He walked closer to us winging the axe from side to side. He looked around and at that moment, I thought he was actually going to see the hidden camera but he didn’t. He was too occupied with scaring the daylight out of us. He took his seat in front of Rose who was still sitting on the chair I left her on to go check who was inside the house. He looked at her for some time and grinned. I ran up to her and folded her in my arms, she was as rigid as a stone, probably holding her breath. Held her hands in mine for a second and closed my eyes.
Anita: “What are you doing here please?” I asked preventing my teeth from clattering against themselves after i had let go of Rose’s hands.
Francis: “I love your courage. you should rather be asking how i got into the house. well i will tell you even though you didn’t ask, your boyfriend left it open in his blind hurry to catch me. Isn’t that lame? i should give him a gold medal for his carefulness and expertise judging from how i sneaked into the compound when he was sliding the gate open. I really like police officers”
Anita: “I said what are you doing here?”
Francis: “I have watched you ever since you decided to meddle in an issue that is none of your business. I would have come for you that night but that dumb fake husband of hers spoilt the show for me by getting there first. I should have just killed him when I had the chance. The drunkard” he said looking as lost as a stray dog.
Anita: “So why are you here now?” I had to keep him talking hoping against hope that Derek could view the happenings at home on his phone.
Francis: “I came to kill you first, then kill her second. Then if peradventure that boyfriend of yours shows up soon, I’d kill him too”
Anita: “Why? What is our offense against you?”
Francis: “Your offense? Ahahahahaha” he laughed wickedly. “Your offense is countless. Why did you have to meddle in our business?”
Anita: “You and whose business?”
Francis: “I and Rose of course you dumb smart girl. You probably want to keep me talking in order to give your boyfriend some time to get here. But not to worry, the address I gave him that I was at is quite far from here. He couldn’t be back until twilight. And besides, I love taking it slow too so I and my vics can enjoy the show. Rose here knows that much” he cast her a look.
Anita: “Okay then. We hope you take it really slow. So we can all enjoy it” ===
Seeing the axe in his hands brought back memories I had buried deep down inside me. The image of him hacking my mum’s leg while I stood and watched helplessly. The images of my mum slipping into quietus while I watched unable to stop her. the images of her dismembered body. I didn’t know whether to be scared or angry. I must have been both at the same time. Hearing him gibber on and on made me even angrier, I wanted to pounce on him but Anita’s hands on my shoulders held me down when I began to tense up my shoulders. At least she couldn’t hold my mouth down so I snapped…
Rose: “Will you shut up you psycho? Just imagine what you are saying? You are really generous uhn?”
Anita: “Shhhhhh Rose” she tried to cover my mouth with her trembling hands but I shook it off.
Francis: “No leave her to talk. I guess she is awake at last. Yes being generous has always been my undoing. The same way I am extending my generosity to you now is the same way I did with your mum when she was carrying a bastard in her tummy. A child which was rejected along with her but how did she pay me back? By rejecting me. By tossing me to the dogs no matter how much I tried to get back to my feet, she kept pushing me back to the mud with pigs with her rejection. She kept longing for another man, a man who was doing the same thing she was doing to me to her. a man who was unworthy of her, a man who was trampling on what I treasured the most. That was what she did. She did all that to me” his voice quaked so much I thought he was crying but he wasn’t.
Rose: “So you killed her? Did she kill the man who was rejecting her? Just accept the fact that you need help. You are mentally deranged”
Francis: “And who will help me? Everyone in this world is broken, they just go about pretending to be alright. I must tell you, I am better than many of you”
Anita: “So was killing the one you loved that much the best thing you could have done?”
Francis: “You have no idea lady. Why would I have let someone else have her when she was originally mine? We almost got married, she almost agreed to marry me until he showed up. He treated her so bad yet she stuck to him like an ant stuck in a web. Did she deserve to live that way?”
