I thought it through. Could Amaka possibly put me in charge of her businesses? If it wasn’t a trick to shut me up then it is a welcoming idea. But I shoved the thought aside and focused on the road. I got back to the barrack and went straight to the house. Mum was busy with vegetables in the sitting room.
“Mike, you’re back,” she said.
“yes mum,” I said and sat beside her.
“how is he?” she asked.
“he is fine. Very beautiful boy,” I smiled and brought out my phone to show the picture to her.
She excitedly put the tray with vegetables aside and collected my phone. She took her glasses beside her, wore it and started looking at the picture with a wide grin on her face.
“you don’t mean it! He looks just like you!” she said, looking joyfully at the picture.
“Bruno,” I said.
She turned to me, frowned and asked, “what’s Bruno?”
“that’s his name,” I said, resting my head on the backrest.
“what kind of name is Bruno? Is that not the name of Kenneth’s dog? That crazy dog that bites itself when it’s angry? God forbid! I reject such name for my grandson.” she said, sounding disgusted.
Sandra walked in smiling and said, “mum what’s god forbidden?” sitting on the armrest beside mum.
“Bruno!” mum said.
“who bears Bruno?” Mum asked Sandra.
She looked into the phone in mum’s hand.
“who is this cute baby? Mike! Is this your boy?” Sandra asked shockingly.
I nodded proudly and blushed.
“wow! Mum please let me see,” Sandra said, trying to collect the phone from mum.
“leave the phone alone! Am not done yet,” mum said, moving the phone away from Sandra.
We all looked and joked about the picture. Sandra felt the boy is finer than me. But mum had a different view. She felt we looked the same, but a fair version. Meanwhile, I prayed aloud he doesn’t inherit his mum’s height.
I soon left the women to gossip about me behind my back and went to look for Ruth but she wasn’t anywhere in the house. I went outside, she wasn’t there either. So, I dialed her number but she kept rejecting my calls.
“Mike!” Sandra called from behind me.
I turned and saw her smiling, walking towards me in a cream colored bum shots exposing her broad hip and smooth fair thick thighs. She wore a white, almost transparent hugged singlet which revealed her sexy upper body structure and bold nipples from her round shaped boobs. Her full honey coloured Brazilian hair hung to her shoulders, making her look like an aphrodisiac.
“hey babe!” I said.
“what’s the problem?” Sandra asked.
“A man claimed to be my baby’s father earlier today,” I said, shoving my phone in my pocket.
Sandra smiled and said, “we ran a DNA test which proves that you’re the father. Don’t bother yourself, the mother of the child knows her baby’s father. Come on, let’s go get some ice cream,” pulling me by my wrist to the car.
At night, Ruth was still nowhere to be found. My brother had developed the habit of playing cards with the barrack boys. So, I went to check on him at his usual spot but found him with a girl kissing. I gently withdrew unnoticed and went back to the house. I tried Ruth’s number again, it was switched off. Throughout that night I hardly slept. I made up my mind to visit Candy first thing in the morning. So the next morning, I woke Sandra and told her of my plans to see Candy at the hospital. She held my hand as I was about leaving.
“please tell Ruth am sorry,” she said and slept back.
I walked into Candy’s ward and found Ruth folded on her side, sleeping on the bed beside Candy, facing the wall. I felt pity for her. Candy was awake reading her bible.
“Mike,” she said in a low tone.
“hey Candy. How are you feeling today?” I said, sitting on her bed.
“I’m doing okay,” she said, forcing a smile.
“you’re a strong girl Candy,” I said.
“it’s not me. It’s God of second chance,” she said and smiled.
I brought out the provisions I bought for her and food. I kept them on a table at the foot side of the bed.
“would you like to eat now?” I asked.
“well, tea is okay,” she replied.
“I bought rice and chicken from FRIES FRESH. Are you sure you wont like a bite from it?” I said, smiling in front of her.
“alright! You’re very persuasive Mike,” she said grinning.
“you can say that again” I said with a smile and immediately started unpacking the food.
Ruth turned, stretching herself. Immediately she saw me, she covered her face with the bed sheet.
“good morning,” I said to Ruth.
She didn’t respond. Instead, she used the bed sheet to wipe her face and sat up.
I put the food with a bottled water and canned juice on a small plastic tray and served Candy on the bed.
“thank you Mike. The food looks scrumptious,” she said, sat up and began digging into it.
“Ruth, how are you?” I enquired.
She nodded and looked at her sister. Then she stepped out of the bed and walked out of the room.
