Lost But Satisfied - Episode 24
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Jerry became obsessed with studying how to build a water car; firstly, to do something great, something extraordinary. Secondly, to keep his family alive because Chief constantly sent Chioma to remind him that if he didn’t do it well or on time he would be killed and his family wouldn't be allowed to see the end of the year.
He kept working like a maniac, expending his time and energy on building the car. Luckily, Chief made sure he got high-quality food and fruits that kept Jerry healthy . He slept in the underground and worked in a workshop, which had all the equipment he needed to succeed in the building of his car.
However, his only regret was that Pastor Matthew would be worried about him. He wondered how Pastor Matthew was coping with the building of the ark. He had told Chioma to tell Jessica that he wanted to see her. So, he was relieved when Chioma came into the workshop that day.
‘Did you tell her that I want to see her? I mean Jessica?’
Chioma was putting on a brown bum short and an orange armless top, a silver chain, complementing her neck. She smiled at him and licked her lower lips as she ran her fingers across the rough wall of the workshop. ‘You don’t know how we do things here… Nobody can talk to Jessica anyhow’.
‘Please, I want to see her’.
Chioma moved toward him to arouse his feeling
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. But he wasn't ready to comply with her wish, he moved back. He needed to continue the few works he had started that day, planning to meet the target he set for himself.
‘Chioma, we can’t be doing this every day’, Jerry said as he pushed her hands away from his body. She eyed him and moved back, her leg, disturbing the box of spanners on the floor, ’Jessica might enter here anytime from now. I don’t want to be seen as you know…’
She stared at him and smiled, licking her lower lips,’ you are still your old self. Always avoiding me…’
‘Ever since I came here, I’ve never avoided you. I’ve never denied you what you always wanted but I’m tired. I need to face my work and you know any time we go on together, I always have this bad feeling that I would miss heaven for this. Pastor Matthew’s words kept coming back to me and I don’t want such to happen.’
She stared at him and burst into laughter as she placed her hands on his chest.
‘You know… This was what almost the same thing you said the night before you left here and you were never seen again until we saw you behind that baba’s house. The night before you jumped into the carnal’
Jerry was eager to hear her out,’ I jumped into the carnal?’
‘Can’t you remember anything at all?’
Jerry shook his head as he gently placed the wrench he was holding on the floor and faced her.
‘That night, we were having a get- together… I so much desired to have s*x with you because you were uptight and too rigid for my liking. If you said you wanted to stay fine because of your wife, I would have understood you then. But you were saying you cannot sin against God…I got frustrated’.
Jerry stared at her and made sure he pushed every equipment away from his reach. He didn’t want to get angry and hit her with one of them. The body reacts faster than the mind. From the look of things, she caused some of his woes and he needed to keep his cool.
‘So, I mixed a little something into the juice you were drinking that night, and I allowed you to go to the toilet and then followed you there. My surprise that day was that you were able to stop me from having a good time with you despite the effect of the drugs I put in your drink but I was able to kiss you’.
The connection wasn't there but he wished he were as he was then. He wished he could be the same person who could fight his desire for a nice time with Chioma. She was driving him crazy and he needed to ward her off.
Someone entered the workshop, they both turned to see Once poked his head into the shed. He had a stick sweet in his mouth.
‘Yes…? What do you want?’ Chioma said, snarling.
‘Is that of any concern to you?’
‘Yes… I’m concerned’, she said, eyeing him. ‘I’m chief’s P.A and you know what that means. It means that I have the right to query any foreign body that wants to disturb Chief’s work’.
‘You’re crazy… I’ll kill you’ Once said, folding his fingers and coming near her. His height should frighten anybody but Chioma stared at him, standing her ground. Jerry noticed a little resemblance between them.
‘It’s your mother that is a crazy… You are jealous that Chief gives me preference over you and that I have the authority to do anything to you. I can tweak your information and tell Chief you are having shady deals. I can tell him about the businesses you did offline. The one you didn’t tell him, those illegal assassinations.’
Jerry looked from one person to another as if they were playing table tennis.
‘Chioma, watch out for me’, Once said, his veins protruding under his skin, and his hand folded as he pointed it at her nose’ I’m your death’.
Chioma erupted into a spree of laughter and held her stomach.
‘You can do nothing’, she said moving towards him and stepping on his wounded feet.
Once pushed her away. Her back hit the wall. He lifted her off the ground with his left hand, and pushed her back against a wall as she gasped for breath.’ If you dare try to do anything foolish again in your life, I will kill you’.
He dropped her and left the workshop, dragging his feet.
‘Once, I will kill you… I swear…’ She screamed as she rose from the ground.
Chioma dusted her body, turned to Jerry, eyed him, turned towards the door and left. She was breathing faster than she could ever imagine. She hated Once with everything in her and would like to see him disappear.
Firstly, he wasn’t the best; yet, he did things as if he was the best. In qualification of expertise, Rachael was better than him. He wasn't as handsome as Bidemi neither was he half-handsome as Kasali their gateman.
