Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - to wrap his fist in bandage, for the EFCC had just gone undercover, had mentioned their bank manager, ring tone to his phone, illegal gambling and loan networks, should drink a cup of water, decipher those strange dreams.
Nnamdi had hurt himself while trying to express his anger about Ijeoma leaving like that, but hadn't even noticed until his eyes caught the blood on the floor. He walked into the house and went to the toilet to fix it. He had just finished washing his hands and was about to wrap his fist in bandage when his phone rang. He immediately ran out to look for it thinking it was Ijeoma. He pressed on the screen to answer.
“It's not what you think, I’m not...” he began.
The voice on the other end broke him off saying, “Nnamdi, it’s me Tochi.”
“Oh, Tochi. How are you? You’re calling so late, is everything alright?” He sank back on one of his armchairs and tried to breathe more calmly.
“I’m fine, only I just woke from sleep.” He heard her yawn on the other side of the phone.
“Ijeoma still dey there? She texted that I should call her in thirty minutes but her phone is not going through. You sabi where she dey?”
“So she told you she was coming here?”
“Yes now. She usually does that when she’s out late.” Tochi laughed. “Nothing personal to you…”
Nnamdi grimaced. “Do you know whether she told someone else? Like Bola for example?”
“It’s possible since Bola knows you too, but I think she’ll rather let her sister know.”
“I see.” Nnamdi replied. “So was it just because of Ijeoma you called?”
“Yes but now you mentioned it, I still dey vex with Udochukwu. How could he say I should not expect to hear from him in the next month and not say anything else? If you can, please speak with him o. This one is a new thing he wants to start. Abeg I no like am o.”
“I told you not to worry when we spoke earlier. But I will talk to him.” Nnamdi knew her brother who worked for the EFCC had just gone undercover but he wouldn’t tell her that.
“OK, make I go back to sleep. TJ go call me any moment from now. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” Nnamdi replied, “And greet TJ for me.” He dropped the phone and his mind went to Ijeoma. The scene with Bola began to make sense now. Ijeoma must have told her she was coming and the girl decided to ruin it for them. It was lucky Tochi had added the last bit about why Ijeoma let people know where she was. He had almost begun to wonder if they were back to his chequered past.
The truth was he really admired girls who had character and virtues like Ijeoma. There was just something about her that made him weak, she had that “damsel in distress” look but somehow still managed to take care of herself. He also thought she was incredibly cute, even cuter than his kid sister, who he had thought before then, was the cutest person in the world. He still didn’t know what Bola’s reason could be to mess them up. He’d never dated her so it must be something to do with the office. And then she had mentioned their bank manager. What did she mean? That Ijeoma was sleeping with the man?
He decided he wouldn't think about all that, if Ijeoma wanted to think that he was fooling around with Bola, so be it. “If she can't trust me now, what makes me think she will in the future?”
He was never one for drama. He picked up his phone and scrolled to the phonebook. According to Tochi, Ijeoma had switched off her phone. He guessed it was so he couldn’t reach her. Over the years in his life, he had learnt one policy. He never pursued something he couldn't let go of whenever the moment demanded it. So now he scrolled to her name and chose the option delete. He hesitated, and then he pressed on the button. The phone asked him if he was sure he wanted to delete that contact and all their details. He closed his eyes and...
The ring tone to his phone startled him and had his eyes flying open to the phone in his hands. Nnamdi glanced quickly at the screen, his heart beginning to race once again. It was Udochukwu's new number.
“Hello?” His tone was dull.
“Hey Nedu, what's up my guy?”
“I'm at home, where else do you expect?”
“Dude!” Udochukwu's voice was surprised.
“What's the deal? Wetin I do you?”
Nnamdi forced himself to laugh. “Sorry dude, na just some wahala with Ijeoma.”
“You and this Ijeoma babe. It's nearly three months since you started to chase that girl.” Udochukwu laughed, “Always one palaver after the other. You go out today, tomorrow you're not talking. If it's not your past, it's her boss. What is it this time?”
