PLAYING THE PLAYER - Episode 16

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - the poison, It was a race against time, kill a number of people in his village, They kissed a bit more, Matthew’s phone rang sometimes, phone, his soldier friends, the address, the apartment, the shrine, Lekki, The doctors, poisoned, our daughter, blood.


“Actually, there is a problem,” Wale answered Folashade. “What? He didn’t take the poison?” She asked lowering her voice. “I think there has been a mix-up.” “What do you mean?” “I…I…I made the tea and the DPO sent me on an errand, so I left the tea on the table in the lobby.” “So?” “I think you may have drunk the poisoned tea.” “What?” “I…I left it there but the cleaner did not want to waste it so she looked for someone to hand the tea,” Wale explained. There was a quiver to his voice as he spoke. He had seen the potent poison kill a number of people in his village. His late grandfather was a feared traditional medicine man and Wale picked up a number of things from him. As soon as Folashade had convinced him, he knew where to go to get a lethal poison for the job. He knew that within the next few hours, Folashade’s liver and kidneys would be under a violent onslaught by the poison.

“Am I going to die?” She asked fearfully. “I think so,” he replied. “You mean there is no antidote for the poison?” “I am not aware of any. I’d have to make some calls, but before your parents get here, I doubt that we have enough time to get you out of here to administer an antidote…that is, if one exists.” “What are you waiting for? Make the calls now. How can you do this to me?” Her voice was breaking up. She began to sweat as fear ravaged her. Wale got on the phone and began to make calls.

“Are you okay?” One of Folashade’s cell mates asked. She was lying sullenly on her skinny mattress.  She had been sniffing and crying since finding out that the poison she had intended for Azubuike was now sitting in her stomach. “I am fine,” she replied unconvincingly. An hour later, her parents arrived at the station, paid her bail fee and took her away. Wale could not bear to see her leave. He walked out of the station, loitering the streets. He was unable to look her in the eye while she left the station.

“I need to see a doctor,” she told her parents as soon as they left the station. “You are not feeling well?” her father asked. “Yes, I am not,” she lied. Reluctantly, her parents took her to the hospital. She told the doctor in confidence that she thought she may have been poisoned in detention, without divulging further detail. The doctor placed her under a number of medications targeted at flushing out any poisons that might be lurking in her body. Her heart was pounding violently in fear. She lay still on the bed while a drip line trickled slowly into her bloodstream. She prayed with all her heart and soul. Two more hours later, she began to feel pain in her stomach. Another hour later, the pain intensified and spread to her chest. Doctors worked frantically to save her life. It was a race against time!

Caitlin and Chisom kissed each other with burning passion. He had missed her miserably. Since meeting her at the train station, they had been seeing each other cautiously. “Kiss me as if there was no tomorrow,” Caitlin said to him. “Of course there is no tomorrow for me without you,” he relied with a smile as he grabbed her more closely. Their lips met and then locked in a fierce kiss – eyes shot, hands grabbing and tongues wading and marauding each other’s mouth with intense desire for more. “Please, never leave me again,” he said to her. “I will never leave you again, Chisom. The first time was a mistake. I guess you have to lose what you have to really appreciate how much it means to you.” “I never really gave up on you. I waited, prayed and hoped that you’d come back somehow. I loved you far too much too just let go.” “I am glad you did not let go, Chisom.” They kissed a bit more, giggling and holding each other happily.

Azubuike rang Matthew’s phone number one more time, but there was no answer. He had been trying to reach him for some days without luck. He was missing James and wanted to see him, so he rang him up to ask if he could visit. Matthew’s phone rang sometimes but there was no answer. At other times, it did not ring at all, suggesting that his phone was turned off. He picked up the address Matthew had given him and then got in his car and headed for the address. On his way, he rang up one of his soldier friends and asked if he could come with him. His friend, Madubuko agreed. Madubuko brought Oghenekaro a friend and colleague with him.

When they reached the address in Apapa, there was no one home. Azubuike got the hunch that something was wrong. Why is Matthew avoiding my call? He wondered. There was a chubby woman sitting next door to Matthew’s apartment. Azubuike walked up to her and asked. “Please I am looking for Matthew and his mother, the occupants of the apartment next to yours,” Azubuike said pointing to the locked door to Matthew’s apartment. “They must have gone to their evil shrine,” the woman answered. She was dark in complexion with a facial mark. The look on her face indicated that she did not get along with Matthew and his mother. “What shrine are you talking about?” “If you knew them well, then you would have known that Matthew’s mother is a prophetess for a cult that she likes to call a church.” “I see,” Azubuike answered diplomatically. “So, do you know where they are now?” “I don’t know, but I can stake my life on it that they have gone to their shrine on Lekki Island. They left not long ago carrying that poor baby who was crying profusely.” “What baby?” “What baby?” “They have been keeping a little boy in their apartment. Their story is that the baby is the child of their relative who could not travel with a child. My guess is that they have gone to kill that child for blood money.  I have heard all sorts of things about them. With my window next to theirs, I hear all sorts of things,” the woman explained generously.

