I drove into the compound before I realized I had no explanation for the car. I alighted and went upstairs to find Ruth in blue shorts and a black singlet, watching a local drama. She took a glance at me and returned to her movie.
“Hi,” I managed to mutter, taking a seat beside her.
“Where have you been?” she asked without looking at me.
“I thought I told you about it over the phone,” I answered.
Mum came in and before I could greet her, she asked, “who owns the car you parked outside?”
Ruth looked abruptly at me and kept her stare. I immediately adjusted myself comfortably into the back rest of the chair and said, “it’s a friend’s.”
Mum took a seat adjacent us and looked at me in a way that sent the chills down my spines.
“Ruth has been talking with me. She made mention of something very striking,” Mum said.
I felt like my saliva suddenly became too heavy for my throat.
She continued, “she said you did something terrible.”
I felt cold sweat running down my spine.
“What’s it mum?” I managed to say, conscious of my cold palms.
“How could you be so heartless to threaten Ruth with a breakup after all she did for us? And to even tell her you prefer Sandra ‘cos she’s richer is very wicked of you.” Mum ended with a frown.
I looked surprisingly at mum and then to Ruth who hid her excitement in a suppressed smile, pretending to be watching TV. I was partly relieved that it wasn’t the pregnancy. So, I turned to Ruth apologetically just to impress mum who fixed a steady gaze on me.
“I am sorry I said what I said to you Ruth, I was drunk that day. I can’t even remember most of the things I said that day. I’m sorry,” I said, looking at Ruth from the side of my eye.
Mum nodded and said, “that’s good. You need to reduce how you mingle with that Sandra of a girl. I wouldn’t want to be entangled in military problems.”
I turned abruptly towards mum in surprise.
“yes, you heard me right. I know she has been helpful and all that. I’m not saying this because Ruth is here. Sandra is way bigger than you. She is not your class. Getting married to her type will automatically turn you into a puppet.” mum said.
She paused and took a look at me, I turned my face away grudgingly. Ruth couldn’t hide her smile anymore, she turned her face away.
“my son. Take a look at Ruth seated down here,” Mum said, pointing at Ruth.
I looked at mum with my mind on the car packed outside. Then I turned towards Ruth who was blushing already.
“this girl is your spec. She’s your kind of woman. She’s absolutely in love with you. Think of it,” Mum said before she stood up and went inside.
Ruth let out a little giggle. I turned to her with a frown. She covered her month with both hands to tame a loud giggle.
“what’s this all about?” I asked furiously.
“what does it look like?” she said in a smile and adjusted herself into her seat.
“it’s crazy for you to put up that stunt,” I said.
“you mean, because I didn’t spill the beans?” she said, still grinning.
I kept quiet and looked away. Ruth smiled and continued with her movie.
I went downstairs and drove to Jacky’s house as it was the only place that crossed my mind to park the car at the moment. The current excitement and complication concealed what happened at Jacky’s house from my head. I only remembered when Jacky came out frowning. It was too late for me to turn back.
“hey Jacky!” I said as I alighted.
He looked at the car and then to me without replying my greetings. He was in his regular baggy boxers, looking very lanky and dry. He now had a goatee and mustache with a bushy hair which made him look older and more like a Rastafarian.
“how have you been?” I asked, walking carefully towards him, conscious of his hostile appearance.
“you were supposed to be here yesterday. We were supposed to go somewhere, remember?!” Jacky’s voice made me shiver.
“I’m sorry, I completely forgot,” I said.
Just then I realized that it was a bad idea to park at Jacky’s house. My relationship with Jacky was already heading toward a dead end.
“who owns the car?” he said, looking contemptuously at the car.
“oh, it’s for Sandra,” I said, knowing that’s the only way keep the car safe.
We went into the house together and found two rugged looking guys smoking. I looked at Jacky, he seemed to be under duress. The guys clearly were not on a friendly mission. They looked at me, then to Jacky who gave them an acknowledging nod.
“who are you?” the heavily built one asked in the midst of smoke.
I didn’t say anything. I knew they meant trouble and I made to leave but the other one who was tall and muscular quickly intercepted me and closed the door, while Jacky moved aside looking apologetically at me.
“what is it?” I asked hastily.
He said nothing but pushed me backwards. I knew I had to listen to what they had to say and be diplomatic in my approach. The tall and muscular one pushed me into a chair and I sat involuntarily. He then went back to his previous seat, leaving me to my pounding heart. I waited uneasily for them to say something but they kept smoking quietly. Jacky walked around the sitting room nervously while I followed him with my eyes.
After what seemed like forever, in a few minutes, the huge one finally spoke without looking at me.
“you are Mike?!”
I stared toward him and nodded nervously.
“I thought I asked someone a question!” he barked at me.
“yes. I am Mike,” I replied such that even I couldn’t recognize my voice.
The muscular one then looked at me and said, “you are the guy that has been giving us problems right? Who are you?”
I couldn’t make out what he meant by the question so I looked stupidly at him.
“Are you deaf? I thought someone asked you a question?” the huge one barked.
“I’m…am…sorry, I don’t know what you mean by who I am,” I muttered nervously.
“How do you even pass exams? What’s there about who you are? Could you answer the question?!” the muscular one yelled.
“I am Mike, a regular guy and…” I managed to say before I was interrupted.
“will you shut up?! Is that what I asked you?” the huge one raged, looking aggressively at me.
“Where do you belong?” he asked.
“as…in…” I asked, shivering.
“he is a no one,” Jacky said.
They both looked at him disapprovingly, indicating that he should shut up and they turned back to me.
“So, you are a no one and you killed one of us…” the huge one said.
“What should we do with him?” the muscular one asked.
“Get a white piece of cloth and a razor and blade his dix,” The huge one said.
I looked nervously at the muscular one who stood up and brought a white piece of cloth and a razor and started walking towards me.
“let me have your thumb,” the muscular one commanded.
I hesitated and looked at Jacky who nodded his approval before I gave him my thumb. He used the blade to cut my thumb and wiped it with the white cloth. Then he went back to his seat.
“young man,” the bulky man called.
I turned and looked at him.
“do you know what that means?” he asked, molding his weed.
“no,” I said.
“you are marked. Henceforth, you are one of us. We are going to initiate you fully in the next full moon,” he said and took in a long drag of smoke.
To be continued…