As soon as I was on the other side, I ran towards Ruth and her sister. They were both frozen in fear that they squatted holding each other. The moment they saw me, Ruth stood up, I held her hand and she quickly grabbed Candy’s as we started running toward a random direction in the dark. The gunshots increased, same as the sound of shouting, crying and voices shouting the names of their missing or dead loved ones.
The houses were arranged in parallel lines like an estate. People popped out from all directions. Many have sustained either bullet wounds or some kind of injury hampering their speed. No one cared about another as all ran for their lives.
I held on to Ruth’s hand as she on Candy’s. A van came out in front of us, opened fire in our direction and many fell. I ducked, dragging Ruth with me. Then we quickly moved to an opposite street. The men jumped down from the van shooting at anything moving. I saw a church at the left side of the street and we ran to the back. The church’s sliding window was locked so I broke the glass, removed the lock from inside and opened the window wide. Then I carried Candy in, followed by Ruth before I joined them.
I took a quick look around, then headed for a door behind the altar. Ruth and her sister followed in close range. There was a closed door. I didn’t know what I was doing, all I wanted was to be in the clear from the war zone. So, I gave the door the full force of my weight. It gave way and I staggered in. The place looked like an office. I ushered Ruth and Candy in and closed the door.
Gunshots, screaming and crying were the noise outside. I sat on the table while Ruth cuddled her sister sitting on the floor at one edge of the room.
“it’s going to be fine,” I tried to encourage the frightened sisters.
Ruth looked at me and nodded while Candy buried her face in her sister’s chest.
The door of the church shook and I stood up abruptly, alarmed. The girls held on to each other closely. I motioned them to keep quiet that I will be back. So, I snuck out to see what it was. A bang came on the adjacent door of the church. Then i saw a figure standing at the spot I broke in.
“the window is broken,” a voice said from outside.
I quickly ran back into the office, turning in circles looking confused and lost for plans. The office was a dead end. Ruth immediately stood up and asked, “what’s going on?”
I looked at her with no words for her when suddenly we heard, “someone is here?”
We paused and looked at each other in fear. Candy immediately started crying, muttering, “we are going to die! We are going to die.”
I knew it was over for us. So I kissed Ruth and asked her to hide under the table. She immediately did as I instructed, taking Candy with her.
I had already accepted my fate. But I refuse to go like a coward. I had to take at least one with me. So I quickly looked for a weapon around the room, saw a mop stick, broke the wig away and carried the wood.
A voice said, “be careful, someone is there.”
I snuck out of the room, resting my back on the wall as I slowly moved to the main hall, just to distract whoever was out there from knowing others were with me. I sighted three guys. One of them started coming towards me so I positioned my stick for battle, waiting for him to get close before I attack. He came closer and I landed the stick on his face. He screamed and moved backwards. The rest, on seeing what had happened ran for the window and struggled to escape. I followed the guy up with a kick on his chest. He fell and rolled on the floor. I landed several sticks on his back and side. He tried to escape but I bounced on him and was about to stab him with the sharp edge of the stick when I suddenly stopped myself and asked, “who are you?!”
“please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me!” he begged, looking at me with horror in his eyes.
“Identify yourself!” I shouted, threatening to stab him.
“please, I am my mother’s only child, please don’t kill me!” he said, peeing on himself.
I felt the hot urine and stood up from him. It was then I realized perhaps he was also looking for where to take refuge. But I had to be sure.
“who are you?” I asked mildly.
He took a good look at me and discovered I wasn’t one of the terrorists.
“please I’m looking for where to hide,” he said.
Then I searched him and when I was convinced, I asked him into the office.
“Ruth, it’s me.” I said as I entered the room.
She came out followed by Candy. She looked so happy to see me and was about running towards me when she saw the guy with me and froze. I smiled and said, “he’s with me.”
“I know him. He’s my neighbor,” Ruth replied.
She approached the guy looking curiously at the blood on his face.
“what happened to you?” she asked.
“it’s nothing,” he said, smiling.
Candy came to him and observed his injury with sincere concern. Ruth knew I inflicted it on him so she kept looking at me, smiling.
I called mum to know how she was. She appeared not to know anything was happening so I hid my precarious state from her. Instead, I made her believe I was in safe hands and asked her to go to the barracks telling them Sandra sent her. When Ruth heard Sandra’s name, a rush of jealousy flooded her face. I ignored her and called my brother also, telling him the same thing.
The guy who joined us was in his early forties, bald, chocolate, average height and slightly chubby. I learnt his family traveled when he used my phone to reach them. I sat at the altar looking out to know when someone was approaching. The other guy sat on one of the chairs at the first pew resting his head at the headrest of the chair. Ruth came out from the room to join me. She sat beside me placing her head on my shoulder and holding my arm.
“thank you,” she whispered.
I looked at her and returned to my vigilante mode.
“Thank God. I did nothing,” I said.
She kissed my cheek and rested her head silently.
“please! Please!” someone shouted just outside the church.
We all stood alert and Candy ran out of the room looking petrified.
“who’s that?” she asked, running to hug Ruth.
The voice shouted again.
“please! Please!” followed by voices screaming, “kill the rat!”
Then we heard what sounded like someone was being hit by matchet or wood then a cry followed by gunshots.
The guy with us bent under the chair he once sat on. I ordered the girls in. They ran inside. I slowly stood up with my back against the wall and moved close to the window to see what’s going on outside.
Footsteps started approaching the window. I couldn’t risk looking so I moved back.
“Ila, come and see. Someone broke in,” a voice said.
I moved further backwards still with my back on the wall. My heart began to beat so fast I could barely breathe.
A hand came in, followed by the full body of a lanky guy. He turned to collect his gun from a colleague outside when I noticed a bottle close to my leg. I bent down and picked it up. His colleague was climbing in when the guy spotted me.
“hey! A rat,” he screamed and made to raise his gun.
I threw the stick at him and simultaneously broke the bottle on the wall. I went after him. He dodged the stick and before he could face me I rushed and pushed him on the chest stabbing him on the neck and every other place around his neck with the bottle. The other moved back when he saw my attack. He started shooting inside the church screaming, “A violent rat is here!”
I continued stabbing him until he fell over. I sat on top of him still stabbing and he struggled effortlessly but I was busy stabbing. I noticed he had dropped the gun and quickly reached for it. It was an AK 47. I used my boot on his face until his colleague tried jumping into the church. I turned and shot him. He fell on the window with his legs outside. The ones outside continued firing into the church. I stood where I was, looking out for anyone who dares to enter.
The church’s main entrance door shook, followed by gunfire boring holes into the door. Suddenly, the door gave way. About four men ran in shooting. The man under the chair stood up to escape but was shot in the back. I returned fire and hit one of them. Two ran back but one hid behind the chair.
I waited to hear movement but they all remained hidden. I knew if I stay longer there, others may join in making it too risky for me. So, an idea struck me. I threw an offering box that was beside me towards the guy behind the chair. He immediately revealed himself, shooting the direction which gave me a clear view to take him down. I shot several times until one hit him and he fell. The ones outside came in shooting in my direction. I ducked and crawled to hide behind a pillar. Bullets rained on the pillar but I remained still.
The shooting stopped. I peeped and noticed one had ran out of bullet and was retreating. I quickly shot in their direction and caught the one standing. The one retreating ran away.
I rushed into the office where the girls where. They both screamed when I opened the door.
“it’s okay, it’s me! hurry up let’s go.” I said.
“Mike is that you?” Ruth asked in a tremulous voice.
“yes. Come lets go!” I replied impatiently.
They both came out and we ran out of the church into a small farm nearby. Suddenly, it started raining.
To be continued…