Episode 3 & 4
Just as they agreed, Nadia and Ruth met at the very spot they parted ways every one hour, Nadia had shown Ruth how and where to re buy once she finishes with the water she’s selling. She had also decided not to stay out so late like the previous day. And so when it was 7pm, the weather was still a bit bright , they both headed home. As usual Nadia wanted to buy cooked food but Ruth suggested to her that instead they should buy and cook by themselves because that would last them longer and help them save. Nadia felt it was a good idea and so Nadia bought few things from the market, she spent about 400 naira from the 1000naura sales she made today and then together they went home.
Nadia with the help of Ruth prepared a good meal, and served for the both of them, they ate and chatted as Nadia told Ruth about her late parents and how they ended up in that uncompleted building. Nadia could see that Ruth was happy and somehow she felt comfortable with her.
As they ate in silence, the gunshots started again. The girls were scared once more but not as it was when they were out. Though the building had no doors or windows but just the wrappers which was tied to keep out the cold by Nadia’s mom, they felt more secured and protected there. This was her home, the only home she knew, the home that had kept her and her mom safe for years. Ruth held on tightly to Nadia, as they both prayed silently for nothing to happen to them. Nadia was for the very first time grateful that Ruth was around, she didnt know how she would have felt if she was alone at this time.
The gun shots continued for a while and then stopped. The girls were so quiet that you can hear a pin drop. They soon slept off.
Nadia was awakened by the sound and movement of someone around the back of the building, she quickly got up grabbed a big cutlass, she turned and saw Ruth sleeping peacefully she didnt want to scare or bother her, so she got up and tiptoed slowely towards the direction of the sound.
Stanley, Jojo, Frank and Edwin were the four man gang, they had gone out to operate the previous night. And tonight Stanley had insisted that they keep low for sometime, but Edwin who was the oldest and head of the gang had refused saying they didnt visit one compound (chief Ade’s compound) the previous night and so they must return for another operation tonight. The boys had argued with him but he said whoever did not go for that operation should consider himself an enemy of the gang. And that was why Stanley and the others reluctantly went for the operation.
If he had known they would encounter the police, he would have stayed back but they were already at the middle of the operation when the police got the house surrounded, they had no choice than to flee for their safety.
The last thing Stanley heard before jumping over chief Ade’s compound fence was the voice of his twin brother Frank who asked him to run and not look back. Stanley does not even know if frank was behind him or in front of Jim, all he knows was that he needed to run, he knew someone fell from the fence when he was shot, but he could not tell who was shot.
He ran as fast as his legs could carry him scattering through the bush. And finally he saw this uncompleted building and it surrounding well cleared and neat in the middle of a thick bush. He was wondering if he was seeing right or not when he saw the smoke from the fire they used in cooking and so he approached the building. He was tired of running anyways.
So he entered the house, it was not until he sat down that he realized that he has been shot on his left arm and he was bleeding seriously, his gun was still on his other hand. He knee some how that someone was staying in this building, but he couldn’t care less as he was losing much blood and he was scared he might just pass out.
He thought about Frank, he didn’t know where his twin and only brother was, he does not even know if he was still alive or dead. Hot tears rushed from his cheeks as he thought of what had become of him and his brother.
Born into a family of 6, they had lost their dad on one of his trip to sea. Their dad was a fisherman who was well known for the big fishes he normally caught whenever he returned from his trips. Ever since the death of their dad things has gone from bad to worse for them and their mom. Gradually they have lost their only sister and two of his brothers. When their mom fell sick and was at the verge of dying they had to do something cos she was all they had left.
The twins were brought up in the fear of God but they just couldn’t sit and watch their mom die because of money. They had to fall to crime. Frank has always warned him to stay back so that he would be involved Alone, but Stanley has always been the stubborn one. He wouldn’t sit and leave his brother toil Alone for the family. Tonights operation frank had warned him to stay back but he refused as usual and joined the operation. And it was not long before policemen stormed the the house and things went sour for them. His twin brother was already at the fence but stopped for him Stanley to climb first, urging him to run and not look back. And then when he had climbed over he heard the gunshots, he someone shout from the pain of been shot and he heard the person fall but he didnt stop, he just ran and kept running until now when he felt he was safe.
Tears kept pouring from his eyes as he regretted not staying back as frank had asked. Maybe frank would have still been alive by now, he was still in deep thoughts when he heard the footsteps of someone approaching, he quickly sat up, cracked his gun and pointed to the shadow that was approaching him….
Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, please don’t shoot, Nadia screamed dropping the big stick she was holding and raising her both hands up. Please don’t shoot me. She quickly knelt down.
Who are you ?answer me now before I shoot your fucking brains out, no no no don’t shoot please Nadia begged on, my name is Nadia and this is my house, sorry, sorry, this is where I stay, she corrected her head faced ground.
Stanley stood up and walked round her, the gun still pointed to her, he looked around as if to verify her statement. Who else is with you he shouted, who else stays here with you. Nadia kept quiet, then Stanley put the gun on her head, Nadia saw the blood dripping from his arms, if you don’t answer me now am going to blow your brains out, I said who else stays with you in this place. Slowly Nadia hand reached the stick she had earlier brought with her, its either she acts now or die and so with a flash of light she released the stick on Stanley’s hand hitting the gun from him. Stanley fell on the ground rolling in pains. Nadia quickly reached for the gun and held it the way Stanley had pointed it to her. She pointed it to him and ordered him to sit up. When he sat up Nadia knew that she had seen him before.
