KILLER - Episode 12

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - the court, testified in court against, narrow prison cell, sentenced to thirty five years in jail, armed robbery and murder, inmates of the prison, set this place ablaze during recreation, from palm wine to gulder and star, in the prison cell, wing of the prison.

Maureen opened the window to let in some fresh air. Her apartment was laden with layers of dust. She was just returning to her apartment for the first time since leaving town after leading the police to the cave by the river where Igbokwe was hiding out. She had testified in court against Igbokwe after his arrest. Now, I can start my life all over again, she thought as she looked around and began to clean up.

Anulika walked down the street feeling safe at last. Igbokwe is now in jail. She too had testified against him in court. She stared him in the eye in court and told the court how Igbokwe had asked her best friend Ifunanya to sleep with him and she said yes.  “He killed him,” she said managing to hold back tears. “I went after him knowing that I could die but I was willing to bring him down,” she explained boldly. As she sauntered along Nzekwe Street she was hailed by residents who were grateful to her for her bravery. “Baby Oku!” They hailed her. “Baby with no fear!!!” “The fearless girl!!!” Praises erupted from every corner of the street. It was the same thing when she reached Udi Road and later on Owerri Road. Later in the evening, she lay in bed looking at pictures of herself and Ifunanya. She could not help the tears that ran down her face. “I miss you a lot my dear friend….but I have put that bastard in jail,” she said, talking to the picture.

“I don’t want to live here again, honey,” Joy pleaded with Martin. “I am so afraid at night. I am battling with constant nightmares. I feel like he is in the corner watching me, waiting to pounce on me.” “He is in jail now, my love. Just be patient. Our new home at Trans Ekulu will soon be complete after which we will move over there,” Martin explained gently to her. He held her close to him and stroked her neck.

Enugu Prison
“So, the judge decided to sentence you to a prison term instead of a death sentence?” Maduka asked Igbokwe. Maduka was lying on the lower bunk of his narrow prison cell, while Igbokwe was on the upper bunk. They were just getting to know each other. Maduka was a hardened criminal who was sentenced to thirty five years in jail for armed robbery and murder. He had shot a man in the head for refusing to give up his stash of money. “Yes,” Igbokwe answered, “he thinks I should live and suffer rather than put me to a swift death.” “That judge is a difficult man,” said Maduka. “I like him, actually. If I were dead, I’d not be able to plan my revenge on all those women who gave me away. They looked me in the eye and testified against me in court. That one, Anulika, she cut me badly with a machete. I can’t wait to get my hands around her neck. Maureen, she is a traitor! She led the police to my hideout. And Joy, she thinks she is tough. I will cut her tongue out when I get my hands on her.”  “Well, you are in jail now. How are you going to get your hands on them?”

“I don’t intend to stay here for long. I have to break out of here very soon…somehow.” “That is not easy.” “How can you say that? You are a tough guy. You were feared in the streets when you were out there. You must have some connections. Come on, you should have some belief in your ability. There has to be a way out of here. Don’t you have friends out there that can help us break out?” Maduka pondered Igbokwe’s words for a moment. “It is not going to be easy,” he replied with caution. “I have a plan,” said Igbokwe. “We have to incite the inmates of the prison to start a riot. We will involve the women wing of the prison in the riot as well. I have been told by wardens I will be going over to the women’s wing to do some carpentry work every Monday. I can easily convince them to join us. Imagine it; we can start the biggest riot of all. That is where you come in. You will have your friends waiting for us outside in a getaway car. Once the riot kicks in, we will use the opportunity to get away.”

His eyes were burning with excitement. “It sounds like a perfect plan to me. I have friends who can do the job very well. The challenge is convincing the entire inmates of the prison; both the male and female wings to strike about the same time,” Maduka raised some concern. “Leave that to me. I will make sure the biggest prison riot of all time in the country takes place before they know what is going on.” “Then, we have a plan.” “Great! Once I am out there, I will disappear. I will make sure they never catch me again. I will strike from every corner without being found.”

