Dying Dead

Dying Dead

DYING DEAD

 

He staggers.

 

He squints through the pouring rain trying to see ahead. In the distance he can hear the loud rumbling of several generators, but his part of the street is quite dark. The only sound is of the slashing rain as it hits various surfaces from iron sheet rooftops to car roofs to the street itself, providing some sort of theme music.

He’s confused…he does not remember how he got here or where ‘here’ is. All he knows is – he has to keep walking.

The breath rasps in his lungs and pain knives into his side. He knows the wound is fatal; he feels the warm blood as it flows sluggishly into his trousers, down his thighs to be washed away in the pounding rain. His mouth is wooly…blurry images flood his brain. His vision dims and brightens constantly as though some child somewhere is playing with the contrast button on a TV remote control.

He lifts his left hand to wipe his brow – and looks stupidly at the gun that seems to have suddenly grown in it. Strangely, the weight of the gun feels comfortable…he balances it and grins. Suddenly he begins to cough, violent racking explosions that leave him gasping for breath, right hand covering his mouth. As the fit passes he glances at his fingers at the red splatter all over it…and as he watches it slowly becomes a dull purple…a bright pink…before disappearing, washed away by the rain.

He takes another step and knows he cannot go any further. So then; he thinks, this is how it feels to die. He leans against the closest structure which is an aboki’s kiosk and slowly sinks to the ground. He holds his head in his hands and tries to think, tries to remember.

The envelope.

He had been given an envelope – a white envelope as he drove out of the house.

He drove. Out of a house. He has a car. And a house.

Does he live alone? And the car…

Where is it now?

Slowly, trying to keep his right hand steady, he pats his pockets and sides and then his chest area. He finds there is something in his chest pocket; something that feels like an envelope.

He reaches past the raincoat into the inner pocket of the jacket underneath it and pulls it out. It starts getting wet almost immediately, so he crawls to the next building where an awning offers some protection from the rain. He slumps on the stairs and tries opening the envelope, which is quite tricky if you’re holding a gun in one of your hands.

He hesitates; knowing instinctively that if he is holding a gun, it must mean his life or safety is threatened. He sits still for a moment and looks back the way he had come, trying to penetrate the thick darkness with his eyes. Seeing no movement, he carefully places the gun beside him on the steps and, despite shaking hands opens the envelope.

Inside it is an official-looking white piece of paper – he can tell that much despite the darkness, but he would need more illumination to see what it is. He pulls out the paper and then feels his pockets for a phone or something that can give him some light.

As he searches, he realizes he’s not carrying anything but the envelope – no money, no wallet, no id…nothing. In the pocket where he found the envelope is a key ring but that is it.

He settles back to think about that and feels suddenly very weary. He closes his eyes again, to rest for a little while. He has no idea what time it is; he knows somehow he must be long gone before its morning…but he needs to rest, even if it’s just for a little while…

 

Ten days earlier

Shade, the nurse/receptionist/accountant at Ayo Laboratories looked up as the door opened and a man walked in. He looked like that Yoruba actor; Yemi Fash-something-or-the-other except he was clean shaven and a lot slimmer. He walked briskly towards her and smiled; a soft smile that had her smiling back automatically.

 

“Good afternoon,” she said.

“Good afternoon,” he responsed. His voice was an even treble with a hint of a northern accent. “I want to do a blood test,” he concluded.

She waved him to the row of seats on her left. “Please sit for a moment while I check which of our lab attendants is free,” she said, reaching for the intercom on her desk.

As she called, she watched the man from under her eyelids. He was staring at one of the various charts on the wall, the one highlighting various body parts and where to test for what. He looks so calm and self-possessed; she thought. I wonder what he’s testing for.

“Hello?” she spoke into the intercom as it was picked on the other end, “I have someone here for a test.”

“Send him in,” the male voice on the other end responded. “How did you know it’s a ‘him’?” She asked, slightly surprised.

“If it was a ‘her’ you wouldn’t have called to tell me.” The voice gave a dry chuckle.

