Mask grappled with Udeme for a few, precious minutes. The minutes were precious because he still had some salient lessons to teach the rich kid that was getting away.
Granted, he was proud that Udeme was finally growing some balls, but his manliness was coming at a bad time. He really didn’t have anything against Fred, but his escaping was a strike against the notoriousness of the Wolf fraternity and the fact that Udeme had helped him was worse.
Finally, he grabbed Udeme’s throat and squeezed. The chubby guy wheezed but didn’t let up. He allowed his weight to be his greatest weapon. But then, Mask was experienced in being mean, at the right interval, he shoved his knee against the unguarded area of Udeme’s balls.
He howled in pain, wanting so much to cover his family jewels with his hands, instead he sobbed at the gnawing pain that had travelled all the way to his stomach and held on to Mask.
“Do you think his running would save him?” Mask asked breathlessly. “I have sentries everywhere on campus and outside, I’ll be informed of his way about and I’ll get him then…”
“I’m still not letting you up, you mean freak!” Udeme spat, literally spraying spittle on Mask’s face; what he hadn’t added to his declaration was the terror brewing in his heart at what Mask would likely do to him when he finally got up.
“You underestimate me, Udeme. You see, I have Silvia in my custody, apparently she had liked you too and when you rejected her this fine evening, which was strange when she reported all that had happened with the cops and all, I knew something was up.”
Mask grin at the trepidation that had instantly filled Udeme’s eyes. “Don’t you dare touch her!” he threatened without fire.
“I came over immediately, after I made sure one of the guys took her to a safe place. I have only to make a call, Udeme, and she’d be used to a rag.”
Udeme’s heart hammered so hard against his chest, he was sure Mask felt every beat; the fear wasn’t for his safety any longer but for Silvia.
“What do you want?” Udeme whispered brokenly, and slid off Mask, sitting on the sand and looked dejected.
Mask rushed to his feet, taking deep breaths to fill his lungs which had suffered under Udeme’s weight. He watched as the fat guy slowly got to his feet, his earlier courage totally depleted.
In the silence, chirps from nocturnal insects came alive from the bush that Fred had fled through. The two men stood staring at each other, the darkness not a barrier to the sight of their variant expressions; lightening flashed the same moment the wind picked up, making the dark backyard seem like a scene from a telenovela.
“For your impetus, Udeme, you are going to follow I and the gang on the hunt for Fred. And when we catch him, just maybe, I’ll consider not raping Silvia myself,” he spat and walked away, expecting Udeme to follow without argument…which he did.
The DPO held onto the boy with the carton of drinks. Instinctively, he knew that the boy would be of great help. He seemed desperate enough to rat out the conspiracy that was unfolding just to save his skin.
He wanted to know about any back roads that could lead to the isolated house; any back roads that could serve as escape routes.
And so, the boy, after dropping his carton of drinks on the veranda, took the cops on a round about trip that would invariably lead to another bush track that would invariably lead to the house.
In that sojourn, the DPO spied the running Fred and they gave chase instantly.
A call made it happen.
Fred had been seen making for the dirt track that would lead him to a main road.
Mask activated the scouts he had standing around waiting for such an opportunity; he asked them to keep Fred in sight and that he’d be there soon with the alpha squad.
A burning in his chest from running hard and long…
Gnawing ache in his hip as he stoically pounded on, determined to escape the hoard that was after him. Would they kill him? He couldn’t decide which of them would be the lesser evil; the police or the deadly cult group.
Groaning from the ache that had been inflicted the whole day, he tightened his jaw, bearing the white hot pain as he valiantly scaled over a low fence into an unknown compound on the dirt tract.
It felt like the right decision to scale that fence, because, the fatigue inundating his whole body, mind included, and it wasn’t allowing him to figure out where he was. He was lost, and there was no point running unknowingly, there could be a trap in front.
He could hear them coming; threatening shouts carried in the air to where he hurdled. He had to escape, he had to hide. Where could he hide? It was only a matter of time before he was found.
Wiping the sweat from his brow, he looked around where he hurdled; darkness was falling fast, would they easily forget about him? He didn’t think so, both groups where determined to get him.
Tears clouded his eyes in his frustration; silently he wondered…
How did my life get to this?
He could hear them asking where he went; he could hear them giving directions as to the possible direction he’d taken. Unknowingly, he had decided to hide at a perfect spot of confusion, a T-junction, giving the gang and the cops several possibilities as to where he’d gone.
But Fred didn’t know that; he panicked and sort for a hiding place in the compound he had fallen into. Blindly, he moved and three steps later, he hit his feet over a gnarled root of an old tree, fell and slammed his head on the ground; the fall made a loud racket in the silence of the cluttered backyard.
Luckily, his head missed a protruding stone from the ground by inches; but the culmination of the fatigue from hours of tickles and running and the force of the fall, made him lose consciousness.
