Posts Tagged ‘Thriller’

TWICE IN A PLACE (Moses Olarotimi)

Posted: February 3, 2015 in Tales
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twice in a place
TWICE IN A PLACE
‪#‎Moses_Olarotimi‬

Somewhere in the rural part of Yola State, the sky was heavy and ready to cry. The trees merry in delight as the wind majestically walked through the terrain.

‘Azizat! Azizat!!’ She called.
‘Yes Mama,’ Azizat answered.

The charcoal stove was in her hand as she made for the door.
Thunder struck the second time. Thought it never hit same place twice, but there on the short wooden stool was Mama Azizat’s lifeless body with two holes. One on the fore head, the other on her left breast, it came through the back window.
“Maa…m…aaaa!” Azizat screamed. She dropped the stove, it fell and the hot coals scattered about.

I had imagined the whole event to play out like that.
It was a sad one to imagine.

“The hut was burnt to ashes…” Said the news-caster.
“Two burnt corpses were found the next morning by some villagers. The young girl, and the woman with two holes. One through the head, the other through the chest. They died while writhing in agony. The thunder struck twice in the same place,” she concluded.
The sight was gory enough as the picture came on the screen, I went to bed without dinner.

On my bed I asked, “what ill had nature with the two helpless villagers? Or was it God’s handy work, Or perhaps just one of those random accidents to curb mortality rate?”
I slept in the hard arms of a million thought.

Moses Olarotimi (Sheyzznote)

‪#‎Talesmen‬

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FINDING CYNTHIA

             by Chris Tilewa and Moses Olarotimi

 

In Komolafe’s arms his dying boss found strength to speak his last words. “Find Cynthia,” he said and tucked a piece of paper into his breast pocket, “she alone is the key!” He drew his last breath. Perplexed, Komolafe held on to the corpse as tears drizzled down his sad face until the police came and arrested him away on the charge of murder. The hands that gripped him were strong and unrelenting. They shoved and tugged at him but his mind was far from him. “Find Cynthia,” that final word, almost a command, took over his thought. But who is Cynthia, how is he to find her, especially now that he would be confined in the custody of the police? But amid the stream of thought an idea came to him like a revelation. And suddenly he halted, startling the policemen. In a swift, sharp move, he managed a firm elbow to the face of the man who was holding his arm and put a foot in the crotch of the second. The blow came so unexpectedly that they lost grip of him. Before they could regain, they saw him running away like a dog with its tail freshly cut.

 

As a chauffeur, Komolafe had been driving his boss for more than seven years; he sure had been closer to him, even more than any of his relatives. He had wondered if his boss ever got married or had a child of his own. No such discussion ever came up between them, and he never summoned the courage to ask even when, on several occasions, he attempted to.

A clue to finding ‘this Cynthia’ and the key to unravel the mystery before him must be in the piece of paper his boss tucked in his breast pocket before he died. He found a spot in a corner at a bar nearby, quietly sat at a table and retrieved the paper, only to meet another shock. He had expected he would find an address, a phone number, or some name that would help find Cynthia. But on the creased sheet of paper which was now held to his face with shaking, sweaty hands, none of such was written; three groups of digits, separated with hyphens, were barely scrawled.

Komolafe arched his brow as he read aloud: “01-10-013”, what could this mean? This is what a dying man leaves to help find his killer? He was tempted to think all of this was a kind of joke, one not funny. The police were after him, and he never remembered his boss, when he was alive, to ever make trivial jokes. Deep inside he was agreeing that this was serious and his only clue was a. . .a date? ‘Yes’, he said reassuringly, “this is nothing but a date”. October first, last year. He sighed and rested back on the plastic chair, trying to figure out where to begin.

 

Of everything the creator blessed Komolafe with was a retentive memory; he has a keen recollection of events and incidents. He ordered a bottle of beer, and as he drank from it ruminated on the events of October 1st, last year. The day had started with an exchange of Independence Day greetings with his boss, and then into the car. They both drove to the office to collect some files, then to the hospital for medical checkup with a doctor who was also friends with his boss. Komolafe was sure none of these places would pose a threat to his boss. He took a gulp to wash down the thought and picked his thinking from where he left it. From the hospital, that day, he drove the boss to see the Bishop of his church, and most of the day was spent there and Komolafe would have to stay for many hours waiting for his boss to emerge as usual from the path leading behind the cathedral; it’s usually a boring outing for him. “Purple!” He screamed, startling those around him. Not caring if anyone stared he drank what’s left of the beer in concurrent gulps, without a second’s pause to take the bottle away from his mouth.

