****

****

    “Your friends are not back?” Pemisire asked Richard as she entered into Richard’s place again.

    “They are not, who prays for their arrival in the next twenty minutes? We have to get this one done before their arrival.” He stood up gently.

    “I hope the pains have subsided.” She said.

    “Yes, thanks.” He collected the attache case and walked into the house.

    Richard returned after few minutes. “Trust me, it is safe.” He smiled.

    “I do, though no one is to be trusted.” She smiled.

    Richard chuckled softly and laid down again. “But, you should know me, if I lay my hands on that man..” He hissed.

    Pemisire laughed. “What will you do?” The man wil just fling you away.” She continued laughing.

    “But whenever I am totally annoyed, I can devour a person!” He laughed.

    “I have to leave now, it is getting late. Say me well to your friends.” She stood up.

    “Ladies!” Richard shook his head and smiled.

    “What again?” Pemisire laughed.

    “I am sure if what you just said is to be written down, it won’t have a comma, not even a full stop.”

     Both laughed.

    “I really want to return as quick as possible. I am just getting familiar with Ibadan.” She smiled.

    “What is the name of your friend?” He asked.

    “Helen.” She replied.

    “Say me well to her and thanks so much, I’ll be forever grateful.” He waved.

    Pemisire waved back, not knowing it might be the last time of waving to him, a man’s destiny.

*****

    “You didn’t act well.” Helen accused Pemisire as she entered into the house.

    “See, Helen, I have to pray to God. I mean a serious one for him to protect me for the two nights I am still going to spend here. In fact, when I leave, you have to leave this place too!” She said, sprawling on the bed.

    “Why would I leave? You should be patient! Who told you that wasn’t Michael? His voice might have changed.” She said.

    “What voice? Have you forgotten he is into music? He inspired me! We have spoken many times until I lost his contact when he left for Ghana.” She replied.

    “So, Richard has found you a new place to live, right?” She asked.

    “See, Helen, I don’t want this to cause a fight or disagreement between us. I know you before i got to know that guy called Richard. You are the greatest person that can keep my secret that is why you are my first suspect when it comes to Lawrence and his guys. They might have found your contact! Who knows if they have been spying since you sent them the address? You have to know this too.”

    “I am just thinking straight. It is true! I will have to call our so-called Michael tomorrow to ask him some questions if he would get it.”

    “You should have done that even before now! You should have asked him!”

    “I believe all is well. Lawrence and his foolish guys will all die!” She hissed.

    “I am hungry.” She sat up.

    “I thought your husband should have given you food.” Helen chuckled.

    Pemisire laughed.

****

    WEDNESDAY MORNING.

    It was six am, Helen had been woken by her alarm clock and Pemisire likewise. Both were getting set to start preparing for their outings that day when they heard soft knocks at the door. They glanced at each other and faced the door, none of them was expecting a visitor that early morning. “Who is there?”Helen stood to get the door, putting on her slippers.

    “T.j” The male voice replied.

    “T.j?” Helen hissed and opened the door for the guy, hoping to see the real T.j as said but not the T.j she knew. “Please who are you?” She asked.

    “Ssh..”The guy held his lips for a moment before some other guys came in and locked up the door.

    “Where are the documents?” A husky voice spoke from behind.

    “Documents?” Pemsire muttered under her breath and scratched her head gently. That was what she had presumed, she could see it coming her way already. This is death. She kept saying until another voice thundered. “Where are they?”

    The two ladies maintained their taciturnity for a moment until the guys started their ultimate search and found nothing like the attache case, not to talk of the documents in it. The room had been made topsy-turvy in short time. “Get everything done.” One of them commanded.

    The deed was done instantly.

****

    “The planned place, boss.” One of Lawrence’s guys said on call before he ended the call.

    It was some minutes to seven am, they have gotten to the uncompleted building planned to be used for their evil operation. “Just tie the ladies.” One of the guys said, picking his seat.

    “What did the boss say?” They all started discussing between each other as some of them got Helen and Pemisire tied up to the pillars where they were, expecting Lawrence then.

    Few minutes after Helen and Pemisire were tied up, Lawrence appeared in his native and gold-rimmed glasses. “How far about them?” He asked as he came in.

