LIGHTHOUSE - Episode 7

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Nigeria's Leading Fictional Story Blog - Wrap, Juju, Love, Egyptian Kingdom, British Steam Engine, I still love you, gun, girl

“Thank you very much, Nneka,” Chidera said enthusiastically. “That is what friends are for, Dera. Just don’t keep things from me. We are best friends, okay?” “Yes…yes, we are,” Chidera replied managing a feeble smile. Does it matter if I told you? Chidera thought. After all, you can see whatever you want to see. I wonder how many of my things you have already collected and stocked-piled with Isiguzo, the native doctor, so you can watch every of my steps, Chidera continued to analyze her relationship with Nneka. They were riding back to Awka from a trip to Isiguzo’s shrine. He had recharged Chidera’s wrap to make sure that Emeka remained in a long, deep metal and emotional trance. Nneka’s driver steered the car into the massive compound belonging to Nneka’s husband. “I will have to drive back to Enugu right away,” Chidera announced. “What for? Relax baby girl! We hardly hang out these days. Spend a few more hours with me. Enugu is less than an hour away!” Nneka coaxed Chidera to stay a bit longer. 

“I would love to stay Nne, but you know it is not safe at night. Robbers attack people on the Enugu-Awka expressway at night. Besides, I want to go home and stow this thing away before Emeka snaps out of his trance again,” she teased. “You are right. Okay dear, I hope to see you soon then.” “Sure, I will come by in a few weeks. We can spend a weekend together.” “That will be fabulous, Dera.” “I promise, I will do it.” “Good. I will hold you by your word!” Nneka said emphatically, holding her right ear in an effort to drive home her point. “I have not bought my wedding gown yet…Haba! I need you to help me pick one out.” “That is true by the way. We are getting closer to the ‘D’ day. What of ashebis for the traditional wedding? “I am still looking at a few names and outfits. We really need to spend time together.” “Then visit us, Dera. You know with a child at home, it is harder for me to travel now.” “I will visit soon, Nne. I promise you that.” Chidera entered her car, turned the engine on and hit the road as Nneka waved her goodbye. 

“Doctor what is going on?” Ifunanya’s father asked anxiously. Umunna stood behind him, while Ifunanya’s mother was to his right. “We think she will make it. One of the young men, Arinze died before we could operate on him. Your daughter is riddled with injuries, but we expect her to pull through,” the doctor explained calmly. He was a young doctor in his mid-thirties. His demeanor smacked of confidence. “Praise God!!!” Ifunanya’s mother bellowed. Umunna was in tears – tears of sheer relief. “Thank you doctor,” Ifunanya’s father said effusively to the doctor. Umunna clasped his palms in a prayer position, thanking God for Ifunanya’s life.

“Madam, what can I do for you?” The macho looking young man asked Chidera. He wore dark goggles that masked his eyes. His head was covered in long dreadlocks that looked like they had not been washed in months. Chidera could smell his hair and it almost reeked of dead rat. On his right chin was a big scar. He chewed gum annoyingly, jamming his teeth with brute force. “I was referred to you reliably. I have a job for you.” “That is what I am here for,” the man replied, removing his dark goggles. His eyes were deep red…cold and scary. He starred coldly at Chidera as he attempted to light a roll of Indian hemp (marijuana). “Please, could you not smoke that now?” Chidera requested. “I don’t like being told what to do,” he replied with a frown. “Please, I am only begging you. I don’t want to smell like marijuana when I get home.” “So what is it you want me to do for you?” 

“There is someone I need you to…” she stalled, staring at the man who stared back, waiting for the completion of her sentence. “You know what I mean,” she said instead. “You mean to waste someone for you?” He asked. “Yes…something like that.” “How do you want it done?” “I don’t care how you do it, just get it done.” “Who is it?” “You don’t have to know. Here is her picture. Her address is on the flipside of the picture. If you do the job well, I have another job you can do for me too.” “Woman, you don’t like a lot of people,” the hired killer said as he scrutinized the picture for a moment. Why do you want her wasted?” He asked. “She has far too much on me…she is becoming too controlling. I hate to be controlled by anyone. It is a long story. Just do the job and walk away with your money…that’s all.” “The address is in Awka,” he pointed out. “Yes.” “You will have to pay a bit more. I have to spend some time in a hotel studying her routine to determine the best time to strike.” “How much?” He pondered her question for a moment. 

