Jim rushed, blindly angry, towards Nat with violent intentions, Cyril’s muscled arm collided with his neck forcefully, immediately desisting his movements, he gagged and coughed and fell on his knees.
“Oh, how the mighty have fallen,” Nat commented humorously, Paulo laughed with her while Cyril kicked Jim in the stomach.
“You dey craze?” he asked in pidgin english, “You know who Sharon be? Abi you feel sey we go just stand dey look you as you go touch am? Guy, there’s a thing called brain, use it,” Cyril snapped angrily.
“Oh, poor Jim,” Nat exclaimed and chuckled wickedly. She starred disgustedly at Jim as he grabbed his neck and his stomach and groaned in pain.
“At least let me check if she’s still conscious,” Jim begged in a hoarse voice, his larynx had been affected by the blow to the neck.
“What does it matter? None of you is leaving here alive anyway,” Nat said casually, still smiling. Her fair face that he’d always admired looked sinister at that moment.
“Why?” Jim asked confusedly, “Why Nat? I don’t understand. What did I ever do to you?” he had to know, his mind was going crazy trying to find an answer.
Nat casually slide her hands into the pocket of her black trousers, the action tightened the pants around her curvy hips, she had a nice figure, a dream woman for any man; her tucked in black shirt emphasized her fair complexion and flat stomach. She gave Jim a considering look and thought for some seconds.
“Your very existence is what you did to me.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You never did, you clueless, miserable man! You roamed in satisfaction in our father’s house, in blatant ignorance!” Nat screamed, Paulo and Cyril looked shocked, they’d never experienced their boss in a hysterical state.
“I don’t understand, you said…,” Nat’s angry groan interrupted him and the blow to his jaw came unexpectedly, the pain was deafening.
“Shebi I tell you make you use your brain,” Cyril said calmly. Jim groaned and held onto his jaw, Paulo yawned loudly and plumped his ass on one of the chairs.
“Thank you Cyril,” Nat said after taking a deep breath, she had controlled her emotions but she couldn’t stand still, she paced angrily.
“Stop hitting me like that!” Jim cried angrily. “I was going to ask why my father became ‘our’ father before you hit me,” Jim shouted.
“You been dey vex boss na, nobody dey allowed to vex boss. You see your girlfriend for ground, na vex wey she vex boss wey keep am for ground so.”
“What are you saying Nat? How does this all add up? What has my father got to do with this?” Jim threw the questions at her and dared her with his eyes to reply.
Nat held his stare for a while and shrugged, “I have nothing to loose by telling you anyway. I am your sister, same dad, different mothers.”
When she dropped the bomb, even Paulo stopped looking bored, he exchanged shocked glances with an equally shocked Cyril.
Jim chuckled in derision, the act widened Cyril’s eyes as he looked at Nat for instructions; she nodded slowly and Jim was kicked firmly in the gut, effectively cutting off his chuckle.
“I understand this information is a hard blow, but it gives you no excuse to insult me,” Nat said slowly as she stared at his bent posture.
“You…,” Jim gasped for air, his stomach was on fire with pain; he could feel grits in his mouth and in between his teeth as he gnashed them in a bid to control the pain.
“Then…why are you doing this Nat? If you are truly my sister, shouldn’t you be defending me from whoever would want to harm me?” Jim asked in a gruff voice, he was trying not be emotional.
“Because, Jim, you got the full treatment and I got the crumbs. You didn’t appreciate what you were getting while I only wished for nothing but to be in your place. And our father…,” she mentioned ‘father’ with the right amount of venom that Jim could have applauded if the situation wasn’t so dire. “…our father degraded me to ‘cousin’ status, my mother was forced to bring me up to play second fiddle to you with the threat of being left hungry!”
“Then you should have taken it up with father; this situation should be his comeuppance not mine,” Jim replied weakly but with a tint of anger.
“Oh he did get his comeuppance,” Nat said with a slow smile, “I made sure of that. Which now brings us to the issue of the baby, where is it?” Nat asked forcefully.
Jim looked around checking where Cyril was stationed before he answered, “I swear Nat, if I knew I wouldn’t be here.”
“You mean you would have abandon your mistress?” Paulo finally spoke with mock shock.
“She’s not my mistress,” he replied angrily but looked around cautiously for Cyril who looked tired of the whole situation. “And what has Willie got to do with all of this?”
“Willie is our father’s son. Willie holds millions of money that belong to me and I’m ready to kill even my mother to get it,” Nat pronounced calmly but Jim had stopped listening, he was recalling his conversation with Mrs. Jesam at the hospital.
Jim’s mind swirled with thoughts; several pieces of the puzzle were fitting in after Nat’s pronouncement. A slim thread of guilt wriggled in, blossoming as he realized that Mercy was innocent in all of this. The most important issue on Jim’s mind was getting himself and Mercy out of there, he could not wait for the cops any longer, if they weren’t here by now, then they never will, he had since lost the belief that they’d find their way to this very hidden place. Just then an imaginary light bulb lit in his mind, he could bet that Nat hadn’t told her accomplices that she was a….