“Do you know where their shrine is?” Azubuike was beginning to panic. “I don’t but I know a few people who do. If you wait a few minutes, I will fetch someone to help you with that.” The woman yelled a few names and soon, three young boys appeared. They wore no shirts. Clearly, they had been playing football on the street. The woman asked if they knew where Matthew and his mother went to on the Island. One of them knew the spot, but there was no specific address. “Can you go with us to show me the place?” Azubuike asked. He was getting separate. “Yes, I can do that,” he answered. Azubuike introduced his military friends to the woman and bystanders to assure them that the young man who had volunteered to take him to the shrine in Lekki was in safe hands. They got in Azubuike’s jeep and sped towards Lekki.

“Ayoo!!!” Folashade let out a soul-piercing yell. Despite the best efforts of doctors and nurses, her condition deteriorated. She clutched her chest and abdomen at the same time as pains ravaged her body. Almost instantaneously, she began to vomit. With every vomit she passed out, blood gushed out of her mouth. The doctors were utterly dumbfounded. They studied and brainstormed in a desperate attempt to find a lasting solution to Folashade’s ailment. “I will sue the police if my daughter dies,” Folashade’s father threatened. He watched helplessly as Folashade cried in excruciating pain. “I wonder what they gave her before releasing her to us. “That Azubuike of a boy must have a hand in this. I think they poisoned her and quickly handed her over to us,” her mother rationalized. As their ideas ran wild, Folashade pains deepened.

“What is the problem, doctor?” her father asked one of the doctors. “We think she may have been poisoned,” he replied. “Poisoned?” her mother queried. “Yes. She too told us that she had eaten something that was tainted with poison while in detention.” “Call a lawyer, Siji,” Folashade’s mother said to her husband. “They poisoned her and released her to us. They must pay for this!” she said hysterically. “What sort of poison is this? Can’t you do something to save our daughter,” her father continued to pose more questions to the medical doctor. “We don’t know yet, but clearly, her liver is failing rapidly.” “Can I donate a new liver to her?” her mother asked. “We have to stabilize her first before we can pursue that option,” said the doctor. In the meantime, another massive ball of thick blood gushed out of Folashade’s mouth. Her body was failing quickly. Pains ravaged her entire body.

Azubuike, his military friends and the young boy from Apapa (and his parents who had joined the party in a taxi) walked the length of Lekki beach looking for Matthew, his mother and James. They listened carefully, flashing torchlights in all directions as they searched for any sign of life. “Are you sure this is the place?” Azubuike asked the boy. “Yes, I have helped them move a bunch of items to the area in the past.” “Okay, let’s fan out in different directions,” Azubuike suggested. He and Madubuko went east while the rest of the team went westwards. After nearly half an hour, Azubuike heard voices. It was as though the voices were being carried by ocean breeze. “Can you hear that?” Azubuike said. “Yes, I hear male and female voices. They stopped to listen hard. It was hard to make out where the voices were coming from, exactly. After a frantic search for another fifteen minutes, they were able to figure out that the voices emanated from behind a giant rock that was a short distance from shore.

Without thinking of it, Azubuike got in the water and walked towards the rock. Madubuko followed him. Waves crashed rhythmically onto shore before heading back to sea. They walked briskly under the gaze of a full moon. “Irediula, we have come before you with a pure sacrifice from my lineage,” the voice of Matthew’s mother voice rang out in the quiet of the night. She held James in her hands. He had been stripped naked, so he shivered and cried as the cold ocean breeze battered his poor, young body. “Tonight, we offer up a sacrifice with my blood running in its veins. My son Matthew and I stand with our most loyal worshipers to seal this agreement with you. After the shedding of this blood; lack, poverty, sickness and ill health will vanish from our lineage for good. Fill your children with wealth – abundant wealth. Here it is, Irediula,” Matthew’s mother concluded. She laid James on a makeshift altar. He cried violently at the discomfort of the experience. “Hand me that knife,” she suggested. Matthew gave her a knife. She looked in the sky and then down at the ocean around them. Carefully, he reached for James’ neck with one hand, lifted the knife in the sky and then lowered it back down again. This time, he brought the knife towards the neck of a helpless James who cried in a subdued tone.

STORY CONTINUES... CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 17

Written by:
Victor Chinoo

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Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog: PLAYING THE PLAYER - Episode 16
PLAYING THE PLAYER - Episode 16
Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - the poison, It was a race against time, kill a number of people in his village, They kissed a bit more, Matthew’s phone rang sometimes, phone, his soldier friends, the address, the apartment, the shrine, Lekki, The doctors, poisoned, our daughter, blood.
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