Three days later
“Emenike, you are a highly respected inmate in this prison,” Igbokwe said, spicing his words with lavish praise. “Things are not right here. They make us work so hard. We make woodwork items, from chairs to tables, stools and couches, yet we get nothing in return. Yes, we are prisoners but we have rights too. We should get a chunk of the proceeds from our hard labor. It is not right…think about it?” Igbokwe began his plan to start a major riot in prison. “Of course I am not pleased about that! I have always said that we should get some money for the work we do here. At least, some of that should go to our families who suffer because of our absence. But, what do we do?” Emenike replied. “Start a riot!” Emenike pondered Igbokwe’s suggestion. “I don’t think we can achieve anything by rioting.” “Yes we can! Think about it; if we set this place ablaze during recreation and begin to tear down the metal fence, the authorities will listen to us. I can get the women involved,” Igbokwe proffered. “We can attack from both sides,” he added.

“I am beginning to buy your idea. They will listen to us for sure, if we shake things up around here. Burn a few items and knock down some structures. If we stay quiet on the other hand, nothing happens. We have to strike!” “Imagine receiving at least, eight hundred naira every few weeks or months for our work and time.” Emenike’s appetite was aroused even more. His big frame stood on a rock beside a small football field where inmates played the beautiful game. There was a big scar across his forehead. It was rumored that he was struck across the face with a machete during a fight when he was younger. He smirked at the thought of making the wardens pay. “Yes, they ought to pay us something for our work and time. I hear that is how it is done abroad,” Emenike concurred with the sweet-talking Igbokwe.

That night, Igbokwe lay happily on his tiny bed that was more hard iron spring than foam. A malicious smirk hugged his face tightly as he envisaged the joy of killing Maureen, Anulika and Joy. I will rape them like a rabid dong and waste their lives in a flash, he thought happily to himself. “So, what do you have against women?” Maduka asked him. The lights were out and a few minutes earlier, Igbokwe had shared with him his discussion with Emenike. “He is highly feared and respected here. He is already mobilizing the boys for the riot. It will start in the cafeteria; one of the few times we can walk around without being chained. We will attack the kitchen staff, grab their knives and go after the closest wardens for their guns,” he explained to Maduka in a low tune. “I can’t wait…I want to leave this place by all means,” Maduka had answered.

“You know, I have hardly talked about this in detail. I once told Maureen, one of the girls I need to take vengeance on that my aunties raped me. I used to do some carpentry work for the police, and I heard of a man by the name Chidoka who had been suspected of killing his own cousins, so I told the stupid girl, Maureen that I had killed my cousins. I wanted them to go after Chidoka in case she was working with the police. I was right and for a while, they went after the poor guy. The truth is that…” Igbokwe paused for a moment. Maduka waited patiently. “It was my mother. After my father died, she took to men and alcohol like bees after nectar. She had to have a man…a different man every night. She would drink herself to stupor and jump into bed with the next available man. They would yell and moan like possessed animals, not minding that a child was next door. Then, one night, for some reason, she failed to bring a man home from her beer parlor. She was very angry when she returned home. She could not wait to start soaking herself in alcohol. She went from palm wine to gulder and star.

“All of a sudden, she staggered into my room, grabbed me and placed her hand over my mouth. She began to yank off my clothes as if she had been possessed by some evil force. I fought hard, but she was too strong for me. She removed my clothes and began to touch me indecently. I cried for help, but she would not even listen. Alcohol and lust had consumed her soul. I felt and experienced things a boy should never go through. Then she dragged me to her room and placed me beside her. She smothered me with her hefty weight while I cried uncontrollably. She slapped me hard, telling me to stop crying.”

He stopped. A wave of anger journeyed across his face. Maduka could not see his face in the dark, but he had heard the anger in his voice. “So, did she do it again?” he asked. “Every day!!! I mean whenever she did not bring a man home. I prayed and cried to God that she’d bring a man home all the time, so I would not have to go through that. As the years went by, I became stronger and was able to fight her off. Then, I ran away from home and lived in the streets for quite some time. I found a man who gave me shelter and put me through carpentry. Some years after, I went back to see her. She could not look me in the eye. I told her it was alright, but some time later, I sneaked into the house at night, placed a hand over her mouth and suffocated her. It was pleasurable to look her in the eye as she gasped for air before she died.” “I can see why you hate women now.” “I hate them so much. I have been wiping them out ever since. Each one I kill reminds me of my terrible mother.” “She was a terrible woman indeed,” Maduka said. “She was evil. I feel no remorse for killing her or any other woman. They are all the same!” Anger swept through him.

