By Larry Sun
Then he decided to let them live, he did not feel like killing anything anymore at that particular moment. He had seen what he wanted: fear. The men were sweating and shaking, although they were hardened criminals—they still had the blessing of fear in them. Fear is good. Fear had saved their lives. Eze shot a bullet and the men fled instantly; almost running on their heads through where they came in.
Eze always found himself smiling broadly at one of the roughest and deadliest acts he had ever pulled; The Bank Adventure was what he always called it. He had let the two robbers live because they were afraid. Still, he had shattered one’s brain with a bullet. What magic a bullet can perform. It can take off a head from its shoulders, separate a brain from the skull, and divorce the medulla oblongata from the cerebrum. Just a bullet to the head to do it all. The right place for a wicked soul, a soul condemned to rot in the deep ditch called Hell.
Honk! A car hooted outside the gate, interrupting Eze’s reminiscence. That bastard is back. He got up from where he sat and went to the gate, opening it wide. The car accelerated stealthily into the compound. The driver parked and got out. Eze Chima studied the driver; he had been here a month now. He’s a handsome chap—quite handsome but he possessed the face of a criminal. For the past month he had been staying with them, Eze had noticed that the man was always unusually quiet, he seldom laughed and he always locked himself indoors if he was not driving.
The driver went to the passenger’s door and opened. Cain came down the jeep, he was dressed in his favourite dansiki style; a cap on his head, down on his feet was a pair of black pointed shoes, and in his hand was a majestic walking stick with a gold handle. The rich man was wearing the usual scowl that always made his face uglier than ever.
“Most people push carts faster than you drive.” Cain nagged sarcastically at the driver.
“I’m sorry, sir.” The handsome one apologized, looking like a school boy who had just been scolded by his class-teacher for not doing his assignment.
“Be sorry for yourself. And you better change or I’ll be forced to kick your pretty young behind out of here.”
“Sorry—sir.” Said Richard, without really meaning it. He got into the car, carried out the briefcase and headed into the building.
Abigail was watching the local TV series: Dominoes, where the stubborn Oscar was complaining to his father about how he had excluded his name from the company’s shareholders list. She got up and collected the case from Richard and as she did that, she noticed the anger on his face. Cain again!
“What happened, Richie?” she asked.
“Nothing.” He replied casually, and he was on his way out when Cain came in raging with wrath.
“Then what the devil are you still doing here?” he demanded sharply, “Get the hell out.”
Richard walked out slowly. Cain went to the bar and poured himself a glass of rum, he emptied the content of the glass in one gulp.
“Where’s my food?” he asked sharply.
“On the dinning table.” Replied Abigail, she was furious at the way Cain treated Richie. She knew Cain just hated the driver for no reason. Who doesn’t he hate, anyway?
He ignored his wife’s stare and went to the dinning table where he began doing justice to a bowl of pounded yam and okro soup, garnished with a large impressive array of assorted snails. The bowl, however, was large enough to hold the head of John the Baptist. Abigail no doubt knew her ways around the kitchen, and the succulent mollusks almost made it impossible for her husband to devour the victuals including she who had prepared them. He ate with voracity and total concentration, oblivious of the stare Abigail was drilling on his face, his head was lowered as he devoured the food in the manner of a mindless glutton. He devoured every shred of meat in his food and if his teeth had been as a hyena’s he’d’ve ground the bones to meal.
“Mm-hmm,” he occasionally mm-hmmed. “Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.”
After the meal, he drank enough water that could have floated the Mary Celeste. Cain sat on the couch with a remote control in his hand, tuning the television from channel to channel, and at the same time probing his incisors with a toothpick.
“Can I ask you a question, Cain?” Abigail asked from where she stood.
“What is it?” demanded Cain, his attention still fixated on the television screen.
“What did Richie do wrong today?”
He ignored the programme on the telly; and he turned to faced Abigail, he had become apoplectic in an instant, “I knew it! I knew your question is about that fool. Tell me, why are you so concerned about him? Okay, I’ll tell you. I should have been here an hour earlier if not for that silly animal. I told him I was hungry while we were coming but he chose to drive as though his limbs had been amputated.”
“Why do you hate him so much? It’s like you always find errors in everything he does. Why don’t you give him a chance to—”
“Will you keep shut, woman?” Cain exploded, “Who the gods do you think you are? Who are you to dictate to me whatever I do?”