Nnamdi laughed at himself and the situation. It really was funny. The truth was that he'd had relationships - if he could call them that - that lasted less than three months. This thing he had with Ijeoma had just been messing with his head.
He determined to delete the number immediately after this and he would tell Tochi it was over if she ever asked.
“Let's not talk about it, I think I'm done.” Nnamdi sank down on the sofa behind him and leaned back against it. “What did you call to tell me?”
Udochukwu paused for some seconds, “Are you sure, dude? I can talk if you want.”
“No no... it’s fine. I don make my decision.”
“OK...” His friend drawled and Nnamdi visualized him rolling his shoulders in his typical shrug before he continued. “Did I mention I am now embedded in your old area?”
“What are you doing in Ajegunle?!” Nnamdi sprang up from the sofa as though burnt. That part of Lagos did not have very good memories for him. His parents had moved away more than ten years ago and he had not been back there since. He missed some of his old friends but the thought of the people he'd pissed off, kept him firmly away.
“Relax dude, I'm not asking you to come down here.” Udochukwu chuckled.
“It's part of the job I told you about and nobody knows of the connection between us.” Nnamdi breathed easier. Udochukwu was his closest friend and knew more of his past than any other person. He also reminded himself that Udochukwu was a trained operative of the EFCC and could take care of himself. Still he couldn't shake the dark sensation that crawled over his skin.
“I thought you said it was Mushin?” he murmured. “Anyway, promise me you'll be careful.”
“Of course I will dude.” Udochukwu laughed. “I'm not so sure about this new guy I'll be working with sha...”
“You got a partner?”
“No, I just met this guy. He was introduced as my neighbour and it turns out he knows some people I'm working on. Some illegal gambling and loan networks on the Island. This is sure going to be interesting.”
“Udochukwu, I know you live for such thrills but believe me, you don't want to get on the wrong side of those kind of people.”
Udochukwu laughed. “I know and that's why I called you. I want you to be more careful now so you can remain in the loop. The information you continue to give us is very useful. And keep an eye on Tochi for me OK?”
“No problem. She actually called tonight to complain to me about you.”
“Well, dude, call her more often because I don't want her number on this new phone in case it falls into the wrong hands.”
Nnamdi sighed, “I will sure breathe easier when you guys complete this job successfully.”
“With this new dude, his name is James, it might take less than the expected six weeks.”
“Keep me posted, and be safe.”
“Roger, will do. Over and out.” Udochukwu hung up his end.
Nnamdi shook his head as he pressed the exit call button. Udochukwu will play cops and robbers even on his deathbed. He looked at his screen and it had gone back to delete number. He pressed yes.
Ijeoma opened the fridge and stared into it like it was a strange being. Finally she reached for a bottle of water. As she poured it into a glass, she looked at the clock. The time was4:32am….strange! She'd never woken up this early before. Well at least for once she was following her doctor’s orders.
“You should drink a cup of water when you wake up every morning...” She smiled as she remembered the way he'd said it and then was brought back to her dreams. They were strange and she couldn’t understand them. She'd never been one to put much stock by dreams but these ones were beginning to freak her out. The latest one felt all fuzzy as she tried to remember the details.
For the past few nights she’d been having the same dream but each day it got longer. A guy was in it, he'd stood at a distance and beckon her to come closer. She had refused outright the first night. The second night he'd come closer, and even more the third night. Yesterday, something had obstructed them and they couldn’t reach each other no matter how much they tried.
Today would make it the fifth night, and this time he'd spoken. He'd whispered her name. Unlike the other times, she just couldn't go back to sleep when she woke up after the dream, no matter how hard she tried. She'd kept tossing and turning until she finally gave up and there she was on her sofa trying to decipher those strange dreams.
CLICK HERE TO READ EPISODE 9
Ikpo Henry Chigozirim
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