“You are a cop Nat, you shouldn’t be doing this, you’ll be disgraced for this. You shouldn’t allow these hoodlums lure you into crime, you are…,” Jim’s blubbering ceased at Paulo’s sudden exclamation.
“No, this isn’t happening!” he exclaimed, shooting out of the seat in the same breath and moving threateningly towards Nat, “Is this…,” he was interrupted by Nat’s gun in his face.
“Not another step further Paulo,” Nat said in a calm voice.
“Shit, it’s true,” Jim heard Cyril conclude in a stage whisper, the doctor tried to look really scared and innocent in the same vein. He stared at the faces of his three captors, Cyril looked shocked and deflated, Paulo looked angry and betrayed and Nat; Nat looked calm, it seemed as if the situation was routine for her.
“I thought I mentioned the dangers of taking the victim’s word over mine,” Nat commented calmly, she slowly stepped backwards, keeping both her accomplices in sight.
“So, you are going to shoot us…just like that,” Paulo commented in a betrayed tone, “We trusted you Sharon.”
“I don’t know about you but I’m done,” Cyril declared and slowly stepped backwards.
“Wait,” Nat exclaimed suddenly, gun hand still pointed, he stopped. “I’m not going to shoot you, I need your help to finish this job,” she sounded desperate, “Come on, I can’t do this alone, what about your money?”
“Say we help you finish the job…cop,” Cyril began; Jim noticed Nat’s jaw tighten, “Then what?”
“She’ll betray us, it’s a given. She’ll probably shoot us in the back and announce a single handed crime burst which generally leads to a promotion. Wasn’t that your plan…cop?” Paulo sneered, his eyes consciously stuck on the pointed gun.
“I won’t do that to you, guys…,” Nat replied wearily but was cut mid sentence by Cyril.
“But we’ll never know that now, just like we never knew that you’re a cop.”
Jim had slowly inched away from the range of the pointed gun while the standoff continued; he’d kept sparing Mercy long seconds glances to see if she was breathing, he couldn’t be sure since she lay in the shadows. When he’d decided to expose Nat’s occupation to her crew, he’d expected it to cause a riot among them, not a freaking dialog, Jim thought angrily.
“Why are we wasting words? See, listen, this person manipulates; I’ve known him since we were kids. He is trying to pit you against me and…,” Nat’s voice steadily rose in burgeoning anger, “…it pisses me off that so called hard men like you have fallen for it,” she ended with an angry scream.
Jim winced fearfully at Nat’s legendary anger; Paulo stood his ground with a deep frown while Cyril appeared to go deeper into the shadows without perceptible movements. Nat panted, gun still pointed and calm lost; Paulo’s expression turned cynical.
“Sharon, this ends now. We are going to work out of that door with a decision never to recognize each other forever. This whole drama…never happened,” Paulo concluded and moved backwards towards the exit, Cyril preceding him; Jim swallowed hard as he saw them go, he knew Nat was going to kill him and Mercy, if she wasn’t already dead.
Her hand pointing the gun had dropped dejectedly as Paulo neared the door, so it had surprised all parties when there was a sudden and continuous blast of gunshots. It sounded deafeningly loud within the walls; Jim couldn’t help the whimper of fear that escaped his throat, Paulo and Cyril instinctively crouched with their hands over their heads, they looked up when she spoke.
“Nobody is going anywhere tonight,” Nat declared in a ragged voice, her hand holding the gun was still raised from shooting into the concrete ceiling, the rechargeable lamp reflected the white particles of cement dust on her hair and cloth, she looked spectral.
“You were right Paulo,” she chuckled crazily, “This ends now, here, this night,” she said, drunkenly waving the gun at the three men in the room undecidedly, then she settled on Jim; she focused her attention on him and failed to notice that Cyril was trying to free his gun from the waistband of his jean.
“I think you should go first,” Jim whimpered, his breathing got difficult, his heart stopped in dread, his eyes shun with blatant pleading.
“Nat please don’t do this…,” Nat giggled and moved closer to Jim, pointing the gun at his head.
“Instead of begging like a coward, you should have asked me why I want you to die first. It doesn’t matter though…just say hi to our father for me, his baby mama,” she added sarcastically. “Tell her that in spite of those disappointments…,” she glanced at Cyril and Paulo at her mention of disappointments and faced Jim again. “…I’m still going to find that boy, get what’s rightfully mine, and then relish killing him slowly.”
“This isn’t right Nat, you need help… I can get help for you,” Jim tried to convince her in a shaky voice, his whole torso vibrated.
“Ha!” she barked in derision, “The type of help that you got your wife when she over indulged in alcohol? What help could you get her when she rolled on the floor at that party in the throes of death? If you had gotten her help Jim, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten drunk and stumbled on my plan, forcing me to poison her,” she concluded with an innocent smile and a pretty shrug.
Jim’s head was pounding, his eyes bulged in anger, and hot breath caressed the walls of his nostrils as he fumed in helplessness. He could only stare at Nat as she cocked her gun and placed her finger on the trigger.
“Drop the gun Sharon,” Cyril barked suddenly, Nat turned and saw the gun pointed at her, she smiled and did nothing.
“And if I don’t?” she asked lazily.
BABY’S ANGELS continues
By EMEM Bassey
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