“I will do it for two hundred.” “I will give you one fifty,” Chidera countered. Again, he pondered her answer. “Make it one hundred and eighty thousand.” “I will give you one hundred and sixty. That is my last offer. You will get seventy thousand tomorrow and the rest when the job is done. Remember, I have another job for you after this one.” “Okay, I will do it.” ‘Good. She is a dangerous girl,” Chidera pointed out. “What do you mean? Does she have police security around the clock?” “Worse than that. She is into juju (voodoo), a lot. She has insane powers. Be careful how you approach her. You cannot waste too much time planning the strike. You have to do in the next four days; otherwise, her powers may reveal to her that someone is after her. You can’t fail me because I know she will come after me if you fail.” “Forget about her juju powers. Juju no dey fear gun? I will blow her and her juju away!!!” He bragged. 

Five days later…
Ifunanya opened her eyes slowly. She squinted as the sun streamed into her eyes through the open window. Umunna rushed to her. “Ify, you have finally come around,” he said elatedly. He sat beside her, holding her hand. After a few minutes, her eyes adapted to the sun. She looked at him. “What happened? Where am I?” She asked. Umunna began to narrate the events of the past week to her. Slowly, she remembered having dressed up and leaving for the night club. By now, Amagu, Agunna and Ifeanyi who had come through earlier had confessed their plan to sacrifice Ifunanya following a not so ‘friendly’ police interrogation. 

“They were going to kill me?” She asked through a stream of tears. “Yes, Ify.” She looked away. She suddenly felt ashamed of her lifestyle. “Ify, I want you to know that I have been watching you…not in a bad way. I have followed you to the clubs, watching from a distance, ready to defend and protect you. I have seen you walk home with an uncountable number of men, yet I still love you. I have seen you drunk and unaware of whom you were going home with, yet I still love you. I have seen you reduce yourself to the dreg of society, consorting with hoodlums, cheats and married men who prowl around for young girls to toy with, yet I still love you. I have watched you from a distance as you fill your poor lungs with cigarette smoke, dressed like a prostitute and begging men to take you home and use you…yet I still love you, Ifunanya. 

“Each time I watched you jump upon a bike drunk, or into a car, throwing your life away with no self-dignity, tears of sorrow and indescribable pains ravaged my poor heart. I follow you…I have followed you knowing that the one on the bike or in car heading away from some dirty night club was the one I loved and still love with all my heart. I wish I knew what you want…at least; I would try to offer it. I have seen you drop as low as a pig, drinking from the gutters, yet my heart won’t let go of you. For how long are you going to do this to yourself? For how long are you going to turn down my love and desire to care for you? I may not be rich, Ifunanya, but my heart is filled with immense love; larger than riches of the ancient Egyptian kingdom. Words…words my dear cannot explain how I feel about you.

“I have placed my life on the line in my desire to protect you. I have rode on the highway in the dead of night, not knowing where I was going…simply following the one I love so dearly who was following strange men, not knowing where she was going. Yes, I may not be as good looking as Emeka or the other guys you fancy, but the beauty of my heart, Ifunanya…the depth of my love for you outstrips any looks you could ever find in a man. Just walk with me. I will help you heal. You deserve better. You are still a beautiful and wonderful person deep within. Let me love you my dear…please, one day at a time.” Umunna paused, staring piercingly at her. She turned her tear-filled face at him. She knew he had spoken the truth. 

“Please love, I do not condemn you. I needed to point those things out. Most of all, I am dying to love you with all my heart,” Umunna added. “Love is weird. They say love is a choice, and I think that is true…but not always. Sometimes, you just can’t help yourself. My head asks me to walk away from you, and believe me, I have tried. On the other hand, my heart is glued to you. Try as I might to forget you, but my heart won’t stop loving you. If it were my choice, I would have walked away from you long ago, but you see, my heart is with you…always, Ifunanya. I have shed tears in the quiet corner of my room. I have sworn never to talk to you again…to move apartments so I would not see you again, but I couldn’t…because I just love you to death!” 

Umunna could hardly contain his overflowing emotions by now. Ifunanya managed to raise herself a bit. Umunna helped prop her up with a pillow. She wrapped her arms around him. It was the first time she ever hugged him. His heart was pounding like a British steam engine train shunting through the hinterlands between Enugu and Port Harcourt. His hands were shaking fiercely. He could hear the irrepressible quivering of his whole body as he held tightly onto her…clinging with his life. “I am sorry, Umunna,” she finally said. “It is okay…it is okay my dear.” “I…I am broken inside. Sometimes, I feel like I do not deserve you…your pure love. You will need to be gentle with me. I was shattered by how Emeka treated me.” “I will be as gentle with you as a mother is with her newborn baby, my love. I will carry your burdens and shield you from the sun. I will worship the air you breathe, Ifunanya.” 

Story continues...


Written by:
Victor Chinoo 

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LIGHTHOUSE - Episode 7
Nigeria's Leading Fictional Story Blog - Wrap, Juju, Love, Egyptian Kingdom, British Steam Engine, I still love you, gun, girl An African Literary Blog
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