We found a little store house where we took shelter. It rained heavily with mighty wind throughout the evening into the night. Candy was terribly cold. Ruth had to heat her up in close embrace. I never knew Candy was such a baby to Ruth with all her adventurous nature. I was left on my own shivering. I wasn’t really concerned with the cold. My heart still raced in fear. The current circumstance kept me on the edge.
The rain eventually stopped at dawn. But we waited till it was bright before we left the place. I was in front and the ladies followed behind. The street was filled with corpses of both young and old. The security personels had already registered in the vicinity taking note of things. We walked past them after explaining ourselves and headed to Ruth’s place.
Ruth’s place felt like where world war two took place. All the walls were filled with bullet holes. Broken window glasses littered everywhere. Surprisingly,nothing else was destroyed.
“I can’t sleep here,” Candy murmured.
I took a glance at her and laid facing down. Ruth gently went to Candy and crossed her arms round her neck.
“they’re not coming back. There are security men around,” Ruth said, sitting Candy on the bed.
“in fact, for now, this is the safest place. They can’t visit a particular location twice,” Ruth added reassuringly.
Candy seemed not to be convinced. She started calling her pastor and went out to speak with him.
“Sweetie. It’s God who sent you to us,” Ruth said, lying close to me.
I smiled and said nothing.
“who thought you how to use a gun?” she asked.
“I have friends who own guns,” I said, smiling.
“Seriously ? Don’t tell me you are a cultist,” she said, looking at me with a note of disappointment in her eyes.
“anyone can learn how to use a firearm at a shooting range.” I said.
Candy came in, went straight to the wardrobe and began packing her things.
“where are you going to?” Ruth asked in alarm.
“To my pastor’s,” she said, putting her things in a bag.
Ruth stood up and went to her sister.
“you can’t do this,” she said, pulling the bag from Candy.
“we have to stay together,” she added.
“I can’t stay here! I can’t spend a night here!” Candy said, retrieving her bag from Ruth.
Ruth forcefully took Candy’s bag from her and tossed it on the bed.
“Candy! Listen to me! I can’t allow you leave my sight this time. I can’t.” Ruth yelled.
She looked at Ruth for a while then sat down grudgingly.
I dozed off and woke up much later in the afternoon. The sisters slept side by side each other. I went to the window, opened what’s left of it and peeped into the street. The police van was gone and everywhere appeared normal again. I wondered why the police left so soon. They should have waited at least a week.
Suddenly, I spotted a police van at one side of the street convincing me of our safety. I returned to the bed, took out my phone and called mom. She had gone to the barracks with my brother. I felt better afterwards. I was about going to check for something to eat in the kitchen when Jacky called.
“hello Jacky,” I said.
“hey Mike. Julian is dead!” he said.
I froze in shock but he went on.
“some gunmen came to my area and were shooting at everyone. We ran outside and three shot at us. That was when she was hit. I retaliated with the pistol and killed one before I could escape. Mike, Julian is dead.” he said, sounding broken.
“where are you right now?” I asked.
“I am walking home, dead bodies everywhere. Oh ghud!” He said and hung up.
I heaved a sigh of relief that my mum is out of harm’s way. I suddenly lost appetite and went back to the room. Ruth was already up and looking at me as I walked in.
“baby, what’s the problem?” she asked.
“Jacky’s girlfriend was killed during last night’s massacre,” I said and sat on the bed.
Her mouth dropped and eyes widened as she looked at me.
“oh my god! oh my god!” she said, holding her cheeks.
“we have to be careful, things are getting out of hand.” I said.
Candy woke up and looked at Ruth who was still in shock from the news.
“what happened?” Candy asked, alarmed.
We both turned simultaneously towards her. She looked at both of us with fear painted all over her face.
“it’s nothing,” I said, before Ruth could open her mouth.
Candy turned to her sister and then to me. She rose up abruptly and stood in front of Ruth.
“what’s going on?” Candy yelled.
“Mike’s friends girlfriend is dead,” Ruth said.
Candy held her chest in shock and asked, “Those miscreants killed her right?”
Ruth nodded. I went to the window to see what was going on. I saw two guys walking towards the police van. I wanted to leave but my instincts persuaded me to see what they were up to. They walked past the police van and headed towards the road. Then I returned to the room.
“I’m going away from here,” Candy said, looking determined.