“I must find the lady. Purple, that’s what boss called her that night at the club,” Komolafe thought aloud, and as he made for the door he spotted the two police men, who he had earlier evaded, approaching the same bar. He turned quickly, took the back door, paid the barman and fled.

Purple was a code name Akomolafe’s boss used for a woman Akomolafe, in the real sense of the word, did not ‘know’. Infact, Komolafe didn’t know any woman affiliated with his boss except that in the few times, when he drove his boss to the bishop’s place he, Komolafe noticed, usually walk stealthily, like one who do not want to wake the dogs, towards the quarters behind the cathedral, and returns after a while towards the car with a look of exhaustion and having about him the smile of a sated husband. Settling in the owner’s corner in the car, he’d call at Akomolafe: “remind me to give Purple a call.”

“Yes Sir!” Akomolafe would reply, asking no question. No driver questions his boss, they are meant to take only orders. But Akomolafe was not a fool; he had been observing, taking note. Could Purple be Cynthia? He thought within.

 

Club Seattle was known to accommodate wealthy personnel’s in the state, but being the driver of a prominent philanthropist, Komolafe was allowed in. When he mentioned that his boss had sent him to Purple, the name almost got the security man fidgeting as he opened wide the door allowing Komolafe in, to the welcome of jazz music and a colourful interior.

He wasted no time at all, after enquiring from one of the attendants of Purple’s whereabouts, his hurried steps soon find a stairway, and in two full strides he was on the landing, before a door. There was no sign of movement from inside, so he adjusted himself for composure. He knocked.

“Come in,” came a sweet accented female voice from behind the door; he hesitated and then went in. Komolafe quickly scanned the room; there were five men and a lady he immediately assumed was Purple. “What’s the code?” She asked as she stood up and worked towards him. At that moment, Komolafe knew he was in a deep trouble, he knew nothing of a code or password, “I’m here to see Purple,” he tried to explain, “and Oga Okorocha sent me here”. He noticed her eyes widen at the mention of his boss’ name but she quickly hid it beneath a bland smile, “blow off his brain if he cannot state the code,” she commanded.

“Wait!” Komolafe screamed, fear evident in his eyes. He thought about showing them the crumpled piece of paper in his pocket but thought better of it; if he ever tries to put his hand down into his pocket, they will think he’s reaching out for a weapon. But his good instinct got the better of him and with shot eyes, without knowing exactly what he was saying, he read out the digits he had seen on the paper in one breath. When he opened his eyes, he saw large arms lowering their guns that were once pointed at him. And Purple, with the same bleak expression, ushered him in with a wave of her hand. Purple retrieved a square shaped box that looked like a little coffer from under a stack of wine cartons and handed it to Komolafe.

“Guard it with your life,” she said, “and if the police ever know about this, you are gone. Guys see him out.”

 

All the puzzles and precision surprised Komolafe, did his boss know he was going to die? He sat on the bed staring at the box before him in the hotel room he rented for the night. The box was mechanized to open at the input of the correct combination of alphabets as indicated by the small, glassy screen over the lid. Komolafe tried Okorocha; his boss’s name, but the screen displayed error, he tried purple and some other words and names; the screen still displayed error. He’d even stupidly assumed that the password did not exist.

All hope to unlock the box was abortive, and it seemed the quest had finally come to an end. The thought of living like a fugitive so scared Komolafe; so much that he could no longer fight back the tears that formed in his eyes. “Find Cynthia!” came his boss’ voice again, a whisper to his ear, his eyes ignited. He did a mental count, ”oh!” he said, and quickly pulled the box closer and inputted the words as it displayed on the screen in capital letters: C-Y-N-T-H-I-A. The lid clicked open, the wide smile on Komolafe’s face was nothing short of relief, but he anticipated in his heart with a panic what awaits him in the box.

From inside the box was a pile of documents and a red envelope. On each document were two recurring signatures; Okorocha Patrick and Caleb Bankole. The documents showed a transaction of four billion naira, and of an illegal trade and transport of hard drugs. Beneath the signatures was the date: 01-10-13.

Okorocha had a dysfunction one might call date amnesia; he is forgetful of dates. So to make up for this he likes to appoint significant events like promises, meetings, and business appointments on holidays, dates observed by many. His business deal with Caleb fell on October 1st. Komolafe tried to recall all the places he drove Okorocha that day; from the office to collect some files . . . the hospital? He straightened. ‘The hospital!’