    “They have refused to talk, we searched the whole room but there was no document in there.” They explained.

     “One thing is just that did you do everything as planned? I hope there was no trace!” He said, moving closer to Pemisire and Helen.

    “Yes boss. I said it, I said I heard it when one guy was knocking at a door in that house yesterday and was calling T.j” One of them spoke.

    “So you guys eventually used T.j?” He grinned.

    “Yes Boss.” They chorused.

    Lawrence laughed. “Where is the attache case?” He approached the ladies.

    Pemisire kept staring at him, breathing heavily. Helen was downcast, she couldn’t speak too.”

    “Are you deaf?!” He pulled Pemisire’s head up by pulling her hair wickedly.

    Pemisire groaned. “She knows nothing about it, you should leave my friend.” She said.

    Lawrence laughed. “Are you mad?” He frowned and released her hair. “If you refuse to tell me where you put the documents, I am going to send you to…”

    Pemisire interrupted. “Do I look I care too? I wish to die too, IO wish to see my twin sister! Death is something I am not afraid of, I am not scared and not moved to an inch!”

    Another hot slap landed on her cheek. “Do you think you’ve started suffering? This place has been secured, don’t think you can run away,you will suffer till you die if you fail to tell me the reality.”

    “Everyone will still die, the time is just different! You killed your best friend, you killed my innocent twin sister, you destroyed my joy and peace, what else should I be afraid of?”

    Lawrence laughed again. “I see that you don’t fear death but do you know death is better than some treatments sometime?” He questioned her.

    “Pemisire…” Helen called her name.

    “Don’t speak there!” She shouted.

    “Let me talk…”

    “You can’t talk here, what’s your problem?” Pemisire shouted at her

    “Do you want me to die? I am afraid of death.” She said softly.

    “That is a good thing. If this.. I think you are the Helen, if you wish to talk, don’t worry you will be freed.” He said moving toward her.

    “I don’t know..” She said as Lawrence stood before her.

    “Do you think we are  here to play? See guys, if they refuse to talk, torture them!” He commanded.

   “Yes boss.”

    “I’ll be leaving in a moment, when it is 12pm and none of them fail to tell you, kill the two, to hell with you!” He turned back indignantly.

    “Now, where are the documents?” The guys swum them like bees.

    “Kill me! Even if she tells you where the document is, she doesn’t know the actual place. Kill me!” Pemisire said.

    “Is this one insane? I can shoot you!” He said and pulled out a gun.

    “Do you think that is a new thing? How did you terminate my parent’s lives? Either you kill me or excruciate me, I’ll still keep my secret to myself.”

    “This girl is seeming too bold for her age, I don’t have time for any nonsense, is she mad?” One of the came closer and slapped her again.

    In no time, the guys started their work of beating them up so as to tell them where the documents are. After some minutes of torture, they stopped to ask them where the documents were. Then, Pemisire was focused on because she was the one who knew the nook and cranny of the documents. She had started bleeding, the guys didn’t pity the lady in them, they didn’t act as if they were beating ladies up until they were satisfied.

    “No!” Pemisire said as she was pouring out blood from her mouth. She glanced at Helen and still smiled in her problem. “If it is my destiny to die, I know I will.” She said.

    “Why has she been adamant? You don’t fear death? You don’t care?” One of them said, laughing slightly. “Where are the documents?” He asked her again.

    “How many times do you want me to tell you?”

    “I pity no man! If not for the Boss’ command, I’d have killed you. I am waiting for twelve pm before i send you to your grave.”

****

    “I have cooked rice for you, it has been packaged on the dining, make sure you eat!” Uche told Richard as he sat beside him.

    He looked into his eyes and saw that he had been crying. He sighed and scratched his head. “Richard, did you sleep at all?” He asked him.

    He was mute as he picked up the best of his sister’s photograph and stared at it again. “Go to your place of work, I will eat my food.” He told him.

    “Can you do me a favour by giving me this picture with you?”

    Richard gave him. “Do you think I still don’t have a whole lot? I thank God she wasn’t inflicted with a disease people would have been running away from her, I thank God she didn’t go crazy before her death. Thank God for her kind of death, even though there were pains.”

    Uche smiled. “I don’t know where God sent that lady from, I am sure she did all these to you! If not, you’d be abusing God.”