“Smart-ass,” she answered cheerfully, hanging up and looking over at the man. He sensed rather than saw her glance, stood up and walked over to her.

“You can go in,” Shade said, indicating the corridor on her right. “It’s the first room on the left as you go.”

“Thank you,” he nodded and walked in the direction she indicated. She stared after him. I wonder what he’s testing for, she thought again.

 

“Move! Move!!” The mobile policeman shouts, holding his AK-47 in a menacing manner. “Na morning na. Una no get work?”He asks.

He is standing in front of a crowd, gathered in the usual way of ‘Lagosians’; chattering as two men bend over a corpse lying on the stairs of a building, beneath the awning. There’s a small puddle of blood beside the corpse; a small puddle that runs down the stairs and into the road – where it vanishes abruptly, washed away by the rain.

“He must have killed the other one,” the slimmer and better dressed of the two says, “shot him dead, then staggered here to die.”

“Oh yeah?” his partner asks, distracted. He is busy going through the dead man’s pockets, cursing quietly as he comes up empty. “How do you know that?”

“I checked the other gun we found in the room. It had been fired once – and here is this man, dead from a gunshot wound to the side.” He gingerly picks up the gun the corpse is almost lying on, wraps it in his handkerchief and puts it in his jacket pocket. “We’ll scan that for fingerprints,” he says, half-jokingly.

His partner grunts again. “So what does that mean?” he asks. Having found nothing in the corpse’s pockets he’s looking at it’s leather shoes. “This is not all those your TV shows o…’C-X-Y’ abi wetin dem dey call am sef? This is Nigeria.He squats and tries to take one of the corpse’s shoes off.

The slimmer one straightens and looks at him in disgust. “It’s C-S-I and no; I know it’s not TV. Of course it’s Nigeria;” his voice lowers a notch. “Where else would you see a policeman robbing a corpse in plain sight?”

“Ehn?!” His partner ejaculates and straightens. “You say what?!”

‘Slim’ ignores him, noticing that the corpse is holding a piece of paper. He bends and carefully removes it, his face taking on a small look of amazement as he reads. When he finishes, he stares at the corpse and shakes his head.

“He’s dead either way,” he mutters to himself.

His partner, now on his feet tries to snatch the paper, but ‘Slim’ moves too quickly. He backs off, putting some distance between them. A grim smile suddenly appears on his lips.

“I hope you didn’t get any of his blood on you,” he says, still smiling, “If this test result is accurate and his, this guy has – had full blown aids.”

“Ehn?” his partner says, uncomprehending at first. “EHN?!” he says louder, as what he heard sinks in. “Give me that!”

He reaches for the paper and this time ‘Slim’ lets him snatch it, watching his partner who is urgently scanning the paper. The partner swallows loudly as he sees what ‘Slim’ means, and with a loud yell drops the paper and starts hurriedly looking himself over. And then he looks at his hands and hurries away, asking the mobile policeman to get some water.

‘Slim’ bends over and picks up the paper, unbothered because he is wearing gloves. He notes the lab’s address and makes a mental note to drive over later in the day. He nods at two-overall wearing men standing on the sidelines and walks away as they start to move the corpse, feeling as if he had woken up that morning into a Hardly Chase novel.

 



60 thoughts on “Dying Dead” by Seun-Odukoya (@Seun-Odukoya)

  1. Thrilling suspense! I suspected the young man was going to test for AIDS but that he was gay? No. Nice one but then again you knew that

    1. How am I supposed to have know that…?

      Heh. Thank you. Bless God.

      1. Em…sorry o but where did the gay thing come from?!

  2. Well keep ’em wanting more..Vivid descriptions..I liked reading this..Part 2 plz?..Well done..

    1. Thank you so much bubbly!!!

      Bless God.

      Em…part 2?! Is there a need for that?

      If there are more calls for that maybe…

  3. I was just wondering how he saw the blood on his hand change colours in the dark before washing away.

    I love the story. I love the beginning, the imagery there was fantastic. Waiting for the next part.

