The men had balaclavas covering their faces. One of them was standing over Gbenga, whose limbs were bunched together in the corner of the sofa. The seriousness of their situation dawned on Desola when she noticed the black duct tape covering Gbenga’s mouth.
She saw the machete of the man standing by the door before she saw him. He glanced in their direction. Her feet took her back onto the landing with the help of hands she knew belonged to her sister. They ran upstairs, screaming all the way to the bedroom because they could hear the thudding of footsteps behind them.
Inside the bedroom, they gathered their bodies behind the brittle door to keep it closed. They pushed the door as they felt it being pushed in from the outside. Desola could tell their strength was failing them. Fausa was screaming, “Oluwa.” Florence, their housemaid,was shouting,“Chineke.”
But it was the sound of the men pushing their way into the room she heard above the screeching. The men dragged them downstairs where the man with the machete was waiting by the door.
“Please don’t hurt us,” Desola begged, as the men pushed them onto the floor and told them to stay there.
“It is your uncle I want. If you get in my way, I will ask my boys to deal with you the way your uncle deals with innocent girls,” the man standing by the door told them in fluent Yoruba.
Desola couldn’t see his face because of the balaclava, but she knew she had heard his voice before. It sounded though as if the man was trying to disguise his voice. One of the men had started to tie Gbenga’s hands behind his back. Desola could hear her uncle sniffling.
The man tying him up sneered, “Look at this man, he is crying like a girl.”
Desola heard the distinct Egba accent in the man’s speech, just like she had heard it in the voice of the man by the door. The one she assumed had to be their leader. Fear started to rip her apart. She realised that the men in their lounge were perhaps people that knew them well. Men who were aware that the rest of their family were away. She hoped Baba Risi could hear their screams.
He would get help and save them.
Desola saw her uncle drop to the floor. He started to do what seemed like a crawl. Without hands to support himself, he didn’t seem to be moving anywhere. The men started to laugh.The men’s leader wasn’t laughing. He walked towards Gbenga and brought his machete down on him.
Fausat let out a scream as blood splashed everywhere, spraying the floor and their nightwear.Their housemaid, Florence, was mumbling incoherently when Desola managed to open her eyes. Her eyes had closed shut as if to protect themselves against the gory sight which now lay infront of her.
Gbenga’s eyes were open, staring into nothingness as if they had stopped working. His t-shirt had turned from off-white to pinkish-red. The large cut on his right shoulder was gushing red like a wine tap. She couldn’t see the cut on his left side properly. But she could tell it was bad.
One of the men kicked Gbenga’s face with his capped boots. She could hear him now.
Grunting. But barely audible.
The leader of the group whispered something to the shortest man of the group. The latter left them and walked upstairs.
“You will regret the day you decided to touch girls.” The leader of the men placed his foot in between Gbenga’s spread-out legs.
Desola saw Gbenga’s eyes roll in their sockets as the man put all his weight on that foot. Fausat started to scream.
“Shut her up,” the leader shouted at one of his men standing close to the ladies.
The man moved towards Fausat. Desola’s heart ceased beating when she saw the pocket knife in the man’s hand. She found herself doing the craziest thing ever. Jumping up to save her sister. She knew it was a crazy thing to do when she felt the man strike her. She screamed out as she fell, hitting her head on the edge of the table. The pain was ravaging, making her wonder if he had stabbed her before she went down. She could hear Fausat and the housemaid crying quietly. She wanted to tell them not to cry but the pain splitting her head into fragments wouldn’t let her.
She wondered why Baba Risi, their gateman hadn’t come to their rescue or called the police.
When the man that had gone upstairs came down, he had a plastic bag – Desola guessed contained their mothers’ jewellery. She had started to feel drowsy when the leader returned his attention to Gbenga. She knew she had to stay awake. But she felt woozy. Her uncle had stopped grunting but this didn’t deter the man from lacerating his legs.
“You will rot in hell for defiling my daughter.” The leader shouted as he brought his machete down on Gbenga one last time. Desola realised why Baba Risi hadn’t come to their rescue. He was too busy hacking down her uncle…