Emma couldn’t wait for her mother to leave.
The woman could take a perfectly simple situation and make it complicated. She wasn’t bothered that Emma was pregnant, no, she wanted to know, rather instantly, what Fred planned to do about it.
“Since then, have you seen him?”
“No, mother,” Emma answered in exasperation. She really hoped that her uncle would return at that moment and take over the conversation.
As ire began swirling in her mind, she unconsciously wrapped her arm about her baby bump, as though to protect it from her anger.
Meg watched her only daughter rub her slightly protruding belly and smiled. “I used to do that when I was pregnant with you. It calms both you and the baby,” she said and sighed as though the sight calmed her too.
“I’m just glad that you aren’t barren,” she whispered, it seemed as though she was talking to herself but Emma heard.
The whispered comment opened a door in Emma’s mind, she immediately understood what all the fuss was about. Her mother was fully invested in her grand child and the fact that her tyrant of a husband had continually accused her of being barren, she must have feared that her daughter was the same way.
Or, maybe, the husband had alluded to the fact that Emma might also be barren, she wouldn’t put it below that man to say something like that. Her mother had always been impressionable and of course, such talks from her husband would affect her deeply.
“Of course, I’m not barren,” Emma whispered back, dropping her exasperation to show concern to her mother. “And you aren’t either; I just believe God doesn’t want you to give that horrible man a child to destroy,” she added matter-of-factly.
Meg snapped her head backwards; the action seemed to have closed the window of inner thoughts. “Emmaline, you can’t just do nothing, you need to know what this young man thinks, so that we can make decisions.”
Her difficult mother was back.
“Decisions?” Emma asked with a frown; this was her baby for God’s sake, she had decided to keep the baby and she would decide what was best for it.
“You know, like what surname the baby would have,” Meg pointed out.
“Mother, really, a surname? The guy…or girl, barely has fingers and you are worried about the surname,” Emma scoffed.
“These things matter, Emmaline. You might think they don’t, but they do in the long run. If he doesn’t want this child, then a lawyer should be gotten to facilitate a signing off of all parental rights by him.”
Meg had made her point, she reached for her purse and stood up, ready to leave. “Reach out to him again,” she advised her daughter and walked to the door.
Emma knew she was right…too early, but still right. When she had mentioned Fred signing off parental rights, her heart had twisted painfully in her chest. Even though he was an arsehole, she still wanted to share this new experience with him; she still had hope that he would at least try to be responsible for his actions.
“I don’t know where he is mum,” she replied wearily and she was telling the truth. Paul had gone visiting and had reported that Fred’s house had been locked up; subsequent visits yielded the same results, he had fled.
“What do you mean, you don’t know where he is?” Meg turned at the door to stare incredulously at her daughter. “Is he missing? If he his, you have to do everything in your power to find him. Don’t sit back, Emmaline, text him, call, email, if you must but find him!”
Emma immediately nodded, agreeing just so that her mother would go. And it helped; when her mother saw her agreeable mien, she nodded in satisfaction and left, with comment over her shoulder, exhorting Emma to give fond regards to her uncle when he got back.
She maintained a forced smile and waited until her mother walked out of the gate before she let it slip into a frown. Emma was furious, she didn’t like to be told what to do, especially, if she already knew what to do.
Resisting the urge to bang the door with full force as she was wont to do when she was angry, Emma took deep breaths and shut the door like a civil person.
“Find him, Emmaline; don’t sit back, Emmaline; text him, call him, email him, Emmaline,” she sarcastically imitated her mother.
Did she think she was a magician? If Fred had decided to flee and hide, nothing she did would flush him out. No matter how many times she texted, or called or emailed, not that she did anyway, but if she did, it still wouldn’t matter.
On the other hand, she really had to know what Fred thought about the baby. Would he want it or not? Emma’s heart twisted again at the possibility that he might not want it.
Dear God, she thought, lifting her eyes to the ceiling, I would praise you extra long in morning devotion if you could drop Fred in my laps right now; at least, then I’d know his thoughts once and for all and stop this constant worry and anxiety.
The thought, or prayer, had barely finished in her mind when she heard a loud racket from the backyard. What could that be, she wondered. Quickly, she rushed to the kitchen, stopped by the store to grab a machete; it was possible the neighbour’s dog had managed to jump into the compound again.
The last time the animal did that, several cloths hung to dry had been dirtied and torn from the dog’s exuberance and all the neighbour could do was apologize. Emma wasn’t going to tolerate that, if she had to kill the dog to stop it, so be it.
Furiously, she stomped outside the back door, ready to fling her machete. She expected to sight the dog prancing about the backyard, probably putting his nuzzle in the water pot…
No, there was no dog. In the gloom of the evening, she made out an outline of a man, lying face down on the ground. Was he dead, she wondered and she tentatively moved closer; how did he even get there?