She stood up, grabbed her bag and headed for the door. Ruth tried to stop her but she was out of the room already.
“let her be, she’s an adult.” I said to Ruth.
She looked at me disapprovingly and went after Candy.
I sat on the bed thinking of what the voodoo man said about Amaka. Could the reason for Julian’s death and my current misfortune be that I had sex with Julian?. I tried to read it as superstitious and focused my mind on what to eat. I stood up and went into the kitchen, took some noodles for two and boiled. I sat on a chair and waited for the food to be ready. Ruth came back shortly and entered the kitchen. I looked behind her and didn’t see Candy.
“Is she gone…or…did you catch up with her?” I asked.
“She’s very stubborn! I pray she’s safe,” Ruth responded.
The food was ready, I brought down the pot, scooped out some into a plate for myself and Ruth. We sat and ate from the plate on the floor.
Ruth received a phone call and she paused to take it.
“hello…What! What!” she screamed and stood up.
I dropped my spoon and looked startled at her.
“they what…Shooting? Where? Candy! Candy! Oh my god! Candy is in trouble!” she said, overwhelmed with panic.
“Calm down, calm down, what’s going on?” I asked
She put the phone on loud speaker. We heard people shouting and gunshots.
“Candy! Candy!” Ruth called
“I told her not to go, I warned her! I warned her!” Ruth said amidst tears.
The phone was still on loud speaker but we couldn’t hear from Candy except people’s voices and gun shots. The phone made a crackling noise and went off. She tried calling Candy’s number back but her phone was switched off.
Ruth immediately took off. I first went to get my phone and wallet then ran after her. She was already outside the gate and was running towards the highway. I increased my speed and spotted the two guys from earlier returning but ignored them and continued running. I eventually caught up with Ruth at the express where she was trying to flag down a taxi.
“Ruth, it’s risky to go there!” I screamed.
She Ignored me and ran towards a taxi that stopped for her. She opened the door, entered and was about closing the door when I joined in. We drove in silence while she was completely jittery, robbing her palms together and murmuring a silent prayer.
The road before us was blocked. The place was in a frenzy. People ran towards us and cars reversed in speed.
“I think there’s trouble in front, I can’t go any further,” the driver said and made to reverse the car.
“My sister is there!” Ruth said, opening the car door immediately and zoomed off.
“where’s my money?” the driver yelled.
I quickly shove a note under the driver’s seat and went after Ruth.
“Ruth, come back!” I shouted as I ran after her.
She was a good runner. She ran towards where everyone was running from and was the only one going in. I felt my heart beating in fear as I tried to catch up with her before she gets herself killed.
Suddenly, I heard gunshots. Ruth ducked behind a car. The gunshots continued. I hid myself behind a Volvo car and was peeking to see if Ruth was okay.
“Ruth! Are you okay?” I shouted.
She didn’t respond. The gunshots continued and people were stampeded. Others fell and stood again. I summoned courage and ran towards Ruth who was shouting Candy’s name in tears.
I got to her, held her by the hand and dragged her with me. She resisted, still shouting Candy’s name. As I was struggling to pull her, some guys in camouflage trousers jumped on top of a car shooting. I quickly ducked and pulled Ruth down with me. People fell as bullets hit them in the back. Others continued running and the shouting increased. I saw a pedestrian lane that was covered with cars abandoned by deserted drivers. I dragged Ruth through the side of the cars while bending all the way. People were in front when we joined in and others followed behind.
We continued our careful escape when a guy stepped behind us and resumed shooting. The people behind us started going down. I dragged Ruth and we ran past a man and four ladies in front. The guy continued shooting til I got hit on my arm and fell on one knee. Ruth screamed and ran, leaving me behind. She then returned and helped me up. We hid in front of a car. A lady fell beside the car we were hiding. She tried to stand up, then saw us and looked pathetically at us intending we help her but she dropped her head with her eyes still open.
I heard footsteps approaching us. Ruth looked helplessly at me. I was as helpless as she was and my hand bled profusely.
The footstep got very close to the car we were. I motioned Ruth to be silent and go under the car which she did immediately. I tried to join her but my shot arm wouldn’t let me. I could see the guy’s boots in view so I quickly laid flat on the floor as a dead man. The guy walked pass me, released another shot and shouted, “bring every rat down! Bring them down!”
To be continued…