Secondly, he was the one that caught her mother who was held captive at an unknown location to make Chioma do the bad things she had found herself delving into of late.
Thirdly, he was the one sent to kill Bidemi and had tried to kill him again.
She had made sure she told Chief that no one should be allowed to see Bidemi. She told him that almost everyone there didn’t like Bidemi. Once might have done something to Bidemi if she wasn't there.
She rushed through the bush that hid the workshop. She would report Once to Chief. She would show him how a lady was better than guys; they do things better and neater than the guys. He had shown himself a potential danger and she needed to take him down with every power she had as the personal assistance of Chief, his brain box.
She was about to get out of the bush to enter the compound when a strong arm grabbed her from behind. She was terrified and choked. She m*aned and kicked the air but the hand was stronger. She knew whose hand it was. He carried her away amidst her incessant kicks. She pushed her back against her assailant’s chest with the hope he would drop her but it was a fruitless action.
He dragged her on and stopped. It was Once. He tied her hands and a dark blue rickety car drove out of the bush. Once gagged her, and tied her hand. He dumped her into the trunk of the Volvo and shut the trunk, plunging her into darkness.
Chioma shivered, though the trunk was emitting great heat. She knew she had offended him but she didn’t expect this from him. Rather, she didn’t expect it to be this fast. Tears dropped from her eyes. Even her breathing was faster than cowbell jingle. They plied a rough road for sometimes. Then, the road became smoother and they journeyed on. Chioma kept m*aning and trying to untie the rope. She tried to slash the rope with the rough edges in the trunk but it was to no avail. She cried with all her strength but the gag didn’t make any meaningful noise come out of her mouth. She kicked the trunk and tried everything but nothing happened and she gave up the fight. She was weak, and her eyes began to droop.
The trunk smelled of dry blood and she understood that the car was one of the few used to assassinate people. Whenever FALT didn’t want people’s death to be known to the world, they made the person disappear. She hated herself for advising Chief to give his men free hands.
The car kept moving, and she didn’t know what to do. The only thing that kept coming to her mind was her last prayer because though Once wasn't the best killer, he was the next to Rachael and Jessica. And he was the best in every state Jessica and Rachael had never been to and had even been given awards for these.
‘Slowly…’ Once said as he opened the trunk and dragged her out of it. He removed her gag and she sucked in air.
‘Help…’ She screamed. Once stared at her as she fought with the rope. She hated this position when she can only use her mouth and not her legs, which could carry her faster than the wings of any bird. She moved about, screaming for help. Once stared at her. He brought out a stick sweet and dipped it into his mouth. He rolled the sweet in his mouth and smiled.
‘Idiot… No one will hear you here… Welcome to Elelyele dam, where your life is damned. As the name implies: Eleyele, it means something in Yoruba, you know. It means that you, the dove (Eleyele), cannot eat with the owner of the house, drink with the owner of the house and on the last day i.e. the day of death, this same dove run away, fighting for his own life’.
‘Shut up! Who ask you for sermon? The organisation will find you. They will hunt you and they will slash out every bone and marrow in you for what you have done to me. You have been missing for some time now and someone will notice that I disappeared the same time you disappeared’, she shouted at him, her head doing what her hand should have done.
Once laughed and nodded, his gun raised high as he fixed his gaze on her. ‘You are good. You calculate well. I see why chief can’t do without you. I would soon take your position’.
‘Shut up…’ Chioma said and rose with her hands still tied behind her as she stared dagger at him. She swallowed hard and wished she could get something to kill him.
‘To inform you before your death. It will do you good to know that I have someone who will stand as an alibi for me. According to her, I was inside her…you know what I mean now… Ehen…That I was inside her at the time of your being missing’, Once said and turned, spreading his hand. He laughed when Chioma tried to come towards him. 'You are a killjoy. I was telling you a story about the dove that does not leave the person he had eaten with most of its life. So….’ Once laughed hysterically. 'You know what, I love you… You make me laugh. I mean from my heart and I love that. If I were a magician, I would have loved to keep you alive to amuse me every day’.
Chioma walked to some feet away from him and spat into his face, her feet digging into the shrubs of the elephant grasses. He wiped the spit off his face, smiled, and laughed. Chioma was surprised at the way he was doing. She wondered what he was up to.
‘Back to the story of the dove. Who do you think is your dove?’ He said and rolled the sweet in his mouth.
Chioma wondered who the person might be. She thought but didn’t know how the person was. She swallowed hard as she scratched her mother out of the expected dove. Although she wished to see her mother for another time, she knew it could never be her mother. Once would never get the idea of the place Chief kept her mother, and that made Chioma be at peace. At least, she would die without seeing her mother dead.
‘You don’t know… Okay, let me call…’
‘Shut up! You are demented. You need to be treated for extreme madness of the head. I’ll kill you… I’ll kill you’. She screamed, her neck extended.
