You should know; I had never seen a gun pointed at me up close before. I mean, I’d seen the usual guns Nigerian police carried about for show, but none had ever been a threat to me. So, pardon me if I say I was scared shitless. It didn’t matter who was wielding the weapon, woman or not…the mere fact that it was pointed in my direction was enough to make me pee in my pants.
Of all the ways to die…being shot had never crossed my mind. And why would it? I wasn’t in the military or on the police force. How Sonia had gotten her hands on a gun was a mystery to me.
“What are you doing?” I asked with all the brevity I could muster.
I glanced at Flores, I could see she was scared; in a bid to protect her, I shoved her behind me.
“Protecting your girlfriend, I see.” Her mouth twisted into an ugly smile.
“She’s not my girlfriend. So, put away the gun, Sonia. This is insane.” I said.
“Insane?! I’ll tell you what’s insane!” She was yelling. “Insane is rejecting me more than once…yet running into the arms of that bitch Barbara!”
“Sonia…calm down please. We can talk about this.” I didn’t want to admit that I was shaking.
“We’re done talking! Jake…I loved you! I gave myself to you on a platter of gold! All you do is to reject me, then cheat on me?!” She took a step towards me, the gun still focused on me.
“Put the gun down, please. It’s not worth it” It was Flores that spoke this time. Her voice was calm but tinged with fear.
“Shut up you!” Sonia swung the gun in her direction, although she was behind me. “I told him, if I can’t have him…no one else can. Not even you.”
“I told you, she’s just a friend. Let her go, Sonia. We’ll deal with this alone.” I pleaded.
Suddenly she screamed. A blood curdling scream of pain, like a wounded animal. Like someone possessed. Finally, she stopped screaming and said:
“Why?! Why can’t I have who I want?!”
From the look in her eyes, I knew she was very capable of killing. This was not calm, rational Sonia. This was the crazed, insane maniac that lived somewhere inside her.
It dawned on me that I was literally staring death in the face. This could be the end for me. And Flores.
I said a small prayer inside me, begging God to save me from this situation and vowing to become a priest or monk if Flores and I made it out alive. Don’t blame me…I was desperate. I needed help.
“I’m going to kill you first, then kill myself. That way we’ll meet in hell.” She said.
“Please don’t. It’s not worth it.” Flores said again.
This time Sonia swung the gun in her direction and before I could blink, she fired off a shot. The sound was deafening, reflexively I dropped to the ground to dodge the bullet, by the time I remembered I had left Flores unprotected…it was too late. I saw her go down beside me, clutching her stomach. My best friend had just been shot. I rushed to her side, blood hadn’t started pouring yet.
“Flores…stay with me.” I said, holding her in my arms. She couldn’t die. I needed her. I loved her…she was my…my Flores.
“I…I…texted Femi” She managed to say. “He…should…be…” She coughed.
“Ssshhh…you’ll be okay. I promise. Don’t die on me, please.” I begged.
“Help…is…coming.” She said softly, before she closed her eyes.
“Noooooo!” I screamed. I checked her pulse. She was still alive, barely.
“Your little girlfriend is gone. Now you just have me.” Sonia said.
I had completely forgotten her in the heat of the moment. Suddenly, the news that help was on its way revived me and I placed Flores gently on the floor and stood to face Sonia.
I was boiling with anger. “If she dies…you’ll have me to answer to.” I said.
“All I wanted was for you to love me.” There was no remorse in her voice. “Is that too much to ask?”
I advanced towards her. I wasn’t going to stand there and watch her shoot again. The adrenaline had numbed my fear. Seeing my best friend shot in my presence had given me a certain courage I never knew existed.
“Stay back, Jake. I don’t want to have to shoot you.” She was saying. “We still have a chance. Away from this place. You and I.”
“You just shot a woman I care about. What chance do you think we have? You might as well shoot me.” I said, still walking towards her.
“Stop it, Jake. Stay away.” She said, still pointing the gun at me.
I was beyond the point of reasoning with her. She had just tampered with someone precious to me.
Then I heard noises outside. Help at last. I decided to make my move; I lunged for Sonia, hoping to knock the gun out of her hands. I succeeded; but not before she took one more shot. This time I didn’t know who she hit. I landed on the floor beside her and kicked the gun away.
My ears were tingling from the sound of the shot.
“You made me do it.” I heard her whimper.
Then my front door opened and I looked up to see a familiar face. Femi. And behind him, the ever ready Nigerian police. I had never been so happy to see those black uniforms.
“Flores.” I said. “Get Flores to a hospital now.”
Then, a wave of dizziness over took me. I started to rise…
“You’ve been shot” Femi said, running to my side.
“No, I haven’t” I protested.
Then I looked down…and sure enough there was blood. I had been shot.
The last thing I heard before losing consciousness was Femi making a phone call.