Perhaps this drug documents had something to do with the doctor; he probably has special patients he sells them to; celebrities, or even rich men like his boss. But then he remembered that Okorocha didn’t take the files with him into the hospital building, that the only place he remembered him taking them was to the cathedral. But he didn’t think anything happened in the cathedral that day to contribute to the death. Maybe they were files different from these ones.

So he searched deeper into the box to see what else he could find; Nothing.

Nothing but a red, fancy envelope that looked like one sent between lovers. “Oga had a secret lover?” he wondered, and felt like he was intruding his boss’s private life. But then what life does the dead have that is not lost already? He opened the envelope, and on a small card inside it was written “find Cynthia in the cottage behind God’s temple.” What’s this? Komolafe read again, and the puzzle began to connect in his mind, images reeling through his head; of Okorocha coming towards the car from behind the cathedral with that look of a satisfied husband. . . of the file. . . of his last word ‘find Cynthia’. . .everything pointed to the cathedral. God’s temple.

Komolafe picked up his hotel card and dashed out.

Komolafe had descended the stairs with all thought whirling around the mysterious Cynthia and the sudden misfortune she plagued his world with. He had barely stepped into the reception when he spotted the faces of the same men who had come to arrest him at his boss’ place. How could they have traced him here? He thought. Quickly, he bounded up the stairs back to his room, and shot the door behind him.

He knew he had limited time to figure out what to do, but then, he picked up his pen and wrote a long detailed letter; Explaining the death, the piece of paper, the box, the documents, the red envelope and its message. And he concluded by stating that only she can save him now, and that the police must have had him in custody by the time the letter gets in hands.

“The password for unlocking the box is your name. Please confirm the evidence in the box and bring them along to the police. My life is in your hands; please don’t let my boss die in vain.” Satisfied, he folded the letter and neatly put in the red, fancy envelope, packed the documents back inside the box and locked it. He dialed the intercom for room attendant, and one soon came knocking. Trying to conceal his haste, Komolafe handed the box and the letter to the confused hotel worker, and shoved into his hand an address slip and three notes of a thousand naira, “kindly help deliver this box to this address,” he said pointing to the slip, “please, it is important you do it now.”

The attendant smiled on seeing the money, “Oga, no worry. My shift is ending in twenty minutes; I’ll deliver it on my way home. You don’t have to worry, our job is to make you happy” Komolafe did not wait to hear his happy prattle; he left him, headed down the stairs into the waiting arms of the police in total surrender.

*         *       *

“…you seem to be the only solution to all of this. Please, lives are depending on you.” The nun read the last words in tears. Nothing had happened to Okorocha that she didn’t know of, but the news of his death came as a shock. The memory of their first meeting was still fresh, like it was only hours ago. She was taking a quiet, leisurely walk around the church when she saw him. He sat on the last pew at the back row. That cold night she saw him as a straying man who lacked affection of a family, the warmth of a home of himself. He looked rich but his soul was retched. But that night he poured his heart out to her, and from then on they would become more intimate than with the heart, but also with both their soul and body. He became her first; she was his last–his only Cynthia.

Cynthia changed from her vestments into a black dress, a show of mourning, and she sneaked out of the cathedral. The day was beginning to go to rest but she didn’t mind. All secrets were to be unraveled; she had made the resolution once and finally. She headed to the police.

 

The Bishop sat in meditatively on the front pew, a slim tall man in his sixties. He has a captivating mien and a kind of peace was in his eyes that could tame a beast. So was he, in quiet communion with the angels when Cynthia walked in with uniformed men. As if in a world oblivious of people around him, he said the Lord’s Prayer aloud so that the policemen got disconcerted.

“That is the man you came for,” Cynthia said bitterly, pointing at the Bishop. “He is Caleb.” As if her outburst gave them courage, one of them grabbed Caleb’s arm tentatively. Bishop Caleb rose in all honour, he looked like he was speaking from a trance, that same cold look and resolution with which he’d shot Okorocha.

 

He had gone discretely to Okorocha’s residence to convince him and, if he remained adamant, to make him pay for his sin; he went with a revolver in his garment pocket, and though he was sure he’ll use it, he still inclined more to persuasion. “You can’t back down on me now,” he’d said, “we have to complete building God’s temple.”

“We can find another mean,” said Okorocha. “We can do other business that is not illegal, and I think we have had enough money from drug pushing already. It’s time we stopped.”