Ah God! he grumbled, shoot me already, I don’t even know why I’m not dead yet, my only brother is dead, my mom is sick and at the point of death, I am here, once am caught by those policemen, its either I will be killed or taken to prison for life and that I can’t bear, so its better you just kill me now. Nadia looked at him and felt much pity on him, then she lowered the gun. She saw he was in so much pains so she ran inside and came out with a piece of cloth and a bowl of water, gently she wiped the surface of the gunshot and she assisted him to sit well. Its inside Stanley said, the bullet is inside and you have to take it out.
Who will take it out? Nadia asked, please Stanley begged on, you have to take it out if not I may lose my hand. Nadia looked confusingly at him and said how can I take it out? Am not a nurse o, I don’t even know how, I will direct you he stammered, but please help me.
And just as he had said he directed Nadia and in another 20minutes the bullet was out. Nadia then tied the hand firmly with another cloth. The whole scene reminded her of when she was helping her mom with the nails on her legs. After she tied the arm for him, she picked herself up, threw his gun at him and then she turned to leave. Please whoever you are, take yourself from this place, we don’t want trouble here, just take yourself and leave already. Then she walked away….
Nadia went back to Ruth and laid down but she couldn’t sleep. In the early hours of the morning, she went back to the spot where she left him but he was no longer there. There was no trace of him he had wiped the blood off the ground and everywhere seemed like no one had even come there. Ruth saw how uneasy Nadia was and asked her why but she told her all was fine. After they ate that morning they headed for the market once more.
Nadia had learnt to do daily savings from one of the older girls there. There was this lady who normally comes with a card to sign whatever amount you pay to her. And so Nadia has started saving 1,000naira daily from her sales. She had also introduced Ruth into saving too. Whenever they had to cook they would contribute 500naira each and then save 500naira. The two of them had become closer than before and one could easily mistake them as sisters. Ruth was looking beautiful and beautiful daily. She loved and respected Nadia so much. She thanked God daily for that gunshot experience that made her meet Nadia.
All through that day, Nadia was not focused. She couldn’t stop thinking of what might have happened to the young boy she met that morning. The rumour has gone round that a group of four boys went to steal and one was killed on the spot, one arrested but later died on the way to the station due to guns shot wounds, two had escaped and are still at large. But the police will stop at nothing until they are both caught and killed. She doesn’t know if he was caught or he managed to escape. She soon found herself praying that God should keep him safe.
Its been 8months since that midnight experience. Nothing was heard from the two escaped armed robbers and there have been peace in the neighbourhood. Nadia and Ruth have grown so much in the pure water business. They even get to save 1500 sometimes and still go home with a good amount of money. They can now afford some new clothes and good food. Life couldnt be more better.
That faithful morning, they woke up as usual to prepare for business , when they saw two cars drive past the bushes into the compound, they stood outside to know who was coming in. A man in his mid fifty came out of the car with some boys a total of 7in number. The man looked at the two teenage girls in surprise and was wondering what they were doing in his house. Nadia was standing like someone who was ready to defend her property.
Young girls what are you doing here the man asked! Nadia looked at him and answered I should ask you that sir. Are you looking for something? The man looked around the place and saw how neat this two girls have kept the surrounding, he turned and looked at Nadia who happened to be the spokes person. This is my property’, I have left bit for a very long time but now I want to work on my house to complete it. The look of courage on Nadia’s face disappeared and fear gripped her. Who are you, and what are you doing here? Where are your parents? The man asked.
Nadia turned to Ruth and then to the man again. Please sir we are very sorry for everything sir, but we stay here, we have been staying here for sometime now. Please sir don’t be offended. The man looked in surprise but he was not angry, because the girls kept the place neat. ”Oh I see” he continued. Anyways I believe I have tried and helped you girls for the period that you have stayed here. Right now I want to work on my property , I want to complete my house, i have need for it. And so you girls have to leave. This was Nadia biggest fear. Leave? Please sir she stated , going fully on her knees , please don’t send us away please. The man laughed at her before talking and asking, this one you are saying I shouldn’t ask you to leave, are you saying I shouldn’t complete my house. This house has been like this for almost 6years. I need to complete it. Or shouldn’t I?
Yes you should Nadia replied but please, don’t send us away. If I don’t send you away he continued how I’ll I continue my work , I need to use this property please, I want to use it so please pack your things and leave. Nadia started crying so hard. Ruth could not understand why Nadia was crying so deep, she knew they have enough savings and can afford a one room apartment. She took Nadia to one corner and told her to stop crying that they should take small money from their savings and rent a House. Nadia ignored her and went back to the man begging him and crying that he shouldn’t send them away.
The man looked at the girls and shook his head, how I wish I can help u girls. But take he dipped his hands in his pocket brought out dome money and gave it to them, Ruth quickly collected the money from him. Please use that money and rent a one room apartment. At least that money will help. Am so sorry but in two days time we will commence work here, please be gone by then, boys let’s go. They turned and entered their car and drove off. Nadia ran to the spot where her mother was buried and cried bitterly, she wept so much and Ruth was confused because she didnt understand why Nadia was acting up. Nadia eventually packed some of the sand on her bag, ”mother she cried, I am leaving now, bit I will not forget you, I will be back, I will be back mother, I promise! She stood, packed some bags, she told Ruth to pack some bags and they walked away from the building. She turned and took a good look at the building one last time, with tears in her eyes she walked away and never looked back.
To be continued
What will become of Nadia and Ruth now?
Written and composed by excelrhymes