He swung the knife at me and missed my tummy narrowly, giving me the opportunity to hold his hand and put it under my armpit. I bit his fingers so hard, he dragged his hand in vain before he finally let go of the knife. We continued struggling and exchanging punches before the other two joined in.
They came in full force raining blows, kicks and elbows on me. One suddenly held me by my belt, pulling me away from the thug guy. I let go of the thug guy’s shirt, turned and gave the one pulling me a hard blow on his neck and he let go immediately. I continued my bowl with the thug guy. The other ran away, came back with a wood and deposited it on my waist. I flinched in pain and immediately left the thug guy and went after the other, to prevent another strike. We both started struggling with the wood when a hand came from behind, crossed around my neck and pulled me away from the guy with the wood. I tried effortlessly but he overpowered me.
The guy with the wood launched several punches on my ribs and stomach, while the other went looking for a weapon after recovering from the punch on his neck. He soon started approaching with a bottle. I used all my weight to push myself backwards and went over with the thug guy who held me on my neck before the guy with the bottle got close enough. The one with the wood came first and went for my head but i defended with my hand. I knew I was losing this fight, so I stood and started running towards Jacky’s house.
They all chased after me. On getting close to Jacky’s house I shouted his name and rushed into his compound. But one caught up with me, pushed me and I fell forward flat on the floor. I struggled up but the guy with the wood sent one on my shoulder. I ignored it and stood up calling Jacky’s name. He made to hit another but I held him on his waist, using my shoulder to push him backwards. He dropped the wood while struggling to gain balance. A hand held me on my waist from behind, pulling me aggressively away from his colleague while the rest rained blows on me from every side. I bent shielding my head with my hand.
Suddenly, there was a gun shot. They all let go of me immediately and I fell on the floor staggering up.
“who dare comes into my house? Me! Jackisula! I.T Dragon, the Upper wing sailor of the night ocean. The jaguar that sings and antelope hides. Who?! Speak before I kill someone here!” Jacky shouted.
“calm down Jacky! It’s your boy I.T Cobra. We have a score to settle with a rebel,” the thug guy said.
“this rebel is my branded. Who dares encroach?” Jacky barked, swinging his gun towards the guys.
“Sula! He crossed our converger. I.T Commando at the ruffles in seventh sun. It’s a must-settle score,” the thug guy said infuriated.
Jacky then walked towards the thug guy, while I moved slowly towards the house.
“recite the eighth law of the branded according to Jaga the first of the dragon era,” Jacky said in a low tone to the thug guy looking into his eyes.
The thug guy seemed lost as he looked around him miserably while Jacky kept his stare.
“I don’t know,” the thug guy said.
“and you dare hurt my branded?” Jacky said in a malicious tone.
The thug guy looked shamefully away.
“get out of my house! Otherwise, I will assume this as RBZ,” Jacky yelled.
The thug guy and his guys looked at Jacky as though they couldn’t believe their ears. Then he said, “your branded must meet with PAPA at the next coven. Else I will treat this as blood ZDS” and walked away with his fellows.
“What have I gotten myself into?” I asked Jacky.
He just went back into the house without answering my question and took his usual position on the couch, lit his half smoked weed and took a long drag.
“I have to be gone. Is it safe?” I asked, afraid of meeting them again.
“so, you are the guy they have been looking for?” Jacky asked.
“what does that mean?” I asked instead of a response.
“it means my gang wants you dead for killing two of ours. You are in a big mess and just got me mixed up in it. Now, you either be a member or I will be made to produce you, or pay with my life if I can’t.” Jacky said sadly and dragged in more smoke.
I sagged into the chair beside him, looking into the thin air with my hands under my jaw.
“what do I do now?” I asked Jacky without looking at him.
“you have to be a member to save my skin,” he replied, puffing out smoke.
So, I went home that night and straight into my room where my brother was already snoring his life out. My whole body ached so bad a massage would have been too useful. I managed to catch some sleep after pondering over what Jacky had said earlier.
It took lots of effort for me to get up from the bed. My shoulders, back and ribs hurt so much. I began to brood about the trouble I just got into and tried to associate it with fucking Sandra. But I remembered the man I met at Amaka’s. Could it be that he is not affected by the curse because he’s faithful? Or, could it be that the whole curse thing was all a myth? I remained in my deep thinking until mum knocked on the door and startled me.