    “I don’t have a choice.” He smiled faintly. “Go to work now before the Director threatens you.” He patted Uche.

    “Okay, bye.” Uche grinned and walked out.”

****

10AM.

    “Have they told you?” Lawrence stormed in again.

    “No boss.” They echoed.

    Lawrence became frustrated. “Are you mad?!” He yelled, breathing heavily.

    “Don’t spare them! We will waste them if they can’t offer anything!”

    “Boss when are we going?” One of the guys asked.

    “I even almost missed my way the other time, this their Ibadan is annoying. How can they be calling a place Iwo road when and it is far from this our Ogo Oluwa Estate. We will leave when we finish killing them.”

    “I am strict with time, you have less than two hours to die!” One of them announced.

******

    11AM.

    “Just an hour to go!” One of the guys proclaimed.

    Helen glanced at Pemisire and smiles slightly. “We are going to die for real, Pemisire.” She said.

    “I don’t think I have a choice, you are the one that still have a choice. Tell them the truth but they can’t get Richard.” She replied.

    “Really?” She asked.

    “No! I see no possibility of you being released because you’ve known their secret now.” She said.

    “See, that’s exactly what I have been thinking too. I caused it all, if you die, we should go along.”

    “I wish a miracle can happen, I wish someone should just appear and set us free.”

    “What are you saying? Planning to run away?” A guy approached them.

    Pemisire hissed. “I don’t care.” She said.

    “Talk back you can, your life is about to end, anyways.” He laughed monstrously.

    Pemisire smiled.

    “Have they talked?” Lawrence came in again.

    The other guys came of the small place where they have been, to meet their boss. “None.” One said.

    “Alright, since morning! I see that you really wish to die but I won’t hesitate to kill you. I got some slow and painful ways to die, you will soon tell me the truth.” He moved closer.

    “What is it sir?” One of the guys asked.

    “Untie them! I am sure they will confess now.” He smiled.

    The two ladies were untied. Pemisire was very tired, she stood at the same spot and looked backward, it was an opening that had not be closed. She could see a big soak-away down there and quickly raised up her head.

    “Go and get me the kegs of water and buckets at the back of my car.” He told his guys.

    The guys were going when they heard multiple voices. “Freeze!”

    Lawrence looked back instantly and saw five armed policemen coming toward them. He brought out the gun with him instantly and rushed to meet Pemisire as his hostage. He held her by the neck and pointed the gun to her head. “If you shoot, she dies!” He shouted.

    Just then, Richard walked up and joined the policemen. “Pemisire!” He shouted her name.

    “I repeat, if you try to move closer, she dies!”

    The policemen stood firmly too and still pointed the gun at him. Suddenly a gunshot was heard.

——-

    “Pemisire!” Richard shouted shivering already, but Lawrence fell.

    His eyes widened as Lawrence was trying to fall and pushed Pemisire away. It seemed he had been shot by the Policemen that were downstairs, behind him. Pemisire lost control due to the gunshot and the push and fell too, just down the building to the open soak-away she saw ealier.

    Just then, they all heard a splash. Richard ran to the place and saw that it was a soak-away that was there. “Pemisire!” He shouted as he ran back. “It seemed she fell inside the soak-away.” He shouted.

    The policemen stood firmly, still pointing the guns at the remaining guys when Richard rushed down the stairs to go and check. He got there and didn’t meet the policemen that shot. He kept staring at the big soak-away filled to the brim and tears rolled down his cheeks. “Pemisire!” He screamed.

    “Pemisire!” Helen too screamed as she ran downstairs to meet Richard.

    Then, the policemen downstairs that had gone into hiding, after shooting Lawrence came out. “We heard a splash, how can we get her out now? Soak-aways are usually deep, she must have reached down there.”

    “No-o-o-o!!” Richard screamed and seated on the floor.

    “We must go together!” He rushed up.

    The policemen got hold of him instantly, then Lawrence’s guys were matched downstairs and Lawrence that was shot by his leg. He was still alive.

*****

 

    Richard had broken down in tears, he raised up his head to question God as usual when he saw Pemisire hanging on to a wood that came out from the house. It was a long wood and another one, near it and both placed side by side. A wooden platform was on the two woods which the bricklayers can stay on, while plastering the house.