“I am not dictating anything—I was only—” A hot hand print from Cain exploded on her face.
“I say shut up!” he said wrathfully. “When did I start asking for your permission concerning what I do? I know what you are; a whore! A filthy, useless whore! You are already having a crush on him, aren’t you? Do you feel like humping him? Tell me!” he got up and went into the bedroom, cursing under his breath. His sudden anger had erupted from the remembrance of the encounter he’d had with a stranger who had broken into their home in the night of November 1984; a year after he met Rita. The night’s incident had made him hated the poor woman, and he had carried out what he believed was the necessary precaution that would made him forget all that had happened that night. But now, the hatred he felt for Rita afterwards he now felt for his current wife, and this made him ponder about the possibility of carrying out another necessary precaution. The kind of hatred he had had for the man who had broken into their home that rainy Saturday night.
It had been declared earlier in the day that there was not going to be any rain throughout that Saturday. But suddenly, the dark sky grew darker, and rain fell in silvery cataracts; the equal of anything that Father Noah had witnessed while hurrying to complete his ark. The water fell off slopes, forming rivulets in every shallow declivity. Rivulets became streams, and streams grew swiftly into rivers. And in time, it was raining fit to drown a duck in the night of that same Saturday; the hard rain fell without warning, no thunder preceded the deluge—no wind, too, until afterward, and it appeared as if someone had just turned a tap on over the city; the sky was seriously purging itself of an entire ocean. A very dark and stormy night it was; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was assisted by a violent gust of wind which swept up the street and rattling along the housetops, and a show of lightening that was accentuated every now and then by the enormous claps of thunder. The rain was forming tears as it streaked the louvres of the houses around, and gushing along gutters in seemingly endless torrents. That night’s rainfall was one of those which, most times, defy weather forecasts—making forecasters look like lying idiots to the world. The street was deserted, except for Jamal who was standing alone in the veranda of an uncompleted building, and he was holding a pistol.
A boat made from a sheet of newspaper floated down a gutter swollen with the rain. The boat bubbled, listed, righted itself again, dived bravely through treacherous whirlpools, and continued on its course towards the intersection of the street and another. Jamal looked at the paper boat as it swam away, a boy of maybe six years old might have dropped it in the gutter from three streets away. He could remember when he was a kid himself—he would run cheerfully alongside the paper boat enjoying himself as the rain would tap the hood of his own clothes, he would hear the music the rain made on the roofs of houses—a comfortable, almost cosy sound.
He waited about thirty minutes for the rain to stop but it was not even slackening, and amidst the noise the rain was making was a faint distant sound of frogs announcing their territory. Jamal was running out of patience so he got out of the veranda into the rain, he was soaked within a few seconds of stepping into the heavy downpour—and he liked it. He walked slowly down the street in the rain, thinking about what had brought him there. Jamal had seen a woman about two weeks earlier, and he had been infatuated by her appearance. She was coming out from the meat market when he caught sight of her; she had had that kind of beauty that could make the holiest man on earth commit a little sin. She was wearing a crispy white blouse that was tucked in a hip-fitted black skirt. A pair of black suede shoes adorned her beautifully straight legs. She walked in a manner that was full of confidence, and there was this attractive chemistry from her that drew Jamal up to her; he felt he could woo her easily like he’d always done. At first, she had allowed Jamal to rant and chant, and when he appeared to have spoken all the words he could think of, the lady had smiled erotically and flashed him her ring finger, revealing to him that she was married before she walked away. Jamal had been taken aback; he involuntarily stopped and watched as the woman walked away. Jamal being one who never gave up on things easily until he got what he wanted, followed the woman. As he tailed the lady, he felt there was a kind of fun in following people who never knew they were being followed. The woman reached her car and drove off, Jamal waved down the next taxi and followed, he tailed her from street to street as discreetly as possible, and she, however, was utterly unaware that she was being followed. A couple of kilometres later, the woman stopped her car in front of a big gate; she got off the car and went to open the gate. Jamal told the cab driver to stop his car a few yards behind the lady’s. The woman got in her vehicle and drove inside the compound. The sound of the heavy gate could be heard as she locked it from within. Jamal waited five minutes before he got off the taxi and paid the driver who drove away. He now knew where his next would-be victim lived.
Thanks for reading our story. Make it a date next week for another thrilling episode.