WRITTEN BY: MARYROSE ONEJEME
“Those that murdered sleep should be ready for sleepless nights.”
The door to Gbenga’s house was open as I had anticipated. He was abrace of what was going to happen. The day I knew I was going to be murdered, I had gone to inform him, being a friend, a next gate neighbor and a man I had come to respect. He was there with his wife Abimbola as I entered.
“They have murdered me,” I announced.
“So you’re now dead?” Gbenga asked with a suppressed smile.
“Yes, dead but not buried.”
He took a glass of water that was on the table and began to sprinkle some water on me.
“Hey! What are you doing?” I exclaimed.
“To see if you will disappear. I heard that ghosts disappears if you sprinkle water on them.”
Gbenga has a great sense of humour. Our friendship wasn’t instantaneous, it began after the day we had a heated argument during a meeting of Landlords in the close we lived at Ajao Estate. It was over who was better suited to be security operatives of our close; vigilante group or two Abokis. Few weeks later we became close friends. I called him Onye Ofe Mmanu and he called me Omo Ajalaokuta.
“I’m now a ghost,” I said and made a move like the zombies in Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video.
He laughed hard with his wife.”We’re laughing but this is not a laughing matter. How could that woman be so wicked?” Abimbola said.
“Is it because I’m a strong man? You for don kill me tete,” Gbenga teased her, “see as landladies full all over Lagos.”
“Oriodaa,” Abimbola gave him a little push.
Abimbola was a very robust woman, so overweight she could hardly get up from a seat. She spoke English with a deep Yoruba ascent, but a very nice woman.
Now that I’m a ghost I have to start acting like one. How do ghosts act? There are two types of ghosts, gentle ghosts and angry ghosts. I’m an angry ghost with one sole mission….to torment.
Abimbola rubbed a white powder all over my head and face. I put on a white jalabia and a white hand gloves, and stood against a white wall. To act like a ghost, you have to look like a ghost.
“You look like a ghost from Imo state;” Gbenga said, laughing.
“I know, I am.”
“Are you ready?”
“I’m ready, let’s do this.”
Gbenga called Chioma’s number on WhatsApp video call and stood before me. She picked and starred on the image on her screen. Confusion was all over her face. My hands were in the air moving like a zombie. Well, I think zombies and ghosts are closely related.
“Chioma, Chioma-aA,” I began to speak, “why did you kill me?”
Her mouth dropped, her face panick stricken and even more confused. I was enjoying the moment. It could be fun being a ghost.
“I loved you Chioma-A, but you killed me,” I continued, “Why? Why? Chioma why?”
The first day I met Chioma was a coincidence I will never forget. It was a hurt hot afternoon in the busy streets of Lagos, I had gone to FHA office in Festac Town to make enquiries about a land I wanted to buy at Festac Extension. On my way going back to Ajao Estate, I noticed a girl at the back of a danfo commercial vehicle. She was putting on a sun shade, she was beautiful and she was crying.
The tears of a woman can melt an ice, but the tears of a beautiful woman can melt an iron. I drove after the bus.
Don’t get me wrong. I was used to beautiful girls, I had some at my beck and call. Like Iniedo, Genevieve, Chika, Aisha, Jumai….to mention but a few. But there was something different about this girl. The girl stopped at Ijesha, I parked my car and followed her.
“Hey young lady,” I called after her.
She looked at me but continued walking.
“It’s you I’m calling,” we were now shoulder to shoulder.
She looked at me.
“How may I help you?” She asked.
“I saw you crying in the bus,” I went straight to the point, ” and I want to know why.”
“I wasn’t crying.”
“I know the difference between tears and rain. And today is a sunny day..”
“Even if I was, it’s not your business.”
“Well, I want to make it mine now.”
She began to walk away, I followed.
“Stop following me or I will shout that you want to kidnap me.”
“And you know what will happen afterwards? People will mob me, hang tyre on my neck and set me ablaze. My blood will be in your hand.”
She thought about it and began to walk again. I followed.
“My life is about to be messed up,” she began.
“I’m supposed to be having my final exams soon, but I can’t without paying my school fees. I’m from a poor home.”
“I told a distant uncle who is rich, he promised to help and asked me to come. Getting to his house at Satellite Town he showed me the money but placed a condition.”
She looked at me without her sun shade, tears were rolling down her cheeks. She looked more beautiful than in the bus.
“That I sleep with him,” she admitted, “I refused and he tried to rape me. I was able to escape.”
Wicked! Why is the world full of wickedness and wicked people? Taking advantage of an innocent girl in her moment of vulnerability should be a crime against humanity. Punishable by God and man.
“How much is the school fees?”
“Eighty thousand naira.”
“Follow me.” I beckoned.
“To where? Why?”
“Listen, I’m not like your uncle. Just trust me.”
“All men are the same.”
“Some men are different.”
She hesitated for a moment before following me. At a building across the street was a Diamond bank, my bank. I went to the ATM machine, inserted my card and made a withdrawal. I then went back to her.
“Open your hand bag,” I said.
“Open your hand bag.”
She opened it and I put some cash inside.
“In there is a hundred K.”
“Eighty K is for your school fees.”
“Use the remaining to help yourself.”
“Ok, maybe I have to repeat what I said,” I was almost laughing, “you now have a hundred K that can solve your school palava. Go and make your parents proud.”
“What? Oh my God!”
“I have to be going,” I began to walk back to my car.
I didn’t ask her to follow me but she did. I entered my car and she stood beside the door.
“You didn’t even ask for my name.” she said, “and you didn’t tell me who you are.”
“Ok, my name is Kelechi Onuoha, but friends call me Kacy.”
“Ok, my names are Chioma Felicia Okoro. A final year student of Mass communication at LASU. I live at No 13 Friday street here in Ijesha with my parents, but I come from Onitsha..”
“It’s a pleasure to know you, Chioma,” I gave her my complimentary card, “call me whenever you want.”
“Thank you Kacy. God bless you,” she looked inside her hand bag, “Oh my God, Oh my God!”
I started the car and drove off. I watched her through the mirror, she stood there waving. And I could still hear her voice in my head…”Oh my God, Oh my God!”
A year and few months later we were married.
BACK TO PRESENT:
“Chioma why did you kill me?”
Her confusion turned to terror.
“No! You’re a ghost,” # call…..her mother).
To be continued……..