Maduka felt the tape recorder in his pocket. It was still running. It had picked up everything Igbokwe had said. He had been carrying it on him for some days now. While everyone in the prison believed he was a killer and a robber, he was actually a policeman working under cover with Oifie to dig more into Igbokwe’s story and past. They knew he’d try to escape, so they had planted Maduka to sift out information from him. Maduka whose real name was John Anumudu had been paced in the prison cell some weeks before Igbokwe was brought in. It had all been arranged so that he and Igbokwe would share the same cell. The next morning, Maduka packaged the recorder and sent it through one of the wardens to Oifie with a note emphasizing that Igbokwe was planning a big jail break the next Wednesday. He collected a new recorder and returned to work, sifting out information from Igbokwe.

On Monday morning, Igbokwe woke up excited. “Are your friends going to be there on Wednesday?” he asked Maduka. “They will be there now if we wanted them to,” he replied confidently. “Great. We’ll take the bushes near the women wing of the prison. I have surveyed the area very well. Once the riot breaks on Wednesday, you and I will grab knives from the kitchen and head out quickly enough. I am talking to the leader of the women today. If they too can join, then the wardens will be overwhelmed. While they try to contain the riot, we will head to the bushes, cut through the barbed wires and jump over the fence to freedom.” “That will be awesome. I will run to Lagos and disappear into the slum of Ajegunle,” Maduka said. “You have friends there?” “Yes.” “I will join you there after I have wiped these terrible women.” “I will make room for you in my friend’s house.”

“Mathilda, this is a great opportunity for us all,” Igbokwe explained to the leader of the women prisoners at Enugu prison. “You make clothes and other items which they sell and keep the money. We make woodwork and the same thing happens. Let’s fight for our right!” he said. Mathilda had met up with him in a carpentry workshop. She was a tall lady with muscles like a man. “I got word from Emenike. I am with you on this,” Mathilda answered. They looked around to make sure they were not being watched. “Come with me, I will show you something,” Mathilda said. “What?” “We, the women have stocked up some weapons for the big riot. We have discussed these things in the past. I am glad that men are finally joining forces with us.”

Igbokwe followed her excitedly. She took him to a back building near the workshop. An armed guard was watching in the distance. They did not do anything suspicious, so he looked away. The small cabin was dark. “What is this place?” Igbokwe asked. “I will show you,” she replied as she flipped on the lights and shut the door. There were at least twelve other hefty women…armed angry looking women. They carried heavy sticks and wooden spoons. “You are all ready to fight for our rights?” he asked elatedly. “No, we are ready to show you what women can do,” one of them answered him. “What?” “You killed several women out there and in here, you want to use us, right? You think we are fools? What makes you think we should work with you?” Mathilda asked. She was no longer friendly.

Igbokwe made a dash for the door but it was too late. One of the women struck him hard in the head. He fell down and tried to rise up, but another blow landed on his head. Then, he was kicked in the stomach, back and thighs. One woman pounced on him and struck him with a big stick between his legs. “I will crush your manhood…that thing that sends you into a mad frenzy; raping and killing women, I am going to crush it!” She yelled. Igbokwe yelled for dear life. More blows landed on him from every corner. Guards heard the commotion and ran in that direction. Just before they got there, Mathilda picked up a big log she had taken out of the carpentry workshop earlier and smashed it into Igbokwe’s head. He fell down on his face with blood dripping out. The women ran out using an exit in the opposite direction to the one she and Igbokwe had come in from.

When the guards arrived, they found Igbokwe lying on the floor. He was rushed to the hospital immediately. The next day word got around that Igbokwe had suffered brain damage in the attack. Weeks later, he was wheeled back into prison on a wheelchair. He had lost most of his cognitive functions. He could hardly think constructively and work by himself. He was ‘vegetable’. “That is it,” said the doctor as he was handed over to the wardens. “He will be like a child for the rest of his life.” “For all he has done and still wanted to do, he is better off a child,” the warden said with a mien frown on his face. Saliva drooled out of his mouth as he was taken to a special section of the prison for the sick. He smiled to no one in particular, attempting to clap and sing, but he could not say anything audible, as more saliva streaked down his face.

Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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KILLER - Episode 12
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - the court, testified in court against, narrow prison cell, sentenced to thirty five years in jail, armed robbery and murder, inmates of the prison, set this place ablaze during recreation, from palm wine to gulder and star, in the prison cell, wing of the prison. An African Literary Blog
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