I turned to candy and asked, “How is the food?”
“It just made me hungry,” she said with a mouthful.
Ruth returned with droplets of water on her face and sat back on the bed looking at her sister. I went close to her and sat. She gave me a glance and turned away.
“how are you Ruth?” I asked gently.
“I’m fine. Thanks for the food,” she finally spoke.
“would you like to eat now?” I asked.
She looked at the things I bought and then the food covered beside it and said, “thank you. I’ll eat later when I brush.”
“Mike, I think I’m going to eat hers as well,” Candy said with a mouthful.
I smiled and announced, “I have dessert as well. Burger, doughnuts, and biscuits.”
“Mike! Haaaa!” she shouted with her two hands in the air.
“I’m going to enjoy myself today. Mike, come everyday so I can eat these nice stuffs,” Candy said, making a face.
Ruth chuckled looking at candy.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered into her ear.
She smiled and nodded still looking at Candy. Hours later, I stood up to leave.
“Oh, Mike you did well,” Candy said.
“I don’t know why I can’t move my legs, I would have seen you off,” she said as her face changed into sad one.
I looked sharply at Ruth. She winked at me and said, “let me see him off Candy.”
“Okay. Mike, goodbye!” she said
“goodbye,” I replied.
At the parking lot, I asked Ruth to come back to the barracks. At least, it’s safer there until we are sure the Oman group saga has died off. But she insisted on staying permanently with Candy at the hospital and return to their house after Candy is discharged. Since I couldn’t persuade her, I drove off promising to visit again.
The next week we returned to our house. Few houses were attacked save ours and some others. We started our clean up and planned to resume life as it was. My brother had found love after many years of masturbation. He brags about his new girlfriend who is a journalist with a foreign accent, which he claims was as a result of her schooling abroad. This new development made him want to settle down in a hurry. We had advised him to plan before marriage but he was too hasty claiming she’s the one.
I went to see Jacky to know how he was doing after Julian’s death. On getting there, I found out that his house was in a complete mess. Food from god knows how long had grown maggots and mucus in his pots and plates. Papers, shoes, sand, clothes and water littered everywhere.
“guy! What happened here, world War III?” I asked, tiptoeing into the sitting room.
He looked at me and continued his smoking. He was dressed only in his baggy boxers that was dirty from constant repetition. He was looking slimmer and dry.
“what are you doing to yourself?” I said in alarm.
He looked at me with his sleepy bloodshot eyes and started using his saliva to arrange a loose end of his smoke.
“Jacky, what’s going on?” I asked again.
“would you like to join me? I got smoke under the chair. You can help yourself,” was his reply as he dragged in more smoke.
I was about to say something then he spoke all of a sudden.
“I didn’t kill much of them. I wish I killed a lot of them. They killed my flesh and blood. My partner in crime. Funny enough I didn’t get to attend her burial ‘cos I didn’t know what happened to her corpse.”
I looked at him and said in astonishment, “so you didn’t go back for her corpse?”
“how could I, in the crossfire? I ran for my life first and when I returned they had moved her body. Where do you expect me to look for a corpse?” he paused, then continued, “My only regret is that I didn’t make her pee during sex just as you did it. She wanted me to do it to her the night she died. How am I supposed to redeem my manhood? Mike tell me!” He said, looking pathetically at me.
“man, it’s called squirt, not pee,” I said, trying to hide a laughter.
“oh…squat?!” he asked.
“squi…It doesn’t matter dude. Let’s think of how to find her,” I said.
“where?” he asked.
“I think I know where. We’re going to ask questions,” I said.
I was on my way home from Jacky’s when a voice called from behind. I ignored it because “hey” isn’t my name. To my surprise, I heard someone running towards me. I turned abruptly ready for action. It was dark so I couldn’t make out who it was. The person came alongside two other guys. I quickly moved into the street lights and they followed. I could now see it was the thug guy and two horrible looking guys.
“Mike right? I told you we’ll meet again,” he said, smiling maliciously.
I was alert and ready to swing into action once anything happens but I kept quiet looking at them one after the other.
“take this man down!” the guy commanded.
Two of the guys attacked me. I immediately picked up sand and threw in their faces. The sand entered one’s eyes while the other one attacked me with full force launching a punch into my jaw. I saw stars and fell on my side but I quickly stood up. He made to swing another punch but I quickly landed my head on his nose. He moved backwards holding his nose.
The thug guy brought out a dagger from his back pocket and said smiling, “I can see you are a tough guy. Let’s see how tough you can get.”
To be continued…