    He could see some blocks on the the wooden platform as well, he rushed up as he screamed her name. “Pemisire! That is her!” He rushed up, and the policemen also. Some stood downstairs, near the soak-away in case anything happens again.

    Richard neglected his wound and stretch forth his hand to help her. He could see her tired and bleeding already. “Let us help.” The policemen said.

    “No, I’ll do it myself.” He said, staying near the extreme where he could also fall. “Bring your hand.” He said, breathing heavily because of his race to the place. He grabbed her right hand at last but had little strength to pull her up. “Try harder.” Helen kept saying from behind.

    The policemen joined for help, it was a very risky place for them all. Pemisire was pulled back to the upper floor as she laid on the floor and Richard laid on the floor likewise, placing his hand on the stitched wound and crying. He stretched his left hand forward to hold Pemisire and Pemisire likewise. Both held their hands, and the other policemen who stood near the soak-away rushed up too.

    “So, how far?” One of the policemen asked the others.

    “She is fine, the blocks on the platform must have fallen instead the soak-away, she wasn’t the one.” One of them replied.

    “Wao! If not for the wood that was there, but it is rare for her to have clung on to the wood that came out from the house. Thank God.”

    “That man is a bastard!” They all kept talking until the carried the two, heading to the hospital.

****

    It had been a thing of concern to Helen on how Richard got to know they were there. She was dying to ask but the situation on ground had kept her mute, though unstable. She could pay anything to know how he got to know, it was still like a dream as she kept remembering that scene where the policemen came in.

    She was also on her hospital bed, receiving treatment from the shock and beatings from the guy. She kept praying for everything to work out well so she could see Richard and ask him how he got to know.

    It was more than a dream.

****

    “Richard!” Jay called him, looking so serious.

    “Guy!” Richard smiled.

    “How are you now?” Uche and Jay approached him.

    “It was deadly! Those guys were serious.” He sighed.

    Jay smiled. “I heard the lady is Pemisire. How is she?” He asked.

    Richard laughed. “She’s Pemisire and she is fine.” He replied.

    “Nawa oh, some people are really insane in this world oh!” Uche blurted.

    Richard snifled. “Guys, it was serious!” He grinned as he remembered the scene again.

    “So, the wound was affected, right?” Jay asked.

    “Yes, but it is better than lossing her to an open soak-away.” He chuckled. “I feel like returning back to that hospital where the operation was done, Doctor Martins will understand better.”

    “Maybe we should return back to the hospital, we told the boss about all that happened and he said you should return when you are fit.” Jay told him.

    “Na to on my own automatic answer wey dey my phone oh, that thing saved these ladies!” Uche clapped his hands together.

    “It’s the work of God! He is awesome!” Richard laughed.

*****

RICHARD

    The dream started by by seeing her, I saw her skin on fire. She was screaming and weeping all along. I saw myself seated in the drainage system, crying also with the look of a mad man. I saw tattered clothes on myself, dirty hair with the full resemblance of a person who has gone totally crazy.

    I saw my friends all running away from me, everyone that I know was deserting me. Doctors left my sister alone in the agony because her sickness was uncontrollable, world was crashing around me. I saw mself in that problem for ten years before my sister later died, then I woke up and saw Pemisire, Helen, Uche and Jay by my side.

****

    “That is exactly what might have happened to you if she didn’t die.” Pemisire told Richard.

    “What do you mean? I don’t understand.” He faced her properly, he wanted to know more from her.

    “I am serious, Richard. You questioned God, wanting to know why your sister died that soon, it means if God had protracted her number of days, everything would have turn around to become that.” She explained.

    “Wao! Pemisire, God is marvellous! I never thought to that extent. I really asked him why he did all he has done, now I believe when someone dies, you should still be thanking God.” He sighed.

    “Yes! You can’t tell the disastrous thing that might have happened to that person in the next minute. In all things, even difficult situations, give thanks.” Pemisire smiled.

    “You are great! How’s your leg?” He asked her.

    “Better, it wasn’t an easy thing to hage hit it on the block. Lawrence is in God’s hands.” She grinned.

    Richard smiled. “Don’t throw that your mobile phone away, it’s the best ever!”

    Both laughed.

****

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