“But not enough to reach my goal,” said Caleb, a little louder than usual. He moved closer to look into Okorocha’s eyes with an imploring face. “I have vowed to duplicate King Solomon’s success, I have promised God to single handedly build Him a house. And He saw my heart and decided to help me do it; He ordered your steps into the church that night when you needed money to pay your debt. . . to redeem your life. I saved your life, you owe me, and you can’t back down now.”

Okorocha appeared too tired to continue to argue. “This is crazy, Bishop, God dwells in holy places, not in a house built with ‘crack’ money. I am not going into this sinful business again, and that’s final.”

A heavy moment of silence passed.

“The Lord has justified his chosen,” said bishop finally, pointing a revolver at Okorocha, “they pay with their blood who come against him.”

 

“The Lord justifies his chosen,” said Bishop again, now with an ironic smile as he committed himself to the hands of the uniformed men. He looked at Cynthia without passion and stretched forth his hands to be cuffed. They walked him out of the church, and he never returned

 

 

MOSES OLAROTIMI is just a simple dude who loves writing stories, poetry and anything that comes to mind.

Twitter/IG: @sheyzznote

CHRIS TILEWA is a young Nigerian, a creative writer, social critic, and lover of aesthetics. He writes fictions, poetry and non-fictions. You may want to join him on Facebook: Chris Tilewa, or on Twitter @krislucid.

 

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(5)

There was Christmas light everywhere inside the church and outside too. It was a beautiful sight. The people were so excited as they danced with a little more effort, prayed more vigorously and a lot of them came out to share one testimony or the other. Offering was taken several times; thanksgiving offering, worship offering, end-of-the-year offering, dedication offering and tithe. The offering baskets were full of envelopes with money in them (hopefully).

Iya Zacchaeus danced like never before during the praise and worship session and especially during child dedication session.

Izy wondered what manner of faith that was- dancing even when she had no child of her own. He however joined the people in whatever they did. When they danced, he danced, when they shouted, he shouted, when they kept quiet to listen, he did too. The way of the people amazed him- it was his first time in a church service, though he had slept in churches before.

The most interesting thing about the people was that as soon as the man on the altar started talking, some of them began to doze. Just to think that most of those dozing were actually the ones who danced and shouted the most. Izy could not help but smile- what a funny lot. And there were some people who did not sit when others sat- they went about waking the dozers.

After a while, the people were on their feet shouting and dancing again and suddenly there was a loud shout.

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

Izy looked at the wall clock- 12:00 o’clock midnight.

“Happy New Year!” Izy yelled.

Everybody hugged somebody. Even Izy received few hugs, despite his unclean state. How he wished everyday was a New Year.

 

Hours after church service (2013)

Iya Zacchaeus invited Izy to her house- not to live, but to offer him a chance to feed himself. There was always a New Year party at her house; family house to be precise, so she wanted Izy to help in the chores that they usually had to employ people for. At least that would guarantee food for him for a while after he got his pay.

The cooking started and the air was filled with so much aroma. The women were all talking at once as they cooked, the children were running around squealing and giggling while the men were gathered in a small circle, just talking.

Izy was seated not far from where the women were cooking just in case he was needed for an errand. He had already fetched five big bowls of water from a not-too-far distance.

Suddenly the children ran towards the open gate, into a tall dark man who carried a small bag on his left shoulder.

“Uncle, Uncle!” they screamed.

Iya Zacchaeus walked up to him and hugged him. That was definitely her husband who had come from Jos.

Izy was called upon to get another bowl of water. On his way back he saw Iya Zacchaeus and her husband outside the gate- it seemed like they were quarrelling over something. Izy thought it was too early; not even an hour yet and they were already quarrelling!

He pretended like he did not see them and went in. just as he stepped into the house he heard his name.

“Izy.”

It came from behind him. He turned completely with the bowl of water on his head. It was Iya Zacchaeus.

“Izy, my husband is mad at me because I brought you here. He wants you to leave. I am so sorry.”

Izy was still trying to comprehend the meaning of her words when she continued.

“He does not trust young boys, especially those that are not traceable to anyone, just in the advent of something bad happening. I am sorry dear. But I will give you money for the work done so far.” She said as she brought some notes from her purse and put it into the stunned boy’s pocket. Then she went back out of the gate to her waiting husband.

Izy walked to where the women were cooking to deliver the water to them. He was wondering why, why and why. Why did bad things always take away the good things from him? Why? For a moment there he even thought he was an extension of the big family.

what happened next was inevitable. It happened so fast- he saw the running little girl a second too late. She was running while looking over her head and did not see the boy with the bowl on his head. In a flash there was a collision and since Izy’s mind was roaming, he could not save either the child, the bowl of water or himself.