    1. Hmm. Oversight. Thanks for spotting that!

      Okay. Second call for a next part…

      Thank you dearest goosie. Bless God.

      1. lol, opsies! perhaps a flickering street lamp?

        1. There was no light there. I emphatically pointed that out.

          Hmmm. Flickering lightning perhaps??

          Thanks!

  4. The intro was superb.

  5. As I was reading, I was wondering who the wonderful writer was. Then I got to the bottom and saw it was my loveliest.

    Vivid description. But is it possible for a police to rob a dead man in plain sight?,

    1. Awww @babyada…I’m blushing. Thank you so much.

      Heh. I put nothing past our dear police…

      Bless God.

  6. What a mystery tale – surely a thriller! This description for intense coughing mesmerized my senses “violent racking explosions that leave him gasping for breath.”

    1. @Dowell

      you flatter me. Thank you so much.

      Bless God.

  7. The descriptions were apt…I sure hope there’s something to add to this if not, there would be plenty to ask that you throw out! Hee hee hee.

    @Seun, nice one!

    1. Are you also asking for a second part?

      There was no plan for that o…I wonder…

      Hmmm. Ideas don dey flow. Okay, let’s see how that goes!

      @Su’Eddie…thank you much. Bless God.

  8. I’d comment my reserve on this one…
    good thing about the intro like @kaycee noted

    1. Why?

      Oh why…dearest @adaobiokwy…?!?!

      Thanks jo!!!!

  9. Thilling. Absorbing. Left me wishing for more.

    1. This man @tosyn…your mouf sweet sha.

      I have a feeling you’re the toast of ladies in your school…

      Thank you much. Bless God.

      1. @Seun: I sure knew (and still know) a thing or two about those lovely creatures back then. But having them flock around me in droves? I ain’t sure I could survive that. lol

        1. Yeah man. Indeedy!

  10. Nice one. He doesn’t have to be gay. Maybe it was his fiancee who gave him the disease….Hmmmm

    1. My sentiments exactly…

      Thank you for the observation

  11. Lovely descriptions. Only issue I see is that perhaps you should have put a timeline between when the MC went for his blood test and the death scene.

    Well done!!!

    1. @Lawal…there’s a timeline there. Just before I started writing that part of the narrative I wrote ‘ten days earlier’…

      Thank you much.

  12. I never expect anything less from you. Nice intro and apt description too. Better post the next part soon oo before I agree with enoquin.

    1. Er…agree with @enoquin about what exactly…?!

      @ablyguy…thank you so much!!!!!!

    1. I answer @howyoudey…!

      Er…thanks?

  13. Loved, “..and looks stupidly at the gun that seems to have suddenly grown in it.” Growing guns! Superb description. In my view, the dying man remembers too many things clearly for one who is dying and after bleeding so much. He even,”…carefully places the gun beside him on the steps…” May be should have been too fogged/fuzzy to do that. Excellent piece of work though.

    1. Dulen…nice one man!!! Observations noted.

      What I was trying to show was that he was gradually (seeming) to recover…but I agree with you.

      Thanks man. Bless God.

  14. making it a duty to read ur write-ups . So I think dis piece is great, but I kinda of think there is like a huge hole or gap of something missing, which would explain (or maybe not) why people want a second part. “Where did the gun come from?, where did the wound come from? How do you go from having a blood test to dying on the street?” Also while he was recollecting some facts u wrote “He had been given an envelope, a white envelope as he drove out of the house” – did he have his test delivered at home or the test result is totally unrelated to his current situation?

    1. Thank you so much @teewah. Visited your blog errorneously. You sound…engaging.

      That’s the idea. I wanted to create an air of intrigue and curiousity – something to leave the reader…dangling.

      I think I managed that quite well, judging from the responses I’m getting.

      Thank you so much (hope you notice I did not answer your questions?!?! LOL!!!!).

      Bless God.

      PS: I think you’re cute too…if that’s you; that its.