Anita: “I guess it’s not she you should have killed. Isn’t the man the one who is the offender in this case? It’s he who deserved your punishment”
Francis: “Oh no! It wasn’t he who rejected me. Well I just cut off her limbs, the ones she kept using to run back to him thereby leaving me in the lurch. I didn’t know she’d die but her death was worth it. I no longer lay on my bed, thinking whether or not she is in another man’s arms. I feel good”
Rose: “You are a coward. You knew he was a man and he could have fought you off”
Francis: “Enough of the prep talk. I will proceed now. I think I will have to start from the lady so the young girl can have her fill of what her experience would be a second time. How do I do it? Should I have a change of game plan? Maybe do it differently this time? Even God loves variety, He would want me to send you all home in a different ways”
Rose: “Take me first”
Anita: “No I will go first baby”
Francis: “Awwwww this is touching. Not to worry, I will take the lady first and I think the backyard will just be good enough. I have circled everywhere before coming in. you have a garden at the backyard right? Now move!” he shoved her towards the back door and she walked on.
I prayed at that moment that our closest neighbour will at least stir in his sleep and decide to get out of bed. He bent down and started digging. He wasn’t planning to bury me alive was he? I started quivering violently. He noticed it and laughed
hysterically not minding that people could hear him. I thought of screaming my lungs out but that would make him carry out his act faster than planned probably by using the axe on me. I still had hope of escape and so I behaved myself and watched him dig. Rose stood at a corner watching him too, I felt sorry for her, for the fact that she had to face two psychotic men at such tender age. How on earth will she be able to trust men again if peradventure we escape this? At the back of my eyes, I saw someone hiding behind the mango tree at the garden, he was probably looking for an opportunity to pounce. I looked away from him in order not to call Francis’ attention to him.
He kept digging without looking back. He must have been sure that there was going to be no intruder or intruders. I looked towards the place Anita kept glancing at and saw the shadow of a man lurking around in the dark. He was probably thinking of the best opportunity to prance on Francis. He seemed to know what he was doing so I relaxed a little praying to God that he would succeed or we’d all be dead.
The man in the shadows suddenly disappeared, I strained my eyes to see if he was probably hiding somewhere else but Francis caught me…
Francis: “What are you looking at? You come here!” he bellowed and took giant steps towards me but Anita blocked his way
Anita: “I won’t let you hurt her. Not while I am still alive” she said stubbornly.
Francis: “Get out of my way little lady” he said and shoved her out of the way making her fall back on her buttocks. I ran to her dodging him.
Rose: “Are you okay Annie?” I asked trying to help her up but he grabbed me making me let go of her all of a sudden, she fell back again, grunting.
Anita: “I am okay baby. Don’t worry”
He bundled the two of us together with a rope he had with him, he sure did come prepared.
Francis: “I guess I have to kill the two of you together. There is no time now. You, did you see anyone out there?” he asked looking at me.
Rose: “And you think I will tell you if I actually did see someone?” I shook my head pitifully at him while he scowled, bending down to pick up his shovel again and resumed digging.
Anita: “Don’t talk to him again Rose. He is too dangerous”
Rose: “I am not afraid of him or what he can do. I just hate him a lot for killing my mum and rough handling you”
Anita: “Don’t worry dear, Derek will be here soon enough” she was talking more to herself than to me. I sensed she was trying to convince herself. She must have been praying in her heart that he should show up soon. I felt sorry for her. All that was my fault. Maybe I shouldn’t have dragged her into my rustic world. As we sat tied together with our backs against each other, I could feel her heart racing and her breath coming in short gasps like someone who ran a thousand miles in a minute. She was trying really hard to control her breathing but she wasn’t succeeding. I looked towards the mango tree to see if the man had returned again
but he still wasn’t there. she must have noticed him then too cos she kept turning her heads towards the same direction I was looking at. We were both hopeful.
He finished digging at last, walked towards us and started dragging us towards the pit. So he was going to bury us alive still tied together like that.
Rose: “I am sorry Annie for dragging you into this” I whispered to her.
Anita: “It is okay honey bun. I couldn’t have imagined you going through this all alone. I am glad I am here with you” she said still breathing hard as we got closer to the pit. He dropped the axe so as to hurl us in with his two hands and then, someone jumped out from the shadows and pranced on him, pinning him to the floor. On a second look, I saw it was Derek, he was sweating profusely. Other men wearing bullet proof vests on black shirts started coming out one after the other too. There were five of them.
Francis fought and kicked hard to free himself but Derek seemed to have been stronger than he was. He took out handcuff from his pocket and cuffed him the same way he did to my dad.
Derek: “You are under arrest Francis Umuodiah for the murder of Miss Ahunli Onyejekwe. It will be in your best interest to be silent since anything you say will be used against you in the court of law” he said hurling him up on his feet. His hand was cuffed behind his back.
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