‘Shut up, Chioma, Shut up. You are not even dramatic, I was about to call the person holding your dove but you kept interrupting’, he said as he removed the sweet from his mouth.
Chioma sighed as her eyes darted from one part of the forest they were. The birds around sang, jolting her. She looked about the bush. Insects chirped. She wanted to remain stoic but her sense organ widened as she listened and watched out for who he was about to present. Dry leaves rolled. She became a part of the environment. Her eyes widened. She stopped breathing. Time ticked. Silence enveloped the area.
‘Okay… I call on Stone to present Chioma’s dove’
Stone, a dark heavily built assassin, dragged a blindfolded woman towards them. Dry leaves crunched. The bushes rattled. Chioma recognised who it was immediately. Her heart bled at the sight of the woman they brought. Her only hope was uprooted.
‘Mama’, Chioma cried as she moved towards her mother and fell, the dry leaves scratching her body. Once laughed heartily, clapping.
‘Aww… Real love…’ He said, 'I don’t talk and shoot or shoot and talk, you understand now…’
Chioma pleaded and cried but it fell on deaf ears.
‘Chioma… Chioma…ooo…’ Chioma mother cried and her head moved blankly from one side of the forest to another because she was blindfolded.
‘Mama…’ Chioma knelt and moved towards her mother but Stone was faster, he pushed Chioma back. She tumbled into the dry grass.
‘Okay…Okay… The end of your dove’. He said and unlatched the safe of the gun. And immediately, he shot Chioma’s mother, who fell sideways like a pile of wood. Chioma wailed. She rose to a kneeling position and moved to her.
‘Mama’, she screamed, as she tried to be there on time as though getting to her mother side would save her mother.
‘Whoa…’ Once shouted. He jumped and played around excitedly. ‘Do you know it’s been a long time, I killed…’
Chioma kept screaming as she crawled to her mother’s side.
‘Okay… Okay… Let’s deal with you like the saucy idiot you are’, Once said and pulled her away from her mother, whose head was already oozing blood. He put the stick-sweet into his mouth. He dragged her to the bottom of a mahogany tree and laid her back on the floor. She screamed and tried to get up. But none of her noise, plea, and cry made Once wince for once. In fact, his smile had suddenly disappeared and had been replaced with a hideous look.
Once loosened the rope binding Chioma. She tried to get up. But Stone was already pointing a gun at her. Tears poured liberally out of her eyes. The dry sand had dirtied her cloth. The thorns in the grass scratched her. But who valued those. Her hair was mixed with a lot of sand as she rolled on the floor.
Chioma was plunged between lamenting for her dead mother and pleading for her life. She decided to do the latter and crawled to Once.
‘Please forgive me’, she cried, her mouth deformed and her hands clasped together like a praying mantis. 'Please, let me go… Let me run away from here. I will never ever return to this place in my life. I will go to the north’.
‘That’s a good idea. I will use that when I have a potential enemy but Once does not let his enemy live. I kill them and let them die finally’.
‘But Bidemi saw you… He will tell’.
‘It’s so simple. I came there to make sure you were there. And this is my story. I was angry with you, I left, and went straight to the room of my alibi, she helped me calm, and the story will be interesting. I will first be reluctant to tell them but will ask for their confidentiality and, ‘gbam’, I am not seen as a murderer. If it were the police, they might still look for clues but you know that chief’s men are grumpy and they would do a lousy job. Telling themselves they have done the best job in the world, while you will be here, dead. Ah! Rachael, I adore you. You taught me well. There must be a plan for everything’.
Chioma’s heartbeat increased pace as goosebumps rose over her. She didn’t even smell the air from the dam. She didn’t listen to the birds who were singing her last song. She wished she were Rachael, she would have known what to do, what to say, how to cross-pollinate her reactions and her words.
‘Okay…Okay…Time for talking is over’, Once declared and tied her hands to the tree. ‘And the next thing on the agenda is to…’
Kill you, she thought. Tears burst out of her eye.
‘To sleep with you… No. That sleep is too soft for my liking. I want you to experience total pain until your last breath. I want you to be injured everywhere’.
Read " Grabbing The Hot Gate " by the same author ( Akíntayo Akinjide )
. Once said as he began to unzip his trousers. ‘Do you remember the words of sage Rachael. Always enjoy your work no matter how trivial’.
Chioma knew what he would say. Rachael used to say that when she was facing the animal she wanted to use as an experiment and she herself had taken it as a motto.
‘Never leave a place without placing an impression about who you are’, Once continued
‘No’, she cried. She struggled to rise, twisting her hand in the rope. But it wasn't working. She cried and screamed.
‘I told you nobody will hear you here’.
‘Once… Once… Please…Please… I’ll give you freely. With all my heart’.
‘No’, Once said, and turned to Stone.’ No be this babe dey find how I go peme? See as im dey beg. Chai… Chai... there is God ooo’.
He climbed her and bent over her as she struggled. Stone held her dangling legs with firm grips.
‘No’, she screamed.
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