      1. Rme…yes you did a nice job of not answering my questions and I noticed. Thanks for visiting my blog…. that’s not me (i wish, lol)

        1. Oh well.

          Let me take by my ‘compliment’ then and say…

          I think you’re cuter.

          In the case of you wanting answers to those questions (duh), do you also think this needs a sequel?

          1. ehmmm i think i want a midquel (laffing) continuing the ten days earlier part. Oh an dont take bak ur compliment, it’s me on my blog. #nowisounlikeamconfused# abi? nyways….

            1. Nope. I’m the confused one.

              Now I get the ‘I wish’ tag you added to your first response.

              Okay. E go be ‘midquel’ then.

              Hehehehehe. No p!!! Thanks again!

  15. Mr. Odukoya, this needs a sequel!!! Very mysterious guy….you left a lot hanging and better put up part 2 before I….

    1. Hehehehehehehehe…

      Before you…WHAT?!?!?!

      Okay. I hear y’all. I’ll start working on that.

      Thanks man.

  16. @Seun-Odukoya, no surprises, the descriptions flowed smoothly and aptly, making it a pleasure to read the first two thirds of the story.

    However, I think that there was too much ambiguity in the final third of the story. We don’t need to know every detail of a story, but I do think that knowing how the man died is one thing that we should know (did he kill himself? did he try to kill the person who gave him AIDS, and get shot for his pains?).

    1. Thank you Tola.

      I guess I was trying to leave a lot of ambiguity in the story – something to keep the reader pondering and thinking about it.

      I think it’s quite confusing; so I think I might have to put up a sequel.

  17. ….Instead of a Sequel, why not put up a Prequel?
    Amazing story. I like the banter of the Policemen. U’ve got a superb descriptive powers bro.

    1. You be winch. Of course na prequel na.

      A sequel won’t explain shit. Pardon my french.

      Na so…I’m just learning from you and other great guyses here…

      Thank you.

    2. I agree Raymond. A prequel is what you need, not a sequel.

      1. I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        LOL..thanks!

  18. I liked the beginning!
    Why do so many ppl assume that a blood test equals AIDS?!

    1. What happened to the ending?!

      Hehehehehehehe! Abeg helep me ask them o!

      But it’s clear the guy had aids sha…

      Thank You, Bless God.

  19. Great story , vivid descriptions , I enjoyed it. My only complaint is the use of the word “aboki” somewhere in the story; the use of such colloquial (and somewhat comical) language diluted the tension in that paragraph , my opinion.

    Overall, well done man :)

    1. Hey. Thanks man.

      I guess I wanted to remind the people it was a Nigerian story and so on.

      Thanks for the compliment man. Bless God.

  20. I love the suspense and the descriptions. Na you na!

    1. Thank you bros…but…

      No be me. Na God.

      Bless Him.

  21. Good build up and descriptive power there Seun. You got your audience with the build-up.
    However I felt there was a slight disjointment between the paragraphs of changing scenarios.
    I almost got confused at a point reading through.
    Maybe you need to take a closer look to see how you can harmonise the paragraphs together better.

    Well done…I take it that there’s a continuation to this?

    1. Em…I honestly don’t understand exactly what you mean o. I thought the transition is pretty clear.

      But then, your eyes must have seen something. Could you please point out the errors? Thanks! I’ll definitely take a closer look…

      No. There’s no continuation.

      A prequel…actually.

      Thanks, @afronuts! Bless God.

  22. This is a really nice piece………. very very cool, kinda knew that the paper contained results of an HIV test though……………….. hehehehe :-D your transition was a little disjointed sha……… Really I was almost confused too somewhere along the line.

    1. I really don’t think it should have been that confusing; I mean, there was a present continuous part; a past tense part, and another present continuous. But I can’t argue with you guys.

      Thanks a lot man, thanks. Bless God.

  23. Nice. Thriller. It continues abi? Where’s the next installment?

    1. @omojola

      Em…the next installment is somewhere in my head…

      Thank you much!

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