Mike appear out of nowhere. “You’re welcome, ma,”
“Mike!” She called. “How are you, my dear?”
“Fine, thank you,” Mike replied helping with one of her bags from the backseat.
“Thank you,” she called. “I haven’t seen you since yesterday. Hope all is well with you,”
“Well, that depends, Alhaja,” Mike replied and she gave a puzzled stare.
“How do you mean?” She asked now raising a brow. “Am I safe?”
“Sure,” Mike forced a grin before handing her the bag. “But I really need to talk to you about your daughter, Seki, and the trouble she’s been giving me.” At that, Aisha’s countenance instantly transformed into that of a dark cloud.
“What has that girl done this time?”
“That is my mummy’s car, I am very sure!” Seki called placing the ceramic plate of steaming Ewedu soup on the dining table. “Bimbo, hurry up with the Amala now!”
“I’m coming, jorr!” Her friend called rushing out of the kitchen with another covered bowl. “I should be home by this time, you know?” But Seki simply scoffed and waved a hand.
“I am lucky dinner is ready this early tonight,” she said. “The last thing I need is more shouting from my mother,”
“You and your mother, sha! You can relax now. She won’t have any reason to kill you tonight” Bimbo teased giggling. Then she picked her novel she had come with earlier. “As for me, I’m running back to my father’s house before he disowns me.” She joked, and then her eyes fell on the wound on Seki’s elbow. “And what were you thinking looking for trouble today, Seki? Please, leave that Mike guy alone, okay? And you should treat that,”
“I hear you, ma,” Seki replied in sarcasm, and then faced her friend. “No! Something happened to Mike’s hand And I am going to find out. That wound was not there yesterday, Bimbo. That guy is hiding something and I must find out what it is.” But Bimbo was shaking her head now.
“I can see you enjoy trouble,” she said and Seki scoffed in reply And then smiled.
“And thank you for helping me cook this evening, Bimbo. I don’t think I would have….” Then the door swung open and both girls turned to see Alhaja Aisha storm in with her eyes blazing. Their heartbeats suddenly began to race.
“Welcome, ma!” They greeted in unison while Seki’s mother stopped before them, and then she stared from one girl to the other.
“What have you been going upstairs to Michael’s house for?”
The question came from nowhere and Seki’s mouth fell open.
“I’m dead,” She muttered to only Bimbo’s ears, and both girls knew she was in very hot water now. Bimbo saw this as a cue to exit the scene.
“Emm…” She mumbled facing Seki. “I think I should be going now,”
“You are not going anywhere, Bimbo!” Aisha ordered raising a finger without taking her eyes off her own daughter.
“Sekinat Amodu, I asked you a question, or are you deaf now? I am sure I told you not to go to that boy’s flat this morning. So, tell me why you disobeyed me and went up there today?” But Seki could only swallow hard, knowing tonight was not going to end well after all.
Just when she thought she had done something right, but now, Seki could only mutter again : “Yeh! I’m dead!”
TO BE CONTINUED……