“Mike, where did go to last night?” she asked, standing in front of the door.
I Immediately put on a phony smile and sat up acting all strong.
“I went to see Jacky,” I said.
“Jacky…how’s he coping with the loss of his girlfriend?” she asked.
“not good. Not good,” I said, shaking my head sadly.
Mum suddenly spotted something on my face and moved closer to me.
“what’s that bruise on your face? Were you in a fight Mike?!” she said, looking in my face.
I turned away trying to hide whatsoever it was she saw. She carefully sat close to me with eyes on my face and said, “Mike! What is it with you and trouble? You need to really retrace your steps back to your maker.”
I stood up trying to hide the pain and started walking to the bathroom while mum kept her gaze behind me.
Later in the day, I went to meet Ruth in an eatery. She was already helping herself with a plate of rice and fish with a bottle of water when I arrived.
“what happened?!” Ruth asked the moment she saw me.
“fight,” I murmured, taking a seat in front of her.
“where?! how?!” her voice hinted genuine concern.
“one of the guys I had a fight with,” I said, carefully adjusting my back on the chair’s backrest.
“do you know where they live?” she enquired.
“I don’t. It’s okay. I took care of things myself,” I said.
“please Mike, would you try to stay out of trouble?” she said, caressing the back of my hand on the table.
“funny enough, it keeps locating me,” I said with a smirk.
She stretched her hands towards my face from across the table and touched the bruised patch under my eyes. I turned away and said, ” I think I know why all these are happening to me.”
She looked sharply at me with keen interest.
“what could it be?” she asked.
I told her about my visit to the voodoo man and all he said about Amaka.
She listened attentively to me and barely laid a hand on her food. When I was done, she looked out of the window thoughtfully, then back to me and said, “Mike, I don’t really believe in voodoo shit. I am a realistic person who believes one plus one equals two. But you seem to believe that nonsense…”
“…it’s not that I chose to believe it. It just happens each time I have sex,” I said.
“…with me, Sandra or Amaka or those of your girlfriends I’m not yet aware of?” she asked, sounding pissed.
“try and understand me. I am telling you this because I am not enjoying it anymore,” I said.
“so, what you’re telling me now is that you want to get married to Amaka, right?” she raged.
I didn’t say anything to her again. I turned towards the attendant, stood up and said to Ruth, “lemme get food.”
I came back and decided to change the topic. Ruth seemed to have lost her appetite and was drinking water and pinching her fish. I pretended not to have taken note as I forcefully enjoyed my meal.
“what was it you wanted to tell me?” I asked after a brief silence.
She said nothing and focused on the musicals showing on the TV adjacent us. I ignored her again and finished my food in silence.
We sat watching TV together in silence when she suddenly said, “I’m pregnant!”
I looked abruptly at her, stunned nd asked, “you’re what?!”
“pregnant!” she said and gave me a stern look.
I caressed my hair recklessly and looked surprisingly at her.
“what is the problem Mike? I expected this to come as a good news to you.” Her facial expression revealed her disappointment.
“Yes! It’s a great news. I am just confused on how to take it,” I said, thinking of Sandra.
“don’t you want to get married to me?” she asked.
I looked sharply at her, then back to the TV.
“Mike, answer me. Won’t you like to get married to me?” she asked, sounding hurt.
I didn’t have an answer for the question so I navigated to something else.
“for how long have you been pregnant?” I asked.
“I just found out after a brief ailment. I’m about three months gone,” she said.
“three…!” I almost yelled but controlled myself.
“…three whole months and you were not aware? How am I going to take up responsibility now that I am jobless?” I said.
I dropped my back on the backrest and folded my hand looking at her, forgetting all about the pains.
She looked at me with tears clouding her eyes.
“I swore to remain a virgin until I’m married. I swore that any man who broke me is going to marry me. I gave myself to you because I love you. Mike…Please don’t let me break my vow. No man has seen my nakedness except you. Mike, don’t do what you have in mind because of Sandra,” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks.
She immediately wiped it and turned away.
I felt trapped. I really like Ruth. If not for Sandra, this would have been a great news. But I wouldn’t want to hurt Sandra by bringing in another pregnant lady. I covered my face with my hands and let out a silent scream. Then I looked cheerfully at Ruth and said, “It’s okay. We’re going to work it out,” not believing my own words.
To be continued…