I glanced at the wall clock in my bedroom and sighed. It was quarter past 11 pm and I didn’t think Halima would still be coming over as we agreed, but I was sure she was the one standing in front of my door now, knocking.
“I’m coming!” I shouted as I quickly changed into my night wear. It was a short,white silk gown and it was my favourite night wear. Fola, my fiance had got it for me on my last birthday.
“You should stop night crawling Halima, it’s late already. Do you know how risky it is to be walking the streets this-” The last word was left unspoken as I stared at the figure standing in front of my door which was now wide open.
He was wearing a black hooded sweater with black pants and he had a red muffler around his neck. The last time I saw him was ten years ago; when he walked into the Black maria, handcuffs on hands and chains on legs.
“Miss Williams.” He said and pretended to bend the tip of an imaginary hat.
“It’s so good to finally meet you again. Can I come in?” I knew better than to say no, he was already showing off a small dagger he was holding in his left hand. It looked quite new and the look in his eyes told me he would not hesitate to make use of it so I stepped aside and watched him walk in.
“You’ve got a nice place here. Please, take a seat.” He said as he walked to the switch and turned off the lights before moving to the VCD player where he searched my CD pack using the rays of light from the TV before bringing out a CD.
“Still a fan of these guys eh? It’s good to know you haven’t changed at all.” He picked up the remote and selected a song from the songs list. Second’s later, “My Love” was filtering out of the speakers and Westlife, singing on my screen.
“This one will do. I should put it on repeat.”
“What do you want, Michael?” I asked in a soft, firm voice, my long nails digging into the sofa I was now sitting on. He mustn’t think I’m afraid of him.
“You tell me, what do you think I want?”
I knew whatever Michael wanted wasn’t good, we had a long history together and it was really bad history.
Michael pulled out a stool and sat directly in front of me.
“You were killing people for money Michael.”
He laughed a little and then a lot.
“Where did you think I was getting all that money from? I gave you everything you wanted and you, Moji, you wanted so much. You wanted everything and you didn’t even care where the bloody money came from!”
“If I knew you were engaged in such a thing I would have asked you to stop, I would have rejected your money.”
“Really? No, I don’t think you would have, you loved money too much. I bet your fiance is an ATM or maybe he works at the Central Bank of Nigeria?”
“You were sentenced to death Michael, what else could I have done?”
“And you ran off to another man with my money. Remind me Moji, how much was it? Two Million Naira? or was it Five? You left my sister with nothing, she was killed in an accident while hawking on the streets to survive! And you knew baby, you knew she was the only family I had left.”
Michael was right, I ran off with all his money;a sum of Five Million naira and I agree I was unfair and greedy;I just couldn’t let go and he had been sentenced to death for a crime I hadn’t even known he was involved in. He was right; I loved money too much but if I had known he would find a way to get out of prison, maybe I wouldn’t have taken his money.
“I’m sorry, I’ll give it back. I’ll add more, just don’t hurt me please.” I said almost in a whisper. There was nothing more terrifying than a raging notorious assassin on a vengeance mission pointing a brand new dagger at you.
Getting his money back wouldn’t be a problem though, Fola had money and I was sure I could get that much from him but it didn’t seem like Michael was interested in any money. I cursed myself for abandoning his thirteen years old sister with nothing to survive on.
“I don’t know about that Moji, I want nothing more than to watch you bleed. Nothing more than to make you pay for what you did with your life and you know what that means right? It means you’ll really get hurt. But before that, you are going to dance with me. You love to dance, don’t you?”
My phone rang and Michael picked it from the table it had been lying on and peered at the screen. He cut the call and I could see the cynic smile on his face provided from the only source of light left in the room;the television.
“That was your man calling but it’s me and you tonight baby and then you’ll go dance for the devil too in hell.Bad girls like you don’t go to heaven.”
The phone rang again a couple of times but Michael kept cutting the calls until they finally stopped coming. I wasn’t a believer, but I silently prayed Fola would get worried and come see me.
What were my chances though?
It was almost midnight.
Michael stood up and slowly pulled me into his arms, the dagger was still in his hand and he held it close to my stomach. I knew I had to dance.
I sighed with relief as I heard persistent knocks on my door few minutes later, I was sure it was Fola and was already thinking of the best way to let him know I was in trouble without getting the deranged killer in my apartment suspicious. “My Love” was playing for the fifth time or so.
Michael stood behind me as I slightly opened the door for Fola as he had commanded and when Fola asked me why I wasn’t picking his calls, I wanted to scream but the cold pointed end of the blade reminded me I could die before getting him to understand my plight…and I could get him killed too.
When he tried to come in and Michael came into view behind me, wrapping his arms around me, kissing my neck and telling me we still had some dancing to do, I stiffened and said the only statement I could think of using a speech code Fola had taught me during the first few months of our relationship.
“…Fola, Halima’s Estranged Lover is Pissed at ME” That was the best I could think of at that moment because I knew Michael could get suspicious if I said something that didn’t make sense. It had been long since we used the speech code but I hoped Fola’s senses were at the peak of their functionality and he would be able to read the pleading and fear in my eyes.
It didn’t work though and as I closed the door seeing nothing but the disappointment on Fola’s face, I could only pray for a chance to leave a message for my beloved fiance before breathing my last.
Maybe I deserved to die, I had lived an extremely sinful life with Michael, sins I was yet to atone for and isn’t death the price for sin?
Fortunately for me, after our midnight dance, Michael stabbed me several times in the stomach and left me to bleed to death. I wrote the words with my blood and crawled away from it so that my fast flowing blood wouldn’t cover it up before Fola returned. With those words, I told him I was sorry and that I tried to tell him I was in trouble…