His scent hit her first and recognition flooded her senses. Emma dropped the machete and rushed to kneel by the man’s side. She didn’t believe God would instantly answer her prayers like that, she hadn’t even been serious, she’d just been wishing, like any small girl would wish for a fairy tale.
But then, here he was, right on her laps. She turned him to his back and gasped at the torn and dirtied inner shirt. What had happened to him?
Despite his months’ worth of silence, Emma couldn’t stop her heart from being concerned for his well being. A finger on his neck confirmed a pulse and she could breathe again; she just had to figure out how to get him inside.
The cops, having scored the four streets that made up the T-junction without any sign of Fred, also came to the realization that they weren’t the only ones looking for him.
After this realization came the consciousness that a confrontation was inevitable. The inhabitants of the four streets seemed to be aware of this consciousness, slowly, people came out of their houses to watch the inevitable confrontation of the police and a gang.
The skinny DPO with the mannerisms of a woman led the seven man police squad.
Udeme with his slight pouch and jittery insides full of fear, led the Wolf fraternity.
Coincidentally, they approached from opposite streets, heading to the center of the T-junction. The inhabitants on the streets swore that their progress to the center of the road was done in slow motion; lightening flashed in the sky and the wind picked up, plastering their cloths on their bodies.
It was a perfect movie moment.
…the kind that deserved to be photographed and put on the front of the video CD.
They reached the center and stopped right in the middle of the road, leaving a small space in between…Michael Jackson’s I’m Bad video couldn’t have done it better. Cars from the left and right were forced to stop and their headlamps lighted the scene quite brightly.
“Who are you and why do you seek Fred Eseme?” the DPO asked, his high pitch voice a contrast to his police uniform.
Udeme immediately recognized him, he had seen him through his window back at the house. He had no idea what to reply or what to expect from this confrontation; he felt like he was acting a movie scene.
So, he said what he knew, “Fred Eseme snatched my girlfriend from me.”
“And so you took laws into your hands?” the DPO’s tone was reprimanding.
Udeme swallowed hard, he so wanted to drop to his knees at that moment and beg for pardon, but he felt Mask’s hand tightening on his shirt. Of course, he had forgotten, he was between the devil and the deep sea.
He shrugged, trying to look unperturbed, “A man has to do what a man has to do.”
The DPO smiled, he fully subscribed to the cult leader’s opinion and he was glad that he finally found out what had been keeping Fred at the campus; the boy had been sowing his wild oats.
But then, he was the authority, he couldn’t just ignore the fact that a cult had been trying to do the police’s job. They should have reported the case…
“You should have reported this case.”
“I know, and I’m sorry I didn’t, it won’t happen again.”
The DPO nodded, “I like you and would want to overlook this slight, but we have witnesses and some kind of excuse is warranted for why the police stood in confrontation with a gang.”
Udeme looked around and sure enough, they were surrounded by on lookers both, those who lived on the street and passers by.
“What do you suggest?” Udeme asked turning back to the DPO.
There was a pause of silence, the crowd seemed to hold their breaths and moved closer to hear the verdict.
“A dance battle,” the DPO pronounced.
Udeme’s heart tripped in gratitude, he resisted the urge to sigh deeply and in relief. He turned to Mask and he nodded in agreement.
“But there is no music,” he pointed out to the police.
“I have music!” one of the on lookers with a car shouted and the crowd erupted in a thunderous cheer.
The DPO smiled and turned to Udeme, “So?” he prodded.
“Let’s do it,” Udeme acquiesced.
And like a well oiled machine, members of each group spread out and took positions, while the on looker with the music opened the boot of his car to reveal boom speakers; when he turned on the music, the sound filled the whole street and filtered into homes.
The dance lasted all of five minutes.
The squad or gang didn’t get to dance because their leaders never gave them a chance.
The DPO and Udeme battled in dance, to the tune of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
It was an exhilarating sight, straight out of an Indian movie.
It was a tie, nobody won; the DPO was flexible and Udeme was determined, but the most important thing was that calamity had been averted.
…and the street got free entertainment, the likes never before seen and would never again be seen.
The story continues
LagosConvo family, I greet you all. Its your girl Emem Bassey. So, people have been wanting my stories as a full novel, I have done this and even added hotter scenes to it. Please help my ministry.
CLICK HERE TO DOWLOAD>>> BABY’S ANGELS
Your comments bring out the beauty in our stories. Have your say in the comment box below. To share our story, click on the Facebook share button or on the twitter button.
Follow our twitter handle @lagosconvo
Copyright 2017 Lagos Convo.
Otherwise stated, all stories on www.lagosconvo.com are Intellectual Property of HMG STUDIOS LTD. No permission has been granted for the reproduction of our materials in part or whole on any platform, electronic or otherwise.