In a bid to minimize impact of his fall on the child, Izy threw the bowl further from him. Some of the water escaped into the pot of soup that two women just carried to a corner, for safety. As much as he tried, Izy still fell on the little girl- her arm got bruised, her white dress got dirty and her loose tooth fell out, gum bleeding.

BY: DAMILOLA AWOTIDE (OLORI)

#Talesmen

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(4)

Hello hello. Today’s story is dedicated to one of my friends and reader of my blog who was posted to Jos for Youth Service. Safe trip down tomorrow.

Back to our Izy…

Izy ran as fast as he could. He made sure he did not go straight ahead by running through streets- just in case the men changed their minds. He did not stop until he was far away from the ‘crime scene’.

Three hours later (Still New Year’s Eve. 2012)

Since it seemed the two men were not coming after him after all, Izy came out from behind the big tree he was hiding and set to find a place to lay his head for the night. At least a fellow needed a good place to sleep so as to wake up happy the next day- New Year.

The shop owners in this area were now more security conscious as there was not one shop that did not have iron bars properly fixed in the front. This was going to be harder than Izy thought. Is a place to lay too much for a fellow to ask?

After walking a little more distance, he saw a big church that was open. There was light all around the church building and it made the place look beautiful. Izy walked happily towards the church, knowing this was definitely his refuge for the night and thinking how pleasant it was to have to wake up to a new year in a church.

Two women were standing near the church door, contemplating on one issue or the other when one of them sighted the dirty-looking boy moving towards them.

The fatter of the two said, “Iya Zacchaeus, na wa for the kind of people that you see in church for cross-over night services.”

Iya Zacchaeus replied. “I tell you o! See how this dirty riffraff will come into the church and sit beside people like us. All in the name of love your neighbour as yourself.”

They kept quiet as Izy reached them. Though he heard some of their conversation, he did not care; after all it was their mouth and energy.

“Good evening.” He said as he smiled.

Iya Zacchaeus felt a pang of guilt instantly. Look at the boy they were just gossiping about- the way he smiled at them innocently not knowing whatever they said, if ever they even said anything about him.

“Please ma,” he faced the fatter woman. “Can I get a place to sleep here? I am homeless. It’s just for tonight ma.”

The fatter woman only hissed in reply and walked into the church where some people were already seated, some sleeping, all waiting before the service started.

Izy looked at Iya Zacchaeus questioningly.

She held Izy by the hand and took him through the back of the church to where her car was packed. She opened the back seat and brought out a loaf of bread that she had kept for her husband who was still on his way from Jos. She made a mental note to get another loaf from those selling not far from the church. Then she noticed the boy was a bit reluctant and he had this mixed feeling look.

Of course! He had to be reluctant. What sort of niceness was this? What a turnaround! One minute saying bad stuffs about him the next dragging him down here and handing bread to him. Not just bread- a whole loaf!

She then smiled and said, “I can see that you are hungry and tired. Eat this first then I show you where you can sleep.”

What’s the fuss about anyway? Izy thought. He was hungry now that he saw the bread. Might as well just take it and eat to wake up happy in 2013.

“Don’t be afraid boy. I can’t hurt you.”

He took the loaf and started eating as soon as it touched his hands. The kind woman went away for a while and returned with a bottle of water which she handed to him.

“Thank you ma.”

She went away again and came back just as Izy finished the bread. She smiled at him and he smiled back, contentedly.

“I hope you are alright now?”

“Yes ma. Thank you so much. Why are you so kind to me? No one has ever been this nice to me in my entire life.”

This sobered Iya Zacchaeus up a bit. Nicest thing? A loaf of bread and bottle of water?

She smiled again. “I like to be nice to young people so God will bless me too with a young one.”

And right there by her car, Iya Zacchaeus told Izy how she had been married for ten years with no children. And how she was tagged ‘Iya Zacchaeus’ since the day she taught about Zaccheus in the Bible during one of their Bible study sessions. She also learnt that Izy did not know his parents, but that he was told by the woman who brought him up that his mother left him with her, said she just wanted to buy something at the market but never returned. So he ran away at the age of ten when he could not bear the cruelty of the woman and her children anymore.

Then the bell was rung inside the church to announce the start of the cross over service for 2012/2013.

 

BY: AWOTIDE DAMILOLA (Olori)

#TALESMEN